Easter Story Cookies

Our Lord is Risen! Hallelujah! Easter was always my favorite holiday as a child. Take a minute and think back to how you celebrated Easter as a child. What did you look forward to? The Easter basket filled with candy? Maybe you looked forward to searching for cee

 

Open your oven on Easter morning and see the surprise!

Ingredients:

 • Bible

 • 1 c whole pecans

 • 1 tsp. vinegar

 • 3 egg whites

 • pinch of salt

 • 1 c granulated sugar

 • 1 qt. or gal. size zipper bag

 • wooden spoon

 • tape

Directions:

 1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

 2.  Place pecans in Ziploc bag and let kids beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3.

3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Add teaspoon of vinegar into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

4. Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

5. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.  Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sins. Read Luke 23:27.

6. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup of sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

7. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

8. Fold in broken nuts.

9. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

10. Place the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

11. GO TO BED. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and John 16:22. 

12. On Easter morning, open the oven and remove the cookies. Take a bite. Notice - the cookies are hollow. On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.  

 

Resurrection Rolls: These rolls are super sticky but a delicious way to remember the real reason we celebrate Easter!

Materials: A can of crescent rolls, a few tablespoons melted butter, 8 large marshmallows, cinnamon and sugar mixture, parchment paper

1. Pre-heat oven according to directions on crescent rolls. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. (This recipe can be very sticky and this step will make clean up much easier!)

2. Unroll the crescent roll triangles. These represent the tomb.

3. Give each child a marshmallow. These represent the body of Jesus.

4. Roll the marshmallows in butter and then cinnamon/sugar. These represent the oils and spices that were used to prepare Jesus’ body for burial.

5. Wrap one marshmallow in each crescent roll triangle. Be sure to seal the seams tightly to prevent the gooey mixture inside from seeping out. (They will look more like balls when you are finished). This represents Jesus’ body being buried in the tomb.

6. Place the cresecent rolls on the parchment paper. Place in oven and cook according to directions.

7. After baking, allow to cool before eating.

8. When you open the rolls, they will be empty – just like Jesus’ tomb!

He is Risen! Hallelujah!

We’d love to hear your stories and see your pictures of how you are teaching your children the story of Easter and the joy of our Risen Lord! Share them on our blog, on our facebook page or email me at epowers@livelifetogether.com.

 

Fun Easter Activities with Your Kids

Our Lord is Risen! Hallelujah! Easter was always my favorite holiday as a child. Take a minute and think back to how you celebrated Easter as a child. What did you look forward to? The Easter basket filled with candy? Maybe you looked forward to searching for colorful hidden eggs. Did you cherish the moments you spent dying eggs with your brothers and sisters? Holidays are special times for families to create traditions together that result in lasting memories. However, I wonder how often the traditions we create point our children back to the real reason for the celebration. The Easter eggs and pretty dresses and hunts in the back yard are meaningless if we don’t take time to share with our children the reason for our joy....the promise of Eternal Life!

This Lenten season, I would like to share with you a few family activities that could very easily become a new tradition in your home and help you share the story of Jesus with your children.

This week I'll share with you Resurrection Eggs

Resurrection Eggs: This 12 day devotional journey will walk your child through the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Each day, beginning on March 25th egg and read the passage as a family. To begin, you’ll need 12 plastic Easter Eggs and an empty egg carton. Your children may enjoy decorating their egg carton and personalizing it. Have each egg filled ahead of time, with the passage tucked inside the egg as well. Your child will open an egg each day to reveal the surprise and read the passage.

Egg 1: Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey while people praise Him.
Item to place in egg: A piece of a palm branch or leaf.
Passage: Matthew 21:1-11

Egg 2: Mary poured perfume on Jesus’ feet to worship Him.
Item to place in egg: cotton ball sprayed with perfume or cologne
Passage: John 12:2-8

Egg 3: Jesus shares the Last Supper with His disciples.
Item to place in egg: A piece of bread or a cracker
Passage: Matthew 26:17-30

Egg 4: Judas betrays Jesus.
Item to place in egg: 3 dimes
Passage: Matthew 26:14-16

Egg 5: Jesus is arrested and tried before Pilate.
Item to place in egg: a small piece of rope
Passage: Matthew 27:11-26

