Are You Open?
Posted on Mar 2, 2017 in Faith Updates
Lent: the period preceding Easter in the Christian Church devoted to fasting and preparing the heart and mind for Holy Week (Palm Sunday – Easter). Lent is a commemoration of Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness. In the Western Church it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes forty weekdays.
I didn’t grow up in a church that celebrated Lent, but many Evangelical Covenant Churches over the years have added Lent to their church calendar recognizing the traditions of the ancient Church still have something to teach us. Lent doesn’t save us, but it does remind us we need a Savior! Thus, throughout the centuries followers of Jesus have fasted or abstained from certain things during Lent to cultivate their openness to God.
Openness? Perhaps an illustration would be helpful. When I played basketball in high school, I was a point guard. My job was to run the offense. My specialty was seeing the floor and hitting the open man. If you were open, it didn’t matter where you were on the court, I could get you the ball. I would know you were open in a couple different ways. If the defense was off-balance, and we could make eye contact, and your hands were open, I could get you the ball.
I think that’s what God desires for us. He wants our eyes lifted to Him, and our hands open to His will. He longs to invite us into His transformative work in the world. He longs to invite us into what He’s doing. But he’s not going to pass us the ball if we’re not open to receiving it. A spiritual discipline like fasting or abstaining from something, opens us up to the truth that only can God can satisfy the human soul.
What might that look like? I like to do a little addition and subtraction during Lent. I subtract (often from my diet) something I too often lean on to appease my appetites (examples: sweets, coffee, ice cream), then I add something (examples: scripture memorization, daily silent prayer, etc) to cultivate the openness of my heart and mind. I’ve begun a prayer task force at church and we’ve committed to finding a prayer partner to pray with for 15 minutes once a week in person or by phone during Lent. You could join us!
As we begin our journey toward Easter, I pray you will join me in spending the next forty+ days by examining yourself and re-energizing any part of your faith-walk that has become dull or lifeless. Examine your work for the Kingdom of God; examine your goals, your interests, your hopes, your relationships, your finances, and your health, all of which are part of your apprenticing yourself to Jesus. Open up!
“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man,
and only God can fill it.”
Here’s What’s Happening at Faith
Twenties & Thirties Bowling
Join Faith Twenties & Thirties for a night of bowling March 11 at Brunswick Zone in Lakeville! All who are in their twenties and thirties (and their friends and kids) are invited! We are planning to bowl from 6-8pm, and cost is approximately $14 (includes two games and shoe rental). Please RSVP by Sunday, March 5 to Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Fruitful Harvest: Age, Loss, & Transforming Life in Christ
Getting older is not for wimps! If you’re in the autumn or winter seasons of life (which begins in our 40s and/or when the kiddos leave home), it may seem like life is closing in. But did you know that the “losses” of aging can hold the hidden gift(s) of a wide and deep new reality in Christ? Join us as we lovingly share together the wisdom we are learning on the way and look at a key biblical figure who has lots to say about this beautiful, maturing and generative season of life. Saturday, March 11, 8:30am-12:30pm. Cost: $30. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
Quarterly Congregational Meeting
Please join the Council for a quarterly business meeting on March 19 after the worship service (~11:45am). A short financial report will be given as well as an update on some work the council has undertaken to refresh and update our facility. No votes will be taken but the council wants to share the progress that has been made. Meeting will be in the Legacy Chapel.
Financial Fitness Class
Is it possible to move from panic to peace in our finances? Faith is welcoming Financial Fitness coach Dave Jacobson to our Wednesday nights for 4 weeks (March 15, 22, April 5, 12) to help us tackle our debt, plan for the future, and manage our relationships with others and money. Cost for the class is $47 per household, but no one will be turned away if money is an obstacle. Register HERE or sign up Sunday mornings at the Welcome Desk. [Note: Dave Jacobson does not sell any investments or insurance products, which leaves Coach Dave free to be entirely objective in his teaching.]
Church Council Positions
Are you looking for another way to serve at Faith? The Nominating Committee is currently looking to fill some open positions on our church council. Serving on the church council is an opportunity to grow by helping to discern God’s will for Faith Covenant Church. If you are interested in serving or would like to recommend someone, please email Kavan Rogness, firstname.lastname@example.org.