Although Lenten practices vary depending on denomination and congregation, it generally includes three primary areas of focus:
We won’t often admit this, but we like being angry. We don’t like what caused the anger, to be sure; we just like thinking we’ve “got” something on someone. So-and-so did something wrong, sometimes horribly wrong, and anger offers us a sense of moral superiority.
That’s why we call it “righteous anger,” after all. It’s moral and good, we want to think.
But inconveniently, there’s this proverb that says, “You may believe you are doing right, but the Lord will judge your reasons” (Prov. 16:2 NCV).
The first study in The Jesus Bible Study Series, Beginnings, is designed to usher you through the first act of God’s story, which is revealed most fully in the opening two chapters of the book of Genesis. Later biblical authors also wrote about God’s creation and the purposes behind his work, so we will pull from those portions of Scripture as well as we go along.
That’s four million people who woke up the next day wondering, “What do I do next?”
What’s even more interesting is that April was not an anomaly. It follows a trend of the months before where millions and millions of people simply quit, walking away from their jobs.
Right now, we’re in a sort of global denial about the actual cost of these hard years (which are not over). We just want to get past it all, so we’re currently trying to comfort ourselves with some sense of recovery and relief. But folks, we haven’t yet paid the psychological bill for all we’ve been through. We would never tell a survivor of abuse that the trauma must be over now that the abuse has stopped. And yet that mentality is at play in our collective denial of the trauma we’ve been through.
Paul's letter to the Colossians has been increasingly compelling for me as we find ourselves today in the midst of such strange and uniquely challenging times.
The Yale historian, Jaroslav Pelikan once said that regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the most dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost 20 centuries. And it's pretty difficult to argue that point. You know our calendars, the, the very way and means by which we set and mark our days hinges on Jesus, his birth and his life.
If what your church or ministry is doing now is effective and changing lives, enjoy it while it lasts. Because what’s working now won’t work in the future. The message we preach must never change, but how we communicate it must change as the world changes. This may sound discouraging, but it’s true. If you don’t change, you won’t last. If you don’t adapt how you share the gospel, your effectiveness will likely lessen over time because the world is changing too fast. William Pollard said, “The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
If you are ready for change, you are ready for growth. This mindset changes how you see problems. When you think about it, every innovation is really a solution to a problem. Problems aren’t things to be feared but opportunities to embrace
Here are some tools to help:
The Small Group Tool Kit includes two mobile-friendly invitation cards, reflection cards to enhance your small group experience, and a worship song playlist curated by Hosanna Wong that can beplayed during small group meetings or personal Bible study time.
The Church Tool Kit includes a downloadable poster, bulletininsert, invitation card, and Power Point slide.
Shawn Johnson, lead pastor of Red Rocks Church, gives a
searingly honest portrait of anxiety and depression and shows readers how to fight back and live free. He also has put together three free tools pastors can use to help their congregation have a productive conversation around mental health, including a discussion guide, sermon notes and key Scripture verses.