How many times have you put ashes on your forehead and sat in church and listen to the preacher do a sermon on repentance and renewal for Ash Wednesday? Some of us may have done it all our lives, some may have done it just in the past few years, and some have never done it.
What makes this Ash Wednesday, leading up to lent, any different? Why is this one so special? Ash Wednesday is the start of the Lent season and is 40 days of either stopping something or doing something to get closer to God. For some, it can be a new years resolution, but only for 40 days that lead up to Easter. For others, they take it very seriously and try to head to the will of God to grow closer to Him through the 40 days.
I thought to myself last night, how serious am I going to be about this? One of my youth started talking to me and she said she didn't know what to do. I made a few suggestions and we made the promise that we are going to read at least 2 chapters a day, one in the old and new testament starting in Genesis and Matthew.
I am very excited about this. I also learned that the ashes that were spread on my forehead were from the palm leaves from last years palm Sunday service. I never knew that. It made it a whole lot more meaningful to me.
John 12:13 (New International Version)
13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Blessed is the King of Israel!"
What a blessing. The king is coming again, but I look forward to Easter to celebrate the day He defeated death for our sins! Hosanna!!
All to often we get tangled up in the web of our own lives and forget the relationship aspect of our walk with Christ. We work too much, get bogged down with every day life, and just throw Jesus to the back seat.
I just came back from a retreat with my students and it was awesome! We had a great time growing in relationships, working together as a team on the ropes course, and seeing how God works within the group. We also learned about sea turtles...(so I tried to find the Pirates of the Caribbean clip where he talks about sea turtles, but I couldn't.
We talked about getting a glimpse! What it means to be a child of God, what salvation really means, and how to show others what salvation in Jesus is. It was a great reminder for myself also.
I just hope, whoever reads this, remembers that we should be praising God in the good and bad times, and come to Him for E V E R Y T H I N G. That's what a relationship is; communication and love between two people. I pray the students walked away with something new to think about, and I hope you go away from this blog remembering the love Jesus offers us.
We hung out and ate dinner first, then we played some games. The games we played were shuffle your buns and musical baby food ( a personal favorite of mine).
You pass around the baby food like hot potato. When the music stops, whoever has it, has to eat a big heaping spoon fool of the baby food. We had such good ones like Chicken and Rice, Apples and Ham, Bananas, Peaches, Green beans, Squash and many more. We played about 12 rounds of the game and it was so funny to see the reactions on the students face when they play it.
The lesson was on John 4. The woman at the well. We talked about how Jesus used a simple object like water to tell this Samaritan woman about the love of God and how He offers eternal life. We talked about how you can use things like this, by studying how Jesus did it, and communicate the word and love of Christ to others. Jesus was the best teacher of them all!
It was a fantastic time for my first night and could not help but praise God in this time. It is ALL because of Him this is possible!
Soli Deo Gloria!!
I don't think I have ever been so nervous. My lunch did not sit well with me, my knees were weak, I had a huge headache, but once I was in my element; God took all that away and let me be me. It was so exciting to see how God is really blessing me in this great time.
Another great thing that happened is that the church threw me a "Pantry Shower". Ever heard of these? They STOCKED me with food, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc. It was amazing! I was so surprised and the congregation really showed me a lot of love. It is such a blessing. I am so excited to see what God has in store for me here and what He has in His plan for these students as well. They are a great group of students! I am so excited about everything!
God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!
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