Monday, April 2

Easter. Passover. A Stirring.

 Have any of you read the book "7" by Jen Hatmaker? If not I HIGLY recommend it.
I read the book back in early January. It was the perfect book for me after being shaken by our trip to Ethiopia. You know, the one I went on in November that left me feeling culture shock upon arrival in the US. Not really culture shock there but once I came home. That trip.
Well I have said on here 1,000,000 times that I felt shaken and like we miss the point of life here. The mean of life. God's meaning of life is drowned out here. There, in Ethiopia, I felt like God was louder. I could feel him, hear him and see him better. My life here at home does not feel that way. God feels more quite, more distant and less tangible. He isn't. He is the same God everywhere I go. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The difference between here and there is that my world is so easily distracting. There I couldn't use my iPhone, my apps, Facebook, Pinterest or even Blogs. It was silent. Here I have all  of those things plus a million more things. It is so easy to make excuses to not be with God, to not keep him your main focus. I have made countless excuses on why I haven't been able to fellowship with the Lord the in last few weeks. Each reason selfish and ultimate sinful. It is embarrassing what I have allowed to come before Christ. The one we are remembering this week. It is embarrassing that I cant muster up 30 min or more to spend with the one who beared ( don't know how to spell that and auto spelling doesn't either...oh well) the weight of all the sin in the world so that I could be with the Father. So that I could be reconciled through him and share eternity with him in his kingdom.
This Easter, as I fight through the distraction of my everyday life, I am reminded of what Christ did for me, and for you. There is something stirring in me that I can't quite pinpoint. A restlessness that has been stirred by this upcoming "Holiday".  Like most people I have always felt emotional about Easter. At least in my more recent adult years I have. But this year, after being in Africa, adopting a child from a developing nation, after my eyes have been opened to the American distractions and a few other things,  Easter feels different. I feel it more. Something new has resonated in me and I can't quite pinpoint it. Maybe I feel like the "Holiday" is disrespected. We have turned it into a profit for Hershey, Wonka and whatever other candy companies there are out there. It has become about stuffed eggs, died eggs, hidden eggs and big bunnies. It has come to expensive dresses, expensive suits, ties and fancy shoes to impress others. It has become about a big meal and Easter Baskets. It has become LESS about what Christ DID for us. All of these things I am guilty of. I have, admittedly, put eggs, hunts, dresses (which can be ridiculously expensive...sheesh!) and big meals before Christ and I have focused more of my attention on these things then Him and His sacrifice. For me this is shameful.
I want this years Easter to be different. I want my kids to know Easter and what Easter is REALLY about. Last night I went to the store to buy Easter eggs, candy and Baskets and paid an embarrassing amount for it all. Today I woke up with buyers remorse. Or is the Holy Spirit leading me and my family in a different direction this Easter? I don't know.
Honestly giving up an little Egg hunt with my kids would be sad for me. I remember growing up hunting eggs with my cousins at my Grandmas house after church and in the early morning hours at my parents house with my sisters. It was a lot of fun. We kids would even re-hide them ourselves just to fin them again. We would compare candy, compete with who got the most (Jill always won with the most eggs). I have so many fun memories that are focused on our egg hunts and our big yummy lunch we had (which is similar to our yummy Thanksgiving feast). And decorating big Easter bonnets for the contest at our small church.
What I don't recall as a kid is focusing on why we have Easter and why it is so important. I always knew it was about Christ dying on the cross for my sins but thats about it. Just that simple. I want my children to  really KNOW what Easter is about. What Passover is about. I want them to know the scriptures and to feels the intensity of what Christ did for them.
I have looked everywhere online for fun ways to make Easter about Jesus and not the Easter Bunny. I came across these really neat eggs a couple of weeks ago.
The idea is to get 12 eggs, each with something inside of them that represents events and stories leading up to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. Starting 12 days before Easter you have your children open each egg and you talk together about what is in that particular egg and you read scripture that corresponds with it. I love this idea!!! You can find these EVERYWHERE on Pintrest. 
I also found this basket idea online HERE. I love this. I am working on the kids today. I am a bit behind but I am TRYING! HA! Make sure you check out the link! It's so creative. 
For Parkers school treats I found this lovely idea on Pintrest. (I really LIKE Pintrest). I need to run to Walgreens today to find me some Peeps. These are a perfect simple what to share Jesus with some kindergarteners. Just click on the Picture to read about them. 
This is a little craft I would love to do with the kids this year.  A plate for each of them may not be doable I may improvise and use some old scrap wood in my garage and make plaques like this. I love the idea though! Plus my kids LOVE to paint. Its a real treat for them. 

There are ALOT of great ideas on Pinterst to help make your Easter Christ centered. I hope you will check it out. I am not sure what our Easter will look like this year. I am sure if I will call is Easter or Passover. I am not sure if we will egg hunt or talk about the Easter Bunny (Can I call him Passover Bunny... I guess that wouldn't be right would it?!) I not sure if I will die eggs with the kids or make them the traditional Easter Baskets full of Presents (Why do we even give our kids presents on Easter?! When you think about it, its really weird) I am honestly not even sure if I will do all of these ideas I have listed above. 
What I do know, is that I am going to try. Even if its just open gin the Bible and reading them the story and doing a couple of coloring page with them, I will try. 

Also, this Easter my family will be missional. That's what we are all called to be. We are called to serve others and to love others. Christ didn't die for us to live in our comfortable homes with our comfortable lives. He called us to serve others. Our church may not be shutting its doors to serve the homeless this year like Jen Hatmaker's church (READ THIS POST) but we are having service at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center down the road. My family and I (yes...including my kids) will be serving our precious 3 yr olds during the 9:00AM service. And attending the 11:00 AM service. I am really excited about Easter this year. I hope that you will come out and join us as we celebrate Christ's resurrection. It's kind of a BIG DEAL. ;) Plus we have some special Guests that will be there. Shane & Shane!!! They are one of my most favorite Christian Artists!!! The song in our meeting Emme video at the bottom is by them. 
They will be having a FREE concert that night at 6:30. I am really excited about that! 

I hope this Easter you will think about Christ and remember all that he did for you. He loves you and cares for you enough that during his darkest hour he interceded for you and he took on your sins so that you can be forgiven and be with the Father. 

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