The observance of Holy Week dates back at least to the 3rd Century, when Christians were encouraged to fast from any activities considered to be “of the flesh.” The week leading up to Resurrection Sunday - or “Easter” - was to be utilized in somber reflection of sin, sacrifice, and the cross of Christ. By 438 AD there were laws that shut down the courthouses in Rome for two weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday.
Our hope is to reclaim this Holy Week as an opportunity to reflect on our own sin and to encourage us to be people who are marked by repentance and a deep faith in our resurrected savior. We are “People of the Resurrection.” We are those who have trusted in a resurrected savior and received new life in him. Let us, this week and every week, proclaim with our words and our deeds that we are the “People of the Resurrection.” We are encouraging families to utilize their time in family Bible Study to take an in depth look at the last week of Jesus’ life from the gospel of Matthew.
In Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Whitney rightly claims, “No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture.” This discipline is most important and, at the same time, is quite broad. This week, we will be focusing on a few of the ways that we can discipline ourselves to take in God’s Word.
We are going to spend the next several weeks taking an in depth look at spiritual disciplines. In his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Don Whitney defines spiritual discipline this way: “The Spiritual Disciplines are those personal and corporate disciplines that promote spiritual growth. They are the habits of devotion and experiential Christianity that have been practiced by the people of God since biblical times.” While there is not a formula that is guaranteed to promote spiritual growth, there are things that mature Christians do regularly which the Spirit can and does use to grow us into the image of Christ.
The spiritual discipline of serving is one that is often overlooked. We think of prayer, evangelism, reading the Word, worship, even fasting; but we should also be disciplined and determined to serve. In his book, Spiritual Disciplines, Whitney reminds us that “God’s Word has no place for spiritual unemployment or spiritual retirement or any other description of a professing Christian not serving God.” As Christians, we are all expected to serve – that’s part of the reason we were set free from sin and death!
Noted writer William Arthur Ward once wrote: “Whatever gets your goat gets your attention. Whatever gets your attention gets your time, Whatever gets your time gets you. Whatever gets you becomes your master. Take care, lest a little thing horn in and get your goat.” In short, where our minds and hearts are focused is what we give our effort and worship to, so let's make sure it's worthy of that. We are in a day when the word “worship” gets thrown around a lot and practiced oftentimes poorly or incorrectly. We we miss the true definition of and reason for worship. The spiritual discipline of worship is not a simple feat, nor is it something to take lightly. We look this week at how to better hone ourselves in mind and spirit to worship the living God, the only One truly worthy of worship.
There are many difficult things that have come as a result of the recent coronavirus, but God has also given us a precious gift as a result of the cancellations that have occurred… time. Our hope is that families, and specifically dads, would redeem this time by committing to use a portion of it to study God’s word. Our church staff has prepared Bible studies over the attributes of God which will be released daily. Our conviction is that any time spent in God’s word is profitable. Our hope is that you would read the passages and discuss the questions as a family in order to understand better who God has revealed himself to be in his word.