Mar 272016
 

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Little Ones

Big Idea: Jesus is Alive!

Monthly Symbol: Cross

Memory Verse: “Christ died for us” – Romans 5:8b

Bible Story Focus: The Triumphant Entry | Matthew 21:1-11

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, kids will hear of when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  They will learn that the people were asking for a special kind of King, but they didn’t understand that Jesus was a King that would die for them on a cross.  Kids will hear that the same people that cheered for Him as He entered the city are the same people that crucified Him a week later.

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Preschool

Big Idea: Jesus is alive. Our Forever King died and rose again.

Memory Verse: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Symbol: Cross

Story & Lesson Overview: Jesus’ Death and Resurrection (Matthew 27:31-28:10)

In this lesson, kids will hear of Jesus’ death on a cross and resurrection from the dead.  They will learn that Jesus died for those He loves and raised again so that we too may have life with God.  Jesus now sits on a throne in Heaven, as our Forever King, where we will one day be with Him, worshipping Him for eternity.

Circle Time Discussion: What’s your favorite part of Easter?

I Wonder Questions (snack time discussion):

I wonder…how did Jesus die?  *Crucifixion\On the Cross.

I wonder…how many days was it until Jesus was resurrected?  *Three

I wonder…Who was the first to see Jesus? *Mary Magdalene.

Activities: Children at 8:00 and 11:00 will hunt for empty Easter eggs and talk about the empty tomb. Then they will make a sticker scene to take home. At 9:30 children will do a scratch off tomb scene and have a sticker scene to take home.

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Elementary: All classrooms at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00

Key Concept: Jesus, our Servant King, died on the cross and rose again! 

Memory Verse: For even the Son of Man came to serve, not to be served and to give His life as a ransom for many.  Mark 10:45

Lesson & Activity Overview: In Large Group children will worship the risen Christ through singing, hear the story of Holy Week, and learn that Jesus is the way to spending forever with God.  In classrooms children will reflect on the events of Holy Week by coloring a Holy Week activity wheel.

Objectives:

  1. Retell the story of the Holy Week including Palm Sunday, the Crucifixion and Easter Sunday.
  2. Understand that Jesus gave His life willingly because He trusted God’s plan to rescue our fallen world.
  3. Recognize that Jesus is the only way to spending forever with God; Jesus died for our sins when he defeated death on the cross ad rose again.
  4. Understand that those who believe in Jesus and trust Him as their Savior will rise again as well.

Questions to ask at home:

  • Why did Jesus die?
  • The Crucifixion happened on a day we call “Good Friday.” Why do you think Christians can call what happened on this day “good?”
  • Why do you think it was important for Jesus to rise from the dead?
  • What did Mary do when she discovered Jesus was alive?
Feb 022016
 

lent

Growing up in a liturgical church setting, Lent was a somber time of contemplation.  Ashes crossed foreheads.  The hymn selection on the old pipe organ only included minor, dissonant sounding chords.  Black cloth draped the altar.  Items were given up.  I remember hearing many of my friends complaining about unsingable melodies and the number of services they attended during Holy Week.  While I kept my mouth shut about how I really felt, Good Friday, was actually one of my favorite days of the year.

For a long time, saying so made me feel a little bit guilty and morbid.  Sure I loved watching the sunrise through stained glass windows on Easter and hearing Lutheran voices belting out “He is risen indeed” with more emotion and joy than you’d hear the congregation use all year long.  But what I found equally, if not more, compelling was the quiet reverence and aching sorrow that echoed as each station of the cross was described.  The realness of my sin exposed.  The penalty willingly endured and paid for by Immanuel–God with us.  Even from a young age, I realized that Easter only came through Good Friday.  Both equally necessary for redemption to occur.

Lent in many ways has gotten a bad wrap.  The idea of giving something up for the 40+ days before Easter in some ways has become highly ritualistic and unattached from what the season really is about.  People abstain from certain foods or vices with a desire not to draw closer to God, but to lose weight, be a better person, or even as a way to earn forgiveness.  Others attempt to sacrifice because of a desire to win the approval of man or from a distorted view of obligation.  On the other extreme, Easter in many ways has become a holiday for consumers.  Jelly beans, eggs, and bunnies encourage us to bypass the crucifixion and instead focus on cultural icons tied more closely to sugar and spring than anything else.

The truth is, Lent is about the gospel.  It is…

…a time for us to slow down and focus on the work of Christ.

…a season to repent from sin and trust in His work on the cross. 

