Lent Series: Training Ground
Lent is a season of formation and change. There’s something new on the horizon, but to travel there, we have to reduce our baggage and focus the heart and mind for the journey. Eternal life (experienced even in the present) waits for us and Jesus wants us to be filled with it that we might share it with others.
The journey toward eternal life and from the source of eternal life sees us traveling with Jesus toward his cross. Along the way, Jesus reveals how he will sustain us. He speaks about what we will need, what formation and change needs to occur in us, and shares how he will provide what’s needed. While the road is simple, it is not necessarily easy. We’ll need focus, spiritual exercise, and even positive discipline to stay the course. Jesus will provide.
March 1 - The Need for Change
We face temptation as we discern what God really wants. We hear Jesus calling us into new life, but there are old voices whispering at us still. There’s all kinds of darkness that doesn’t want us to live or be free. How can we tell the difference between the good words of encouragement and the misleading words of temptation? What will draw us closer to knowing God’s love for us? What temptations are we more susceptible to? Are there social norms that we need to clash with in order to follow Jesus? Jesus will show us the way and himself be our bread of life.
Readings: Psalm 32, Matthew 4:1-11
March 4 @ 6:30 pm - The Need for Change
We face temptation as we discern what God really wants.
Reading: Matthew 4:1-11
March 8 - Beginning Again
Spiritual rebirth means a new start. Abram picked everything up and left to a new place, just as God spoke. We, too, are called to journey into a new place in life, but we might ask, “Can I really begin again?” We’re called to leave our old habits, prejudices and sins behind, but those things press on us with great weight. Can we really let the past go? What lies ahead, anyway? Is it good? What new beginning am I called into?
Readings: Genesis 12:1-4a, John 3:1-17
March 11 @ 6:30 pm - Beginning Again
Spiritual rebirth means a new start.
Reading: John 3:1-17
March 15 - Living Water Sustains Us
Living water sustains us on our journey. Water refreshes when there’s just enough but destroys when there’s too much. Jesus does both for us. He will, as the Water of Life, refresh us with just enough, but he will also flood away the structures and disease of our sinful past. How can we seek after this living water and become a well full of refreshing life for others?
Readings: Exodus 17:1-7, John 4:5-42
March 18 @ 6:30 pm - Living Water Sustain Us
Living water sustains us on our journey.
Reading: John 4:5-42
March 22 - Who Were You? Who Are You Now?
We are more than we appear to be. Once blind, now we are able to see. We often have baggage from our past that others try to define us by or we define ourselves by. This could be a heritage that the world around us looks at with prejudice or a past that seems to forever mark us as not trustworthy. Are there categories of “clean and unclean,” “sinner and innocent,” or “good and bad,” that must be unraveled within us and around us, as we view ourselves and view others. Who are we when we’re no longer defined by these labels? Who are we when we no longer define others by labels?
Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1-13, John 9:1-41
March 25 @ 6:30 pm - Who Were You? Who Are You Now?
We are more than we appear to be. Once blind, now able to see.
Reading: John 9:1-41
March 29 - When All Seems Lost
When all hope seems lost, God revives. There will be many moments when death in some form visits us. It will strike hard and we will feel the weight of hopelessness. Yet, in these stories, Life returns to the lifeless—God acts to revive. These stories foreshadow what’s coming in Holy Week and provide a little encouragement. We will see that death is not the end and there will never be a separation between us and the love of God.
Readings: Ezek 37:1-14, John 11:1-45
April 1 @ 6:30 pm - When All Seems Lost
When all hope seems lost, God revives.
Reading: John 11:1-45
April 5 - Celebration and Preparation (Palm Sunday)
Rejoice at the end of the journey, but know challenges lie ahead. Are you prepared? The people whom Jesus loved, loved him back as he entered Jerusalem. They were hopeful, expectant, but weren’t prepared for the whole journey. They, as the events of Holy Week would show, didn’t expect Jesus to experience what would happen. They, even after this great celebration, turn away and give up. Today, we’re called to celebrate the arrival of Jesus to be the true king, and, if we’re prepared for it, to keep company with him as he endures the betrayal, the cross, and even death, for us.
Readings: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Matthew 21:1-11