12 Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. 14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.
As I talk to many of my friends who are unchurched I have often been asked, “What relationship really matters to you, pastor?”
My answer is not simple but consistent,” The relationship that matters most to me is my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am committed to following Jesus and still there are times when I am overwhelmed in my quest to live for Jesus. This wonderful relationship can be draining as I go to rehearsal, LIFE groups, committee meetings and spending time studying and in prayer. As a result every once and a while I need to be recharged.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, lent is a time to restart and refresh your relationship with God through reconnecting with the spiritual disciplines that sustain us in this Christian journey. Lent is a 40 day season of self-denial and an opportunity to evaluate your relationship with God.
One spiritual discipline referenced in the scripture is fasting. Fasting is a time of cleansing the heart as well as the body. This could include getting rid of the toxic relationships, negative attitudes and distractions. Cleansing our lives of negative spiritual and emotional junk so that our lives are focused on hearing, following and living for Christ is the essence of fasting.
Prayer: God, move all distractions from my life that would keep me from focusing on serving you with my whole heart.
William T Chaney Jr
New Church Strategist