The Joy of Easter

Todd Malone

Joy is a mystery to many Christians, including me. We picture joy as the human version of being a puppy: always smiling, always wagging the tail, excited about whatever walks through the door. In reality, I have a lot of grumpy or sad days. I struggle to align my experience with Jesus’ words to the disciples: “no one will take your joy from you” (16:22), or the promise that their joy will be complete (16:24). There is a gulf between Jesus’ words and my experiences. Good Friday and Easter are the bridge.

One of my dictionaries of New Testament Greek defines the word translated “joy” in John 16 as “the experience of gladness”. I attended an adoption hearing recently. When the judge announced that the children now belonged to their new family and had taken on a new last name, the courtroom erupted in applause and happy tears. The burden of a long wait had been lifted. Friends and relatives delighted in the new family unit. Delight and an eased burden capture what Jesus means by joy. The family will face tears of sadness, the pain of disappointment, and the grief of loss. But the joy of the new family will remain underneath and all around the tears, pain, and grief.

That is where Good Friday and Easter come in. In John 16, Jesus warns the disciples about the sorrow that will come because of the cross. But a promise immediately follows the warning: the resurrection will bring great joy. Joy will overcome, overshadow the disciples’ sorrow.

The promise of joy in the Bible is a promise of Easter joy. It is not the promise that we will never experience sadness, pain, fear, or grief. It is the promise that new life will follow. It is the promise that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead works in us, even in sorrow.

Joy in the Bible is not an invitation to live as if nothing bad ever happens. It is the assurance that God’s work in my life doesn’t end with the sorrow. I can feel pain, and I should. In these low points, I don’t try to manufacture fake feelings of gladness. I feel sorrow, I shed tears, I grieve. But I also remember that God loves me, which makes me glad that I am not alone. I remember that the burden I am feeling will eventually lighten. Easter will follow the cross.

 

Easter at Fellowship

Easter Devotional: In His Death We Have Life
We are preparing our hearts and minds for the coming Easter season with this Easter devotional booklet. If you have not picked one up yet, they are available on Sunday mornings at the Community Life Desk in the Worship Center Foyer. Please take one and walk with us together through the meditations and readings as we move through days leading up to Easter.

Saturday, April 13, 10:00am – 12:30pm | Family Easter Celebration
(see the Kids’ ministry article below for details on this event)

Friday, April 19, 6:00pm | Good Friday Service | Worship Center Auditorium
Join the Fellowship Family as we come together remember the hours leading up to the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior. Meditative music, congregational worship, and thoughtful readings from people within our family of faith. Childcare up through 3rd grade. Please register your kids for childcare HERE. (This will help us know how many childcare workers we need.)

Sunday, April 21, 7:00am | Sunrise Service! | in the Courtyard near the TreeHouse
Hallelujah! He is Risen! – Join us as we welcome the morning and remember the wonder and glory of the resurrection of Jesus. No child care for this service.

Sunday, April 21, 8:00-9:00am | Family Breakfast Potluck | Adult Center Gym
Bring your favorite breakfast foods (you can drop them off early if you are attending the Sunrise Service) and join us as we share a potluck meal together as a family of faith. Your children will participate with you in this shared meal. No nursery or kids’ classes during this time of fellowship.

Sunday, April 21, 9:00 & 10:30am | Easter Worship Services | Worship Center Auditorium
Join us as we celebrate the good news of Jesus with Easter worship focusing on the risen Savior. Invite your friends and family to join us for one of these services.There will be classes for kids through Kindergarten for both worship services.

Baptism – April 14

The next baptism service is Sunday, April 14, during the 10:30am worship service. To participate, contact the office (903-663-9591) or fill out the form on The HUB (longviewfbc.info). Contact us by April 1 so that we can arrange an interview with one of the pastors.

Baptism, for a believer in Christ, is a symbol of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead. Baptism also identifies us with the New Life we receive when we place our faith in Christ. It is an important and sacred ordinance for the believer to observe, and for the body to witness and affirm.

There will be a celebration on the patio by the baptismal after the service. Refreshments will be served and photos will be taken with the pastors and the families of the candidates who are baptized. Be sure to join us as we celebrate the good news of Jesus through the ordinance of baptism.

 

Family Dedication Ceremony | Mother’s Day – May 12

There will be a Family Dedication on Sunday May 12 – Mother’s Day. If you wish to have your child (or children) presented for dedication that day, please sign up at longviewfbc.info or contact the office by April 24 so that we can communicate the details with you. kathys@longviewfbc.com or 903-663-9591 X113

 

KIDS’ MINISTRY

WE LOVE PARENT VOLUNTEERS!

