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Lent

Christ is All | Weekly Prayers During Lent

Christ is All | Weekly Prayers During Lent

O LOVER TO THE UTMOST.
May I read the melting’s of thy heart to me
in the manger of thy birth in the garden of thy agony,
in the cross of thy suffering, In the tomb of thy resurrection,
In the heaven of thy intercession.
Bold in this thought I defeat my adversary,
tread down his temptations, resist his scheming,
renounce the world, am valiant for truth.
Deepen in me a sense of my holy relationship to thee,
as spiritual Bridegroom, as Jehovah’s Fellow, as sinners’ Friend.
I think of thy glory and my vileness, thy majesty and my meanness,
thy beauty and my deformity, thy purity and my filth,
thy righteousness and my iniquity.
Thou hast loved me everlastingly, unchangeably,
may I love thee as I am loved;
Thou hast given thyself for me, may I give myself to thee;
Thou hast died for me, may I live to thee, in every moment of my live,
in every movement of my mind, in every pulse of my heart.
May I never dally with the world and its allurements,
but walk by thy side, listen to thy voice, be clothed with thy graces,
and adorned with thy righteousness.

Saying, "no" to say, "yes"

As I consider what it means to fast from busyness this lenten season, I am immediately reminded of my own recent, partially successful, attempts to get my schedule under control. As last fall drew to a close, I found myself feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and over-committed. I was constantly busy but I never felt like I got anything done. I spent so much time on peripherals, I was not able to spend time doing things I really wanted to do. Sound familiar?

Through reflection and some wise brothers (aka my discipleship groups), I came to understand that every time I say, “Yes” to something, I am tacitly saying, “No” to other opportunities. This is true of any decision we make, large or small. This dynamic is perhaps more obvious with large decisions. When we choose somewhere to live or a new job, we carefully weigh our options and are quite aware of the alternatives we are saying, “No” to. With smaller decisions, like signing up for a new volunteer opportunity, getting coffee with a friend, or deciding what to do with an evening, we are far less likely to examine all of our alternatives and what we might be giving up by saying, “Yes.”

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with signing up to serve soup at the local shelter, enjoying the company of friends, or spending a relaxing evening vegging out with your favorite show. Indeed, these are often good and healthy things to do. Pastor Ernie frequently talks about our tendency to allow “good things” to become or replace “ultimate things.” When our schedules are so full of “good things” that we cannot spend time with our Heavenly Father, we have allowed them to replace the most important thing. Instead of being consumed by our busyness, we should start saying, “No” so that we may say, “Yes” to time with God.

In this, Jesus is our model. In Luke 5:15-16, we read that, “Great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities,” (v. 15). Jesus responded by withdrawing from the crowds and spending time in prayer (v. 16, also Mark 1:35). Instead of being caught up in the good he was doing by preaching to the crowds and healing the sick, he understood that spending time with his Father and obedience to his will were more important. Jesus said, “No” to preaching and healing so that he could say, “Yes” to time with his Heavenly Father.

As a community, we have decided to fast from busyness during Lent. In this season, examine your busy schedule, prayerfully considering which items you can say, “No” to, either temporarily or long-term, so that you may say, “Yes” to Him.

The Prayer of Love | Weekly Prayers During Lent

The Prayer of Love | Weekly Prayers During Lent

GRACIOUS LORD,
Thy name is love, in love receive my prayer.
My sins are more than the wide sea’s sand, but where sin abounds,
there is grace more abundant.
Look to the cross of thy beloved Son, and view the preciousness of his atoning blood;
Listen to his never-failing intercession, and whisper to my heart,
‘Thy sins are forgiven, be of good cheer, lie down in peace.’
Grace cataracts from heaven and flows forever, and mercy never wearies in bestowing benefits.
Grant me more and more to prize the privilege of prayer,
to come to thee as a sin-soiled sinner,
to find pardon in thee, to converse with thee;
to know thee in prayer as the path in which my feet tread,
the latch upon the door of my lips,
the light that shines through my eyes,
the music of my ears,
the marrow of my understanding,
the strength of my will,
the power of my affection,
the sweetness of my memory.
May the matter of my prayer be always
wise, humble, submissive, obedient, scriptural, Christ-life.
Give me unwavering faith that supplications are never in vain,
that if I seem not to obtain my petitions I shall have larger, richer answers,
surpassing all that I ask or think.

Lent season is here

Lent season is here

On March 5th, we at Sojourn church will be joining in with millions of Christians across the globe to partake in Lent. On the Christian calendar, Lent (from Latin, meaning “fortieth”) is the forty days beginning Ash Wednesday (March 5th) and leading up to Easter Sunday (April 20th). The purpose of Lent is first and foremost about the gospel making its way deeper into our lives and shaping us as we look to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Here is the scoop, there are many who grew up only equating Lent to the fabric found in your belly button. Others grew up forced to involuntarily abstain from good food that they never desired to abstain from. Still others have fond memories of this season leading up to Easter. Knowing that the 3 people who read this may have different backgrounds, I want to address two questions: what is the point of fasting and how can you jump on board with lent this year?

What is the point of fasting?
Lent is a season of abstaining/fasting to create space to more intentionally seek Jesus.

Fasting is the spiritual discipline of voluntarily giving up food for some period of time for the purpose of intentionally seeking Jesus. It isn’t designed to pay God back because you feel guilty for not following through on your new years resolution. During Lent, some people fast a meal (No lunch on Wednesdays during lent), some fast for a day or more (Fasting on Tuesdays during lent), some fast a certain kind of food (Sweets or chocolate - but it is only effective if you actually enjoy these foods).
Similar to fasting, abstaining is the practice of giving up something other than food in order to focus more intentionally on the Lord, i.e. FaceBook, Instagram, TV, Netflix….

Some helpful tips to jump on board with Lent:
I encourage anyone who wants to grow with Jesus to participate in this Lent season at some level. Whether you are a newbie or a regular faster, all are welcome to partake in this season. Here are a few steps to start this journey:
1. Ask God if there is anything you should abstain/fast from, if you feel Him lead you a certain way then do it.
2. If you don’t feel Him leading you a certain way, just pick something.
3. The goal of these forty days isn’t dieting, but creating space to intentionally pursue God. So in this season, use your abstaining/fasting to carve out time to pray, journal, read, or invite your neighbors over for dinner.
4. Don’t give up. There is a good chance that you will fall on your face and screw up along the way. If this happens, press delete, don’t put yourself in “time-out”, run to Jesus and keep on trucking. Remember that Sunday’s in Lent are “mini-Resurrection days” which means you can eat what you want.
5. During Lent, be aware of God’s involvement in your life. God isn’t a genie, but He does honor times that we dial down our cravings to more intentionally seek Him. Be open to what He may be doing in you.
6. Here are a few helpful tools that will aid you along the way: An Easter Devotional by Ann Voscamp and Journey to the Cross by The Gospel Coalition

May God meet you in a refreshing way during this Lent season,

Ernie