Music for a Lenten Thursday: Jason Gray’s I Am New

March 1, 2012

There’s a contemporary Christian music song I heard on the radio while driving through Virginia when I was last in the U.S. in September.  It was a song I’d never heard previously but it utterly grabbed my attention with its powerful lyrics on the theme of being made new in Christ.  Frustratingly, the announcer did not announce the artist or the title of the song, but I remembered enough of the words that a Google search when I was next online quickly brought up the song in question.

It is the song “I Am New” by Jason Gray.   It ties in really well with the Lenten Devotional below about the hope and expectation we have in Lent, that this 40 days does not have to be merely a short passing season of giving something up temporarily, but an opportunity we have to be permanently transformed more into Christ’s image.

May this song remind you of the truth that we are new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) and that His Spirit is at work to transform us as we trust in Him.  May we live in that new life that Christ’s death and Resurrection has made possible even now, today, on a Lenten Thursday…!

Watch and listen at YouTube here:  Jason Gray:  I am New

Some of the lyrics…

Forgiven, beloved

Hidden in Christ

Made in the image of the Giver of Life

Righteous and holy

Reborn and remade

Accepted and worthy this is our new name

This is who we are now…

Amen!

   … and [Christ] died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
    From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them…

(2 Corinthians 5:15-19 ESV)


The Awesome Truth about Lent

March 1, 2012

I came across this while browsing around other WordPress blog entries on the topic of Lent.  I found it greatly encouraging! It’s from the blog of a Wesleyan pastor named Mark Haines’

The truth about Lent is not a secret.

'Lent for life 2' photo (c) 2008, LivingOS - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

You know it.  Your friends know it.  But I’m going to say the shocking truth about Lent out loud.

Giving up something for Lent that you look forward to starting up again on Easter Sunday afternoon will never change you.  When you give up coffee or chocolate for Lent, you start counting down to Easter when you will wash down that 2 pound chocolate bunny with a half-gallon of Starbucks coffee.  After you wake up from that sugar and caffeine buzz, you go right back to being and acting like you did before Lent began.

I want this year to be different for me and for you.  I was challenged last week by a question on Rachael Held Evans’ blog post entitled, 40 Ideas for Lent (2012).  The first question stopped me in my tracks.  ” When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different?”  That’s when I realized I needed to declare the truth about Lent.  No one can change the way it’s usually done.

The Awesome Shocking Truth about Lent

You can wake up on Easter Sunday morning, ready to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, knowing you are not the same person who started Lent.  You can be a different person.  You can change with God’s help.

Read the full entry here.

Being in Jesus’ presence, spending time in prayer and meditation on the Word and examining our hearts with the illuminating grace of the Holy Spirit – these things should result in our being changed more into Jesus’ likeness.  May our time with the Lord truly change us this Lent.  It IS possible.  I’ve found it true in my life already this Lent!  Thanks be to God that He is the God who makes all things new and redeems even me!


Mark 2:1-12

March 1, 2012

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the paralytic–“I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:1-12)
      Jesus, please help everyone in this diocese know that you have the power to forgive sins.

      Holy Spirit, help us lead people to healing and forgiveness of sin.

      Holy Father, help us follow where Jesus leads the way.

Thursday: 50 * [59, 60] or 19, 46; Gen. 39:1-23: 1 Cor. 2:14-3:15: Mark 2:1-12
Friday: 95* & 40, 54 * 51; Gen. 40:1-23: 1 Cor. 3:16-23: Mark 2:13-22

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Start now reading and reflecting on the lessons for Sunday so that you can receive all that God has for you (Mark 8:31-38; Romans 8:31-39; Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 16 or 16:5-11).

***** Date: Wed, 29 Feb 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily Quote…
      Repent this Lent. Have a Holy Hunger this Lent. Have a Holy Thirst. Go to the well four times a day at least… Ingest “The Word. ” Grab it, take a hold of it. Shove it in your ear. Be filled with the very love of the Very God of Very God. Have no doubt. Get a quiver in your liver as my friend J.John puts it. Smile, Aslan is on the move. Got it?

***** “Bonhoeffer saw that a large part of the problem was Lutheran theological education which produced not disciples of Christ, but out-of-touch theologians and clerics whose ability to live the Christian life — and to help others live that life — was not much in evidence.” From Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

***** Date: Wed, 29 Feb 2012
From: Deacon Alan Hart
Subject: a prayer “tale”
      Hello Father Brad and Torre: Just wanted to relate to you a little story concerning yet another prayer idea I “stole” from Christ Church:
      A few Sundays ago while preaching about the Transfiguration of Jesus I wound up the sermon telling the people that we, like Christ and the disciples, still have “work to do” on the way to the cross when we come down from the mountain. I gave everyone the challenge to pick out a street in Lake Luzerne and pray on it, walking up and down from corner to corner …. just like we did at Christ Church a few years ago. I had a sign-up sheet. About half the church signed up for a street. The following week I asked people if they would relate any stories to me that might have happened on their street prayer walk. This is the best one:
      One of our women walked up and down her own street praying and she stopped and prayed at length in front of a house where she was aware that the family inside was having “problems.” After a few minutes, the man of the house came out and demanded to know what she was doing. She told him she was praying for the people in the house — that they would have God’s protection and love and be safe. He asked her why, and she said, “Because two reasons: my deacon told me to do it, and because also I just think it’s a good idea to do.” Do you know that next thing the man said to her, “Well as long as you’re doing that, could you also pray for …(he gave her other prayer requests.)” Amazing what can happen when we call on the power of the Lord. People can change. Neighborhoods can change. Whole communities can change. As Father Brad once said, “We have the power to change the world right here at Christ Church.” I firmly believe that is true!! — deacon alan

Albany Intercessor


Lent Prayers: Scotty Smith – Renew our craving for the manna of the gospel

March 1, 2012

Pastor Scotty Smith of Christ Community Church in Nashville Tennessee posted this prayer on his prayer blog, Heavenward, on Feb. 23:

Oh, that my hunger for you would be as compelling as my hunger for baguettes, bagels and bakery stores. For “no bread endures to eternal life” except the bread that you give. Indeed, all breads except the Bread of Life will ultimately spoil, rot and perish. Only you supply us “good” bread that will make our souls “delight in the richest of fare.” Indeed, Lord, you don’t just nourish us, you delight us. What a Savior… what a salvation. We are far too easily satisfied.

Jesus, during this season of Lent, renew our craving for the manna of the gospel, the “carbs” of the kingdom, the loaves of your love. Ignite our hearts to sing with vigor, “Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, feed us till we want no more!” Intensify our longings for the Day when we will dine and dance with you at the wedding feast of the Lamb. May every celebration of the Lord’s Supper feed us well, yet leave us insatiably hungry for that Day.

The full prayer is here.


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