Category Archives: Lent

A Sad Friday and a Happy Sunday


By Teresa Sayles, Creative Arts Director

Woodland Hills Church

I grew up in the Catholic church and always loved Easter week.  Amongst the usual parts of mass and the liturgy, Holy Week was full of once-a-year events: foot washing, the reading of the passion drama complete with different people speaking the dialogue parts, and candles in each of our hands which were blown out in solemnity before we all filed out in silence.  And then, Easter morning, the music was more joyful and light than usual with everyone in their nice clothes and the scent of Easter lilies filling the church.

Now, as an adult, I still love Easter week but for different reasons.  Rather than being a welcome change from the usual, I now anticipate Easter with both sadness and joy because of its story.  The Easter narrative is full of both gut-wrenching grief and utmost joy.  And while many of the details of the story are perhaps not quite child-friendly, the message of it all very much is.

As we prepare for Easter this next week, I encourage you and your family to intentionally set aside time to walk through the story together.  As you do, ask questions about what Jesus and his friends might have been feeling at various points, and allow space for your kids to ask questions, as well.

One great way to walk through the story is to use The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  With beautiful illustrations by Jago, the story really comes to life in a meaningful and yet child-appropriate manner.  Even older children will love this version of the Bible!  You might consider this reading plan for your week:

  • Sunday: The beginning: a perfect home” (page 18)
  • Monday: The terrible lie (page 28)
  • Tuesday: He’s here! (page 176)
  • Wednesday: Washed with tears (page 280)
  • Thursday: The servant king (page 286)
  • Friday: A dark night in the garden (page 294)
  • Saturday: The sun stops shining (page 302)
  • Sunday: God’s wonderful surprise (page 310)

For added fun and focus, you can work together to create a mural or comic book of the events as you read them.

However you and your family choose to prepare for Easter, be sure to include time for kids to ask questions and talk through the aspects of the story that might be a little confusing or scary.

May you and your family have a blessed Easter week as we prepare and celebrate the greatest event in history!

Parent Night Out

By Patrick Showers, Associate Elementary Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

As a parent, we hear a lot of internal and external noise reminding us how crucial it is for us to invest time, energy, and love into our kids.  The experts warn us about the danger of not spending enough quality time, not reading enough, or not being diligent enough.  We also have voices in our mind pointing out our mistakes, our lack of effort, or any other of a thousand ways to make us feel guilty.

Yet, I’m confident that most of us are putting the needs of our kids before our own much of the time.  We sacrifice sleep, we burn through free time helping kids with homework, we chauffer kids all over the county, we volunteer to help with sports teams, and we work to ensure that kids have all the equipment needed for all their activities.

One thing experts have said that often gets lost in all the noise about what parents should be doing is the importance of a parent taking care of him or herself.  A crucial element to being a good parent is being rested, energized, and healthy.  Caring for our heart, our mind, our body, and our soul.  We only have so much to give of ourselves, and when our tank is empty, then our kids are in an emotional drought.

If you are like me, it is difficult to put importance on doing things to ensure that I’m well cared for rather than doing stuff for my kids or others.  Somewhere in our psyche, we’ve got a misguided sense of selflessness that can be unhealthy.  I think this parent guilt is emphasized in our culture and reinforced in our daily comparisons to other parents.

Whatever the reason, I think it is about time you recharged your internal love bank, and your kids will benefit from it.

We’ve got a great solution that not only helps you but also ensures that your kids are safe, welcome, and having a great time!


Tuesday, February 14th

From 6 – 9 pm

Check in begins at 5:45 pm

For kids birth – 5th grade

Fun activities, a light snack, games, crafts, a bouncy house and more!

All you’ve got to do is register before February 8th (after that it is $10 per child) to keep it free.

Click Here register

I encourage you as parents to build time to recharge your batteries as a part of your normal routine.  It benefits you and your family.  It is a win-win and worth the effort to arrange your schedule and say no to all the possibilities as well as that internal voice trying to guilt you into being an emotionally drained martyr.

Ash Wednesday Experience

February 10th is Ash Wednesday and the official beginning of Lent. It’s the 40 days before Easter (excluding Sundays) and is traditionally a time of fasting and preparation including special church services, usually with their own sacraments, ceremonies, and prayers.

Unlike a Catholic or Lutheran church, Woodland is not a liturgical church, meaning we don’t follow a specific Biblical calendar/schedule for the year and, traditionally, churches like ours haven’t observed Lent. However, we do believe it’s important to prepare our hearts for Good Friday and Easter before that weekend arrives. That’s why, on February 10th, we’re holding an Ash Wednesday service and experience here at Woodland for people of all ages!

We hope to create a time and space for individuals and families to come together in worship, prayer, and community as they meditate on what Christ’s sacrifice means for us and remember His journey to the cross. There will be worship through music, a short teaching, and interactive stations to help everyone – kids to adults – prepare their hearts for the Easter season. A devotional guidebook will also be available to use that night and take home for further study during the coming weeks. And because we know following Jesus is best done in community, we’re excited to offer a community dinner before the service beginning at 6:15pm. A simple menu of soup and bread will be served. The actual service will start at 7pm.

We’re excited for February 10th and are especially excited to help kids and their families interact with their Savior through the various stations and music worship. Hope to see you there!

Family Activities for Lent and Easter

Spring is fast approaching with Easter falling on April 20th. Prior to Easter, however, is the Christian season of Lent, which begins today, March 5th. In the western church, Lent is traditionally celebrated the 40 days prior to Easter (excluding Sundays). Much like Advent, Lent is a season of preparation as we remember what Christ sacrificed to save us all.

Though the Bible itself does not mention Lent, its practices were originally based on Scripture passages about fasting, prayer, and self-discipline (such as Luke 4:1-2 and Matthew 6:5-18). Through the centuries and among the various denominations, Lenten practices have varied, but the one thing they all have in common is a goal of drawing believers closer to Christ through self-sacrifice or times of devotion and prayer. Many of these practices involve some sort of fasting or the giving up of a certain luxury, food item, or activity. The idea is that, as you find yourself wanting what you have given up, you choose instead to focus your mind on Christ through prayer and worship. Some people also set aside a specific time of prayer, worship, and devotion during Lent while some church denominations hold special Lenten services each week. Lenten practices can be done either individually or with others, such as your family.

We invite you and your family to consider adding some Lenten activities and practices into your lives as we anticipate the coming of Easter. We have provided some ideas and activities in the links below. Lent offers a unique opportunity to teach children the values of fasting, prayer, worship, and self-discipline as you prepare your hearts for Easter and remember what Christ has done for each of us.

Family Activities PDF

Lent Coloring Page 1

Lent Coloring Page 2

Easter Coloring Page 1

Easter Coloring Page 2