Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Tomorrow Lent begins! Ok, so you probably don't know what Lent is. Even though Lent is not found in the Bible, there is historical significance and good reason for it. I've never known what Lent is, much less participated in it until my decision to do so this year. Like anything else - it can be very deep and personal or just a religious tradition - it's up to you and your heart. Maybe you are a Catholic by heritage, or consider yourself religious, but don't truly know what it means to have a relationship with Jesus - wow, this could be a great time for you to search the Scriptures and find out who this Jesus really is!
Maybe you consider yourself the most UN-RELIGIOUS person on the planet - don't you owe it to yourself to at least find out for yourself who Jesus is and what He taught? Lent could be a great time to do a 40 day study of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - found in the Bible)!
The local church I'm a part of doesn't do fancy liturgy, we don't have stained glass windows, and most of us wear jeans rather than suits or priestly robes...we tend to prefer the electric guitar over the organ, and we're more likely to be laughing and smiling than somber and quiet...but there is a still a very real, and very deep passion to know Jesus and to live our lives for the Savior of the world! Lent is a good way to get on the right track!
Lent is a 40-day fasting season that begins on Ash Wednesday (tomorrow) and concludes at the Easter. Sundays are not included in the 40-day count because every Sunday is a joyful celebration of Jesus' resurrection. Though not found in the Bible, Lent has long been a tradition in the Christian Church, and it is thought that the tradition of the 40 days recalls the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, fasting and being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). Lent is considered a time of repentance and discipline.
One of my current favorite authors, Mark Batterson says this concerning Lent:
I have a goal-oriented personality. Without goals I'm no good. So I try to leverage things like birthdays and New Years and Lent and Pentecost to set new spiritual goals or reestablish some God habits. A few years ago I started observing Lent and it's made Easter so much more meaningful. Can't wait for Ash Wednesday.
Here's an equation: -++=x.
Translation: subtraction plus addition equals multiplication.
What do you need to subtract from you life?
It might be a bad habit or waste of time or something that is permissible but not beneficial. Last year I gave up television for forty days. This year I'm giving up soda and candy. I know that doesn't sound super spiritual, but if you knew how much I love vanilla coke and gummy bears...
What do you need to add to your life?
You can't just subtract something. You've got to add something to your spiritual routine. I'm going to add an hour to my day. How? I'm setting my alarm clock an hour earlier than I normally do. I want to give God more of my most precious resource: time.
I'm believing that subtraction and addition will result in multiplication. Honestly, I don't think I've ever been filled with more holy anticipation about what God is doing in my life and the life of National Community Church. But I'm believing Him for greater things! I want Him to multiply what He is already doing!
Question: what are you subtracting or adding for Lent?
So...who's in? Reply to this email and tell us what you are planning on adding and subtracting.
Subtraction: I'm going to not eat after 8:00pm and refrain from all Desserts including the deadly "C's": Cookies, Crackers, Chips, and Cake
Addition: I'm going to actually read through Beth Moore's 40 Day Bible Study on Jesus, spend an hour in prayer before I shower, read, eat, or do anything else in the mornings, because my prayer time gets easily crowded out with "stuff" in the morning.
See you soon