The NBA Playoffs had a strong start over the weekend, with Cleveland escaping to win Game 1 over Indiana, and Utah hitting a game-winner to knock off the Clippers.

Golden State, San Antonio, Houston, and Washington all did what they were supposed to do by winning on their home court.

Then we saw two impressive upsets with the 8-seeded Bulls beating the top seed in the East, Boston, and 6-seeded Milwaukee heading to Toronto to go up 1-0 against the 3 seed in the East.

All eight winners from the weekend are feeling great today after celebrating victory and giving their fans something to cheer about.

However, it’s a best of seven series and they have only won one game. Teams that won Game 1 must show up again in Game 2 and continue to pursue winning.

Those who know and follow Jesus also had a special weekend. We celebrated His death and resurrection, as well as, the saving power of the cross in our lives.

I love Easter because we acknowledge the truth that He is risen and have new life found in Him. But even though we all felt good remembering the victory of the empty tomb, our celebration isn’t just for this one day out of the year.

As we get back to our weekly routines and responsibilities, we can know that the joy, power, and victory we encountered on Easter empower us again today to continue pursuing Jesus.

When we believe in Jesus and His wonderful work on the cross, it truly changes everything as He calls us to a serious commitment. He tells us in Luke 9:23 (ESV), “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

The eight teams who won “Game 1” can’t stop now – they must remember what it was like to win and go out and do it again.

When we daily remember the cross and surrender our selfish ways, we rest in His forgiveness and grace. Then we can joyfully go out and follow Jesus in victory…and never be limited to just “Game 1.”

I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I’m thankful for the heightened awareness of You and the cross that we experience on Easter. I pray that I would daily encounter Your grace and love as I commit to following Jesus each day. Please give me an understanding of how to view life through the victory of the cross and the empty tomb. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.