Inviting Folk to an Online Easter

Easter Reimagined (LMAP)Easter 2020 worldwide looks different. Not the message, but indeed the form.

The Easter message of death followed by life in Jesus is a glorious message of hope and perhaps as relevant and important for all to hear in the midst of a pandemic. If life matters, as it clearly does given the extraordinary measures that are being taken worldwide to stop the spread of this virus, then now is the time to proclaim the Easter message!

What has changed is the form. The opportunity to physically gather together with others to proclaim that ‘Christ is risen, he is risen indeed’ is not possible. And so we gather online and in many new and creative ways. Never before has there been such an opportunity for folk to connect into Easter without having to put a foot outside their front door. What an opportunity.

Anyone (with an internet connection) can step into church without the fear of having to make small talk, or the worry about what to do or where to sit, or the concern that they might ‘out’ themselves as someone who might just possibly be open to considering Jesus or his message. They can sit hidden behind their screen, undetectable to those who are proclaiming the Easter message.

How can we invite folk to join us online?

Here are some easy and obvious suggestions:

1) Make the most of ‘virtual’ connection points.

FaceBook, Instagram, What’s App, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit and more are all social media platforms. Each work slightly differently and if you are a current user you would know how. Use these platforms to invite folk to your online church. In just a few words you can connect your unchurched friends, colleagues, family and neighbours who might be tiring of being locked behind their front door and could welcome a new experience. Send them the link to your church online gathering. You can join me at Easter here.

2) Return to ‘old school’ connection.Noteworthy Cards

For all the new found benefit of our sudden virtual world, there may be many who are tiring of everything being on a screen. So contact them using the tried and true method of phoning them or sending them a snail-mail card. And when you do, include something about what you are doing at Easter including an invitation to online church. Have some fun with this. Go here for a humorous and socially responsible way to purchase greeting cards which interact with COVID-19.

An electronic version of this idea could be to send an e-card for Easter!

3) Gather for a Virtual Easter Lunch.

One tradition that will be hard for many this year (believer or not) is the family Easter lunch. For many this would have been the family connection point as they came together to enjoy a meal. With isolation, that is not as easy. Why not invite friends or family to join you this year for Easter lunch using a video conference tool – like Zoom, What’s App, Skype, Messenger et al.

Perhaps you could invite them to watch you church online Easter gathering, and while watching or after watching, share a meal in your respective locations. If looking for a fun idea for the kids, why not set up a virtual Easter Egg hunt or hold an Easter Hat parade. This may be a good opportunity to talk and show others your ‘Easter traditions’.

4) Point people to Kids Bible Resources.

Self-isolation and the encouragement to keep kids at home for school has changed much for many families. Parents now find themselves looking for ways to occupy kids when they have to stay close to home. If your church is able to provide Kids Easter (online) Resources then pointing parents to what is available may give them something else to do with their kids. That means both parents and kids get to look at the Easter story together.

The church where I serve produces Kid’s resources in a ‘google classroom’ for a) each day (in the form of daily Bible reading videos), b) for Easter, and c) for regular Sunday gatherings. There are Bible teaching videos, songs, activity sheets and suggestions for things to make and do. Contact me at lmap@lmap.org.au for more details and access codes.

 

Whatever you do, Easter is too good an opportunity to miss. So many of the endeavors which can ‘distract’ us from the gospel message have been closed for now – sporting events, holidays, movie theatres, non-essential shopping, festivals and more. With those lights turned off, Christians have a light that burns brightly.

‘In [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all humanity. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5)

Let’s shine a light brightly this Easter.

Tell me, I would love to hear your creative ideas.

Sermon – Aren’t All Religions the Same? (Acts 17:1-34/John 14:1-6)

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It is not unusual for all religions to be lumped into the same basket and dismissed collectively. Yet, even a cursory reading of the core texts of any religion will expose clear differences. What does Christianity offer that might helpfully encourage a person to look more deeply into the truths that the Bible reveals?

