Archives For Lent

Gone Fishing!

Chilly —  February 18, 2015 — Leave a comment
[REVISED]

FishChipsLent 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.

Continue Reading…

The Daily Watch

Chilly —  December 29, 2014 — 7 Comments
[REPOST]

CourageJournal

IF you’ve read my blog or have known me personally, for very long; you know I’m all about using a daily journal for my prayer and Bible study. Well, as we begin 2015 my church and I are ALL doing the same Bible reading plan (start it on January 1st) and adding this simple journal guideline to our daily devotions. We are also committing to prayer & fasting for the first 40 days of the year!  We would love for YOU to join us to! 

Let’s GROW together!

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Jesus said, “Could you not WATCH with me one hour?” Matthew 26:40.

 At the top of your page write date and when you start & end devotions:

Today’s date: _______________ Time in: ________ Time out: ________

Simply write a: WATCH down the left side of your journal: 

Continue Reading…

I was asked today “what are you giving up for Lent?” I understand what they meant, but must clearly say, I do not give up things for “Lent” – I give up things for God. I want to Know Him and Make Him Known. And, I’m striving to do a few unique things over the next 40 days leading up to Easter, that will allow me to focus on the Lord’s purpose for me and those He’s called me to lead.

Please understand, I’m not calling my decisions a “fast” – this term is interpreted differently by people of faith (some believe it must be only food, others believe it can be TV, social media, etc…) – ultimately, fasting is a personal commitment between you & God. I fast regularly. I need it. It makes me more focused, faithful and fervent. And, I will fast, as directed, throughout this season.

But, in today’s blog, I’m talking about ‘giving up a few things’ during this season that don’t automatically fall into the category of fasting (simply said, I won’t/can’t necessarily pray in their place as you would with fasting). Here’s what I’m changing

  • Chop Sticks – for 40 days I’m going to do my best to NOT use silverware but instead use chop sticks. There are a few reason for this: 1) I want to focus on the large majority of the world who use chop sticks: Asia. I’m praying for missionaries, underground churches and bold believers in this HUGE part of the world. I’m praying for Geoff and Andrea Bassett preparing to go to China.
    2) I also want to THINK about everything I put into my mouth. Chop Sticks will slow down ‘meals’ and cause me to look, consider and decide what I put into God’s Temple and why. Plus it’s hard to eat pizza, open a candy bar or lift a hamburger with two little sticks! 😉
  • Little Blue Birds – I’m limiting my participation in social media to Twitter and Instagram. There’s lots of other forms demanding my time & attention but, for at least 40 days, I won’t be on Facebook, LinkIn, Pinterest, etc. Now, there will be updates from me that show up on these sources via Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr (this blog) but I won’t be on those sites. Please don’t message me there. The reason I’m doing this is to, again, be more deliberate & focused with my time. More REAL LIFE conversations and more READING God’s Word and other books.
  • Running Shoes – yeah, yeah, yeah… I’ve got to get back to running, elliptical and working out on a regular basis. So, for the next 40 days I’m wearing running shoes every day – you can then ask me ‘how’s it going?’ and I’ll be accountable to myself and anyone who looks puzzled at my choice of footwear. Oh boy… 

So, yeah, there’s a look right into my heart. I’m SO imperfect in SO many ways. That’s not a cry for sympathy but a mandate for change. Christ has reminded me that I can & should be better. Improvements in these three little areas (above) will cause dramatic improvements in my personal life and, hopefully, in the ministries that I love & lead.

By the way, there’s some AMAZING THINGS that our church will do in these 40 days. That’s for another blog…

39 days to go, Chilly

Season of the Cross

Chilly —  February 21, 2012 — Leave a comment

Tomorrow some Christians will be seen with a grey cross of ashes applied to their foreheads – this symbolic act begins a forty day period during which they remember their sinfulness, repent, ask God’s forgiveness, and recognize that God’s forgiveness comes at an infinite price — the death of Christ on the cross on our behalf. This 40 day period is called: Lent. Most pentecostal denominations & fellowships do not practice this ritual. Yet, I cannot help but find a personal challenge in these events.  Seems like in most of our modern churches we spend more time preparing for some extravagant (and cheesy) musical production, complete with 12 men wearing fake beards and bathrobes, then we do truly meditating on what Easter truly means. 

So, on “Ash Wednesday” let’s examine our hearts. I think you’ll discover – like me – that you are a sinner in need of a savior, and your salvation comes at the sacrifice of God’s Son: “So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that great, perfect sanctuary in heaven, not made by human hands and not part of this created world. 12 Once for all time he took blood into that Most Holy Place, but not the blood of goats and calves. He took his own blood, and with it he secured our salvation forever”  (Heb. 9:11-12).

Perhaps, we could also find and apply meaning to this period known by many as Lent: This time of repentance is calculated to extend from Resurrection Sunday (Easter) back for forty days, not including Sundays. Sundays are not included because they commemorate Christ’s glorious resurrection. The forty days commemorate the significant “forty” periods in Scripture (although forty is not always significant), including the forty years the Jews wandered in the desert after they had been rescued by God from Egypt, and which did not end until they repented. Jonah preached to Nineveh that God’s judgment would come on them in forty days. During that time the people repented and thus were spared God’s judgment. Jesus was tested by the Devil in the desert for forty days before He began His public ministry, announcing salvation to the repentant and judgment to those who continued to rebel against God. Jesus prophesied that God’s judgment would come against Israel for rejecting Him as Messiah within the time of His own generation (Matt. 24; Luke 21; Mark 13). Within forty years of His death, burial, and resurrection, Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple was so ravaged that “not one stone [was] left here upon another” (Matt. 24:2). The Jewish Christians, however, escaped this judgment of God by fleeing to Pella before the final Roman siege, just as Jesus had warned them to do (Matt. 24:16-21).

During Lent Christians are to contemplate their sinfulness, repent, ask God’s forgiveness, and realize the infinite sacrifice God made on their behalf. It is to be a time of quiet contemplation, but not a time of despair, since it culminates in the commemoration of the resurrection.  These forty days usually include certain times of fasting – specifically of meat (besides fish), desserts, junk food, etc. as well as certain forms of entertainment such as movies, sporting events, parties, etc.

I’m not calling anyone to observe Ash Wednesday or Lent – my challenge is simply this:  Let’s really think about what Christ’s death and resurrection means to us. And during this “season of the Cross” leading up to Easter Sunday, let’s spend personal time repenting, meditating on His Word, praying, fasting, witnessing and worshipping.

ALL about Jesus, Chilly