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LENTEN DEVOTIONAL friends university

2018


Lent 2018

Guide to Daily Prayer

I am pleased to present the second annual Lenten Devotional Guide for the Friends University community. I sincerely hope and pray that this collection of devotional reflections will prove to be a meaningful part of your Lenten season.

Quiet your Heart As we seek the Lord, it is important that we slow our paces, our minds and our bodies, so that we might better “see” and “hear” what the Lord might have for us. A major part of preparing a place for God to speak involves turning down the volume of the noisy world we have become so accustomed to living in. Take a few minutes to focus your mind’s attention, and heart’s affection, on the ever-presence of Jesus.

In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This season culminates with the Passion of Christ and climaxes in Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each day I invite you to read the Scripture and the accompanying brief devotion. Then, take a few moments to be still and present before the Lord, as you consider the significance of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. This Lenten Devotional Guide is a great collection of contributions from various faculty, staff, students and Trustees, who have read, prayed, reflected and put their thoughts onto paper – for all of us. I am thankful for their kind and thoughtful participation. I am grateful to all who have worked to help make this project a reality, especially Thes Kascsak, Chapel intern, who has played a significant role in all five of the devotionals we have produced so far. May these reflections on Scripture help you walk each step of the Lenten journey until you find yourself standing in dismay at the foot of the cross, wondering and wandering on that “quiet” Saturday, and then on to the mouth of the empty tomb – praising and proclaiming, He has risen, indeed!

Grace and Peace,

Guy Chmieleski Campus Pastor & Dean of Campus Ministries

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Opening Prayer Comfort, comfort your people, O God! Speak peace to your people. Comfort those who sit in darkness and mourn, Forgive us our sins and end the conflict in our lives. The Reading of Scripture Take time to slowly, and prayerfully, read the Scripture passages assigned for the day. The selected passages fit, in one way or another, with the themes and season of Lent. Read them with a heart and mind increasingly sensitive to Jesus’ journey to the cross – and beyond. The Devotional Reflection Read the devotional reflection for the day. Each day, the devotional reflection will correspond to the theme and Scripture assigned to that day. A current student or campus leader has contributed each reflection – all walking their own lives of faith and attempting to understand the acts of man in relation to the amazing grace and love of Jesus. Listen for God Before you rush on to the next part of your day, take a few moments to sit with the things you have read, and ask God if there is something specific for you to takeaway for today. If you sense a leading, be willing to follow it. Maybe write it down somewhere you will be reminded of it. Allow this to orient you and the work, relationships and experiences you have throughout your day. Prayers The following is a suggested guide for prayer during the season of Lent. • Pray for a greater level of sensitivity to the suffering Christ endured during this season, as well as the suffering happening all around our world. • Pray for all Christians around the world, especially for those who endure persecution for their faith. Pray for those who do not know the love of Jesus. Pray for their salvation. • Pray for our nation and all those in authority. Pray for greater measures of love and respect to permeate our culture. • Pray that Christ’s peace may cover our campus and the world. Pray for the end of conflict of every kind, war, and the triumph of truth and justice.

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Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Psalm 51:1-17

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: PRAYER

Isaiah 58:1-12

If you read the opening letter to this devotional, then you might recall this line:

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10 Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Lent is a time of year when many Christians make a physical sacrifice, typically in the form of abstinence from what may be of greater weight in their life than Christ. This is done not only to join in the suffering of Christ, but also to cultivate a new kind of dependency and trust in their Heavenly Father. When we pray for God to create a clean heart within us, we often focus on those things that most obviously do not point to Christ. Things that damage our relationship with others and with God. But what about our relationship with self? Is it not just as significant? You house the magnificent light of Christ. You were created to be loved by your Creator and to be a beacon of truth, pointing others in the direction of the awesome unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In order to be powerful examples and truth tellers, we first have to be sure that we are being loved and given hope through the powerful truth of Christ. What if, rather than once more denying yourself, or publicly nailing yourself up in the name of “Christian propriety,” you gave up destruction? What if you gave up squeezing yourself out dry in the name of some twisted form of martyrdom and began to observe your own needs? You need regular intakes of energy (aka food). You need adequate sleep. You need to set aside time to breathe. You need to experience love from others. When your needs are met, it is then natural to begin to meet the needs of others. Consider giving up “fixing” everyone’s issues. Consider giving up one thing from your ever-growing list of responsibilities (and NOT adding another!). Consider speaking up rather than keeping quiet. Perhaps Lent doesn’t have to be another thing on your to-do list for a season, but perhaps it is a catalyst for transformation. Begin again this season, opening up to the love of Christ, denying what is not good, beautiful and true, and instead, asking God to break through, healing your hurts with His satisfying light. Creating a heart in you in rhythm with His very heartbeat for you and all of creation.

The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. During this Lenten season, we will utilize Thursdays as a day to engage in one of the spiritual practices mentioned above as a means for “preparing the believer” or creating space for God to move and speak in our lives, as we journey through this season. This week we will engage in the practice of prayer. Prayer is both simple and complex. Well, really, prayer is just simple. You and I make prayer much more complex than it needs to be. Prayer, in its most simple form, is having a conversation with God. We talk to God – sharing the things that weigh on our hearts and minds – things that God already knows, but waits to hear from us anyway. We talk, and then we listen. The noise around us can often make this an incredibly challenging task. We must work hard to eliminate distractions and focus our hearts’ affection and minds’ attention on God. There is no need for this to be formal. Jesus taught that we can approach God as our loving Father and talk to Him as we would a best friend. As you pray, express to God whatever is on your heart. Tell Him what you’re thankful for and what you’re anxious about. Pray for those you know are in need, and also voice to Him your own needs. One idea is to take a prayer walk. Head to a place where you know you can be alone, and as you walk slowly begin to share your thoughts with God. Another idea is to write a letter to God. Begin with “Dear God…” Then write whatever comes to mind. If you find yourself needing more direction about how and what to pray, then consider personalizing each part of the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. Jesus didn’t give us this prayer so we would mindlessly repeat it from memory. Instead, He gave it as an example and pattern we can follow. That’s why He didn’t say, “This is WHAT you should pray,” but rather, “This is HOW you should pray” (Matthew 6:9). As we begin our journey through the Lenten season, consider how you might make the practice of prayer a consistent part of your Lenten activities.

Laura Peck Sophomore, Sociology and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Psalm 25:1-10

Psalm 25:1-10

Daniel 9:15-25

Psalm 32

2 Timothy 4:1-5

Matthew 9:2-13

Trust. What a frightening, calming, rewarding and difficult concept all wrapped into one. Have you ever had a massive problem on your hands and then hear someone say, “Just leave it to God. Trust him.”? Was it super frustrating and confusing? How could God handle your big problem? I mean, you have done all you can do and nothing has worked, but sure it sounds like a great idea to just “trust God” with it. I am here to tell you that I have been there. I have done the eye roll and I have tried to work on my massive problem by myself. However, I am also here to tell you that trusting God would have been ten times easier than doing it alone. For some reason we fear having no control. We fear letting go of the circumstance or issue. Instead we worry and fret in hope that those things will help it to be better. Trust is fearful to most because it means we have to let go. But when we become anxious and worrisome don’t we want to let those feelings go too? Why not give them to the God of the Universe, who can number the hairs on your head and count all the stars? He already knows the pain in your life. Our God is so good and so loving that He wants to provide joy for you. He willingly takes your problems and concerns and has ALWAYS known how He would help you in your distress. God sees your problems and He has the solutions. He wants you to reach out so that He can give them to you. It can be scary and it can be challenging, but the reward that comes with it is unimaginable. The joy and peace that is obtainable through trust is something everyone deserves to have. God will guide, teach and show you the way. All you have to do is let Him in. It really is that simple. Today, set aside time to take just five minutes of silence in prayer. In those five minutes pick one thing and offer it to God. It can be big or small. Try to continue to offer this same thing every time it starts to become a problem.

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13 Lent is a season that is a time of self-examination and reflection. Many people set aside or take on a practice in anticipation of the resurrection on Easter Sunday. This season is likely one of the few times in the year in which people reflect on the ailments they had without Christ in their lives. When we recognize our need for God, and His Son, there is a spiritual response in our souls that yearns for repentance and forgiveness. Therefore, we as children of God, have the gift to seek reconciliation. In Psalm 25, the psalmist is able to recognize that God’s aid comes only through God’s love and mercy. However, God has given us people within our community that walk similar paths as ourselves. They are friends who are able to understand faults and struggles so that we may experience God’s mercy physically. Maybe you have confessed something to God multiple times and have not been able to find peace. Whether the hindrance is from the incapability to forgive yourself, or fully give it to God, there is still a lack of freedom within your being. If you recognize that you are holding onto a burden you have tried to previously release, challenge yourself by sharing it with someone you trust, who has been a part of your spiritual journey. Together pray about it. We are not created to walk this earth without community. Within our communities, we are able to help one another by propelling each other toward Christ. When we repent, we are able to experience God’s achievement on the cross. We are able to rejoice in the hope that is to come, for we have been reconciled through God’s mercy and have allowed Him to be our physician. As you go about your day, periodically recall Psalm 25:5 and remind yourself of how God will grow you and the hope that not only propels you throughout every hour of this day but of this life. Eileen Price Senior, Music Education and Vocal Performance

Addie DuLac Junior, Psychology and Sociology

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FIRST WEEK OF LENT May this journey bring a blessing May I rise on wings of faith And at the end of my heart’s testing With Your likeness let me wake

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First Sunday, February 18, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018

Psalm 25:1-10

Psalm 77

Genesis 9:8-17

Job 4:1-21

1 Peter 3:18-22

Ephesians 2:1-10

Mark 1:9-15 When God is about to do something new and wonderful in the world, He often begins by calling His people to the desert in order to prepare the way. Just ask Moses (Exodus 2-3), David (1 Samuel 23-24), Elijah (1 Kings 19) or Paul (Galatians 1:17).

New beginnings are so easy to commit to. In the early days of Lent, I find it easy to observe the rituals of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. As the days stretch into weeks, will I remain faithful to the practices of Lent?