….a reminder that the empty tomb only comes through the cross.

…meant to help us prepare ourselves for the joy of the resurrection as we enter into the sorrow and pain that came first.

…a reminder that we live in the “already, but not yet.” 

Lent lasts 40 days excluding Sundays, which makes it about 46 days altogether.  This season, we invite your family to participate in a weekly devotional designed to help prepare your family to celebrate the fullness of what Easter truly is.  Each week, you will participate in a brief scripture reading, discussion, and prayer time.  At the end, you will use candles to remember the darkness of sin and later, the living hope of Easter. Instead of lighting a candle like we might do during Advent, we will extinguish a candle each week as we contemplate the brokenness of sin and Jesus’ journey toward the cross.  During the last week, we will relight all 7 candles as a way to celebrate the promise both of the resurrection and what it ultimately points to—the day when Jesus returns to make all things new. You can pick up a copy of the devotional along with a set of seven tea lights while supplies last at the Crossing Kids registration area.  You can also download the devotional here.

Since Lent may be a new season for you or a season desperately in need of redemption given your past experiences with it, we have provided a list of additional reading that might help you better understand its significance. Please know that we are praying for you as you help your family contemplate and prepare this season.

Apr 202014
 

Little Ones

Big Idea: Jesus is Alive!

Memory Verse: “Jesus is…the Son of God” – John 20:31

Bible Story Focus: Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, children will hear that Jesus is the Son of God. Because he is the Son of God, he beat death and came back tolife!

Songs

Jesus is Alive from Reach Up High CD
God Loves You and Me from One Big Gulp
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Preschool
Monthly Topic: The Book of JohnBig Idea: Believe in Jesus; He came to rescue usMemory Verse: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” John 20:31

Bible Story Focus: Jesus’ resurrection (John 18-19)

Lesson Overview:  In this lesson, children will hear that Jesus is the Son of God. Because he is the Son of God, he beat death and came back to life! Meet some women who saw that Jesus was the Son of God, risen from the dead.

I Wonder Questions

I wonder… what does proof mean?
*It is a way of showing that something is true.
I wonder… how did Jesus prove that he was the Son of God?
*He beat death and came back to life.
I wonder… how is Jesus our rescuer?
*He beat death, making us not separated from God anymore!!
Activities
Children at 7:30 and 10:00 will make a tomb out of play-doh and discuss the Easter story. Then they will make a tomb to take home. At 8:45 and 11:15 children will act out the resurrection with a table and a blanket to make a tomb. Then they will make paper plate tombs to take home.
Songs

Blessed Be Your Name from The Way I was Made CD
Powerful by Phil Joel
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Kindergarten-4th Grade
HOLY WEEK: JESUS RESCUES HIS PEOPLEDates:  April 6 – May 4, 2014Overview:  In this unit, children will learn five crucial stories that tell how Jesus gave us his life to rescue His people from sin. As children learn about:Key Concept of Unit:  Jesus rescued his people when he gave his life for us on the cross and defeated death when he rose to life.

Memory Verse for Unit: “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. He sent his Son to save the world through him.” –John 3:16-17 (NIRV)

Objectives for Unit:

Children will:

  1. Retell the stories from the Triumphal Entry, Last Supper, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and The Ascension; know they are located in the Gospels.
  2. Understand that Jesus gave His life willingly because He trusted God’s plan to rescue our fallen world.
  3. Recognize that Jesus is the only way to spending forever with God; Jesus died for our sins when he defeated death on the cross ad rose again.
  4. Know Jesus is with us (through power of the Holy Spirit) and promises to come again to make all things new.
Music: Christ is Risen by Matt Maher

5th Grade

Grapple Question:  What About When God Feels Far Away?

Kids Learn: Relying on Faith Rather Than Feelings

Dig Into the Bible:  Psalms 9:10; 42:6-11; 89:19-26; Matthew 27:45-50; Acts 13:22

Has your family ever moved to another state or country? If so, you know how it feels to be disconnected from people you care about. Still, you probably keep in touch with old friends who are important to you through emails or phone calls. Kids can talk to God even when he feels far away, too. every night this week, pray with your child before bedtime. Getting into the habit of communicating with God—whether we feel like it or not—helps us grow closer to him even when he feels far away.

 

Apr 062014
 

Little Ones

Big Idea: Jesus is Alive!

Memory Verse: “Jesus is…the Son of God” – John 20:31

Bible Story Focus: Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

Lesson Overview:  In this lesson, children will hear that Jesus is the Son of God. Because he is the Son of God, he beat death and came back to life!

