Passover is this week and many Christians celebrate acknowledging that Jesus is God’s Passover lamb. But in the midst of COVID-19 and the turmoil that has beset our nation, we may experience some obstacles to the traditional formal service. So, how can we be creative and still honor this spiritual event?
Passover commemorates an event which occurred almost 3500 years ago. During the time of Moses when Israel was enslaved in Egypt, plagues were sent as judgement against the false gods of the nation. The last of these plagues was the angel of death who came to every household and family and took the life of the firstborn. The Hebrews had been kept safe to this point by the hand of God. Nine other plagues had visited Egypt but did not fall on Israel in the land of Goshen. But for this last plague, God showed His children a way to protect themselves from the angel of death as he swept over the country.
Each household was to take a lamb, sacrifice it, and put the blood of the lamb across their doorway. This sign would tell the angel of death to “pass over” this particular dwelling. Then they were to roast the lamb and share it with all of the family members so that nothing remained. In this way, they would be protected. (Exodus 12)
The next day after Passover, a great deliverance took place. Israel left the place of their bondage laden with the spoils of Egypt and travelled towards their promised land. Moses led a mass exodus out of Egypt and into the desert where they would wander for forty years before entering the designated territory.
The Christian Passover 2020
Today many Jews and Christians celebrate this miraculous deliverance with a Passover celebration. As Christians, we can look to the Jewish celebration of Passover with two perspectives…the historical deliverance of Israel and the light of New Testament revelation.
Jesus is our Passover lamb. He was sacrificed on the cross at exactly the same time that the priests offered the Pascal lamb on the temple altar. The blood of Jesus is a powerful protection against evil, the powers of darkness, disease, and death. In faith and prayer, we apply His precious blood to our lives, our families, and our nation.
The traditional Jewish Passover Seder (“Seder” means order because of the fixed order of the service) is a beautiful ceremony which commemorates the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. The Passover Seder Meal tells the story of Israel and God’s grace and love towards His children. The joyful celebration includes a Haggadah (printed order of the service), a meal, and a Seder plate which has prophetic elements that remind the participants of God’s intervention in their life…
- Matzoh: three unleavened matzohs to remember the haste of their departure from Egypt and the lack of leaven or sin
- Maror: bitter herbs, usually horseradish or romaine lettuce, used to symbolize the bitterness of slavery.
- Charoses: a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon, as a reminder of the mortar used by the Jews
- Beitzah: a roasted egg, as a symbol of life and the perpetuation of existence.
- Karpas: a vegetable, preferably parsley or celery, representing hope and redemption; served with a bowl of salted water to represent the tears shed.
- Zeroah: traditionally a piece of roasted lamb shankbone, symbolizing the paschal sacrificial offering
- Wine: four glasses of wine are consumed during the service to represent the four-fold promise of redemption, with a special glass left for Elijah the prophet.
In our present situation, it may be difficult to celebrate this holiday in the traditional way with the full order of service. However, since Passover is a historical and spiritual reminder of God’s provision and protection, allow me to offer a simple, non-traditional way to commemorate this event.
Begin with praise to the Lord. Thank Him for all of the blessings that you and your family have enjoyed. You may ask each person to share one significant time when God showed His faithfulness to them.
Light candles to represent Jesus as the Light of the world. Invite His presence to come and be with you in this time.Traditionally, a woman would light the candles and say a blessing.
Read some passages of scripture. Exodus 12 is the historical Passover story, but include some favorite scriptures from the New Testament. Each participant might read their favorite passage or use the scriptures listed below with each prophetic element of the meal.
The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. Exodus 12:14
Wash your hands. This is a symbolic act of cleansing and could be done at the table with a bowl and towel. Allow a time of reflection and repentance before God. Read Psalm 24:
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob., Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory. Psalm 24.
Enjoy a good meal together with your family. Instead of the Seder plate, improvise with some prophetic elements to be shared during the meal.