Egg 6: The soldiers put a crown of thorns on Jesus and mock Him.
Item to place in egg: a thorn or a piece of Chex cereal broken in half
Passage: Matthew 27:27-31

Egg 7: Jesus carries His cross.Item to place in egg: Glue two small toothpicks together to make a cross.
Passage: John 19:16-18

Egg 8: Jesus is crucified. Item to place in egg: a nail
Passage: Matthew 27:32-44

Egg 9: Jesus dies. Item to place in egg: a small piece of sponge soaked in vinegar
Passage: Matthew 27:45-56

Egg 10: Jesus is buried. Item to place in egg: a small rock
Passage: Matthew 27:57-61

Egg 11: The women go to prepare Jesus’ body. Item to place in egg: spices
Passage: Mark 16:1-3

Egg 12: The tomb is empty! All the women find is the linens Jesus had been wrapped in. Item to place in egg: a small piece of white cloth
Passage: John 20:1-18

Next week I'll share: Easter Story Cookies

 

Remembering My Coach

Had it not been for my "accidental" meeting of Frederic Hudson in May 1998, when I was bored on the final afternoon of a Coaching & Mentoring conference and wandered into the vendor expo, I would never have met each of you. I am blessed to have had two precious years learning from and working with this exceptional man, before the early symptoms of Alzheimer's hijacked him from a life of teaching, speaking, and writing about the adult development journey.  

Frederic and I had, at most, three 20-minute coaching conversations in the span of a year, and yet, those 60 minutes of focused attention changed my life, my work, and my world view. Coaching does not have to be a lengthy conversation or a long-term commitment to be powerful. It does require what Frederic brought to the conversation: a fully present mind and heart, curiosity unburdened by assumptions and agendas, and the ability to challenge a coachee's thinking in a respectful, supportive way. He was a light, not a judge.

It is poignant to me that the co-author of The Joy of Old: A Guide to Successful Elderhood would be unable to follow his own sage advice about how to age with passion and purpose. "And yet, as you'll read below, in an excerpted note to the Hudson Institute of Coaching community from Frederic's widow, Pam McLean, he lived into a life unexpected and unwelcome with uncommon grace. When I think of Jeremiah 29:11, I think of my coach as a key part of God's plan. Through the door that Frederic Hudson helped to open, I found that hope and my future, a future that happily included you.

Frederic Hudson passed away on Monday, February 9th.  The visionary behind the Hudson Institute of Coaching nearly 30 years ago, he has been facing into the challenge of Alzheimer's disease for 15 years.  He lived those many years with as much poise and simplicity as any of us can imagine.  While the early years included plenty of pleasures - tennis, painting lessons, endless piano and beach walks; the later ones grew harder, yet he remained loving, positive and continuously adjusting his vision of what was possible until these last couple of years.

He is finally released from this part of his journey and I thought it might be fitting to share a poem he wrote long ago.   -Pam McLean
  
TRUST THE MYSTERY

We have no words
to carry us beyond
our time,
no symbols to escort us
into a fulfilled future,
what we have and have well
is our fire,
our very here and fully now
to ground us in the moment.
But how our current intensity
relates to grander schemes
Is mere conjecture.

I choose to believe
in purpose without words,
in deity without form,
in unity without beginnings or ends.

Do not ask me to explain.
I believe, and in believing
I experience this day with
mystery and peace.

Frederic M. Hudson
-Written in the late 1990's

 

Another Step in Bhutanese Ministry

The Bhutanese Ministry at the Church continues to grow and evolve. For those of you who are new to the Church, or are not as familiar with the thriving fellowship God has created among our Bhutanese brothers and sisters, a little history may be helpful.

The United Nations partnered with the United States Department of State in the resettlement of at least 60,000 of the more than 100,000 Bhutanese living in refugee camps in Nepal. Having been expelled from their home country of Bhutan because they are not the majority culture, they have lived in refugee camps for over 20 years. Not able   to go home, and not able to gain citizenship in Nepal due to political issues, they were in need of a new start and a new life.

Outreach to Bhutanese refugees resettling in Madison began in April of 2009 when a lifeGroup committed to a 90-day sponsorship of the first Bhutanese family to arrive in Madison. To date, over 300 Bhutanese have resettled in Madison. God has led us to a ministry well beyond that initial 90 day commitment to a single family. Our congregation has been blessed to witness 40 Bhutanese come to faith in Jesus through baptism, attend weekly Saturday evening Bible study and fellowship, and serve in our congregation. Others have also come to faith and been baptized through other local ministries.

