Next week is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent which lasts for 40 days (not counting Sundays) right up until Easter.  The 40 days represents the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptations of Satan and preparing to begin His ministry.   Lent is traditionally a time of self-denial, moderation, fasting and forsaking of sinful activities and habits in preparation for the coming of Easter.

Often Christians give up something like particular foods, limiting TV or time on social media or other things knowing that after Easter Sunday we can once again enjoy what we have given up.  However, James W. Moore author of Give Up Something Bad for Lent encourage us to give up something we are better off not doing, “to seek God’s help to focus on eliminating one habit or attitude that is destructive.  Imagine giving up envy, jealousy, self-pity, apathy, procrastination, gossip, resentment or negative thinking.”  To these we can add pettiness, anger, lusts of the flesh and a host of other destructive behaviors. 

The point that Moore is making is that if we can make a commitment to give up one bad habit for 40 days, with God’s help and strength we can give it up forever. Lent is a time to focus on our relationship with God and draw closer to Him.  In the next week, I would ask you to reflect on what God would want you to give up for Lent and then through the power and presence of The Holy Spirit in our lives to give it up forever!

The Number 40

In addition to the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, the number 40 has many Biblical references including:  the forty days Moses spent on Mount Sinai with God (Exodus 24:18); the forty days and nights Elijah spent walking to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8); God made it rain for forty days and forty nights in the days of Noah (Genesis 7:4); the Hebrew people wandered forty years traveling to the Promised Land (Numbers 14:33); Jonah in his prophecy of judgment gave the city of Nineveh forty days to repent (Jonah 3:4).  Nothing is ever coincidental with God; everything has a meaning and purpose.  Just saying!   

                                                      Last year's Texas Mission Team.

                                                     Last year's Texas Mission Team.

Texas Mission Trip

Please keep our Texas Mission Team in your prayers as we leave this week for Huntsville, TX to rebuild a Christian youth camp which was destroyed by fire two years ago.  Our mobile team, led by Chris Tammany, leaves this Wednesday at 9 p.m. and will drive straight through; the advance team, led by Rick McCully, flies out of Boston on Friday morning; the main team leaves on Saturday morning and will be gathering at 4 a.m. at St. Matts.  We are thankful to our drivers – Mike Haggstrom, Lee Elliott, Mark Bowes, John Boggiatto and Dianna Lowes – who are getting up early as well to drive us to Logan.  We are also grateful to Jennifer “Thumper” Headley who will be picking us up with a bus at midnight on March 4th when we return.

Happy Birthday Betty!

It is with great joy that we wish Betty Jones a Happy Birthday this Saturday.  Betty will be 96 years YOUNG and is such an inspiration to all of us at St. Matthews. 

Betty, or Mom as I like to call her, is in church every Sunday and an active member of our church community regularly participating in a weekly LifeGroup and Bible studies.  When I grow up, I want to be just like Betty!

This Sunday at St. Matts...

Be sure to join us this Sunday at 8:45 at St. Matthews as we continue to walk verse by verse through the book of James.  Since Pastor Steve and I will both be in Texas this week, we have a surprise preacher for you.  I know you’re going to be glad you came!

God bless,