An Ash Wednesday Challenge For Those Who Didn’t Know It Was Ash Wednesday

You may not care a lick about Ash Wednesday and think people that would put ashes on their forehead or go without chocolate for 6 weeks are strange but let me challenge you anyway.

There are six weeks until Easter. There are six weeks to get to know Christ, to understand who he is, why he came, and what the cross means. Open up the Gospels and consume the information and the good news of Christ.

There are six weeks until Easter. Six weeks to bury your wrongs and mishaps and high propensity to mess things up. Bury these things with Christ in that tomb so you can fully understand the power of his resurrection and your own.


There are six weeks until Easter. Six weeks to share in Christ’s suffering. Because he suffered for you, what would it look like for you to suffer with Christ? Why would that be important? This sharing in suffering will cleanse you and refine you for obtaining resurrection.

There are six weeks until Easter. Six week to become like Christ in his death. We need to die to self and crucify our old self so our new self can emerge.

For when that day comes, when Easter arrives, we can celebrate the resurrection that puts death to death. That turns the world upside down. This resurrection that we can obtain and will obtain.


Why Today Should Change Your Life

I know many in my circle wouldn’t know Ash Wednesday from Waffle Wednesday but this day marks the start of Lent (again one of those foreign concepts to many). Why is this important? It is a time set aside for Christians to pray, fast, and reflect on their life and need for repentance and forgiveness. Lent ends when Easter comes, as the church celebrates the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
The following, from the Book of Common Prayer, struck me as deeply powerful.
“This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of
notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful
were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to
the fellowship of the Church.”
Did you catch that? Those who have been “separated from the fellowship” because of their own sin are “reconciled by penitence and forgiveness,” and “restored to the fellowship of the Church.” Maybe you have been cut off from the church through your own choices or the wrong of others. Let Lent be a time of restoration and reconciliation. Those of us who are in the church, lets focus on these high goals and leave the ephemeral and superficial of society to others. I am grateful for Lent and what it reminds me of and what it convicts me of.

Soft Drinks It Is

On Monday, I posted about Lent and how to participate in it this year. I have wrestled with what it is that I need to give up for Lent. I thought about giving up Twitter or maybe gossip or negativity but I went back to what I said about the connection between the body and the spiritual life. I determined I needed to pick a food item.

I thought about my love of bananas but that didn’t have quite the impact that I was looking for. Desserts might have been a good one but I wanted something that had more of a daily, even hourly impact on my life. Even though I have fasted from this before, I thought I needed to do it again. So, for Lent, I am giving up Soft Drinks.

I am addicted to Cokes like many people are addicted to coffee. I plan my day around getting a Coke and usually have to talk myself out of getting one early in the morning and late in the afternoon. I am often rationalizing reasons to drink one. All of this to say, this will be a real sacrifice for me and something that I will have to rely on God’s help to get through. Yes, consumable items can have that much of a hold on you.

But Lent is not about me and my achievements, it is about preparing for the celebration of Easter. Through this fast and a deeper commitment to Christ, I hope to make this Lenten season a powerfully moving one full of experiences with God and a transformed heart.

Those of you who are joining me in participating in Lent, I will pray that God will reveal himself to you through this experience.

Come Lord Jesus!

Christian Life Hackers Guide To Lent

This next week marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days preceding Easter Sunday. I know many people in my faith tradition, Baptist, who have never heard the term much less practiced a 40 day period of fasting in conjunction with Lent. This is a shame. To join millions of other Christians in preparing our hearts, minds, and bodies for the joy of Resurrection Sunday is a deeply meaningful and enriching experience.

Christ Webb, President of Renovare, writes that Lent isĀ “a time of repentance, an opportunity to experience the mercy of God, to be set free from past patterns of behavior, and to embrace a life of joyful holiness.” Wow. If I were more eloquent or a thief, this would be the Christian Life Hacker mission statement. In a nutshell, Lent is a time when God is calling you to renew your commitment to him by humbling yourself and sacrificing your wants for the “mercies of God” and “joyful holiness.”

Here are three steps to approach and practice Lent:

1. Sin Inventory. On Ash Wednesday, some churches have their members write down a particular sin or sins on a piece of paper and then throw it into a fire. You may want to just take a piece of paper and start listing sins. Pray over your list and ask for forgiveness and then throw it away to symbolize how these sins no longer have a hold on you. If you have a trusted friend, you may want to share a few of the sins on your list and ask them to pray for you that Lent will be a powerful time of renewal.

2. Pick an Elimination Food Item. I have talked in this blog about fasting or eliminating. I have mentioned fasting from technology or sports but the traditional way to fast is to eliminate food or a food item for a time. Last year, I fasted from Soft Drinks during Lent.

Though some people may feel more of a sacrifice if they fasted from Facebook or TV, I would encourage you to try a food item because of the connection between our body and our spiritual life. Our brokenness and sin can so infuse our heart and mind that it filters to our body where our parts are so willing to do wrong. Fasting from a food item starts to break the hold that our body has on our heart and shows us an existence that is not characterized by untamed fleshly desires.

3. Join with others. Even if your church does not practice Lent corporately, there is no reason for you to practice it in isolation. Take if from me, who tries to do everything on my own, a community or a few people who are doing this together will make the experience much more meaningful. Ask your spouse to join you or a best friend. If you are already in a small group or Bible Study, then tell the group what you are doing and have them pray for you and consider joining you. This blog could even be a place to join with others. Tell us what you are doing in the comments box and the Christian Life Hacker community can pray for you as you become active in this great preparation for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On Wednesday, I will let you know what I will be fasting from and give you an opportunity to join me in practicing Lent.