It should be no surprise, then, that our Lenten reading for today from the Gospel of Mark leads us deep into the desert as well. It was in the desert of Judea that the word of God came to John the Baptist, launching his ministry as “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’” (Mark 1:3). Following Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan, “the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12) to enter into a 40-day period of intense temptation. In fact, this is where Lent (derived from a Latin word for “fortieth”) finds its core meaning and purpose as a commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert in preparation for His public ministry.

In the ancient church, Lent was a time for new converts to be instructed for baptism and for believers caught in sin to focus on repentance. In time, all Christians came to see Lent as a season to be reminded of their need for penitence and to prepare spiritually for the celebration of Easter.

As persecution of Christians began to wane during the third and fourth centuries following Jesus’ death and resurrection, an increasing number of devoted disciples were drawn by God to embrace the way of the desert as well. These Desert Fathers and Mothers were desperate to exchange material prosperity for moral purity and earthly passion for eternal purpose. They did not go into the wilderness to escape trouble but to embrace transformation. In the process, monasticism was born, a movement that has been used by God to purify and preserve the Christian faith at many pivotal moments throughout church history. It seems unmistakably clear, then, that while most of us would prefer to linger with the Lord in cool, lush, green gardens, we avoid the desert at our own peril. As Henri Nouwen argues in “The Way of the Heart,” spending extended time in the desert is an essential step in the process of Christian discipleship and spiritual formation because the desert itself provides a “furnace for transformation,” and “it is from this transformed self that real ministry takes place.” During this season of Lent, may we join with the great cloud of faithful witnesses who have gone before us, being led by the Spirit on this transformational journey through the desert on our way to the Promised Land. Above all, may we continually “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). At the end of the day, He is our one and only reliable Way in the wilderness.

Dave Williams Friends University Board of Trustees Member

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As a child, I remember the jokes of what are you giving up for Lent? Answers were flippant, including chocolate, homework, obeying parents – all trivial responses to a season that is one of the most holy times of the year. As an adult, I look forward to Lent as a time of putting trivial concerns away and spending more time in prayer and in silence to hear the word of the Lord. Even as I slip in my intent to be faithful to the practices of Lent, I have an assurance of forgiveness. Ephesians 2:4-7 states: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. The promise of God’s mercy and grace toward us as we continue to fail in our intentions outshines every other promise Scripture makes. Christ’s cross and the forgiveness that flows from it make all other promises from God possible. Lord, You are always faithful to us. Your Word shows us time and again, that You are faithful. We confess, we are a faithless people. We are prone to wander, as the hymn says. Forgive us Lord. Teach us what it means to be faithful to You, to Your Word, and to Your church. Give us steadiness as we follow You. Teach us to be faithful in the small, simple acts of faith as the early church was. Kathy Slemp Professor of Human Resource Management

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Psalm 77

Psalm 77

Job 5: 8-27

Proverbs 30:1-9 Matthew 4:1-11

1 Peter 3:8-18

“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.” 1 Peter 3: 8 When I think of Lent and the happenings leading up to Easter, I am reminded over and over again of the love Jesus gave to all people in all situations. As He was nailed to the cross, He spoke these words: “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” While this season of Lent is a time of self-reflection and repentance, it is also a time to examine our own hearts and remember the love that Jesus has for each of us, so much so, that He asked forgiveness for those that caused Him pain. Maybe, instead of asking “What will I give up for Lent?” we ask ourselves, “How will I show the same love to others that Jesus showed to those that caused His suffering?” “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77: 11-12 As Christians, we are not promised that we will never endure pain, but we are promised God’s unconditional love. In our world today, where hate seems so pervasive, let us be the light that shines with love to those all around us. Let us remember God’s unconditional love and that our one lasting relationship is with Him. If God can send His own Son to die on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven, can we forgive one another? Can we love one another as brothers and sisters? Remember that every moment of each day is an opportunity to display God’s love to others. Dear heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to die on the cross for our sins. Help us to show love to everyone we encounter throughout this Lenten season and always. Help us to remember that you love us so much that you sent your one and only Son to die on the cross to save us from our sins. Bless us, oh Lord, that we may live each day remembering this sacrifice and that we may follow your example to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

It is not uncommon for us to feel weak or like we have no control over what is going on. For myself, I have this feeling quite often. The weight of the world, bearing down, can be a lot to handle sometimes, but we have a God who truly does not want that for us. He wants to carry us through whatever it is that is going on in our lives. Our God gives us the strength to take on what this world is throwing at us. We see this proclaimed in these three Scriptures. In Psalm 77:10, the psalmist writes how God stretched out His right hand to His people to save and protect them. The psalmist then goes on to say how every part of this earth from the waters to the clouds, know who God is and what He can do. With God, no battle this earth gives us will take us down. We tend to think we know it all, have it all and can “be all,” but that is so far from the truth. Humility, however, is an honorable trait. In Proverbs 30:1-9 we are made aware of the heart of Agur, as he pours out his confession to God that he is not the almighty, but God is. Once we identify how powerful God is and how weak we are, we can put all our trust in Him, and the pieces start to come to together. Jesus, the Son of God is seen in Matthew 4:1-11 fully relying on God in every step He takes through the desert. Jesus, the man who walks on water, the man who makes the blind see and raises the dead, is leaning with everything He has on God. Why would Jesus need to do that? His power does not come from Himself, His power comes from God; He recognizes who the Lord is and what He can do. In our times of walking through the desert, we must give everything we have to God and show humility, because we are not almighty and powerful, He is.

Olivia Naccarato Junior, Elementary Education

Rachel Steiner Director, Graduate and Professional Studies Recruitment

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Media Fast

Psalm 22:23-31 Genesis 16:1-6

It’s Thursday. That means we will once again be replacing our traditional devotion with a spiritual practice.

Romans 4:1-12

Today we will explore a MEDIA FAST as a form of self-denial. Are you familiar with the idea of fasting? It is a not-so-regularly talked about spiritual practice of the Christian faith. The Bible is full of calls to fast, occasions for fasting, and impressions that regularly fasting or abstaining from food for a period of time – for the purpose of becoming more in-tune with what God was up to – was a common part of life.

In the season of Lent, we are asked to do a couple things. First, we are tasked with preparing ourselves for the Savior and what He went through for each of us. Second, we are presented with the chance to eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. Lent also provides us with an opportunity to self-reflect and figure out what might be most important to us and pray about it

Yet most of us do not hear much about fasting in our church cultures.

So when preparing ourselves for the Savior and what He went through for each of us, we first look at what we have in our lives and see what is good and what is negative. Once we have done this, it can lead us into figuring out what we should give up for Lent. This observation of our lives can help us to refocus on what is important and hold those values with the utmost regard.

Why do you think that is? Personally, I think it is because it makes us uncomfortable – and we like to be comfortable. We do not like the feeling of being hungry, or denying ourselves our normal meals, snacks and treats – not even for the sake of creating more space for God in our lives. However, if we desire to take our relationship with Jesus to a new level, why not give this a shot? While fasting has most often been associated with giving up a meal, or a day’s worth of meals (and pursuing God during those times, as well as the times we felt the hunger pains kicking in), it could also entail a fast from things like social media, caffeine, chocolate, sugar, electronics or really anything that is going to be somewhat “painful” if we give it up for a day. In addition, it is more than just giving up these things for a predetermined period of time. It is about replacing our focus on any one of those things with God and being reminded that it is God that sustains us, defines us, and gives us our sense of self-worth and purpose in life. So, over the next week I want you to pick TWO DAYS and engage in a fast from media. What does that entail? Here is a definition of media: Communication channels through which news, entertainment, data or promotional messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting mediums such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and internet. For two days you are to be “media free,” meaning no TV, no internet, no YouTube, no movies, no Netflix. Yes, this also includes Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter!

The season of Lent also gives us the opportunity to fast or give up a particular food or habit. For some of us this is a tricky situation, and for others it is easier. Pray for guidance. When looking at our lives and figuring out what we can or will do without for the season, it brings about a sense of self-discipline. Each of us has the choice to make, and in doing so, we could lessen or remove any or all of our negatives. Lent also gives us an opportunity to self-reflect and find out what is most important to us. This is the opportunity for all students, faculty members, staff members, support system members and alumni of Friends University to sit down and reflect. Remember God is listening to us, all of us. During Lent, as we find ourselves suffering and going to God for help, remember to give God the glory too! Allen Eberwein Director of Casado Campus Center

Feel free to listen to music, however, as this does not have the same numbing effect of the other forms of media. But you may want to go “cold turkey,” as they say, and cut off all forms of media, including music. Use the time you might normally give to these things to pray, dig into God’s Word, enjoy the silence, explore God’s creation or contemplate the work of God during this season of Lent.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018 Psalm 22:23-31 Genesis 16:7-15 Mark 8:27-30

I didn’t grow up attending church, and even when I did start attending in high school, I was too shy and intimidated to get involved. I would go to church, listen to the sermon and leave. I was convinced everyone else knew everything about being a Christian because they had grown up attending Sunday school and hearing the stories from the Bible. My faith really started to flourish the summer before my first year at Friends, when Campus Ministries offered a mission trip to Houston. Since then, I have seen tremendous growth in my faith and have developed a personal relationship with the Lord. However, I now sometimes find myself thinking, “I already know that” or “I’ve heard that already” as I am listening to sermons or reading. When I run into these thoughts, I am reminded of times I have heard that the things repeated in the Bible show up more than once because God wants to make sure we understand what He is telling us. Just like studying for tests, being familiar with concepts or even memorizing answers does not always mean you understand it or are fully grasping the material. If you have ever caught yourself brushing off the goodness of God, as I have, take time to reflect on why those familiar phrases are so powerful. Because the truth is, we will never reach the point where we can say we know all there is to know about God, despite what I may have thought in high school. “You are a God of seeing” (Genesis 16:13). He sees us, and He knows us. He hears us when we cry (Psalms 22:24). And He knows there is a difference between who the world says He is, “Who do people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27), and who we say He is as His followers, “But who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29).

