Wednesday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day. This year, it is also Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. In 2009 we started observing Lent with 250 people. It has grown every year and this year we’ll likely have about 500 in attendance. Some people grew up with Lent as a part of their church experience. But many Bible-believing non-denominational churches, like ours, tend not to practice Lent. It was never a part of my personal tradition. And some wonder why we do it. Here’s why.
Lent, as we know it today, wasn’t practiced or commanded in the Bible. But neither is a lot of good things we do in the church today like Sunday school, student ministry, MOPS, vacation Bible school and a ton of other things. But as I looked into Lent deeper back in 2009, I saw some really good aspects to it that are commanded in the Bible. The core part of most Lent experiences involves fasting. Fasting is commanded and practiced in the Bible. It is one of the key practices that helps us make room for God, the theme of our current teaching series. But we too seldom talk about or practice fasting. So I sensed a strong leading of the Holy Spirit to practice Lent and fasting as a way to prepare our hearts for our Easter celebration.
So Lent is an opportunity to practice the key spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer and fasting that helps us make more room for God. Traditionally Lent is the 40 days of fasting before Easter (Sundays were not traditionally counted in the fasting). Lent is a time of preparation for remembering the suffering of Jesus on the cross and celebrating his victorious resurrection on Easter.
Join us on Wednesday, February 14, at 6:30pm in the Auditorium (students will observe Lent in the Student Center and children will have their normal programing). We’ll provide you with a Lent Guide as you enter. We’ll begin with worship through song and then we’ll have a message to guide us to prepare for Lent and practice fasting as a way to make room for God. The message we’ll bring is really practical and will help us learn how to fast in a way that is deeply meaningful and spiritually satisfying. Then we’ll end with communion and you’ll have the option to be marked with ashes as we depart.
If you want to be a part of our Lent service but cannot physically be here, we’ll be providing a live stream of the service at live.pantano.church.