Three Devotionals and a Note About The Lenten Season...
Hello church family…Pastor Trent here. For almost a year (47 weeks on February 18) we have been sending you daily “Checking In” emails. They started the week immediately prior to the first Covid lockdown when we thought this whole thing would be over in a week or two. The first month was me just trying to stay in touch with a scattered church instead of a gathered church, then the other pastors joined in. Later it was expanded to the ministry staff.
We have enjoyed reaching out to your inboxes and it has challenged each of us to think of something new to say every week or two. At this point though, it has come to be routine and expected. To some it’s an opportunity, to others it’s a chore. Some receive these devotionals with anticipation, others send them straight to their “trash” email folder. All of those responses are understood and acceptable.
As we approach Lent, I am reminded of the practice of “giving up something for Lent” for the purpose of strengthening my own walk with Christ. Either as a sacrifice or an offering. We can all agree, I’m sure, that strengthening our walk, our faith or our devotion relies, in part on us and in part on Christ Himself.
A few of our ministry staff have put together a reading list for Advent; all from the Gospel According to Mark. We will be giving this list to all who come to the Ash Wednesday service and you are receiving it now as the final “Checking In” email-devotional at least for the season of Lent. The staff will be encouraged to follow this reading list and as Lead Pastor, I am encouraging each of you to walk through the Gospel According to Mark as well. To walk together, self-motivated with less “inbox” content may be a relief to some and a disappointment to others. Either way, I believe Christ is challenging each of us to get to know Him better, to pray for our church, for the world, and for His Kingdom to be advanced.
Feel free to develop your own disciplines surrounding this. For me, I will be asking God to reveal something new to me before each reading, will read it through twice, pray for God to do His work in me, and then will pray each day for our church, the world and His will to be done on earth as it is already being done in Heaven.
I pray this blesses you.
In His Grip,
Rev. Trent Walker
P.S. Included in this email are two devotionals already authored. It does not feel right to waste the effort of others because of a Lenten season change. Please read the devotional from Lyn Walker and Jeff Geerlings when you need a boost and have a chance.
Reading Guide for Lent: (Click Here for a printable version)
Ash Wednesday, Feb 17 - Mark 1:1-13
Thu Feb 18 – Mark 1:14-34
Fri Feb 19 – Mark 1:35-45
Sat Feb 20 – Mark 2:1-17
Sun Feb 21 – Mark 2:18-28
Mon Feb 22 – Mark 3:1-19
Tue Feb 23 – Mark 3:20-35
Wed Feb 24 – Mark 4:1-20
Thu Feb 25 – Mark 4:21-41
Fri Feb 26 – Mark 5:1-20
Sat Feb 27 – Mark 5:21 – 43
Sun Feb 28 – Mark 6:1-13
Mon March 1 – Mark 6:14-29
Tue March 2 – Mark 6:30-56
Wed March 3 – Mark 7: 1-23
Thu March 4 – Mark 7: 24-37
Fri March 5 – Mark 8:1-21
Sat March 6 – Mark 8:22-38
Sun March 7 – Mark 9:1-13
Mon March 8 – Mark 9:14-29
Tue March 9 – Mark 9:30-50
Wed March 10 – Mark 10:1-16
Thu March 11 – Mark 10:17-34
Fri March 12 – Mark 10:35-52
Sat March 13 – Mark 11:1-14
Sun March 14 – Mark 11:15-33
Mon March 15 – Mark 12:1-12
Tue March 16 – Mark 12:13-27
Wed March 17 – Mark 12:28-44
Thu March 18 – Mark 13:1-23
Fri March 19 – Mark 13:24-37
Sat March 20 – Mark 14:1-26
Sun March 21 – Mark 14:27-42
Mon March 22– Mark 14:43-72
Tue March 23– Mark 15:1-15
Wed March 24 – Mark 15:16-32
Thu March 25 – Mark 15:33-47
Fri March 26 – Mark 16:1-8
Sat March 27 – Mark 16:9-20
Sun March 28 – Mark 11:1-33
Mon March 29 – Mark 12:1-17
Tue March 30 – Mark 12:18-34
Wed March 31 – Mark 13:1-37
Thu April 1 – Mark 14:1-72
Fri April 2– Mark 15:1-47
Sat April 3– No reading
“Be still and know that I am God”
Sun April 4 – Mark 16:1-20
Devotional from Jeff Geerlings – Deacon
What does it mean to be crucified with Christ? What is it like to pick up our cross daily? Is being crucified a slow or quick process? Of course, it’s slow, as that is what it was designed to be. Paul says in :
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
But it is a constant battle till the end. Paul also teaches sin is in us, and will always tempt us daily.
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
All God's chosen children are in the process of being crucified to Christ. But this means there is still a bit of worldliness in all of us, that we must battle against daily. For our crucifixion did not start until we accepted Christ as Lord, and is not over until our days are done here. But don’t let this discourage you, Gods inerrant word taught through Paul teaches us:
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
As children of God, He promises the works He began in us, will persevere to the end. There is no authentic faith that does not persevere. It is only God who can, and will, grant us His grace, so that we are able to continue in repentance, for the regeneration (being born again) of our lives, and sanctification (transforming into Christlikeness) of our souls. It is not till the end that we are truly like Christ. We are being molded daily and sometimes that hurts. God calls us all to be in fellowship and unity with Christ, and His bride the church. To be His hands and feet to a broken world. We all have different abilities and God-given gifts. Let’s go and use these individual gifts, together, to be the light, to a world that has been darkened by sin.
A brother in Christ, who has his own daily struggles.
Devotional from Lyn Walker – Staff
Hello, Community siblings!! Lyn Walker here with some devotional thoughts.
As we make our way through the gospel of Mark, I’m noticing how often Mark records people wondering, “Who is this man?” when they come in contact with Jesus. Many are amazed by the authority with which he speaks, and by his command over nature, disease, and demons – watching and listening to him, at least to be amazed again. And many others are offended by those very same things and see him as a dangerous threat – plotting with their enemies to kill him. A person’s response to Jesus depends on how he/she answers that question.
Then there are some who follow Jesus around and begin to know him – leaning in, asking him to clarify what he means, allowing him to challenge their understanding. I like the Hebrew word for “know,” which is yada. It means a lot of things and is used in a variety of ways, but it usually has a connotation of deeper, more intimate, or more thorough perception.
As Trent mentioned in his messages over the past couple of weeks, the demons seem to know exactly who Jesus is (Mark 1:24; 5:7) but they’re obviously not in a cooperative relationship with Jesus. Accurate knowledge is not the same as intimate knowledge.
It’s the beginning of Lent, a time of preparation for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Some friends and I are starting a 40-day fast from sugar, which is one of my go-to substitutes for real food, real comfort, and real connection. It’s an easy, but flimsy and very temporary, thing that I have grown attached to. Unfortunately, there are other “lesser things” too, but the sugar fast is intended to disentangle me from all the flimsy things I crave so that I can KNOW the One who truly satisfies me. I have accurate knowledge of Jesus, but I want more intimate knowledge.
Are there lesser things that God would have you lay down in order to know and savor His goodness more deeply this season? Here are some scriptures to chew on.
Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 63:1-5 “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods.”
Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel who summons you by name.”
Isaiah 55:2 “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Phil. 3:10 “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”