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The Lenten season comes every year, and even if you are a new believer, some of it may feel very familiar to you. Instead of skimming over the familiar, use this time to dig deeper into what you think you already know to deepen your understanding of Christ and His sacrifice.

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Amanda Pickett Annual Fund Coordinator

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SECOND WEEK OF LENT Jesus draw me ever nearer As I labor thro’ the storm You have called me to this passage And I’ll follow tho’ I’m worn

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Second Sunday, February 25, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45

Psalm 22:23-31

Genesis 21:1-7

Romans 4:13-25

Hebrews 1:8-12

Mark 8: 31-38 Waiting for God

The Birth of Isaac

Today’s Scripture passages tell the story of Abraham and Sarah, two people who had reached old age without any children. In Abraham and Sarah’s day, not having children was a disaster. Children were understood to be a blessing from God, and not having children indicated an absence of God’s blessing. So you can imagine Abraham and Sarah’s shock when they were visited personally by God, who promised they would have a son. In one moment, God reversed their fortunes. Not only would they receive the blessing of a son, but God promised that Abraham and Sarah’s descendants would be as numerous as the grains of sand on a seashore and would eventually become a great nation that would be a blessing to the whole world.

Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Gen. 21:1-7)

This sounds like a happy ending to Abraham and Sarah’s story, but there were some difficult times ahead. God didn’t fulfill His promise right away, and Abraham and Sarah struggled to wait patiently. Time was ticking away and they still didn’t have children. At one point, they became so desperate they took matters into their own hands and Abraham had a son with one of Sarah’s servants. As you can imagine, that wasn’t what God had in mind when He promised that Abraham and Sarah would have a son. Eventually, God’s promise came true, and Abraham and Sarah had a son, whom they named Isaac. Through Isaac and his son, Jacob, Abraham and Sarah became the founders of the nation of Israel.

When I reflect on this passage, it helps me to remember that God will do everything He said He would do. As Christ followers, it is important for us to believe that and go to God’s throne boldly when asking for His blessings upon our lives. God will bless us with everything He has promised, in His perfect timing! I understand how Sarah felt during her many years of asking, praying and waiting for a child. During the silence, it is easy to give up and think that God does not hear you. Then, God shows His faithfulness by blessing you with what you have asked for in abundancies, as he did for Sarah. Then we can laugh and tell everyone how God has done something wonderful in our lives, even when others did not believe it could be possible. Trust and believe that God hears you, and that He will do everything He said He would do in your life. In the meantime, stand on God’s promises and trust that He is always working on our behalf, even when we do not think He hears us.

Lent is a time when we, like Abraham and Sarah, wait to celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promise. In our case, we’re waiting to celebrate Easter, the day when we remember that God fulfilled His promise to rescue the fallen human race through the birth, life, death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. Lent offers us an opportunity each year to join Abraham, Sarah and many other heroes of the faith in waiting somberly and patiently for God’s ultimate triumph over sin and death. Although God’s promise has already been fulfilled, this yearly Lenten re-enactment molds us into the patient and expectantly waiting people God wants us to be. As we proceed through this Lenten season, a time of expectant and somber waiting, may we rest in the fact that we belong to a God who always fulfills His promises.

Miya Williams Director of College of Business, Arts, Sciences and Education Recruiting

Ken Stoltzfus Dean of the College of Business, Arts, Sciences and Education

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45

Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45

Genesis 22:1-19

Jeremiah 30:12-22

Hebrews 11:1-3, 13-19

John 12:36-43

Faith in the God of the Promise “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” –Hebrews 11:1 Abraham and his faith serve as an example for all followers of Christ. How can we live today in a way that exemplifies the same faith as Abraham? Abraham knew and believed the promises of God. When Isaac asked where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham responded with a statement full of belief that “God himself will provide.” Abraham, because he knew the promises of God, knew that he served a God who provided. Throughout Scripture, we, too, can see that God provides, and we can believe this promise to be true. As we begin to dive deeper and get into the Word, we can find more promises of God. Just as Abraham knew and believed the promises of God, we can also know and believe the promises of God, which will allow us to respond in faith with trust. As we begin to know and believe the promises of God, we can trust those promises to be Truth. Has someone ever promised you they would do something for you, but then they were unable to fulfill their promise? Did it become difficult to trust them in the future? On the contrary, has someone ever promised to do something, and then they did it above and beyond your expectations? Did your trust in them increase and grow? With God, His promises will never fail. As we put our trust in Him, our trust will only grow because He will never, ever fail us. Abraham serves as an excellent example of this kind of trust, because his knowledge of God’s promises led him to trust in such a way that led to active obedience. After we begin knowing, believing and trusting God, we can respond with obedience. Abraham did not simply stop at knowing and trusting, he obeyed the LORD. Abraham responded in faith when God called him. He trusted the LORD when He led him to put his son on the altar. And his life serves as charge and challenge to us all to respond in obedience, in every setting and situation, to the LORD. We, too, are called to offer all of ourselves to the LORD in faith. As we are in this Lenten season, how can you start to deepen your faith by knowing and believing God’s promises, trusting in God and responding in active obedience?

Sometimes, when I read one of the Psalms, I can’t get out of my head the image of an ancient gathering of people, speaking (or singing) in a language I do not know, in a time and place I can barely imagine, conveying sentiments that are pretty much exactly my own. Jews of 2,500 or 3,000 years ago, writing down the pleadings, the hopes, the fears, the longings, the demands and the celebrations of their hearts, and the spiritual language they used sometimes manages to express something that strikes my modern, Christian self to the very core. One such Psalm is 105. It is a Psalm that surveys the history of the Jewish people, as they understood it at the time – and it also points that history towards something else, something greater. “Give thanks to the Lord,” it begins (v. 1). “Invoke him by name, make known his deeds among the peoples.” And what great deeds they were! In 45 verses in our present Bibles, the Psalm reminds us of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. The Abrahamic covenant, which began with a single family – “A small company it was, few in number, strangers in that land” (v. 12) – is unfolded all the way through the Exodus and the arrival of the children of Israel in the land which was promised to them. “He opened a rock and water gushed out, flowing in a stream through a parched land; for he was mindful of his solemn promise to his servant Abraham” (vv. 41-42). Lent is a time of wandering for me. Through fasting and prayer, I put myself, as much as possible, outside my daily routine and attempt to see in myself not someone perfectly at home in this fallen world, but a pilgrim, an exile, a stranger, one who is wandering through the desert of preparation, waiting on God’s promise of Living Water. Turning to these ancient words – these songs, these poems, these heartfelt pleadings and hopes – is thus appropriate, I think. Abraham and the world of those who honored him in Psalms is unimaginably distant from us today – yet we are part of that story nonetheless. Perhaps being reminded of the great distance encompassed by God’s reach, and how His great promises touch all of us nonetheless, is exactly why we wait and wander through Lent every year. Russell Fox Professor of Political Science

Christa Follette Junior, Health Sciences and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Service

Psalm 19

It is Thursday, so let us once again revisit our “purpose statement” for the Lenten season: The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. This week we will engage in the practice of almsgiving. But what is almsgiving? Traditionally, this was a way of serving some of the most disenfranchised in life – through gifts of money, food or other donations. I think many of us might feel more familiar with the idea of community service or outreach today, but this call, I believe, is to something more personal. It could be easy for us to decide, this week, to engage in this practice of almsgiving by simply making a bigger donation at church, rustling up some clothes and other items we have outgrown the use of around our home to donate somewhere, or to drop off some food items at a local food bank or shelter. While these things are good, and might make us feel good, I think they lack the kind of personal connection that almsgiving calls us to. So, as you consider how you might engage the practice of almsgiving this week, allow me to offer a few suggestions: One idea would be to make some “snack bags” that you can keep in your car. Anytime you encounter someone on the street, holding a “please help” kind of sign, pull over and bring them a snack bag. Take the time to find out their name and something about them. Another idea might be to make up some sandwiches and, with a group of friends, take some time one afternoon, or evening, to visit one of the areas known for congregating populations of homeless, and spend some time passing out food and talking with people. Love them and listen to them.

Exodus 19:9-15 Acts 7:30-40

Please reflect on Acts 7:30-40 today. Are you prepared to meet the Lord of all, the King of kings, the one who was, and is and is to come? The Israelites are about to meet their God, and at any moment we are about to meet Him also. May you and I be ready for that great and awesome day. While eventually Moses acted as an intermediary between God and His people, we can see that Moses initially rejected God’s command and was truly hesitant to follow Him. He did not see himself as the right man for the job. It is pointed out how he first had to learn how personally unfit he was for the task. Moses had to learn what it meant to stand as one who was unworthy in the presence of the one true God. This is something many of us struggle with from time to time. I know there are many days I feel unworthy of His love and scared to truly follow God’s will. We easily let our own plans and other’s opinions get in the way of what God is truly calling us to do. Israel’s calling was to a position of both privilege and of responsibility. To whom much is given, much is required. Thus, in order to enjoy fellowship with God and to serve Him as His representative to the nations, Israel must reflect His holiness and purity. Israel was thus given the commandments, so Israel would be distinct from the nations. In setting these boundaries, God showed Israel that obedience is more important than their earthly desires. Have you prepared to meet God face to face? It is not about stockpiling good works in order to earn eternal life, but rather coming to Christ in faith and submitting to Him. What daily distractions do we need to set aside in order to give Him the reverence He deserves? May we strive to let go and truly listen to what God is laying on our hearts this Lenten season, and remember that God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Ashley Rivers Director of Campus Life and New Student Orientation

If this sounds a little too extreme or involved for you, consider volunteering for a few hours at a local shelter. Serve a meal. Get to know some of the folks staying there. Learn their story. Pray for them. Remember, there was nothing about Jesus’ journey toward the cross that was comfortable for Him. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone as you continue your journey through the season of Lent.

