Lent begins next week with Ash Wednesday (February 10). If are a pastor or church leader and have not already, I would encourage you to consider observing Lent this year.
There are many great resources and devotionals available to use throughout this period. This year, I wrote a little devotional book for our church, From Dust to Glory: Readings and Reflections for Lent, and I want to share it with you.
Most devotional resources are heavy on reading the author’s thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, and I have benefitted from things like that in the past. The church needs clear, articulate writing that encourages and challenges people! But this little booklet has a different aim. In the introduction, I explain what the book is and how to use it:
This is a devotional guide for Lent. Each week focuses on a different biblical theme: repentance, humility, lament, suffering, enemies, and death. A short devotional reading will introduce you to these themes. Each day of the week, there will be a Scripture reading related to that theme and also a passage from the Gospel of Mark, each accompanied with reflection questions. The readings from Mark begin in chapter 8 and will, successively, take you to the end of Mark in 40 days. Because Sundays are celebrations and anticipations of Easter, there will be a short Scripture text focused on resurrection and renewal each Sunday.
There is not a devotional article to read each day for a very specific reason: this guide is meant to get you into the Scriptures. The temptation with devotional books is to spend more time reading someone else’s thoughts on the Bible rather than the Bible itself. Devotional readings are wonderful servants, but bad masters. Be mastered by God through his word, for this is where the true power for transformation lies. The reflection questions are there to stir your mind and heart. Please, don’t feel confined to answer just those questions or even answer them at all. They simply “prime the pump” and, sometimes, only cover a single aspect of the passage. Let them stimulate your thinking, feeling, praying, and acting. Let them, also, merely be your servant, but not your master.
I pray this is a helpful resource to you as you pursue Jesus this Lent. To God be the glory!