March 2nd marks the beginning of Lent,
the 40-day season leading up to Easter in which Christians around the world make special commitments to repentance, fasting, scripture-reading and generosity. Lent is not a common practice among churches like ours, so every time this season comes around I like to take a moment to reflect on why we participate in Lent.
First of all, we do not participate in Lent because it’s required by Scripture or because it’s necessary for salvation. There is no command in the Bible about participating in Lent, and there are no special merit badges waiting in Heaven for observing the season. However, all the practices that are central to Lent—repentance, fasting, scripture-reading and generosity—are required by Scripture. They are things we should be doing anyway. And the purpose of Lent is to remind us of that as we prepare for Easter.
I think of Lent the same way I think about Valentine’s Day. Casey and I didn’t really do much for Valentine’s Day this year, and it wasn’t because we don’t love each other. Quite the opposite, in fact. We both feel that, if we do a good job of communicating our love for each other throughout the year, then we don’t need to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. If the last year had been rocky, then it might have been really important for us to take a day to remind each other that we really do love each other. The important thing isn’t the day itself—it’s the love that the day reminds us to show. And if we are showing each other love, then Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a big deal.
Lent can be like that. The important thing isn’t the season itself—the important thing is the repentance, humility and love that the season reminds us to show toward God. So I want to ask you an honest question: how are you and God? Do you feel good about where you’re at? Are you in a good rhythm of repentance, scripture-reading, fasting and generosity? If so, then Lent may not be a big deal for you. If, on the other hand, you see room for improvement—ways in which you need to rededicate yourself to the themes that Lent represents—then it may be good for you to participate. Spend time in repentance—you can participate in our Ash Wednesday services (if you miss it on the day, you can watch the service online later). Commit to some kind of fast—give something up as a sacrifice to God and a reminder of your need for Him. Commit to a special scripture-reading plan—read through a Gospel, or Isaiah, the Psalms, or the Proverbs. Or commit to giving more of your resources to the kingdom of God—whether money, time, or something else.
Ultimately what you decide to do is between you and God. I’m not going to ask or judge what you decide. But I do hope that, whatever you do, you are finding space for repentance, fasting, scripture-reading and generosity in your life.
Esther is on My Mind!
So, you get one more thing from me on the topic of Esther (unless you are in my class, then you get a bit more). I have so enjoyed studying this book for the past couple of months. It is a wonderful story that encompasses so much of what it means to be a believer. There is tragedy, heartache, triumph, grace, and, most importantly, God. In our Esther class, we have talked about how we may identify with some of the characters. Some Esther, some Mordecai, some, even Haman at times (none of us in the class hate Jewish people).
Looking at this book and identifying with characters from the story opens up such a rich understanding of the book. Whether it be feeling like Esther as we are thrust into a position we aren’t necessarily prepared for, feeling like Mordecai as we cause a messy situation, or feeling like we were a bit conceited in a situation like Haman, we can look at much of this book and see where we may be at and where God may be at.
And that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? Returning to the story itself; with the exception of Haman, the main characters in this story experience God working in a way that is beautiful and wonderful. God’s people need Him. They need Him, otherwise they are going to be wiped off the face of the earth and… He delivers. The overall theme of scripture is reflected in this short story. God’s people exist, God loves His people, God’s people get into a sticky situation, God’s people need Him, and God delivers His people. Seemingly, this cycle repeats over and over. The overall theme applies to us as well, though. I see those same characteristics in my own life. Even when we are in a difficult individual situation, we can still look at Jesus and how He ultimately delivers His people through what He did on the cross. I believe I will leave you with this; even when God seems distant, He is close.
We’re into our second month of our new Kids Club program, and I feel such joy over this program. It’s so wonderful to see the excitement kids bring to the building as they run in to learn about the fruits of the spirit. We have now combined that with nursery care, youth group, and a relaunched parents’ group, leading to an evening of connection and community for the whole family.
I deeply love controlled chaos, joyful laughter, voices raised in passionate worship, kids eagerly chattering to their parents about a craft they made that teaches them about Jesus . . . I love the church alive with the sounds of children, and families.
