Lenten Activities

Fixer Upper: Renovation of the Heart
FBC 2021 Lent Series

What is it about renovation? Entire television networks are devoted to popular renovation shows. We invest tons of money and time in renovating our houses, our cars, our closets. But what about investing time and money in the renovation of our heart? Where do we begin? Our sermon series through the season of Lent will explore the why, what, and how of embracing God’s desire to reframe our lives.

Lenten Memory verse: 

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 .


WEEKLY SPIRITUAL PRACTICES FOR LENT

Each week during Lent, we will highlight a different spiritual practice. You can find more information about each practice here.

February 21: Breath Prayer  (Practice 1)
Mindfulness of God’s presence, as close as our breath.

February 28: Writing a letter to God (Practice 2)
“Dear God, the life I most want for myself is…”—what is the vision you and God have for your life?

March 7: Scripture Reading (Lectio Divina) (Practice 13)
Meditating on the scripture for the week—what does it mean to be both a hearer and doer of the Word?

March 14: Prayer of Examen (Practice 4)
Life-change happens when we set aside time to listen to our lives and invite God in.

March 21: Rest (Practice 5)
Our hearts can rest fully only when they find rest in God.

March 28: Walking (Practice 6)
The practice of walking can be a space in which God works in our lives so that we truly “walk in love” as Christ-followers.

April 4: Hospitality  (Practice 7)
The overflow of God’s love moves us to love our family, friends, and wider community—how might we offer hospitality in new ways?


ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE, Wednesday, February 17  (Watch)


LENT DAILY DEVOTIONS beginning February 17

To receive these daily devotions via email, click here to complete the form. Select “Daily Devotions” from the options. You may also sign up by contacting Mary Huhn via email or calling 573.634.3603.


LENT SERMON SERIES February 21 – April 4

Online: Premieres at 8:15 am, Sundays, on youtube.com/fbcjc or facebook.com/fbcjc.
In-Person: 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. Sundays (Register at fbcjc.org/register)

Read the sermon titles and texts here.


LENT SMALL GROUPS

Renovation of the Heart Small Groups. Our Renovation of the Heart small groups, based on Dallas Willards’ book of the same title, will explore God’s reframing work in our lives through small group conversation.

  • Sunday: 9:30 a.m.—Theresa McClellan (virtual)  (Begins Feb. 21)
  • Sunday: 10:00 a.m.—Noel Blythe (virtual) (Begins Feb. 21)
  • Tuesday: 12 p.m.—Celeste Koon (virtual) (Begins Feb. 23)
  • Wednesday: 5:30 p.m.—Sondra Allen (virtual) (Begins Feb. 24)
  • Thursday: 10:30 a.m.—EthelMae Champ and Gary Hemphill (in-person, room 101)  (Begins Feb. 25)

Click here to sign up for a group or call the church office Monday-Thursday between 8am-5pm. Please sign up by Saturday, February 20. You will be contacted by the teacher of your class with further information. Friends are welcome. Email hannah@fbcjc.org with questions.


HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE

April 1   Maundy Thursday Worship and Lord’s Supper
7:00 p.m. (In person option pending due to COVID)

April 2  Good FridayThe church building will be closed.

April 4  Easter
Online: Premieres at 8:15 am on youtube.com/fbcjc or facebook.com/fbcjc.
In-Person: 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. Sundays (Register at fbcjc.org/register)
SERMON: The Grand Reveal, John 4:1-42</p


MORE ABOUT  SPIRITUAL PRACTICES 

February 21: Breath Prayer (Practice 1)
Mindfulness of God’s presence, as close as our breath.

Breath prayer is an ancient form of contemplative prayer honoring the scriptural instruction to “pray without ceasing”. Breath prayer can be practiced during your everyday activities like walking, doing chores, or falling asleep. Breath prayer reminds us that God is as close to us as our very breath.

Our breath prayer for Lent is: Inhale: You are the vine. Exhale: I am a branch. Inhale: I do nothing  Exhale: Apart from you.  (back to top)

February 28: Writing a letter to God (Practice 2)
“Dear God, the life I most want for myself is…”—what is the vision you and God have for your life?

