Can’t Miss Easter 2015 in RVA


IMG_2664

Last year, we started a new tradition. We call it Drive-by Joy, where we drive around with the Easter Bunny spreading Easter Joy! This takes an OBSCENE amount of candy! But, sooo worth it!  We are grateful for the many people who supported us with gas money and candy! And I have already received the first 2 bags of candy yesterday! WOO HOO! Stocking Up!

Check out 2014 here>> Drive-by Joy and Choosing Love

For 5 years we have held an Easter Party including an Egg Hunt, Resurrection StoryTime, Games and more! We love it!  Invitation is below.

You can catch the past few years here…

2012 – Easter – Acts 2 Style

2013 – Candy, Bunny and Eggs…Oh My!

2014 – This. Here.

Hope to see some of my old friends and meet some new ones, too!

Easter 2015 flyer png

Advertisements

This. Here.

What a terrific day for an Easter Egg Hunt!

WHY, you ask?

This. Here.  

Sun Shining! Birds chirping! Kids laughing! Candy! Cupcakes! Friends!  Games! Bunny!

WOO! HOO!  

We started the morning by playing a game similar to an old school Cake Walk, while we waited for everyone to arrive.  Old friends and new streamed in throughout the morning. It’s always so good to see old friends and make new ones on days like this. LOVE IT!

Photo Cred: Rachel Loughlin

Photo Cred: Rachel Loughlin

Shortly after the Easter Bunny arrived, we had a photo shoot on the front porch. People typically keep the photos digitally these days, right? I still like my old school prints, and I have learned that the kids LOVE to have their own photos. So, we will now print out pictures for the kids to have their own photos.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a good shot of everyone???  :)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a good shot of everyone??? 🙂

After sitting still for so long, the kids were ready to go on an Egg Hunt!

IMG_2976

Once all the eggs were found or at least we think so anyway (Bella will probably find one in the next week.), we paused to hear the Good News story of Easter, as told through Resurrection Eggs.  Cherie and Ashley did an OUTSTANDING job!

IMG_2677

 

IMG_2995

And a party just wouldn’t be the same without the sweet treats…cupcakes, donuts, lemonade!

856875_10152340086061145_7803535354481922676_o 10014229_10152340086536145_3259136091604114624_o

Louis and I so appreciate the donations that allow us to be able to do this.  For the pictures, the candy, the prizes, cupcakes, donuts and more! For the folks that pitched in to help…we thank you…IMMENSELY.  We are grateful for the quiet time of chillin’ with sweet friends afterwards. Although we don’t see them often, we thank God for the gift of our spiritual family and friends. And time to relax and catch up…picking up where we left off last…although the baby is now a toddler who walks, talks, climbs and giggles.

IMG_4780 IMG_4779

If you wonder why we celebrate Easter…Resurrection Day, it’s not because of the yummy chocolate candy, the good food or even the good fellowship.

We love to celebrate Easter with old friends and new.

Why, you ask?

This. Here.

We were created by a loving God to be in relationship with Him.

But we sinned and cut ourselves off from Him.

In His great love,

God became man in Jesus,

         who lived a perfect life,

         and died on the cross.

He rose again from the dead.

He calls us to trust in Him alone. If we trust in Christ,

we live a new life

and have renewed our relationship with God again.

 

This is why we celebrate Easter…

because Jesus lives.

 

 


A Different Kind of Easter

Short Update:  

Well, for the 2nd year in a row, Louis isn’t behind the pulpit of a church on Easter Sunday.  And for the 2nd year in a row, we won’t be doing church like most Christians. Last year, we held a pancake brunch at the house for folks who aren’t usually in a church.  You can read about our 2012 Easter (with pictures!!!) here > Easter – Acts 2 Style.

This year, we were prayerfully searching for a place to “Do the Bible” and “Be the Church” this Easter Weekend.  Today, we had our annual Easter Egg Hunt for our community. (See here > Candy, Bunny and Eggs…Oh My!)  Tomorrow morning…Easter Morning, Louis and I will NOT be sporting our Sunday Best.  But, we will be giving our best while on God’s mission with some of RVA’s ‘Urban Campers’ (our friend Nelson’s new name for the Homeless)!

Thanks for the connection to Alpha and Omega, Nelson!  Can’t wait to meet and serve Pastor Carolyn and some of your friends!

