Dear Salvation Army: Communion, It’s Not What You Think It Is…

Dear fellow Ponderers…
I have been dragging my feet in writing this for some time.
Not because I didn’t want to write this edition to Pastorsponderings, but rather because I want to be careful in how I broach this conversation.  I do not wish to offend and upset you – the reader.   Some will no doubt become offended anyway, and I have come to terms with the fact that I will not always make everyone happy – that’s a fool’s errand anyway.

Perhaps in light of this Holy Week that we are all entering into we might also reflect on the Passover feast that Jesus participated in with His disciples…what we now call “The Last Supper”.

Thus, I write this with the utmost sensitivity and respect.

I have been contemplating the topic of Communion once again
(See previous conversations on this:
https://pastorsponderings.org/2014/07/23/dear-salvation-army-communion-survey-results/

Is Communion Considered Taboo in our Army? 
Within The Salvation Army, even the conversation of the Lord’s Table/Supper/Communion has become a taboo topic.  It is almost as if we are forbidden to talk about it, let alone partake in this ceremony.  Some have postulated that despite not participating in this ceremony, we have created our own sacred ceremonies in place of it, thus making the argument that we are non-sacramental in practice null and void.

I fear that failure to discuss such topics within our Army can lead to a polarization of our theological perspective, and variants of our doctrine might splinter and break off (as in some locations, it already has).

Some within our Army would treat the topic of communion with deep disdain to the point that the practice of it is almost treated as an organizational sin.  It is my estimation that too much focus on such a topic in this light is a waste of time and not conducive to unity within our Army.  There should be more open dialogue on this topic as I believe there should be on the topic of baptism.   -Someone will inevitably lambaste me for that, but that would just prove my point that we treat such innocent conversations on the topic as complete taboo and even sinful to even mention, which is ludicrous.
Davinci

Is Communion Misunderstood In The Universal Church? 
In Luke 22 it is recorded the celebration of Passover that Jesus and His disciples were partaking of.  This has now been dubbed “the Last Supper”, where Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to fulfill the final act of Salvation in His false trial, torture, and death by crucifixion.  Thus, Jesus reclines with His disciples and takes in these final private moments with those He is closest with:

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:14-19)

Could it be that over the centuries the emphasis (or fixation) upon the bread and wine have been misplaced?  Didn’t Jesus preach in parable and often teach as Rabbis of His day taught?  With questions and metaphor?  When Jesus spoke of doing “this” in remembrance of me, is it not possible that it wasn’t just the bread and wine He was talking about, but rather the entire dinner together, the fellowship and unity of disciples?  Is it possible that instead of coming together just to contemplate the bread and the wine, the whole ceremony of remembrance is just as vital?   Coupled with the remembrance, the unifying love of Christ that binds it all together is the common denominator.  So much so, that when the disciples gathered in another upper room together in perfect unity, they encountered the second blessing an the day of Pentecost?  (Acts 2:1-31)
fellowship 2
Perhaps, it is in the very practice of gathering in unity and prayer that we find the proper practice of Communion to be viable and appropriate – even commanded by Christ Himself.  After all, didn’t Jesus also pray for unity of the believers when we said, “ that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21)
fellowship3.jpg
Dear Salvation Army,
Let me ask you a question:  When are our Soldiers unified with the love of Christ?
When is it that we remember Jesus as our Savior and source of resurrection power?
Would you suggest that it is when we gather in times of confession, of worship, of fellowship?  When does the mission of Christ within our Army become the most galvanized and evident in the body of believers?
fellowship
Is there a time for ceremony and formal recognition?  Of course!
What do those intentionally consecrated moments look like?
Could it be that Communion has been vilified in our Army?  (Perhaps that is too strong a word)…
Is it possible that what Communion truly is – is the coming together of His disciples in fellowship and unity instead of mere ceremony?  Can we do this over a meal together?
fellowship 4
Perhaps instead on the over emphasis of the elements we have lost sight of the One who broke the bread and poured the wine?

