Lent has arrived. When I was a little kid, I called it the “fish season” – for unlike most kids, I love fish and prefer it to other meat. So, this time of the year always made me happy because every fast food chain had fish sandwiches and most restaurants had fish dinners. They even served fish sticks in school lunch…Yum! I wasn’t being disrespectful – just being a kid… As I got older, I began to understand the significance of lent and Ash Wednesday through the lives of many of my Catholic friends and other Christians.
Lent is viewed in churches that observe the season as a time of spiritual preparation for Easter. Fasting, doing penance, and abstaining from worldly amusements are seen to parallel the passion and suffering of Jesus prior to and during the Crucifixion. I commend those that whole-heartedly observe this time of reflection, repentance, sacrifice and communion. Fasting is powerful and pleases God. Holiness is the Lord’s hearts desire for His children. I too believe in fasting, repenting, and avoiding the temptations of worldly activity. My challenge is that self-denial and sacrifice would be a lifestyle rather than just a special effort once a year. Allow times like Lent to provide an opportunity to search our hearts and provoke us to greater service.
No, today, at our church we will not be placing ashes on the foreheads of anyone. That is not our tradition. But we will be praying, studying God’s Word and encouraging one another. I pray that in these days leading up to Resurrection Sunday, we would seek to serve, sacrifice and share – that we would pray and believe that many will come to know Christ as Lord and Savior and that this Easter will have significant meaning to many more people that God places in our path during these days.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of Christian faith. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). He is risen!
“Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.” Watchman Nee
I look forward to seeing what God does in and through my life and yours! I’m ready to de-clutter my brain and refresh my spirit!
During this Lent season I will, hopefully, sell my home in Detroit and buy a new home in Lansing. I will help Courage Church select and train new leadership. I will have many bitter-sweet emotions. I will see Christ do miracles! I will be stretched, challenged and changed.
By the way, a few things I’m laying down for the next 40 days are: desserts and junk food. I’m also adding some disciplines including increased devotions, earlier bedtime, lots of water and running (if the weather ever gets above freezing). It’s going to be a great season in my life & ministry!
I’m so thankful for the amazing people in my life. I know that we all are experiencing mixed emotions but be assured that the days ahead are going to be filled with exuberant joy and unimaginable miracles!
And, hey, IF you’re around, let’s grab a fish dinner together!
Q: What is your focus for Lent?