Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
Our Lenten faith journey is vital for the ministry of Christ’s Church: making new disciples of Jesus. We are given the rich resources of God’s Word, prayer, penitence, and intentional ministry to impact unchurched and churched in unique expressions of Jesus’ love, salvation, and transformation available to all.
The Apostle Paul, inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, offers this encouragement in Philippians 3:12-21
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Lent is a season the Church intentionally professes we need our Savior! Isaiah’s prophetic words are true: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6) We have done or left undone, said or not said; thoughts, words, deeds, which separate us from God, others, and our own true self. We celebrate Jesus’ willingness to birth us again by water and the Holy Spirit!
When will the world see that we need Jesus? When brothers and sisters in Christ let the world know Jesus loves us! We are called by God to give all we know of ourselves to all we know of Him; knowing He will continue to teach and lead us. God provides the resources for our journey; Scripture, prayer, ministry (our work for the glory of God and to serve others), worship and sharing life in joy with others.
None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience. It is a great matter when in extreme need to take hold on prayer. I know, whenever I have prayed earnestly, that I have been amply heard, and have obtained more than I prayed for. God indeed sometimes delayed, but at last He came. –Martin Luther
In all Christian literature there is no writer who had a clearer conviction concerning the salvation provided only in Christ than has Paul. His self-despair ended in that marvelous, ageless insight, “I thank God, through Jesus Christ my Lord.” “I know whom I have believed,” he cried in an ecstasy of confident gladness, “and am persuaded that he is able.” Paul was a salvationist, in the noblest sense. But Paul was also a disciplinarian. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.” “So fight I, not as one who beateth the air.” “Laying aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” We must recover the significance and necessity of spiritual disciplines. Without them we shall continue to be impotent witnesses for Christ. Without them Christ will be impotent in his efforts to use us to save society from disintegration and death. Discipline and Discovery by Albert Edward Day
God loves us with such wondrous love! We are welcomed each day to journey knowing Jesus frees us from the curse of sin and death! “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine…I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” Isaiah 43:1,3-4
We welcome fresh expressions of God’s power and presence as we live in Him this Lenten season.
God loves you, and we love you!
Paul and Nancy Wier