By Ann Dunagan, www.ChristianPost.com
JESUS IS ALIVE!!!
It’s Easter weekend, and when could be a more appropriate time for our families to step-out of our comfort-zones, and perhaps make a “sacrifice” to share the Good News of JESUS with our relatives, friends, and neighbors?
As we remember the Passover, the Cross, and the Empty Tomb (and as we busy ourselves with the fun festivities of Easter) let’s instill in our kids the point of it all. Let’s remember that Jesus didn’t just die for the precious people around our dining room tables.
Jesus died, rose again, and IS ALIVE TODAY . . . for the people of the whole world.
Have a MISSION-MINDED EASTER!
Fun Family MISSION Ideas for Passover, Good Friday, & Resurrection Sunday:
The Jewish celebration of Passover is to remember how God delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and how the death angel “passed over” their homes. A special dinner called “Seder” includes unleavened bread (matzoh), lamb, and bitter herbs.
Jesus celebrated the Passover every year, and through His death on the cross, He fulfilled it.
God has provided freedom from the bitterness of sin and eternal death, for us and for the world world, for “. . . Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7 NLT).
Passover Prayer Focus: Pray for God’s blessing and peace for the people of Israel, and for Jewish people from all over the world. Pray for Jewish families, especially as they are celebrating the Passover, that they would recognize Jesus Christ (Y’shua) as their promised Messiah. Thank God for the blood of Jesus Christ, our Lamb of God. (And isn’t it amazing how Jesus Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” Rev. 13:8. Even before God created our world, He knew there would be sin, and the need for the Cross. Yet out of His incredible love, He chose to create us anyway . . . and to die for us.)
Holy Week, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday, International
Christians around the world celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.
In many Latin American countries, such as in Antigua Guatemala, huge processions with large statues of Jesus and religious relics are carried through the streets. During many of these events, there is little or no mention of the Resurrection. In other places (such as in the Philippines, in Asia) men allow themselves to actually be nailed to a cross – stopping just short of death – all done as “penance” (a religious self-effort to pay part of the punishment for their sins).
Good Friday & Easter Prayer Focus: As we show our children these international examples, we can encourage our kids to pray for people who need Jesus. We can pray for our family’s missionaries, and pray for people (even this Easter weekend, both around the world and right in our local area) to hear the truth of the Gospel. We can remind our kids how that Jesus Christ died on the cross, once and for all, to pay the penalty for people’s sins, and how He rose from the dead to provide NEW LIFE and salvation by grace and through faith.
1. PRAY: Pray for families you know who are thinking about Easter eggs and baskets for their kids, but who have no thought about the real meaning of the Cross and the Resurrection. Brainstorm a few specific ways that your family make an impact, this weekend, for Jesus.
2. INVITE SOMEONE TO CHURCH: Think of the families in your neighborhood, and pray about who you could invite to church. Walk through your neighborhood, and pray for these families specifically. Make a simple effort (perhaps with a phone call, a stop at their house with a plate of cookies or a simple basket with Easter treats and a church bulletin or handwritten card) and INVITE them to come.
3. DRAW PICTURES OF JESUS: Have your kids make simple hand-drawn pictures about the cross of Jesus Christ and the resurrection, with an invitation to your church’s Sunday Easter Service; bring the drawings with you the next time you are in the vicinity of your home church, and have your kids look for someone specific they can invite to church.
4. READ THE BIBLE: Read the Biblical account of the Passion Week.
5. READ A BIBLE STORYBOOK: Read aloud from Christian children’s books which focus on the true meaning of the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ, such as any Bible storybook. Two of our family favorites are The Tale of the Three Trees, or The Little Rose of Sharon.
6. PUT JESUS PICTURES ON YOUR EGGS: If you decorate Easter eggs, include pictures of the cross and the empty tomb, and words such as “JESUS IS ALIVE!” (You can write these with color crayon, before you put the eggs in the dye.)
7. TAKE COMMUNION: Celebrate communion together as a family or even all by yourself during a quiet time – perhaps on Good Friday, to remember the sacrifice of the Cross. Play a CD, or sing together a simple song you know about the cross or the blood of Jesus, read aloud I Cor. 11:23 – “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread…”
8. WATCH THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: Watch the classic film, The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, and especially focus on the scene of the Passover and the blood of the Lamb.
9. WATCH A JESUS MOVIE OR PASSION PLAY: Watch a film about the Cross and the Resurrection – The JESUS Film by Campus Crusade for Christ (from the Gospel of Luke, translated into about 1000 languages, and utilized in missions and evangelism throughout the world), The Matthew Video, The Gospel of John, or The Passion. If your home church doesn’t do a special Easter program, perhaps look to see if there is a special LOCAL PASSION PLAY or LIVE EASTER PAGEANT that your family could attend (but unless you’re out of town, be sure to go to your own home church for Easter Sunday morning, even if your service is small and simple!!!).
10. LEARN HOW THE WORLD CELEBRATES HOLY WEEK: Look on-line to get a glimpse of Holy Week celebrations throughout the world (such as the ones above in Guatemala and the Philippines) – to focus your prayers on other nations and people who need to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.