Pick up your printed Lent Guide on Sunday mornings at the Sanctuary entrances.
What is Lent?
In the early centuries of the church, the forty days before Easter came to be recognized as the season of Lent (a Latin word that means “spring”), when new converts were prepared for baptism. This preparation included biblical instruction, prayer, repentance and fasting.
In time, the practices of Lent were embraced by the entire church. Its purpose has always been self-examination and spiritual preparation leading to an exuberant celebration of Easter.
At Calvary, we emphasize the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and giving as Jesus encouraged in Matthew 6. Lent provides a wonderful opportunity to do this together, as a church body.
2018 Season of Lent
This Lenten season is an invitation for each of us. It is a call back to the basics of faith. It is an opportunity to not just know the truth of Scripture but to live out what it means to follow Christ. As we walk through the Gospel of Mark, we want to encourage you to examine what it means to be a disciple, to be someone who recognizes the way of the Savior and models their life accordingly. You will find throughout this guide not just instructions for discipleship, but also questions to consider, action steps to take and real life stories to contemplate. Mark this guide up and let it be a handbook you refer to again and again as you follow the Lord and seek to learn His ways.
Lent is an invitation to confront the temptations that seek to pull us off the path to Christ-likeness, to acknowledge what leads us astray and seek fresh strength to turn from the darkness. The spiritual disciplines of praying, fasting and giving that we focus on during this season offer a rhythm to our daily discipleship. Fasting is a symbol of the discipline it takes to turn away from our sin. Prayer is the actual experience of turning to God in dependence. Giving is the virtue we take on to replace our sin.
During Lent, we set aside extra time to pray. We encourage you to daily ask God to reveal the truth of your life to you and guide you in His grace to move forward. Thank Jesus for walking ahead of us to endure the cross and lead us to a future with God.
Choose three people in your life who do not know Jesus. Pray daily for your interactions with them, that the Spirit would encourage them to begin a journey of faith with Jesus.
Lent is a time for self-examination and contemplation. To facilitate this, Christians often set aside certain foods or non-essential activities.
Fasting is not meant to be deprivation or a means of earning grace. Rather, fasting is meant to provide spiritual focus. By setting aside something that is normally a part of your daily life, you are creating space for God. As you voluntarily deny yourself, you are reminded of Jesus as the source of your true sustenance.
Fasting is not limited to food (though many people may choose a meal or specific food group from which to fast). Abstaining from certain practices can help us loosen the grip that unhealthy appetites and destructive addictions have on our lives. You may consider fasting from buying books, wearing makeup, listening to the radio /podcasts or eating processed foods. To abstain from these things, things that are not in and of themselves bad, helps us resist subtle idolatry and refocus our lives on God.
During the Lenten season we spend time in prayer considering how God would have us give, both of our finances and our time. Over the last few years we have taken this season to evaluate pledging to the Grace Beyond project. This year our children will complete their three-year commitment to raise funds for this project by collecting money in their house banks. Calvary Kids will share more information about this effort on Sunday mornings.
Ask God if there are ways that you can deepen your giving. Consider ways that you can express your faith in sacrifice, following the example of Jesus both in His life and ultimately in His death.
For more information on the season of Lent and the practice of observing the church calendar consider reading the following books which were used to compile the above.
- Ancient-Future Time by Richard Webber
- Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross