Last year at this time, I posted this article, "What Is Lent and Why Should It Matter?" I am reposting this article with a new downloadable Lent Devotional Guide that I pray will help all of us understand the importance of Lent and the significance in using the principles of Lent to prepare our hearts for Easter.

For believers, the resurrection of Jesus is a big deal. Everything we believe in and everything we hope for is dependent upon the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “…if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” The resurrection validates the forgiveness that is offered at the cross.

While we celebrate the resurrection every time we gather as a church, Easter establishes a specific time when the resurrection becomes the focal point of our teaching. The non-believing world expects us to be vocal about the resurrection at Easter and the church has traditionally leveraged this opportunity to celebrate this essential doctrine of our faith.

In the early centuries, the church set aside forty days of prayer and fasting to really prepare their hearts for their Easter celebration. They called this season Lent. The forty days commemorated the forty days that Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by Satan and relying solely on God’s provision and protection.

Lent reminds us to seek the presence of God and His provision. We sometimes give up certain things that the world provides in order to focus our attention on what God provides. We practice spiritual disciplines such as praying, giving, and reading our Bibles more intentionally, especially if those disciplines have been neglected in the past.  Lent takes us to the cross where we find mercy and forgiveness and then places us outside an empty tomb where we find strength and life.

Lent guides our steps to the cross as we answer respond to God's call to holiness. This season of Lent fits well with our current Sunday morning series "Leviticus: A Call to Holiness." You are invited to join us on our journey, one that will culminate on Easter Sunday when we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with our Easter Worship Service at Memorial Stadium here in Lake City.

We have provided a Lent guide called Jounrey to the Cross for you to use during this time. It provides relevant passages of Scripture for reading and reflection. You can pick up this guide (new each week) in our welcome center or download a copy of the entire guide here. I hope you will journey with us and that as you experience Lent you will come to a fresh and deeper understanding of your relationship with Jesus Christ.

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