My Prayer for This Easter

Lord, while we remember and rejoice and while we renew our faith and hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ – the ultimate reconciler, I pray that Louis and I will be reconciled to our new friends….these Urban Campers. I confess and repent that I have not always known how to love them.  Teach me how to love.  Show me.  Change the way I  see those who camp in our cities.  May I love as You love.  May I see as You see. Lord, I long to see Your miraculous healing and changes in our beloved city.  Begin in me.  Renew my Spirit, so that I may serve others in grace and mercy.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.


Doxology Living

Living a life of doxology is a tough challenge. But, we are called to live a life of doxology in good times and in bad. You may ask “Doxology, you say? I don’t get it. Isn’t that a song that we sing in church on Sundays???” Yes, it is.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Imagine if we actually lived out this song…this doxology…this song of praise, admiration and adoration of God Almighty from whom ALL blessings flow. What would our lives look like if we lived a life of doxology every day?  I’ve been challenged in this area. I’m a work in progress…learning to praise God in ALL things.

This Easter season has been a difficult one for me and Louis for a number of reasons.  A month ago, I had emergency gall bladder surgery, which cancelled our week-long escape to Florida. After fussing and complaining about missing this much-needed trip (or so I thought), it did not take long to start counting our blessings.

1.  I praise God that the gall bladder attack didn’t happen while we were IN Florida – away from home (AND after having spent the $!!!).  All prepaid money has been returned or credited to us from the hotels, activities, etc.

2.  I bless God that I was home (although without by gall bladder) in RVA to cry with and support a friend who suddenly lost her husband.  If this was THE ONLY reason I lost my gall bladder, then it was worth it.

3.  I praise God that we didn’t spend the money, not knowing that a week later, Louis’s call as interim pastor would come to an abrupt end.

4.  I am thankful that we have reminders of God’s faithfulness.  It was this time last year that Louis and I found ourselves without an income stream, and God provided for our needs.

5.  I praise God that HE is in control. Not me. Because I, for certain, would definitely mess things up.  And I love that fact that even when I try to take control and royally mess things up, God is gracious and kind in reminding me that I am NOT in control.

6.  I praise God for blessing me with bountiful friends and family who have given of their time, food and resources over the last month while we both have recovered. I bless God for neighborhood Godson – Terence, who has been our legs, arms, and back muscles schlepping things up and down the stairs, in and out of the car, taking out the recycling bins and trash, etc.

7.  I praise God that I am learning to find my identity and acceptance in HIM and Him alone, not in others who let me down, who baffle, confuse and disappointment me, and who reject and/or push me away.

8.  I am grateful that although I may be surprised and shocked at things that come my way, God is not surprised, nor shocked.

9.  I bless God for awesome, gifted medical staff who treated me and Louis during his first total knee replacement 3 weeks ago and the second scheduled for early June.  Grateful that Louis’s pain level (thanks to PT – Physical Therapy which we now call Pain and Torture. haha) is managed by medications.

10.  I praise God for hearing and answering the prayers of His people and for those who lifted up those prayers!

I could go on and on.  And, I should go on and on.  For He is worthy of our praise, not just because He comes to us in our need, but we bless His name just because He is God Almighty, Maker of heavens and earth, the One who breathes and gives life to each and every one of us.

For what are you thankful?

For what do you sing of God’s praises?

Why do you want to practice Doxology living?


Fill In The Blanks

Think on this…

Jesus Christ said:

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23 NIV

Consider these questions…

How can I be sure I would lay down my life to be a disciple of Jesus?

What keeps me from doing what God has called me to do?

What gets in the way?

Then, fill in the blanks…

If I’m not willing to _________ so that I can _________ …

I can be equally sure that I won’t give up my life.

Mine:

If I’m not willing to    waste less time on Social Media    so that I can     spend more time face-to-face with people    …I can be equally sure that I won’t give up my life. 

OUCH!

I would love to hear what you come up with, if you feel like sharing.


Easter – Acts 2 Style

I was in the middle of writing my first draft of my post-Easter Reflections, when I stopped to read Rachel Held Evans‘ post So how was your Easter…really?.  It really got me to thinking differently about my Easter weekend.  Every Sunday for my 48 (soon to be 49) years of life, I have been in the church on Easter morning.  Louis, as a Pastor, is usually behind the pulpit on Easter morning. Now that I think about it, the first time I heard Louis preach was Easter 2008, and I married him December of the same year!

