Tag Archives: Lent

“Hey YOU! Be Quiet and Calm Down!”

“Hey YOU! Be Quiet and Calm Down!”

Back in my seminary days I had to take an introductory class on the spiritual disciplines.  We followed a well-known book by Richard Foster on the different disciplines called “Celebration of Discipline.  It was a great eye-opening class on the different disciplines Christians can and should undertake and the ways each discipline invites us into a deeper faith.

I think it was probably the first time I had heard about fasting as a regular ‘discipline’ that Christians are called to.  Until this point, I only knew of fasting for a few passages in Scripture here and there that I largely overlooked.

As part of this class, we had to create a year-long plan of how we would try out the different disciplines and implement them.  Bible reading, worship, solitude, worship, simplicity… they all sounded easy enough. But fasting? BUT FASTING? Ugh. I wasn’t so sure about that one.

But I included in my plan.  My ambitious goal:

One day a week.

One week a month.

One 40-day fast a year.

Everything I read said to train up for it.  So I used my one-day-a-week days to teach my brain that it is actually okay to feel ‘hungry.’ Like seriously. It’s okay.  You just tell your stomach, “Hey you, be quiet and calm down.  You can make it a day,” while also telling the Lord, “I hunger for you more than that food. Be my bread.” 

My one-week-a-month became great training in planning for a fast.  I learned to look ahead at the calendar, not buy groceries and try to use up food in the fridge that might go back during the week.  I also learned that physical hunger pretty much subsides by day 3, followed by an amazing amount of energy.  The first 3 days were always the hardest!! After that, easy.  All the while saying, “Lord, I hunger for you more than that food. Be my bread.”

But I still had that 40-day fast lingering over my head. Could I do it???  After almost a year into my little experiment, I official made the plans for the BIG ONE.  Lent.  Only, I learned that for Lent, it’s actually 47 days! And Sundays are free.  Any fast taken on, you get to break on Sundays.  So that’s what I did.  Six days of nothing, and eating on Sundays.

I made it through (barely), but I learned a few great lessons in the midst of it:

1. It is doable. Seriously.

2. In my fleshes weakened state, God REALLY DOES make His great strength known—just like His Word promises to.  HE DOESN’T LIE.

3. It takes some planning and some practice.

4. I don’t know if I’d do it again, but…

That brings me to this year.  I haven’t done a long fast since then—just random two- or three-day stuff here and there when I need to hear from God.

I feel wimpy.

WHAT IF God doesn’t give me strength to do it again?!

I sound like the Israelites, fresh out Egypt, right after crossing the Red Sea, whining for food because they don’t believe God will follow through with His promises (EVEN THOUGH THEY JUST SAW THE MIRACULOUS).

Anyhow, I’m thinking about it for Lent.  My amazing husband has been regularly doing 40-day fasts yearly and I think I might join him this year. 

Leah Carolan
Director of Worship & Media


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    Nobody likes pain. A splinter makes us flinch. Sickness brings misery. Broken relationships hurt. Losing a loved one breaks our hearts. Pain comes in many ways but our reaction is always the same – we want to avoid it.

    When we can’t avoid pain, one response is to whine about it. The technical word for whining is lament. A lament expresses the frustration, confusion, and suffering that comes with pain. Lament is the opposite of another common response to pain – denial. Are you more prone to lament your pain or deny it?

    The Bible is filled with lament. God’s people cried out to God when they were in pain. More than one-third of the Psalms include lament. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” (Psalm 130:1). The book of Job is filled with lament. “Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11). One whole book, Lamentations, expresses the confusion and suffering of God’s people.

    In the New Testament people who are afflicted cry out to Jesus for help. Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, shouts out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” (Mark 10:47). Jesus himself laments in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me.” (Mark 14:36). On the cross Jesus repeats a lament from Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

    I’m not usually a fan of whining but during Lent this year I will be encouraging it. I’m going to focus on the practice of telling God when something is not the way it is supposed to be. I’m going to cry out and ask God to help. Lament helps us focus on the truth. “We are powerless before this vast multitude that comes against us. We are at a loss what to do, hence our eyes are turned toward you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

    As kids, when we were hurt we cried out for a kiss and a band-aide on our booboo. Lamentation cries “Ouch!” and hopes that God will hold us in our pain and bring healing.

    Kent Landhuis
    Pastor of Teaching & Leadership

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      Turning Off My Cell Phone And Logging Out Of Facebook During Lent

      Turning Off My Cell Phone And Logging Out Of Facebook During Lent

      Growing up, Lent was not a part of my faith experience. It was not a tradition really practiced in my church or my family. Actually, if I am honest, I probably even felt judgmental about it. My unspoken thoughts were; “It’s just something those weird catholic kids do!” They get ashes on their forehead and then quit eating meat on Fridays. Why? Honestly, most of my catholic friends didn’t understand it either. It was just a ritual.

      At Central College I was introduced to the practice through Lenten breakfast times of prayer. I enjoyed this practice and now regularly practice fasting from something during this time of year.

      There are some traditional spiritual disciplines protestant Christians have focused on during these 40 days leading up Easter and Jesus’ resurrection. These disciplines are prayer, fasting, and generosity. One of the best ways is to ask God what He wants for you during this time.

      Last year I was doing some reading about how addicting social media is, and how it rewires our brains. I was convicted about my own compulsive use of social media at times. I committed to fasting from Facebook and to fast from my cell phone at night. The flipside of this fast was to use that time to pray and read. I wanted to break some bad habits and build some better ones. This was good. I read some books and prayed more.  I was not perfect. It was difficult at times, but I did find less of an urge to do those things at the end of Lent. I think I may repeat this fast again this year.

      So, as we enter into Lent 2023, are you feeling led to be intentional about changing your patterns of prayer, fasting, and generosity?

      Steve Poole
      Director of Youth & Young Adults

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