Archive for March 2015

Celebrate Easter

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Easter is about the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter makes hope, second chances, and something beyond this life touchable.

The most genuine response to this kind splendor is wonder.

Unfortunately, today’s pace of life doesn’t leave much time for wonder. And Easter, especially, is often so busy with church services and family meals and travel that the splendor of Jesus’ resurrection doesn’t have a chance to sink in.

“That’s it, kids! Isn’t the ocean grand? Aren’t you glad you saw it. Now, who’s hungry?

Splendor with wonder, however, is like inviting your kids to experience the sand between their toes, and to smell the briny air, and to hear the crash of the waves on the shore.

We want your Easter to have that kind of wonder.

Sand-between-the-toes kind of wonder.

To help, we’ve created a list of ideas to experience the wonder of Easter through all five senses. We invite you to try one or all of them this week, and make your Easter wonder-ful.


Use each of the five senses to help your kids engage in Easter

The Sights: Use a smartphone to take your kids on a creative scavenger hunt around your house/neighborhood to capture everyday things that represent Easter themes. Examples could be like a picture of a cross-shaped electrical pole or an open shed door for the cross or empty tomb. Or like a flower beginning to bloom or the sun breaking through the clouds to represent new life. If they’re old enough, let them hold the phone to really capture the frame. Share your pictures online or with others as a way for your kids to learn to help others “see” the Easter story themselves. Perhaps you can even print them out as placemats for your Easter dinner. This bums us out, because splendor without wonder is like taking your family on a trip to the beach to stare at the water…but then never getting out of your car.


The Tastes: One of the first things Jesus did after his resurrection was cook breakfast for his friends. Whether you’re making a traditional meal or grabbing dinner out, you can copy his example and let your food help you engage the Easter celebration more intentionally. Try doing an “out loud” praise session by having everyone take a bite of the same thing at once and then saying, “Thank you, God, for (ham/potatoes/etc).” After each food has been eaten, read this verse from Psalm 34:8: “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”


The Sounds: There are many great worship songs that talk about Christ’s death and resurrection. Listen to one as your household wakes up or before your meal, such as the hymn “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” or “Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns. Ask some simple follow-up questions, such as, “What words or thoughts in this song remind you of Jesus?” Or, “What does Easter tell us Jesus thinks about us? (Ex. He loves us and wants us to be with him.)


The Textures: Easter baskets are usually associated with “getting.” Invert this and help your kids see Easter as a time for “giving,” too. After their basket is empty (or buy some empty ones specifically for this), involve them in filling those baskets with freshly-baked cookies for a neighbor or food for a local pantry that serves the poor. Let them be as hands-on as possible, including throwing in something personal or quirky to express their own Easter message.


The Smells: Tell the story of Easter by reading some key Scriptures and connecting them to some pleasing and unexpected scents. Encourage your kids to close your eyes so they don’t know what they’re about to smell:


 Mark 14:1-11: Perfume to represent the anointing of Jesus

 Mark 14:22-23: Fresh baked bread to represent the body of Jesus

Mark 14:24-25: Grape juice to represent the blood of Jesus

John 19:29: Vinegar to represent Jesus dying for us on the cross

John 19:38-42: A seed (with dirt) to represent Jesus being buried in the tomb

John 20:19-23: A flower to represent the resurrection of Jesus

How will you celebrate as a family this Easter?

Join us for Easter!



God called Isaiah

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 9.13.13 PMGod used the prophets to relay messages to His people. God wanted Israel to know what was going to happen because of their sin, yet He always attached a message of hope to what He shared. God promises forgiveness and restoration if His people repent of their sin. Many times throughout the Old Testament, God affirmed His promise of a coming Messiah. God first revealed His plan for a Messiah in Genesis 3, immediately following

the sin of Adam and Eve. Although they were being banished from the Garden of Eden, God gave them hope. Through the prophets, Israel would learn details about the promised Messiah, but no one prophet provided more information than Isaiah.