Since Louis and I were both free (in more ways than one!) on Easter morning, we decided to take a different approach to the Easter Weekend.  We found ourselves forgoing all the normal Easter Christian traditions.  We opted for BEING the church instead of GOING to a church.  We decided to ‘do’ the Bible.

We opted for an Act 2 style of worship this weekend…

The Fellowship of the Believers
 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Thursday night is our usual Missional Community, where we eat together, study the Word of God together, and pray together.  We did something radically different for our group.  We had an old-fashioned foot washing and communion together.  Where we commune and fellowship over a meal every week, this was different.  Where we serve our community and each other every chance we can get, here…we washed one another’s feet…literally…while praying and thanking God for one another.  The Spirit’s presence was thick and beautiful.

On Friday afternoon, I got a prayer request email from a friend and a regular at our Thursday night Missional Community – who usually doesn’t usually request prayer for a number of reasons…lack of faith being one of them.  But,  I am thankful that she reached out this time on behalf of a friend.  It was literally a matter of Life or death.  I was weeping as I read the email and cried out to God.  I am grateful that when I called on another friend to help with this prayer request…she answered her phone!  🙂  She gave me great advice to pass along, and she prayed with me right away.

Friday night, still somewhat grieving for the possible loss of Life, our normal Good Friday night service was replaced with dinner with a group of guys from Richmond Christian Leadership Institute (RCLI), where Louis and I are shepherds.  We gladly broke bread together in the form of grilled cheeseburgers, grilled onions, roasted potatoes and cole slaw.  The guys continued their fellowship surrounding the fire pit, as they talked about challenges of health care, education, etc.  I hear they put our friend and visitor, Bill, through the ringer – as a pediatrician in one of state’s poorest counties.  God’s presence was apparent as all the believers were together.  I don’t think we share everything in common, but we did share the love of Jesus as an important commonality.  (I regret….no pictures were taken.  What WAS I thinking?!?!?)

Early Saturday morning, I received a text message.  It was now a matter of LIFE!  The friend of my friend now chooses LIFE!  Death was scheduled for next Friday, but the appointment at the clinic will been cancelled.  Where Life’s heart currently beats in her womb, Life’s first breath will come in 8-9 months.  We are filled with awe as wonder and signs performed by God’s answer to our prayers. Praise God…and thanks to all involved!

This year, Easter didn’t consist of a Sunrise Service or a Sunday morning church service.  We had no new springy clothes or accessories.  We did, however, open our home to our community – Southern Barton Heights – and our community of friends to an Easter Brunch.  Louis, once again, served up his famous pancakes by the order as our friends (old and new alike) came and went.  In addition, we had plenty of fruit, egg/turkey sausage/cheese casserole, country ham and juice/coffee.  After hiding over 400 eggs, we cut the older kids loose in the back yard, while the younger smaller ones were in the front yard.

We didn’t ‘preach a sermon’, but we devoted our time and our home to share the love of our Risen Savior in word and deed as we spent time in fellowship, sharing and praying with one another.  We created deeper relationships with existing friends and developed new friendships with first time visitors to our home.

We ended the day with dinner with my family.  This is the only tradition that carried over from past years.  I can’t imagine Easter without Mom’s lamb and full dinner table. Mom – Thanks for modeling hospitality for me!

I look forward to what God is going to do among all of us in the future…and I look forward to those who will be added to the number of those who believe.

I am blessed in so many ways!  Not to mention…a true blessing in the midst…

A little grief-stricken, I went to bed Friday night believing that Life could be put to death in a week. It reminded me of how the disciples went to bed…laying there awake…after Jesus died on the cross…believing that He was dead.  Or maybe they were pacing the floor….talking to one another…trying to figure it all out.  Not understanding.  Some had even dispersed…went into hiding…facing it alone.  Having to wait 3 days to hear that Jesus is Risen.  I can’t imagine what that must have been like.  The wait must have been horrific.  I am thankful that Life’s heart will continue to beat, Life’s lungs will continue to develop, Life’s cells will reproduce, and what a story…a testimony that Life will hear one day.  Faith is restored.  Life will continue to live.  God has a plan for Life’s life.  I can’t wait for Life to grow up in the ways of the Lord.  I believe. Praise God!

Now…enjoy a few pictures of our Easter Day… Peace.


Why I Celebrate Easter