Easter Matters On Monday Too!

Easter was a happy day. The kids ran around as usual, but the little girls’ Easter dresses added some welcome color to the room. And there was that one little boy with the bow tie that could’ve made Darth Vader smile.

The worship team was on point. And the song list! You’re still humming the lyrics to the first one. The sermon was exactly what you needed to hear—the resurrection of Jesus helps us be “unstuck” in our lives. You felt inspired.

You went home and ate a delicious meal with the people you love. The new recipe you tried was a hit. The extra helping of pie for dessert was definitely worth it and the leftover chocolate eggs sitting on the counter were not unwelcome.

But now it’s Monday. The alarm clock this morning was about as welcome as a wet dog in your bed. In fact, you might have preferred the dog. The sky’s dark like the coffee brewing in the kitchen. If the weatherman is right, it’ll rain today. Again. The Easter ham is all cut up in the fridge. It’ll be your lunch for the next week. There’s a few extra dishes in the sink you’re trying to ignore.

The coffee is starting to wake you up, but it’s not changing your apathetic mood. It’s not that you hate the world. It’s just the start of another Monday. Another week at work with meetings and reports to write, another week of physical therapy appointments and soccer games, another week of trips to the grocery store because you ran out of toilet paper again, another week of freezer meals and spaghetti, another week of trying to get to your Gospel Community on time, another week of church to remind you there’s something more before returning to the craziness once again. It’s not bad. It’s just normal.

Easter is about new birth, new beginnings.

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But here you are, just remembering your dentist appointment is on Wednesday at 2 pm. You’re not complaining, but it’s a bit anti-climactic after Easter Sunday’s spiritual high.

If you’re like me, you’re stretched thin in your own little world. We know there’s more to life than paying the bills and making good use of our Netflix subscriptions. We honestly desire to serve God and find some time in our unforgiving schedules to squeeze in a shift in Redeemer Kids. We might even say yes when a friend asks us to help them deliver a meal to someone in need. But if we’re honest, in the end it doesn’t feel like the fulfillment of Christ’s call to make disciples of all nations. There’s so much more to do for Christ, but we’re struggling just to read a Psalm in the morning let alone remember it by the end of the day.

If I’m honest, I didn’t heed the encouragement to invite people to Easter Sunday. It’s not that I didn’t want to. I just forgot. I’m a senior at WWU. I balance full-time school with work, a family, a boyfriend, and few close friends. I function in a just-do-what-absolutely-needs-to-get-done-by-tomorrow-mode and still feel like I’m barely holding it together. I hear someday it’ll be worse when I have kids. At this point, I’m hoping I’ll have time to really serve God when I’m 65. That is, if my 401(k) is sufficient for retirement. There are certainly days I think I need to quit my job and become a missionary or church planter if I’m truly to live out Christ’s call to make disciples. I just don’t see how I can manage one more “job.”

Based on my conversations with others, I’m not alone. Have you noticed the most common descriptor people use to describe their life seems to be “busy”?

It’s easier to be inspired by Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, but it’s a different story to be motivated by it on Monday.

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But don’t forget, our Sunday was actually Monday for the Jews. If he rose from the dead on a Monday, I think it’s safe to assume Christ cares about Mondays too. So why does Easter matter on Monday?

Mondays were God’s idea. After all, he created them (Genesis 1:3-5).

God also created Mondays for work. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” In fact, it was the beginning of a series of days intended to work. Genesis 2:2 says God worked six full days before he rested on the seventh day.

The people we spend our Mondays with and the ones we work to provide for are God’s idea too. In Genesis 2:18, God says it’s not right for man to be alone, so he provides for him a spouse. To them God says, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).

So where does Easter apply? Before sin, the fruits of our labors were guaranteed. The ground would yield its produce, our bodies would remain perfectly healthy, our marriages would be conflict-free, our children would grow up to love and respect their families, and we would live for eternity to enjoy the riches of our labors. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, God said

“cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3: 17-19).

So, while God still promised work, the fruits of our labor were no longer guaranteed. Instead, we are promised pain in childbearing, conflict with authority, death and illness. This makes sense because “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). It is God who provides the fruit of our labor. If we’ve rejected him, we’ve rejected his blessing too. Those of us who’ve experienced the loss of something or someone despite our efforts know the pain that comes from this state of helplessness.

But then Easter. In the Garden of Eden, God promised a Savior who would make right their wrong. Then Christ showed up. He lived a sinless life before presenting himself to God as the perfect sacrifice needed to wipe away our guilt. Access to God was granted as the veil of the temple was torn in two. Three days later, on a “Monday”, Christ rose from the dead to prove that in him even death couldn’t separate from God.

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So how does this apply to Monday? Well in Christ, all the promises of God are yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:10). This means “the earth has yielded its increase; God our god, shall bless us” (Psalm 67:6). In Christ, the fruits of our labor are guaranteed. Paul says, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15: 57-58). This applies to every labor that God has provided for us, even those Excel reports:

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:24).

