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What You Really Need to Give Up for Lent

I had my normal cup of coffee this morning.  For the briefest of moments, I thought, "maybe this is what I should give up for Lent?"  I could go without coffee for a month, and probably not suffer too much.  I can't vouch for those I see in the morning.  They might suffer a bit more as a result of my Lenten discipline.

If people are aware at all about Lent, it's usually this matter of "giving something up."  The Christian practice is based in the wisdom that by forsaking certain "attachments" like chocolate or wine or jumping on Facebook we can become more aware of God in our life.  There's a lot of value in practicing such discipline.

This year, though, I challenge you to give up something less tangible but even more important.  This year, I encourage you to let go of the negative emotions that are creeping in and driving your behavior.  Take up - instead - those things that lead to greater spiritual and emotional vitality.

Afflictive, Inflict…
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Two Things We Need to Give Up

There are some things we know we want to keep with us in life.  Pictures.  Treasured heirlooms from our family.  And maybe most importantly, those richest of memories at the high points of our lives.

But, there are also some things we need to leave behind.

In Luke's retelling of Jesus calling the first disciples (Lk. 5:1-11), the story ends with a poignant moment of separation:  "When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him."

Later, they would learn what things they would need to pick up - including an attitude of humility and deep love embodied by the symbol of a cross.

But, first this.  They have to let go.

As we make our journey through life, we must learn what is essential to "take up."  But, we also must learn what of which we must "let go."

Often times, this "letting go" is practical, detailed advice.  With Lent coming up quickly, we realize that our Christian tradition has - indeed - invited us to…

The Other Side of Comfort

The Other Side of Our Comfort There will be two packages on my porch this evening when I get home.  I know that because I - like many of you - am an Amazon Prime member, and two days ago I ordered some books as gifts.  Ten years ago, such a luxury would have been unimaginable.  Now, it's just a given.  By luck and by fate, I'm on the fortunate side of this incredible, complex, and unequal global economy.
But, that's the thing about luxury.  There's always another side to the story.
Exodus Details & Exodus Patterns We've been venturing into the story of Exodus as we start 2019.  And though the story is dominated by the theme of God and God's people, it starts somewhere else.  It starts with an unequal economy and a plague of anxiety in the hearts of a culture.
In his book Exploring Exodus, Nahum Sarna details how the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians.  In all likelihood, "the Pharaoh" of Exodus was none other than Rameses II, and like the r…

The Great Inversion

Most modern scholarship agrees that Jesus was an actual historical person.  They can vouch for him gathering a rag-tag group of disciples in and around Galilee - largely as a counter-movement to the harsh treatment of the Romans and the excesses of the elites down south in Jerusalem.  But, when Jesus finally made the long journey down to the center of the Jewish people in the city of David, things did not go well.  That's an understatement.
Arrested for sedition and charged with blasphemy, Jesus was beaten severely.  Then he was crucified, which wasn't anything out of the ordinary for those stringent Romans.  In six hours he was dead.  They came by to break his legs, but there was no need.  This hero of the people from Galilee went like so many other messianic-figures, only with even less of a roar.
Just like that, three years of budding hope seemed a total loss.
Jesus was dead and buried.
Historians, of course, can't vouch for what actually happened next.  What they care…

Notes on Galatians - Introduction

In the opening of his book Stages of Faith, James Fowler tells of driving to a conference where he was set to speak.  His goal was to get his audience thinking about the direction of their lives.  He wanted them to contemplate where they were currently spending their best time and energy, but he also wanted to challenge them to go deeper.  What did they really want to be focusing their time and energy upon?  Where did they want to give their best?  What did they want to devote their lives to?  What did they want their most important work to be and what legacy were they going to live?
Mentally, he came up with his list of questions, but in doing so, it hit him.  The questions hit him.  What did he want to give his life to?  What work did he want to focus upon and pour his energy and talents into?
When we pick up Paul's Letter to the Galatians, two things become very clear.  First off:  for Paul, there is absolutely no question in his own heart and mind what work truly deserves his be…

Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday

Are you ready for the adventure!

Grow closer to God and restart your journey with Jesus.
This 10 week class is perfect for anyone
interested in hearing more about being a Christian, if you have a church home but are looking for something more, or if you just feel the desire to grow closer to God this year.
Contact Wes Kendall for more information or if you have questions.