- Karpas…a green vegetable or any plant that represents new life (this could be dipped in salt water that represents tears that were turned to joy)
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Solomon 2:10-13
- Bread or Matzah…Jesus is the bread of life.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35
- A sweet mixture of fruit and nuts or a fruit salad…God is good.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
- Meat (or main course for those who are vegetarians)…sacrifice of Jesus.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25
End the meal with Communion. The classic passage of scripture is 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; however, in this time it may be appropriate to recite Psalm 91 and prophesy the truths as part of your covenant with God:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
As the clock winds down to the appointed time of revival, my question has to be…are you ready for a move of God? God is working across the globe stirring the hearts of his children. I hear of churches in the most isolated of places coming alive. Worship is reaching new heights in Sunday services. People are being roused from their spiritual slumber and God is the one sounding the alarm clock!
Scripture cautions us to be alert during the upcoming harvest season. As the time for massive revival approaches, the church needs to awaken, arise, and then align with the plans and purposes of God. Proverbs 10:5 warns
…he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
In a famine, we gather food and store it ahead of time. During a financial crisis, we discover creative ways to barter and pay for goods and services. But how do we prepare for a spiritual move of God?
In many ways, we can’t. The manifestation of God’s power will be
The answer is we cooperate with God in the preliminary stages and equip ourselves with the basics. In the very near future, there will be so many babes in Christ and a pressing need for spiritual parents. Each of us will be called into service and into a discipleship role. What is the best way to anticipate this surge of the supernatural? Familiarize ourselves with spiritual foundations and get empowered to minister.
Lighting a Spiritual Fire
As a former Camp Fire Girl, I built my fair share of fires. I remember the many twigs, sticks, and logs laid one upon another in some “teepee” or “log cabin” shape. From the littlest of branches to the larger limbs, each piece had its place in starting the fire. If I arranged the twigs correctly, I only needed one match to ignite the entire pile. In a matter of minutes, the stacked dry wood became a blazing inferno.
Amazingly, I have seen God use the same technique in his church. In this case, however, the sticks that make up the fire are not pieces of wood, but Biblical concepts. When knowledge, understanding, and faith combine, it only takes one touch from the hand of God. A single spark from heaven ignites the spiritual fire within us!
My soon-to-be-released book Empowered offers both the raw material and the flint to ignite the spiritual flame. It is a compilation of the many seminars and training sessions I have led over the years. I have already used the concepts found within these pages to train church teams, ministries, and travelling collegiate groups in a variety of settings, denominations, age groups, and cultures.
As the second book in the Foundations of Faith series, Empowered equips the reader with fundamental Biblical concepts that lead to active ministry. I designed the book for use in one of two ways. First, it provides a solid foundation for the training of altar workers. I use this term to describe those people designated to pray for their congregation during ministry or prayer times.
Second, it is an introduction to practical ministry for every Christian who wants to be used by God. To those who hunger to see the power of God in their everyday lives, Empowered supplies the basic knowledge for activating that desire. For those of us who anticipate a sovereign move of God’s power, it becomes the catalyst for preparation.
Over the next several posts, I will be sharing excerpts from my book. It is my hope that Empowered will advance the kingdom of God by preparing believers to act on their faith. My heart’s desire is to see the Church equipped, prepared, and fully functioning at its highest level of excellence.
Whether ministry occurs within the church, in the marketplace, or community, God is ready to touch lives and transform people. He is on the move. We need to be ready to move with him!
Step #6 is review your goals on a daily basis. As the first 90 days unfold, constantly reading them does two things. First, it activates the RAS brain function and stimulates our creative response. Second, it also reminds us of our targets and what we are working towards.
Stay on course!
Once the 90 Day Action Plan is complete, make copies and display them in highly visible places. I suggest placing both your One Year Action Plan and the 90 Day Action Plan on a refrigerator door, bathroom mirror, or bulletin board. (Download FREE forms)You can review the goals in the morning as you brush your teeth, shave, or wash your face. You can also take a copy to work and read during the course of the day. Post it on your computer!
As you read the plans, imagine how you will feel once you accomplish the target. Think about the positive effects on you, your family, and even your friends. Revisit the rewards you promised yourself. Do they motivate you to keep going one more day? Review your goals daily. Keep them before your eyes.