What do YOU think? 
Post your comments below and let’s continue this pondering together.

*Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are of the author’s views and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Salvation Army.  Reader desecration is advised. *

 

Easter Memories – Childhood Recollections…

I always have fond memories of the Easter season.
Growing up in the church, I don’t recall a time when I didn’t go to church.  Many times I sat through that dreaded (at least in the eyes of a child) 3 hours of the cross Good Friday service.  I also remember not being all that fond of early Sun-rise services either.  Waking up at the crack of dawn, even before the rooster would even begin to crow…the lights would twinkle in windows down the street as some rustled about in the early dawn.  Then we would hustle to a public outdoor service of some kind where the cold wind would always bite at my nose and send me to shivering later.  But there was always the reward of the warm glow of the Sunrise when it crested the mountain at the Eastern horizon.   Perhaps, in some way, that is why Easter sun-rise service has always been special to me.  I would shiver in the cold morning air UNTIL the Sun began to shine and cast its warming rays upon us once more.  It would remind me of the state I was in before knowing Christ – that cold and lonely place.  It was a place devoid of the Son, filled with selfishness and hurt…but when Christ’s love broke into my life and I accepted His forgiveness and grace – I could feel the warmth of His love.  It almost felt as I was wrapped in His warm embrace, and all was right with the world again.

Perhaps, as I reminisce of my many visits to those cold mornings of Easter Sunday, where we would sing “Up from the grave He arose“,  I too find myself being resurrected again.  I too identify with the empty tomb, for God’s glory has warmly shone into my life.  And when the glow of the rising Sun appears again, I see the hope of eternity once more in its rising.  No, not in the Sun itself, but in the Son-rise, a Messiah conquering death, a Savior delivering me once more from my sin-sick heart.

Death cannot keep his prey—
  Jesus, my Savior!
He tore the bars away—
  Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
  Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Something more to Ponder.
What are you Easter memories?  Comment below and let the conversation continue!

Putting Jesus Back

Monday after Easter, and the Easter dress is on the floor in the laundry room, as are the Easter suits and carelessly tossed ties and shoes.  Easter is over.  The Celebration party had its curtain call.  Everyone went home.  So…what now?

What impact does the Resurrection have on us the day after?  The week after?  The month after?   Understandably we can say “Well there’s always next year…”  or “I go to church every Sunday anyway.”  These are all valid points, but what kind of impact does Christ’s resurrection have on you and me in our daily lives?

All too often we want to put Jesus back.
We put Him back into those boxes for next year.
We put Him back on the hanger as we hang up that Easter dress or suit.  dress
We close our Bibles to that story until next year rolls back around.
We put Jesus back into our preconceived, compartmentalized places.

But should we put it all back like that?
Is there a trace of Him in our work places, social events, friendships, relationships, families?  Or does He get put away just like the seasonal stuff in our closets?
I have to wonder what the answer is even for me sometimes.
I can accept a risen Savior, but what does it mean in my habits, and in my faith walk and my desire to become more and more like Him?  How does this Resurrected Christ fit into my overly complicated life?  Am I secretly compartmentalizing Jesus?  Am I packing Him away for another year?  Am I checking that season off on my calendar  and moving on without Him there?

box2

 

What a tragedy it would be for any of us to progress past the cross and the empty tomb without it affecting the entirety of who we are as His creation!  Essentially when we put Him back on the shelf, in the box, on a hanger – we are selectively accepting who He is and who He can be in our lives.   We are, subconsciously putting limits on the Almighty…we are also putting limits on our own spiritual growth.

