Easter quotes

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A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.

~Mahatma Ghandi

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.
~Dwight Moody

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ came to do three things. He came to have my past forgiven, you get a purpose for living and a home in Heaven.

~Rick Warren

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

~St. Augustine

The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.
~Basil Hume

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

~Pope John Paul II

Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.
~Ravi Zacharias

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Mueller-ed

To understand this post more richly, you might want to read the previous post about George Mueller, a pillar of faith in God.

Here’s some backstory too:
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On the day of our church’s annual Easter egg hunt, we engage in a mission project of some type. Before releasing the children to hunt eggs, we work together on a project to help others. Then, we share the Biblical story of Easter…how the selfless sacrifice of Jesus saves us from our selfish sins. After these two events, we turn ’em loose to hunt eggs and play outside.We started this itinerary about three years ago.

The first year, we spray-bottle painted onesies and shirts for the youth to take on their summer mission trip. It was a great IDEA but messy to execute in an small enclosed space with over-zealous, candy-craving children. The picture here was my experimental attempt…I didn’t take pictures the day of the egg hunt/spray painting bonanza because…well, there were 50 kids trying to spray paint. (It was a good idea…just not for this function…here’s the pinterest link.)

The next year, we collected health care items (combs, brushes, travel size shampoo/conditioner/toothpaste/toothbrushes/

deodorant/soaps and washcloths) for a few weeks prior to the egg hunt. On the day of the hunt, we had parents and kids move through an assembly line to drop one of each item into a gallon-size ziploc bag. These health care kits were given out during our youth group’s two mission trips that summer. This activity was MUCH more suited to the event…families worked together, it was quicker, not as messy…much less stIMG_0023ress!

This year, we are planning to stuff Socks of Love. We have collected health care items again, and the plan is to stuff a man-sized sock with shampoo/conditioner/soap/toothbrush/toothpaste/deodorant and roll the matching sock up and stuff it inside too. We’ll tie them off with a bit of ribbon or yarn and presto! A sock of love for the visitors at our local food kitchen.

So here’s how we got Muellered (unexpectedly blessed at our point of need):

I met Wednesday with our youth minister Jason to go over the schedule for the upcoming egg hunt. We have collected lots of hygiene items, but very few socks. We were saying, somewhat disappointedly,  that we’d have to go out and buy them, as they were of primary importance. When I went to church Thursday morning to sort out the hygiene items for our assembly-line next week, I discovered 55 pairs of socks! Jason had not purchased them…he had not mentioned the need to anyone else, nor had I. But there they were 55 pairs of lovely, clean, wonderful socks…awaiting their higher calling. IMG_0022

The first year, we painted 101 shirts and onesies for distribution in the Dominican Republic. Last year, we assembled over 75 health care bags (more were assembled after the egg hunt day, so I’m not sure of the total) for needy people in our state’s capital and in the Dominican Republic. This year, we will be able to hand out, at a minimum, 55 socks of love.

I love my church, our mission projects, the faith it builds in me, and the amazingness that is my God.

Stay tuned for an update after the egg hunt!!!

The Walking Dead–an Easter story

A colleague and I were talking about new Lego books that interest elementary students. She had seen an Easter one in a recent Scholastic book order and asked if I had it. I told her it was in transit to my house. As that story line was about a little Lego Easter egg thief, it was obviously targeted to the younger audience. My colleague, a Walking Dead enthusiast, said, “It’s a shame there isn’t a Walking Dead one…” I replied, “Lego book or Easter book?” We chuckled. Then, I realized:

 Easter is totally about the Walking Dead. 

Not being a zombie fan, nor a cult follower of the show, I had to do my research. On imdb.com, I found the following synopsis:

Rick Grimes is a former Sheriff’s deputy who has been in a coma for several months after being shot while on duty. When he wakes, he discovers that the world has been taken over by zombies, and that he seems to be the only person still alive. After returning home to discover his wife and son missing, he heads for Atlanta to search for his family. Narrowly escaping death at the hands of the zombies on arrival in Atlanta, he is aided by another survivor Glenn who takes Rick to a camp outside the town. There Rick finds his wife Lori and son Carl, along with his partner/best friend Shane and a small group of survivors who struggle to fend off the zombie hordes; as well as competing with other survivor groups who are prepared to do whatever it takes to survive. (Written by Contributors)

Wow…now that’s an analogy to the Easter story if I ever heard one. A hero returns to consciousness after being mortally wounded while doing his job. He finds evil in his world and seeks to find his loved ones. Together they, and others they find, work together to defeat the evil that has overtaken their world. 

Huh…what do you know? The Easter story is on television, every week, followed by millions of people. What a joy to discover!

John 3:17

 God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but rather, that the world, through belief in him, might be rescued. 

Want to read more? Here you go! John 3

 

 

 

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I gave up men for Lent

Catchy title, isn’t it? But this is honestly one of my favorite life stories to tell.

Growing up, we never observed Lent. I thought it was one of those pagan things that Catholics do (wink, wink). But in my post-college single years, I attended a church that introduced me to the sacredness of fasting for Lent. And I began to take it seriously.

Not being a sugar-fiend, fasting dessert or junk food wasn’t really that valuable to me. I couldn’t give up caffeine because I knew more than forty people would be injured during my forty day fast. So I began to consider what would be most purifying to me, what would make the most difference in my life. I wanted the time to be well-spent in sacrifice and soul-searching.

The first year of participation, I really just kinda observed the people, the services, the stories of my fellow church-goers. By the next year, I knew what I needed to get rid of…nope, not men yet. Worry. Throughout the preceding 50 weeks, I had realized that my life was overtaken with worry. Worry about jobs, worry about relationships, worry about illness, worry about money, worry about not worrying enough..When the Lenten season began, I brought an end to worry. On that Ash Wednesday, I decided that for the next forty days, I would pray each time a worry entered my mind. No worrying allowed. Worries were turned into prayers.

And my life was revolutionized. The ‘structure’ of Lent (a specific time frame, support from friends, a common goal) was perfect for focusing on breaking a habit. Each time I began to worry, the reminder of my commitment to give it up came to my mind, and I said a prayer instead. Over and over and over again. It’s not that I didn’t worry, but rather, I didn’t let worry take control. I took control of it.

By the end of Lent, on Easter Sunday, I truly had no idea what new life was springing up inside of me. I had no idea that my life was never going to be the same. Throughout that spring, my thoughts were more peaceful and focused. I could concentrate on making plans and growing in life and not fretting and shrinking. I was a Lenten believer!

Roll the calendar forward a year…Lent again! I was stoked! Another chance for life transformation. Bring it on! I didn’t ponder very long what my fast would be. I knew what had screwed me up the most within the past year. I knew what influence needed to be purged from my life. I was eager for Ash Wednesday to make its mark on me so I could begin my purification.

Men. The one I ended a long relationship with…the other one after that…the hopes of any more in the near future. Lent was a safe haven from dating, from ill-conceived wedding planning, from any notion that males would solve any of my problems. During those forty days, I could think about my job, my graduate school plans, my finances, my travel plans, my own personal future…not waiting on it to happen because there was no man in my life.

Oh the freedom! Oh the thrill! No more scouting around the produce department for the right carrots and the right spouse. No more shopping based on what the next Mr. Maybe would like. No more experimental name changes when I tried out a new pen. Just a time for me…and God. A time to begin what he had been ready to do for a long time. I developed confidence in me, in my ability to make choices and stand behind them. I took risks and knew that I would be okay with the results. I grew and grew and grew.

Lent is now like Christmas to me. I look forward to it with eager anticipation. What will the new growth in me look like when the forty day germination is over?

Revelation 21:4-6

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “[a]It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

(www.biblegateway.com)

Eternal hope springs

*Spring is the balm that heals what winter has chapped.

*Little arm shadows flapping to fly as high as the kite. Little tiptoed feet skipping to chase the squirrel. Little memory pictures framed in my mind to save for a winter’s day.

*A splash of yellow, a flash of blue, a pop of red to liven up winter’s worn palette.

*This year, we hid empty Easter eggs. Ideally, it made the egg hunt easier to prepare. The kids found their eggs and brought them to exchange for candy. But it got me thinking…isn’t the whole joy of Easter about finding something empty anyway? Isn’t the celebration about the emptiness of the tomb and the miracle of God’s power over all? While finding an empty egg may not be so thrilling, rejoicing in emptiness that can be subsequently filled with greater joy is kinda awesome.