Easter

The Easter story doesn’t stop at the resurrection

I wish I didn’t lose the passion and excitement about the resurrection so quickly after Easter. It’s not like I forget about the significance of the resurrection, but I don’t really think about it much after Easter Sunday.

The Easter weekend is filled with the promise of resurrection, sermons bursting with hope, Easter egg hunts, social gatherings making the most of the long weekend and if you’re lucky some sunshine to enjoy while you eat your hot cross buns. But, when I return to work thinking about how I don’t actually like crème eggs I find the excitement about Jesus’s resurrection begins to fade.

I think this is because I box the Easter message into a neat 4 days weekend package all too easily and don’t let the life-transforming, eternal consequences affect my daily life enough. The Easter message isn’t just a one off event that happened 2,000 and something years ago. It keeps affecting us from the first time we realise how incredible it is that Jesus died for us, to the things that we face daily through to our future. The Easter story doesn’t stop at the resurrection. The story just gets better and better. All the promises and prophecies that have been made about Jesus leading up to His death become more real as they are fulfilled in His resurrection.

40 days with Jesus is a small group resource that has helped me see Easter as more than Good Friday to Sunday. The book takes the 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension and invites you to meet the risen Jesus through the people who had face to face encounters with Him while He was still on earth. The encounters that people had with Jesus can teach us so much about our own relationship with Him.

Use 40 Days with Jesus in your small group to be inspired by the persistence and devotion of Mary who was first to witness the risen Jesus. Remind people in your small group who are doubting the resurrection, how incredible it is. Perhaps there are people in your small group who need a fresh revelation of Jesus and could use 40 Days with Jesus to invite Him into their lives again. Be encouraged by how Jesus restores us in our present struggles and also heals us from our past failures. Get motivated as you read about Jesus’ true purpose for us and be confident that Jesus is alive and transforming lives today.

40 Days with Jesus is more than just a book, there are small group Bible studies, videos to watch and even sermons if you want to get the whole church involved.

Find out more about 40 Days with Jesus.

 

By Emily Owen

Emily dreams of travelling the world and writing about the great things she sees God doing along the way. Whilst waiting for dreams to come true, she happily works for CWR, plays a lot of netball and is trying to learn Spanish.

Reaching out at Easter

‘There is a hope that goes beyond the grave.’ This phrase is an awesome reality for Christians, but a bit of a strange one for people who don’t yet know Jesus! Why do they care that there is eternal hope when they don’t even realise that we all need saving in the first place?

Reaching out to connect with the local community where your small group meets is a great idea at Easter. When better to share the ‘good news’? But it needs to be approached with the Christian blinkers taken off and using words and actions that people can relate to. There’s no point running gung-ho into your local park and telling everyone about the ‘blood of the lamb’ – people will probably think you are more than a little strange.

It is weird. We celebrate a man who was brutally killed 2,000 years ago coming back to life. Christians obviously celebrate this as an incredible miracle, but you can understand why those who don’t yet understand the story want to keep a wide berth.

So here are some ‘Outreach at Easter’ tips and ideas that will hopefully encourage you to share the amazing Easter story with people around you without them crossing to the other side of the street.

Easter cards – spend some time together in your small group praying for friends, neighbours, colleagues and family members. Ask God to prompt you with an idea, encouragement or Bible verse to share with them and send it in a card.

Easter egg hunt – invite the children (and parents!) from the neighbourhood where your small group meets, or around your church, to an Easter egg hunt. Pair the eggs up with Bible verses to share. Choose verses full of hope that share the love of God and His promises of protection, eternal life and provision.

Invite friends to church – there are so many special services, events and family celebrations going on in churches over the Easter weekend. Don’t just go to them to enjoy yourself, but use them as opportunities to invite people who don’t yet know Jesus. As it’s Easter time you’ll find a lot of people want to go to church anyway, even if it is just for the sake of tradition.

Spring clean – take your small group out into your community and pick up litter, offer to mow lawns, paint fences, clean cars… Physically and literally show God’s love to people by blessing those around you.

And… PRAY for the people and places around you, ask God to give you opportunities to chat to people in your community about Him.

Happy Easter!

 

About Emily Owen

Emily dreams of travelling the world and writing about the great things she sees God doing along the way. Whilst waiting for dreams to come true she happily works for CWR, plays a lot of netball and is trying to learn Spanish.