 

A New Creation: 
A friend of mine on Facebook posted this comment that sparked my heart and ignited some intrinsic truth deep within me.  Have you ever had one of those “A-ha” moments?  Where the light bulb flickers on, and it’s bright and it shines on truth.  Perhaps this will spark something within you too in terms of re-framing  who Jesus is, which will undoubtedly make us second guess putting Jesus back…here it is:

One could suggest that the ‘tetelestai’ (it is finished) saying refers not to atonement but to creation; it is the creation that is completed on the cross. On the cross, the true human is created, creation is now complete.” (Cameron Horsburgh/Michael Hardin)

                                                      -Mind. Blown. –

How can you ever go back to putting Jesus on the shelf?
How can you not have a life changing event take place in your heart when you consider ALL of creation is now complete in this Messiah atonement?  That we can’t put God in a box and only bring Him out once a year in light of creation becoming complete in Him.  There’s nowhere else to move besides forward in our relationship to the One who has made EVERYTHING complete!

It’s like buying a new suit, wearing it only one time just to put it on a hanger and stare at it while wearing the same old dingy ripped up, dirty outfit you’ve always worn.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  So…why do we do this sometimes with Jesus?

Unwrapping It.
Take Jesus off the shelf.   box3
Throw the old outfit away – you have a new suit to wear!
Throw away the old title for yourself – “Sinner”
Because you’ve been saved by this amazing grace found only in Jesus, and you’ve been given a new title – “Child of God.”
You can’t compartmentalize Jesus.
You can’t “seasonalize” Him either.
He can’t be contained.
He wants to transform you!
He has already completed creation – which can include YOU!

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20

May you find an ever present Christ with you today!
May our hearts be compelled to live for Him and reside with Him every moment of every day!  May we experience this new creation every time we utter His name on our breath.
May this transformation of the new, complete creation be in us EVERY day.

Something more to Ponder today.
To God be the glory!

(Another fitting article for today from Steve Simms entitled: “Why Put Jesus In A Box?” check it out too!)

Redemption’s Call (An Easter Poem)

…And then it came to pass
that my heart was rent and broken,
turmoil spilled the spoken word
with nail and sword they killed my Lord. free

The veil was torn
redemption born
the Lamb was made to bleed.
For He stepped in
relieved my sin
and we are free indeed.


As the cost explodes the night
no grave can hold Eternal’s light
For we’ve been bought –
from blind to sight
The God-man, love’s true might.

And here we are – a second chance
from sin’s cold grasp to love’s first glance
the choice is ours, redemption’s call
His blood can cleanse and heal us all.
…His love WILL heal and cleanse us all.

SES
3/24/16


 

Seeking Dead-Jesus… (a reflection of Mary at the tomb)

I keep thinking about Mary encountering Jesus in the garden post-death.
Imagine it with me if you can:

She is going there to properly take care of his dead body.
She is going there to shed a few more tears in private.
She is going there to say goodbye.
Her heart is as heavy as a led balloon.
She just can’t wake up from this nightmare.
Rising early that morning, a night wrought with bad dreams and sleeplessness, she heads directly to the grave.
Call it a moment to convince herself that He’s really gone.
Call it a part of the mourning process.

Rounding the last turn in the overgrown garden she comes upon a sight that she cannot quite explain.
Reason fails her and she is pauses a step to take in the scene attempting to comprehend it all – His grave is open.   Picking up the pace, she closes in on the tomb and enters all in one quick motion.  The place where they had laid Jesus is empty,  it is vacant.  Had the authorities changed their minds?  What happened to the body of her teacher, her rabbi?

Mary runs back and gets the disciples who, upon hearing this troubling news, run to the tomb to check it out for themselves.

Fresh tears begin to well up in her eyes as a lump forms in her throat as this all takes place.
Where is Jesus?
Why had they done this?
Could they not have left Him be, allowing this one ounce of dignity?

griefStepping back out of the tomb, the early sun begins to crest the horizon and spills effortlessly out upon the garden igniting it in hues of orange and red.  Mary doesn’t know what to do.  She is dumb-founded.  Mary peers again into the tomb to make sure she has seen it correctly, as grief can often cloud the ruffled edges of judgment and understanding.   Then…something catches her eye – two angelic forms standing beside the place where dead-Jesus had been laid.  They speak to her.  “Woman, why are you crying?” they ask…as if the meaning of death and loss meant nothing.  But Mary swallows back tears and replies “They have taken away my Lord and I don’t know where they have put Him.”    Uttering this very statement is like releasing the floodgates in a dam and her resolve breaks and so does her heart.

