Lent begins soon!

Dear Friends,

Grace and peace to you from Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The love of God carries us through and the pestering of the Holy Spirit helps us stay focused on Jesus no matter what time of year it is. May our Triune God strengthen you as we continue through winter and prepare for the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday (March 1st).

As we are complete the “Love Life” sermon series, I hope we are all learning to love other Christians a bit more than we have before. For by loving other Christians we are completing two tasks. First, we are being obedient to God. We can do this! Second, we are preparing for how to love people outside the church. Yes, sometimes we the people inside the church can be quite unloving and even unlovable at times! If we are going to say we are following Jesus, then loving other Christians is part of following Jesus.

Once we complete this sermon series we will begin Lent. Now we have been discovering how to love other Christians. When Lent starts we examine our lives to remove anything that distracts us from God. Oh, it is a bit more than giving up chocolate for Lent. Are we full of pride? Are we full of hatred? Are we holding a grudge against anyone? Then we have a few items to give up. In this case “give up” means to be done with, to have no more interactions with. If we give up chocolate, then on the Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday we can eat chocolate. There has to be more than this to convince us to grow closer to God, to be Christ-like, in this world.

Fasting is what we can do during Lent. As long as we are medically cleared to fast, we give up one, two, or even three meals so we may spend time with God. The money we don’t spend on food is given to the hungry so they may eat. The time we don’t spend preparing and eating a meal is given to God in prayer so we may enjoy his goodness. If we haven’t fasted, besides for medical purposes, then this just might be a good time for us to fast once a week during Lent.

God be with you till we meet again! Until then, I hope you join me in being

In Christ’s Service,
John

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