Dear fellow travelers,
Each year we take a forty-day trip ending at Jerusalem and the empty grave of Jesus between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. We see this journey, or pilgrimage, as an opportunity to learn something new about the Lord, His Word, and ourselves. This year’s trip will be no different.
This year, we are going to focus on the “Red Letters” of Jesus. For a very long time, printers of the Bible have set apart the words actually attributed to Jesus by printing them in the color red. I think that we can all agree that these are words that are meant to catch our eyes. At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house but it did not fall, because it was founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-26) Are we building our lives on the solid rock of Jesus’ words? Do we let Jesus’ words inform how we behave so that we are different than if we had never read or heard them before?
This Lent, we are going to use a devotional book entitled, Red Letter Challenge, written by a pastor named Zach Zehnder, which I pray will be a useful workbook for you. I pray you read it and mark it up! The first five days will serve as an introduction to the study, each day covering what will later be covered in a full week of devotions. The five principles covered in the Red Letter Challenge (RLC) are these:
BEING // FORGIVING // SERVING // GIVING // GOING
Each Sunday in the Season of Lent, we’ll learn from Jesus about these principles, and each Wednesday evening we will gather for worship and for discussion using the special small group curriculum. Our faith teaches that the Holy Spirit works through the Word to transform the hearts of people, and I pray that we give God the opportunity to be at work in our lives.
Each day, we will dive into quotes directly from Jesus’ mouth, followed by a devotional, another reading that supports the teaching, and a Challenge of how you might live those words out that day. This will happen every day of the journey.
The books are simple, inspiring, and much more substantial than the short Lenten devotionals we have used in the past. They are costly–$20 per book. However, if the investment of money is matched with an investment of time, energy, and thought, you will find this to be well worth it. That being said, if you cannot afford the book, please speak with me promptly and privately. I want all who are willing to be able to participate.
The journey begins on Ash Wednesday, February 22, with worship in the sanctuary at 7:00 p.m. Look for more information to come to your direction soon!
Your shepherd for this journey,