Happy Wednesday Everyone:
There is a mindset in Christianity that I’ll call the “colder, older brother mindset.” It’s a small-hearted mindset of condescension, resentment, and self-righteousness that Jesus verbally portrays in his parable of the prodigal son, which could easily be called the parable of the merciful father, or it could be called the parable of the colder, older brother. You get the idea.
In tonight’s UPLIFT service we’ll talk exclusively about this colder, older brother/sister mindset – how it arises, how it can subtly influence and how it can be minimized. This is not a sentimental topic. The early church, for example, wrestled with how they should respond to believers who had lapsed in their faith during a time of persecution. Sin happens. And when it does, what’s God’s heart on the matter and how can we accurately portray that heart? I hope to see you tonight at 7pm.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, and many non-Catholics wonder, “what is this all about?”
Lent (a word meaning “spring”) was an ancient church practice of taking the six weeks before Easter and preparing new converts for baptism. It was also a time for all believers to focus on repentance before the Lord and thus evolved the Lenten “fast,” giving up something during the six weeks of Lent.
Here’s the Captain Obvious statement: Lent is not a requirement for Christians. Dallas Willard has said, and I agree, that if a certain spiritual discipline not required by God helps you grow in God’s grace, then by all means do it. But if it doesn’t, don’t feel like you must do it.
But here’s what you can know: Christ followers of varying faith traditions will use the next six weeks to be intentionally more attentive to the call of Christ and the reconciliation He brings through his sacrificial death and resurrection.
One good practice leading up to Easter is to read through the gospels (about 15 minutes per day) and here is a helpful reading plan. As you read the Scriptures, ask God this question: “what do I need most, but least want to hear, from your word?”