Changing Directions During Lent

changing direction blog.pngI’ve recently been convicted of something in my life by God and it’s this: I’m often tempted to use God for godly outcomes. And, here is what I mean by that…

I have noticed a consistent temptation, and even posture, of me using my relationship with God to ensure godly or good outcomes. And, that last part is important. I’m not seeking to use God for bad outcomes – sinful things – but rather for good and holy things – Kingdom things. And, here is what that might look like in the practical, tangible ways I’ve noticed in my life…

1. I spend time in prayer to ensure my preaching is good, but not to connect with God.

2. I serve to see God’s Kingdom grow, but not to find God in the serving.

3. I fast, but do it to ensure that a new project goes well, rather than as a way to sacrifice and focus on God.

4. I rely on God when I need Him, but rely on my gifting and skill at other times.

Do you see how subtle the shift is in practical, but real life ways? And, do you also see how dangerous it can be? Because prayer, serving and reliance can quietly shift from God to the ourselves or the good things God calls us to do. But, the truth is, as soon as the focus shifts from God to ourselves, we’ve lost the point.

Eugene Peterson puts it this way, “Along the way, the primacy of God and His work gives way ever so slightly to the primacy of our work in God’s Kingdom. We begin to think of ways to use God in what we’re doing. The shift is barely perceptible… We continue to believe the identical truth. We continue pursuing good goals. It usually takes a long time for the significance of the shift to show up. But, when it does, it turns out that we have not so much been worshipping God as enlisting Him as our trusted and valuable assistant.”

That last sentence is what stopped me in my tracks and caused me to really reflect on my motives, not just my actions.

And so, I write all this because this is the season of Lent – a season when we are to take a hard and reflective look at our lives, and reveal any subtle shifts that have happened. Because, they can happen and they can be hard to notice, but they need to be revealed and repented of. And, I use that word in the proper way – repentance is not about feeling bad, but about changing direction. We need to repent of our tendency to use God, and move toward worshipping, loving and appreciating Him.

So, I write this because, my bet is, I’m not alone in this temptation. But, becoming aware of it is the first step to changing it. And, it’s something worth changing. It’s subtle. It’s a small shift. But, it can change everything.

Salvation – Its Not Just About You

salvation blog.png

We are currently in the season of Lent. This is a time when we would traditionally pay more attention to themes such as confession, sin and sacrifice. This is an important area of our lives because, as I’ve often even wrote here, sin kills things. That’s simply what it does. But, the flipside is that salvation heals things.

Here, though, is what I want to unpack today: Sin isn’t just what we do (actions), it’s also part of our systems and relationships (systemic).

Pentecostal theologian, Amos Yong at Fuller, puts it this way, “Sin itself is undeniably social in character. … Because all creation labors under the bondage of sin, human creatures struggle with sinful relationships, life systems and environments from their conception. But, if sin has this inextricably social dimension, then so has sanctification.”

He goes on to write that “the purification from sin and the consecration to holiness therefore inevitably have to involve the reconciling of alienated relations, the redemption and renewal of social structures, and the healing of the world.”

What this all means in theological jargon is this: Salvation isn’t just about you and your sins; it’s about everything in the world – that in and through Jesus’ death and sacrifice, He wants to save not only us from our personal bad actions, but also the broken relationships we have in the broken social structures around us.

What this means is that salvation isn’t only individual, it’s also relational and cosmic. Meaning it involves everything. And, this is really really good news.

Jesus is not just interested in saving you, but also in saving your broken relationships, and the broken systems in and around us. Jesus is about a salvation that involves all the different aspects of “us.” Sin has a social dimension to it, and so does sanctification or salvation. Jesus wants to save every area of brokenness in the world, including our relationships and systems.

I write all this to remind us of one thing at Lent: That, yes, the world is broken and we can see it all around us – we don’t need to deny it. Instead, we can work against it, because Jesus is interested in saving every bit of creation.

