Lent 2014: Bridging to Peace

During this season of preparation and anticipation of Easter, we want to have times as a community where we collectively pray and fast. Our purpose is to draw closer to God, open our hearts and minds, and listen for the Holy Spirit leading us. Each week, we will share a prayer focus for the week and a fast for Friday that we may all participate in as a community.

The fast is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God. As a church, we are fasting in order to deepen our relationship with God and to walk in step with His plan and purpose. This is accomplished through substituting something physical, typically food, and replacing it with a spiritual activity, like Bible reading, praying, or journaling. The overall goal is to experience a genuine hunger for spending time with God.

Week 2 Prayer Focus:

As we enter the second week of the Lenten season, I would beseech each person in our family to pray for the mission of our church. Mission is the scope and breadth of our commission, which is to reach the lost and broken of our community with the gospel. Our first week kicked off with a prayer for passion-infused hearts that are full of revival and a turning to Jesus. This week, we seek to set in motion that catalyst and look for opportunity to act upon that mission given by Christ Himself in the last chapter of Matthew. Opportunity from God can be as big as a bold conversation directly about His Son out of the blue with a stranger, or as small as listening to a friend share their grief in silence and compassion. Our Father knows no limits to those He might place in our path for us to interact with, where we can rely on the gospel that we not only know, but live out, day by day.

May grace and peace be ours this week as we keep our spiritual eyes open for those canyons we are called to build bridges over, in and through authentic relationships, as we seek to live out our mission.

Week 2 Fast Focus:

Fasting is a broad pen stroke that involves many different varieties that many of us may or may not have thought of. My challenge to us as a family this week is to fast from being fast!

What!?!

Oftentimes, we fly too quickly through our days, missing what the Lord has placed in our path for interaction, all in the name of efficiency and diligence. We pride ourselves on a “quick” run to the store, or a fast phone call to a friend, which often loses quality of relationship and quality of opportunity to see the quality of God’s handiwork in nature all around us. Let’s fast from being fast one day this week by doing something – anything, really – that is out of our normal character. When visiting WallyWorld and you have but a few items, choose the longest line rather than the quickest to practice the art of slowing down! Let that Bieber-haired teenager behind you go ahead of you in the line and show him grace. Choose to take a new unexplored route home and get to know some new sights while talking with God. Turn off the radio the whole drive and just use the silence to listen and talk with your Father, who longs to hear from you. When getting your Black Rock, don’t just grab and go, but glance in your rearview mirror and buy a cuppa joe for the car behind you. Who knows? You might just get a honk out of it, and a smile that can change not only your day, but theirs as well.

Live for today. This is my challenge to us, church. Grace and peace be with us all as we fast from being too fast in these fleeting days.

-Matthew Clair

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