As followers of Christ, we should always desire MORE of him. That is why we want to take advantage of the Lenten season beginning this Wednesday (2/18).
Lent is a 40-Day journey to the Cross and Empty Tomb of Jesus. For many centuries, Christians have observed Lent to practice prayer, repentance, fasting, and worship. It provides an opportunity to reflect on our need for God and feast on his provision in the death and resurrection of Christ.
The Pastors of RHC want to encourage you to participate in this journey with us. It will not mean you are “more spiritual” or loved by Jesus, but we think it can be a way for us to draw closer to God as individuals and as a family in Christ.
Redemption Hill is providing a devotional guide for each day leading up to Easter called Journey to the Cross. This resource will help us pause, pray, reflect, and worship. The goal of this Lenten season is to heighten our love for God by increasing our focus on him and decreasing our dependence on the allurements of the world. Here are three encouragements for each of the forty days of Lent:
1) Fast: Consider fasting over this forty-day period. Jesus willingly went to the cross to give his life for our salvation, and self-denial for the purpose of following him is an expected part of our journey. Jesus says in Matthew 6: "When you fast..." It is an expectation, and the Lenten season gives us a fresh opportunity to practice this rhythm of grace. Would you consider giving up some familiar comfort in order to focus more time and energy on your relationship with God? You may choose to fast all forty days from something you love or choose to fast specific days of the week. Feel free to take one or more of these suggestions, or create your own!
a. Give up food. Maybe it’s one meal daily. Maybe it’s one day a week. Maybe it’s one type of food or drink all forty days. As always, use wisdom and stay hydrated if you choose an extended fast from physical nourishment.
b. Give up technology: This one may hit our culture the hardest. Put away your cell phone for certain hours of the day. Give up social media, TV, movies, texting.
c. Give up something you enjoy: Is there a hobby you could set aside: reading, shopping, sports, snow shoveling (just joking)?
d. Give up __________ —you fill in the blank—: Be creative. Spending money on unnecessary items? Driving? If married, sex “for a limited time” (hey, it’s biblical, see 1 Cor 7:5)?
2) Feast: We fast in order to feast. We choose to have less food or technology or hobbies, so that we can have more of Christ. Spend additional time with God each day in prayer and Bible intake. Use the devotional guide as a supplement or replacement to your normal rhythm of Word and Prayer. (*Note the Sundays of Lent are not included in the Fast, which begins on AshWednesday (2/18) and continues until the Saturday before Easter (4/4). They are meant to be “mini-Easters” that anticipate the joy of resurrection Jesus provides.)
3) Share: Though we do not pray, or fast, or worship in order to be seen or praised by others (Matthew 6:1-18), it is wise to share our plans to fast and feast with at least one other person in our church. We need the encouragement and support of one another during this time. Community always enriches our experiences! For that reason, we thought it would be a great idea to hashtag #rhceaster15 to any posts on Social Media related to what God is teaching you and how he is working during this season leading up to Easter.
I hope you will prayerfully consider this opportunity. We are going to design some other great opportunities to seek the Lord together as a church beginning with RHC Worship Night on Saturday, February 28 (6pm at the Club) all the way to our Easter service on April 5th!
Let’s pursue God with everything we have! There is no greater journey than this!