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Saturday, March 3, 2018 Psalm 19 Exodus 19:9-15 Mark 9:2-8

Years ago I visited a college friend who had moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. While she was working one day, I decided to drive up into the surrounding mountains and visit a lake. I found a comfortable log to sit on at the edge of the water, and there I sat quietly and soaked up the scene. Beautiful snow-capped mountains. Blue water reflecting a perfect mirror image of a deep blue sky and surrounding trees. An occasional slight breeze rustling through pine branches and the periodic calls of birds. The longer I sat and cleared my mind of everyday thoughts and simply experienced my surroundings, the more I felt at peace. I experienced the most profound feeling of unity and harmony with the world and the Creator, and I drove back down the mountain with a renewed sense of awe and wonder at God’s glorious creation. King David’s description of the glory of God made manifest in nature in the opening passages of Psalm 19 reminds us that we can visually connect to God through the world He has created. We can experience the wonders of the sun, the stars and all the beauty and majesty that surround us and know that God has created it all. In the second half of the Psalm, David wants us to understand that we must also listen to God. Take His words to heart. Understand that if we live by His word and ask for His forgiveness for our sins, we will feel the power and glory of our Lord and Savior. As we ready ourselves for Easter through reading and reflection on God’s Word, my hope is that we can also be intentional about finding some time to experience the visual wonders of God’s creation as well. Attend an outdoor Easter sunrise service. Sit underneath a tree and listen to the wind blowing through the branches. Find a peaceful place to watch a gorgeous Kansas sunset. Sit quietly. Immerse yourself in your surroundings. Clear your mind of distracting thoughts. Closely observe the visual splendors God has made. You will feel His presence – no snow-capped mountains required. Gisele McMinimy Director of Marketing

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THIRD WEEK OF LENT Jesus guide me thro’ the tempest Keep my spirit staid and sure When the midnight meets the morning Let me love You even more

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Third Sunday, March 4, 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018

Exodus 20:1-17

Psalm 84

Psalm 19

1 Kings 6:1-4

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

1 Corinthians 3:10-23

John 2:13-22 I can imagine the muffled sound of chatter from those bargaining with merchants to purchase the animals needed for sacrifice. I can imagine the smell of roasted lamb over the fire as I shuffle through the crowded court going about business as usual. Then from the corner, I hear the sound of gasps and screams and yelling. I still cannot see as I push my way through the crowd to get a sense of what is going on. When I get to an open space, I see Jesus with a whip, driving out the merchants selling animals for slaughter, along with their animals, while flipping over tables. I wonder what it was like for those in the temple that day. For them, it was business as usual, preparing for Passover. When Jesus shows up, everything changes. He comes as an outsider to challenge the power structure of the religious institution. Jesus was a disruption in the temple. In the same way, Lent is a disruption in our normal everyday lives. It is a time for us to reflect on what it means to be human. What are the things that make up our lives? The good, the bad and the ugly – Lent exposes it all – “You are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). Our lives are full of norms to which we have grown accustomed. We live on autopilot from day to day going about our business. Lent turns the focus to our humanity and calls us to repentance, effectively disrupting our norms. Below are some norms you might relate to, or at least see as an overarching theme in our culture with accompanying practices and Christlike characteristics that can function as disruptions to that norm. Abundance is our norm. Fasting is the disruption. Noise is our norm. Silence is the disruption. Fame is our norm. Humility is the disruption. Busy is our norm. Margin is the disruption. Money is our norm. Charity is the disruption. Fear is our norm. Love is the disruption. War is our norm. Peace is the disruption. Crowds are our norm. Solitude is the disruption. Loneliness is our norm. Community is the disruption. Selfishness is our norm. Service is the disruption.

On this Christmas Day, 2017, I sit pondering the assigned texts for the Holy Week of Passover and Easter. The presence and amazing plan of God to reconcile His creation to Himself was once again intensified (Genesis 3:15). For God so loved the world that He gave His Son, born in a manger, a Baby, the most venerable and innocent among us lying there as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 3:16; John 1:36). The manger and the cross once again merged in a deeper and newly meaningful way, igniting reverential awe of the love that God has for us and His desire to be in fellowship with us. God’s desire to be with His children is amazing. From Adam and Eve walking with God in the garden and the building by Solomon of the temple where the Glory of God filled the Lord’s house (1 Kings 6:1-4, 8:10-13); to Immanuel, God with us, and Savior as this Precious Lamb to pay the price for His creation’s sin, my sin (Revelation 5:12); then He ascended on high (Ephesians 4:8) so that the Holy Spirit, Teacher, Comforter, can be in us and with us to aid in our walk upon this earth (Romans 8:20-32, 1 Corinthians 3:16); The Ever-Living One who possesses the keys of Death and Hades with Whom we can fellowship at any moment while we wait for Him as the soon and coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords to return. What a plan! So today God’s mercy, grace and, yes, justice knowing that there is a price to be paid for sin overwhelms me – for God so loved the world that He gave – Himself. Sharon Rogers Associate Professor of Dance

Sin is our norm. Jesus is the disruption. During this season, I pray that you would invite Jesus to disrupt the norms in your life and to show you something beautiful. Haley Alloway Associate Campus Pastor and Outreach Coordinator

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Psalm 84

Psalm 84

2 Chronicles 29:1-11, 16-19

Ezra 6:1-16

Hebrews 9:23-28

Mark 11:15-19

Have you had the opportunity to embark on a pilgrimage? Do you know of someone who did? Historic sites to make a pilgrimage to might include Jerusalem, St. Peter’s Basilica, Camino de Santiago in Spain or Assisi in Italy. Regardless of the destination, any journey requires preparation and sacrifice. However, a pilgrimage does not necessarily require one to travel physically to a different location, but rather can also include the search for knowledge or personal transformation. Without a doubt, the most transformational experiences of life are those that challenge us, requiring a sacrifice of self. Just as Christ sacrificed His life for us, the Lenten season provides Christians with an opportunity for sanctification through sacrifice. Personal sacrifice may mean turning the radio off for a few minutes of quiet time, beginning the day in prayer rather than picking up the cell phone, or possibly fasting for a meal each day. Partaking in confession or taking time to read a verse of Scripture and meditating for five minutes may be a meaningful sacrifice. What are you willing to offer up as a sacrifice for the remainder of this Lenten season? When Hezekiah was crowned king, he quickly “opened the doors of the Lord’s house and repaired them.” He followed that with a challenge to the people of his kingdom to sanctify themselves and the house of the Lord – to “clean out the filth from the sanctuary.” Is not that the essence of what Lent is all about, to clear out the junk in our hearts and create a sanctuary for the love of Christ?

Trust. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of trust is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” Do you ever hear this word and take it for granted? Maybe you hear it and at times do not really comprehend its full meaning. I know I do. As Christians how do we “trust” in the Lord in a world where we are taught that the only person we can really trust is ourselves? Aah, there it is, ourselves. As humans, we instinctively look to ourselves to solve, figure out and rectify any problems we have in this life. Culture dictates that we “trust” ourselves to handle any situation that is dealt to us and fix it with little to no help from others. The good news we have is that we do not have to trust only ourselves. Christ tells us that we are to trust in Him fully. He is the one who we turn to when the storm rages around us. Scripture reads, “Blessed is the one who trusts in him.” When we rely on Christ, we are affirming that His character, ability, strength and truth are what we can trust. During this Lenten season, we remember that assured reliance or trust in Christ is what we are called to as Christians. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us so that we would fully rely on Him for all our needs. The one who will not ever let us down is Jesus Christ. Michael Walz Director of Alumni

May your pilgrimage for the remainder of this Lenten season be an “internal journey,” wherein your transformation does not necessarily come from some big, monumental trip, but rather through an act of simple, selfless sacrifice. Psalm 84:5 – Blessed are those who dwell in your house. Craig Bay Friends University Board of Trustees

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Confession & Repentance

Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 Daniel 12:5-13 Ephesians 1:7-14

Thursday means we look to engage in an intentional practice that, we hope, God will use to speak into our life in new and meaningful ways. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer— through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial—for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. This week we will engage in the practice of confession and repentance. I know that the traditional practices listed above in our “purpose statement” for Lent do not necessarily include the practice of confession – only repentance. But, I believe, these two are always a package deal. Confession is the act of “owning” our wrongdoing. We mentally and verbally acknowledge that we are guilty of this sin or that: anger, gossip, etc. In a culture that is all about shirking responsibility and pointing the finger of blame at everyone but ourselves, this is an important part of being a follower of Jesus. When we mess up, we must own it. After confession comes repentance. Once we have owned it, we look to God and we repent of our wrongdoing. We express our sorrow for making the choice that we did – and we commit to a different choice, a better choice, in the future. A great example of this might be the child who is caught with their hand in the cookie jar. They could try to pass the blame or claim misunderstanding, but the fact of the matter is they have been caught in the act. So, they own it. They put the cookie back. They walk away. The child who decides to take it a step further, to express sorrow for breaking the rules and expresses intent to never do it again, is the one who engages in the additional step of repentance.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1 Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter that we spend remembering the teachings of Jesus, praying, seeking forgiveness, and spending time learning and working on our relationship with God. Psalm 107 reminds us that God’s love for us is everlasting. Our lives are often full of many meaningful things: education, relationships, worship, friendships, athletics, careers, travel and family just to name a few. We all endure good times and bad, times when we are more focused, and times when we are distracted from our goals. There are times in life when we may become distracted or disconnected from our relationship with Christ. Lent can be a special time to really focus and lean into our relationship with God and make choices to refocus and reconnect with our Lord. Lent is a time when we can set aside special time to pray, read, learn and reconnect with our Savior and connect deeper in our faith. Some people choose to sacrifice during the Lenten season; my goal this year is to sacrifice something that may have been a distraction from my time spent with God and use that time to focus, pray, reflect, learn, connect and most importantly, give thanks to the Lord for His everlasting love. Lent occurs during one of my favorite seasons – spring. Spring is full of new life, new growth and a reminder of new opportunities. A time to grow in so many areas of our life, but more importantly, a time when we can focus and grow in our faith. Regardless of where you currently find yourself on your own personal faith journey, this is a time to reflect, learn, renew, pray and connect with Jesus as His love endures forever. Lindsey Moss Director of Counseling, Wellness & International Services

So, with these working definitions of confession and repentance, what kind of work do you need to do in this area this week? Are there issues you’ve been struggling with, sins you’ve been stuck in, that you need to confess and repent? This practice is an incredible opportunity to “clear out” the junk in our lives that too often serves as interference in our relationship with God and others. Be willing to engage in this challenging practice. Spend some time in silence and prayer, reflecting on your life. Ask God, as King David did, to “search my heart and know me.” While this might bring up some difficult things, there is incredible potential for freedom and intimacy that can come as a result of engaging in this process. The risk, I believe, is well worth the potential reward.

