The Christian season of Lent is a forty-day period, excluding Sundays, in which Christ followers join Jesus on his forty-day fast, spiritually walking in his footsteps. Lent is a season of repentance and spiritual self-examination. It is a time to draw near to Christ, and a time when we recall our brokenness and mortality. This allows us to appreciate the blessings that come on Good Friday and Easter, when Christ dies for us and then is raised to life. (Adam Hamilton, The Way)
“Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:4-5, Common English Bible)
Excerpts from Max Lucado’s God Came Near:
Have you caught a glimpse of His Majesty? A word is placed in a receptive crevice of your heart that causes you, ever so briefly, to see his face. You hear a verse read in a tone you’d never heard, or explained in a way you’d never thought and one more piece of the puzzle falls into place. Someone touches your painful spirit as only one sent from him could do . . . and there he is.
The man. The bronzed Galilean who spoke with such thunderous authority and loved with such childlike humility.
The God. The one who claimed to be older than time and greater than death.
Have you seen him?
Those who first did were never the same.
“My Lord and my God!” cried Thomas.
“I have seen the Lord,” exclaimed Mary Magdalene.
“We have seen his glory,” declared John.
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked?” rejoiced the two Emmaus-bound disciples.
But Peter said it best. “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
What greatness of Jesus have you seen? What majesty have you been an eyewitness of? How are you an eyewitness of the Christ?
This is one of my favorite hymns written by Charles Wesley. I use it often as a prayer.
Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set they people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope for all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born they people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring. By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.
from the United Methodist Hymnal, #196
Disciplined accountability in small groups has been a distinctly Methodist nuance of the understanding of ‘church,’ and the original stress of the Methodist Discipline was on this distinct form of accountable discipleship. (Ted Campbell)
This blessing was shared in a weekly email from my District Superintendent, Larry Davies.
Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be, And bless these gifts, Bestowed by Thee. And bless our loved ones everywhere, And keep them in Your loving care.
The theme of Jesus’ preaching and the broader framework of the Methodist movement was the kingdom of God. God is bringing a new world of justice, righteousness, generosity, and joy. Nothing less than a new heaven and a new earth conformed to Jesus Christ is God’s vision for creation. The victory that God won in Jesus Christ will be consummated and, wherever God’s righteousness exists, the kingdom is already present. (Kenneth L. Carder)
From the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. What do you think? Leave your comments/thoughts/ideas on this page under “Leave a Reply”.
There is probably no Christian to whom God has not given the uplifting experience of genuine Christian community at least once in his or her life. But in this world such experiences remain nothing but a gracious extra beyond the daily bread of Christian community life. We have no claim to such experiences, and we do not live with other Christians for the sake of gaining such experiences. It is not the experience of Christian community, but firm and certain faith within Christian community that holds us together. We are bound by faith, not by experience.
This quote from one of my professors at Union seminary in Richmond was helpful to me this past week. Not just as something to quote in my sermon, but for me personally. I know it means something to you.
“The word for us in this text [Mark 6:1-13] is that we are not held responsible for the response to our ministries in Christ’s name, but only for our own faithfulness. With such assurance, we can witness boldly and faithfully.” (Beverly Zink-Sawyer)
Your task is not to become a leader. Your task is to become yourself, and to use yourself completely – all your gifts and skills and energies – to make your vision manifest. You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be and enjoy the process of becoming. (Warren Bennis)
Gracious and loving God, who took the horror of what we did to your Child and turned it into new life: hear our prayer this morning. We have chosen the world’s cares over your Child’s easy yoke. We have looked for smooth paths, when your Child would have led us over difficult ones. We have hidden our faces from you. Holy One, remind us: You who raise Jesus from the dead can raise us to new life. Bring healing to our broken places, bring your peace to our anger and our fear, and bring your tender mercy to us, that we might know ourselves forgiven and ready to begin again. – Jane O. Sorenson
As an introvert, I find this very true. This is courtesy of The Introvert Entrepreneur.