Tag Archives: lent

Repentance and Renewal Outline

Early Church determined the Lenten season was period of fasting and renewal that corresponds with Jesus fasting (Matthew 4:2).

Forty days back from Easter minus Sundays = Lent.

Once Lent primarily viewed as period during which converts prepared for baptism on Easter Sunday but later became a season of repentance and renewal for all Christians.

 

Season of Lent involves repentance, and renewal

Time to open hearts which have grown calloused (hardened) thorough selfishness and pride – doing things our way, not walking with God as closely as designed.

  • Spiritually dull
  • Self-absorbed

John Piper reminds us, “If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied.”

We practice overindulgence in things that keep us from hungering after God, drowning ourselves in things that take us away from God.

 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”– Psalm 51:10 [ESV]

Symbolism of Ashes

 

We are but dust and to dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19, Ecclesiastes 3:20, Ecclesiastes 12:7)

Dust needs God to have life. Dust cannot boast. Dust is nothing without the crucified & risen Christ.

  • Frailty or Death (Genesis 18:27)
  • Sadness or Mourning (Esther 4:3)
  • Judgment (Lamentations 3:16)
  • Repentance (Jonah 3:6)

Imposition of Ashes

 

  • Opportunity to reaffirm our baptism
  • Opportunity to testify to God’s electing love, which claims us and marks us as His own.

Paul tells us that we have been buried with Christ through baptism, so that we may live with Christ in glory (Romans 6:1-11)

Ashes reminds us of burial, death of old self which makes possible the new life.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – You are not your own; you have been bought at a price

When you fast (stop doing something), don’t just fast from something, but replace that something with something beneficial to your relationship with Jesus.

Give up complaining, give up negative talk…. Give up whatever is getting in the way of you and Jesus….

For the Lenten season, we shall join Jesus Christ on a Pilgrimage.

This season focuses closely on the Passion of Christ.

The Latin meaning of Passion is “suffer.”

The Passion of Christ includes His entrance to Jerusalem, the Last Supper, His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His arrest, His trial, His crucifixion on Mount Calvary.

The Passion was directed by the will of God, the life mission of Jesus was the Cross (John 12:27 – The very reason He came).

The Passion originated in love.

As we examine the Passion, we note that Jesus lived in dependence on the presence of God.

This Lenten season, as we start this Pilgrimage, may we remember our dependence on God, and live a life in His presence.

To be continually living in His presence means to walk in His will, to be in constant prayer, to have His Word in your heart and mind, to worship uninhibited.

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Stand in Awe Outline

{ASH WEDNESDAY 2017}

Stand in Awe

Let the whole world fear the LORD, and let everyone stand in awe of Him. [Psalm 33:8]

Lent is a season of fasting and renewal. When you fast (stop doing something), but you also replace it with something else—something beneficial to your relationship with Jesus.

For this Lenten season, let us stand in awe and worship our God. We were made to worship God, to glorify God. But as we go through our days, we often add other things to the mix.

 

[LEVITICUS 10]

Unauthorized fire – Hebrew word “zara” means strange, from outside

 

[Leviticus 10:3]

‘Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.”  Aaron remained silent. [NIV]

“I must be treated as holy”

 

 

Holy is used more often as a prefix to God’s name more than any other attribute in Scripture.

 

Holy – “Set Apart” – [Exodus 3:14] I AM WHO I AM

[Revelation 22:13] He is the Alpha. The Omega. The First. The Last. The Beginning. The End.

[Revelation 1:8] He was and is and is to come.

[1 Samuel 2:2] Hannah says – “There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you.”

 

As we see in this story in Leviticus, the closer you are to God – the more careful you need to be about His holiness so not to dishonor God.

 

The sad thing is not only do some people treat the things of God with contempt, but they also can cause others to follow suit, as possible with this instance with the strange fire.

 

During this Lenten season, let us ask…

 

  • What are you adding to your offering to God that isn’t meant to be there?

 

  • What is getting in the way of you fully offering yourself to Him? Fully worshiping Him as He deserves?

 

 

[Exodus 33:20] We read about Moses asking to see God’s glory….  God’s holiness is so blindingly radiant we cannot see it and live. Moses had to be hidden behind a rock for the glory of God to pass by.

 

It was this Holy Ground that required man to remove the unclean shoes and hide his face.

 

 

[Isaiah 6:1-4]

Only when we encounter God in His holiness is it possible for us to see our own self – “I am a sinful man”

This is something we must all come to recognize. I AM A SINNER!

Today, we don’t tread on the same Holy Ground as Moses. We don’t have the same need for a veil to shield us from the glory. Instead, we have the glory of God within us because of Christ.

