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find refuge in God at

March 5 - April 20, 2014 Calvary Church


lent? what is

not just new converts who were preparing for baptism. Over the centuries, the church’s observation of the Lenten season has at times changed, or even been abused or neglected, but its purpose has always been self-examination and spiritual preparation leading up to Holy Week and Easter. The fruit of Lent is a deeper relationship with God and a more mindful and exuberant celebration of Easter in six weeks.

During the early centuries of the church, a number of traditions sprung up as ways to teach Christians about the life of Christ and to create opportunities to practice the spiritual disciplines. Together, these traditions form the seasons of the church calendar. Because of its connection with Christ’s resurrection and our new life in Him, Easter has historically been a time when new believers are baptized. The forty days before Easter came to be recognized as the season of Lent (a Latin word that simply means “spring”), a season when new converts were prepared for baptism. The period of forty days was chosen to reflect the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness to prepare for ministry and be tempted by Satan (Matthew 4). For new converts in the early church, this forty days of preparation included biblical instruction, prayer, repentance and fasting.

At Calvary, we feel it is important for us to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and giving as Jesus encouraged in Matthew 6. Lent provides a wonderful opportunity to do this together, as a church body. Participating in Lent is completely voluntary and in no way earns favor with God. While our church understands that Lent has become legalistic in some corners of Christendom, and has been long neglected in others, our hope is that an organized approach will help us grow spiritually.

In time, the practices of Lent were embraced by the entire church,

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how do we observe lent at

calvary? This year, Lent begins on Wednesday, March 5, and ends at Easter. This equals forty-six days, because we exempt Sundays. Traditionally, Lenten fasts are suspended on Sundays when God’s people gather to celebrate in worship.

prayer During Lent, we take extra time to pray and 1) thank Jesus for what He endured for us; 2) pray that those who do not know Jesus will come to have faith in Him. We encourage you to choose three people in your life who do not know Jesus and pray specifically for them every day throughout the period of Lent. Pray that their hearts will be open to God’s love. Pray that God will create opportunities for them to experience His grace and love during Lent. Pray that they will come to a saving faith in Jesus.


fasting Lent has historically been a time of self-examination and contemplation. To facilitate this, Christians often fast by setting aside certain foods or nonessential activities. The point of the fast is not deprivation, or earning grace, but rather to provide spiritual focus. When you set aside something that is normally a part of your daily life, you are reminded throughout each day of what Christ has done for you and you are given an occasion to pause, reflect and pray. This year, we are encouraging our congregation to consider fasting from an area of technology. Our modern lives are shaped heavily by the technology we use, and it influences our relationships with others and our relationship with God. It is also easy to depend on technology and look to it for answers and comfort in times of trouble. Taking some time to purposefully step away from technology will enable us to focus our attention and our hope where it belongs: on God. You may choose to give up a different type of technology for each week of Lent, or choose one for the entire season. A few ideas to consider are at right. You could fast from an entire category of things, like “media,” or something more specific, like “talk radio.” Ask God if there is an area that especially keeps you from mindful relationships with Him and others.

Ideas for Fasting from Technology: • Media (news, talk radio, magazines, newspapers, etc.) • Social Media (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) • Email (you could limit work email to specific times of day, or limit personal email) • Television • Appliances (dishwasher, microwave, oven, coffee pots, or others that you feel like you cannot live without) • Smartphones (texting, facetime, skype, email, internet, etc.) • Video games (Wii, xBox, iPad games, etc.)


giving As we pray and fast in preparation for Easter, we especially think about Jesus’ sacrifice for us and the mercy and grace that God has poured into our lives. Our response to God’s work in us and for us is gratitude. Take time during Lent to express this thankfulness to God in prayer and ask for His guidance about how you might tangibly live out your gratitude by extending God’s grace to others and building His kingdom. Perhaps you might consider putting aside some money throughout Lent that could be used toward something the Lord lays on your heart.


weekone march 5-9

Each day this week, read our benediction for Refuge, 1 Peter 5:10-11. “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” Take time to reflect on the promise this benediction provides for believers who face suffering. This week remember to: • Pray for three friends who do not know Jesus • Fast from a source of technology • Express your thankfulness to God for His mercy and look for His guidance in giving £


weektwo march 10-16

Read 1 Peter, chapter one, this week. As you do, ask God to open your eyes and speak to you concerning its truth. As you read, consider these questions: • Who are we in Christ? • What is our responsibility? • What are the benefits of being called His child? This week remember to: • Pray for three friends who do not know Jesus • Fast from a source of technology • Express your thankfulness to God for His mercy and look for His guidance in giving £


weekthree march 17-23

Read 1 Peter, chapter two, this week. As you do, ask God to open your eyes and speak to you concerning its truth. • How does Peter identify us as believers in this chapter? • What are believers asked to do? • How can we live out this calling in our daily lives? This week remember to: • Pray for three friends who do not know Jesus • Fast from a source of technology • Express your thankfulness to God for His mercy and look for His guidance in giving £


weekfour march 24-30

Read 1 Peter, chapter three, this week. As you do, ask God to open your eyes and speak to you concerning its truth. • In 1 Peter 3:10-12, Peter quotes Psalm 34:1216. What do these verses demonstrate? • In this chapter, who is Peter asking us to be? • What is he asking us to do? This week remember to: • Pray for three friends who do not know Jesus • Fast from a source of technology • Express your thankfulness to God for His mercy and look for His guidance in giving £


weekfive march 31-april 6

Read 1 Peter, chapter four, this week. As you do, ask God to open your eyes and speak to you concerning its truth. • To whom are we to entrust ourselves as believers? • How must we act in light of this chapter? • Who is God calling you to love this week? How is He calling you to show His love? This week remember to: • Pray for three friends who do not know Jesus • Fast from a source of technology • Express your thankfulness to God for His mercy and look for His guidance in giving £


weeksix april 7-13

Read 1 Peter, chapter five, this week. As you do, ask God to open your eyes and speak to you concerning its truth. • What characterizes us as believers according to chapter five? • How is Jesus an example of humility and leadership? • How is humility and hope connected? • When you feel anxious this week, what will you do? This week remember to: • Pray for three friends who do not know Jesus • Fast from a source of technology • Express your thankfulness to God for His mercy and look for His guidance in giving £


weekseven april 14-20

First Peter is an epistle for those who suffer as righteous servants of Christ. Peter’s text was written to give reassurance in time of trial and suffering. First Peter anchors the Christian’s hope on the unparalleled sacrifice of Jesus Christ who suffered for us. He provides an example of suffering for believers to follow. Read these passages of Scripture each day and reflect on Christ’s example. • Monday: Matthew 17:12 & Matthew 20:18-19 • Tuesday: Mark 9:12 & Luke 9:22 • Wednesday: Luke 18:31-32 & Luke 24:25-26 • Thursday: Luke 24:46 & Acts 3:18 • Friday: Acts 17:2-3 & Acts 26:22-23 • Saturday: 1 Corinthians 15:3 & Hebrews 13:11-12 • Sunday: Isaiah 53:3-12 This week remember to: • Pray for three friends who do not know Jesus • Fast from a source of technology • Express your thankfulness to God for His mercy and look for His guidance in giving £


“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” I Peter 5:10

Calvary Church

PO Box 1600 | Grand Rapids MI | 49501 calvarygr.org | 956-9377 © Calvary Church 2014

Calvary Church Lent Guide 2014  

Join us as we prepare for Easter together.

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