Songs
Jesus is Alive from Reach Up High CD
God Loves You and Me from One Big Gulp

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Preschool
Monthly Topic:  The Book of John

Big Idea: Believe in Jesus; He came to rescue us

Memory Verse:  “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” John 20:31

Bible Story Focus:  ‘The Triumphal Entry’ John 12:12-19

Lesson Overview:  In this lesson, children will hear the story of the triumphal entry. This was the sign that God’s rescue plan was about to be completed.

Activities:  At 8:00 and 11:00 children will do a hosanna dance party and act out the triumphant entry. Children at 9:30 will be dancing with palm leaves and do a palm branch memory verse walk.

Songs
Hey Man from Seeds Family Worship
Eternal Life from Seeds Family Worship

I Wonder Questions
I wonder…what does the word hosanna mean?
*An expression of adoration, praise or joy to God – get excited about God!

I wonder…what did the crowd do when Jesus walked past on a donkey – on his way to Jerusalem?
*Had a parade! Got excited about God! Said hosanna hosanna! They saw that Jesus was the promised rescuer… but they got a little confused along the way.

I wonder…who is the promised rescuer?
*Jesus!

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Kindergarten-4th Grade
HOLY WEEK: JESUS RESCUES HIS PEOPLE

Dates:  April 6 – May 4, 2014

Overview:  In this unit, children will learn five crucial stories that tell how Jesus gave us his life to rescue His people from sin. As children learn about:

Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11)

Last Supper (Luke 22:14-30)

Crucifixion (Luke 22:52-54; 63-65; 23:1-4 and 20-24; 23:26-56)

The Resurrection (Luke 24:1-35)

The Ascension (Luke 24:36-53)

they will gain understanding about how these stories fit together in the overall narrative of the Gospels to tell about the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known. These lessons will focus on The Fall in our broken world, while pointing to Christ’s Redemption of our sin and future Restoration of our world. Children will understand why Christ’s death and resurrection are at the core of our salvation and faith (the gospel).

Key Concept of Unit:  Jesus rescued his people when he gave his life for us on the cross and defeated death when he rose to life.

Memory Verse for Unit: “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. He sent his Son to save the world through him.” – ohn 3:16-17 (NIRV)

Objectives for Unit:

Children will:

  1. Retell the stories from the Triumphal Entry, Last Supper, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and The Ascension; know they are located in the Gospels.
  2. Understand that Jesus gave His life willingly because He trusted God’s plan to rescue our fallen world.
  3. Recognize that Jesus is the only way to spending forever with God; Jesus died for our sins when he defeated death on the cross ad rose again.
  4. Know Jesus is with us (through power of the Holy Spirit) and promises to come again to make all things new.

Workshops

1. Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11ART AND MUSIC

Children will learn about the significance of Jesus entering Jerusalem – that He was willing going to give up His life for our sins. Children will make murals in small groups on butcher paper of the scene of Jesus entering Jerusalem, writing sins on the ground (to lay them at Jesus’ feet) and writing their praises of Jesus all over the mural. Children will also explore the meaning of “Hosanna” though singing a song of praise. 

2. Last Supper (Luke 22:14-30) COOKING

In this workshop, children will watch a short video of the passage in Luke. Children will learn The Last Supper was a meal Jesus shared with his disciples to celebrate Passover and prepare them for his death. Children will make haroset, taste components of the Passover meal and explore how these foods symbolize Passover and point to Jesus.

3. Crucifixion (Luke 22:52-54; 63-65; 23:1-4 and 20-24; 23:26-56) PRAYER STATIONS

Children will watch a short video of the passage in Luke to gain understanding of what happened from the arrest of Jesus until his final breath on the cross. Children will then participate in 4 multi-sensory prayer stations to see, feel, hear, taste, and smell components of the crucifixion story. At each station, children will have a chance to respond through prayer in their prayer journal.

4. Resurrection (Luke 24:1-35DRAMA

Children will watch a short video of the passage in Luke, then reenact the story of the empty tomb with props and costumes in order to discuss what it would’ve felt like to discover Jesus rose from the dead. Children will use scripture to create their reenactment and have a time of response through discussion and prayer. 

5. Ascension (Luke 24:36-53) KITE MAKING

Children will learn how Jesus ascended into Heaven after the resurrection, sending the Holy Spirit to His people as He returned to His Father. The ascended Jesus will return again as King and Judge. Children will consider the impact of the ascension as they view a biodegradable balloon ascend into the atmosphere and make kites to take home to remind them of the truths learned.