For some, writing is a helpful way to pray, process emotions, and organize thoughts. This week, write a letter to God that begins, “Dear God, the life I want most for myself is…”  The rest of the letter will complete that opening statement (or prayer). Allow yourself to be fully honest and open with God. As you write, you may feel led to acknowledge the mistakes you have made. Spend most of your letter writing about what a “good and beautiful life” would look like to you. Keep this letter in a safe place so that you can be reminded of the vision you and God have for your life.  Let it be a guide and an inspiration. (back to top)

March 7: Scripture Reading (Lectio Divina) (Practice 3)
Meditating on the scripture for the week—what does it mean to be both a hearer and doer of the Word?

Lectio Divina, Latin for “divine reading,” is an ancient form of scripture reading that helps a person connect with God through scripture. Through lectio divina, the Biblical text is a living word with personal significance for the reader. Lectio involves both reading and silence, is slow and reflective, and is about experiencing God rather than Bible study. In short, lectio divina helps us connect with God through scripture.

Steps (for more detailed information, click here)

  • Select a short passage of 6-8 scripture verses. This week, we suggest Luke 6:43-49.
  • Begin with silence, deep breaths, and awareness of God’s presence
  • Reading 1 (lectio): Read the passage slowly, noticing the word or phrase that catches your attention. Sit in silence, reflecting on the word or phrase.
  • Reading 2 (meditatio) Read the passage again, asking how this word speaks to you personally and specifically—what does it stir in you? Sit in silent reflection.
  • Reading 3 (oratio): Read the passage again, noticing your response to God and the thoughts and feelings you have. Pray silently, aloud, or in writing about your response.
  • Reading 4 (comtemplatio): Read the passage a final time, resting and releasing all to God. Now that you have expressed your prayer, you can rest fully in God and entrust to God all things that came up in your prayer.
  • Resolve (incarnatio): As you go about your day, carry your prayer with you and let it live in you. (back to top)

March 14: Prayer of Examen (Practice 4)
Life-change happens when we set aside time to listen to our lives and invite God in.

Examen prayer is a framework to help you listen for the movements of God and your own soul, no easy task. As you practice examen prayer over weeks and months, you begin to notice patterns of where you experience God’s presence in your everyday life, what brings you energy, and what depletes you.

Five movements of Examen Prayer:

  • Thanksgiving: What I am especially grateful for in the past day? The gift of another day…The love and support I have received…The courage I have mustered…An event that took place today…?
  • Petition: As I review my day, I ask to know God and to know myself as God sees me.
  • Review: Where have I felt true joy today? What troubled me today? What challenged me today? Where and when did I pause today? Where did I notice God’s presence today?
  • Response: In light of my review, what is my response to God?
  • Look Ahead: As I look ahead, what comes to mind? With what spirit do I want to enter tomorrow? (back to top)

March 21: Rest (Practice 5)
Our hearts can rest fully only when they find rest in God.

Exhaustion impacts our spiritual, physical, and emotional state. Many of us live in a chronic state of physical exhaustion, which does not lend itself to spiritual growth. Rest is not only a way to care for our bodies, hearts, and minds; it is also a way to connect with God through trust and be energized to grow in Christ. Rest is a gateway to surrender and to understanding that you’re not the center of the universe; the world keeps turning when you are resting. Try taking a nap, getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night for a week, or taking a day to sleep until you cannot sleep anymore. Allow yourself to rest when you are tired, entrusting your cares and worries to God. (back to top)

March 28: Walking (Practice 6)
The practice of walking can be a space in which God works in our lives so that we truly “walk in love” as Christ-followers.

Many of us walk for exercise. Have you ever walked as a form of prayer? Try going for a walk just for the sake of walking. Enjoy a relaxed pace, notice your breathing, notice sights and sounds around you. Walking can provide relaxation when you are stressed, rejuvenation when you are stuck, and a space to listen and talk with God. Lent is a special time to remember Christ’s walk of faith during his time on earth and Christ’s invitation to us to walk in love. (back to top)

April 4: Hospitality (Practice 7)
The overflow of God’s love moves us to love our family, friends, and wider community—how might we offer hospitality in new ways?

The Beatitudes invite marginalized people into the kingdom of God and hospitality can help us practice that essential aspect of God’s kingdom: God cares deeply about those who are left out.  God’s kingdom is inclusive, but the world we live in is exclusive.  And if we are honest, we likely are more exclusive than inclusive in our own lives. The pandemic poses challenges to practice hospitality. This week, choose one way to creatively share love or connection with your family, friends, or a person you have not connected with in awhile. Write a letter, bake cookies, do an outdoor lunch, or make a phone call “just because.” Consider how you might include, encourage, or care for someone new. (back to top)