Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Preparing for Sunday, March 1st

You are invited to join us at New Life tonight at 6:30 for our Ash Wednesday service! Take this opportunity to reflect on your life and the areas in your life that need to be explored in order to fully enter into the celebration of Easter!

After reflecting on what it means to respond to God’s call, I think it is appropriate that we are beginning Lent with Mark’s story of what happened to Jesus following his baptism!

9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” 12And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Mark 1:9-15

Life following baptism is most often not easy. Following Jesus’ baptism and God’s loving affirmation of him, we are told that the Holy Spirit drove (a stronger and perhaps better translation is expelled---the same word used when Jesus drives out demons) Jesus into the wilderness for a time of testing.
• When have you felt that you were being tempted by Satan? How did you respond? What did you find helpful during those times?

God allows this temptation to occur. What does that tell you about God? What about Jesus? What does this mean when we are tempted or tested?

Unlike Matthew and Luke, Mark doesn’t tell us what the temptations are, but he does say that Jesus was with wild beasts and angels.
• What are the wild beasts in your life?
• Who are the angels?

Just a few thoughts as we enter into a time of examining ourselves, repenting of our sins, and turning away from sin and towards a life of holiness.

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