Here they are: Good Friday Worship, Easter Fast & Scripture Meditation, Easter Worship, One More Person Invite, Easter Servanthood, Easter Feast.
In last week's sermon, I stated that the classical spiritual disciplines, or spiritual practices, are the way we actually treasure the beauty of Jesus Christ in our everyday lives, habitually, so that His Word to us and about us forms our identity more powerfully than other forces (like the 'Counterfeit Gods' we studied during Lent).
Since our church began to observe the Lenten season some years ago (40 days of anticipation before Easter), I have learned to be more intentional in my 'practices' of allowing our annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus to form me, hopefully, just a bit more into the character of Jesus. To me, this historically proven method of preparing for Easter, the most important of all Christian days, is far superior in value for my sanctification than just showing up like its just another 'ordinary-but-amped-up' Sunday.
For example, this year I 'gave up' listening to sports talk radio for the 40 days of Lent. The point is - fasting from something good, in order to set my heart on something better. I LOVE sports radio. But in the runup to the Panthers Superbowl game, it was consuming far too much of my driving and think time. This unique Lenten fast has provided a wonderful reset button, setting my mind on either the actual real world by listening to news on NPR, or being prayerful to classical music, or renewing myself emotionally by cranking tunes that I love with the sunroof open (until the pollen invasion hit this week).
But now that it is Easter week, what are my spiritual practices?
Well, my first one is kind of weird and unique to a church staff. I walked into our offices on Monday morning, and to each new person or sub-staff meeting I encountered I shouted, 'It's the first day of Easter week - woo hoo - this is what we live for - get your Easter game face on!' Our staff seemed to like the point I was making, while reserving the right to view my method as cheesy. They joked that I was like the camel in the hump day commercial. I am flattered.
Okay, but my for real Easter Spiritual Practices. To which I invite you to join me:
Good Friday Worship @ 7 pm: This year, our LFC-WestLake Church hosts and leads our observance of our Lord's death, with musical meditation on scripture and communion. I will be there, I invite you to join us, or worship at another church. LFC Good Friday Service @ Lincoln Charter School
Easter Fast: We invite the Lake Forest Tribe to fast on Good Friday, as a way of focusing our desire on Christ alone, the author of our salvation. This year, I will observe the fast from Sundown on Friday (the Good Friday service) until Sundown on Saturday (I will break my fast with communion at the end of our Saturday evening Easter worship service at Lake Forest Church - Huntersville). The Easter Fast prepares my spirit with readiness to worship along with the Holy Spirit on Easter. It utilizes a spiritual practice best exemplified by Jesus, and the Bible teaches that fasting uniquely reorders the desires of our flesh and hones our attuned-ness to God's Holy Spirit in our lives. I believe fasting should always be accompanied with specific meditations on God's Word. When I fast, whenever a hunger pang pangs me I turn it into a prayer toward God, in the words of Jesus during two of his recorded fasts:
"Jesus answered, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." John 4:34
Easter Worship: LFC-Huntersville worships this weekend on Saturday 5pm (with communion) and Sunday 9 & 10:30am. I can't wait. I get to worship Jesus in his resurrection three times! LFC-W worships Sunday 9 & 10:30am, LFC-D worships Sunday 9:30 & 11am.
One More Person Invite: I've come to believe that Christians best live on purpose when we ALWAYS prefer in friendship One More Person in our life who is currently living outside of the knowledge and experience of God's love through Jesus Christ. Who is that person in your life and mine, and what Easter service will you invite them to? Like Christmas Eve, this is 'one of those times' most people are open, even perhaps hoping for, an invitation to a God-environment. Be the answer to that hope.
Easter Servanthood: Part of Holy Week is Jesus washing his disciples' feet, saying he did not come to be served but to serve. How will you serve your church this Easter? Children's ministry role? At LFC-Huntersville, the most important way is to Reserve a VIPeeps Pass to park across the street. We seriously need 100 cars across the street at both Sunday services - please relieve our stress ahead of time and sign up NOW and arrive early LFCH Easter Parking VIPeeps
(our LFC-H parking and preschool rooms are just about full - we are working on plans to expand them in the fall, because we believe the Great Commission calls us to always make room for One More Person who's 'given up on church but not on God.')
Easter Feast: Last but not least, consider your Easter lunch, and the invite list, as a resurrection feast! Do so in God's direction, thanking and rejoicing in him, widening the circle around your table to include those whom the Lord brings to mind.