[2 Corinthians 4:3-7] If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.  You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Our foreheads are marked tonight by ashes as we are reminded that we are but dust, that we are like fragile clay jars containing the great treasure from God Himself. We are reminded that without Jesus, we are nothing. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Our lives are marked WITH AND FOR CHRIST.

 

This should lead us to Awe * Worship * Adoration

[Isaiah 40:12-31] God has no equal

God….

  • Loves perfectly
  • Speaks perfectly
  • Creates perfectly
  • Acts perfectly
  • Chooses perfectly
  • Teaches perfectly
  • Disciplines perfectly

 

[Exodus 15:11]

Who is like YOU –

  • glorious in holiness,
  • awesome in splendor,
  • performing great wonders

 

What is keeping you from falling at his feet?

 

In Revelation 1:17, John sees Jesus and he immediately falls at His feet.

What’s keeping you from this?

What’s keeping you from the AWE?

 

A Always thankful[1 Thessalonians 5:18] CONTINUALLY THANKFUL

WWorship everywhere– IN ALL THAT YOU DO AND SAY [Colossians 3:17] – this isn’t just singing (everything you do should point to Him)

You should continually be aware of His presence everywhere.

E Eyes on Him– Eyes on Jesus [Hebrews 12:2] Perfecter of Faith

 

Consider the ashes on your forehead this evening… here’s a picture of what is coming…

[Revelation 22:3-5] No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship him. And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there–no need for lamps or sun–for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

 

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” [Revelation 4]

 

Search Inward

Many of us are celebrating the Lenten season. It is a season of fasting and renewal, a season that reminds us that we are but dust. Life is fragile. Life is but a breath. It is a season that looks to the Cross. We spend these weeks mindful of the shortness of life, but even more mindful of the One Who poured out His blood at Calvary so that we could have new life—life in Him. As Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the Wilderness, so we spend this time in self-reflection, repentance, and prayer.

Some people are trying to stick diligently to the removal of some item from their life. Some people may have even publicly noted an ongoing battle with trying to stay true to a vow to give up this thing for Lent. It is important to remember some things about Lent and fasting, because many get lost on the journey to the Cross. Lent instructions are not found in the Bible—it’s something that was instituted by the Church. However, with the fasting, one should be mindful that publicly boasting or grumbling is not applauded (see Matthew 6:16). Fasting is personal. The idea of fasting during Lent is to remove something that is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus, and then replace that thing with something that will bring you closer to Jesus Christ.

Remember, Lent is all about Jesus. If you are keeping yourself from drinking soda or eating sweets but that doesn’t interfere with your relationship with Jesus, and you have not supplemented these things with more time in prayer, reading God’s Word, or spending time doing something that brings you closer to Jesus, then you are missing out. This is a time to search inward, a time to repent and renew yourself in Him. Today, whether or not you celebrate the Lenten season, take time to look inward. What is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus? What has become a stumbling block? Pray for the removal of this from your life. Pray for a closer relationship with Jesus. Seek Him diligently today. Pray for your heart to open and spend time in the Word. Ask Him to speak to you in a new and awesome way.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1 [ESV]

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God.” – Psalm 42:1 [ESV]

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 [NLT]

Three R Challenge

This was a message I shared with a challenge for Lent. It can be a challenge for anyone at anytime of the year. At the end of the day, it is my prayer that we all will be relentless in our pursuit of Jesus as He is relentlessly pursuing us each day.

The Three R Challenge

1) REMAIN in God (John 15:8-12)

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; ABIDE IN MY LOVE. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” [NASB]

 Challenge 1: Show Love through Acts of Generosity

With Will and Purpose – Sometimes this requires us to change /adapt. About putting God / people first.

With Actions – Act, not just observe. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16 NIV).

With Possessions“John replied, ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry’” (Luke 3:11 NLT).

With Words“Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out” (Colossians 4:6 MSG). “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24 HCSB). “Say only what helps, each word a gift” (Ephesians 4:29b MSG).

With Love“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:15-18 NLT).

With Faith – Philip taking the time to run to and speak with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40). The Woman at the Well going into town to tell people about this man Jesus (John 4). Do you share your hope?

With Forgiveness“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).

(see 40acts – Do Lent Generously)

2) RENEW yourself in Him (Romans 12:1-2) – Change the way you think

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, FIX YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” [MSG]

Challenge 2: Dig deep into His Word – Daily Bible reading, Daily Devotion Reading, attend Sunday School &  Small Groups.

3) REST in Him (Philippians 4:6-7)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” [NLT]

Challenge 3: Daily Prayer – Go to God first with everything. Familiarize yourself with the Psalms.

Colossians 1:15-17 – “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” [NIV]    —— YOU WERE MADE BY HIM AND FOR HIM