Our God-inspired love for these humble and gracious people compelled us to help meet their physical, social and spiritual needs. Although it is a challenge, the Bhutanese families are largely self-sufficient with their physical needs now. During the week, we spend two nights with the kids tutoring and reading, partnered with discipleship time helping three of the Bhutanese leaders prepare for Bible study.  Saturday evenings bring the community Bible study and fellowship time with dedicated teaching for the kids.

We have been richly blessed by the opportunity for discipleship, and have seen amazing God-led progress. For more than a year, three of the Bhutanese ministry lay leaders were teaching the Bible study every other Saturday evening. In 2015, they will be teaching every Saturday. The older kids have completed their first communion training and continue to grow in their knowledge of the Bible. And the youngest kids are eager to read scripture and complete projects focused on their faith.

The most exciting news in the Bhutanese ministry is the addition of paid part-time ministry development. From the very beginning, a partnership was started with a Bhutanese ministry in Chicago. Over the years, combined Christmas celebrations and other events led to new friendships and trusted partners in ministry. Through designated mission dollars, the Church is taking the next steps forward by welcoming minister Amos Shakya to our faith community.

Amos’ journey with Jesus began with a Gospel tract handed to him by a stranger on a path leading to the cornfields near his village. He was captivated by the message in the tract that quoted John 3:16. Several months later, he moved to his sister’s home in Katmandu and decided to attend the church identified on the back of the tract. As the Lord spoke into his heart at this church, Amos sought baptism four months later. He dedicated himself to work, Bible study and outreach activity for three years before entering a six-month formal training program on faith discipleship conducted by Youth with a Mission [YWAM] - Nepal. He then accepted a staff position as Campus Minister with YWAM - Nepal with a focus on evangelism and faith discipleship. Additional certification programs with YWAM took him to Bangalore, India and Bangkok, Thailand.

In August 2008, he entered the U.S. as a student at the Bible School for the Nations conducted by YWAM - Wisconsin. On a trip to Chicago, he felt drawn to reach out to the growing Bhutanese community there and with his wife Roma and young daughter, has established what a strong and vibrant congregation is now. In 2015, Amos will be coming to Madison every other weekend. He arrives on Friday afternoons for ministry planning and meeting with leaders. Saturdays will be focused on evangelism, discipleship building and training workshops. On Saturday evenings, he joins in with the Bible study and fellowship time, returning to Chicago early on Sunday morning to join the faith community there. While in Madison, Amos stays in Bhutanese homes, strengthening the bonds of friendship and faith. During the weeks in Chicago, he uses technology to   connect with and encourage the leaders here in Madison.

The goal of Amos’ position at the Church is to develop leaders from within the Bhutanese ministry and equip them to make disciples to God’s glory. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement that has led to such amazing fruit. Please pray for Amos and the Bhutanese ministry often and give praise to God for his amazing provision. We can’t wait to see what God does in the coming year!

 

Engage

God did not establish the church to be a gathering of like-minded people rallying to “make a difference.” In other words, the church is not a voluntary organization where people can choose to participate where they want to, or invest in the things they deem to have a great ROI [Return On Investment]. 

The Scriptures never talk in those terms about our involvement or investment. Never. Never ever.

On account of our individualistic society, in America we think of churches as voluntary associations of autonomous individuals. Individuals come together as a church, IF THEY WANT, and DO WHAT THEY WANT. But Jesus says repeatedly something distinctly different from this “do-your-own-thing individualism and investment.”

Jesus says, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”  [John 13:8]

We only participate by God’s undeserved kindness.

Jesus says, “You did not choose me but I chose you.”  [John 15:16] We don’t choose to participate. He allows us to. There’s extreme grace in that reality!

And why did He choose us? For what purpose do we participate?

Jesus says, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the
commands I have given you.”  [Matthew 28:19-20]

All of our participation in its various forms, allow us to make and teach disciples.
And all of our participation in its various forms, allow us to discover our own stories as disciples.

That is perhaps the greatest discovery waiting for you in 2015.