Help us span the gap to greater Parent Involvement! Parents, sign up to volunteer in the Kids’ Ministry once a semester! You will get to know your kid’s teachers and participate in the biblical lessons they are being taught. Your kids will love having you in their classes as well. It’s a WIN for everyone!

On Sunday mornings we will have sign up sheets at each classroom and at the Welcome Desk in the TreeHouse. All you have to tell us is which date works for you and we will plug you into the classrooms!

 

Preschool Playscape Playtime

Monday, April 15 and 29 | 10:00am -Noon

This is a time for our preschoolers (ages 3-Kindergarten only) to come play in the playscape. Parent supervision is required! It will be a come and go event so you do not have to stay the entire time.

 

Family Easter Celebration! Rise Up with Jesus!

April 13 | 10:00am – 12:30pm | FBC Campus

All are welcome to FBC’s Family Easter Celebration to look into Christ’s life and to celebrate His resurrection.

Kids and their families will experience the true joy and excitement of Easter as they make their way through interactive, hands-on stations. They will experience a super-fun, uniquely designed event to trigger opportunities for faith discussions about the promise of Easter. There will be an Easter Egg hunt and a Connection Café to enjoy an inexpensive lunch!
Participate with us by volunteering! Help with preparation, set up, or work in the Connection Café and various stations during this event. Look for the person with the red clipboard at the Community Life Desk or contact Rebecca @ rebeccas@longviewfbc.com to plug in.
Donate candy!  We need bags of individually wrapped nut free candies for the Easter Egg Hunt.
You can drop them off in the box by the Guest Desk or in the TreeHouse.


Awana in April

Awana is in the last month of club and headed towards a great time at the Awana Awards Ceremony and 30th year celebration on May 5th. 

April 7    Regular Club Night
April 14  Awana Be a … A Dress Up Night with a Little Bit of Imagination
April 21  NO CLUB — EASTER
April 28  Wet, Wild and Wacky – water fun for the clubbers and leaders

Awana 30th Anniversary! | May 5

Come help us celebrate Awana’s 30th anniversary and the End of the Year Award Ceremony. We will serve lunch from 12:00pm – 1:15pm followed by the Awards Ceremony from 1:30 – 2:30pm. Ending with dessert and bounce houses!

Coming soon to our Faith@Home Center, Faith Paths. An intentional faith map for families to guide their kids spiritual formation.

Project 21:5

It’s that time of year again!

Our 21:5 initiative is coming up quickly, filled with amazing opportunities to serve our God here in the community and with our near and distant neighbors.

We will be collecting items for those in need, building beds for some to sleep, packing snack bags for families and much, much more. Whatever your  skill set is, we have things for you to do! in the upcoming weeks keep an eye out for a full list of projects you can take part in.

There will be a list in the foyer at the Outreach Desk soon. Let’s love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and strength by loving our neighbors as ourselves!

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LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS!

Are you a servant hearted person looking for ways to contribute to the life of the Fellowship community? Want to serve with other like-minded servants? The deacon board is looking for individuals who would be willing to help them with the big Connect events on our calendar: Quarterly Baptism Celebrations, Easter Events, Fall Back-to-School BBQ, and Christmas Events. You can sign up at http://bit.ly/Event_Helpers.

CONGREGATIONAL MEETING – SUNDAY, APRIL 28

There will be a congregational meeting on Sunday, April 28, at 4:00-5:00pm. Join us in the Worship Center auditorium as we catch up on church business and ministries. We will specifically highlight the Youth Ministry, and both Slade Rinehart and Jordan Johnson will contribute updates regarding their ministry. 

BABY SHOWER FOR RACHEL BRIDGMAN

Ladies, please join us as we celebrate with Rachel Bridgman as they anticipate the arrival of their baby girl!  This is Rachel and Grant’s second child but first girl (brother James is very excited too!).  All ladies of the church are invited to celebrate!

When: Sunday, April 7th at 3:00pm
Where: Patti Coleman’s home, 3824 Holly Ridge, Longview.
RSVP to Megan at 318-588-1290 or respond to the Facebook event on the Fellowship Women Facebook page.

Rachel is registered at Target, Amazon, and Walmart.  Hope to see you there as we celebrate BABY GIRL BRIDGMAN!

This is a GREAT opportunity to experience the joy of living in community together. So come on out and help us celebrate this new life!