Reflecting on Our Mission: Inviting People into the Story of Jesus

FOLLOWING GOD IN AN UNSTABLE WORLD: SERMON #3 – SERMON RESOURCES

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ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP

We find ourselves as a church community at the beginning of the season of Lent. This period leading up to Easter is a reflection of Jesus’ 40 day sojourn in the wilderness. For most Christians, Lent serves as a time of deep self-reflection and internal inspection. It’s a time to look at what has been getting in the way of our relationship with God, and to actively seek renewal and intimacy with God and each other. For some, it can be a time to strip away bad habits, clear our minds, rid ourselves of excess baggage, and to examine all the ways we “miss the mark” as we acknowledge our regret. We have lots of tools to help us with this process: prayer, fasting, service, and the simplification of our lives in the presence of a loving Father.

At the beginning of these 40 days of preparation, still yourself before God and ask for guidance for how to spend this time. Ask if there are any areas where the Holy Spirit particularly wants to meet you. From this posture of expectant listening, begin to consider the range of spiritual practices we will be engaging together as a church. These can be found at annarborvineyard.org/lent. Pay attention to how you feel as you review these practices. Does one of them stir a strong emotion or reaction in you? Do you feel drawn to a particular discipline? Do you feel frightened, intimidated, or a little bit averse to one of them? Notice these feelings and ask God for clarity and discernment for whether this reaction is an invitation to engage this practice over the season of Lent. If you sense an invitation to engage in a particular practice, commit yourself to trying it to the best of your ability during lent. Remember that we use the term “practice” advisedly. None of us will engage any of these areas perfectly. Through these activities, we simply seek to create space for the Holy Spirit to cultivate growth in our hearts.

Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: spiritual.practices@annarborvineyard.org.

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