Music

God is Alive from JUMP CD
Hosanna by Hillsong United
Christ is Risen by Matt Maher

5th Grade

Grapple Question:  How Can Such a Big God Be a Best Friend to Me?

Kids Learn:  God Knows and Cares About You

Dig Into the Bible:  Psalms 8:3-4; 37:23-24; Isaiah 49:1; Jeremiah 29:11

There are billions of people in the world, so how could God know and love us all? Take this challenge with your child: Pour a cup of sugar on black construction paper or a dark-colored plate. See how many granules of sugar you can count in two minutes. Pretty hard, huh? Think about all the sugar packets and containers of sugar in the world; counting those granules would be impossible for humans. But God can do things that are impossible for us—knowing and loving each of us, for example. Remind your child that God can be his or her best friend.

Apr 052014
 

This is a repost of a past blog.

With Easter quickly approaching, I’m always looking for creative ways to talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus with my children. One of the easiest ways, besides reading it from a children’s bible, I’ve found is to read books or watch movies together.  Below are a few resources (with online descriptions) that our family has enjoyed over the years. Maybe you can find a few to use with your family over the next few weeks.

Easter Books

The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs

A farmer’s daughter receives a mysterious gift which she neglects and then discards, only to find out on Easter morning how special it is. Bible verses link the story to the life of Jesus.

The Tales of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt

Once upon a mountaintop, three trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. As the years pass, “the three trees nearly forgot their dreams.” Eventually, each tree gets its wish, although not in the way it had foreseen. They discover that things turned out just the way they should have. Readers will be reminded that God has plans for every one of his creations, that He never loses sight any of us.

Benjamin’s Box by Melody Carlson, Jack Stockman (Illustrator)

This tale of a child following Jesus during biblical times to find out who he is, will teach your children lessons from the Bible you’ll want to share the whole Easter season. This story goes along with the Resurrection Eggs.

Resurrection Eggs

Plastic carton with 12 eggs each with objects that tell the story of Easter.

Easter Bunny, Are You For Real? by Harold Myra, Jane Kurisu

Easter eggs – Easter bunnies – Easter parades – what is Easter all about? This book helps parents teach their children to see beyond the commercialism of Easter. It gives a simple explanation of Jesus’ death and how he rose from the grave. It also explains how celebrating Spring (new baby animals and flowers and trees blooming) “is God’s picture of Jesus rising from the dead as all of Nature comes to life again”

The Big God Story by Michelle Anthony

In this fast-paced book, you’ll journey from Genesis to Revelation, seeing the many ways God has shown us His love and redemption throughout history!

The Easter Angels by Bob Hartman

In this moving retelling, Bob Hartman gets right to the heart of the Easter story—evoking its pain, its loneliness and, at last, its unexpected joy. The changing mood of the story is reflected in Tim Jonke’s dramatic and powerful illustrations.

The Very First Easter by Paul L. Maier, Paul Maier, Frank Ordaz

Impressively enhanced with museum quality artwork, The Very First Easter has as its principle focus the story of Easter and the trial, death, and resurrection of Jesus. God’s plan for the salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ is showcased in a perfect picture book format for young readers.

The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry

Here’s an easy-to-understand presentation of the Easter story for your little ones! The tale of Christ’s death and resurrection is told in 200 simple words that are gentle enough for even the youngest readers.

Easter Movies

Most of the short scenes from our Easter Scene It game last Friday night at the Family Easter Celebration were from the following movies.

The Gospel of John

This is a three-hour epic feature on the story of Jesus’ life as described by His disciple John from the New Testament book of John.

Narnia

Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.

Read and Share Bible – Easter Version

Animated straight from the pages of Gwen Ellis’s Read and Share Bible, this uninterrupted presentation tells the story of Jesus’ last and greatest week on Earth.

The Greatest Story Ever Told

This glorious epic is an inspiring, grand-scale recreation of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, from His humble birth and teachings to His crucifixion and ultimate Resurrection.

Jesus Film or Jesus Film for Kids

This classic film portrays 3½ years of Jesus’ ministry as told in the Gospel of Luke from the Good News and King James translations of the Bible.

If you have a favorite Easter book or movie not listed here, please share it with us.

Feb 252014
 

lent

Growing up in a liturgical church setting, Lent was a somber time of contemplation.  Ashes crossed foreheads.  The hymn selection on the old pipe organ only included minor, dissonant sounding chords.  Black cloth draped the altar.  Items were given up.  I remember hearing many of my friends complaining about unsingable melodies and the number of services they attended during Holy Week.  While I kept my mouth shut about how I really felt, Good Friday, was actually one of my favorite days of the year.

