Elim Church

Pastor Paul Lent Thoughts (Updated Daily!)

#lentpost #22

Mar 24

To gather or not to gather, is that the question?

I’ve been scouring the internet looking for ways Christian leaders are responding to this crisis. Yes — there are some who are still meeting.

One in particular caught my attention as the preacher compared their local government leader’s call to stop meeting to Nebuchadnezzars threat of punishment for not gathering and bowing down to his 90 foot high idol of gold. (Daniel 3) Comparing himself to the good Jewish boys Shadrach Meschach and Abednago, the preacher went on to say how he’d rather be thrown into the fire than obey human authority.

He intimated that the governments response of COVID-19 was a secret ploy to depopulate the church.

He told his congregants that there are godless agents in our government planning a hostile take over of our faith and our gatherings.

He referenced how not even a recent hurricane could scare them away from gathering for the word of God.

Somehow this minister had raised the level of fear about NOT gathering at church higher than the demonstrable fear of a international pandemic and a level 5 hurricane! The place was packed.

Lord help us not to make 90-foot golden idols out of our gatherings.

Amen.

 

#lentpost #21

Mar 23

“Be strong and courageous” has a backstory…

In the first chapter of Joshua we learn that Moses has died and Joshua is now going to lead the people. We learn that even for an exodus people protected by the supernatural power of God’s deliverance, death is still a reality. We will all will face death, even the righteous servant Moses.

So the LORD says to Joshua…
Joshua 1:9 I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

This verse reminds us that it is the Lord who goes before us in our battles and stands beside us in our trials. It COMMANDS us to be strong, to be courageous, to NOT fear and to NOT dismay. It is God’s character to make and keep promises and it is our response to gain our strength and courage from trusting in that reality. Even when death is all around. God is with you wherever you go.

Amen.

 

#lentpost #20

Mar 20

My heart is heavy for the people of Italy who have had 793 people die of the Coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

As we cry out to you God for mercy we humbly ask, LORD that you stop the virulence and the destruction of this pandemic. Stop it’s effects and halt it’s spread. Hold back it’s power to wage war on the lungs and the immune system of our dear friends and fellow humans around the world. Lord as you spoke to the waves and said “cease be still” we ask that you bind the chaotic power of this disease and cast it into outer darkness. We call upon your powerful name to bring healing and wholeness upon our globe and wellness to our planet. We ask for your spirit to shake the foundations of the earth that all evil pathogens, viruses and diseases be forever dispelled and never return to the surface of this planet. Oh God healer and redeemer cleanse our hearts and our bodies, mend our broken hearts, restore our streets, revitalize our workplaces, repair the cell walls, and the lung tissue, the respiratory systems by your power and for your precious names sake we pray. Amen

#lentpost #19

Mar 19

  • These posts are my daily (Mon-Sat) thoughts (sometimes incomplete) during the season known as lent. Lent is a time of mourning, fasting, lamenting, and preparation for the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It marks out the 40 or so days before resurrection Sunday.

We are nearing the midway point of the 40-day lenten season which is actually 46 days long — traditional calendars don’t count the 6 Sundays from Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday. In my work I am writing all the time and a journal has always seemed superfluous and a lot of work. But one of the things I’ve learned so far is the importance of paying attention to our emotions – how you are feeling will dictate how you see others and the world.

It’s been said “facts don’t care about your feelings”. However “not caring” about something IS an emotion! So therefore facts have emotions? Seems like a self-negating contradicting statement to me. 🙂 Anyways… We live in an information driven society, and emotions are often shoved under the rug. But they do matter and have grave impact on the facts of our lives. If there is anything that doing a daily task like a lenten reflection does is that it makes you aware of how you are feeling!

It is often the set of facts we choose to look at that determine our emotions.

  • how much money we have /don’t have
  • our marital status
  • our job / not job
  • amount of Coronavirus Cases
  • how clean our house is

These aren’t insignificant things. But they aren’t the set of facts that should determine everything.  St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1556) wrote a daily prayer called the Examen – an opportunity for daily reflective prayer that unfolds in different sections (Thanksgiving, Petition, Review, Response, Looking Ahead) . One of the chief things it does is help us in the process of examining our emotions and thoughts and reminding us of the truth (and the FACT) that God loves us! I hope that it may help you today  as well.

The Examen: A Daily Prayer

Thanksgiving

What am I especially grateful for in the past day . . .

The gift of another day…
The love and support I have received…
The courage I have mustered…
An event that took place today…

Petition

I am about to review my day; I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me.

Review

Where have I felt true joy today?
What has troubled me today?
What has challenged me today?
Where and when did I pause today?
Have I noticed God’s presence in any of this?

Response

In light of my review, what is my response to the God of my life?

A Look Ahead

As I look ahead, what comes to mind?
With what spirit do I want to enter tomorrow?

(From Jesuitresource.org)

 

 

 

 

#lentpost #18

(Mar 18)

  • These posts are my daily (Mon-Sat) thoughts (sometimes incomplete) during the season known as lent. Lent is a time of mourning, fasting, lamenting, and preparation for the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It marks out the 40 or so days before resurrection Sunday.

God the creator wants to be LORD of our quarantines and spatial distancing.

Today I was inspired by my daughter Qolbe who from the time she woke up this morning has been cooking, writing letters, doing projects where she is making and creating things. I am inspired by her desire to be creative, explore new projects, and wonder at the life we’ve been given.

In contrast to the gods of antiquity and the modern gods of militarism, materialism and moralism our God is not a consumer, God is creator, sustainer, life GIVING source. By getting us out of our routines I am seeing that it is an opportunity for my nearness to creator God will grow.

Galatians 6:1-5 in the Message puts a different spin on this familiar passage

6 1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

~ Pastor Paul

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