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March 8, 2024


 

How do you prepare for Easter? My family has some fun traditions. Growing up we used to dye eggs. I can still smell the vinegar and see my yellow-stained fingertips when I think about it. My mom would hide the eggs and on Easter morning we’d run around the house and look for them. We would go to church, and I’d be dressed in my new Easter clothes (slightly more formal than my usual Sunday clothes). I can remember the penny loafers (yes, I just said that) which I was so proud of. When I was a bit older, I remember the purple sport coat I wore for Easter one year! Purple! Now with my kids our traditions have changed over the years. We do Easter baskets, but the contents have changed with time. We’ve done various things during the Easter season with our kids to help them focus on Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Many of these things were teaching pieces given to us and our kids from White Oak’s Kids Ministry. As our kids got older, we’ve started to introduce the practice of Lent and have conversations around those things.


Jesus was always prepared. He often went away to wilderness places to spend time alone with the Father. We don’t know exactly what he did or what conversations he had with God. We can imagine based on his time in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry.


Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. -Matthew 4:1-2


We read the detailed conversation Jesus had with God in John 17 and then in the Garden of Gethsemane.


After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. -John 17:1-2


We can imagine Jesus prayed, recited Scripture, listened to the Father, and sat in silent meditation. At a certain point, Jesus’s preparation allowed him to turn toward Jerusalem with unwavering determination and walk toward the place where he would die.


51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. -Luke 9:51


How are you preparing for Easter? Make no mistake: The Christian life is a life of continual preparation. We are preparing each day for the power to do good and not evil; to love our family; to serve and love our neighbors; to do our work for God’s glory; to be generous; to be obedient. We are preparing in worship and gratitude and silence before God. We are preparing our bodies, minds, and hearts to receive from God and to be offered to God each day. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2:10


Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2


12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. -Philippians 2:12-13


This Easter season White Oak wants to help you prepare for worship, reflection, and celebration as we approach Resurrection Sunday. That’s why we are holding a 24/7 Prayer Experience at both of our church locations March 24-March 31. We want to fill our buildings with hours upon hours of our church family praying, meditating, and anticipating a movement of God in our church and in our city. I encourage you to sign up for one (or more) one-hour time slots. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the hour goes. Our team has provided materials to help guide your time. Let’s blanket this season in preparedness and prayer! Will you join me? Together, we will move and ask God to do powerful things that only he can do in and through each of us.



Preparing,

Nathan

  


Nathan Hinkle

Lead Pastor

White Oak Christian Church





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