For a long time, saying so made me feel a little bit guilty and morbid.  Sure I loved watching the sunrise through stained glass windows on Easter and hearing Lutheran voices belting out “He is risen indeed” with more emotion and joy than you’d hear the congregation use all year long.  But what I found equally, if not more, compelling was the quiet reverence and aching sorrow that echoed as each station of the cross was described.  The realness of my sin exposed.  The penalty willingly endured and paid for by Immanuel–God with us.  Even from a young age, I realized that Easter only came through Good Friday.  Both equally necessary for redemption to occur.

Lent in many ways has gotten a bad wrap.  The idea of giving something up for the 40+ days before Easter in some ways has become highly ritualistic and unattached from what the season really is about.  People abstain from certain foods or vices with a desire not to draw closer to God, but to lose weight, be a better person, or even as a way to earn forgiveness.  Others attempt to sacrifice because of a desire to win the approval of man or from a distorted view of obligation.  On the other extreme, Easter in many ways has become a holiday for consumers.  Jelly beans, eggs, and bunnies encourage us to bypass the crucifixion and instead focus on cultural icons tied more closely to sugar and spring than anything else.

The truth is, Lent is about the gospel.  It is…

…a time for us to slow down and focus on the work of Christ.

…a season to repent from sin and trust in His work on the cross. 

….a reminder that the empty tomb only comes through the cross.

…meant to help us prepare ourselves for the joy of the resurrection as we enter into the sorrow and pain that came first.

…a reminder that we live in the “already, but not yet.” 

Lent lasts 40 days excluding Sundays, which makes it about 46 days altogether.  This season, we invite your family to participate in a weekly devotional designed to help prepare your family to celebrate the fullness of what Easter truly is.  Each week, you will participate in a brief scripture reading, discussion, and prayer time.  At the end, you will use candles to remember the darkness of sin and later, the living hope of Easter. Instead of lighting a candle like we might do during Advent, we will extinguish a candle each week as we contemplate the brokenness of sin and Jesus’ journey toward the cross.  During the last week, we will relight all 7 candles as a way to celebrate the promise both of the resurrection and what it ultimately points to—the day when Jesus returns to make all things new. You can pick up a copy of the devotional along with a set of seven tea lights while supplies last at the Crossing Kids registration area starting March 2.  You can also download the devotional here.

Since Lent may be a new season for you or a season desperately in need of redemption given your past experiences with it, we have provided a list of additional reading that might help you better understand its significance. Please know that we are praying for you as you help your family contemplate and prepare this season.

Mar 312013
 

Little Ones

Big Idea: Jesus is Alive!

Monthly Symbol: Cross

Memory Verse: “Christ died for us” – Romans 5:8b

Bible Story Focus: Jesus’ death and Resurrection

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, kids will hear of Jesus’ death on a cross and resurrection from the dead.  They will learn that Jesus died for those He loves and raised again so that we too may have life with God.

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Preschool

Monthly Image: Cross

Big Idea: Jesus is Alive! Our Forever King died and rose from the dead.

Memory Verse:
  “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Bible Story Focus: Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection | Matthew 27:31-28:10

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, kids will hear of Jesus’ death on a cross and resurrection from the dead.  They will learn that Jesus died for those He loves and raised again so that we too may have life with God.  Jesus now sits on a throne in Heaven, as our Forever King, where we will one day be with Him, worshipping Him for eternity.

Songs: “Good, Good Friend” and “You Alone Can Rescue”Activities At 8:00 and 11:00 preschoolers will be opening Easter eggs to find the empty contents, just like the tomb. They’ll also be making sticker scenes of the empty tomb. At 9:30, children will be doing scratch off tomb scenes and cross sticker scenes.

I Wonder Questions

I wonder…how did Jesus die?
            *Crucifixion/ On the Cross.
I wonder…how many days was it until Jesus was resurrected?
           *Three

I wonder…Who was the first to see Jesus?

*Mary Magdalene.

Elementary

Memory Verse: But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Key Concept:  Christ died to save sinners like you and me.

Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11; Matthew 26

Ways to Follow Up: Use our Family Easter devotional to guide your family in a time of preparation or read the Gospel accounts of Holy Week together as a family.

