How do you feel about Lent? Many Christ-followers are unsure about it. To some it feels somber, even dark or oppressive, and they’re afraid of it.
But Catholics and mainline Protestant churches have been celebrating Lent for centuries. And in the last few years more and more Christians are participating. Pastors, including those at conservative Bible churches, are leading their churches to use Lent as a time for spiritual training.
Lent became personal for our family on Ash Wednesday of 2004.
Our then nine-years old daughter Jennie noticed her friend had an ashen cross on her forehead. At our family dinner that night she asked me, “Daddy, why don’t we celebrate Lent? Is it because we’re not Catholic like Ally’s family?”
“It sounds like you want to participate in Lent.”
She nodded and asked, “Where can we get ashes put on our foreheads?”
Clearly she needed a little instruction!
“The ashes are just a symbol,” I smiled.
Our three children were curious so I explained, “The ashes come from last years’ Palm Sunday branches being burned and then blessed by the pastor. They remind us to confess our sins to God and receive his forgiveness. This begins the forty days of Lent. We’re preparing for Easter.”
Then we talked about three practical ways that we could celebrate Lent:
- “Give something up” out of love for Jesus and God
- Read and pray through Bible stories about Jesus going to the cross to die for our sins
- Ask God to help us be kind and compassionate to the people around us
(Fasting, prayer, and generosity are the three spiritual disciplines that Jesus teaches on in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 and they have been associated with Lent since ancient times. In honor of Christ’s resurrection the Sundays during Lent are rest days and not part of the forty days.)
Lent starts next week and we’re joyful about using Unforsaken.
I wrote this booklet from many years of completing the ancient Stations of the Cross at retreat centers and on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. I discovered the passion of Christ as the greatest story ever told!
This short guide features Bible meditations that engage your emotions and inspire your prayers. It’s easy to share with a friend or small group. To get up close and personal with Jesus in this way has been truly life-changing for us and we’re thankful to share it with you!
What a great grace to discover that with Jesus Christ at his cross we are fully loved by God and forever Unforsaken! Kristi and I love how one of our favorite Bible verses puts this: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
It’s our deep desire that you’d be happy and at peace by putting your full trust in Jesus and knowing that you are totally and eternally Unforsaken by God! That means no guilt. No anxiety. No depression. No addiction. No shame. It’s the divine life that we can grow to experience more and more!
Unforsaken: With Jesus on the Stations of the Cross is just a few dollars. Order it today and you’ll have it in time for Lent!
Join Our Free Podcast on “Unforsaken”!
During Lent on our “Soul Talks” podcast Kristi and I will be sharing our personal responses and applications to the readings in Unforsaken.
You and your friends can follow along with us, week-by-week. It’ll be like we’re in a small group together!
It all starts with the episode of “Soul Talks” that broadcasts on Saturday February 25th!
You can subscribe to “Soul Talks” for free using the Podcast App on your phone, on iTunes, or at SoulShepherding.org/podcast/