Suddenly, a shadow passes between her and the fire branded sunrise.  It is the silhouette of a man.  It MUST be the gardener coming to tend to the property before the hot sun engulfs and wilts the plants.  It must be someone who knows something about where Jesus has be taken.  Once again, the question is asked of her, this time by the man standing silhouetted in front of her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”  Again Mary sniffles and forces out a tired, bitter response amidst her flowing tears “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

She is at the end of her strength.
She is beyond heart-sick.
At the very least this can be done – recovering Jesus’ body.

Then, something remarkable happens – the dead speaks.
The man before her says one word that brings water to a desert.
This one word means more than the content of thousands of words meticulously strewn together in a book.
He speaks this one word and the storms of mourning cease.
He speaks this one word and shattered pieces of her heart become whole again.  mary
MARY.
In her weakest state she recognizes just who He is.
In her tear-blurred eyes and flood of grieving heart, she finds renewed strength in His presence.
She calls out to Him by His respected title – ““Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Mary is overwhelmed with joy.
She is filled with relief.
The sun, now in its fuller light shines upon the son of God in all of His resurrected glory.
He is alive!
_____________________________________________________________________________________
I keep coming back to this story because often we too keep going to back to the empty tombs in our lives.
We keep coming up with the wrong conclusions.
Doubt casts its shadow upon our faith and it weighs heavily on us.
Doubt blurs our resolve and shakes our foundations of belief.
We stoop down into that tomb time and time again and we forget that we do not serve a dead-savior, but a risen one.
We need to look up and see Him.
We need to recognize our teacher.
We need to find Him once more for ourselves.
He wipes away our tears and longs for us to cry out to Him.

Will you?
Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Easter Sermon Podcast “Death is Dead” (Peeling back the labels) -Brainerd Lakes Corps The Salvation Army

 

itunes pic

Please find the link to the podcast here  – 

http://scottstrissel.podomatic.com/entry/2014-04-20T11_12_49-07_00

Podcasts are also available for download via iTunes/Podcasts/Brainerdcorps

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25, 26 NIV)

John 20:1-9 (NIV) 
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 
2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 
4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 
7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 
8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25, 26 NIV)

John 20:1-9 (NIV) 
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 
2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 
4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 
7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 
8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Were these the “Final” words?

 

You are drowning. The tide has pulled you under and the turbulent waters are unforgiving. Panic rapidly sets in and you are wide-eyed and fighting to break the surface. Suddenly, panic gives way to dread as the realization sinks in that there is nothing that you can do to save yourself, you are doomed. Just as you give up all hope, surrendering to your fate, a strong hand plunges into the dark depths of the waters and pulls you to safety. You have been saved from certain death and the task of the one who has saved you is finished, yet you will forever be in their debt for coming to your rescue.
When all hope of finding true forgiveness of sin seemed gone, Jesus came. When we were drowning in the depths of the dark and murky waters of sin, His hand broke through and saved us. His mission took Him to the cross for us and became our one and only source of salvation.

