Lent Reflection: A season of repentance, prayer and worship

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Psalm 102:1- “Hear my prayer O Lord; let my cry for help come to you.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

During the days of Lent, the Hebrew people would throw off their own clothes and would don clothes of sack cloth. Usually when they wore sack cloth it was because of a death in the family. But now during the Lent season people usually only give up something instead of fasting. During the Lent season people usually also pray and cry out to God. So this season is a season of fasting, repentance and of prayer and worship. So this season I want to leave you with a challenge …..

This season I want you all to give up one thing for two months. Instead of doing or eating what ever you gave up; when you want to do that, or have that craving I want you to instead turn on Christian music and worship God and cry out to him until that craving goes away. Well it is almost time for me to do my devotional and worship time so I just want to leave you with this one verse:

John 11:35- “Jesus Wept”

Until next time I hope God will heal you all and will continue to bless you and your family and I am always praying for you even if I don’t know who you are.

Wesley Kibler is a current college student studying to become a pastor. Image credit: Stacey Lewis, via CreationSwap.

Lent Reflection: No compromise

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“Pushed to the wall, I called to God; from the wide open spaces, he answered. God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid – What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6

God has been teaching me a lot lately about not compromising. When was the last time you felt “pushed to the wall”? Maybe it was a boyfriend or girlfriend pushing you farther than you wanted to go…you feel like your voice is caught in your throat – saying no sounds so dumb. Maybe it’s the coaches, teachers, and adults in your life filling up your calendar until you have no space to breathe. You can’t imagine not doing what you’re asked. Or maybe it’s your friends – the most important people in your world – saying things about you that just aren’t true. After all this time, how can they still not get you? You feel the pressure to do something to make them understand who you really are.

I know how you feel. In cases like these, you just want to cave. You honestly feel pushed up against that wall with no way out. I want to suggest a new plan: ask God to push over the wall.

For real. Check out the Psalm above. The author is pushed against the wall, he calls to God, and God answers him from WIDE OPEN SPACES. God makes him fearless — he’s no longer trapped in people-pleasing. He’s free.

Here’s a practical example that happened to me this week. To give you a little background: God has had me in training against compromising. Every morning Jesus & I do planks (the exercise kind, where you hold your body up using your core strength) and I pray this prayer: “I will be stubborn. I will speak out. I will say yes, I will say no. I will not compromise.”

I’m a children’s pastor, and I’m also an artist. The problem is — the last time I played a show on a Saturday night, I was so tired that I just wasn’t all I could be at kids church the next Sunday morning. I believed the Lord was leading me to make a new boundary: No more shows on Saturday nights, for the sake of the kids at my church. So, one particular place I recently played asked me to come back again on a Saturday night, and I said no. My booking agent said, “Are you sure? Just one more Saturday? They only have music on Saturday nights. They really want you to come back.” I felt the familiar pressure to people-please, but I remembered those planks and said no thank you! I prayed and said, “Lord, if you want me to play at this place, you can open up another door.”

And what do you know? God pushed down the wall. I got a phone call a few days later saying they’d like to have me on a Friday night –their first time doing music on a Friday. My booking agent was surprised but I just smiled. God is cool.

What’s your wall? The need for someone’s approval? Ask God to knock it down. The need to prove yourself? Are you sure you really have to do that? Ask God to knock it down. Feeling like you have to say yes? Maybe there’s another way…maybe God has another plan. Call to him. Let him lead you into wide open spaces.

Say yes. Say no. Be stubborn. Speak out. And don’t compromise.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10

Kelly Goddard is a kids pastor/singer/songwriter/speaker living in Philly and working in NYC. She was also a counselor/teacher/pirate plank jumper at Delanco last summer. Hang out with her online at www.kellygoddard.com.

Lent Reflection: A role in the body

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1 Corinthians 12:12-26

I love this passage of Scripture but probably not for the reason you might think. So many times we’ve heard preachers focus on this passage by lifting up the diversity of the Body of Christ, and that’s great. I agree with it and I’ve preached it myself. We do need each other and we do need the gifts that every one of us brings to minister to this broken world as a unified Body. We can’t all be preachers. We can’t all be evangelists. We can’t all be prophets or Sunday school teachers or ushers or youth group leaders or Delanco camp counselors. But there is a role in the Body for every one of us.

Actually my favorite part of this passage begins with verse 22 and runs through verse 26 (I’ve bolded it above). Most folks seem to take this as a reference to covering our nakedness. But there is no question in my mind that Paul had a more profound meaning here. When Paul refers to parts of the Body of Christ with “less dignity” and parts that are “less honorable,” I cannot help but think he is talking about the people that many of us don’t see or don’t want to see.

Isn’t Paul talking about the homeless, the poor, the oppressed, the drug addicts, the alcoholics and all of the disenfranchised people of the world here? And if he is speaking about those people, he’s not telling us that our ministry is only to them; he’s telling us that our ministry as a unified Body of Christ in this broken world is with them. We aren’t just to reach out of our blessing and offer help. We are to reach out in partnership and seek help from those who we are helping. Genuine Christian ministry isn’t just about helping others, it’s about partnering with people, neighborhoods and communities. Paul is calling us through this passage to honor the less honorable and to offer chances for those with less dignity to regain dignity.

So the next time you’re serving in a soup kitchen, or out on a mission trip, or just being a good Christian in action, look for ways to involve the people that you’ve been called to serve. Even if it’s just being a friend to someone that needs one. It’s not just a good thing to do, it’s the right thing to do too.

Prayer: Lord of love and light, help me to be in partnership with those in need and not just minister to them. Help me to see their value as you do. AMEN

Rev. Don Stevens is a graduate of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a United Methodist pastor for the last ten years. He has had the honor of serving as a Delanco camp evangelist on two separate occasions. Image credit: Tyler Spencer, via CreationSwap