Of course, we should confess our sins and brokenness during Lent. We absolutely should invite Jesus to work in our lives – to convict us, heal us and transform us. But, we should also ask how we might partner with Him in the healing of the world, because salvation has never been about just “you,” but about all of “us.” Sin does have a social dimension to it, but redemption does too.

So, during Lent, as we focus in on our sin and brokenness, let us not forget the broken systems of the world and the relationships around us that need to change. Because, while we might sometimes forget this, Jesus certainly does not, so neither should we.

A Look at Sin

As you may be aware, a new Scorsese film came out called Silence. It’s taken from a historical fiction book written by Shushaku Endo about two Jesuit priests.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but there is one line in the book that I’ve often thought a lot about. Endo writes this: “Sin is for one man to walk brutally over the life of another and to be quite oblivious of the wounds he has left behind.”
Now, I’ve read a lot of definitions of sin, but this one is a good one.
Read it again: “Sin is for one man to walk brutally over the life of another and to be quite oblivious of the wounds he has left behind.”
And, isn’t that what sin is? For us to brutally walk over someone – to hurt and harm them – without acknowledgement, compassion or realization?
This is why sin is both so brutal and something to be rooted out. This is why, especially during a season of Lent, we are called to focus on rooting out our sins – on really taking seriously the harm, hurt and damage that sin can cause.
The reason that I really like Endo’s quote is because of what he gets right – that sin harms others. It always has and it always will. This is why the church speaks so strongly against sin – because sin kills. Greed will kill your career, lust will kill your marriage and lying will kill your relationships.
So, I write all this as a simple reminder that we are in the season of Lent.
Traditionally, this is a time to slow down, reflect, and honestly spend some time in introspection and rooting out of sin. And, I think that, even though it’s hard work, it’s necessary work. Because, we as Christians never want to be oblivious to the wounds we might cause. Sometimes, before we can participate in healing the wounds of others, the Spirit needs to convict us of how we are causing wounds to others.
Is that easy? No. But the promise of following Jesus isn’t that it’s easy, but that it will lead you into true life. So, today, amidst all the busyness and noise, sit and invite the Holy Spirit to reveal any area of sin in your life, and seek to live differently.

Lent: Seven Woes of Jesus ~ Week 6 (RECAP)

Hey everyone – somehow this post and podcast was stuck in “draft” form for quite a while. So its from a couple of weeks ago. But if you missed it here is what happened!

Lent: Seven Woes of Jesus ~ Week 6: Prophet Killers, and Rejecting the Truth

On Sunday we continued in our series looking at how Jesus calls the religious elite of his day to follow God his way. And that’s a message we still need.

So on Sunday we looked at his last “woe” where Jesus essentially condemns the religious leaders as being like their ancestors – people who killed the prophets.

Now the prophets in the Old Testament weren’t so much future tellers, as “forth-tellers” ~ telling the truth to people in power. And this is what got them killed, and it will still get you killed today. The prophets stood up to the kings and powerful and called them out for trusting in military power (horses and chariots), for neglecting the poor, and treating the immigrant and foreigner wrongly. The prophets essentially took the reality of their lives and brought it before the powerful and said, “you are obligated to address this” and if you don’t God’s judgment will come upon you.

And Jesus standing in that tradition comes to the Pharisees and does the same thing. He says that by rejecting him and his message of Good News for the poor and hurting, they are rejecting God and being like those who killed the prophets of old. Jesus says that if they continue to reject the poor, forget about mercy, and neglect justice that judgement and even hell itself will be their destiny.

But here is the interesting part – this isn’t what Jesus wants. Jesus in the passage makes it very clear that what he really wants is to gather them together, like a mother hen, to care and protect. But because the Pharisees reject him, and the truth he brings – they also reject his protection. That when we reject Jesus, we are left all alone with the consequences of our sin. And that’s what happens to the Pharisees – they reject Jesus and suffer the consequences of their own sin.

But here is the hopeful part – we don’t need to make the same choice. We can learn from the example of the Pharisees how hard it is to listen to truth from God, how hard it is to value justice, how hard it is to practice love for the lowly, but how absolutely necessary it is.

