Reminders

Lent

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Holy Week 2018

Holy week this year, March 25 – 31st, offers you a number of significant opportunities to finish strong your spiritual preparations for Resurrection Sunday.

  • Palm Sunday morning, March 25th – Morning Communion
  • Wednesday evening, March 28th – Night of Healing Prayer
  • Thursday, March 29th – Journey to the Cross and Worship Service
  • Friday, March 30th - Good Friday Service, 12:00 p.m.
  • Resurrection Sunday, April 1st - Worship at 8: 30 a.m. and 11: 00 a.m.

Devotional Reading - Week 7

40 Days of Preparation 
Preparing for Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday - 2018 
A Devotional for Wednesday, March 28 – Friday, March 30, 2018 
 
The Cross … Forgiving Sin at a Remarkable Cost 

Introduction 

A recent Lifeway Research survey for Ligonier Ministries reports that 65% - 67% of Americans take sin somewhat seriously. Many have used the time of Lent to seek God’s forgiveness and victory of sin. In fact, 2 out of 3 Americans confess to being a sinner.

However, the rest don’t see themselves as sinners (8%), don’t think sin exists (10%), or preferred not to answer the question (15%). You do the math. That means that 33% of Americans don’t feel the need to deal with sin as a personal problem. Do some additional calculations. That means that there is just a 34% variant between the two groups. The message is that Christianity and the message of the cross is much more marginalized that what many have thought.

Somewhere something has been missed in translation. There is a growing number of people in general, and Christians specifically, who believe that the do not need forgiveness of sin. This means the message of the cross does not have as much meaning as it once did.

Biblical Need for the Cross

In 1 John 1:8 it is written, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” In Romans 3:23 we read, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The Bible tells us over and over again that humanity is sick and separated from God as a result of sin. Hence, we need a savior. God’s gift of salvation is given through Jesus. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

While 33% of Americans may not feel they have a need for the forgiveness procured by Jesus’ work on the cross, the message of the cross still fulfills the greatest need for all human beings. In 1 Corinthian 1:18 Paul writes, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.” The cross is the only antidote for our sin.

Preparing for the Cross 

According to church tradition we commemorate Jesus’ death on Friday. While the Bible never tells us that Jesus died on Friday, it was actually on Thursday (14-15 Nissan according to the Jewish calendar) when all the lambs were being slain in the temple in preparation for the Passover. Whenever and wherever you might be this week, our focus should be on the Passion of Jesus Christ and His death of the cross. His death should mean everything to you. As you focus on the cross and meditate on its truth, read Hebrews 9–10 to gain a deeper understanding of the gift of love and forgiveness God has passed on to you through the message of the cross. Meditate on the words of this old hymn by Isaac Watts …

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.


 Preparing for the Empty Tomb 

The meaning of the cross is solidified three days after his death when Jesus is resurrected from the dead. Celebrating the resurrection is the epicenter of the Christian faith. This Sunday, all over the planet people will proclaim, “He is risen!”

While the cross fulfills our greatest need, the resurrection of Jesus is the greatest gift ever. Faith in the living Jesus gives us life abundant today and eternal life forever!

 I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10b

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. John 11:25

Meditate of the words of this ancient hymn celebrating the resurrection of Jesus by John of Damascus:

The day of resurrection!
Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness,
The Passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
From earth unto the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over,
With hymns of victory.

Our hearts be pure from evil,
That we may see aright
The Lord in rays eternal
Of resurrection light;
And list’ning to His accents,
May hear, so calm and plain,
His own “All hail!” and, hearing,
May raise the victor strain.

Now let the heav’ns be joyful!
Let earth the song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen
Their notes in gladness blend,
For Christ the Lord hath risen,
Our joy that hath no end.


What is Lent?

Throughout the history of the church, many Christians set aside the 40 days prior to Resurrection Sunday for a time of spiritual discipline, prayer, fasting, repentance, time in the Bible, reading devotional classics and making spiritual preparations to observe the Passion of Jesus and to celebrate the resurrection. 

Lent this year takes place from Wednesday, February 14th – Sunday, April 1st.

Lent at Neptune

Here are some simple ways to spend the next 40 days spiritually preparing to go deeper with Jesus and to prepare to authentically Celebrate Resurrection Sunday:

Devotionals

Check here each Wednesday for a new Lenten Devotional. Set aside a time for these devotional readings and additional time in the Bible to draw you closer to Jesus and to be prepared for the experiences of Holy Week 2018.

Disciplines

There are many ways to incorporate spiritual disciplines into your life this Lenten season. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Fast. Take a fast from food each Wednesday during Lent. That means that from sunrise to sunset on Wednesdays, February 14, 21, 28, March 7, 14, 21, and 28 you will focus your attention on prayer, Bible reading and/or serving others. If you feel led to pursue a food fast, please check with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to undertake a time of fasting.
  2. Fast. Choose a day, or a portion of a day, to exclude television, texting, social media or other electronic activities.
  3. Fast. Choose something in your life that you can strip away for forty days and in its place you will focus on the spiritual devotions discussed in the section above.
  4. Add. Add to your life more time in prayer.
  5. Add. Add additional time in reading God’s word.
  6. Add. Add a time to incorporate the devotional directions that we have described in the Devotional Section.

Pray

Pray individually. Set aside time every day, or a time during the week for additional times of concentrated prayer. Focus on personal repentance and revival. 

Join us in the worship center every Wednesday, February 14 through March 28, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., for an authentic time of prayer.


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