As we pray and dream over investing deeply in the next generations, and as we continue to be a church that well-loves families, noise is inevitable. Finding nerf gun darts in the sanctuary is a real possibility, as is hearing baby cries during service, and the hustle and bustle of little ones running through a crowded lobby.
So many of you are already involved in the children’s ministry in beautiful ways; you teach classes, you come to game nights or help with VBS. You read to kids in the nursery, or transport youth supplies when needed, or have volunteered in the preschool. So many of you have stretched outside of your comfort zone to bless families, disciple children and enrich the program and community that we have here at the church. THANK YOU. Thank you for your love, your care, and most importantly, your prayers. Faithful prayers are the rock-hard foundation of a healthy ministry.
But let us not rely on those who are currently doing, and who are already committed in prayer. Instead, let us prayerfully examine ourselves to see where God might be asking us to get involved. Is God giving you a tingling that you might be a good teacher? Maybe you’re great at organizing and want to join our day-after-the-event team when all the wonderful things need to be packed away and stored well. Maybe God is speaking to you that you could start a prayer team for the children’s ministry or dream up a fun booth for the next trunk or treat or be the shopper for the thank-you baskets and gifts we send to teachers and admin in Cascade District. There are SO many ways to serve.
So pray, dream, and then come talk to me about where you might get involved. Let us share together in the joy of speaking, teaching, and living out the example of Christ to the next generations.
In Him (and with Joy at what He might next do!)
We Invite All Ladies to Join Us for Fun, Fellowship and Prayer!
Friday, March 4, 2002 - 6:30 pm
We will watch Jungle Cruise and then we will share in a time of fellowship and prayer. “The feisty Dr. Lily Houghton, embarks on a peril-laden mission to change the world. Along with her brother, MacGregor, she enlists the help of a wisecracking riverboat skipper, Captain Frank Wolff, to guide them through the serpentine Amazon River.”
Bring a friend and a snack to share. We will observe COVID guidelines for social distancing and ask everyone to wear a mask.
Aaron Marshall passed away and went home to the Lord on February 5, 2022. A Memorial Service was held at TCC on February 19th. Please keep Rod, Kathleen, Andrew, Day and family in your prayers.
Nancy Menken and Carol Schaudt transferred their membership to Turner Christian Church on February 13th. Nancy and Carol are mother and daughter.
Groups for Kids!
4 years old – 2nd Grade
led by Vicky Remy & Ben Leppert
3rd – 5th Grade
led by Kris Jakubowski & Julie Leppert
Each group meets on the 1st & 3rd Sunday
of the month from 6:00—7:30 pm.
(Nursery Care is also available these evenings)
The Parent’s Group is starting up again! Parents with children 18 and under are invited! On the first and third Sundays of the month children will be in Kid’s Club, Youth Group and Nursery. On the other Sunday evenings, families will meet together as a group. Please contact Matt or Casey Holmes if you are interested in joining this group.
All youth, grades 6-12, are invited for study, fellowship and fun each Sunday evening at 6:00 pm. Rachel White and Jack Holvey lead this group.
Frank Musgrave and Gary Tiffin will be guiding a group focused on developing leaders in various areas of church life. We are looking to start later this spring and are inviting anyone who is interested to participate. The commitment will be a monthly meeting for around a couple hours for a few months. If you are interested, contact Jack Holvey or sign up on the sign-up sheet available in the church lobby.
On March 2, 2022, Christians around the world begin Lent through a special church service focused on repentance. They will often use that day to commit to certain spiritual practices like scripture-reading, fasting, or giving for the rest of Lent. We will be offering two ways of observing Ash Wednesday:
1. From 7:00-10:00 am, the sanctuary will be open for anyone who wants to come in and spend time in prayer and receive ashes at the start of their day. We will have prayer stations set up and a minister available to sprinkle ashes as a sign of repentance.
2. We will hold a full Ash Wednesday service at 6:00pm in the sanctuary, including prayer, scripture reading, music and ashes.
Pacific Northwest Scholarship Dinner
At Turner Christian Church
Sunday, March 6, 2022 • 5:00 pm • $ 8.00 (pay at door)
Virginia’s “Famous” Potato & Salad Bar
(Please RSVP by calling the church office or
signing the registration form in the foyer)
Bus Service from TRH at 4:30 pm)
(Please RSVP by calling the church office)