The Lenten season is upon us! According to the Christian year, the season of Lent is the forty-six day period beginning on Ash Wednesday (which this year is March 5th) and ending on the eve of Easter (April 19th). This represents the forty days Christ fasted in the wilderness (fast days) plus the six Sundays of Lent (feast days). For Christians, the purpose of the Lenten season is o make spiritual preparation for Easter (April 20). Some Christians strive to fulfill this purpose by "giving up" something for Lent (a certain food, a particular activity, a negative habit or attitude) as a discipline in developing a more mature faith. Other Christians resolve to "do something" during the Lenten season as part of their commitment to grow in their relationship with Christ.
As part of our Lenten preparation this year, all Calvary members are being challenged to focus on "doing something(s)" during this forty-six day Lenten season. Specifically, each of us is being challenged to "do" the following:
First Day--Worship: There are six Sundays during Lent. Make an effort to be present for Sunday morning worship each of these Sundays. (Or at least 5 out of 6 if at all possible.)
First Fruits--Offering: Each Calvary member is challenged to give a tithe (10%) of hi or her income to the Lord's work through Calvary Church throughout the Lenten season. If for some reason, you simply cannot tithe by giving 10%, prayerful consider giving a generous offering during this six Sunday period. Rather than giving God your "leftovers," make a commitment to give the Lord your "first fruits" (the first 10% of your income).
First Thoughts--Devotion: Begin each new day by focusing your first thoughts on God. You might want to say a verse of Scripture such as Psalm 118:24 (his is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.) or Lamentations 3:22-23 (The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to and end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.) If you do not currently have a daily devotional time, the season of Lent would be a good time to give your "first thoughts" to God through a devotional reading and prayer.
First Service--Ministry: Volunteer to do something to serve/help others in the name of Christ beyond the traditional "walls" of the church. Volunteer your time and service at one of many ministries: God's Pantry, the ROC, Mission Lexington, Room In the Inn, the Calvary Christmas Project, coaching an Upward Sports Team, our "comfort" team, our homebound ministry, Kids Hope tutoring ministry at Mill Creek Elementary, etc. (just to name a few). Plan to go on our church-wide mission trip to work in Mission Arlington (Arlington, Texas) this coming summer (June 27-July 5). Become involved in some type of "hands on" ministry.
Give prayerful consideration to using the upcoming the upcoming Lenten season to become a more disciplined and committed follower of Christ. Resolve this Lenten season to become a "first day, first fruits, first thoughts, first service" disciple.