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 Numbers 20:22-29 John 3:1-13

Writing this in January, I could not help but notice some similarities between the season of Lent and the beginning of the year. People like to talk about what they are giving up for Lent just as they like to discuss their New Year’s resolutions. I can remember multiple times in the past when my New Year’s resolution involved some sort of promise of a “sacrifice” to God, then, having broken it sometime mid-March, or February, or even earlier, I decided to simply renew it at the time of Lent. Of course, I never had any more success during Lent then when I had tried it before. Forty days can feel like an awful long time! The point is we are all inclined to think of these seasons as times for sacrifice – for giving up something. This is good, I believe. What sometimes becomes an issue for us is that we do not understand what sacrifice really means. Sacrifice is giving up something of value for the sake of something or someone more important or worthy. Now, I am not going to say we should not give up bad eating, social media, or sinful habits, but I am going to ask a question: how much are those things worth? Should it really be that much of a sacrifice for us to let go of our phones, our comfort foods, or even our anger, pride, etc.? Yet, sometimes those are the things that are worth the most to us, so they become our first and most important sacrifices. Our first fruits, if you will. What is essential during Lent is that we ascribe our value of those things to God, not blame him for being the one that asked us to let go. What Jesus says to Nicodemus in John 3:1-13 is a good picture of true sacrifice. It is a rebirth. One that involves giving up the bad and the good – everything so that we can be transformed by God into a new creation. We must, as Paul said, crucify our old selves so that we can be born anew. So, this Lenten season, whenever you find yourself longing for whatever it is you gave up, imagine it there, in your hands, and lift them up to God. Cry out to him, and you will see his worth! He will save you from your distress (Psalm 107). Nathaniel Filer Sophomore, Computer Science, Music, and Christian Spiritual Formation

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FOURTH WEEK OF LENT May this journey be a blessing May I rise on wings of faith And at the end of my heart’s testing With Your likeness let me wake

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Fourth Sunday, March 11, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

Psalm 107:1-16

Numbers 21:4-9

Exodus 15:22-27

Ephesians 2:1-10

Hebrews 3:1-6

John 3:14-22 “But because of his great love for us God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead” (Ephesians 2:4-5) The Almighty is strong enough to save. YHWH saved the Israelites from poisonous serpents. Jesus was saved from death. Those who call Jesus the hero of their story are also saved into a new and better way of living. Numbers 21 tells that the Lord sent serpents to the Israelites after they had complained about being in the wilderness without food or water. The snakes bit the people and many of them died. God told Moses to make a fiery serpent, which would heal those who had been bitten. So he made a bronze snake that was raised up and saved any who saw this serpent. God redeemed the image of a serpent from the damage that it had done in the Garden of Eden. He is in the process of redeeming all things, especially those things that bring about destruction and darkness. In John, a similar raising up takes place, only this time it is a human, the Son of Man. In the same way that the Israelites were saved from the bite of a snake by a bronze symbolic snake, so also the human race would be saved from death by a representative human life – Jesus. An enormous difference here is that the redemption brought about by Jesus was for all of creation, which was astounding to many who thought it to be only for the chosen people of Israel. This foretelling of a future event would be the exclamation mark in fulfilling the redeeming act of Jesus’ sent mission. Just as God redeemed the Israelites and brought Jesus to give redemption to the human race, He also wants to raise us up from death into new life. This is done by finding more of our lives in Christ, or with Christ. His gift to us is both a present and future reality of restoration to how He intended us to experience life before serpents brought about sin and death. How might we enter into His invitation of an abundant life today? Austin Schmidt Senior, Religion and Philosophy  

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The Psalmist claims that God saves His people in difficult times and in difficult places. In Exodus, we see how God protects His people. More specifically, we see Moses serving for God as an act of devotion. Moses was devoted to God and followed His will in aiding Israel. There was constant groaning and aggravation though, because the plan God had was not as easy as the work in Egypt. Still, God did not abandon Israel, nor did Moses. God, through Moses, liberated Israel. But what did He liberate Israel from? Labor and hardship? Certainly. But it is interesting that the people of Israel found the work easier than following and trusting God and His statutes. Why? Because other than the labor, they could do as the Egyptians did. They could effectively follow their will as they wished and do as they saw fit in their own sight. Israel was not just serving Egypt. They were serving themselves. Sin is often characterized as debt to be paid to God for mistakes. But sin is also a straying from God’s will. So the question could be, if God’s will was to set His people free as He had done with Israel in Egypt, why did they grumble? They were freed from slavery but not quite yet from sin. We could say the same of ourselves as we groan and cry out today because we don’t always get what we want. Moses’ serving act is important because we see it repeated in a greater form later with Christ’s on the cross. God’s faithfulness is front and center during this time of Lent. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we are all set free. The Cross sets us free from bondage as there is no longer a debt to be paid. The blood debt that was demanded of the law was paid. Christ did not negate the law but established the form of following God’s will even unto death. God always redeems, saves and restores His people, even us today. So, this Lent, we should ask ourselves, from what did God set us free? The simple answer is He freed us from ourselves. He saves us from willing what will hurt us, damage us, hurt others and damage others. Christ’s freedom is a peace of resting in God’s will, not the labor of our own will. Jeremy Gallegos Professor of Philosophy & Ethics

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Psalm 107:1-16

Psalm 107:1-16

Numbers 20:1-13

Isaiah 60:15-22

1 Corinthians 10:6-13

John 8:12-20

Psalm 107: 1-16

The God of love wants all of you. His very hand reaches through the storm to pull every child into the shelter of his love. Jesus, the Son, our Brother, came to proclaim this message, that we are the child, that Jesus is the hand, and God is the heart the hand stems from. God, the Crafter, will always care for the crafted. He is the definition of selfless love. Jesus, the visual representation of the Sovereign One we call God, shows us through his life, death and resurrection why we can proclaim Psalm 107:1-7. He shows us how our inherently good God, endures in love forever. He came to speak truth into the beautiful world our Creator crafted. The Spirit prompts our hands to raise, so He can pull us from the water we are sinking in, and into the fortress of the Father’s arms. God loves so deeply. When we wander, He follows, knowing we will realize we are lost. When we do, He has the opportunity to show us, once again, the face of eternal love. When we refuse to allow Him to be our umbrella, He waits until we realize it is raining, knowing He has the opportunity to show us, once again, the face of eternal love. Every time we call, He answers. There is no limit to the amount of times He will deliver us from our own misgivings. God does not go deaf with age. His attentive ear continues to remind us that we are worth living, dying and resurrecting for. What greater proof of this is there than Jesus? Therefore, we can proclaim verse eight knowing that the good God fills us with is God himself. Because of this, you are of eternal value to the Father, who chases to love, and listens to save. Allow the Spirit to loosen your grip on any idea that contradicts the identity Jesus consistently proclaims you have in God. For in Him, you are the redeemed. Allow him to show you what living into that identity, the identity of being loved, of having eternal worth, of being saved looks like in your relationship with Him.

This passage, like so many others in the Bible, talks at length about the great works of our Lord. The middle of the passage talks about God redeeming, finding, rescuing and freeing people. He is saving people from darkness and gloom, breaking down prison gates and doing other seriously impressive acts. Maybe it’s because we know He can do all of this or maybe it’s just because we’re human, but when we pray, it is easy to make it all about what He can do for us. Our prayers, for ourselves and for others, often end up focusing on the result we desire – heal someone who is ill, help us pass an exam or get a certain job, keep something terrible from happening, etc. After all, what’s one little exam compared to all of the really big things we know He can do? But when we do this, we’re missing so much. Now look at how this passage begins. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” By asking God for what we want, we are forgetting (or ignoring) the fact that He loves us more than we can ever truly understand and He knows us better than we know ourselves. He is also much better at planning and creating than we are, believe it or not! Instead of praying as though we know what’s best for our lives, try to let go. Feel the love – that awesome, never-ending love. Ask for His guidance, for the strength to carry out His will, for the faith to lean on Him during tough times. Pray for an open heart and mind, and the ability to trust in Him, even on the days when it feels like there are no miracles happening anywhere. God’s love is truly never-ending and will never steer us in the wrong direction. Instead of asking for what we want Him to do for us, let’s try to go with what He has in store for us. Danielle Frideres Director of Career Services

For all He wants is to show you just how deep, vast and eternal His love for you is, which He most extravagantly demonstrated, through the giving of his Son. Miranda Tenove Sophomore, Christian Spiritual Formation 

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Fasting (Food)

Psalm 51:1-12 Exodus 30:1-10

A few weeks ago, we explored the practice of fasting by engaging a two-day fast from media. This week we will explore the more traditional form of fasting by engaging in a “Wesleyan” fast. Recall that the bible is full of calls to fast, occasions for fasting, and impressions that regularly fasting or abstaining from food for a period of time – for the purpose of becoming more in-tune with what God was up to – was a common part of life. While it is not commonplace in most Christian denominations today, I believe that fasting is a practice we are still called to engage with great frequency. Why? Because it serves to remind us that it is not food (or anything else) that ultimately sustains us, but God. Yet, think how consumed we are with thoughts about when our next meal will be, and where it will be, and what it is that we will eat. Do we give God this same kind of consideration? What would happen in our life if we did? Again, fasting is more than just giving up food for a pre-determined period of time. It is about replacing our focus on food with God. So, what is a Wesleyan Fast? John Wesley encouraged all of his ministers to fast on Fridays. This did not mean not eating for an entire day, rather it went like this: 1) Fasting from breakfast and lunch on Friday (but you can choose any day you want) 2) Break the fast in mid-afternoon (3-4:00) by having a small snack 3) Eat a normal dinner (but don’t overeat to make up!) If you do not have medical or personal reasons, such as diabetes or a history of eating disorders, you may want to try doing a “Wesleyan Fast.” If you do have a serious health related issue that would make engaging in a food fast a bad idea, consider engaging in another Media Fast for a couple of days this week.

