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Calvary Church

2015


What is Lent? In the early centuries of the church, the forty days before Easter came to be recognized as the season of Lent (a Latin word that means “spring”), when new converts were prepared for baptism. This preparation included biblical instruction, prayer, repentance and fasting. In time, the practices of Lent were embraced by the entire church. Its purpose has always been selfexamination and spiritual preparation leading to an exuberant celebration of Easter. At Calvary, we emphasize the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and giving as Jesus encouraged in Matthew 6. Lent provides a wonderful opportunity to do this together, as a church body. 2015 Season of Lent During this season of Lent, we want to focus on gratitude and thankfulness. We are setting out as a church to cultivate hearts that sing praises to God for who He is. We also want to have eyes of faith to see God’s work in our daily lives. Each week we will focus on a characteristic of God that He has revealed to us in His word, and we will look back to see ways He has been present in our lives. As you discover these areas of

2 | Introduction

thanksgiving, we encourage you to share them with others, so that as a community we can celebrate God’s goodness together. Each week, we will be preparing a wall outside the prayer room (across from the Chapel) where you can write, draw, or post a message or picture of gratitude. Stop by each week as you have new things to share. All of the panels will be posted in the Prayer Garden during Holy Week where you can add to them and be blessed by all the ways God is at work in our congregation. This year Lent begins on Wednesday, February 18, and ends at Easter, on April 5. This equals forty-six days, because we exempt Sundays. Traditionally, Lenten fasts are suspended on Sundays, when God’s people gather to celebrate in worship. Prayer During Lent, we set aside extra time to pray. This year, we encourage you to: 1) Spend time praising God for who He is and what He has done in your life. Use this Lenten guide to focus your attention on some specific attributes of God and areas in which to express your gratitude to Him. 2) Thank Jesus for walking ahead of us, “enduring the cross, scorning its


shame,” leading us to a future with God.

God pours into our lives. Our response is gratitude.

3) Pray for three people in your life who do not know Jesus, that they would begin a journey of faith with Him.

Take time every day to express thankfulness to God in prayer and ask for His guidance about how you might tangibly live out your gratitude by extending God’s grace to others.

Fasting Lent is a time for self-examination and contemplation. To facilitate this, Christians often set aside certain foods or non-essential activities. Fasting is not meant to be deprivation or a means of earning grace. Rather, fasting is meant to provide spiritual focus. By setting aside something that is normally a part of your daily life, you are reminded throughout each day of what Christ did for you and you can pause, reflect and pray. Fasting is not limited to food (though many people may choose a meal or specific food group from which to fast). Here are a few ideas of other fasts that could give opportunity for reflection and prayer: screen time, talk radio, driving, video games, reading, coffee, magazines, sports. Giving As we pray and fast in preparation for Easter, we especially think about Jesus’ sacrifice for us and the mercy and grace

During the Lent season this year we will spend time in prayer considering how God would have us give to the Grace Beyond building project. On Sunday, February 15, you will hear how you can be involved in the project and pledge cards will be available. Our Grace Beyond pledge process will end on Palm Sunday, March 29, though you are welcome to return your pledge card at any time during Lent in the desginated area at the back of the Sanctuary. We hope that this season of selfexamination and spiritual preparation will unite us together as a church body as we continue on this Grace Beyond faith journey. As we focus on gratitude may we see God’s character and blessings in a new light, allowing us to reach even deeper in our well of praise this Easter.

Introduction | 3


4 | Week One


Psalm 148:1-14 Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created, and he established them for ever and ever— he issued a decree that will never pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD.

Week One | 5


18 | February 19 | February

Acts 17:24-25 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Find a creative way to keep track of your praises and things you are thankful for this year. Try filling an old jar with notes of gratitude, start a journal, or even a document on your computer.

6 | Week One

20 | February 1 Chronicles 29:12b-13 In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.


21 | February Psalm 105:5-7a Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob. He is the LORD our God. Think about God’s sovereignty and how you’ve seen Him work. How has His hand led you this year? Consider writing this on the wall on Sunday outside the Prayer Room.

Week One | 7


8 | Week Two


22 | February Rest and reflect on today’s Scripture.

Isaiah 53:1-6 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Week Two | 9


23 | February

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

25 | February 1 Thess. 5:23-24 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

24 | February

Psalm 29:11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. As you meditate on today’s verse, ask the Lord to search your heart, confess any ways in which you have forsaken his peace by not resting in Him. Thank God for the forgiveness Jesus has made available through the cross.

10 | Week Two


Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

27 | February

26 | February

Spend some time reflecting on a struggle you or someone in your life is facing at this time. Talk to the Lord about it, give it to Him, and praise Him that you can rest in the peace He brings when we surrender to Him.

Think about God’s peace and how you’ve seen Him work. How has He shown this peace to you this year? Consider writing this on the wall outside the Prayer Room on Sunday.

28 | February

Ephesians 2:13-14a But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace.

Week Two | 11


12 | Week Three


1 | March Rest and reflect on today’s Scripture.

Psalm 118:1-8 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.” When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.

Week Three | 13


2 | March

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

4 | March 2 Thess. 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

3 | March

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Ask the Lord to search your heart today, confess any ways in which you have not trusted in his faithfulness. Thank God for the forgiveness Jesus has made available through the cross.

14 | Week Three


1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

6 | March

5 | March

Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

Sit down alone or with others and make a list of as many specific blessings as you can think of that you have received from God. Keep this list in a prominent place to remind you of God’s faithfulness.

7 | March

Psalm 89:1-2 I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. Think about God’s faithfulness and how you’ve seen Him work. How has He been faithful to you or those you know this year? Consider writing this on the wall on Sunday.

Week Three | 15


16 | Week Four


8 | March Rest and reflect on today’s Scripture.

psalm 100 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Week Four | 17


9 | March

Matthew 6:26-27 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

10 | March

Psalm 86:5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. As you meditate on today’s verse, ask the Lord to search your heart, and confess any lack of gratitude towards God’s goodness in your life. Thank God for the forgiveness Jesus has made available through the cross.

18 | Week Four

11 | March Psalm 66:8-9 Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.


psalm 118:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Look for a chance today to share your gratitude in the Lord out loud when you are spending time with others.

James 1:16-17 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

13 | March

12 | March

Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

14 | March

Psalm 13:5-6 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. Take a moment of remembrance today. Think about God’s goodness and how you’ve seen him work. How has His hand led you this year? Consider writing this on the wall on Sunday outside the Prayer Room.

Week Four | 19


20 | Week Five


15 | March Rest and reflect on today’s Scripture.

deuteronomy 4:31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

Week Five | 21


16 | March

Ephesians 2:4-5 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. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

18 | March Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

17 | March

Micah 7:18-19 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Ask the Lord to search your heart today, confess any ways in which you have been ungrateful for God’s mercy given to us in sending His Son, Jesus Christ. Thank God for the forgiveness Jesus has made available through the cross.

22 | Week Five


Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

20 | March

19 | March

Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

Ask the Lord to show you how you can express gratitude to Him and others today. Ask for opportunities as well as strength and courage to follow through!

21 | March

1 Timothy 1:12-14 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Think about God’s mercy and how you’ve seen Him work. Consider writing how He has shown His mercy to you on the wall on Sunday outside the Prayer Room.

Week Five | 23


24 | Week Six


22 | March Rest and reflect on today’s Scripture.

1 John 4:7-12 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Week Six | 25


23 | March

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

25 | March John 17:22-23 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

24 | March

Luke 6:32-33,35 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that... But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Ask the Lord to search your heart, and confess any ways in which you have neglected His love for you and possibly neglected to love others. Thank God for the forgiveness Jesus has made available through the cross.

26 | Week Six


1 John 4:9-12 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

Psalm 36:5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Think about God’s love and how you’ve seen Him work. How has He expressed His love for you? Consider writing this on the wall on Sunday outside the Chapel.

21 | March

We are loved and therefore able to love others. Write a letter, give someone a call, or discover a way to share with someone how much you appreciate and love them.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

20 | March

26 | March

Week Six | 27


28 | Week Seven


29 | March Rest and reflect on today’s Scripture.

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Week Seven | 29


30 | March

Psalm 86:15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

1 | April Ephesians 1:5-6 He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

31 | March

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Ask the Lord to search your heart today, and confess any ways in which you have not come to God in your time of need. Thank Him for the forgiveness Jesus has made available through the cross.

30 | Week Seven


1 Corinthians 1:4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. Think back on your time at Calvary Church and how you or others have seen God’s grace made known. This week, head down to the wall outside the Prayer Room and write down a blessing, a memory, or praise to God.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

3 | April

2 | April

Meditate on today’s Scripture and spend time praising God for who He is. Take time to write out your praises below.

4 | April

Romans 8:31-33a What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? Think about God’s grace and how you’ve seen Him work. How has His grace been evident in your life? Take time to share His evidence in your life with others as you gather to celebrate Easter.

Week Seven | 31


Copyright © 2015 Calvary Church, Grand Rapids Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by BIblica, Inc.TM

Calvary Church

PO Box 1600 | Grand Rapids MI | 49501 calvarygr.org | 956-9377

Lent Guide 2015  
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