Dear First Pres,

   Today is the second day of Lent. For some of us Lent has become that dreaded time of year when we're asked to give up something we really like. But is that what Lent is about? I know you know the answer. No ... Lent is not just about giving something up. What Lent is really about is renewal, repentance, and preparation. It's a season set aside to help us truly celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Resurrection Sunday. We intentionally seek the Lord to renew our walk with Him by adding spiritual practices or disciplines. We take time to repent of our sin and work to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature (Colossians 3:5). We also let go of some things (fasting) that will help us focus our attention on the Lord. All of this works together to help prepare our hearts for the wonderful celebration we call Easter.

   I read an article that I found helpful on Tuesday as I was getting ready for the launch of Lent. The article (by Becky Eldredge) asked this question: What is the grace Jesus desires to deepen within us during Lent? It might be to deepen our understanding of Jesus' sacrifice for us. It might be to overcome a temptation or sinful habit that is holding you back. It might be to nurture some new spiritual practice that will help you connect with Christ. 2 Peter 3:18 says, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." So, what is the grace that Jesus desires to deepen within you during Lent? My prayer is that this will be an intentional season in your life as you seek to grow in the grace of Jesus.

   If you haven't picked up a Seek God for the City prayer guide, please do so on Sunday morning. You'll find the remaining copies in the Sanctuary Entry. It's a wonderful resource to unite us in prayer for the redeeming transformation of our city and world.