A Parent’s Guide to Discussing Easter

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“When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them. We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it.” (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis)

Drive-by parenting can be a remarkable tactic. Life is busy and families move fast. At what seems as the most inconvenient time, we see an opening to ask our child a question, whether sitting at the breakfast table or digging through the laundry. If you have their attention, if just for a moment, you have an opening. If the opportunity is not seized, it could be lost forever. This happened to me several months ago with my 13 year old son. What follows is a true story…

Me: “Hey, have any of your classes discussed evolution yet?

Son: “Huh? Uh, no, I don’t think so?’

Me: “Really, Nothing? Maybe they’re calling it something else like, Darwinism?

Son: “Yea, I guess. I think my science teacher spoke about that awhile back”

Me: (Internal thought) Bingo!

Me: “So, you’re in youth at the church, what did you think when the Teacher was instructing something different than what the Bible teaches?”

Son: (Slowing opening up) “Well, I’m not sure. I don’t know what to think. I want to believe the Bible, but the evolution stuff sounds like it works”

Me: “So, what is your take on which one sounds right?”

Son: “Well, I think God did create man, animals and stuff, and then He let evolution do the rest.”

Me: “Interesting. It’s great that you’re thinking about it and trying to make sense of it. You know, scientists have debated these theories for years. Let me provide you with this idea, if God left his creation alone and used evolution to make what we see in the world today, then that would mean God doesn’t interact with us and is impersonal. You think that is true?”

Son: “No. That doesn’t make any sense”

Me: “I don’t think so either. If God were not personal, whom would we be praying to then? Since God is personal and holy, He sent Jesus on our behalf as the perfect atonement for our sin. This justifies us into right standing before God and reconciles us to Him. That doesn’t seem like God wants to let the world operate without Him involved. It sounds like God wants to be engaged in our lives and have a relationship with us.”

Son: “Yea, I guess so. Cool.”

Our foremost responsibility as parents is to teach, guide and nurture our children. Therefore, at Easter, assisting them with the incredible events of Jesus crucifixion, resurrection and saving redemption for humankind is a responsibility we cannot take lightly. In the situation described above, culture was providing the framework that would have guided my child’s faith for possibly the rest of his life! I am thankful for that morning. I took the time to find out if my child needed assistance in reconciling conflicting information about Jesus, the Bible and the world we live in. The Acts 19 Apologetics Ministry encourages you do the same.

As we enter the Easter season, family, friends and especially our children will have questions about Jesus, the Christian faith, and how this relates to our traditions of celebration. The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 4:6; “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Answering the questions of why we believe what we believe demonstrates to others there are solid foundations to the Christian faith.

In as little as 30 minutes, this outline will assist you in framing this essential conversation talking about Jesus, the love He has for us and providing parental leadership to your family as a reflection of that love.

The Acts 19 Apologetics Ministry provides this guide as a means to encourage you to seize this chance to speak truth and love into your children.

Will you join us in completing this worthwhile task?

“3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

Talking to your family about Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Step 1: Set the Theme:

• The celebration of Easter is a season to celebrate the resurrection three days after our Saviors death on the cross at Calvary.

Step 2: Read Bible scriptures aloud:

*Consider having others in your family read the passages.*

• Crucifixion prophecies fulfilled from Old Testament in Isaiah 53:3-12 and New Testament Mark 15:21-32, John 19:17-27.

• Burial of Jesus- Mark 15:42-47 and John 19:38-42

• Empty tomb- Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-9

• Jesus’ resurrection- 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and 15:14

• Appearances of Jesus- John 20:10-30

• Faith in Jesus- Romans 4:25 and 10:9 and Acts 4:10.

Step 3: Address the points of discussion.

1. First main point– Easter is a celebration of Jesus Christ! Our Savior’s death accomplished; atonement of humanity’s sinful actions, conquered death, defeated evil and provided the absolute example of sacrificial love with His resurrection!

• Jesus’ crucifixion was predicted in Isaiah 53.3, “5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

• Jesus Christ was crucified, was buried in a known tomb sealed by the Roman government, and protected by Roman guards. The tomb in which Jesus body was placed, was found empty three days later. Jesus sat with, spoke too, and ate with his disciples and appeared to hundreds of people after his resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:3)

• Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, overcoming our separation from God. Jesus’ crucifixion had to occur for us to be justified, or declared righteous before God. (Galatians 2:16) The crucifixion is God’s gift to His creation, which He loves. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)

• It was necessary for Jesus to be crucified on the cross, as an outpouring of God’s love for his children. God wants to be with His children who believe and trust in Him! Jesus loves you! (1 Peter 2:24)

• Jesus Christ’s victory over death and evil is God’s way of providing us the ultimate indication that He alone is in control of the world! With the exception of God, no one in the past, present or future will accomplish the incredible feat of denying mortality! (Romans 6:6-8, 4:25, 5:19)

2. Second main point– Easter is not about hiding eggs; it is about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

• Some people believe that Easter is only a celebration of the spring season. When considered this way, it empties the resurrection of its real meaning.