Hebrews 4:14-5:4

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15). “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalms 51:10, 12). In this season of Lent, we look ahead to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a season where we remember the powerful and beautiful sacrifice Christ made. We look with gratitude at the salvation that is given to us. This is a time we should be humbled and awestruck by the love God has shown us and continues to show us. As a child, I heard so many sermons about how we ought to live perfect lives because Christ died for us. We must be perfect in order to be loved. We must follow every command from Scripture and live just as Jesus lived in order to be saved. We must be “good” Christian people. This is the “Gospel” that far too many of us grew up hearing. The powerful truth we must remember is we do not need to be perfect. The resurrection of Christ frees us from that burden. He died so we would no longer be burdened under sin. We no longer have to worry about cleaning our lives completely of sin because Christ has already done it for us. As the author of Hebrews says, Christ is a high priest “who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Christ lived the perfect life for us, so we could be free simply to love him. During this season, look toward the resurrection and be freed of any burden to perform, any burden to act perfectly. Simply rest in the peace and joy of knowing that Christ has freed you from such things. Pray with the Psalmist, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” Be joyful and simply love Jesus. Devin Withrow Freshman, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

This may not seem very difficult, but Wesley was not interested in spiritual heroics, rather, he wanted his ministers to learn how to train their bodies to live with gladness under minor depravation on a regular basis.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018 Psalm 51:1-12 Habakkuk 3:2-13 John 12:1-11

Lent is traditionally a time of contemplation of our finiteness and mortality, of our sinfulness, and of the high cost of our redemption – that of the crucifixion of Jesus. These are worthy considerations, and the season of Lent provides a framework for this reflection. It is, however, possible to get mired in reflections of mortality and sin and become weighed down by guilt. It is possible to focus on our unworthiness and fall into despair. David, King of Israel, and Mary of Bethany, provide us with a better way. Both of them came face to face with themselves in relation to God’s holiness. Both of them found themselves lacking as they began to understand the heart of God. But neither of them allowed that lacking, the infinite gap between themselves and a holy God, to alienate them from God. David (Psalm 51) and Mary (John 12) show us the better way. They draw near to God. They come into His presence, presenting themselves humbly and honestly to Him. With no pretense, no posturing, they come. David approached with great sorrow for his sin. Undone, he had nothing to bring before God but guilt. But he came. He knew the only place to go with his guilt was to his God.

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Mary approached with humble worship, literally pouring out her love to Jesus. She had heard His teachings and seen Him raise her brother from the dead. She knew this man had come from God, with the authority of God over life and death. She was beginning to understand the infinite gap between herself and Jesus. She had nothing to offer Him but a simple gift of worship. But she came. She knew the only response to Jesus was to place herself before Him.

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Both David and Mary might have stayed back. They might have let their guilt and unworthiness keep them alienated. But they knew something about God’s heart. They knew drawing near to Him was the only response. And both were received with grace and love, honored for drawing near.

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In this season of reflection, set aside time to contemplate sin. Consider its burden on Jesus as He carried it to the cross. Consider mortality. Give thought to the futility of living for this life alone. Remember we are people in need of redemption and desperate for salvation. But don’t stop there. Bring your sin, your insufficiencies, yourself, to Jesus where you will be received with grace and love.

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May this season of reflection draw you near to your Savior.

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Linda Brown M.A. in Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership

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FIFTH WEEK OF LENT Let the treasures of the trial Form within me as I go And at the end of this long passage Let me leave them at Your throne

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Fifth Sunday, March 18, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

Psalm 51:1-12

Psalm 119:9-16

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Isaiah 48:8-13

Hebrews 5:5-10

2 Corinthians 4:3-11

John 12:20-33 I was part of a great Bible study several years ago titled “Choose Joy, Because Happiness is not Enough” by Kay Warren. Her working definition is, “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life; the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be OK, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” A choice to please God. Even when we don’t understand it. Even when we don’t like it. We often wonder what we are supposed to do; how will we know? God gives us many instructions in His Word. Abide in Me. Love one another as I have loved you. Pray without ceasing. Serve one another. Love God with your heart, soul, mind and strength. Preach the Word. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Train yourselves to be godly. Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. All these phrases are from the Bible. We can choose daily to obey His commands and, as a result, have joy in our lives. Where is Satan trying to steal your joy? Check and see if you are being obedient or disobedient. Our obedience glorifies God and lifts Him up for all to see. Jesus “learned obedience through what He suffered and as a result, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who also obey” (Hebrews 5:8-9). Obedience results in joy in our lives. David had committed adultery and murder. He begged God for compassion and forgiveness. He acknowledged that his sin was against God and God is proved right when He judges us. David asked God to restore the joy that was his before sinning and that would be present again in his life after confession. Jesus chose to die for us, “for the joy set before Him,” and we have that choice daily. Are we willing to give up our own wants and wishes and choose to believe that God is in control of the events of our lives? Will we choose to obey Him and bring Him glory? Will we choose humility and reap joy? Or will we choose disobedience and try to bring glory to ourselves instead?

Here we are … More than four weeks into the Lenten season and well on our way to Palm Sunday. I hope you are finding this a beautiful season of prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial. I really love two of the three readings for today – specifically the Psalm and the Epistle. The Epistle really speaks to me during Lent (and during winter in general) as this is a time we may get a little “down” on ourselves. We may start to dwell too much on our shortcomings, our sins, the areas of our lives where we are “perishing” (2 Corinthians 4:3). 2 Corinthians helps us understand that this is actually “OK” and that as long as we believe, the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” will shine on us. Of course, it’s important to remember that we cannot shine this excellent light on our own. “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). How lucky we are to be at Friends University, where we are able (in whatever role we hold) to help give that knowledge of the glory of God to the students, faculty and staff who join us! So how can we each let the light and power of God shine through, lift each other up, and hold fast to the heart of God? Perhaps praying and meditating on the readings today will be a start. Praying Psalm 119 in a loud, resounding voice will definitely help. “Blessed are you, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:12). While we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, let us meditate and contemplate on how the life of Jesus may be manifested through our work, through our play and through our very “mortal flesh.” Let us consider the ways we can be the light shining out of the darkness. Perhaps we should even sing that song we all learned as children: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Give it all, give it all, give it all to Jesus.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Shattered dreams, wounded hearts, broken toys.

Let is shine, shine, shine

Give it all, give it all, give it all to Jesus, And He will turn your sorrow into joy.

Let it shine!

Cindy Blasdel Visiting Lecturer of Music

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Amen! Deb Stockman Associate Vice President of Marketing & Communications

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Psalm 119:9-16

Psalm 119:9-16

Isaiah 44:1-8

Haggai 2:1-9, 20-23

Acts 2:14-24

John 12:34-50

As a student in the Christian Spiritual Formation program on the campus of Friends University, my daily course work is filled with exploration into categories such as spiritual disciplines, biblical study and the current issues of our time. As I have navigated and investigated these categories, along with a multitude of others, I feel as if my professors have guided me to a much deeper understanding concerning many of these ideas. One of the areas they have so deeply impacted is my perception of God and His character/characteristics. More specifically, my professors have bridged the gap in my thinking and presented that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament is the very same God. Rather than perceiving an angry God of the Old Testament and a loving God of the New, I now see a God of the entire Bible who so deeply desires unity and relationship with His people. With the preparatory season of Lent now in full swing and with Easter and the events of the Holy week to come, I ask that you would contemplate with me such a view of God. If true, what an importance it presses upon the often-neglected Scriptures of the Old Testament. In hopes to reverse such neglect, I offer you just one passage of Scripture stemming from Isaiah 44. Sit with verses 1-8 and begin to ask some questions in light of the possibly new revelation concerning the God of the Bible. What does this passage say about God? What does this passage say about humanity? What is God specifically communicating to you through this passage? How is God preparing you for Easter and the Holy Week through this passage?

Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. Imagine yourself in a large, old house alone at night. In this house, there is one candle lit. Where do you choose to reside? Near the candle, of course. Away from the candle, fear and anxiety begin to overtake you. With the candle in hand, however, there is safety and hope. As the candle illuminates the path, you might even find another candle to light, eventually finding enough to light the entire house. Suddenly, the darkness becomes an idea of the past, a silly memory that you find yourself laughing at. You realize that the monster you were afraid of is actually just a mop and the stairs creak on their own, not because someone else is in the house with you. Without light, we would have no sight. Without sight, we would not know beauty. Without beauty, we would not know God. As we draw closer to Easter and turn our focus to the sacrifice that was made for us, let us not be overcome by the darkness. Let us not focus on the evil that created the cross, but the love that compelled our God to come to earth as a man and live an entire life just for us. Let us look for the light in our lives every day. If we choose to ignore the candle, the darkness becomes overwhelming. But with the light, we see beauty. We can know laughter and joy and rest and freedom. With the light, we are no longer held down by our fears and anxieties. The monster has been revealed to be a mop. The darkness may seem vast and overwhelming, but it has no power. A light is here and even death cannot stop it. Shawntel Shirkey Senior, Music Education and Christian Spiritual Formation

John Gardner Senior, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Letter(s) of Forgiveness

