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Lent: empty to full, service

IMG_2368Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. Luke 12:35-36

Welcome to the final week of our Lent: empty to full study. We are so thankful for each one who has made this journey with us. For our final week, we will be looking at service.

Service can be a spur-of-the-moment Spirit-led prompting to help someone, or it can be a longer commitment that you make, perhaps as a volunteer.

Your season of life will influence your acts of service. Parents with small children often find most of their time is spent serving their families. As your children grow, your schedule may allow for more time for you to serve others outside of your home as well.

The most important way to determine where God wants you serving in this season of life is to of course pray about it. Seek His plans and be alert to opportunities He brings your way. Enjoy this week’s Sway and be sure to let us know some of the different ways you have served others in your life!

 

Have a blessed Easter!

Jane Vanosdol and Mary Kane

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Study, Lent: empty to full

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16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:16-17

I love studying and learning.

I could be a professional student. My heart beats a little faster when I hear terms such as Rhodes Scholar, Oxford, Cambridge, Colson Fellows Program … the stuff dreams are made of. God is all about studying and learning. He required the Kings of Israel to write a copy of His word and keep it with them and study it every day of their life. What’s good for the Kings of Israel is good for us.

Studying is a discipline and requires determination and perseverance, but the pay-outs are huge. Wisdom, knowledge, blessings, being smarter than our enemies are just a few of the benefits of studying God’s holy word. In this digital age we have instant access to the word of God — it’s only a click away.

Make some extra time this week and get your study on, you will be blessed! To get you started, please dig in to the Sway below.

Don’t forget to leave a comment in the Comment Section about what you have learned!




Lent: empty to full, prayer

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At its simplest, prayer is communicating with God.

Prayer is the language of our hopes, dreams, and ambitions. The Bible teaches that we should pray without ceasing, in good times and bad, when we are tempted, and when we are under attack. While God can do whatever He wants without the help of man, in His wisdom He has decreed that some things will not be accomplished apart from the prayers of man.

The effective fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much!

We all know we should pray. We all know prayer is important … so why don’t we? Why do we struggle so with prayer instead of in prayer? Because prayer is hard work. Prayer is where our battles are won or lost. Some parts of the Christian life are enjoyable: praise and worship, fellowship, hospitality. Prayer is literally going to war with the enemy. No one likes to go to war. It’s hard. It’s bloody. It’s critical. It’s necessary. It’s our privilege and the payouts are huge.

Our nation is at stake. Our families are at stake. Our children are at stake. Suit up and get your armor on and drop to your knees because the battle must be won.

Please scroll through the Sway below to access the many embedded prayer resources. Remember to leave a comment below and on our Facebook page.

Have a blessed Lent.

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Lent: a season of empty to full, examen

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Welcome to week 2 of Lent: a season of empty to full.

This week our focus is examen and self-denial—two of our favorite subjects! I know there’s nothing we like better than taking a deep look at ourselves (warts and all) and saying no to our flesh. While these spiritual disciplines may be uncomfortable, they will bring a harvest of good if we allow God to do His necessary work.

Below are the five traditional steps for the discipline of Examen:

  • Gratitude: Recall the blessings of the day and thank God.
  • Review: Recall the events of the day and notice where you felt God’s presence and where you resisted opportunities to grow in love.
  • Sorrow: Recall anything for which you are sorry.
  • Forgiveness: Ask for God’s forgiveness and/or healing if needed.
  • Grace: Ask God for the grace you need for the next day or for your life in general.

In the Sway, we will provide the information you need to go through the process of examen.

Let’s also stretch our definition of denial beyond the traditional Lenten ideas of sugar and sweets. Consider denying yourself the right to get angry or to get even. What about denying yourself the right to be bitter or unforgiving?

Get ready for the Spirit to dig in to your life while you dig into the many resources included in this week’s Sway. Remember to pray for each other and post your comments on our Facebook page and in the comment section below.

From empty to full.

Have a blessed Lent.

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Lent: a season of empty to full, simplicity

IMG_2368“For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.” 2 Corinthians 1:12

I like simple.

Simple pleasures, simple foods, simple days. A flower in an unexpected place.  A hearty bowl of stew on a cold wintry day, meandering down a country road or an evening with the family gathered in the living room sharing laughs and love … all of these things bring a smile to my face and peace to my soul.

Ironically simplicity requires difficult choices, an iron will, and nerves of steel. The world, your work, and even your own heart will try to sneak in and wreak havoc with a simple life.

Jesus led a simple life.  He had one goal: to do His Father’s will. How simple is that? Without a smart phone or iPad (my two mainstays), He managed to turn the world upside down. In order to live a simple life, we must simplify our priorities.

Simple Life Focus:

One command: Love the Lord with all your heart

One commission: Tell the world

One goal: Bring Him Glory

Empty your heart. Fill up with God.

It’s simple.

To learn more about the simple life, simply scroll through the Sway. Have a blessed Lent.

Here is our TalkShoe chat on Simplicity:

Have a simply blessed Lent.

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Lent: empty to full, Ash Wednesday

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Lent is a season of opposites.

We weep so we may rejoice. We sacrifice so we may receive. We empty so we can be filled. In Hebrew the word for empty transliterates as reyqam, which means in vain, empty, idle, without affect. I must admit I have been reyqam — vainly focused on myself, idly wasting my time and talents so my life was without affect. Empty. Longing to be full.

Reyqam also means to be poured out or hungry. Does this season find you hungry for something different? Have you poured yourself out for that which does not satisfy, chasing the wind? Are you ready to be full?

Come to the cross. Give Jesus your empty heart; taste and see that the Lord is good and be full.

From empty to full.

Please scroll through the Sway below to access our Bible study content for this week.

 

Please comment on what you have learned in the comment section below or on our empty to full Facebook page.

Be full.

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