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easter3

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Easter Session 3

Not an entirely original name for a new session on Easter, but here we go anyway! Thanks to Martin Thompson, Mike Partridge and James Grier for their ideas and involvement in this session, used at St Luke's in Exeter, Easter 2010.

Possible Music as people come in

"You Alone Can Rescue" by Matt Redman - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfzJyuFzyVE

"Christ Is Risen" by Matt Maher - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2KNvuscKRA

"On the Third Day" by Matt Maher - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm5246fitPY

Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Hillsong, Bethel etc among any others have other Easter songs.

Please support Christian artists by buying downloads or CDs of songs you use, even if you show the youtube clips or use streaming services.

Bible Reading – video

This is the myfishbites Easter video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k4DWDSwJHM

This reading comes from Matthew 27.27-54. Unfortunately in the video, we mistakenly left out verse 27 (which you may want to include). We also had to leave out the 2 references to the 2 robbers on either side of Jesus.

Here is the PDF of Matthew 27...

Easter - is it all true anyway?

Introduction to the theme. Easter is central to what Christians believe because it's the heart of the message about Jesus. If Jesus didn't die on the cross or rise again, then Christianity is meaningless. But we know that it did happen. Not only do we have the Bible as the truth, we have the evidence of millions of changed lives and historical records from people who weren't Christians or hated Christians!

For example, Flavius Josephus (a Jewish historian) writing around AD 94 said, "About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared." (the parts in italics were left out by someone quoting this writing in the 9th century).

Then, Jesus claimed that he fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies about himself. Many people point to the fact that 300 prophecies were directly fulfilled by Jesus. Time after time, the testimony and witness of the Bible and witnesses to Jesus are proved right by historical and archaeological evidence. For example, people said there was no evidence of Pilate as prefect of Judea. However in 1961 evidence was found that he was, saying, "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea." Another example is that many tombs have been found similar to the one Jesus was buried in. John Oakes writing on evidenceforchristianity.com writes, "He records more than ninety-five places and dozens of rulers. In every case we can verify from outside sources, he gets the name of the person and even the title right, when these are very difficult to get right in the confusing world of Roman rulers in the Near East." Other evidence can be found here...

The Scriptures have an incredible accuracy and amount of evidence, compared to others. For example, the famous scholar Plato only had a copy made of his work 1200 years earlier and there were only 7 copies. The historian and writer Homer is the most similar, having had 643 copies made 500 years after his first writing. However, the New Testament has 5600 copies made, all within 100 years of the events, with a 99.5% accuracy to one another!

The story of Jesus is true, the Bible is true and if you are a Christian, you have found the truth. If you don't believe, that's fine but make sure you don't ignore Jesus on the basis of what is true, rather than what people have told you which may well not be true!

Vox Pops

Get out and film people on the street and in church and ask them what Easter means to them.

Choir – Fix You (with backing track/video)

God is the one who fixes us, he's the light from above that comes and changes everything. Wherever there is hurt, pain, frustration, bitterness, brokenness, Jesus came come in to the situation and fix you, fix people and fix the situation. God's Word "is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" and God promises to lead you forward, onward and upward!

"Fix You" video on youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skUJ-B6oVDQ

Lyrics:

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse.

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above earth or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream, down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face and I...

Tears stream, down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face and I...

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.

Narnia Clip - Lion, Witch & Wardrobe DVD

On the DVD, you will need to use Chapter 17 and Chapter 20. Chapter 17 is quite long (8mins 11secs) and is the scene where Aslan has given himself up to be killed with the witch mocking him asking whether his sacrifice will really make a difference. Chapter 20 is when the 2 girls go to the stone tablet where Aslan is killed, then walk away and Aslan rises from the dead!!

Of course, this parallels the sacrifice made by Jesus. How could something so weak as allowing yourself to be killed really make a difference?! But we know that his perfect life, perfect death and rising from the dead paid for all of our sin - if we accept Jesus as being the boss of our lives and give our lives and hearts to him.

Easter Reading

Luke 24.1-11: "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened."

Matthew 28.16-20: "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Testimony/Talk

This testimony can be found by visiting Joyce Meyer and scrolling to the talk from 03/18/2010:

Ron Rudman was a Jew. As he grew up, he searched for life's meaning in all kinds of ways and religious experiences, but there was always something missing. He rejected Christianity. But one day as an adult, he was in a Barnes & Noble bookstore looking for a book for his wife and knocked over a table of books. He picked them all up, with the last book being "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. He initially dismissed it but then went back to it and opened it up, reading a line like, "The reason you picked up this book is that God wants a personal relationship with you." He bought the book, took it home and secretly read it, not wanting his family to know. He then went and bought an Amplified Bible, again hiding it. A couple weeks later he went into his room and found his wife reading an old Bible. Asking her why, she said 2 weeks before she felt called to read it and had been doing so secretly. So they started reading to each other. Quickly the 2 of them and their 2 kids accpeted Jesus in their lives. Soon after, Rod prayed God would send someone to open the Bible to his elderly mother. God answered the prayer, sending a pastor's wife within a week of the prayer. His mum, also a Jew, then gave her life to Jesus saying that "we (Jews) missed him (Jesus) - we missed the Messiah"

Make sure you don't miss the Messiah this Easter.

Jesus came to the earth as a baby. He had been connected closely with his Father God in heaven, but he chose to come to earth. He lived 30 years as a human before starting his work. He fulfilled all the prophecies in the Bible about him (eg sold for 30 pieces of silver, hung on a tree, beaten, rejected by his friends, rising on the 3rd day). He went around healing, teaching, doing good and loving others, but he was killed after an illegal trial where he was not legally foiund guilty. His friends walked away from him, he was tortured and beaten before losing connection with his Father in heaven briefly as he carried all the sin the world has and will ever commit. Then he rose from the grave and went back to heaven. Now through this, we can have eternal life with God and live a life of fullness on the earth, making a difference and seeing God use us to change and heal lives. This is what we were born to you. Everything the world tells you is cool, attractive and fun will all pass away and fade away. People, money, sex and fashions come and go. But God is everlasting and his plan for you is beyond anything you can imagine.

Prayers - response

Today, pray this prayer. If you already know Jesus - make a new commitment to him!

Jesus, today I want to give my life completely to you. Reveal yourself to me, Jesus. I believe you exist and want you to fill and have every part of me - mind, body and spirit. I ask that you forgive me for every sin and wrong thing and clean me from them, I say sorry for every wrong thing I have done and ask for your forgiveness. I believe that you died on the cross and then rose again to carry my sins and make things right between me and God. Jesus, I want to live a new life with you at the centre. Change me and make me new today and fill me with your Holy Spirit. I receive new life from you today. Amen.

Now make sure you tell someone you've prayed this prayer, get stuck in with a local church and start reading the Bible, praying (talking to God) and connect with a group of other Christian young people and youth group!

Exit to one of the songs (as above) or another suitable track

Use one of the above tracks or there are a number of options from Hillsong, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Passion, Bethel etc.

Please support Christian artists by buying downloads or CDs of songs you use, even if you show the youtube clips.