• We affirm that Easter is not all about chocolate bunnies or even family gatherings, but remembering Jesus, His death and resurrection and the love our Lord has for us. (John 3:16-17)

• It is OK for our family to celebrate modern Easter traditions of Easter egg hunting, the Easter bunny, and family gatherings. We should do these things! They are fun, and spending time together as a brothers and sisters in Christ worships the Lord!

3. Third main point– The life of Jesus and the reality of His resurrection changes everything:

• When you have bad days, when something terrible happens to you, a friend or your family, we may not always know why, but we do know that God has a reason, and He alone is in control. No matter how messed up life can be, Jesus loves you! We should take comfort in placing our trust in the Creator of the universe. (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)

• Jesus teachings, death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven and to the sit on the throne with God are the ultimate realizations of forgiveness. (Acts 1:9-11, Matthew 19:28) As followers of Christ Jesus, we are to have the same compassion, grace, humility, and love towards people who may or may not treat us nicely. By doing this, we strive to continue the mission of Jesus until His return to correct all the evils in this world and make them right forever! (Matthew 28:19-20)

4. Conclusion:

• The Resurrection is the reconciliation of humanity’s wickedness, the defeat of evil, the conquering of death, and the ultimate example of love. All occurred with the resurrection of Jesus Christ’s on the cross! (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

• Easter is a time of year for celebrating new beginnings, spending time with family, and remembering the ultimate sacrificial gift Jesus provided for us. (1 John 2:2, 4:10 and Romans 3:25)

• We can take comfort in placing our trust in the Creator of the universe. (Genesis 1:1-31)

• Our God, in His infinite being, is in control of the world! (Ephesians 6:12)

• Jesus will return to correct all evils, wrongdoings, insults and injustices in this world and make them right forever! (Revelations 19:16)

Re-Blog- My Problem with Hillsong | The Domain for Truth

Well said!

Check out the link below…

Does Christ, the humble and unashamed preacher, matter? The danger of the hip and cool prosperity movement–one of them is Hillsong and its pastor Carl Lentz, who attracts many celebrities fro…

Source: My Problem with Hillsong | The Domain for Truth

Re-Blog- Simon Sinek on Leadership – TED2014 – YouTube

I don’t agree with Simon’s worldview, but I like his thoughts and his critical thinking process regarding these problems.

Watch the video and consider what Jesus taught during his ministry about leadership and serving others.

I found this video helpful.

Simon Sinek on Leadership – TED2014 – YouTube

Enjoy.

A Parent’s Guide to Discussing Halloween

free-halloween-happy-halloween-clipart-free-large-images-clipartwiz“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Theologian. 1906-1945)

It was a cool, dark Halloween evening in that small town in northern California. The group of friends accompanied by one parent was lagging far behind. At nine years old, I was in the lead, a few houses ahead of the others.  There a house was set off from the street, beyond the vacant lot and nearly covered by bushes and shrubs. I knew there was a prize to be had at the end of that long driveway. However, the prize would take risk. It was a dark, shadowy place with no streetlight to show the way. As a pirate, I was prepared.  A red bandana tied firmly on my head, a small dim flashlight in one hand, and a plastic pirate knife in the other, I set my sights on the glowing porch light of my targeted destination.

The journey started well, my band of brothers was still well behind me. Suddenly a shadow moved to my right.  I froze.  Out of the murky mist came a large imposing figure of a teenager.  Not fully recognizing the threat, I stood toe to toe with him, each of us sizing up the other.  He wore a zombie mask.  A quick mental inventory of my open options produced little. The group was behind me and a choice needed to be made.  It was him or me and I was not keen on relinquishing the candy bounty for which I had worked so hard.  My right hand slowly raised the plastic knife.  It was over as quickly as it started.  In a flash, the teenager grabbed the bag and was gone.  Completely stunned, I could not give chase, I did the only thing I could do.  My plastic knife dropped to the ground, and I started to cry.  My bounty of candy was gone, all gone.

Once home my Mother dried my tears and my friends shared their candy. The bitter memory of the Zombie Candy Thief slowly began to fade.  Everything was going to be fine, but at nine years old, something was lost.  On a small scale, I began to understand that there is evil in this world.  Who steals a child’s candy? From Mother’s point of view, the situation was much darker as she lamented about what the world was coming to and questioned her decision regarding her child’s participation in any further Halloween festivities.

While this true story ended well, it does raise important questions about how Christians should view the Halloween experience. Should we allow our children to participate in Halloween? Is Halloween appropriate?

This parent’s guide will not attempt to answer that question with a simple yes or no.  Rather, it will raise discussion points and topics for consideration.  Can Halloween be a part of a Christian life and walk? What can parents express to our children about the main theme of Halloween?

