BY REV. DAVE SIMONSON -SPIRIT LAKE IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH
The Christian church is in the season of Lent. Lent means "lengthen" and stands for that time in spring when the days grow longer. Over time, Lent has grown from 40 hours (the 40 hours Jesus was in the tomb), to 40 days (those 40 days correspond to Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness).
I share with you an edited article by Lawrence Rast, Jr. Dr. Rast is a seminary president and historian:
Receive God’s gifts! In worship and life God pours His grace and mercy out on us in abundance through His Word and Sacraments and strengthens us for a life of service to Him and our neighbor. "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Heb. 10:24–25)."
Study the Word! People today wish they could hear the voice of God. He speaks powerfully through His Word to contemporary circumstances. So keep "examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things [are] so (Acts 17:11b)."
Know your stuff about God. Re-familiarize yourself with the Bible and its teachings. It is a rich resource for speaking the truths of the faith in a simple way and will help give you confidence to speak about your faith.
"Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Tim. 1:13–14)."
Tell your story! One of the great joys of life is when people share the stories of God’s work in their lives. But these need not be spectacular stories in order to be profound. Simple testimony to God's faithfulness to His promises as He has worked through parents, teachers, and friends in your life can be powerful means through which God’s Spirit works. "For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (Rom. 10:10)."
Share your faith! Look for opportunities to share the faith, as well as your personal faith. Sharing stories of God's work in your life can build deep and lasting relationships with people who need to hear of God's love for them in Christ. "But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)."
May Dr. Rast's words help you to grow this Lenten season. As the days lengthen we exercise our faith to grow closer to our Savior. When we do, we will have a great victory celebration on Easter Sunday.
See you on Sunday!
In His Service …