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 Jeremiah 33:1-9

A couple of weeks back we engaged in the practice of confession and forgiveness. How did that go for you? It was likely a very challenging practice for you, especially if it is not something you do on a regular basis. Well, our practice this week will put us on the other side of that same equation. In our previous practice, we looked to God, in our confession and repentance, for forgiveness. This week, our practice is to release others who have wronged us. Whether they know it or not, or have asked for forgiveness or not, our work is to forgive those who have wronged us in some way. Often, what we don’t realize in situations like this, is that the ones suffering in these strained relationships is us. We are holding on to the pain that others have inflicted on us – and it binds us up and puts a strain on all of our other relationships, including our relationship with God. When we choose to forgive others, however, we release them from whatever debt we believe they owe us, and ultimately, release ourselves as well. Letters of Forgiveness This practice involves forgiving those who have wronged you in the past. This is not an easy task. Move at your own pace through this exercise. The key is to understand how much Christ has forgiven us. Paul says in Colossians 3:13, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you,” and in Ephesians 4:32, “forgive one another, just as God through Christ forgave you.” Find a quiet place where you can be alone with God. On a piece of paper, write down the names of those who have wronged you in the past. Also, write out what was done to you and how it has effected you. Then ask God to give you the courage and the grace to forgive them. Reflect on the cross and how Christ willingly suffered for our wrongdoings rather than pushing them back upon us. Instead of retaliating, he absorbed the blow. Real forgiveness is costly. But it’s the only way for there to be resurrection. Next, if you are able to, write letters of forgiveness to those who have wronged you. Address them by name and tell them what you are forgiving them for. If it is helpful, pull up a chair and imagine the person is sitting there – and tell them you forgive them. Lastly, when you are ready, tear up the letters or burn them outside. This is a holy moment. As you dispose of the letters, ask God to help you truly release any resentment or bitterness you have toward them. Keep in mind that forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation. Reconciliation requires something from the other person, whereas forgiveness only depends on you. We ought to seek reconciliation whenever we can, yet sometimes it is not possible nor appropriate. However, we can choose to forgive a person regardless of their response.

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Philippians 2:12-18

Isn’t it odd how we continually think we are in control? We think it’s up to us to use our energy for outstanding Christian performances. God is lucky that we are choosing to give our human energy to Him! However, we are NOT in control. We don’t “give” that energy to God; God is already at work living and working within us and frankly, not doing “our” will but His. What a mystery! Paul adds, cut out the whining and fussing, quit trying to intellectualize everything, and stay energized (cf. The Message translation). One of my favorite poems is an anonymous Renaissance sonnet from 17th century Spain. It was probably written by a Catholic priest who chose to not claim it for survival reasons; today it is recognized as a “hymn” of pure religious emotion in which the poet expresses his unconditional love for God, not for recompense of heaven, nor fear of punishment of hell, but for the way in which Christ suffered for his love for humanity. I am not moved to love you, oh my Lord Because of the promise of heaven. Nor does terrifying hell move me to sin no more. When my eyes look at the cross, it moves me To see your body so wounded and to hear insults, rejection, and lies. I am sad to know you are dying. Finally, you move me in such a way That I would love you even if there were no heaven. I would honor you even if there were no hell. You do not have to promise me anything to gain my love. For even if I had no hope, I would love you as I love you now. (Trans. JSmartt, December 2017) The poet is joined in unconditional love with Christ; this deep love is motivated by God’s energy. We are encouraged by Paul, to walk straight “uncorrupted” into the sickening and rotten world and make a difference. Then, in case we don’t get it, Paul gives us two meaningful metaphors: we should be soothing and astonishing like a “breath of fresh air” and enlightening and informative in the darkness of a sad and needy world. Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing it this way, “For I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live.” This is my prayer for you today. Jerry Smartt Professor of Spanish; Director of Foreign Languages

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Saturday, March 24, 2018 Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 Jeremiah 33:10-16 Mark 10:32-34, 46-52

The Saturday before Palm Sunday is a day to reflect on the love and ministry of Jesus, as well as the suffering and death that await Him. In light of this, Psalm 118 is a very significant passage for reflection. On this day, we find ourselves among the crowd in Jerusalem, naming Jesus as the one who has come to save us. However, since we have lived beyond that first Palm Sunday, we know how the next several days unfold. We know that the “builders” who reject Jesus as king and cornerstone are not only the chief priests and other authorities, but the crowds also … even His own disciples! Despite our effort to live in faith rather than fear, we are still in the company of those who fall away, fall asleep, betray, deny and doubt Him. We still reject what God chooses. Nonetheless, our actions do not determine what God is building! Jesus Christ has become the primary cornerstone, the risen Lord! This is God’s doing, not ours. It is marvelous in our eyes. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Good and Beautiful God, as we look to Palm Sunday and throughout this Holy Week, teach me again the joyous truth that Christ is the cornerstone of my salvation. Amen. John Carroll Assistant Director of Adult Learning

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SIXTH WEEK OF LENT Jesus draw me ever nearer Jesus draw me ever nearer Jesus draw me ever nearer to You To You

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Sunday, March 25, 2018, Annunciation of the Lord

Monday of Holy Week, March 26, 2018

Psalm 45

Psalm 36:5-11

Isaiah 7:10-14

Isaiah 42:1-9

Hebrews 10:4-10

Hebrews 9:11-15

Luke 1:26-38

John 12:1-11

Emmanuel. God with us.

Scripture frequently shows people getting lost in worship. In Exodus 15, Miriam and the women of Israel dance ecstatically, with their tambourines, exulting in God’s deliverance at the Red Sea. In 2 Samuel 6, David dances in front of the Ark of the Covenant, shamelessly, earning the contempt of his wife. Is she embarrassed or jealous? David’s only concern is worshiping God with his whole heart.

Isaiah tells of a man, Ahaz, crying out to God for relief. His land of Israel was caught under the rule of a dastardly king, oppressed as an ethnic minority. The prophet offers a promise, a promise that a virgin will bear a son named Emmanuel. Sound familiar? That promise came in the form of Jesus. What does this name say about the character of God? What does it mean for us that Christ is here? As Christ was teaching and preaching, His people once again cried out to be saved from an evil ruler. Jesus’ followers hovered around his feet, waiting for the moment when the Son of God would mount a horse and draw His sword in order to take the Kingdom back. But what did Jesus do instead? He redeemed the Kingdom forever – not just the Kingdom of Israel, but also the Kingdom of heaven. As He said, “My peace I give to you. Peace not as this world gives.” Christ’s blood made God with us. Before the coming of Jesus, the temple was divided behind a veil that physically separated us from the Lord. The purity of God was too strong to exist within a world of wrongs. As Jesus breathed His last breath, the veil tore, giving all people the ability to be with God. This ability does not stop with the Israelites. The power of Jesus’ equalization exists today. There is a Quaker proverb that says, “If the Lord has ever spoken before, he is still speaking today.” Allow yourself to take part in the God with us. Christ is faithful. Now and forever. Lacey Morris Junior, Political Science and Christian Spiritual Formation

A third example comes from John 12, where Mary anoints Jesus’ feet. Overwhelmed with love and gratitude she pours out expensive perfume, unaware and unconcerned with what people think. Looking on, Judas complains about her wastefulness. Her lack of selfconsciousness is overshadowed by his lack of self-awareness. Mary’s heart is satisfied in serving Jesus. But Judas can only serve himself. Unfortunately, Judas’s behavior is not uncommon. Eugene Peterson describes it well: “Temptations of the flesh, as difficult as they are to resist, are at least easy to detect. Temptations of the spirit usually show up disguised as invitations to virtue. Judas chokes on his attempts to appear virtuous, to appear to be more than he was. Rather than being lost in worship or service to others he found Mary’s profligate behavior something upon which he could capitalize. Mary anoints. Judas condemns. She serves. He scapegoats.” In Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Prayer of St. Ephrem is prayed each day during Lent. The last line of the prayer may have helped Judas. I’m certain that it can help us. It says, “Yes! O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.” The self-awareness that comes to us in prayer and confession frees us from the self-consciousness of wanting to appear more important than we are. Self-awareness is fostered through worship and prayer. Self-consciousness, on the other hand, is grotesque, and it grows when we judge our sisters and brothers. St. Ephrem’s prayer guides us to a healthy self-awareness: “Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge…” The prayer rightly ends on a note of worship: “for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.” True worship is inconspicuous. In an example of art imitating life, Mary’s quiet, but extravagant, worship is described with a single sentence. Worship frees but judgment enslaves. Paul Hill Adjunct Professor, Religion and Philosophy

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Tuesday of Holy Week March 27, 2018

Wednesday of Holy Week March 28, 2018

Psalm 71:1-14

Psalm 70

Isaiah 49:1-7

Isaiah 50:4-9

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Hebrews 12:1-3

John 12:20-36

John 13:21-32

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” –Romans 3:23

My heart grows heavy as I sit in remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion. I think of the profound pain, betrayal and fear Jesus and all of his followers felt and may even feel to this day. I think of Judas and what he must have been feeling, fearing and justifying. I think of Jesus boldly loving His enemy as He serves the man who betrayed Him by feeding him and treating him as a friend, loving him endlessly.

As we walk through Holy Week and prepare to remember Christ crucified and risen on the third day, let it touch our hearts in a new way! Maybe you’re reading this having walked with the Lord for a lifetime, or maybe you’ve walked with Him only a little ways or perhaps you don’t even know how you ended up reading this today. Wherever you find yourself today, God has something new for you! Let His Word come alive and open your heart to grasp in a deeper way the abundant and reckless love of Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). We have a sin problem. We like to live our lives for ourselves and by our own means and wills. This separates us desperately from true life, eternal life. Our sin problem leaves us deserving eternal death. God recognized this problem and sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to pay the ultimate penalty so that we might be redeemed. Meaning, in order for God to regain possession of us, He had to sacrifice His own Son, Jesus, on the cross, shedding His blood in payments for OUR sins. Have you ever had someone die for you? Most people might answer “no,” but that is not true … We all have! Jesus Christ died for you and me! There has never been nor will there ever be any greater love shown you! 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The most important thing today and any day… Are you walking in the power of God, knowing the great gift of salvation and that Christ died for you? Saved YOU for a different way of life, set apart and transformed? If you do not know that, or you have walked away, repent and return to God. He has open arms waiting for you! His abundant and reckless love is waiting.

