Passover and Easter Recap

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God invented holidays as a way to remember, teach, and pause.  Easter is the richest week of the year, and we have compiled all of our posts that discuss how you can make this season come alive for you and your family.

Don’t try to do all of these things this year (goodness knows we don’t have time to do that either!), but let God lead you to pick one or two that are just exactly what you need.

Remember – He is Risen! 

Palm Sunday – Mighty and Meek

Palm Sunday – The revelation of our humble king, full of power and peace.  Mighty, yet meek.

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Holiest Week With Your Kids

When you talk about Who He is, what He has done for you, who we are in Him, and what we can do as a response, that makes it holy. Every week is holy, if you are purposeful.  Here are some ideas for celebrating the Holiest Week with your family.

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Passover With Your Kids – Simplified

Passover can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with it.  Here is a straightforward way to understand the deep roots of the Easter season.

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Passover and Easter Fun

Calling all parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, boys, and girls!  Here are some fun Easter activities that we’ve found, but we want to know what cool ideas you’ve had.  Please share these with your friends, and share your ideas with all of us.

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Passover:  Deep Meaning and Tradition

Passover:  Deep meaning behind the tradition.  Click here to learn about the Yeast, the Lamb, and the Cup.

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Passover Meal How-To: How-To Guide for having your own Passover celebration.

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Passover: The 4 Cups

For thousands of years before the tiny Communion cup there were the 4 #Passover cups!

The key symbolic pieces of the Passover meal are eating of the Matzah bread, the Seder plate and the drinking of four glasses of wine. Today we are going to talk about the four glasses of wine. These are drank throughout the meal and each has a specific and deep meaning.

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Countdown to Passover

Easter and Passover are coming up soon, so it’s time to begin preparing ourselves for this meaningful time.

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Passover:  From Moses to Me

Countdown to Easter/Passover…

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Passover:  The Seder Plate

Do you know what the Seder Plate is?  Do you know what it means and what it can teach you and your kids?  Find out here:

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Uncomfortable, Stinky, Beautiful, Servant Leadership

In between the triumph of Palm Sunday and the tragedy of Good Friday, we find a perfect example of servant leadership in action.

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Good Friday:  Not Fair

As we approach Passover/Easter, we want to highlight some of the lessons from Jesus’ last week.

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Good Friday:  I Thirst

The thirst we feel is a spiritual thirst!  This thirst is no less real than our physical thirst.

God put a thirst for Himself inside every heart – a longing that has been unquenched since Eden.

The next time you are thirsty or hungry or lustful or restless, don’t turn to Facebook or calories.  Turn your face to heaven and say “Abba, I thirst! I am thirsty, and only you can satisfy me!”  God has not forsaken you, and in him you will find the comfort that you seek.

Remember friends, your suffering is real.  Your longing is real.  Your thirst is real.  Without your spiritual thirst, you would be as good as dead!  But do not be deceived – you thirst for God!  Reach out to Him, and in Him you will find what you need.

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Countdown to Pentecost:

Whew, Lent, Passover, Last Supper, Good Friday, Bad Saturday, Easter Sunday are past.  Not it’s 7 weeks until Pentecost.  Let the countdown begin!

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Pumpkin Fun

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Do your kids think that pumpkins come from Walmart?  If so, a trip to the pumpkin patch might be a good activity this fall.

We live in an entertainment-rich culture.  From tablets to bounce houses, the world is a playground.  But sometimes it is nice to do a simple activity as a family.  One of our fall traditions is a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins.  We have done this for years, and it is something we all look forward to.  As a farm boy who is transplanted into the city, I love to get my kids out to experience agriculture.  I want them to understand where food is grown, and I want them to enjoy vigorous activity that sometimes involves mud or dust.

What kind of memories do you enjoy making with your family?  How do you connect them to nature and our agrarian heritage?  What are your favorite fall activities?

Enjoy pumpkins?  Here is our post from a few years ago:


Here is our post about shining Christ’s light at Halloween.





Lent – Another Chance to Get Beyond the Blur

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Have you ever stared out the side window of a car?  Even if you are only going 35 mph, the scenery is a blur.  No matter how hard you try to focus, your eyes can’t keep up.  Trees and signs and houses all go past you in an indistinct mix of shapeless colors.

Sometimes life feels like that.