This doesn’t mean that every effort will receive its reward in this lifetime. But it does mean that when Christ returns all will be made right and we will receive the inheritance he has promised for his children. This is the hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). This hope in Christ is also the “evidence of things unseen” to a world that only sees today (Hebrews 11:1).

But how does this fulfill Christ’s call to make disciples of all nations? Well, where do we find people who don’t yet know Jesus? You find them In the office, the grocery store, the gym, even the DOL. But we’re busy, just trying to get through the day. So are they. The craziness of life is not restricted to Christians. They likely won’t have time for a lengthy conversation. But they’ll probably have time to notice the sincere effort you put into the work you do, the joy you possess even when it rains, and the faith you have that God will always provide the reward for your labors. That’s something they don’t have. For them, work is what you do until you make enough money to be at leisure. Because “if there is no resurrection from the dead, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (1 Corinthians 15:32). But for you, your work is the daily proof that God is good.

If you truly believe this, it will change a Monday into a statement of faith. Something this counter-cultural won’t go unnoticed. Lord-willing, someone might ask you for the evidence of the hope you possess, and you might find it worth the time to squeeze in a drink at happy hour tonight or a shared freezer meal on Wednesday.

That’s why Easter matters on Monday too.

“Come, see”

“Come, see”

Who would have thought a simple invitation would shake up a city?

Take a moment to reflect on some of your conversations from last week. How many simple invitations were presented to you? From coffee invitations to introducing new people, invitations are extended for a myriad of reasons from delight in spending time with others to building new relationships.

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Easter Sunday is rapidly approaching in the next couple days. As Easter is just around the corner, consider the impact a personal invitation could have.

"... So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water ..."- John 4:1-42

The woman at the well is a personal dialogue between a Samaritan woman and Jesus, in which Jesus invites the woman to find her hope in Him. We can be greatly encouraged by this passage for many reasons, but for now let’s focus on three.

1. Plan: Jesus set a day and time to travel to the city of Sychar to meet her.

2. Personal Invite: Through a dialogue with Jesus the Samaritan woman began to develop a relationship with Him. He met her right where she was both spiritually and physically.  “Give me a drink”, He said. Their conversation unfolded just like our own personal conversations with others: asking questions, giving answers, listening and processing.

3. Point to Jesus: Jesus had plans to provide her with living water. He brought her face to face with truth, shining light on areas of her life that she hid in the dark. She came to the well with an empty heart looking to fill a bucket with liquid water, but left the well with a full heart overflowing with living water. As she ran back to her village she invited others to come meet Jesus: “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”

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Here are a few practical ways we can prepare to invite others to Easter at Redeemer, in hopes they would find their hope in Jesus:

  1. Ask God who He might have you invite to Easter.

  2. Personally invite them to Easter.

  3. Pray that we as a church would be warm and welcoming.

  4. Pray that God would save people.

As ambassadors of Christ, let us be encouraged to personally invite people to Easter at Redeemer this Sunday! 

Redeemer Easter Service(s) Details

Volunteer Opportunities At Alderwood Elementary

In the past few months since Redeemer began partnering with Alderwood Elementary we have provided Christmas gifts, volunteered in classrooms, played at recess, helped in the cafeteria and volunteered with the after-school clubs. We are learning names and recognizing faces. We are being asked to do a bit more and trust is being built. 

Here is what one Redeemer volunteer said about their time at Alderwood:

“My time at Alderwood has been awesome! The staff is so welcoming and really loves having us there. It’s awesome to be there and have a teacher ask if you are from Redeemer and thank you for spending time at the school. What a great opportunity for a church to come alongside Bellingham school district staff and serve these kids. 

Each Wednesday I head outside to play with the kiddos. I honestly just thought I would help push some kiddos on the swings but I have been playing football and basketball with a group of boys. It’s so much fun!! There is one first grade boy that comes and finds me each time I’m there and asks me to play. These kids love having an adult that can just come and play with them. Making these connections with the kids playing sports outside has allowed opportunity for me to then come sit with them at lunch and get to know them more. 

I am really enjoying my time and through getting to know theses kids, some of their stories, and just spending 1.5 hours a week hanging out it has been such a blessing to me. What a great opportunity to serve our God by playing with these kids and serving our city!”

If you’ve been looking for a time to start serving at Alderwood might this be it? The school is looking for some after-school helpers for their Spring clubs. Volunteers for the clubs play an important part in helping the students to feel connected in a supportive community, and providing positive role-models, just by showing an interest in what the kids are doing and in who they are. 

Alderwood offers a huge selection of clubs (14 to be exact) ranging from Futsal to Coding! We hope you’ll take some time to browse over the different after school programs offered to see what appeals to you. All clubs will be running for 8 weeks starting on April 17th and the time commitment is just once per week. 

If this will be your first time serving with the after-school clubs or you’ve done it before you will be required to attend an orientation due to some changes the program is making. There are multiple dates available for the orientation in efforts to make it as convenient as possible. 

If volunteering is something you’d like to do, and you know what club you are interested in, or you have any questions please contact dane@redeemernw.org.

EASTER SERVICE 2017 DETAILS

We will have one big Easter Service as a Church Family! If you can RSVP on this event it would really help us plan all the details and make the service all the more enjoyable for everyone.  

Redeemer’s Easter Service will be at 10am on April 16, at Bellingham High School. The address is 2020 Cornwall Ave in Bellingham. Spread the word. “Easter Invite Flyers” will be available for you to grab at Redeemer the weeks leading up to Easter. Feel free to grab a handful and invite your friends, neighbors, co-workers, family members, and whoever else comes to mind. 

Here is what you can expect at our Easter Service:

  • Doors open at 9:30am (feel free to show up early and save seats)
  • Hot Coffee/Tea from Woods Coffee will be provided 
  • Childcare provided for 5 mo – 5 year olds
  • Easter Service will be in the Theater at BHS
  • A big band (potentially the biggest in Redeemer’s history)
  • A sermon that is all about Jesus 

In Revelation 21.5, Jesus is quoted saying, “I am making all things new.” That is our theme for Easter – “All Things New”. Our King is Risen, He really is. We are looking forward to celebrating this together. See you on Easter Sunday at Bellingham High School at 10am. 

As a reminder, Child care will be provided for 5mo-5 year olds. Please respond below with ages of your kids to help us plan for all the fun we are going to have in RK celebrating the resurrected King!

Dane BurgessComment
Redeemer Students Launch Party

Join us as we gather for the launch of Redeemer Students! This event is for Middle School & High School students and our Redeemer Students’ ministry leaders. Fun and food will be provided. Come through and bring your friends—we would love to see you!

Location: 

2624 Blackberry Ln. Bellingham Wa 98229 

Date & Time: 

Middle School Students (5-8 grade)

  • Wednesday, March 8th, 5:30-7:30 pm

High School Students (9-12 Grade)

  • Wednesday, March 8th, 7:30-9:30 pm

RSVP on the City (here) or by emailing me at ben@redeemernw.org

Best, 

Ben Clifford | Redeemer Students Director

 

Stories From Alderwood Elementary

As you know, Redeemer has become a community partner with Alderwood Elementary. Alderwood is one of Bellingham’s 14 Elementary schools in the district. Alderwood is on the smaller side and is situated in the Birchwood neighborhood, close to the airport. Partnering with Alderwood isn’t just a short-term commitment. We are looking ahead over the years to come. Bit by Bit and day by day the students there start to recognize our faces. They will start responding to our smiles. They will begin to learn that Redeemer is there to stay!

We wanted to share about some different areas we are serving in the school:

Cafeteria

 “Recently I had my first “shift” serving at Alderwood. I and a few others have signed up to volunteer in the cafeteria for about an hour and a half while the students eat lunch. During that time we put on a pair of gloves and help kids open milk containers, hand out napkins, and answer any questions they may have. If we arrive early, we even get to play with the kids on the playground before the bell rings! 

We also get to spend time at the Art Table which is where the older students can be once they’ve finished their lunch. We are just there to show an interest in what the kids are doing and in who they are. Truth be told they ignored me the first day I was there. Some would look up when I asked a question others wouldn’t even acknowledge that they heard me. According to the para-educator, Sarah, who runs the lunch room that isn’t surprising. These students have seen a ton of transition over the last year. In the cafeteria, alone, there have been seven previous lunchroom paras. None until Sarah have stayed all citing it “too much.”  

According to Sara she even has a difficult time finding subs, because many people find Alderwood “too hard.” So, you see these kids, and the staff, aren’t used to people sticking around. They think I’m just another face that won’t be returning. But, that is something that we, at Redeemer, are hoping to change for them in the weeks, months, and years ahead.  One milk carton and one art project at a time.” 

Builders Club

“I have served at the Builders Club after school program.  It has been a real blessing so far, and I have noticed the kids enjoying too.  The club is an after school program where the kids come get a snack, then go out to the playground for 15 mins and then we do Builders club where you build the “theme of the day” in Legos.  It has been eye-opening and fun to get to know some of the children in the club and also to ask questions about how life is like for them and to honestly just be a stable person that shows care for them.

The first time we went to Builders Club, and we were getting ready to leave. We felt like we had a great time but weren’t quite sure the impact we had. But as we were leaving some of the kids came over and said “ARE YOU COMING BACK NEXT WEEK!!??” and I said “SOMEONE IN OUR GC WILL BE BACK NEXT WEEK” and then one of the girls chimed in “No, are YOU coming back next week…please please please?”  It just helped us understand that even when we think we may just be there being helpers, it makes an impact on these kids.” 

There are serving opportunities available at Alderwood either on an ongoing basis or a one-time Breakfast and Book event. If interested or you have any questions, please email Kelli Potts: kelliannpotts@yahoo.com