The Formation of Prayer

The purpose of prayer is not to get God to do what we want Him to do. The purpose of prayer is to be formed. To be formed we need a robust liturgy. Jonathan invites you to download his daily liturgy by seeing his 4/2/17 post at his FB page at www.facebook.com/jonathanfosterauthor.

Scripture: Romans 8:28-29, Acts 2:42

Giving

So what’s the big deal about money… especially in the church? Jesus actually talked more about money than prayer and faith! And yet even when Jesus lived, people struggled with making money their god. But He never said money was bad – just the love of it. And He cautions us, too, to not make it our god, precisely in our economy of wealth and prosperity. Maybe – just maybe – one of the mysteries of our faith is that when we give to help others, God transforms our own heart in the process and reminds us that He is in control and not us.

Scripture: Matthew 6:1-4; 1 Timothy 6:10

Fasting

Will God love you more when you read your Bible, pray, give, or fast? Nope, God doesn’t love us based on what we do. But, participating in these ‘holy habits’ (or spiritual disciplines) will help us to connect with God more and love Him deeper.

While the Bible assumes we’ll fast, many people don’t take the expectation in Scripture to fast seriously. Perhaps this is because they may not know how to fast. This sermon gives you reasons why you should fast, as well as six practical ways to help guide you through a fast.

Scripture: Matthew 6:16-18; 9:15

Into the Wilderness

Lent, which means “springtime,” is structured around the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert wilderness preparing for his ministry. Yet throughout the Bible there are many instances of significant ‘desert wanderings’ for 40 days. Tucked away in the Old Testament is the powerful story of Elijah spending 40 days in the desert practicing silence and solitude. Using this as a launching pad for our Lenten reflection may we, like Elijah, practice the simple life of retreating, resting, reflecting, and recognizing God’s voice so that we can be refueled for mission.

This helps us debunk the mistaken popular cultural understanding of Lent as just giving up something. Instead, Lent is the opportunity to gain back our real selves. The invitation of Lent is to practice a simple life – which is the best life – the abundant life in Jesus.

Scripture: 1 Kings 19:1-15