So on Sunday we ended with this main point: The Pharisees missed the point, but we can listen and hear Jesus.

Jesus didn’t want destruction, difficulty, and judgement to come upon the Pharisees, but it did because of their rejection of him. Because whenever you miss God’s voice difficulty is on the horizon. But whenever you listen hope is on the horizon

So we ended with a challenge: to listen to Jesus. To actually sit and be open to Jesus, and invite him to speak at least daily into our lives. To let him shape us, and bring up some of the areas we need to change. The truth is hard to hear, but if we want to be gathered together, live like Jesus, and experience his care and comfort we cannot reject him and his way of life. And that begins with hearing and listening.

So on Sunday we had one challenge: To once a day for just 5 minutes a day sit, be open to Jesus, and invite Jesus to speak

Because we each have a choice. A choice to listen and to respond, or not. And that choice can make all the difference.

Sermon Notes: 

Big Idea: The Pharisees missed the point, but we have a choice, we don’t have to.

Teaching Points:

  • Prophets told the truth
  • Your present reality is dictating your future
  • Jesus isn’t angry with how they relate to God, but to those around them
  • God isn’t impressed with religion, and he still isn’t if you ignore the people he sends to direct you and the people you are to care for
  • When we reject Jesus we are left with the consequences of our sin on our own
  • the heart of Jesus is still grace
  • Whenever you miss God’s voice difficulty is on the horizon but whenever you listen hope is on the horizon
  • The first step to hearing Jesus is opening yourself to Jesus
  • Invite Jesus to speak to us and change us

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? Why do you think that hearing the truth is so hard? What “rises up” or reaction do you have to when someone tries to share with you “the truth”? How have you maybe ignored Jesus in the past like the Pharisees? How can you ensure that you don’t miss or ignore Jesus now?

Challenge for the Week: To once a day for just 5 minutes a day sit, be open to Jesus, and invite Jesus to speak

Welcome to Lent

Well this Sunday we are launching a new series for Lent. Lent has started and it’s an absolutely necessary Christian practice. And come Sunday we will be exploring what Lent is, why it’s needed, and also how it can change your life. Lent isn’t an easy time, but it is a necessary time.

So throughout Lent we are going to be looking at the “7 Woes of Jesus”. This is where Jesus condemns the religious, moral, and spiritual elite of his day and shares with them how they are missing the point. The point for us is that if the religious, moral, and spiritual elite can miss the point – so can we as Christians. So we want to explore how we might be missing the point in our lives, and getting them back on track.

Lent is a time of reflections, repentance, and rededication and we want to do that through asking the Spirit to speak to us, challenge us, and convict us. So I know it’s not a fun time, but a necessary time.

Oh and since its Valentines Day, we’ll talk a little bit about love too 🙂 I know a bit disjointed but we’ll work it all together. Mostly because my lovely wife said “You need to talk about love on Valentines day” and since I love her, that’s what we’ll do too 🙂

7 Woes

Seven Words: “My God, My God Why Have You Forsaken Me” ~ Answering Jesus’ Question and Prayer

sevenlastwords-4On Sunday we discussed one of the last sayings of Jesus, where he cries out in a loud voice:

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

And this is a verse with a lot of tensions and complexities. Many scholars don’t like the idea of the Father abandoning the Son. This also raises consternation and concern about the Father’s character for me too. So scholars offer two solutions. One, that Jesus isn’t actually being abandoned by God, he is just feeling like he is. But that just seems like semantics to me, and goes against what seems obvious: that Jesus is experiencing being abandoned by God, because he is being abandoned by God.

Other scholars point out that Jesus is quoting Psalm 22 (which he is). And taking the Psalm as a whole, it ends with vindication. That the suffering victim is eventually vindicated, justified, and that God overcomes the wrongful suffering. So they say Jesus is actually saying that he will trust in God to overcome this wrong. They (rightly) point out that speaking on a cross is incredibly painful and difficult. So Jesus couldn’t have quoted the whole Psalm (I agree), so he quotes one verse to bring the whole Psalm into view.