I’m sure that every age has considered themselves busy, but I think that this generation has taken it to a new level.  Never before has it been so easy to sign up for everything and focus on nothing.  If we don’t say “No” five times a day then we will find ourselves enrolled in more events and opportunities than our calendar can handle.  And so, life becomes a blur.

Only by purposefully slowing down and focusing on what is important are we able to escape this rat race.  This change of focus is like looking through the front windshield instead of the side window.  By focusing our eyes on things far ahead of us, we will notice that the scenery slows down.

Paradoxically, by looking farther in the distance we see the important things more clearly.  

For Christians, Resurrection Sunday, aka Easter, is the high point of the year.  Don’t let its significance get lost in the urgency of the daily routine.

Spend some time in the next 40 days to focus your mind on Easter so that you can get beyond the blur.


Related Posts and Other Thoughts:

“Part of celebration is anticipation.”

-Pastor Phil Ellsworth


Lent: From 60 to Zero

How good are your brakes? Let’s slow our lives down as we approach Easter – we don’t want to miss it!

Lent:  A Family Tradition

Irenaeus celebrated Lent.  Do you?  Everyone knows that the pace of life gets out of control sometimes .  Lent is one way to take back control and slow down.  What are you planning to do?


When life’s pace pulls you along like whitewater rapids, what do you do to stop and focus?

Why We Celebrate Holidays

For those of you who are forgetful, distractible, and need to be entertained…have I got a deal for you!

Slowing Down at Christmas

Is it a fairy tale to think that you can slow down at Christmas?  Here are a few ideas and compromises we have made to take the hectic out of the holidays:

New Year, New Goals

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Happy New Year!

As we turn over a new calendar we like to sit down and plan for the new year.  What goals do we have?  What new challenges will we face?  What new things will we tackle?  Here are a few posts that discuss different kinds of goals for you to consider.  Several of these posts have free worksheets that you can print off to assist you in your planning, dreaming, and praying.  Enjoy!

Goal Post:  Don’t kick it wide left – take some time to think and pray about your goals!

Goals and ArmorIn order to accomplish our goals, we are going to have to fight!  This is how we suit up for battle and train our kids.  

Growth and Goals: Are you growing in the right direction?

Goals For Your Kids:  Goals – they’re not just for adults anymore!  Click here to find out more about how we are going to help our kids reflect on last year and look forward to the next!  

Marriage and Parenting GoalsPlan to start the year out right! Download our free worksheet to help you discuss your growth areas for this year.  

Career Goals: What are your values?  What small goals do you have?  What huge goals?  What actions are required?  This is a great time to think about these questions.  

Personal Goals:  Personal goals are like a compass – no matter how far off course you get, you always know which way you are going.  


Here are some of the worksheets with the date changed to 2016 if you are a type-A person like Dana and care about those types of details!

2016 Kid’s New Years Eve Interview

2016 Kid’s Goals 

2016 Gals Personal Goals

2016 Guys Personal Goals

Hanukkah: 8 Days of Light in 400 Years of Darkness

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It’s 166 BC.  Imagine you are an Israelite who loves God.  It has been years, no, generations since God has been heard.  No messages to a prophet. No visions to a priest.  No revelation to a king.  No angels appearing.  Nothing.  Imagine the feeling of hopelessness.  Imagine the doubts that would creep in:  “Has God abandoned us?  Does He care?  Will we hear from Him again?”

Wouldn’t you have been worried?  Were God’s chosen people somehow no longer chosen? Continue reading

Boldly Wrong

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Strange picture, huge purpose, passionate drive

I hate being wrong.

I think over the years I have linked “being right” to my value and self-worth.  Everyone creates their inner ‘this is who I am and this is what I do,’ and I think this is part of mine.  The tragic flaw in this logic is that if I am awesome when I am right then I am not awesome when I am wrong.  So being wrong becomes equal to failure, which must be avoided at all costs.  And that, my friend, is no way to go through life.

