Friday, March 19, 2010

Week Four Lenten Challenges

This week's challenges:

1) Go to war with worry. Live in day-tight compartments (Dale Carnegie, Matt 6:34). Confess your worry to a brother or sister and to God (throughout the week). Give a praise for God's provision everyday (different person and different praise).

2) For one week you will not pray for yourself. For one week you will only pray Kingdom-advancing prayers. Avoid “organ recitals.” Adopt a Kingdom concern that you will make your ongoing prayer concern. Make it specific – not just the persecuted church, but Coptic Christians in Egypt or Presbyterians in Iran.

3) Fire Mammon as your boss. Decide to serve Jesus and not money. Make a gift (we despise idol of money by giving it away). Do a stewardship inventory – how can you give more and more strategically? Convert something valuable to a kingdom purpose. If your treasure is on earth, your heart will be on earth.

4) Today, bow the knee to Jesus as your master and provider. Decide that while you live in this world, Jesus is the only one you will follow as Lord. Recognize Jesus as having a unique authority over your life that no one else shares. Quit trying to provide salvation for yourself through religion, works, people, false religions. Accept Jesus' unique provision for your salvation.

Week Three Lenten Challenges

The third sermon in our Lenten series on the Sermon on the Mount, "Walking with Jesus" is titled "Do You Have a Secret?"

Here are the challenges from week three:

1. If you do not ever pray in secret, this week, commit to pray in secret every day this week using the Lord's prayer as a guide.

2. This week, fast without letting anyone know. If you have participated in our corporate fasting at Highlands, then do a fast which goes longer than 24 hours.

3. This week help at least one person without telling anyone, preferably even the person you are helping (or, if the person is a non-Christian, tell them but no one else).

Week Two Lenten Challenges

Here are the challenges from the second sermon in our Lenten series, "You Are the Light of Jesus."

a) Reconcile with someone who has a complaint against you. Start on Monday. Be heroic. Decide that you will rather be made a fool or taken advantage of in some way rather than give up a chance to be reconciled.
b) You are going to crack open the secret box of your lust problem. Confess to someone who can hold you accountable and you are going to step up the intervention until it works. If there's anything you won't do to be rid of the problem you may not get rid of it. It is better to endure the greatest suffering than to endure the least sin (Jeremiah Burroughs).
c) Do something about your marriage. Talk with one of your elders. Make an appointment with your pastor or a Christian marriage counselor. Study a book together. (Intimate Allies, Sacred Marriage, Love and Respect) Order the book, schedule the conference, make the appointment THIS WEEK. Then tell someone.
c) Inventory your promises and pick on back up (swear to your hurt, Psalm 15:4). Ask forgiveness for not keeping the promise YET.
d) Spend one week without retaliating, defending, or justifying yourself. Take every possible act of generosity.
e) For one week, you are going to pray for an enemy. Decide something kind to do for them and then do it.

Lenten Challenges from the Sermon on the Mount

This Lent (the church season leading up to Easter) we are spending time in the Sermon on the Mount in a series I'm calling, "Walking with Jesus." The Sermon on the Mount is intensely practical, giving very direct counsel on the Gospel life. This Lent, we're looking at what it means to actually "walk with Jesus," as opposed to just "thinking or feeling about Jesus." Every week I'm giving a set of challenges. Most of the challenges are structured so that you should choose from among several, according to your situation and what the Spirit lays upon your heart.

Here are the first week's challenges, based on the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12: