Lenten Challenges


First Focus

Lenten Challenges

This Sunday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a period of examination and preparation for believers around the world. Forty days prior to Easter, the church pauses to reflect, repent, and remember Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. I want to challenge you to do a couple of things this season as I will be doing.

Pray for believers around the world. The beheading of 21 Christians in Libya on Sunday is just one stark reminder that people around the world are facing threats because of their faith. The Christian response is consistent throughout scripture—pray, worship Jesus as Lord, and bear witness peacefully in His name. The word martyr simply means “witness,” and some witness in life and death. Pray for these families and churches.

Give sacrificially to the church. Sunday was just a taste of how your giving is going to impact lives for Christ in 2015. Thank you to Hannah Singletary, Laurinda Norris, Sharon Cawthorne, and Chad Wilson for helping us feast and learn. The indoor picnic was fabulous. Your gifts, large and small, are touching some of the closest and remote places where the gospel is being preached. We’re also seeking to do the important work of daily living out our faith as the church here in Tallahassee. Help us this year, and let your finances reflect your faith in Christ.

Recite the Jesus Creed. Scot McKnight challenged us at Connections Weekend to wake up every morning and go to bed each evening by saying Mark 12:29-31: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” We’ll practice that in worship. Write it in your Kairos journals and keep it nearby each day.

Lent Logo FinalWorship ecumenically. Another great testimony to the power of Christ is the common faith we share with churches in other denominations. Four downtown churches will be sponsoring joint noon worship services on Thursdays in Lent. I’ll be preaching at the first one next Thursday, February 26, at Trinity United Methodist Church. The service begins at 12:10PM, followed by a free lunch. You’ll have the opportunity to donate to the Renaissance Community Center’s “Operation I.D.,” a service that helps homeless people obtain an identification card to use when they apply for work. We will be the host on March 12. Here’s the full schedule:

  • February 26 at Trinity United Methodist; Guest Speaker – Bill Shiell
  • March 5 at First Presbyterian; Guest Speaker – Dave Killeen
  • March 12 at FBCTLH; Guest Speaker – Brant Copeland
  • March 19 at St. John’s; Guest Speaker – Tony Fotsch

The church is alive and well and doing great work in Jesus’ name. Now more than ever, we have opportunities to share why we love Jesus. Let’s witness together in Jesus’ name.