Monday, March 25, 2013

Celebrating the Resurrection

Since the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior are the cornerstone of our faith, I believe we should have an intense focus on these events.  Unfortunately, more often than not, Good Friday sneaks up on us and we are caught unaware and we haven't planned to celebrate these life changing days.  
The past few years I have been blessed to accumulate several ideas to help both our family and our church family have a much more meaningful Resurrection celebration.  Here are just a few of the ways we are celebrating this year.

 Each Sunday in March, we have celebrated 3 parts of the Jewish Passover with our church family.  From eating the bitter herbs (horseradish), to feeding one another the sweet apple mixture that looks like the mortar the Jews used to make bricks in Egypt; our church has bonded as we remember and celebrate the REDEMPTION the Jews had from Egypt and we have in Christ. 

 Last night was especially unique as the younger children went in search of the broken matzah, which symbolizes the broken and buried body of Christ.  How wonderful to celebrate the Cup of Redemption, remembering that our broken and buried Savior, IS ALIVE! 

A wonderful messianic passover celebration with simple explanations can be found here at Thriving Family.

 At home we make a Resurrection Tree.  This picture is of one of our families.  Each evening after they read a portion of Scripture about the last days of Jesus before his death, they draw a small picture of something from the reading.  A palm, a nail, a donkey, a switch, a cross, a tomb...   The tree is a constant visual reminder of what we are celebrating. 

 I printed coloring pictures that tell the story of the last days.  After they are colored we tape them up on the wall, once again a visual reminder of what we are celebrating.

 Easter Mountain has been the longest running tradition in our household.  Recipe here.  I think we first made one in 2007!  This is especially fun for smaller children who help make the mountain and then enjoy play acting out the daily bible stories with the figures.

 Just take the time to slow down and make the stories come to life for your family.  If you are reading about Jesus washing the disciples feet, wash each others feet.  If you read about the last supper, have your own bread and juice.  Remind your children of the the first passover and paint "blood" on the door posts of your house (taping paper on the sides of the door frame  before you paint.)

Today as we read about the woman anointing Jesus' feet with perfume,  I "cried" on Jer's feet, wiped them with my hair, kissed his feet, sprayed perfume on his feet...we could imagine how the room smelled as she broke the bottle and prepared Jesus for his burial. 
I sent the kids on a quick search for objects that would represent the hearts of the men in the room (a hard, cold rock)  and something that would represent the heart of the woman who anointed Jesus (beautiful flowers).  I am leaving our objects on display  and plan to add to them each day. 

Read books that highlight the wonderful truths of the Gospel.  Go through all your children's bible story books and read all of the stories that lead up to the resurrection.    Take the time to slow down and celebrate with your family and friends the basis for our New Life in Christ!

Our first "Easter Mountain" in how they have grown.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lives affecting Lives

Sunday night as James preached from Deuteronomy 3 we saw how one life affects another, especially in the christian world.   Israel's complaining affected Moses, provoking him to sin. Moses' not going into the promise land affected the people, allowing them to enter (Deut. 3:26). Moses then affected Joshua, encouraging him as he began the task of leading the people.  James concluded by challenging us to be involved in each others lives but not just regarding physical concerns but spiritual concerns as well.  How are we encouraging our bothers and sisters in Christ?
 So, here we go, trying to affect the lives of our people for good.  

Tuesday was the birthday of one of our men so we took a pizza over to celebrate with him.  At the end James opened the Word with them and shared some thoughts from his personal time in the word that day.  I could sense such a hunger in some of the people.  For some reason it is not easy for them to open the word each day and read but when someone came along side and did that for them, it fed their souls and hopefully showed them how simple it can be.  James was transparent about his own struggles and gave ideas for them to try.  As we left, he shared with one man, "Sometimes you just have to read, even when you don't feel like it.  Then you will be glad you did."

 We are so thankful for Cristine and her willing to help with the teaching of the Adolescent class.  
Lives affecting lives. 
Someone who takes the time to prepare a lesson and teach to a group of kids who actually try to appear disinterested. 
Last night during her first lesson with them, three of the kids set the alarms on their watches and then when it would go off, they would hit snooze instead of turning it off.  So, every 5 minutes watches were beeping.  I finally had to confiscate the watches.

Lives affecting lives... showing love when they don't respond the way we hope...when they put up walls...when we don't see results...KNOWING they need to see the Savior in us. 

Thursday, March 07, 2013

As you are going... into all the world

We are all familiar with verses, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations...baptizing them...teaching them...and remember, I am with you always...  Matthew 28.18-20

As you study the word "GO" it is best translated, As you are going... 

We recently went to conference.  It is two states north of us and As we were going my dear mother in law was making  disciples of some of the ladies that work at the hotel.  We tend to use the same hotel yearly and so every year for a week, she shows the love of Christ to these women.  Asks questions about their lives and listens.  Then she shares wisdom and hope from the Word of God and prays with them and for them.  Then the next year, she follow up.  Have you been reading the word this year?  Have you found a church that teaches the word?  I have been praying about ...  How is it?  How can I pray for you this year?  Then she shares again of our living hope.  
The women are amazed that a guest would take the time to visit with them, show interest in them.  They see something different and they yearn for it. 

Friday, As we were GOING.... to look at a chair and couch,  God opened the door for us to share the Gospel and counsel the sales lady.  For an hour and half, no one walked in the door.  We were able to listen to her struggles, hear her testimony and encourage her to seek the Lord in His Word. 
We prayed with her as we left and stand in awe that God would use us to proclaim his greatness. 

 Saturday our church had an outing.  As we were going...hiking along the trail, God gave me another brief opportunity to share a "gospel nugget" with a guy reading a Jerusalem Bible.  
 I know I may never see this guy again but I can pray for him and I know that God will send someone else along to water and reap. 

So, where are you going?  
Are you making disciples as you go?