Monday, March 24

Easter rantings / my longest blog EVER!!!

Disclaimer, don’t feel bad about anything you did for Easter regardless of what you read below. This is just my thoughts and PERSONAL conviction for this Easter, I may feel different next year!

Last week at Crosslink (our youth group) decided that they wanted to meet Easter night for youth group. I was surprised but pleased. I figured they would be out of town with family and stuff like that. We have been having about 22 teens showing up on regular nights. Like I said, I was thrilled that they didn’t want youth cancelled! The last time we cancelled Crosslink, Shannon (one of our teens) highjacked the entire youth group and had them come over to her house. These kids will meet with or without us. So when we were presented with an opportunity to continue to minister to them, we jumped on it. Hindsight, I found myself second guessing meeting on a holiday. (Thus the reason for this blog to myself) But that didn’t last long.
You see Easter is a time “traditionally” that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We do this by going to Church and hearing “the Good News” (great job on that Jason!!!) then we all gather with our families and eat ham (hmmm, how did that happen? (for you OT junkies)). That takes about 4 hours...what now? We hang around digesting, Watch some sports or parades on tv, the kids play in the yard we reheat the ham for dinner and all go home. SOME of us get baskets with eggs and candy and SOME of us do an egg hunt. Yeah, I know these things have some pagan roots, we will get to that later. Anyway, How do we really Honor God’s greatest gift and miracle this way?
Jason talked this Easter service about the Transformation rather than the Information. For the youth we talked about the Acts rather than just the Facts. How does this tie in to us having youth on Easter evening? I’m glad I asked. I feel we better celebrate this wonderful event of Jesus death, burial and resurrection buy actually doing something Jesus told us to do...Love others, sure your family is “others” but I don’t think this is what He meant. Easter is a Christian thing (Sorry non christians, Its ours get over it) And IF you have a Christian family THAT IS AWESOME, we should all pray for that. But I didn’t have this growing up. And a lot of our teens don’t have this now. Get ready, here it comes...I was, as a kid, bored out of my mind most Easter Sundays and even some Christmas evenings! There I said it! The stores and malls are closed and my friends were “stuck” at home with their families and couldn’t hang out with me. So this Sunday night we had an opportunity to honor Gods gift by getting together with others, some believers, some not. And talk about what Jesus did for us, discuss how to apply it in everyday life and even have some fun hunting for some eggs (hang in there, I will get to the egg thing in a few!). We normally have 22 teens as I stated above, Easter night we still had 17 teens and two of them brought friends! This represented 17 kids that wanted to be here, 17 that were not traveling to families in other towns, 17 that knew we were going to talk about Facts and challenge them to Transform. And they still came. I CANNOT feel bad about that. A lot of our teens have what I call “seeker” families. They are not full on Christian families (yet), so Easter has a totally different meaning to them. But through Crosslink, we can get the Good News into those teens and into those homes.

Now on to the Eggs! (sorry in advance!)
We choose our battles don’t we? How so? Well, we set rules for what is acceptable and what isn’t. I will venture to “rabbit” trail for a few: Let’s take witchcraft and magic, we as good Christian families know better than to take our kids to Harry Potter movies, even though he uses his witchcraft for good, its still witchcraft. Good call? What about Narnia? We good Christian families were first in line. Sure there is, a subtle, gospel parallel there but Jesus isn’t mentioned and since the movie is highly fantasy based, the message is not very applicable. The movie is full of unnatural creations, witchcraft and sorcery. Even the good guys used some magic (the healing potion), but they used it for good, didn’t they? Humm. I am not saying that either movie is good or bad BUT if we didn’t know that C.S. Lewis was a Christian, how would we look at the Narnia movie? Be honest now. After all there are tons of movies with “Jesus” like sacrifices and even resurrections but we don’t rush to see them.

Now to the eggs, Sure I can show you some pagan roots, I can also show you a few Christian roots. I don’t think anybody today thinks about Eostre, Bede or Ostara (look them up) while hiding or looking for easter eggs. We are not doing it to honor these (loosely) tied in pagans and fabricated goddess’. If you find problems with hiding and hunting Easter eggs, you should (at your own conviction) avoid Cadbury Eggs, Malted eggs, marshmallow eggs even peeps and chocolate bunnies are all kinda off limits not to mention the Christmas tree (oh yeah, you may want to find new names for the days of the week!). I personally don’t find these things to be evil, I also don’t find them to be good. It is the thoughts and actions of people that are evil or good. The (if any) pagan roots for these things are long lost. The pagan god is NOT being honored any more than God is honored by an unbeliever wearing a cross. God uses symbols in the Bible, “Jesus like a sheep to the slaughter”, yet even the pagans slaughtered sheep and even sacrificed them to false gods. Does this make sheep and the comparison or symbol wrong, Not in my humble opinion. We chose our battles. Weigh your heart then take it to your knees and let God sort out the chaft.

Myself included, we spend to much time with our family and not enough time with the people that Jesus asked us to go to. Myself included, we help our family and Christian friends way more than we help the ones Jesus asked us to help. Myself included, we preach too much to the choir and not enough to the lost people of this world. So how would Jesus ask us to celebrate his birth, his death and his resurrection?

If you find it difficult to discern what is acceptable and what is not, I ask you to do what I do:
Look it up, the Bible has a ton of info on allot of issues. Google it if you have to!
Define worship and ask if yourself if you are worshiping something other than God
Try to do without it. Can you go one Christmas without a tree? No, ask yourself why? Then see #2.
Most important: talk to God about it. Spend time on your knees and ask for wisdom.

In the words of Forest Gump “Thats all I got to say about that!”

1 comment:

Laci Strickland said...

Wow! Very well said, Claude! I had so much fun spending Easter with the youth. It would have been worth it to share what Easter is all about with just one youth- and I know we reached more than that! I think it will be an Easter they will all remember and I know we will, too. Thanks for putting this on here- it needed to be said.