I am not giving up something for Lent…I am adding something to my journey to the cross

img_20170301_162211Most of the time during lent people spend the day thinking about what they are going to be giving up for Lent. For me I have never really found that helpful for my spiritual formation. Giving up sweets makes me angry.  Giving up chocolate would make me down right angry.  Mostly I would be thinking all day about how I missed that food or thing I gave up.  For me it doesn’t point me to Jesus. I want you all to know I don’t find anything wrong with giving something up for lent as it is certainly a spiritual discipline of fasting.  Fasting is a time honored way of strengthening ones faith. For me however it has never been appealing or truly beneficial.

So today I decided to do something different.  I decided instead of taking something away I am going to add something to my family’s life.  We are going to spend the next 40 days reading through the Gospels.  We are going to spend this time on the journey to the cross following Jesus’ journey to the cross.  I know for me reading the scripture brings it alive.  I am excited for this journey and would challenge you to think about it as well.

In the reading schedule I gave myself a day off because lets be honest having a day off is needed sometimes.  Life can be crazy busy. I don’t need something else to give me more guilt for messing up.  So below is the plan.

My goal this Lenten season is to journey to the cross with my Lord and Savior. My prayer is that many of you will join in this journey. Let us be in the Word together as we make this journey to the cross and see these great things he has done for us.

in Christ,

Steve

Lent Reading Plan: 2017

2-Mar Matthew 1-3
3-Mar Matthew 4-6
4-Mar Matthew 7-9
5-Mar Break
6-Mar Matthew 10-Matthew 12
7-Mar Matthew 13-Matthew 14
8-Mar Matthew 15-Matthew 16
9-Mar Matthew 17-Matthew 18
10-Mar Matthew 19-Matthew 20
11-Mar Matthew 21-Matthew 22
12-Mar Take a Break
13-Mar Matthew 23-Matthew 24
14-Mar Matthew 25-Matthew 26
15-Mar Matthew 27-Matthew 28
16-Mar Mark 1-Mark 3
17-Mar Mark 4-Mark 6
18-Mar Mark 7-Mark 9
19-Mar Take a Break
20-Mar Mark 10-Mark 12
21-Mar Mark 13-Mark 14
22-Mar Mark 15-Mark 16
23-Mar Luke 1-Luke 3
24-Mar Luke 4-Luke 6
25-Mar Luke 7-Luke 9
26-Mar Take a Break
27-Mar Luke 10-Luke 12
28-Mar Luke 13-Luke 14
29-Mar Luke 15-Luke 16
30-Mar Luke 17-Luke 18
31-Mar Luke 19-Luke 20
1-Apr Luke 21-Luke 22
2-Apr Take a Break
3-Apr Luke 23-Luke 24
4-Apr John 1-John 2
5-Apr John 3-John 4
6-Apr John 5-John 6
7-Apr John 7-John 8
8-Apr John 9-John 10
9-Apr Take a Break
10-Apr John 11-John 12
11-Apr John 13-John 14
12-Apr John 15-John 16
13-Apr John 17-John 18
14-Apr John 19-John 20
15-Apr John 21

 

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Ashes to ashes, dust to dust: The connection to the cross, and baptism!

Created with Microsoft Fresh PaintTomorrow I get to lead chapel at my Church School. Tomorrow is ash Wednesday and that has me thinking deeply today.  Many of the children who will be here will experience imposition of ashes.  My prayer tomorrow is that many of our students will take the time in worship to remember their sin and more importantly be reminded of the eternal life won for us on the cross, and given to us in our baptism as we are connected to the cross.

I know many people don’t like the imposition of ashes because of Jesus’ words in Matthew  6 about keeping our prayers and fasting to ourselves and not to show it off.  Jesus is obviously right, and if the goal of ashes is to show the world we are repentant or how good of a Christian we are we have failed.

The purpose of the ashes placed on us is to remind us of our sin, remind us that without Jesus we are dust and without him we will continue to be dust forever.  I love that in that moment. When we are brought to the realization of our brokenness.  The part I think is more important and often overlooked is we are given the sign of the cross.  The same sign we were given at our baptism.  That this is not our end. We are not just dust but we are God’s child.  We are the ones who are connected by baptism into Jesus’ death and resurrection. You have eternal life today in Jesus and forever more.  As we spend the next 40 days in a time of reflection on our sin we must not forget these two truths.

Tomorrow as you are reminded of your sin, and the death it brings, remember the life that comes in life with Jesus.

  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  2 Corinthians 5:21-6:2