FaithSpring Staff Blog

{tag_author}

Day Three: No Meat

Posted By at Friday, March 08, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019

Day 3, Friday, March 8: No Meat!


Argggh!  It’s a “No-Meat” Friday, which in today’s devotion, means that we should try and refrain from the consumption of meat (meat, poultry, and pork).  Don't cry yet!  This challenge is easier than you might think, because "No-Meat" Fridays are widely accepted in our culture as an important Christian tradition.  Today, restaurants across the country are going to highlight their fish-related menu items, hoping to capture a piece of the dietary restrictions of the 220 million Christians living in the United States.  That should make this Lenten Challenge easy, right?  Maybe?

For most of us, Lenten dietary restrictions alone won’t keep us from enjoying our favorite Friday lunch fare or our preferred Friday evening dinner delights.  We need a little more incentive, like a few reasons why this is helpful, so here’s five more:

#1: Making a small personal sacrifice for God demonstrates our appreciation for the GIANT sacrifice God made.

#2: Maintaining a little dietary discipline is good for the mind, body, and soul. Setting a goal like this and achieving it can yield big benefits.

#3: It’s just one day and you’ll never miss it. We have so many other options that we’ll never have a problem finding something else. Just order fish, eggs, soup, salad, pasta, or a grilled cheese sandwich.

#4: In the early church, meat was typically associated with big feasts and parties. Lent is the season that focuses on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, which is not really a happy event.

#5: Everyone else will be doing it, too. Enough people will be practicing “No-Meat” Fridays that you don’t even need to explain yourself. Just go with the flow on this one.

Thankfully, we don’t have to repay God in full for what God has done for us.  We only need to show some appreciation, and refraining from this small pleasure is an easy way to give back to God while also expanding our culinary palettes.

Give God some love by demonstrating a small sacrifice of your own!  Omit meat from your diet today!

“When the disciples had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread…Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’” (John 21:9, 12a)

{tag_author}

Day Two: Pray, Read, Reflect

Posted By at Thursday, March 07, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019

Day 2, Thursday, March 7:Begin to Pray, Read the Bible, and Reflect upon God

We’re off and running, so to speak, into the dark wilderness of Lent.  If you gave something up for Lent, good for you!  If you didn’t, that’s okay because today’s challenge is the best way to start.  Today’s challenge is to begin praying, reading the Bible, and reflecting on God.

Even if we don’t do anything else during Lent, incorporating these three things in our daily lives will yield big-time results. Spending time talking with God in prayer just makes sense.  We might compare this to having a good, long discussion with a parent or mentor. Sometimes they just sit there listening while we pour our guts out to them, and when they finally do speak, their words command our full attention.

Reading the Bible also makes sense because it is a never-ending catalog of stories and advice that covers every topic under the sun (and even a few topics beyond the sun!).  The Bible is also the written record of God’s Word, which by itself, is a rather big deal.

Just as communication with God is important, it’s also important to spend some time just thinking about God.  It can be in the mornings when we wake up and see the birds outside or when we look up into the sky in the evenings.  God is all around us and paying attention to God can provide a wealth of information and resources.

What else is God calling you to do this Lenten season?  Whatever your “else” might be, try to include Praying, reading the Bible, and reflecting upon God in your daily commute in life.  A focus on each of these might just remove the need for you to do anything else.

“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ” (Romans 5:17, NRSV).

 

{tag_author}

Day One: Get Ashed!

Posted By at Wednesday, March 06, 2019

FaithSpring's 40-Day Lent Challenge 2019

March 6, Ash Wednesday: Get Ashed!

The season of Lent is the 40-days leading to Easter (Actually, it’s a few more than 40, but we’ll discuss at another time.) In the earliest establishment of the Christian Church, it was determined by God’s faithful followers to honor Jesus’ sacrifice by spending this time focusing on God’s love for the world through Jesus Christ. The thought was this: Humankind can’t fully repay God for the sacrifice He made through Jesus, but people can honor God by making a personal sacrifice of their own.

As a result, Christians across the world will make personal sacrifices during the next six weeks to demonstrate to God that His effort does not go unnoticed. For Christians who are seeking a closer relationship with God, this is the perfect opportunity to grow. For non-Christians who are curious (or skeptical) about Christianity, this is the perfect opportunity to learn something new.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, 2019. Most Christian Churches will begin the season by offering Ash Wednesday services, which is often a shortened worship service that includes the imposition of Ashes. Why Ashes? Ashes represent the fragility of the human body. From the dust of the earth we were born, and to the dust of the ground we will return. Thus, ashes represent our bare essence in God’s created world. Receiving the mark of ashes on our bodies symbolizes our humility before God, as well as our love for God and our appreciation and commitment to God’s work.

At FaithSpring Church, we will spend the next few weeks focused on IdenTifying our individual Purposes in life by making personal sacrifices, becoming aware of God’s presence in our lives, and serving other people. Each day, devotions such as this one will include a daily challenge, which corresponds with the weekly theme that is explored in detail on each previous Sunday. If you’re up for a challenge or even just curious, this is a great opportunity to explore God, strengthen our personal relationships, and serve our communities.

What do you think? Are you interested? Are you curious? Complete today’s challenge by receiving Ashes. This can be accomplished in a worship service or at a drive-by location (many of these will be provided across the city). This is your chance…this is our chance…to do something small that can make a big, big difference in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.

Get ready Lent! Here we come! Get Ashed today!

“By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:19 (NLT)