Isaiah’s message was given to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. As with previous prophets, Judah was being warned to turn from their sin or face punishment. Isaiah’s message, however, contained much more. Isaiah revealed that the Messiah would be born of a virgin (7:14); the Messiah would have an everlasting kingdom (9:7); the Messiah would suffer and die for our sin (53:4–5). Isaiah’s message of hope is not just for Judah’s restoration: It is a message of hope for all sinners to be restored before a holy God.

Review: Last week we learned about the book of Joel. Joel was a prophet sent by God to deliver a message to the nation of Judah. God used a plague of locust and a severe drought to get Judah’s attention, because they had turned against Him. Joel delivered God’s message of judgment, but then of restoration for the nation.

After Judah has been judged and restored, what promise does God give to Judah that is still true today? “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Scripture Reading: Reading God’s Word is the most important part of family worship. If you don’t have time to do anything else, be sure to do this section.  Isaiah 6:1–13

Memory Verse: Isaiah 53:6: “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”




Use these questions throughout the week, along with a review of this unit’s Memory Verse:

“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.” —Isaiah 53:6

  • In Isaiah 6:9–10 God gives a description of the people to whom Isaiah will be delivering his message from God. The people are described as those who will not listen and whose hearts will be hardened to the message. Have you ever come across people who have no interest in hearing about God’s message of Jesus and salvation? How have you reacted to them? Have you wanted to just walk away from them? In spite of how we may feel or how people may respond, God has commanded us to go and give the message to all (Matthew 28:19–20). Keep in mind that God saved you even while you were still a sinner (Romans 5:8).
  • Isaiah is a prophet known for his prophecy about the promised Messiah. Choose one or more of these passages to read some of the prophecies: Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 11:1–10; 42:1–9; 49:1–7; 52:13–53:12. Imagine yourself as a member of the nation of Israel hearing the prophecies of the Messiah. What do you think would be the conversation around your dinner table that evening? Would there be excitement? Would you be trying to guess who would be the parents of Jesus? Would you think Isaiah’s words were crazy? Would you wonder when it was going to happen?
  • Isaiah 6:2–4 describes seraphs surrounding the throne of God. This is the only place in the Bible that describes the seraphim. Their name means “burning ones”, and their purpose is to constantly glorify and praise God. The following are other verses about God’s holiness: Exodus 15:11; Leviticus 19:2; I Samuel 2:2. Read them and spend time giving God glory and praise as the angels do in heaven.




Adoration: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory” (v. 3). Give praise and worship to God.

Confession: “Woe to me for I am a man of unclean lips” (v. 5). God is holy and unable to allow sin in His presence. No sin is too small. Confess them now before God.

Thanksgiving: “Your sin is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (v. 7). God is always willing and ready to forgive. He never tires of our sincere confession. Give thanks for God’s unending forgiveness.

Supplication: “Here I am. Send Me!” (v. 8). God has a perfect plan for each of us, and He desires that we serve Him. Ask God to show you His plan and to give you a willing heart to serve Him wherever and however He desires.


Play a game of “Send Me.” Ask someone to go get you something, and let the first person to hop up and say, “Send me!” be the one to go get it. Continue playing until interest wanes or time is up.

Talk about how God used a hot coal to “clean” Isaiahʼs lips. Ask, “Why do you use hot water when you take a shower or bath?” Hot water cleans better than cold water and helps kill bacteria or germs. Say, “Isaiahʼs lips were not really cleaned by the coal. God used this as a symbol to let Isaiah know God was ready to use Isaiah to tell others about Him.”

Read Galatians 3:27-29. This passage of Scripture is another picture of what Jesus did for us when He gave His life as a sacrifice for sinners. Because of Jesusʼ sacrifice all people can live as one in Christ.

Pray, thanking God that Jesus came as an example for us and showed us how to live as one in Him.

(Vista Dublin lesson: March 29th, Vista Worthington lesson: April 19th)