Hello friends!  How are you all this week? Have you ever noticed that often when that question is asked, it is common for the "asker" to not even wait for a response from the "askee", indicating that perhaps the answer doesn't really matter.  Well, I want you to know that your answer DOES matter to us.  So today I ask you - caring deeply about the answer - how are you?  In fact, a better way perhaps to ask that we've often used in our morning LifeGroup meetings may be - how is it with your soul today?  I sincerely love to hear what is going well in your lives, what may be challenging right now, and sometimes on Sunday mornings it isn't so easy to fit all that in.  So feel free to comment below, email me or drop me a PM on Facebook and let's talk about how it is with your soul.  


In fact, today is a great time to ask that question because, as I mentioned during the message on Sunday, today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent.  Lent is the 40-day period (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter.  These 40 days are typically set aside as a time for self-examination and self-reflection.  In fact, this 40-day period is intended to represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring temptations from the enemy and preparation for His ministry.  What a great time to be studying the Book of James? These writings are certainly meant to lead us all to some serious introspection and self-examination as we've seen over the past 5 weeks!  


During the time James wrote his book, in the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism.  This leads me to an exciting thought about how we could be thinking in the same way.  In the recent past, we haven't typically offered an opportunity for baptism outside of our annual summer church BBQ.  But this year we'd like to change that.  If you have never had the opportunity or taken the step to be baptized, or if you are unsure if you were baptized as an infant and you'd like an opportunity to reaffirm your baptism, that's important to us and we want to know.  

Baptism is an incredibly moving opportunity for Christ-followers to express an outward commitment to the inward transformation that knowing Jesus personally has made.  Emerging from below that water, knowing that Jesus washed our sins away, is a powerful representation of the redemption story that I don't think I can adequately express in words. We hope that you'll consider taking that step with us.  If you are interested in being a part of our baptism service, please either contact our Ministry Assistant, Debra Haggstrom at deb@rock-church.org to let her know, or you can write me a note on the back of your connection card on Sunday morning.  We are excited about the prospect of celebrating this momentous event together!  

Now I started out this blog today by asking the question of how you all are today.  Well I'm excited to tell you that we are creating a new opportunity for us to meet on a more intimate level to answer that question.  I hope you all know that we have breakfast and LifeGroup every Sunday morning at 9am downstairs before service where a smaller group of us meet and talk about our victories and our challenges over the last week.  But we understand that time doesn't work for everyone.  And so we'd like to announce another opportunity to gather together to get to know each other, draw closer in relationship and for Jon and I to answer any questions you may have about Rock Church Ministries or our faith in general.  Each month we'll be announcing a date when we will be having lunch following our service at a local downtown Amesbury location. We invite anyone who would like to come to pick up their own lunch or coffee and join us to share some time together.  Our first gathering will be after service on Sunday, March 19th at the Market Street Bakehouse.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Debra or me in advance.  I hope to see many of you there! 


Looking forward to gathering together on Sunday morning as we continue our study through the Book of James.  To God be all the glory! 


P. Rachel


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