Welcome to the Lenten season! Lent started in the 4th century. Because it is a spiritually life-changing journey for so many people, it has continued through today. It’s important to have a clear understanding of Lent as you enter into this wonderful time of year. Here are answers to a few common questions to help you in making the most out of this season.
Why is Lent celebrated for 40 days?
• It is modeled after Jesus’ 40-day fast. After Jesus was baptized, he went away to the Judean desert to fast and pray. During these 40 days in the desert, Jesus was being tempted by Satan and was preparing Himself for His public ministry.
Why do the Lent season dates change each year?
• According to John 12, Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred around the time of the Jewish Passover celebration. The Passover is in remembrance of the final plague in Egypt before the Israelites were freed from slavery. This plague was that the firstborn son of every family in Egypt would die. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a lamb so that when the angel of death came to an Israelite’s home marked with the lamb’s blood on the doorpost, the angel would pass over that home and the eldest son survived.
• Passover is celebrated on the first full moon following the vernal equinox (the time of year when the sun is directly above the equator). Therefore, we always celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. This would be the most accurate time of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Lenten period is designed to end on the Saturday after Good Friday.
•This year, Lent will begin on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, and end the day before Easter, Saturday, April 20, 2019. Lent technically lasts 46 days, but Sundays are not included in the overall count. The six Sundays are not counted because each one is seen as a “mini-Easter” celebrating Jesus’ victory over sin and death. Accordingly, our devotional will be provided for you six days per week and Sundays (or Saturday nights) are celebrations in gatherings at your Newbreak Church campus.
What is the purpose of Lent?
• The purpose of Lent is to open your heart more to the ways of God and grow closer to Jesus. The goal is to honestly examine your life in light of God’s Word and to get a fresh start in making new changes during your Lenten spiritual journey. What are ways I can participate in Lent? • Begin by setting aside a time each day for 46 days to examine areas of your life so you can begin this growing process. Newbreak is providing you with a 40-day Lenten devotional (Monday through Saturday) and church services on the weekends to help you in the journey. The devotional will take you about 10 minutes each day. You will be given a short scripture to read, a reflection on the verses, and an opportuni ty to respond to God with what you’ve read. You can do it in the privacy of your home or any place that’s comfortable for you. It’s best to find a consistent time to read the devotional. Maybe while you are eating breakfast, when you first get up, while the kids are napping or before you go to bed at night.
• Fasting is a common practice during Lent. When you fast something (“fasting” means to give something up that is part of your normal routine), it helps you to focus more on God and hear His voice. Some people give up watching TV, playing video games, social media, drinking alcohol, eating sweets, meat, coffee or foregoing one meal a day. The choice is up to you. If you are fasting certain foods and have any medical issues, please consult your health expert first.
What can I do to prepare for Lent?
• Make a commitment to read the Lenten devotional for 40 days and go to church on the six Sundays (or watch Newbreak Church on Facebook live if your are out of town). If you miss a day, just pick it up the next day.
• Mark on your calendar the time you will have devotions each day.
• Pick one thing that you would like to fast during the Lenten season, anything that’s safe and achievable for you. • You can start an examination of your life today by praying Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
A special thanks to Pastor Mike Quinn, Steve (Burley) Thompson, JoJo Thompson and Carey Meier for using their amazing gifts in editing the Newbreak Lent Devotional.
Our Newbreak staff prays that as you read the words in this devotional, you grow closer to Jesus in your spiritual journey and are reminded how much you are loved by God.
God bless you,