Again though I just think this goes against the plain reading. If Jesus could only quote one verse because of pain, and wanted to talk about God vindicating him, he could have quoted the last verses of Psalm 22. But he doesn’t, he quotes a verse about being abandoned.

So even though I might not like the idea of the Father abandoning or forsaking his Son, I think we are left with the plain reading of Scripture.

But there is one obvious fact that needs to be stated, that actually changes the whole perspective of this verse. It is stated from Jesus’ perspective. We don’t hear the Father’s perspective. So Jesus is being forsaken by the Father, and then we assume, that the Father is above pouring out wrath on Jesus in an emotionless dispassionate state.

People struggle with this verse because it makes it seem like Jesus is nice, whereas, the Father is stern, uncaring, judge, who abandons his son when he needs it most. But this is all based on an assumption, that the Father is unmoved by what his Son is going through. And this assumption is wrong, and what I not only challenged but worked through in more detail (download the sermon for more).

Jurgen Moltmann writes,

“In forsaking the Son, the Father also surrenders himself, though not in the same way. For Jesus suffers dying in forsakenness, but not death itself; for men can no longer suffer death, because suffering presupposes life. But the Father who abandons him and delivers him up suffers the death of the Son in the infinite grief of love…The son suffers dying, the Father suffers the death of the Son”.

And here is his key thought: “The grief of the Father here is just as important as the death of the Son.”

And this is what we need to get, that the Father and Son are both affected and separated because of our sin. It isn’t a singular choice on the Father’s side to abandon his son. It is a choice within the Trinity to experience the separation of sin so that we could be welcomed into fellowship with God. The Father doesn’t kill his Son, to forgive us. The Father experiences an abyss of separation from his beloved Son, so that we could become incorporated into the family of God. Sin ruptures, that’s what it does. And it does this at the heart of the Trinity. So yes, Jesus experienced being forsaken by the Father, and the Father experienced the death of the Son.

This led us to some simple but personal conclusions.

First, that we need to be in reverent thanks of what the Father, Son, and Spirit went through to include us in their life. The Son died, so we could live. And this affected all the Trinity, and for that we need to be grateful. We need to be reverently worshipful of the depth of what God went through for each and everyone of us.

Second, we talked about that sin is serious. That sin brought separation to the heart of God, and we need to own that. We did that. We killed the Son (read the Book of Acts). We need to recognize the seriousness of sin, and confess, repent, and rid ourselves of sin. If sin did this to God, we need to work at ridding ourselves of it.

So we ended with a challenge, to sit in thanks to God, and repent for sin. When we see the depth of what God went through, I think that is the right response: reverence and repentance.

Martin Luther said, “God forsaking God, who can understand it?” I know for sure we don’t all understand it because of one sermon (I certainly don’t), but I hope we got a little closer and most of all, a little more reverent and repentant.



Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Jesus was abandoned by the Father for us; and the Father experienced the abandonment of the Son for us.

Teaching Points:

  • Challenge for Lent: 1) Pray Weekly Prayers of Repentance, 2) Pray Daily Corporate Prayers 2 Chronicles 7:14, 3) Fast Something for Lent
  • “God forsaking God. Who can understand it?” – Martin Luther
  • Jesus’ death is a moment of cosmic significance, and the cosmos recognize it by darkening
  • This passage is not about us, but what Jesus is experiencing.
  • We need to be honest with text – Jesus is being forsaken
  • Jesus is stating what is true from his perspective
  • Just as Jesus was forsaken, so too was the Father forsaken from the Son
  • If our sin separates Jesus from the Father; it separates the Father from the Son.
  • The grief of the Father here is just as important as the death of the Son. Moltmann
  • We cannot understand the depth of our sin, unless we understand that both Jesus and the Father are suffering in this moment on the cross.
  • The Son is losing the Father, but the Father is losing the Son.
  • Our sin doesn’t just affect Jesus, but affects God as a whole.
  • We should have holy and reverent awe for God.
  • We should repent and cast off sin.

