Happy Easter!

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood by them in dazzling clothes. So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground.

“Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. “He is not here, but he has risen! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’?” And they remembered his words.

Returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things. But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So he went away, amazed at what had happened.
— Luke 24:1-12

Family Friday Links 4.14.17

Here's what we've been reading online this week:

Our friend, Timothy Paul Jones, started a series on parenting and how the gospel transforms the way we parent. He wrote, "As a parent, I speak truth into their lives; as a brother [in Christ], I speak the truth patiently, ever seeking the peace that only the gospel can bring (James 4:11; 5:7–9; Matt. 5:22–25; 1 Cor. 1:10). Parents, the easiest way to lead our kids to the gospel is to display in our lives.

Christina Fox had a post about what parents need to focus on this easter. She reminds us, "Beyond jellybeans and warm sunshine, we remember and rejoice in the new life that is ours because of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and triumph over the grave." She then goes on to list 4 specific ways to do this. Parents, lets make the most of this time of year.

My (Pat) pastor, Joe Thorn, had a great post on what it means to be a neighbor. He says in part, "... God's command for us to love our neighbor as ourselves, to seek their good, is a call for us to be intrusive." I share this here because we live in a world where most of us are much more inclined to want to be left alone, but God calls us to more. This is a helpful reminder of the importance of intentionality (not just with our kids, but with our neighbors as well).

What have you been benefitting from online lately? Leave a link in the comment section and we'll check it out.

Spread the Good News! Easter Craft Idea

Read the good news! Jesus is risen from the dead. A few years ago, a local graphic artist, Danielle Hammon,  put together this Roman Times newspaper layout as an art project for our children's ministry grade school classes on Easter Sunday.  

The Roman Times newspaper layout includes the complete eye-witness report of Jesus’ resurrection from the Apostle John (John 20:1-31 NIV) as well as the picture captions, “Risen from the Dead” and “Eye-witness Accounts.”

The project helps teach that Jesus’ resurrection is good news told by eye-witnesses that we should tell as well. The pictures and headline for the paper are left blank so that children can color in their own pictures of the empty tomb or an eye-witness telling the good news.  The newspaper layout was designed to be printed on 12″ x 18″ newsprint.  Click on the graphic above or the following link to download a PDF version of the newspaper layout then print.

If you enjoy this resource, you can leave a comment below to thank Danielle and let us know about any other cool craft ideas you have for this weekend.

Why We Host an Easter Egg Hunt

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For many years, my family ministry has hosted an easter egg hunt for our neighborhood. Our church, The Journey - Tower Grove, sits across the street from one of our city's most beautiful parks, Tower Grove Park. Tower Grove Park is a great venue to host an Easter egg hunt and is a meeting spot for all sorts of people in our community.

We host our Easter egg hunt at a meeting spot for all sorts of people in our community.

Through the years I have many stories of how people have connected with our church through this event.

Here are a two good reasons to have an Easter egg hunt:

1. You can invite the neighborhood. 

There are many people in our neighborhood without a church home. The Easter egg hunt has been a front door to welcome them. One family who was going through a hard time were willing to come to the egg hunt with some of our church members. Only later did they come to church and receive pastoral care.

Many people will not enter the doors of the church, but they will come to an Easter egg hunt.

Reaching neighbors with the gospel is a core value for the church. But even growing churches have people who live nearby who are unchurched and do not have a relationship with Jesus. Many people will not enter into the doors of the church, but they will come to an egg hunt hosted by the church.

 In the gospels we see Jesus caring for all kinds of people. He had conversations with people whom the typical Jew wouldn't normally interact. After a brief conversation with Jesus, the woman at the well's life was changed forever. In every outreach effort, we pray for similar stories. The egg hunt provides a way for us to interact with neighbors whom many church members don't regularly see or have conversations.  It is an avenue for us to welcome others like Jesus welcomed us.

2. A tradition of celebration.

One of the reasons we host an Easter egg hunt is to have a party. Every year, we celebrate Jesus' resurrection. We don't want to keep it to ourselves! We want to celebrate with everyone who will party with us. This is why we invite our friends, our neighbors, and even the whole neighborhood around the church and park. Whether or not you are a churchgoer, most people are familiar with an Easter egg hunt.  

The event has helped to build a tradition of celebration for our church family and our neighborhood as well. One year, it was forty degrees and drizzling. We questioned whether we would have the hunt. We were on the brink of canceling, but we decided to push forward. When we got to the park, one neighbor told a volunteer they were concerned that we'd cancel, but, "I'm sure The Journey won't let us down." With a consistent egg hunt, we are building a confidence for our neighbors.

Our kids remember it too, and they expect to participate year after year. As our kids get excited about the egg hunt it creates more opportunities to talk about why we should be excited about Easter. We can show them that sharing the good news with others is a joy, and that loving and serving those around us is important. 

 Do you do an egg hunt at your church? Leave a comment below and tell us about it.