Image
The images of the cross are by no means for the weak of heart. For with these images carries the burdens of sin and humanity as well as the pain and the agony of Jesus Christ. He suffered and died, but the image of the cross should also bring with it hope, resurrection, new life and peace! It was God reaching down into humanity and providing for us a way to safety.
When viewing the cross we sometimes focus on the pain and suffering and in so doing we possibly lose sight of Jesus’ victory and our eternal hope! It was divinely appointed, never on accident, purposeful in every way. Sin and death had held humanity in a stranglehold since the fall of Adam and Eve. We were drowning in our sin. But after Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, nevermore would death have the final say! Was there suffering? Of course! But with Jesus’ final words, he spoke forth and breathed hope back into humanity’s lungs. With His final words He plucked us up out of the depths and completed our saving.
“It is finished”; He utters, loudly enough to be heard by those who had gathered there. What is finished? Life? No, not life, death is finished. The threat of eternal death is finished for those who would seek after Him. Hopelessness in this world is also finished. When Jesus declared that it was finished, He was declaring ultimate victory over sin! Mission accomplished! Game over for Satan’s death grip on mankind’s souls!
What joy and hope there is in knowing such a Savior! His declaration is for all of humanity! He was not defeated on the cross; instead He declared victory from the cross and from the grave! He was not emptied and destroyed by sin but instead was filled with salvation and love for the sinner. Jesus had finished the ultimate battle, and His trophy would be the embrace of the seekers as they reached the very steps of Eternity. On the cross Jesus ripped open the veil of death and wiped away the transgressions from you and from me. On the cross, visceral pain and suffering occurred, yet life began anew. We were rescued! On the cross, Jesus declared “It is finished” new life has now begun!

“In the Cross is salvation; in the Cross is life; in the Cross is protection against our enemies; in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the Cross is strength of mind; in the Cross is joy of spirit; in the Cross is excellence of virtue; in the Cross is perfection of holiness. There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross.” ― Thomas a’ Kempis, “The Inner Life”

 

 

Easter Tomb Project & Lesson

Image

 

You have all probably seen this project already on Pintrest, and I’m in no way claiming that it’s mine…because it’s not, but I would like to incorporate a teachable lesson to accompany it.  Please find the elements of this project accompanied by scripture passages below free for you to use if you so choose to do so.  This teachable craft can be used for youth programs, women’s ministries, senior adult ministry or even at home with your family.  

Elements & Scripture Discussion: 

1. The Potting Saucer – 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth – Genesis 1:1

Image the saucer for this Easter craft represents (at least to me) the world in which we live.  God created it and we live in a location and placed that was formed by His hands.  We are blessed to live in such a world and should take care of this world as best we can.  Genesis 2:5 –  “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  God still wants us to take care of this world that He has entrusted us with.  

2.  The Potting Soil – 

The potting soil represents you, me and all of creation.

 “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

God created this world for us and He desires to have fellowship with us.  He longs for us to love Him in return and so in this Easter story we recognize that we too play a part in the crucifixion and the resurrection.  Jesus came to die for us because we really and truly matter to Him.  He created us and this Easter story is about our salvation through Christ Jesus.  

 

3. The Gardening Rocks 

Image

 

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” -Romans 3:23

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” -Romans 5:12

The gardening rocks represent sin in this world.  It weighs us down and keeps us bound in our slavery to it.  We cannot save ourselves from its weight, nor can we do enough good works to receive eternal life.  We need help.  We are all fallen, each one of us and because of this Jesus came to set us free and to remove the weight of sin from our lives.  

 

 

 

4. The Three Crosses

 

Image
With younger children you might want to tie these for the kids before hand.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” -Philippians 2:8

The Cross of Jesus is suffering and death.  But it was suffering and death for a purpose.  Jesus died so that the sins of every person on earth could be forgiven and also that we could be restored in our fellowship with God.  Without the cross and Jesus’ suffering we are still hopelessly lost.  We must look to the cross and Christ on the cross for our source of salvation.  

The bindings of the cross pieces represent (to me) the lashings that Jesus received prior to his crucifixion.  It should also represent for us the truth that we (sinful man) put Him there.  We bound Him to that cross, but He willingly went in place of us.  

A.W. Tozer: “The old cross is a symbol of death. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again in newness of life. God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It always stands at the far side of the cross.