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Mar 282013
 

I don’t think it’s an accident that the most beautiful things of this earth aren’t typically so in the predictable sense.  The things that move us the most quite often involve a contrast of some type, an element of surprise.

Wildflowers creeping along a crowded highway.

The intricate wrinkles on my grandmother’s hands.

A quilt created entirely from scraps that sits on my bed.

Weeds left uncared for.  Signs of aging and decay.  Leftovers that otherwise had no use.  Symptoms of the curse redeemed.  Beauty rooted in what doesn’t seem to make sense.

Why is my heart captured by such things?  Perhaps because this contrast is merely an echo of something greater.  Perhaps because the face of beauty itself is described in this way.

…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
    a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
-Isaiah 53:2-5

With wounds we are healed.  Grace at its very core is a paradox.  Something so costly, so undeserved, is given freely.  A gruesome, torturous method of execution becomes the central icon for redemption.  A story I’ve heard since I was a little girl continues to contain an element of mystery.  My faith, my hope, and my peace secured, only because the righteous died for the unrighteous.  Darkness and light, bondage and freedom juxtaposed.  And all this was for our salvation.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,

and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
Let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley.
-The Valley of Vision, A Puritain Prayer-

flower

Mar 222013
 

 

Last Monday evening, hundreds of Crossing Kids and their families gathered to prepare for Easter and worship our Savior with Jason Houser from Seeds Family Worship.  As you can tell, young and old had a great time singing and dancing in the auditorium.

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After our time of praise and worship, families moved to classrooms where they created their own Resurrection Gardens to help them prepare for Easter at home.

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If you weren’t able to join us, be sure to pick up an extra copy of the garden materials along with our Family Easter devotional and free Seeds of Easter CD near the Crossing Kids registration area on Sunday.

Mar 192013
 

I’ve spent the past 52 days reading through a devotional by Paul Tripp called Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and MercyIn a lot of ways, these devotions have prepared my heart for Easter even though they are taken from Psalm 51. I wanted to share a few parts that have been meaningful to me and hopefully will encourage your soul as you prepare for Easter.

Day 27 “Every sin is vertical, no matter how thunderous the horizontal implications of it are. It’s God, for whom and through whom we were created to live, whose boundaries we step over, because we don’t love him the way that we should.

My sin is first and most importantly against God. I step over his line every day and in many ways as I deal with my family, friends and co-workers.

Day 29 “Iniquity is best described as moral uncleanness. This word points to the comprehensive nature of the effect of sin on us. Sin is a moral infection that stains everything we desire, think, speak, and do…Sin is best defined as falling short of a standard. In our moments of best intention and best effort we still fall short. We’re simply unable to reach the level of the standards that God has set for us.”

My very nature is sinful, not just my actions. Every think I do is tainted by my sinful thoughts and attitudes. This can be discouraging at times but also is a good reminder that even when I think I’m doing well, I am still falling short and in need of a Savior.

Day 35 “What does it have to do with me, this private dinner in a rented room? What does it have to do with me, this basin unused with proud men at the table? What does it have to do with me, this dark garden echoing with painful prayer? What does it have to do with me, these three asleep, with a friend in torment? What does it have to do with me, this kiss of death with soldiers as witnesses? What does it have to do with me, these trumped-up charges by jealous men? What does it have to do with me, this bruised and bloody back? What does it have to do with me, this crown of thorns with flowers removed? What does it have to do with me, this Roman ruler washing his hands? What does it have to do with me, this dirty bloody man nailed to a tree? What does it have to do with me, these criminal companions hung on either side? What does it have to do with me, soldiers gambling for the clothes of the accused? What does it have to do with me, sword to the side to finish him off? What does it have to do with me, this scarred corpse placed in a borrowed crypt? What does it have to do with me, these women surprised at the body gone? What does it have to do with me, this story so removed, so long ago? What does it have to do with me, this one wise and suffering man? What does it have to do with me, Palestine graced, hope rejected? What does it have to do with me? This story is my story, each chapter is for me. This unattractive man of humble beginning and ignominious end is the Hope fo the Universe. Mercy is what it has to do with me; it is what the sin struggle of my heart, like the heart of David, requires.

So what does Easter have to do with me? These questions reminded me that it has everything to do with me. I need a Savior. I need to be rescued from my sin. I need what Jesus did for me on the cross. I need a Redeemer who lives.

Day 36 “And so the whole redemptive story marches toward Immanuel, the Redeemer who would destroy sin’s dominion in our hearts by making our hearts the place where he, in his power, wisdom, and glory, would dwell.

Praise be to God for Jesus!