Celebrating a Year of Feasts

Each year, Pete and I look at how we will disciple our girls.  What things are we keeping?  What have they grown out of?   What do we want to try to add?  This year we have decided to celebrate the major Old Testament feasts as a family.  Last year we celebrated Passover with a Seder on the Thursday before Easter.  It add so much to our holiday - making the weekend truly holy days - that we want to do it again and add in a few more.

We'd like to invite your family to join us.  I am sharing our calendar with you so you can start planning ahead as well.  Prior to each feast I will share  a post about the history of the feast and how we are planning on celebrating/observing it.  Afterwards I will share photos - because we all love some photos right.

Please understand that our desire is to remember the works of the Lord and to tell them to our children - a command repeated throughout the Old Testament.  It is not our intent to try to observe Old Testament feasts as any sort attempt to keep the Law, that through Jesus we are no longer under.  Our salvation and freedom come through the blood of Christ alone, not through the keeping of feasts, law, or ritual.

Two resources that I will be drawing from are;  Finding Your Place at the Table of Tradition by Derek Leman (a wonderful study I recommend to all), and Walk with Y'shua Through the Jewish Year by Janie-sue Wertheim and Kathy Shapiro ( a wonderful family resource provided through Jews for Jesus).

Here is the calendar.  Our family will attempt to celebrate as close to these dates as possible, but since we are not observing these feasts as Law, we are going to offer ourselves a lot of grace.

Passover:  April 3rd-11th.  We will have our family Seder on Maundy Thursday which is April 2.
Shavuot:  May 23-25
Rosh Hashanah:  Sept 13-15
Yom Kipper:  Sept 22-23
Sukkot: Sept 27- Oct 4th
Hanukkah:  Dec 6th -14th

Has your family ever celebrated any of these feasts?  I would love to hear your experiences.  Please comment below or email me at wendyandersonschulz@gmail.com

The Mid Life Joy Challenge #midlifeJOY

God recently had a little smack down talk with me.   In light of my impending 40th birthday, God had a question for me:

 "If you're not happy now, with all I have given you, when will you be happy?"  

I didn't have an answer.
You see, I live my life chasing happiness on the tail of one little word -  WHEN.  

I will be happy WHEN I am married - CHECK
I will be happy WHEN we have a child - CHECK, CHECK
I will be happy WHEN we move to that house - CHECK
I will be happy WHEN we make XX amount a year - CHECK
I will be happy WHEN I have a good career - CHECK

There's a never ending list of WHEN's you can chase.  I have more freedom, luxury, security, love, and pleasure than 99% of the world's population. I have been saved for eternity by the blood of my Savior.  Yet when people ask "How are you?" my most common answers are;  busy, tired, or fine.  If I'm honest, I have to admit that I'm not a very happy person.  You see there's still a list:

I will be happy WHEN I lose 50 lbs - 
I will be happy WHEN we are out of debt -
I will be happy WHEN ...

So, I had no answer for God.

Sitting in the silence of our conversation He whispered a new word to me:  JOY.  
Joy?  That surprised me.  Not contentment, or even happiness?   He whispered JOY.   He whispered it into my ear like a reminder, an assignment, a challenge.  God wants me, His daughter, to be full of JOY now, not later, not WHEN, but now, because it's already been given to me.  You see JOY is very different than happiness.  

Happiness is a feeling human's seek, JOY is a gift God has given us. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Happiness is fleeting, JOY is eternal (John 14:1-3) 
Happiness is self-centered, JOY is God-centered.  (Psalm 1:23)
Happiness is fragile, JOY is strength.  (Nehemiah 8:10)

I've accepted the challenge to start living out a life of joy.  I'd like to invite you to join me.  
This year-long project will consist of monthly themes that will force us to take a look into areas of our lives that are stealing our Joy.  We'll look at what God says about these areas, memorize truth-giving scripture, and then walk out these truth with a challenge.  Each month I will post at the beginning of the month about the theme and challenge, at the end of the month I will post a personal recap of how I walked out the challenge.  

The challenge for January is to decide to join me in the Mid Life Joy Challenge.  If you are not subscribed to The Celebrated Family - you can do so on the right hand side of the website.  With the remaining days of January share a picture on Twitter, Instagram, of Facebook with the tag #midlifeJOY.  Let's keep our eyes open for JOY and share it with one another.  

Winner Announcement: Devotions for a Healthier You

I recruited some help to announce the winner of Devotions for a Healthier You by Katie Farrell.  Thank you for all the comments here, and on Facebook, sharing your one step toward health.  I pray blessings over the steps you desire to take this year in becoming a healthier you.