Monday, February 18, 2013

Do The Work

Like Advent, Lent is a season of preparation and anticipation. For many it becomes a season lost on the novelty and trend of giving up coffee, or chocolate, or shoes. It becomes a competition around the water cooler set to crown the most pious martyr. We turn it externally, making it about ourselves in comparison to others. We miss the mark entirely. 

Lent is a season of work. It's not silly or frivolous or an event on Survivor. It's WORK. It's meant to be work. It's the kind of work that re- quires you to dig your hands in the soil of your soul and get dirty; clay under your nails dirty. Lent, if observed correctly, is uncomfortable at best. It's not a time to identify anything but your unyielding need for the cross. 

During Lent, we study Jesus' ministry, where he traveled, his final week, and his death. But, fast- ing and prayer are key ingredients because we need Lent to take a gut check and get our hearts right. You give up or abstain from things not for "cool Christian" points, but to use the moments of temptation to return to what you've given up, as opportunities to draw nearer to God. And why? So you can be transformed. 

We know Easter is coming. Praise God for that third day. But if we've not done the work on our souls, we've failed to prepare for the power of what Easter really means. Lent is a season to dig into the cobwebs in your life and clean house. Seek to identify the weeds in your gar- den that choke out the new life trying to flourish. REFLECT! PRAY! WORK! 

The point of the cross is that God sought to reconcile us to God’s-self. In Lent, we must hunger for that reconciliation. We are to confess where we fall short of the glory of God. We are to lament the ways in which we've allowed other things to keep us from the fullness of our relationship with God. We are to seek forgiveness: from God, others and ourselves. We are to till the soil in daily devotion, weeding out, ridding it of anything that threatens new life. We are to thirst for reconciliation. We are to acknowledge our unworthiness and at the same time truly and beautifully receive the reality that even though a sinner you may be, God desires to make you new because in the eyes of God, you are so very worthy. Let go of shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, bitterness, pride, hatred, jealousy, malice, gossip, negativity, anger, doubt, unforgiveness...get rid of those weeds. 
If you do the work of Lent, the soil of your soul will be so prepared for the new life of Easter that you'll bloom in ways you can't possibly imagine. But you must do the work. If you don't recognize the magnitude in which you need the cross, you'll never experience just how big that third day is. Have the courage to face your weeds, fight your spiritual heart disease, and receive an unmatchable love. 


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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Peaceful Picture of Prayer

 The church prayer garden this morning, all sprinkled with snow. Take a few moments today to meditate and pray.  I hope you'll find peace in the image and peace in your soul. God is making all things new...even you. God bless you.

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Lent Begins Tomorrow

Today is Fat Tuesday which means tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. What are you doing to recognize Lent? Historically, it is a time to fast, pray and give. What are you giving up or fasting? How will you attend to prayer? How are you giving of yourself in selfless service? Are you adding something...daily devotion, community service? I hope you'll share your plans ... you may have some great ideas someone else could try.

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