The Season of Lent

Lent is the forty days leading up to Easter, not including Sundays (during which we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection!). For the Church, this season is a time of reflection and repentance. Many followers of Jesus find it helpful to fast during Lent.

Fasting has been misunderstood in many ways. Fasting is not:

  • Proving our spiritual worth by how much we can “suffer”
  • Giving up sins or bad habits (we should be giving up those things anyways)
  •  Trying out a new diet (going on a low-carb diet is not the same thing as fasting).

John Piper’s words about fasting can be helpful in reminding us of its purpose: “Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God.” When we fast, we take a step back from a good gift of God (for example, food!) and seek the Giver of those gifts. When our stomachs growl from hunger, or we feel fidgety from a media fast, we are reminded that our greatest hunger should be Jesus Himself.

As Richard Foster writes:

Fasting must forever center on God. More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.

Again, Piper writes, “We have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”

Simply put, we fast so that we can make more room in our hearts for Jesus.

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As we withdraw for a time from some good gifts of God during this season, we also encourage you to draw near to the Giver through intentionally adding disciplines.

What better way to make room in our hearts for Christ than through Scripture? The YouVersion Bible App has several reading plans here, including #LentChallenge2015 from Margaret Feinberg (reading through the four Gospels in 40 days).

For families, you might find this Lenten practices calendar helpful. These simple acts of faith & devotion can help Christians of all ages make room in their hearts for Jesus (click on the image for a full-sized PDF).

Lent 2015

One quick note: We encourage you to break your fast on Sundays. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus each Lord’s Day, and breaking the fast weekly reminds us that it’s not primarily about our self-discipline, but celebrating the Risen King of grace and life.

Global Gifts that Proclaim Jesus’ Love

Friends, we received a wonderful letter from our friends at Living Water International regarding our Advent Conspiracy offering that we wanted to share with you:

Hello,

I hope that you and everyone at Anchor City are doing well!

Thank you for your generous gift through Advent Conspiracy! Your partnership helps us continue to bring clean, safe water to so many communities around the world. This gift of water has been accompanied by sanitation and hygiene training that is critical to fight diseases, like Ebola, in the countries we serve. Most importantly, your gift helps strengthen the local church and proclaim the name of Jesus in communities.

I read more about your partnership with Justice Venture International and these verses came to mind:

Psalm 72:4-5, 12-14
4 May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. 5 May he endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. 12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. 13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. 14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.

Thank you and everyone at Anchor City for caring for the Lord’s children, the thirsty and enslaved, as a body!

Blessings,
TAYLOR CROWDER
Development Representative
LIVING WATER INTERNATIONAL

Living Better Stories

Reverse

At our retreat, we heard from our friend Mike Seawright about living out Kingdom stories in our everyday lives. One of the best ways to show what following Jesus looks like is through kindness and generosity.

We’d love to hear how you’re using your reverse offering to tell the story of what God is doing in and through Anchor City! We had some amazing brainstorming at the retreat. Here are a couple of ideas to help you put those reverse offerings into action:

  • Invite a friend to coffee and share your story of what God is doing in our church family and in your life
  • Make a small gift basket and drop it off at your local firehouse, with a personal card expressing your thanks
  • Make lunches to give away to people who might be asking for money. Pro tip: Keep them in the back seat of your car for easy access!
  • As a family, commit to sponsoring a World Vision child. Sit down with your kids and talk about how our giving can make an impact in the world for Jesus. Use the reverse offering to help pay for the first month of sponsorship!
  • Purchase a Scripture print and give it to a friend who could use the encouragement. Double the impact: Support a local artist (for example, Handletter.co is based in SD and makes beautiful prints!) and point a friend toward Jesus!

Conspiring for Good This Advent

Anchor City is proud to be part of the Advent Conspiracy:

A global movement of people and churches resisting the cultural Christmas narrative of consumption by choosing a revolutionary Christmas through Worshipping Fully, Spending Less, Giving More and Loving All.

We believe that first Christmas, when Christ the King entered the story of our world to redeem and restore the world He so loves, the world was changed—and we believe Christmas can still change the world!

On Sunday, December 21st, we will collect a special Advent Conspiracy offering to support two organizations doing incredible ministry around the world:

In this season of watching, waiting, and preparing the way for the King, may your heart be filled to overflowing with the love of Christ!

Find out more about JVI’s work to fight bonded slavery around the world and how our Advent Conspiracy offering can help bring clean water & the love of Jesus through LWI:

Free The Captive. Fight The Trafficker.

On December 2, 2014, Anchor City is proud to join with churches from around the world to join the fight against modern slavery.

We are partnering with Justice Ventures International, in collaboration with many of JVI’s US and Asia partners, to host a benefit to raise awareness for the almost 30 million men, women and children exploited in sex trafficking, forced labor and other forms of slavery. The event will feature stories of rescue and restoration, as well as practical ways for ordinary citizens to aid the victims and help bring perpetrators to justice.

To learn more about the problem of modern day slavery visit Walk Free.

Free the Captive