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? Have you practiced Lent before? What can you fast or give up this year? Had you ever struggled with the idea of the Father forsaking the Son before? Had you ever thought of what the Father went through when Jesus died? What do you think it was like for him? How does it make you appreciate God? How does it change or deepen how you see sin?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Read the story today with your kids. Talk to them about the verse we read, about how Jesus was separated from his Dad because of our sin. About how hard it was, but that he did that for us. So that we can be loved, and welcomed in. Give them a chance to confess anything to Jesus in thankfulness for what he did.

Challenge for the Week: To sit and contemplate what Jesus went through, confess any sin, and reverently worship him this week

Seven Last Words: “It is Finished” – Jesus ~ Lenten Reflection

sevenlastwords-6On Sunday we looked at three of the most powerful words in Scripture, where Jesus says, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Here though is the difficulty with these words: what is the “it”?

Because the context isn’t actually all that clear, lots of people have lots of ideas about “what” is finished in Jesus’ last words. People say things like sin, death, evil, Jesus’ mission, pain, and others. And surely all of them have theological warrant, but what we really wanted to get at was what does Jesus mean?

We have a tendency (and have been taught) that Jesus dies primarily for our individual sins. So when we come to a passage like this, we read our ideas into the text. So traditionally many people say that the price of sin has now been paid. That’s what’s finished.

But the text doesn’t mention sin, evil, payment or anything like that. So what is actually “finished”? That’s what we explored on Sunday.

And when the immediate context doesn’t help, you need to widen your scope, so we began in the beginning of John.

John is pretty clear in John 1:1 that he is telling a creation story. John begins with “In the beginning…”; this is a clear echo to Genesis. So John, right off the bat, is saying his story is going to echo, or be a riff, on the Genesis story.

The next thing we noticed was that in John he is counting miracles. He actually says this straight out (this is first miracle, the second miracle, etc). And if you count the miracles there are 7 miracles Jesus does. Seven acts of Jesus, just as in the beginning Genesis story there are seven acts of God.

There is this parallel between what Jesus is doing in John, and what God was doing in Genesis. 

But then comes the twist. Jesus dies and was resurrected. This is miracle number 8. This is the start of a new week, this is new territory, this is a new beginning.

It’s as if John is saying, that Jesus is starting a brand new creation story, that the old is gone. In fact, if you look at end of God creating the world in Genesis, he says “it is finished twice” in close connection. And John has Jesus uttering the same thing in John 19. He says “it is finished” twice in close connection (John 19:28; 30).

John is alluding to the fact that the old creation account is now complete. It is not just “evil, or sin” but the entire old way of living under the burden of sin is complete. That creation account, that world, that way of living is now finished. And with Jesus’ resurrection (miracle number 8) a brand new way of living is founded. A new kingdom, a new way of living, a new creation is starting.

John through hints, allusions, and out right clarity – is insisting that with Jesus’ death and resurrection, it is not just about our personal sin.

It is about a whole cosmos being infected with sin being finished, and a new world being birthed out of Jesus’ resurrection.

And he gives us two giant clues, or “wink, wink, nudge nudges” to see this. Jesus’ side is pierced and out comes water and blood, the classic two symbols of birth. And then when Jesus is first encountered, Mary thinks he is the gardener. You can almost sense John saying, “See? Do you get it? New gardener, new Eden, new creation. Wink wink – nudge nudge”

Jesus’ death and resurrection is the finishing of the old world, and the starting of the new. That’s what is finished, and what is before.

So we ended with asking are there any areas of our lives we are living in the old world. Are we seeking to earn God’s approval? Are we tied to sin? Are we choosing to live in sin – rather than in God’s kingdom? Because Jesus says that whole way of living is finished, there is a new way to live – a new gardener is here.

