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Easter

 

The Season of Easter

Easter is more than a day. It involves a day. And if all you can do is celebrate that day, that’s OK. But like Christmas, Easter is a whole season of 50 days.

This year (2018) Easter runs from April 1 through May 27. A traditional celebration of this season would follow the plan below. Many churches and families change this order up, and most likely we will too at Peoria Christian Fellowship. But this plan allows you to see some of the options in celebrating Easter.

April 1 Easter – Resurrection, New Life

April 8 – The Church

April 15 – Worship

April 22 – Good Shepherd

April 29 – Ministry to others

May 06 – The Holy Spirit

May 10 – The Ascension of Jesus

May 13 – Prayer of Jesus

May 20 – Day of Pentecost

May 27 – Trinity Sunday

 

These 50 days are all centered on Jesus and the culture of new life He introduces to the world. No longer are we in a culture of death. No longer do we live in fear. We have been raised up with Christ Jesus and the life we now live we live in God, for God, and with God.

During this time, we want to take the fact of Jesus death and resurrection and add to that our faith. When we do that (fact + faith) we have an equation for Easter Spirituality. A way of living with God now that brings hope to the world, light to the lost, hope to the hopeless.

The cycle of life, of church life, celebrates Easter. And we are prepared to take this celebration and lessons and live our way forward. The next season is ordinary time. It is the time we focus on how we live. But for now, we are still focused on Jesus, the Trinity and how he lived. We are in the season of Easter and want to experience the cross and the resurrection. Death and life are a part of all our lives. But Jesus teaches us a new way to live in Him, by Him and with Him.


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Celebrate Lent

Peoria Christian Fellowship Church is starting stage 4 of this church year. It’s time to turn to the Lord. It’s time to repent or turn away from living for ourselves and live for Christ who gave His life for us.
We can celebrate this time of humbling ourselves because it helps us value what Jesus has done and prepares our heart to enjoy Easter even more.
So, what does this mean practically for you?
We are asking people to consider growing in their spiritual formation by….
1. Attending our Sunday Morning meetings and seeking to apply the teachings they receive. Listen to act on. See if God is leading you to do something new or something neglected.
2. Give up something for others. Join with Jesus, who gave all for us in giving to others. We offer you the opportunity to mix giving with the justice and righteousness themes we have been talking about. You might consider….
a. Giving to Teen Challenge for meat. Our church will be collecting money for gift cards for Alwan Meat Market so that throughout the year Teen Challenge can go and get something to eat when in need.
b. Give to help Youth for Christ in Peoria and Dearborn Assembly in Michigan purchase vans for transporting people. Both these ministries are in need to helping others through transporting them.
c. Practice Hospitality. In Isaiah 58 God calls to the people through the prophet Isaiah to fast. But not just go hungry. Instead God is asking the people for righteousness and justice. God is asking that their spiritual lives go from personal to community. Read the passage below and see if a season of hospitality is for you too.
Read more after the Scriptures:
 
Isaiah 58:1-14
1 “Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers.
4 “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.
5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
6 “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke?
7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
10 And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday.
11 “And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
12 “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
13 “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word,
14 Then you will take delight in the LORD, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
 
Here are some ideas for Celebrating Lent with PCFC
 
Start a spare change jar and collect money for one of the projects.
Sell some item you don’t use or don’t need and give the money to help.
Ask a friend or two to join in the cause. Many of our friends and neighbors want to make a difference in the world and this offers them a way to do so. You also get to talk about your faith and how it is a part of your life. Something we just learned in the season of Epiphany.
Give the cost of a day’s groceries to others. Sure, you can use our outlets or just open your heart to anyone God might be laying on your heart.
Invite someone over for a meal or take someone for coffee and pick up the tab. Spend some of your time and money encouraging others. Ask God to point someone out to you. Someone who needs a little boost.
If you have loaned someone money is the past and they are struggling to pay you back, consider forgiving the debt or reducing it. Tell them how this relates to your faith. That you are not trying to just be a good person but a Godly one.
Revalue the Sabbath or the Lord’s day. Just as we can live for ourselves all week long we can also make the weekend all about us. Honor the Lord with your time. Isaiah told the people not to seek their own pleasures and their own words. Doing and saying what we want is a big part of our American life. Maybe this Lent you can lay that down for awhile?

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