All of God’s People
The season of Lent is a time to get closer to God and to sense what role our relationship with Jesus Christ is to play in our lives. It can be a challenging time for each of us. Some of you give up “things” for Lent and count down to the moments when you can again have those things, while others attempt to fast or pray more or dig a little deeper into God’s Word. The overwhelming truth is that we as God’s people continue to have a journey in life where we need to have the Holy Spirit guiding us rather than all of the world’s options.
I have told many of you how affected I am by this season. Obviously, I have more time to spend “in church” and doing church-related activities than those who are not in ministry. However on Ash Wednesday as the ashes were placed onto my forehead, it was Dave the sinner being reminded that I need Jesus of the cross, not one clergy member applying black ashes to another’s forehead out of obligation. As we journey through this season I have chosen some personal activities in an attempt to better hear God’s call, and I hope you have too.
Holy Week is so special to me. On Palm Sunday I need to be with the crowds on the Mount of Olives shouting ‘hosannas’ to my Lord and King—because I know what follows during the week. As a church family we will celebrate with our Annual Pancake Breakfast followed by an Easter Egg hunt for the kids. I can’t think of a better day than Palm Sunday to invite those folks whom you have thought about inviting to church, because they will get to meet our awesome church family enjoying a meal plus see our love for the children. We need our church to grow, and it is through the love and welcoming spirit of our church family that those seeking a church may discover St. Paul’s is a great place to worship God!
Speaking of our welcoming spirit, we were recently visited by “secret church shoppers.” I had agreed to have our Sunday services analyzed by the Conference so that we could hear what first-time visitors experience. The reviews are in and my friends you were applauded for being inviting, warm, and welcoming! The scores on each category related to interaction with our visitors were 5 out of 5! Comments included “very friendly” and that they would return to the church because of the work we do for others. AWESOME job, church!
Those secret visitors affirmed what we already knew, but now we need to start inviting people so that our church can grow. It’s Lent … it’s a time to get closer to God and Jesus … it’s a time to hear how God wants to use you and me.
Holy Week also offers people searching for a church home special services to connect with us. Maundy Thursday’s “Upper Room” service, Good Friday’s Tenebrae service of the lights, and of course Easter starting with the Sunrise service and followed by our two services.
Church is for all of God’s people! We are the believers who can easily shout HE IS RISEN!!! HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!
So as I preached on Ash Wednesday’s noon service, I want you to pause this Lenten Season. Pause from your busy lives and consider who God wants you to be as we move past Easter into the Spring and Summer of 2018. I do believe that for many of us there are new journeys ahead that God will be calling us to take.