Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Practical Suggestions for Lent

Today begins the season of Lent. It is a six-week journey leading to the cross and eventually the empty tomb. It’s a path we must take to fully embrace the destination. 

Darkness comes before light. 
Brokenness before healing. 
Despair before hope. 
The recognition of sin before the experience of grace. 
Death before new life. 

I encourage you to make Lent meaningful this year because the more meaningful Lent is—the more meaningful Easter, and life, will be. 

Let the season of Lent be a bridge between you and God.

Practical Suggestions for Lent

Questions for Reflection

1. What is a habit in my life getting in the way of me fully loving God and others? Or being loved by God and others? What are some steps I can take to address this habit? How am I going to respond when change becomes difficult

2. What is something I am attached to but don’t need? Is God leading me to give up this attachment for Lent? If so, how would surrendering this area of my life prepare me for the new life of Easter?

3. When I wake up on Easter morning, what do I hope will be different about me? When I wake up on Easter morning, what does God hope will be different about me?

Personal Activities

1. Observe a Sabbath for six consecutive weeks. Many people find sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday an excellent time. Spend time resting, reflecting, practicing recreation, restoring, and replenishing. After each Sabbath, think about what God was doing in you during the Sabbath.

2. Read the Gospel of Luke. Go slow. You only need to read about half a chapter per day. At the end of each reading—ask the question: How does God want me to apply one lesson I learned to my life today and in the future?

3. Fast from using a credit card or debit card and become aware of how you are spending money. Reflect on what it means to be a good and faithful steward of God’s resources.

4. Spend time outside every day. Mix it up by walking, taking pictures, sitting, thinking, playing, and praying. As the weather gets nicer and the ground changes, consider God’s hope, new life, and resurrection in your life.

5. Write forty notes of gratitude or encouragement to family, friends, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, or people from your past (both people who are alive and deceased). Think about how God is working through this process.

For Families with Children

1. During meals or before bed, share together how each of you experienced God during the day. Pray together for a deeper experience of God’s grace in your life.

2. Have the entire family commit to encouraging and serving each other one time per day. Occasionally reflect on how you are experiencing God’s grace through each other.

3. Go old school and turn off all electronic devices one evening per week from after-school until the next morning. You will survive and the world will be fine too. Talk about this experience the next day.

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