So our challenge was to live in God’s kingdom this week. And to help that we went old school – giving us a verse to memorize and pray daily this week. It’s from Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again”. There is our word again, “finished”.

So this week live in God’s new kingdom of hope, love, and peace. Don’t slide back into the old world of sin that is finished. And when you feel yourself sliding, pray this verse – trusting that God will finish what he has started. Because Jesus is right, the old is finished, and with him the new has come.



Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: The old is gone and finished, and a new world is here.

Teaching Points:

  • Challenge for Lent: 1) Pray Weekly Prayers of Repentance, 2) Pray Daily Corporate Prayers 2 Chronicles 7:14, 3) Fast Something for Lent
  • Whenever something gets familiar we are in dangerous territory.
  • What is familiar is not understood because it is familiar – Hegel
  • Beginnings are crucial to understanding endings
  • John is telling a story about a new Genesis
  • John’s gospel is about a new creation story
  • Jesus’ death and resurrection isn’t just about Jesus dying for our sinsit’s about Jesus creating a brand new world.
  • Finished = Teleo in Greek
  • The old world is finished,  and when Jesus rises again with him is a new world.
  • John is saying with Jesus’ death, the old world is finished, and a new world is being birthed because of Jesus.
  • Is there anything that needs to be finished in our lives today.
  • Some of us might still be living in the old world of earning God’s approval.
  • Some of us are still living under the lie that we are sinners, and unable to break free from sin.
  • Some of you are choosing to live in the old world of sin, evil, and hurt and you know it.
  • And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again” Phil 1:6

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? Have you practiced Lent before? What can you fast or give up this year? Had you ever noticed some of the connections between John and Genesis before? Which ones were most surprising to you? What does the “old world” way of living look like – in your life? What does living in a new kingdom look like, and feel like? Is there anything that is “old” that you need to let go and say – it is finished too?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Why not actually act out this with your kids? Get some cardboard, some glue, or paper mache and make a creation story. Make up trees, maybe a volcano for some fun, and talk about how God made the world. Talk about how Jesus re-made the world too, and with it we don’t need to hold onto hurt or hate anymore.

Challenge for the Week: Trust and live in the new world, the old is finished.

Three Powerful Words: It is Finished

There are three really powerful words when put together. And no it’s not “I love you”, although those are powerful words too.

The three words I’m thinking of are these: “It is finished.”

Those are really wonderful and powerful words to be able to say. Sometimes it feels good  just to say them after remodeling or renovating your house. Sometimes it feels good to say them after a hard day at work, saying “it is finished”.  Sometimes it is really powerful to say them after a huge project, or event.

it-is-finishedBut these words are really more powerful and meaningful when they are shared about soul level stuff.

  • Like when you can finally look back at a brutally dark period of your life and finally say, “It is finished”.
  • When you can look at a hurtful person, and finally because of forgiveness say, “it is finished”.
  • When you can look at some of your addictions (drugs, drinking, pornography, power, importance whatever) and be free from them and say, “It is finished”.

When you can look back on hurtful periods, sinful things, or difficult things and finally say “It is finished”, those are some of the most powerful three words to utter.

And come Sunday we are going to look at how you can say them in your life, over the things that hold you trapped. But first we are going to look at who said those three words first, what they mean, and how they can change your life.

“It is finished” – Jesus (John 19:30)

Seven Last Words of Jesus: “Father Into Your Hands…” Lenten Reflection

sevenlastwords-7On Sunday we looked at this saying of Jesus on the cross: “Father into your hands I commend my Spirit”.

There is a lot to be said about this statement, but we just focused on a few details. First, that this is a prayer that quotes Psalm 31:1. This is important because on the cross it was virtually impossible near the end to speak. You died of asphyxiation so speaking was not only difficult, but excruciating. So Jesus, for his last words, prays the first line of this Psalm. And here is the rest of the verse:

I entrust my spirit into your hands. Rescue me, Lord for you are a faithful God. Psalm 35:1

When we take Jesus’ words in light of the rest of the verse we see that Jesus’ prayer is both a prayer of trust, and rescue.

