I grew up in a warm hearted, Jesus saves, first second and last stanza Baptist church. We weren’t given to smells or bells. We raised our hands if we had a question. We only shouted during the softball games against the Assembly of Goders. Our spiritualty was simple. I’m still pretty much like that but I am grateful for the larger church and the gifts stewarded by Christians from all over the Pentecostal /Episcopal spectrum. Lent is one of the things I really like

Lent is a season focused on simple actions that draw us closer to God. The Holy Spirit dwells within us and is envious of every idol that draws our attention away from God (James 4:5). The Spirit desires to shower grace on us, enabling us to experience the joy of our salvation. We are invited to experience more of God through humility and repentance. Drawing near to God and resisting the Devil is a painful turn toward deep pleasure. The season of Lent serves as a communal reminder that we all need grace and that we can pursue it together. If you come from my tribe and are still are a bit new to Lent let me give you a few ideas that may help your 40 day journey to the empty tomb.

• Simplify your life. Do a little spring cleaning. Bring some order to your chaos. Give stuff away.

• Sacrifice something. This is the part of Lent that is most familiar to new folks. Lenten disciplines are designed to prompt us to pray and seek God. I once gave up the car radio. Every time I reached for the nob out of habit I was able to pray. Last year I gave up eating meat. I replaced it with prayer. Pick something that is a regular part of your life and fill it with intentional time with God.

• Say grace, a bunch. We often bless our food at family meal times. Begin saying little silent prayers over the rest of your life. “God thank you for this job, church, breath, etc.

• Invest in someone.

• Repent and repent some more.

• Enjoy God again.

Congregational Asset Survey FBC Waco

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." Paul continues on in 1 Corinthians 12 to describe the church, the body of believers, as many, yet one. Each member with a purpose; no purpose greater than the other. Each given the same Spirit for the common good.

As our congregation continues to ask the angel of the Lord questions, where have we been and where are we going, it becomes important to take an inventory. Like the spies in Numbers 13 who were sent out to inventory the land of Canaan, their hope and promise, so we want to inventory our congregation’s gifts, talents, assets and strengths.

Please take 10-15 minutes to thoughtfully fill out this inventory. Answers will be recorded in a database and used to help further our congregation’s involvement in holistic ministry to our members, neighborhood and larger community.

3:16 - Love is the Theme

I believe that our congregation exists to lead generations of Christians to love God, one another, and the world in the Spirit of Jesus. Love is the reason for our being and the theme of our faith. I want us to explore this grand theme again during three services in February. I am challenging us to memorize and meditate on three climatic verses of scripture that celebrate God the church and the world. Here they are:
We love God because he loves us.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)

We love one another because he loves us.

We know love by this,that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 1 John 3:16 (NRSV)

We love to world because he loves the world and us. This is the mystery of our religion.

Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in the flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16 (NRSV)

Enjoy these verses and let them wash your brain. Spring is coming on. Let’s wake up to love.
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