I woke up this morning and turned the calendar on our fridge to a new month (Yes, we are “old school” at the Kopp house!).
Can you believe it’s already April?
Because it’s April 1st that means we are just two weeks away from Good Friday and Easter. So here’s a question for you… how prepared are you for those two days? I’m not talking about whether or not you bought your ham yet or if you started to clean your house for the big party. I’m talking about how spiritually prepared you are.
The reason I felt compelled to write this blog is because I have been stumbling my way through Lent so far. Back when Lent began, I had grand ideas of how laser focused I was going to be on Jesus from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. But busyness and distractions have ruled the day instead.
So this past Monday I got out my journal and wrote how I wanted to do a spiritual reboot. Even though this season of Lent has been far from a spiritual mountain experience for me up to this point, I realized that I still had a few weeks left and I was going to press in instead of throw in the towel.
So here are some changes I made as well as some things that have been going right. I write these not to puff myself up but to offer them as suggestions for you to consider:
Bible – The Bible reading plan I have been trying to follow just hasn’t been working for me. So I decided to go “old school” and begin reading through the gospels, a few chapters a day. I started John on Monday and I am through chapter 16 as I write this. If you are 100% happy with how much you have been “in” your Bible, keep on doing it! But if not, try a new approach. Click HERE for two reading plans you may want to follow (It’s the green-colored link in the middle of the page that says “Download our Experiencing Lent Handout.”)
Temple – Because of our Family on Mission giving campaign at our church, I didn’t go to Planet Fitness a single time since the end of January. My monthly dues have been donations! 🙂 And yes that last sentence was a joke, but I am actually quite mad at myself about that. So I made the decision this past Monday to re-commit to treating my body like the temple of the Holy Spirit that it is (see 1 Cor. 6:19). And I am happy to report I went to the gym five mornings in a row this week. What would it look like for you to “honor your temple” between now and Easter Sunday?
“Leftovers” – Because of the demands the church has been putting on my schedule, Kellie and the kids have been getting my leftovers. And yet, Jesus says the Greatest Commandment is to “love your neighbor” (see Matthew 22:37-39) and your “neighbors” include those living inside your own home! So I went out of my way this week to reject passivity and engage with my family by playing a dozen games of chess with my oldest daughter Faith, among other things. What about you? What would rejecting passivity look like for you?
Hunger – “God make me more hungry for you!” That has been one of the cries of my heart during Lent. And one thing I have done very consistently during Lent is fast from all food one day per week, typically on Tuesdays. And every time my stomach growled, I prayed, asking God to make me as hungry for Him as I am for food. (The Experiencing Lent link I gave you a few paragraphs above has a couple pages of fasting ideas).
Sundays – If your church is like ours, there are four more opportunities to go to church as Lent winds down: this weekend, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter. Draw a line in the sand right now that you are going to be 4 for 4 in church attendance! And when you attend, may you experience the goodness of the Father heart of God.
Good Friday and Easter Sunday are two of the most significant events in the history of the world. And yet, with our overloaded schedules, it’s easy to treat those two days as speed bumps in our hectic lives where we barely slow down as we head toward them.
And if that last paragraph has defined your experience in Lent up to this point… if you have been stumbling toward Easter like I have been doing… today is a new day!
***The Bible teaches that Jesus came to earth to defeat the devil (see 1 John 3:8), which He accomplished through His death of the Cross. But have you ever thought about why Jesus had to die an excruciating death to defeat the devil instead of just wiping Satan out of existence with a puff of His breath? My sermon is titled The Devil is in the Details. Bring your “thinking caps” and please join us on Sunday April 2nd at 10:30am as we continue our series “Reconsidering the Meaning of the Cross.”. The Eastside Vineyard Church gathers inside Shelby Jr. High (51700 Van Dyke // 2 blocks north of 23 Mile). More info at tevchurch.org***