The second thing we noticed was that while the translation of the word, “spirit” is correct in English, it is lacking. When we hear “spirit” we think of soul or the opposite of “body” or the material world. But the word in both Greek and Hebrew has earthy roots. Jesus here is not praying to hand over his “soul” but his entire being. This is why Eugene Peterson’ in his translation, translates this verse as, “I’ve put my life in your hands”. And this gets at the heart of what is happening. Jesus is trusting the Father, not just with his soul, but his entire life.

And what is so remarkable about this, is that Jesus at the end of his life turns to faith. We sometimes cheapen this moment by thinking, “Well Jesus…was Jesus he knew he would be resurrected”. But we are saying that on this side of history. Jesus hasn’t lived it yet, and so while he has faith the Father will rescue him, it simply put hasn’t happened yet. So Jesus is starting into death, darkness, and the weight of sin knowing he is about to be abandoned but in his last moments he doesn’t give up on faith, he gives in to faith. He says “Father I trust you even now”, you are all I can hold onto.

What is beautiful is that because Jesus prayed this prayer so can we. We will never know what Jesus experienced, nor will we ever go through the depth of what he experienced. But because of Jesus, even when we are at our worst, in our deepest struggle, because his spirit lives and moves within us – we can pray this prayer like him. When we come up against darkness that doesn’t quit, death that steals our life, we can choose to trust in God. To say, “Father I trust you with my life” which is where we ended on Sunday.

It was a prayer of unquestioning trust…Uncalculating trust. A no-questions-asked readiness to leave everything in the hands of the Father. Eugene Peterson



Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: That if Jesus prayed this prayer, so can we.

Teaching Points:

  • Challenge for Lent: 1) Pray Weekly Prayers of Repentance, 2) Pray Daily Corporate Prayers 2 Chronicles 7:14, 3) Fast Something for Lent
  • There is cosmic significance to what is happening.
  • I entrust my spirit into your hands. Rescue me, Lord for you are a faithful God. Psalm 35:1
  • Jesus’ prayer is both a prayer of trust, and rescue.
  • That if Jesus prayed this prayer, so can we.
  • It was a prayer of unquestioning trust…Uncalculating trust. A no-questions-asked readiness to leave everything in the hands of the Father. Eugene Peterson

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? Have you practiced Lent before? What can you fast or give up this year? Is there any difficulty you are facing right now? What is it? Can you name it? Can you trust God in the midst of it? What might that look like? Can you pray the prayer Jesus prayed?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Read the story today with your kids. Talk to them about how Jesus, in the most difficult moment, trusted in his Father. Remind them they can always trust in God.

Challenge for the Week: Pray, “Father I trust you with my life”

Where Are You God?

On Sunday we are tackling one of the most difficult texts in the Bible actually. It’s a familiar one so sometimes we don’t push back against it very much. But when you start to think about it – it raises tons of questions.

The text is this, where Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

And that’s the question we want to really pursue. Why? Why? Why would the Father abandon his only Son? Why would the Father who is demonstrated and revealed by Jesus to be full of grace and forgiveness – abandon his Son when he needed him the most?

And don’t just give the easy answer of – “well he did this for our sin. “

Years ago when I was a youth pastor, one of my Jr. High’s pointed out, “sometimes the problems’ with the easy answers.” I had just told him that exact answer, and in clarity he raised a new tension for me with this verse.

He said this:

“Well Andrew, when I forgive my sister I don’t have to kill my cat, or abandon my dog. Why does God kill his son, and abandon him. Why doesn’t he just forgive?”

And that gets to the heart of the tension with this text – why God? Why are you doing this? What is going on? WHY?

And we’re in good company raising our voices, shouting, and screaming “why would you do this God”?  Because Jesus does the same thing.

So we are going to try to walk through some of this, examine it, and hope to find some answers. It will be tough, as Martin Luther the great reformer said, “God forsaking God, who can understand it?”

Well on Sunday we are going to give it a shot.