We handed them out last week and have more this week, if weren’t here last week or if you forgot yours. They are part study guide and part commitment journal. I encourage you to bring the journals to worship, take notes during the messages, read and reflect on some of the Scriptures and quotes each day, and pray about the level of commitment you are going to give to God. You can also find the weImagine Journals here.
Last week I spoke on prayer. If you missed last Sunday, be sure to pick-up a CD this morning, listen to the podcast, or watch the message online. We have gotten a lot of feedback about the message. Most of the feedback is that the church wants to hear more teachings on prayer and to be given practical help on how to pray and opportunities to pray. We are planning on doing a short sermon series on prayer later in the year, starting a monthly prayer service, and offering a class on prayer this fall. Stay tuned! In the meantime, I encourage you to pray daily the simple prayer we are all praying: “Lord, what do you want to do through me?”
Ash Wednesday (February 22nd) marks the beginning of Lent. Christianity teaches us to give a tenth of each year's income to the church for holy use. Observing the forty days of Lent does the same thing with roughly a tenth of the days of the year. After being baptized by John, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.
When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?
If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less?
Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?
Is there any person in the world, or any cause, that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?
Lord, what do you want to do through me?
To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are but of both what you are becoming and what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sackcloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.
(Thanks to Frederick Buechner - Wishful Thinking – for his Teaching on Lent.)
The best is yet to come…