5. The Tomb and the Large Rock

Image
“…an empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!” -Bill Gaither
Image
“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb” Luke 24:2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both the tomb and the large stone (it could be white to represent life or another color) represent Christ’s resurrection.  I’m sure it’s obvious to us all, but it also represents the fact that sin & death could not hold the Son of God!  We can find peace, assurance and hope in this empty tomb!  

At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.” John 19:41

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”  “3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.” John 20:1-10

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:25

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”  1 Thessalonians 4:14

6) The Grass seed or sprouts (Plant the grass seed before you place the rocks)

Image
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” -John 10:10

The grass seed will grow during the Easter season which will serve to remind us of the eternal life/ new life that Christ brings to us.  

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3

Each of these verses talks about the new life that only Jesus Christ offers to us.  New life is a free gift to us all if we accept it and believe in Christ and His love for us.  

As we watch this “new life” grow during the season of Easter, may it continue to serve as a remind of God’s love for us and of our deep desire to grow in our faith.  We shouldn’t stop learning about this relationship.  We have also been given the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us and instruct us in this new life!  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26  The Holy Spirit will show us areas of our lives that we need to still surrender to God and He will continue to work within us, helping us along the way.  

This new life isn’t only about getting into heaven, it is also about  living that eternal life right here on earth so that others might see Christ through us.  When we embrace this new life, we become Christ’s representatives (Light) into the world (which is still lost in darkness).  Be God’s light to others as you bloom and grow!  

 

***Disclaimer:  Again I didn’t invent this craft, I simply adapted it and provided a simple yet effective method for teaching this amazing story of love that God has for all of us!  I am sure you can tweak this and make it your own in order to fit the demographic you wish to do this teaching craft with.  This lesson play is free to use as you see fit! To God be the Glory!****

Holiday Christians

Image

 

Written a few years ago:  

Easter Recap
Our church had a great Easter Sunday this past Weekend. Our SONrise service began at 8:00am, and we had about forty minutes of worship and a devotional. The power of the Holy Spirit was so wonderful to experience. After our Son-rise service, we had breakfast which was followed by our Traditional Easter Service . We were wiped after yesterday but God was awesome, hearts were touched, mine as well.

In reflecting on what Easter means to me, I have come to the conclusion that even though there are those who come to our churches only on holidays like Easter it still gives us the opportunity to plant seeds in their lives. At first I used to be very judgmental towards them, but the more and more I have been reading and praying the more I see that it isn’t about church…its about daily life. Sure we could look down on the “occasional church goer, we could confront them, make them feel guilty about not coming; but what will that do? Maybe some would get that message, while most, if not all would never returm (or take years to come back)

Now I know going to church is important for spiritual growth, but it takes sometimes huge steps for people to even grow to that point. Many are still (to quote one of my favorite movies: What about Bob) baby steppin’ it. They haven’t quite gotten to the point of seeing the need for weekly fellowship with other believers. So in their baby steps coming to church even on a holiday is a huge step.

As Christians who are maturing in the faith. planting the seed is our part (not putting on a guilt trip)…the Holy Spirit does the work, we just need to be consistent in our ministry and in our lives.  And therein lies the paradox sometimes. Our lives and ministry can’t be divided where one ends and one begins, they are the same, it’s just that the hours intersect between work and home and that makes the difference. But within those segments of our lives: work, home, leisure: is there consistency? I would say sometimes it’s a fifty/fifty toss up. But we certainly have room to improve, and within those improvements the seeds that the Holy Spirit allows us to plant are so much more fertile. 

Of course three things that I have continually been convicted on are these:
1) It’s the Lord’s Ministry – not mine.
2) When Victories come – He gets the credit.
3) I need to be thankful in ALL things – even the rough times.

So the next time you start to get annoyed as we all sometimes do with the “Holiday Christians” remember your job is to plant the seed, let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Just be consistent in your faith journey and see what happens.
-Just a thought.(written and re-edited by me (scott strissel) taken from my web site on Xanga: Salarmy -2007)

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