Read the Bible texts – Acts 17:1-34; John 14:1-6

Watch this Talk – here

– Dave Swan

 

Talk – How Can I be Sure? (1 Cor 15:1-19 and John 20:24-31)

LMAP - Easter2019 - CoverPhoto

Foundational to belief of Christianity, is the historical reality of the person of Jesus and with that comes his well-documented life, teaching, death and resurrection.

Whilst it is true that belief in the existence of Jesus may be a no brainer and acknowledging his death traditional – to allow his teachings to shape the way we live, or to hold to the idea of a resurrection – for some is a step too far.

There are a chorus of Atheist voices who have spoken loudly against religion. That is not new, every age in history since and including the time of Jesus has seen opposition to organized religion – and at times, sadly, the opposition has been well placed.

In a series of short talks, we look at what the ‘new atheists’ say about the resurrection, before examine the resurrection for ourselves. The hope that we might be able the weigh up what is said and reordered in scripture and history and make our own decisions about faith.

Read the Bible Text – 1 Cor 15:1-19; John 20:24-31

Talk Outline – How can I be Sure?

– Ken Noakes

 

Sermon – Why, What, When of Forgiveness (John 18 – 20)

LMAP - Easter2019 - CoverPhoto

Easter is a special time for many around the world – a time to reflect, to be thankful, to lift our minds and hearts above the day to day and to appreciate the world we live in.

Arguably, more than any other event in history, Easter has shaped our world. The coming of the man Jesus and then his arrest, trial, crucifixion and then resurrection stunned the world. What Jesus taught about life, love, good works, sin, justice, forgiveness, hope has shaped cultures, governments, legislation, education, tradition and so much more. Yet his death and resurrection transformed people’s lives and gave a personal hope beyond the grave. Love him or loath him, he has left his mark for the benefit of generations across history.

In this trilogy of Easter talks, we walk with Jesus through the pages of John’s Gospel from his arrest to his resurrection.

– David Shead

Read the Bible Text – John 18:1-27

– David Shead

Read the Bible Text – John 18:28-19:42

– David Shead

Read the Bible Text – John 20:1-31

Sermon – Who says I will be judged?

LMAP - Easter2019 - CoverPhoto

We all like and want justice – yet justice is not possible unless there is judgement (vindicating the good and condemning the bad). In Jesus you have a judge – who is just, right and good. Can we say the same about our own judgements?

Read the Bible Text – John 5:16-30; John 12:44-50

Talk Outline – Who says I will be judged

– Ken Noakes

– David Shead

Love (Part 3 of 6)

Without love, truth will not be valued. Without truth, it is difficult to know how to obey. Without obedience, it is impossible to demonstrate true love.

To understand Love, it will help to understand how it is integrally connected to Truth and to Obedience, such that you cannot separate the three. These three ideas intersect with one another at almost every point. Love, Truth, Obedience

Taking our lead from the letter of 1 John, we have looked at Perfect Love (Part 2 of this series). We turn our attention now to the relationships between Love, Truth and Obedience.

Let’s consider ‘Love’.

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Conference Talks – Heaven & Hell

Heaven and Hell

5 AWAY Weekend Away Talks – by Ken Noakes

Talk 1 – Scaring the Hell out of You!

Talk 1 Outline – Scaring the Hell out of You!

 

Talk 1 Script – Scaring the Hell out of You!

Discussion Group Questions – Hell

 

Talk 2 – Heaven Sent!

Talk 2 Outline – Heaven Sent!

 

Talk 2 Script – Heaven Sent!

Personal Reflection Questions – Heaven

Opinion: Challenge & Opportunity

I was asked the question: ‘What are the major challenges, and/or ministry opportunities, facing Australian churches in 2018?”

It is far above my station to be able to speak for just the church in which I serve let alone all Australian churches! And so with that caveat, I humbly offered this opinion in answer to that question:

Christians face the continued challenge to be in the world but not of it.

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