Friday, March 7, 2014

the start of lent

are you new to lent? i sort of am too. i didn't grow up celebrating it and never found a need to. after all, giving up something doesn't make God love us more so why even fuss with it?

i guess i'm changing.

i see the value in corporate fasting, like i see the value in liturgy and corporate prayers. so the Lord must be working miracles for this free spirited gal. some of us free spirits do well in structure, and if there's one thing i'm learning about myself as the years go by, is that while structure challenges me, it also helps me grow in ways i wouldn't normally.

this call to repentance and confession was read corporately at our church on ash wednesday. the start of the lenten season.

"genuine repentance involves two things: the dying away of the old self and the coming to life of the new. the dying away of the old self is to be genuinely sorry for sin, hate it more and more, and to run away from it.. the coming to life of the new self is whole hearted joy in God through Christ to express our longing to live joyful obedience to God.

peter preached to the church saying, Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
let us lay our hearts bare before the Lord.

father, we confess that our faith is weak.
your presence and your promises are invisible to us and we doubt you. 
because of our abiding doubt we have begun to believe that we have no other way to be at peace than to secure it for ourselves.
and so we have found other things and have served them all, living for them in hopes that we would reach a place of rest that only comes from salvation from your son. 
more than that, we know that we do this. 
we confess it weekly yet we do not want to fully repent.
we are afraid of being bored by you, being left empty or lonely or unsatisfied.
we know that you might make us wait for what we desire or answer our prayers with "no."
we do not trust your promise of love enough to let go of our armfuls of idols;
we are trapped bu our fear of losing them, even though they have left us sick and unsatisfied.
help us forsake all the replacements of you, and to turn our whole being toward you.
letting no corner of our heart be off limits to your lordship, that we might completely repent and live a life of ongoing repentance. Lord we call out to you for mercy and new life in Jesus name. "

based on the heidleberg catechism, Q&A's 88-90, Acts 3:18
adapted by redeemer fellowship church in kansas city. 

if you need a lenten devotional, this one is pretty great!


  1. i didn't grow up celebrating lent, and I still have yet to find lent in particular helpful to me. I already struggle with weight-loss/eating habits, so fasting is rarely a smart idea for me. BUT my church does what we call "leap of faith" during the lent season and it's great. also planning a day of silence and fasting on good friday.

  2. I'm new to Lent too. We just started "celebrating" it two years ago. I wrote about the experience here:

    I'd say it's really helped me to prepare my heart for the true meaning of Easter and Christ and what he's done for me. Recalibrate my heart, so to speak.

  3. This year for lent I'm participating in a challenge to fast from negative thought patterns and replace them with truth. The basis of this being that our acceptance of lies, that become negative thought patterns, fuels our sinful responses to life.
    Here's a link to check it out:

  4. A couple books I love for preparing my heart for Easter are, 'Jesus, draw me near the Cross' 'The Passion of Christ' by John Piper and 'Seven Sayings of our Savior on the Cross' by A.W. Pink. I think you might really enjoy them. I read Jesus draw me near the Cross every year it's short readings from a number of authors. Also, Sovereign Grace ministries puts has a cd called Risen that's all about the resurrection. I just thought I'd share some resources that I love and by the books you like I think you would enjoy.

  5. i celebrate lent as a catholic, so i don't know how it applies to other religions, but i find it necessary to clarify that lent isn't about giving up things. that's a myth. lent is about bettering yourself. so if you feel becoming a better person means giving up a vice (i.e., chocolate or alcohol), then that's your choice. but it's really not about giving up something per se. in my opinion, some better ideas for lent are 'doing things,' like reaching out to an old friend or acquaintance every day or being informed about the world and reading the paper every day.


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