We have been experiencing growth in LIFEhouse Preschool this year. It is a joy for us to partner with parents in nurturing the whole life of these young children.

We know that to have the family active in their faith life in Christian community is the way Jesus designed for families to be most blessed in their lives. Along these ends, we share the love of Jesus through the staff of our Preschool and we share the message of Jesus through them, as well. Pastor Dana also connects with the children each week.

We want to make more progress in connecting Preschool families to the LIFEhouse community. Sunday morning is still the time most new people are introduced to a church. How do we build a bridge between Preschool families and Sunday morning?

Preschool Chapel

We are going to increase our attention on building this bridge. Beginning May 1, along with our normal Sunday School program, there will be a new Sunday School class for Preschool- Kindergarten aged children that will meet separately in the Rainbow Room. Having a familiar age-specific format will strengthen the experience for the children. And the bridge between Preschool and Church will be built up in another way.

The Preschool- K Sunday School class will be staffed by our own LIFEhouse Preschool staff person, Miss Elba! She brings her gifts, experience and already established relationships with the children and parents. Miss Elba will lead the class on Sundays, and we will work with her to intentionally invite families to participate in this time together.

Pray for our Preschool and for this new venture in connecting families to Jesus and his church.

Friday April 1- This Is Not a Movie

Mark 15

They went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Here is another strange thing. The best manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark end just this way. Abruptly.

This is it. The women see the angel, the empty tomb and then they freak out.

The end…

It is no wonder there are other endings to the Gospel added. Like alternative endings you find in DVD’s of popular movies, there are two other endings recorded in Mark.

So, is this all just a story? A screenplay? Hardly.

The best evidence is that the last pages of Mark are lost. Seriously, just torn out or ruined. The later translators add endings that match what is already in the other Gospels. But, I like to think of Mark’s ending just like this.

And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Doesn’t that sound like most Christians?

Afraid to talk about our faith because we don’t want to offend anyone. Afraid to talk about Jesus because we don’t want to be asked any hard theological questions. Afraid to share the good news because that means we actually have to live like someone who acts like Jesus. Loving and caring, especially to people we might not want to hang with at all.

It’s as if we are trying to keep Jesus in the tomb. That’s right. He is risen, but we don’t let him out.

If we would simply share the unbelievable joy we receive from Jesus with those around us, the world will change. If we will simply share the story of Jesus with those who are receptive to hearing it, our lives will be overflowing with blessing no matter what is happening around us.

What does it mean to you that Jesus is alive and he rules the world with love and forgiveness? What does it mean to follow a God who says don’t take vengeance, forgive those who wrong you, and help those in need?

This is not a fairy tale. It is the most reasonable and loving thing you can possible do. Share Jesus with others.

Me

Who do you know who could really use Jesus in their life right now? Start praying for them daily and see what happens.

Thursday March 31- …and Peter

Mark 16:7

7 “But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him, as He told you.”

This is the strangest verse in the whole Easter story. All of world history will change from that day forward. Go ahead, give an honest assessment of what happens in the world from the time of the resurrection of Jesus onward. Everything changes and it still is changing.

This is still true for each of us today.

When Jesus breaks into your life, you are not the same. You are someone whose whole life is opened to new possibilities. But, what does this have to do calling this the strangest verse?

Think about it. We have been studying the Gospel of Mark for over a year. And in all this time, it seems like we are reading the Jesus and Peter Show. Especially during Holy Week.

Peter is not a very sympathetic person in the story. He is actually a washout. A hypocrite. A liar. A traitor. A horrible friend. I call him worse than Judas, because he is Jesus’ best friend, and still he abandons Jesus and denies he even knows him.

Now, Jesus is dead. The only good thing about Peter is he doesn’t commit suicide like Judas. He just lives with his betrayal.

But, then, the two most beautiful words in all of Scripture are spoken. The angel announces the Messiah is alive, the redeemer of the world is risen. All bets are off, and the new kingdom has come!

What are the two words? Listen carefully.

…tell His disciples and Peter

There they are…”And Peter.”

You think you have done something that makes you an enemy of God? You think you have  been a person unworthy of the love of Jesus? Have you done something that you hate you did and it haunts your conscious or at least your subconscious to this day?

Well, remember these words. They are being spoken directly to you.

…And Peter 

Me

What do you need to forgive yourself for? Spend some time with God today and give it to him.

Wednesday March 30- Keeping Your Room Clean

Mark 16:4-6

But when they looked, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. For it was very large. 

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white robe. And they were frightened.

He said to them, “Do not be frightened. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 

Alright, now I getting more confused. Why is there a live guy sitting in the tomb? Bight shiny guy? OK, I get it, this is an angel sent by God. But where is Jesus? Where is the body?

The angel gives the best news in the history of the world.

“He is risen.”

Then they are invited to look at where he was placed on the shelf. There are burial cloths that are sitting there in a strange way.

The head cloth is neatly folded, as if Jesus remembers his mom’s instructions to fold his clothes after she washes them.

But, the rest of the burial cloths are scattered.This is as if Jesus is trying to get out of them as quickly as possible. Like a toddler with a pair of pants they don’t want to wear. He has a new creation to start ruling and he doesn’t have time to fold.

Me

When we have good news we have to tell everyone. You are the good news. Share it through who you are.

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Holy Communion is the very presence of Jesus there FOR YOU!

A teaching on Holy Communion from Maundy Thursday First Communion@ LIFEhouse.

Tuesday March 29- Give Each Other a Break

Mark 16:2-3

Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb at the rising of the sun. They said among themselves, “Who will roll the stone away from the door of the tomb for us?”

The women come to the tomb. They are going to anoint Jesus for burial even though he doesn’t need it. They also need someone to roll away the big circular stone that blocks the entrance to the family tomb, but they have no idea who is going to do that. It’s not like you have a crowd of people hanging out in cemeteries.

But they go anyway.

The women are on a mission. Someone beloved dies, you have to do something. And you are not always thinking straight.

When our loved ones are dying or when they die, everything is not one neat package. We do things and say things that may not be too logical, may not be too sensitive, and we are not always thinking straight.

Let’s give each other a break.

Wide, wide boundaries of graciousness. We are all going to need it.

Me

Putting actions in the best light, giving the benefit of doubt, this is what we want others to do for us. Do this for others.