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Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

I’ve not been fasting from blogging for Lent. Just a normal blogflop due to life and everything. But here I am again. With some fun pics of my friend Kirby, who made some Resurrection Eggs last week in preparation for the fortnight leading up to Easter.

Resurrection eggs are a sort of Jesse Tree for Easter and a creative way to get kids to engage with the wonderful gospel story at the heart of our faith. Kirby used the verses preprepared on this blog. There’s plenty of time to gather yourself an egg box and some plastic eggs. You can use 15 eggs (as Meredith does), a dozen (as I did) or even a simple six. Why not give it a go?

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coollogo_com-105672830I’ve been thinking about what to do for Lent this year. Although, theoretically, I could start something new at any time of year, I find that seasons in the church year are good opportunity to review spiritual disciplines. Last year I managed to produce a blogpost every weekday throughout Lent and the Vicar and I had a no-screens-after-8pm fast. We found the screen ban very helpful – and did a lot of talking and reading. We did have Sunday nights off for Dr Who after the Evening Service though. And I enjoyed the more frequent blogging, but I don’t think that is on the cards in 2013.

So here is a little list of what I’m planning to do throughout Lent this year, to draw closer to God and reset my life compass:

  1. Continue reading my encouraging devotional,Taste and See: Savouring the Supremacy of God in All of Life by John Piper.
  2. No screens after 8pm again, although I may have to make an exception for writing if I’m to finish Messy Ministry by my deadline just after Easter.
  3. Write the book – I’m finding the thinking I’m doing quite challenging so far, and the self-discipline involved in setting time aside to write is very good for me. And I have that deadline to meet.
  4. Increase family devotion frequency to at least 3 times a week. At the moment we’re only managing once a week, although we’re enjoying the format, which includes reading from Sally Lloyd-Jones’ lovely devotional book ‘Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing‘ and praying from prayer diaries from The Leprosy Mission, CMS and the Barnabas Fund, all of whom are supported by our church.
  5. Did I mention finish the book? And not faff about on the internet being distracted.

sCome nearer Easter, we’ll dig out our Resurrection Eggs too. But other than that I think we’re set. I want to be realistic in the challenges I set but also stretch myself. The screen fast will be the hardest. But I’m also looking forward to the space it will bring into our lives. I’m wondering whether the Vicar and I might use this devotional book together in the time that is freed up. How about you?

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Starting next Sunday for the rest of Lent (and a bit afterwards) the Vicar will be taking us through a few chapters of Hebrews in his sermons. So this, of course, will be our theme song to accompany the preaching. It’s also one we sang on my conference last week, so it’s sort of in my head anyway.

I’ll have to listen online next week as I’m in Junior Church for a second week. But I think we might try and sing along to this song in the Vicarage at teatime so those of us who’ll not be in the main body of the kirk during the sermon will have a little taste at what everyone else is up to.

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After a good start to the week? Enlarge your vision of Christ and watch this brilliant kinetic typography clip accompanying Tim Keller explaining how Jesus is the ‘true and better’ Adam, Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rock of Moses, Job, David, Esther, Jonah, temple, lamb, life, bread (I may have missed a couple).

[HT: Mez McConnell]

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Lent is a good time for reflection and confession. Today I was reminded of this great song that helps me do just that. We learnt it on our summer Pathfinder venture and it’s on our to-be-introduced-at-church list. Alas, Sam Chaplin’s album doesn’t seem to be commercially available at the moment.

 

Two Sins

Two sins have we committed,
Two sins that we cannot deny,
We’ve turned from you, the fount of living water
And have tried to drink from cisterns cracked and dry

What fools we are, how blind we are!
Have mercy Lord, mercy on us. Forgive us Lord and help us see.
Change our hearts that we might live
For you O Lord, for you, O Lord, always

Two sins have we committed,
Two sins are plain before your eyes
We’ve walked away from the truth that brings us freedom
And have settled for those sweet enslaving lies

Two sins have we committed,
Two sins at which you stand appalled
We’ve turned from you, our glorious Creator
And have worshipped things that are no gods at all.