I move my attention to the present moment. I now think of the pain, betrayal and fear many people face daily. I think of my enemies who are also facing pain, betrayal and fear. I think of how difficult it is to boldly serve those who have betrayed my loved ones or me. I think of Christ’s example and how badly I want to follow, but how easy it is to not. As I sit in this remembrance of Christ’s actions, endless love and strength, I find hope. I find hope in the reality that God is above all of the world’s fears, pains and betrayals. Through Christ, we are not alone; we find our refuge and our strength. While the world is full of brokenness, heartache and loss, I will not fear, because above all I have hope. I have hope in my past, in my present and in my future. Through the pain Jesus endured, the tears He cried, and the eternal love He provides, I have hope. While my heart is heavy as we walk through this week, we have the joy of knowing what came and what is to come. Friends, sit in the remembrance of what Christ endured for us. For you, and for me. Let His life shine brighter throughout your day today as you withstand your pains, experience betrayal and face your fears. Anna Lindholm Senior, Psychology and Christian Spiritual Formation

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” We have hope! “New life happens in you when you aren’t afraid of the deaths that happen before resurrections.” –Ann Voskamp Lacey Landenberg Green Residence Hall & Falcon Flats Coordinator Lacey Landenberg

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Maundy Thursday, March 29, 2018

Good Friday, March 30, 2018

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19

Psalm 22

Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Hebrews 10:16-25

John 13:1-17, 31-35

John 18:1-19:42

“I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2, NAS95)

When He died for our sins to free us from the “ritual” of animal sacrifice, His desire was, and is, to place His Word on our hearts and write them on our minds. What is His goal? That if the word remains in our heart and on our minds, it will be a constant reminder to keep us from sin, and there will be no need for a sacrifice to take away sins. In this season of Lent, may we reflect on these things: How much of the word is in our heart? How often do we reflect on it? How often do we hear the word and are we reminded of the laws? A constant reminder of the word brings us faith. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, which is the very reason He desired to keep the Word in our heart and write it on our minds. As it abides in our hearts, so will it radiate from our lips as blessing to others.

When the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, they cried out to God for help (Exodus 2:23-24). Thus began the work of God’s deliverance known as the Exodus. The Psalmist recounts a recurring theme throughout the biblical narrative – God’s action on behalf of His people. The Psalmist also vows to continue to call upon God for a lifetime. This expressed intention defines the faithful one –not in keeping a list of do’s and don’ts but in continually turning to God for all of life’s activities, whether they are positive or not so beneficial. The other readings from Exodus, 1 Corinthians and the Gospel of John focus on the activity of remembering and celebrating God’s deliverance in the history of His people. These stories of Egypt and the Passover were recounted from generation to generation as encouragement for the people of God to live faithfully, fully aware that what God had done in the past He was ready to do again in the present. Looking back is an important ingredient for living in the present. Where have I come from? How did I get to where I am? How has God been at work in my life even when I was not aware of Him? The Lenten season is a time for looking back – historically to the last weeks in the life of Jesus of Nazareth – but more importantly to the recent history in my life and yours, as well as to the lives of our parents and grandparents. What activities of God’s deliverance form the story of your family? How often do you speak and recount these stories? I encourage you to take time today – and in the week to come – asking your family about the stories of God at work in your lives. Speak with your friends about God’s beneficial work in your own life. Build a community of the present consisting of those who call upon Him as long as they live. Lord, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, bring to my awareness Your acts of deliverance on my behalf, so I can confidently proclaim the Good News of Your power and authority in the name of Jesus, your Son. Amen. Stan Harstine Professor of Religion

A story once told involved two men who were sick and admitted to a hospital. They talked about their jobs and much more. The first had his bed situated next to the only window of their hospital room. Every afternoon, he would describe to his friend who was not by the window the scenery he observed from the outside: youthful college students involved in intellectual discussions, kids playing on a lawn beside colorful flowers, parades of youngsters displaying colorful artwork, etc. With his vivid descriptions, the other man who suffered in great pain began to imagine the scenery with his eyes closed. Those daily descriptions gave him something to live for as he hoped to one day laugh and play amidst them. Months passed. The man whose bed was closer to the door fully recovered from his back injury and had a week left to be discharged. One day, the morning nurse arrived and found the man by the window was gone. It was a blow to the friend. Before he was discharged, he asked to be moved to the window, so he could experience what his friend had experienced. In his quest to look through the window, he found the window faced a wall. He pondered for a long time and asked the nurse how his friend was able to give such vivid descriptions through a wall. The nurse replied, “Your friend was blind and unable to see even the wall; perhaps he wished to keep your hopes alive by those words.” During this Lenten season, may we consciously open our hearts and give up a few minutes for the Word; and just maybe the abundance of the Word from our hearts could be a comfort and an encouragement to a soul even though we are imperfect by ourselves just like the man by the window side. Prince Agbedanu Assistant Professor of Biology; Director of Human Biology & Health Science Program

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Holy Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018

Psalm 31:1-4,15-16

Psalm 114

Job 14:1-4

Ezekiel 37:1-14

1 Peter 4:1-8

Romans 6:3-11

Matthew 27:57-66

Mark 16:1-8

“He descended to the dead” –Apostle’s Creed Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of the Easter season is the lack of importance or celebration of Holy Saturday. I find this evidence in my own personal life that when I was growing up, I did not believe that Christ descended into Hell after His crucifixion. It took me a while to realize the importance of this tremendous day. If we take Christ’s ministry as a whole and look at it, Holy Saturday is a staple point in His work. Christ confirms that He did not come for those who are well, but for those who are sick (Luke 5:31; Mark 2:17). Christ’s ministry and work are walking with sinners, the ungodly, the broken, the dammed, the delinquents of His day. The crucifixion culminates this fact as He dies an ungodly death, next to two thieves. Christ then descends into hell, a place that is reserved for the ungodly and the sinners. Holy Saturday shows that Christ was not here for those who are well and rich in spirit, but for those who are broken and need a Savior, and His descent into hell proves that Christ was truly there for even the worst people. In addition, without Holy Saturday the resurrection and ascension do not have their full implications. Christ went to the place of sin, death and evil, and He rescued humanity from its very depths. Christ descended into hell while He was still with us, experiencing death like we all will. Christ’s descent proves that Christ is with humanity from birth to death to afterlife; whether you are well in spirit or dammed, Christ experiences both sides of human afterlife. As we near the end of the Easter season, realizing the implications of Christ’s ministry and work, we go out into a world where people are in personal hells. There is war, famine and personal battles, and we see the powers of sin at work in many parts of our world. I ask you, whose hell would you descend into and meet them there? Just as Christ descended into our hell, we should descend into others’. This vicarious suffering is the only way to truly show that Christ came to redeem the lost and the dammed, not just the religious. Thes Kascsak Senior, Religion and Philosophy

The power of God – on display for all to see. As we read the scripture passages for today, but really, the grand narrative of the Bible as a whole, we see God’s incredible power at work, time and time again. God doesn’t miss a moment. God is never at a loss. God is aware – and God is at work. The Psalmist speaks of God’s great power – to move mountains and hold back the waters of the sea. The Creator of all things has the power to do anything – at any time. Like a Master painter, with the simple stroke of a brush, God has the power to change and rearrange His creation with as little effort as a word or breath or flick of the wrist. The prophet, Ezekiel, sees that same power of God – up close and personal – as God spoke through the prophet to breathe life into old, dry bones. What must Ezekiel have thought as he watched the dust fall from those brittle pieces, as they rose from the ground, and were rejoined and filled with new life right before his eyes? Our Gospel passage speaks of the women who arrived at Jesus’ tomb, early on that third day, who were among the first to see the power of God – to defeat death – once and for all. They had watched as the Messiah had been beaten, tortured and killed. They had sat in the aftermath, uncertain about what it meant for, well, everything. And they were among the first to hear those sweet, power-infused, worldchanging words – He has risen! That transformational power is the same power God, through Jesus sacrifice, wants to use to change us, form us, and transform us – from the inside, out. We get to reap the reward of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, as if we had been nailed to it with Him. We have the opportunity to gain new life, found only in knowing Him, and naming Him as both Lord and Savior. There is no power greater. No love deeper. No grace more encompassing. This is the mystery and majesty of Easter! The power of God, once again, unleashed on God’s own creation, so we might have the opportunity to choose God and choose to love others in the same ways that Jesus so extravagantly loves you and me, every day. God’s grand story has led us to this point in time… and each of us is given the opportunity to join with God in what happens moving forward. So, what will you do? How will you live? How might you work with God, in the power of our risen Lord, to help change the world!? Guy Chmieleski Campus Pastor and Dean of Campus Ministries

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Campus Ministries at Friends University Chapel Join the Friends University community as we gather for worship, for prayer and to explore what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. | Alumni Auditorium Vespers What’s the best way to end your weekend and start your week? Join other members of the Friends community for an intimate time of worship through song, prayer, Scripture, silence and space. All are welcome!

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2nd and 4th Sundays of the month at 8 p.m. | Location: Lower Casado Small Group Communities There will be numerous ways for you to connect with others through intentional small group communities on campus. If you’re looking for a place to get plugged in, please visit with one of our campus pastors, and they’ll help you get connected. Local Service Projects Love where you live! Impact the community by volunteering! Have an idea? Come tell us about it. Looking for a place to serve? We can help you find a great place to get plugged in! Mission Trips Work with a team over fall break, spring break or both to explore important issues in our world and serve alongside churches and organizations that are making a difference. Retreats Recharge away from campus with a fun time of learning and resting while growing in your faith. Individual Pastoral Care and Spiritual Direction Our full-time Campus Pastor and Campus Ministries staff members provide a safe and supportive environment to help you navigate life’s challenges. Regardless of where you are on your faith journey, our doors are open to meet with you to explore and expand your understanding of who God is, who you are, and what you and God are doing together in the world. Prayer Have a prayer request? Our Campus Ministries staff members are committed to praying for the needs of the campus, and we invite you to share your requests with us by emailing prayerrequest@friends.edu.

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2100 W. University Ave. Wichita, KS 67213 friends.edu/campus-ministries

Lent 2018  

In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the p...

Lent 2018  

In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the p...