Lent begins on Valentine’s Day this year! Do you think God is trying to tell us something? (Actually, while I’m certain that God loves us, I don’t want to make too big a deal about the date of Ash Wednesday…because Easter is April 1 this year!)
Lent is a 40 day season of spiritual preparation for the celebration of God's saving grace made available to us in the atoning sacrifice and glorious resurrection of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Traditionally, Lent has been a time for intentional Bible study, prayer, and recommitment to following Jesus in our daily lives.
If daily Bible reading is not part of your routine, Lent might be a great time to try “Reading the Bible Together.” Each month, you’ll find a sheet of scripture readings in this newsletter. (Pastor Dave is happy to talk to anyone who has questions about the daily readings!) These readings will take you through the Psalms about once a month, and over the course of two years, through most of the Bible. When we read the Bible with open and humble hearts, God speaks to us. When we read it together with other believers, we begin to hear Him speaking to our community.
Another nice Lenten opportunity is interceding for our families, church, and community using Seek God for the City. This resource encourages us to pray the promises of the scriptures with boldness and passion in the weeks leading up to Holy Week. If you feel like you “don’t know how to pray,” Seek God for the City might be a great way to learn! Pastor Dave will be ordering some copies, which will be available at cost in the Worship Center on Sundays leading up to Lent.
Another way we observe Lent at Hope is through the Lenten Series. I am excited about this year’s series: Encounter Jesus, by Carolyn Moore. An evangelist, church planter and disciple-maker, Moore is the founding pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church in Augusta, Georgia. She is an ordained elder in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and received a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary.
Mosaic is vibrant, Kingdom focused congregation that God is using to help people from all walks of life meet Jesus and become His disciples. I believe the Lord has some things to share with the people of our congregation through Carolyn Moore’s teaching, and I hope you will make it a point to come out on Thursdays, beginning February 15. We’ll share a simple meal at 6 pm, dig into Moore’s study at 6:45, and be done promptly at 8. (No, you don’t “HAVE” to come to the meal, but we’d all be blessed by your presence! Table fellowship matters! If you don’t have time to cook, just come!)
I’m also excited about the study itself. Encounter Jesus is a Bible study and video series that teaches and encourages you to “walk with THE Jesus of the Bible and not just the Jesus you want him to be.” In this study, Moore explores eight passages from across the four gospels, each highlighting a key facet of Jesus's life and work. The video sessions are 30 minutes each.
People are welcome to just show up, watch the DVD and join the conversation, but like anything else in life, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. You are encouraged to purchase the accompanying work book, with daily exercises that will help you focus on your personal encounter with Jesus. The “personal guidebook” costs $16.95 and is available from Seedbed. (Google “ Encounter Jesus Carolyn Moore”…or if you’re not online, let Pastor Dave know on your Connect Card and he will order one for you.) If you want a guidebook and can’t afford it, please let Dave know privately. We’ll make it happen. May God grant us a fruitful Lent!