Imagine for a moment the impact on your church if for 40 days every person in your congregation lived in alignment with God’s will in the pattern of Jesus’ call to pick up our cross and follow him. What if your people lived in powerful community with their small groups to discuss and pray over lives sacrificed to God? What if, as groups and individual people began to experience the power of God in their lives as they surrendered all to Jesus Christ?
By intentionally coordinating and aligning the elements of your Lenten season using The Crucified Life materials, you will make an environment for spiritual growth that will move your congregation from self to surrender.
By aligning the following three elements of participation, you will see the power of God working in your church because of the intentional focus on the heart of the Gospel and the grace offered in the cross of Jesus Christ:
By creating a singular Lenten focus on what it means to “pick up our cross” and follow Jesus in the way of the Crucified Life, the entire congregation is called to a Holy Lent together. This unified focus will burst forth in new life with the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday!
By: Brooke Holt
1. The Challenge
Throughout The Crucified Life, Charlie challenges us as Christians to follow Jesus in the way of the cross. As we lay down our lives to the Lord, we actually find our lives. On day 38, Charlie writes, “The key to receiving the life of God is in surrendering our spirit to his Spirit that we might be mysteriously united in the wonderful mystery of his will.”
For me, the act of surrendering is not easy, even in little things. Jesus speaks these words from the cross right before he dies: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Jesus, being fully God and fully human, entrusts himself to the Father all the way to the cross, to his last dying breath.
3. God is Good
There is nothing I want more than to fully entrust myself to the Lord. I have been wrestling with this all week. In my mind and spirit, I know that God is good; his ways are good; he is fully worthy of my trust and submission. In my flesh, I want what I want, and I have this great desire to control my own life.
4. Submit your Spirit
Ultimately, I want to land into the loving arms of my Father. I want to submit my spirit, my very life to him. I have been asking him to show me how to do this, to make his will my will, his desires my desires. I wish I could say that after a week of wrestling and praying that I have this fully mastered. I certainly don’t! However, it has become my daily heartfelt prayer.
Romans 8:31-32 says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how we he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
5. God is for us!
God is for us! He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). I may not have this surrender thing down, but I will daily lay my life before the Lord and ask him to help me fully commit myself and my ways before him. I want him. I want his life.
Charlie ends the devotional writing with these words: “Entrust him with your entire life today.” What does that look like for you today?