Updated: Mar 19, 2019
Begins on 6 March
Lent is time for us as Christians to focus on the depth of our relationship with God. How is He calling us to live?
Lent is often the time of ‘giving things up’. It can be helpful to give things up to enable us to give more attention to our relationship with God- this is a form of fasting. It's a great time to commit to doing something that we might not normally do. 40 days of Lent is also the length of time that psychologists tells us it takes to form a habit!
We can be intentional as individuals and as a church family as a whole. In what follows are ways that we plan to be intentional as a church and you are invited to take part and enter in!
During Lent we also want to explore generosity. It’s a core value flowing through all of what it means to follow Jesus. We are generous because God is generous. Lent is an opportunity to focus on what it means as individuals and a church to be generous.
As a church, we look outwards seeking to become a ‘sending church’ as we send individuals and groups out on mission. As individual’s generosity might mean lots of things, but, this definitely includes our wallets!! During Lent we want to invite and encourage everyone to prayerfully review how much we give to St John’s Church. We are about to embark on the first phase of our building project, the significant part of which is to replace our pews with chairs – this will need to be wholly funded by giving. We hold a gift day on 7th April and invite you to pray in advance of that about how much you give on a regular basis and whether you are able to give a one-off sum.
St John’s is in a season of transition. Our understanding of our God-given identity and purpose is changing. Our mission statement is:
We are the family of God on mission, seeking to transform Clarendon Park and beyond through the love and power of Jesus Christ.
We want to develop our culture during Lent by investing in the three key relationships God has called us to below:
UP to God in worship and prayer, seeking the presence of God in ever greater measure;
IN to each other as we build ‘extended family’ and engage in welcome and hospitality;
OUT to the world as we seek to make disciples and lovingly serve the wider community;
We are organising a number of activities below that will enable us to ‘go-deeper’:
48 Hours Prayer 7pm Thurs 28th to 7pm Sat 30th March – we will open the church for a continuous period of 48 hours to pray- sign up!
Sunday services – we continue the ‘Call and Callings of God.
Stations of the Cross – Beginning at 7pm, Friday 8th March and then each Friday through Lent.
Bible Course – Running on Friday evenings at 7.30 pm during Lent providing an overview of the whole Bible. This is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the Bible. Contact Paul Jordan on: email@example.com
How will you engage with the season of Lent?
Here’s a few further specific thoughts about being intentional during Lent:
Commit to praying daily - a helpful model for this is the Breathe model which helps us set aside time to pray three times each day: Breathe in – set aside a minimum of 10 mins each morning – with a cup of tea, present yourself and this time to God giving thanks for who he is, say sorry for anything and ask him to fill you with his Spirit. Read a short Bible passage – pay attention to anything that catches your attention. Make notes on any insight this gives you or questions it raises for you. Say or write a prayer based on that Bible passage, pray for others. Catch your breath – ‘stop’ for a short while at lunch time – go for a walk with God, sit down with another cup of tea! Be still and ask God, ‘where is your Spirit at work around me today? Who might I bless today?’ Breath out at the end of the day, give time to reflect on the events of the day to detect God’s presence, to say sorry for anything that has gone wrong and to note anything you feel he wants you to note. Entrust the day to God.
Pray for five people each day – why not commit to praying for five people who do not know Jesus each day during Lent.
Fast – fasting is a powerful way to enable us to focus on God – why not try fasting for one or more periods of 12 or 24 hours during Lent.
Read a book – a great book is by John McGinley ‘Mission Shaped Grace’, available from Amazon.
Pray about your generosity and giving and come to our Gift Day on 7th April
6 Ash Wednesday Service, 8am for 45 mins
8 Stations of the Cross begins (each Friday at 7pm)
15 Bible Course begins (Fridays 7.30 pm)
28-30 48 Hours of Prayer
31 Mothering Sunday
7 Gift Day & APCM – Sunday at a combined morning service
14 Palm Sunday