40 Days of Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter… Resurrection Sunday.

Lent is a season to reflect and prepare our hearts for Easter. Traditionally, many Christians fast (give up something) during Lent. Some give up chocolate, some give up TV; one of my friends gave up Facebook this year during Lent. Personally, I’m thinking about giving up broccoli… well, maybe that wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice.

The intent in giving something up is 1) to be able to identify with Christ, who gave up everything for us; and 2) to take the time or energy that would normally be given to that thing and redirect it towards cultivating our relationship to Christ. To take our cravings for (you fill in the blank here) and replace it with a deeper hunger for the Lord.

Giving something up, and sticking to it, is tough and takes work. But so is having a good relationship with God. And in a strange way, when we give up something for God, that in turn helps us be more conscious of Him throughout our day and even grow closer to Him! Now that’s a double win.

So think about it. What could you give up during this season of Lent?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

-Margaret Meade

So, Parents: How do you know when your kids are ready for more independence? When is it time to let them sink or swim? And what is the best way to do that?

Singing and Shopping

Did this give you chills? I have to be honest, the first time I watched it I started to tear up. Something about a huge mass of people singing “and He shall reign forever and ever” in a shopping mall just kinda stirs up the old emotions.

Did you notice how some people sang differently than others? There were 650 choristers singing and while they were all singing “properly,” there seemed to be various levels of enthusiasm and engagement. If you need to watch it again, do so. Look for three types of singers:

1) those just singing the way they would to any choral piece of music,

2) those for whom the words of the song seem to have some significance and meaning,

3) and those who actually seem to be worshipping God in the middle of the shopping mall!

Which gets me thinking: when you sing in church, which of the three types of singers am I most like? Why is it sometimes so hard to be engaged in praising God when we’re singing praise songs to God?

Why is it difficult for so many of us to show any emotion as we sing? Is it because we care too much about what people around us will think of us? Do we realize what that says about where God fits on our “People We Want to Impress List?”

In the video, I wish they hadn’t held up signs at the end that read this was a “random act of culture.” Is that all it was? Just a really pretty song for us to enjoy?

To me it was more like a bold and highly choreographed act of worship of the one, true God who deserves all our attention, devotion, and adoration.

Colossians 3:17 reads, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” We can worship God as we shop, as we study, as we play, and as we talk with our friends. And we can worship God (and show it!) as we sing.