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Grace Weekly | February 17, 2015

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Scripture for the day: “He climbed a mountain and invited those he wanted with him. They climbed together. He settled on twelve, and designated them apostles. The plan was that they would be with him and he would send them out to proclaim the Word and give them authority to banish demons.” Mark 3:13-15 (The Message)
Grace Received:   It doesn’t look very promising for us to have our Ash Wednesday service as scheduled so I’ll share here a portion of what we would have done together. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. The word Lent literally means Spring. Since the early centuries after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the Church has marked the 40 days (not including Sundays) leading up to Holy Week with a season of intense discipleship. It is a time for some to prepare for their upcoming Easter baptism, and for the baptized to reflect on and live into our baptismal identity.
The Ash Wednesday scriptures call us to repentance (Ps. 51), to practice the spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, and giving (Matt. 6:1-18), and to embrace our role in God’s mission to reconcile the world to Himself (II Corinthians 5:11-21).  Ash Wednesday reminds us that dust we are, and to dust we shall return. In light of our mortality, we reconfirm our commitment – individually and corporately – to live wholly committed to Jesus, and to address anything in our lives that might compete with our allegiance to Him.
This Lenten season we will be in the book of Mark, giving special attention to the ways Jesus challenges our assumptions or ideas about power, greatness, membership, status, economics, and boundaries. This would have been introduced with an Ash Wednesday sermon from Mark 3:13-19 where Jesus called his disciples. As Mark tells this part of the story, Jesus invites the 12 to climb up a mountain where He calls them to be His followers. Mountains are the location of many significant biblical events.  Abraham goes up a mountain to sacrifice Isaac. Moses receives the commandments on a mountain. Elijah defeats the false prophets of Baal on a mountain.  Jesus preaches the greatest sermon in Scripture on a mountain.  Jesus is crucified on a mountain, gives the church our mission, and ascends from a mountain.  As we begin Lent it is an invitation to follow Jesus to the places not only of victory, but of struggle and sacrifice. I pray that you will commit to making the climb, and that your (and our) journey is marked by significant moments of spiritual deepening.
Grace Shared: My friend Kevin Miller is the pastor at Awaken Church. They are having a meeting this Friday night from 6:15-8:15 with all of their leaders (including people who usually serve in their nurseries) and are in need of some help with childcare. I’d love it if Grace could provide the 6-8 people needed for this.  If you can help, contact Awaken Kids director, Mindy Sims.
You can email her at mindy@awakenchurch.org or you can call the church at 931-802-8718. Let them know you are from Grace when you call. (I would be there myself but will helping out Friday night with Room in the Inn).
Grace Extended: 4 times a year Grace helps Restoring the Warrior’s Heart with financial and personnel resources for Warrior Weekend retreats at Camp Garner Creek. These retreats are for soldiers and their families and the purpose is to provide them with the spiritual tools necessary to deal with the stresses of combat both down range and on the home front. Last weekend a great group from Grace was part of the team who put on another retreat.  It was life-changing for many who attended as they connected with God, their spouse, and experienced healing. Thanks so much for all you do to support our mission field of military families. You can find out more about RWH atwww.restoringthewarriorsheart.org.

 

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