Dear Immanuel family,
This past week some Christians celebrated Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent for Western Christianity. Lent is a 40 day period leading up to Easter. In the Roman Catholic tradition, it was a time of self-denial and fasting, however, the Protestant Reformers celebrated Lent in an “evangelical way” by rejecting the connection between fasting and penance “as a work of merit or a form of divine worship,” as Calvin put it.
In Christianity Today, Pieter Bruegel writes, “Without the observance of Lent, and Holy Week in particular, Easter Sunday fails to keep in proper balance the Cross and the Resurrection as the two main New Testament paradigms for the Christian life. The dominant paradigm for Christian discipleship this side of heaven is “sharing in his sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). Baptists not only can but should observe Lent, because it will help them take up the cross and follow Christ in the midst of a suffering world.”
Whether you practice Lent or not, this might be a good time to practice one of the principles of Lent, that of self-denial. Can I make an observation and suggestion? In our high tech world we are inundated with time on our “screens” – the TV, computer, smart phone and tablet. But the Bible tells us that we need to have dominion over things like this. Some might say that we are no different from the folks of Babel who wanted to elevate themselves above God, by using our technology. How are these devices changing us and what is it doing to our relationships with the people around us?
There are some who believe that Satan is using technology to stamp out meaningful relationships from our lives. I am not advocating that we celebrate Lent, but I am challenging myself and you to have a time of turning off the “screens” and spending time together talking, playing board games, or taking a hike. The church can be one of the places where we put limits on technology and give priority to meaningful relationships. Let’s just do it.
Preparing for Sunday’s Worship – February 22, 2015
• Sermon title and text: At Ease in Zion: The False Hope of Religion and Luxury (Amos 5:18-6:14)
• Sunday’s Scripture Reading – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND UPDATES:
• Churchwide Elder Fellowship: If you don’t have tickets yet, you will have to go to the Fellowship Hall kitchen and see John Luck after the Sunday AM service. The Elder Fellowship is scheduled for this evening, February 22 promptly at 5:30 pm. Come join us for a special time of meeting with your elder and praying for our missionaries. Tickets are $4/person or maximum of $20/family.
• Church Photo Directory – Don’t Miss Out –Photography dates NOW include March 19, 20, 24 & 25 (2pm to 9pm) and March 21 (10 am to 5pm). Sign up at the Welcome Center – 1) after Sunday School, 2) after AM service and 3) before PM service! Registration available online through the IBC website at the bottom of the home page. Contact email@example.com if you have any questions.
• Good Samaritan Ministries (GSM): GSM is a rescue mission for men and Immanuel has been invited to lead their Saturday evening program (5:30 to 8:00pm) on March 14, April 11 and May 9 . We are looking for volunteers who can work alongside the leadership team. There will be sign ups in the Welcome Center this Sunday.
• 10 K training – Cancelled: Because of the weather, the 10 K training has been cancelled for tomorrow, Saturday, February 21st. I guess you’ll have to jog in place at home.