So that brings me to Columbus.  Columbus was wrong.  He believed that the earth was small enough that he could safely sail around the back and wind up in the East Indies.  He not only believed it in his head, he took bold and courageous action.  He bravely sailed into the great unknown and risked it all.  One problem, the ‘short cut’ was not as short as he expected, and there was a giant land mass in the way.  He was very wrong.  But by being wrong, he got something unimaginably right.     Continue reading


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Every Day

We are to shine brightly each and every day. Halloween gives us a great opportunity to shine our light in the midst of the darkness of ghosts, vampires and witches. Whether your church reaches out to the community with a fall festival or you provide a safe and fun place at your home, get out this Halloween and love on your neighbors. Don’t be afraid to share about your Savior’s incredible news!

Here are some ideas:


  1. Provide non-candy items such as tattoos, bouncy balls, bookmarks, pencils, play-doh, or glow sticks
  2. Provide allergy free candy: Peanut Free Candy or Gluten Free Candy
  3. Do a craft instead of giving out candy


  1. Pop Goes the Pumpkin
  2. Candy Corn Bean Bag Toss
  3. Candy Corn Ring Toss – take small traffic cones and use duct tape to turn them into candy corn.
  4. Gone Fishing- Either have a tarp that the kids go fishing over or put “fish” in a baby pool with paper clips.
  5. Carnival Game Ideas

Decorate your Trunk

  1. 21 Clever Ideas
  2. Daniel and the Lions Den
  3. Jonah and the Whale
  4. Bible Stories
  5. Nursery Rhymes
  6. Historical Events
  7. Disney Characters or Stories
  8. Theme that goes with Bible Verse

Ways to Spread the Good News

  1. God is Three in One– using a candy corn
  2. Salvation Message– using a Pumpkin

See other ideas on the following posts:

OPL: Halloween Lights

Halloween provides Christians with an amazing opportunity to let our lights shine brightly on an otherwise dark night.  We don’t have to  hide from this wonderful opportunity. Go out and be among the people, whether it is at your church or in your own neighborhood. Take the opportunity to show love to some people who you may otherwise never meet.  Be a light!!

OPL: Pumpkin Patch

It’s fall, so it is time to go to the pumpkin patch. Read about our favorite one, see our carved pumpkins, and get a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds.


Learn more about OPL’s take on holidays by clicking on the Family – Holidays menu.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!

Don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!

My God, the Kindergarten Teacher

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How do I say this in a way that isn’t blasphemous?  We serve a, um, unique God!

To be completely honest, I think He is just plain unpredictable at times.  Want proof?  God sets up a series of celebrations and ceremonies each year, most of them including feasts and fasts and sacrifices.  Normal religious stuff.  But one of them includes everyone in His nation building little tents and shelters and living in them.  For a week!  Arts and crafts as part of the Torah?  What?

I can only imagine how the dialogue might have gone:  Continue reading

Yom Kippur – Solemn Celebration

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On this Yom Kippur, I am struck by this holiday’s contrast.  There was no day more solemn for the Jews, as one of the priests entered the tabernacle’s Holy of Holies to be in the same room as God to atone for the sins of the entire nation!  To be that near to Someone so holy and so powerful must have been awe-inspiring.  To be entrusted with a job so weighty must have been sobering.  Thus Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) is a solemn day, reminding us that we will be judged one last time when we stand before God in heaven.

But on this side of the cross, with the curtain to the Holy of Holies torn open, we can joyfully enter His presence with pure hearts!  Praise God, we are made new!  We can celebrate!

This is our God:

“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”  (Exodus 34:6-7a) 

On this day, remind your kids that they have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and the consequence is death.  But yet, Jesus died for us so that we can be saved!  So solemn, but so much joy!

How will you choose to observe this solemn celebration?


Here is our post from last year, with printable Yom Kippur guide:   Continue reading

Good Morning – This Is Your Annual Wake-Up Call

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Wake up calls.

As much as they may jolt us, wake-up calls are a very good thing.  It is a way of ensuring that we do not miss out on the important events of the day.  It gets you out of bed, no matter how dark it is.

Long before there were iPhone Weather Warnings to jolt you out of bed, there were roosters and ram’s horns to do the job.

That would do it, don’t you think?

What does this have to do with a purposeful life, you ask?  Today is the beginning of the Jewish holiday of the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah.  I posted last year about how this holiday is a wake up call for us.  (Instead of a rooster, the object lesson for this holiday was a ram’s horn, which was equally annoying.) Although lesser known, this is in some ways the most exciting original holiday of all, because it is one of 2 that are still unfulfilled.  Think about it: Continue reading