This year’s Lent experience begins with a special Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, February 14 at 6:30PM. The Mid-week Encounter small group studies will not meet. The Ash Wednesday service will include an opportunity to offer our sins to the Lord, and to apply the ashes from our burnt offerings on our foreheads as a sign of our repentance and God’s forgiveness.
The theme for Lent this year is Altar’d: The Transforming Power of Surrender based on a Daily Reader by Susan O. Kent from Seedbed. (Available on the table outside the church office.) This is from the back cover of the book: “We want change, but at what cost? Altars have always represented change. They are the places where sacred space meets our surrender and leads into authentic spiritual transformation. From the beginning of time, God’s people have built altars to mark the places where God spoke, gave direction, or gave His blessing. It is the place where God’s people surrendered offerings to Him in obedience.
“In the New Testament, Jesus became that surrendered offering, but He also became the place – in His person – for those who were hurting, lost, and who longed to encounter God. In the midst of a world filled with chaos and disappointment, pain and death, there is a promise of restoration and transformation. However, it isn’t found at the end of our lives, but at the end of ourselves. It is found when we embrace surrender. This daily reader will awaken obedient hearts and minds to the transforming power of surrendered life.”
In addition to offering the Altar’d Daily Reader for individuals to read during their daily devotional times, the Sunday worship messages during Lent will highlight the theme of The Transforming Power of Surrender with the following titles: “Making Space for Surrender:” God calls us to make space to surrender so we can experience the power of transformation. “Surrender It All:” God calls us to surrender our control and demonstrate our commitment through obedience. “Renew our Faith:” God calls us to surrender our worry and place Him first in our lives. “Sacrifice of Praise:” God calls us to surrender our thanks to receive His peace. “Freedom!” God calls us to surrender our past to receive His freedom. “At What Cost?” God calls us to surrender our pain to receive His restoration.
Pastor Paul also will lead a Midweek Encounter small group (Wednesdays at 10AM and 6:30PM) on Altar’d: The transforming Power of Surrender as part of this year’s Lent experience. The small group gatherings are “intended to help churches journey toward Lent together. The big idea is space + surrender = shifts (transformation). We seek transformation to experience an awakening of holiness within ourselves and our neighbors and encounter the power of our risen Savior to radically alter the way we live.”
The subject titles for the six-week small group sessions include:
- Keep the Fire Burning;
- Are You All In;
- First of All;
- Make a Choice;
- Invisible Sin;
- Paid in Full