Sunday, April 26, 2009

On the Road to Emmaus

We had to take last Sunday off due to illness but we were back this morning. We are trying to be more creative in our approach to our get-togethers. Between the time of Easter and Pentecost we are looking at the Scriptures that deal with the post-resurrection appearances Jesus made to His followers. This morning we looked at Luke 24:13-35, the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus that encountered Jesus along the way.

The kids were told to dress for the park, but that was all. We started by packing drinks and stopping at the grocery store on the way for donuts. JP hid the donuts from the kids so they wouldn't see them. We arrived at a local park with a walking trail. We walked until we came to a beautiful fountain where we pulled out our Bible and took turns reading the story. We talked a little about the story and then went to find a picnic table. As we were walking we talked about how the disciples were feeling and how they did not recognize Jesus. When are there times in our lives when we do not recognize Jesus? JP told a story about a time we were broken down with a dead battery in a desolate area in the middle of the night. A motorcycle dude dressed in leather and riding a Harley stopped to help us. We were very scared at first, but he turned out to be a struggling Christian who helped us and then asked us to remember him in prayer. Jesus told his disciples when they helped the least of people, they were doing it for Him.

When we got to the picnic table, we talked about how surprised the disciples were when Jesus broke the bread. Then we pulled out the donuts (our kids favorite breakfast). Needless to say they were surprised. Tera later confessed she thought we were learning about fasting today, since we had not fed them before we left. After we ate, we walked back to car just like the disciples as they returned to Jerusalem. As we go on our way this week, may we recognize Jesus this week as He comes to us in the most unexpected skin.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter Sunday!

This Easter we read the story of the Resurrection from John 20 had a time of music worship and praise in the morning. Our get-together meal was a big breakfast meal with sausage and biscuits. We then had the kids go upstairs while we hid eggs around the yard (including the Resurrection Eggs in the picture). After the children went crazy looking for plastic eggs around the yard they split them up (we mark each egg with the initials of the child so they each get the same amount).

The Resurrection Eggs were placed back in the container and, setting the candy eggs aside, we opened up the Resurrection Eggs one at a time. Each plastic egg in the set contains a symbol of the Easter story including; the triumphal entry (a little plastic donkey), the betrayal of Jesus (three silver coins), the crucifixion (a cross fashioned from three nails), and so on to the last egg which is empty symbolizing the empty tomb. The amazing thing is that, after doing this activity for the last few years, the children can tell each part of the story (they are 8 and 6) from the triumphal entry to the resurrection with no help from an adult! We have used this set for just our family and for groups as large as fifty and it always holds every one's attention. Definitely worth the twenty bucks!

We have been enjoying reintroducing symbols and experiential worship to our get-togethers and will eventually move back into prayer stations. We don't think that this takes us out of the realm of 'simple church' as Jesus frequently used such means to get the message across to his listeners. He used the bread and wine to teach of his atoning sacrifice, seed and ground to describe the act of spreading the gospel, coins, fish, the temple, even a prostitute crying and kissing his feet! But instead of on a platform before a sardine can audience he used these things in everyday settings..."teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:7-9)"

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday

Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11
Last week my wife and I both felt the Lord was leading us to do some simple experiential type services for our weekly get-together. We used a Palm Sunday reading and talked about how the person must have felt when the disciples came to get the donkey. Jesus told them to untie and take it when they found it and if anyone asked what they were doing just reply, "the Lord has need of it". We discussed how we would feel if a couple of guys came up to us and started to drive off in our car saying, "the Lord has need of it". This led to a discussion of what important things in our life the Lord may have need of such as; our time, money, our comfort as we are asked to help others who may not look like us or act like us.
We then read a prayer that began, "May our praise today be soft petals at your feet, Lord Jesus...". We used some of the petals of the beautiful tulips that have sprouted all over our yard and wrote some names of people we were praying for or anything we might want to give thanks about and laid them at the foot of the cross. We talked about how the path into Jerusalem with the people shouting, praising, laying down the palms and clothes was still a path to the cross. Even though the people thought he was coming to be an earthly king.
We ended our time with prayer and anointing a member who wished prayer for healing.