© Sam Chaplin, 1999.
Jeremiah 2v12-13, Romans 1.
Recorded on Sam Chaplin: You’re My Every Breath, 2001

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I know I know, Lent began yesterday. But just in case you’ve meant to start something and forgot. Or maybe you’d just like to try something extremely worthwhile without worrying about exactly when you begin or end: the Bible Society have got a fantastic idea – wouldn’t it be great to listen to the whole of the New Testament? It will only take 28 minutes a day if you listen every day for the 40 days of Lent. They have a special new recording of the CEV, from Riding Lights theatre company. They also have a Welsh language version available. There’s also a free CD pack available. The Bible Society are obviously keen that we would contribute towards their work if we benefit from this project, but the audio downloads are free on the website.

Here in the Vicarage, we’re trying to listen to a chapter (or two) of the bible at teatime this Lent – we’ve been playing the audio on Biblegateway.com on the kitchen computer. We’ve been impressed by how quiet the kids are as we listen. Early days yet, tho’. But we have found the audio bible a good way to nourish ourselves with larger chunks of scripture.

If you have a tablet, or a smartphone, you can do the same thing using the free Daily Bible app.

So I think it’s worth a listen. Even if I don’t manage the whole New Testament in exactly 40 days, I’ll have taken in more scripture than usual, and that’s only going to be a help since

… faith comes through hearing…

Romans 10v17

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Well, I have rather failed in my spiritual discipline of blogging The Cross Centered Life this Lent. I’m about half way through reading though and am going to go and snuggle in front of the fire and finish it just now.

Despite not blogging, I have been chewing over what I’ve learnt from the book. I think I’ve been encouraged to direct my thoughts to the cross more – to the suffering of Jesus and the sovereignty of God. This has really helped me as I’ve thought about people I love who are in difficult situations. I always feel that I should be able to do something, but I know I need to trust more in God’s power and control.

Cross

If you are wanting to think more about C J Mahaney’s book, the Vicar has put all his course materials up on his blog.

Happy Easter to all my readers. I’m praying that I will be more cross centred in my life this coming year. And you too.

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Chapter 1 – Restating the Obvious

So the first week of Lent is nearly up, and I’ve read the first chapter of C J Mahaney’s book. It was a great reminder to me of where my life, especially my thought life, should be focussed.

The Vicar's Wife's Lent Book

The Vicar's Wife's Lent Book

In this chapter he sets out his aims for the book.
He wants his readers to know that:

The key to joy, to growth, to passion isn’t hiding from you. It’s right before your eyes.

It’s the gospel

Mahaney begins his book by imagining Timothy first reading Paul’s second letter to him. As Paul faces death, his final word to Timothy is to guard the gospel, the one truth, the one message.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel                                         2 Timothy 2v8

Mahaney reminds his readers that

Jesus Christ died so that sinners would be reconciled to God and forgiven by God.

He calls this the ‘foundational reality’ of the message that Paul taught and the ‘only essential message in all of history’. If our lives are not centred on this message we can find that

  1. We often lack joy
  2. We don’t consistently grow in spiritual maturity
  3. Our love for God lacks passion
  4. We are always looking for some new technique, some ‘new truth’ or new experience that will pull all the pieces of our faith together.

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to all these symptoms. I’m not a very emotional person, so I think I can dismiss my lack of joy and passion ‘because I’m just not like that’. I also have excuses for my failure to grow in maturity, pretending that I’m already mature – I’m a Vicar’s wife after all. And a new quiet time book will always be the solution to my failures.

So I’m very much looking forward to reading more and getting back to the cross this Lent. Chapter 2 is really short, so keep on reading!

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has one, so why not me, eh? I’m such an Anglican!

Actually, the Curate has chosen a book to read be read by members of our new church over Lent. And I’m going to read along too, although I probably won’t be able to make the evening meetings when they discuss the book and go deeper, as I’ll be babysitting at the Vicarage.

The book he’s chosen is one we looked at last year at our current church during Lent. It’s called ‘The Cross Centered Life’ by C J Mahaney, an American pastor (hence the -er spelling of centre).

The Cross Centered Life

The book has the great advantage of being very short (only seven chapters and about 70 pages) and is a very easy read. I’m going to dig out my copy now, and shall be reading a chapter or so a week over Lent. Lent begins the day after Pancake Day, Tuesday 24th February.

Why not get a copy yourself and join me in the Vicarage kitchen as I drink a mug of tea, eat some flapjack and think through what I’ve been reading? I’ll be blogging my progress.

Amazon are currently supplying it for £5.59. A bargain for some great encouragement to keep focused on the central truth of Christian faith. Better order it now, as Amazon say that it can take 1-3 weeks to deliver.

There’s also a terrific cd from Sovereign Grace music which goes with the book.

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