Parents, our first and foremost responsibility is to protect and guard our children’s hearts and minds. (Philippians 4:7)  The Bible states  that we are to take God’s words and “teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house…”(Deuteronomy 6:7) The traditions surrounding Halloween can be a teaching moment guiding what is providing influences into your child’s life. Additionally, non-Christian parents are observing our actions. They are watching to see how we react to this world, and how significantly our faith guides our own thoughts and actions. (Matthew 5:13)   As fall progresses, we challenge you take the opportunity to teach and instruct your children as to what is good, what you believe and how you view the world. (John 15:19) Acts 19 Apologetics provides this guide as a means to encourage you to seize this chance to speak truth and wisdom into your children.

Will you join us in completing this worthwhile task?

Deuteronomy 5-7: 5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Blessings,

Acts 19 Apologetics

An outline for discussing Halloween and God’s providence over creation with your family.

Step 1:  Set the Theme:

  • A contemporary celebration of Halloween can be non-demonic or a remembrance of evil spirits.  It should be a time to gather as a family, reach out to your neighbors, consume delicious candy, and have an entertaining evening.
  • As Christians, we believe that God’s providence over all creation directs everything to fulfill his purposes!

Step 2:  Read these Bible passages aloud:

*Consider having others in your family read the passages.*

  • Called according to God’s purpose: Romans 8:28
  • Do all to the glory of God: 1 Corinthians 10:23-24
  • God continually directs everything: Matthew 5:45
  • All actions are under God’s care: Acts 25:28
  • The Lord directs our steps: Proverbs 16:9
  • The Lord’s prayer: Matthew 6:9-13

Step 3: Address the points of discussion.

  1. First main point: Participating in Halloween is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • There are many reasons to gather as a family, a neighborhood, or a community of faith.  The modern Halloween celebration is a good reason to come together and rejoice with the people God has placed in our lives. (1 Corinthians 7:5) The important point to remember is to “do all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)
  • Jesus commands us in the book of Matthew 5:14 that we are to be the “light of the world”. Going to where people gather and spreading the gospel can accomplish this command. Whether the gathering is a Halloween celebration, or an office party at a pub we must be strong in our faith, and by doing this, we can prayerfully and responsibly take part. Romans (4:20 and Colossians 4:2)
  1. Second main point: Participating in Halloween should not degrade the Christian life or a spiritual walk with Christ if observed in moderation.
  2. Third main point: Although, Halloween can be frightening, God has provided this time to gather with our neighbors, share our lives with them and have fun.
  • Jesus Christ’s authoritative word abolishes the work of Satan and evil spirits. (Luke 4:31-37) This fact is our hope, joy and the cornerstone of the Christian faith! Therefore, we do not focus on the dark shadowy side of the holiday, but fashion our Halloween festivities to celebrate in a positive and uplifting manner.
  • Good and evil are real in this world, but all events are under God’s care.  (Acts 25:28) and God continually directs everything in this world. (Matthew 5:45)
  • God’s calls us to His purposes in this world.  God displays who he is, and what his intentions are in the proper time. (1 Timothy 6:15). When confronted with any situation, we are to rely on the Lord and continue to walk with him.  The celebration of Halloween is not different. Provide glory to the Lord in how we gather for a modern Halloween activity. Does this fulfill a part of God’s mission and purpose for us? Yes, if our focus is spreading the gospel of Jesus.  (1 Corinthians 10:23-24 and Matthew 28:19-20)
  • The Lord directs our steps in all that we do and where ever we may go. (Proverbs 16:9) When Jesus prayed for his disciples, he prayed to the Father that his disciples would be protected in this world after his ascension to heaven. (John 17:11) He prayed this to God the Father in verse fifteen, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” As followers of Christ we are to be “in this world”, but not “of this world.”  Whether we are faced with problems at school, or with friends, or tough choices we need to make, our Lord is walking with us, guiding our steps.  When the frightfulness of some Halloween celebrations comes in to question, we are sure that we should prayerfully consider the options and go on living out God’s purpose and plan for us.  Any Halloween festivities are an opportunity to provide fellowship and grace to believers and non-believers alike.
  1. Summary of Points:
  • The apostle Paul tells us, “all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” (1 Corinthians 10:23 NASB)  A Halloween celebration should be worthwhile and beneficial to you and your family’s Christian life.
  • Jesus spent time going to where the people congregated to spread the good news.  Considering that, as followers of Christ our responsibility is to do the same.  Redeem the Halloween experience by spending time with people in your neighborhood. Provide them the opportunity to see the light and grace of our savior.
  • A modern Halloween celebration does not need to be frightening, dark and ghoulish for our children.  Small adjustments to any event can provide a positive and uplifting experience for the young and the “young at heart”.  Focus on the grace and providence of our Lord for he is in control, and that He sent His Son as an indication of his love for us. (John 3.16)