Step #7: CELEBRATE
As you hit your targets, celebrate! In fact, reward yourself as you accomplish each goal. It may be dining with your spouse at a favorite restaurant, reading a new best-seller, shopping for clothes in a smaller size, or planning a weekend getaway. Enjoy the process and reward yourself accordingly.
Setting and meeting goals takes time and effort. Don’t skimp on this step. It will motivate you to continue and meet the next set of goals.
But What If… (more…)
Setting goals means changing habits. And developing a new habit requires mental, physical, and emotional energy.
Research shows that every person has a certain threshold of energy that they may direct towards change. We can easily exhaust this energy by juggling too many goals. Although we may enter into our action plan enthusiastically, we can wear ourselves out in a few short weeks.
Are you new to goal-setting? Start small. I recommend you begin with one goal. Focus your energies on it. Once achieved, add another target.
Develop an Action Plan
The FREE 7 Easy Steps to Goal Setting Success Workbook offers two types of action plan forms. The first is a one year plan; the second has a 90-day focus.
The One Year Action Plan provides an overview of the upcoming year. It records all of your goals for the next 12 months and gives a general overview of your progress. Transfer your chosen goal from the individual Life System pages to the One Year Action Plan. ( see my post “Assign and Prioritize Goals“)
Record your yearly targets for each category in the appropriate places. Remember to start with just one goal if you are just getting started. The 90 Day Action Plan is a roadmap for the next three months. For our first 90 day window, we want to choose goals that are significant. Select those targets that will have the greatest impact. Ask yourself…
What three things can I focus on in the next 90 days that will produce the most significant impact?
( Download FREE Workbook for 7 Easy Steps for Goals Setting Success)
Steps# 3…Assign a Time Frame
Every goal needs a time frame. In this step, we will review each goal from the Goal-Storming Form and assign a reasonable time frame. Some goals are accomplished in a day. Others take a week or a month. Many require years or a lifetime to fulfill.
When we set a time frame, we must be definitive. Words like someday, one day, or maybe are not defining terms. Eliminate those wishy-washy words! Pause and consider several factors that could influence the achievement of it:
- How much time and energy can I devote to it?
- What priority will this particular target have in relation to the rest of my life?
- What resources do I need to help?
- Are there any obstacles that might get in the way?
- Do I need advice from a professional?
As we consider each of our Goal-Storming goals, we will assign a time frame to each. We want to begin thinking in tangible blocks of time. Our targets fall into one of four classifications: daily, weekly, yearly, or lifelong.
As we continue charting our new course, we are going to take an inventory of our hopes, dreams, and desires. In this second step, we are going to brainstorm every area of life. I call it Goal-Storming!
We will consider 6 areas of our life (physical, spiritual, financial, mental, social, and professional) and record every possibility…and even a few that seem impossible. It’s a total brain-drain of all of our ambitions both present and future. This process takes our random thoughts and puts them into written, tangible form.
As we get ready for this exercise, open yourself up to the possibilities. Don’t second guess your dreams or limit yourself. Record even the most outrageous vision you may have, even if it seems improbable! Write down anything that captures your imagination in each area. If you want to be a ski instructor one day, write it down. If you hope to have a million dollars in the bank, record those hopes.
Give yourself permission to dream BIG.
Be willing to take a risk.
At this stage, we are not going to assign time frames or worry about our goals fitting any model. We only want to record every thought and then we will edit and define specific goals in a later step.
Find a comfortable, quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Give yourself at least an hour to complete this step. Take your time and be thorough recording your current aspirations as well as future ones.
Use the questions from the 101 Goal-Storming Questions page found in the 7 Steps Workbook (FREE download here)to stimulate your creative brain. Let your mind dislodge all of that hidden potential!
Record your ideas on the Goal-Storming Form. You may need to print multiple copies of this form.
For complete information on goal setting, pick up a copy of 7 Easy Steps for Goal Setting Success by clicking the book below!