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SUNDAY LENTEN SERIES:
VILLAINS, HEROES & NOBODIES

OVERVIEW: God uses all kinds of people to reach His ends. God calls on those who are able and willing to build His kingdom. We may judge those people and regard them as Villains, Heroes or Nobodies, but we would do better to see them for who they are: His hands and feet in the world.

February 18 • Esther
Esther 4:10-16 (NIV); 1 Corinthians 1:28-31 (NIV); Matthew 13:53-58 (NLT)
Esther was a nobody. She was not born of a noble family. She possessed no great talents of leadership, wasn’t a military strategist, and had mastered none of the arts. But when called upon to do what must be done, she mustered the bravery to stand in the gap. She advocated for her people and shows us that we all have a part to play, however humble our beginnings.

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February 25 • Nicodemus: The Pharisee
John 3:1-11 (NIV); Micah 6:6-8 (NIV)
Nicodemus was a Pharisee, which makes him a villain. Aren’t all Pharisees evil? Weren’t they all constantly seeking to trap Jesus and undermine His authority? While Nicodemus was, indeed, a Pharisee, he didn’t exhibit the characteristics we so often associate with that ilk. Nicodemus was curious, a truth seeker. He came humbling to our Lord. He knew that God was active, and rather than writing Jesus off as an interloper, he sought out truth that would shake his worldview. 

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March 3 • Cyrus of Persia
Isaiah 44:24-45 (NRSV); Matthew 9:9-13(NRSV)
The Messiah is the one person God has anointed to lead His people. He is THE agent of the LORD. How can it be that the Prophet Isaiah calls Cyrus the King of Persia the Messiah!? The Messiah, or Christ (Messiah in Greek) is a very special person. Cyrus was just that. We think we understand what God is going to do. We think we know who God wants. We think there is a divine order that is completely understood. Cyrus the Polytheistic ruler of the blood thirsty conquering nation of Persia is a villain. But of course, no one is just one thing, even “villains.” We think we know God, but we should always be ready to see Him, in all people, in any place, and at any time.

Click here for this week's Sneak Peek!

March 10 • Joshua
Joshua 2:9b-11; John 20:26-29
Joshua was a hero of great faith. He and Caleb where undeterred about the Giants they saw in the land. It was an exceedingly good land and the LORD saw fit to give it to them. His faithfulness was in the minority, and because of it the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. It can be hard to stand for what you know to be true; Joshua did it for generations. 40 years later, he finally walks into the land that was given to his people and is informed that the Israelites had a reputation that preceded them.  A reputation that sapped the courage of the inhabitants. Our strength comes from the LORD and Joshua knew it.

March 17 • Centurion
Matthew 8:5-13; Philippians 2:6-11, 25-29
Roman oppressors are not welcome among the Jewish people. To the Roman Imperial command, the Jewish people are nothing more than a trouble and tribute. Sometimes the mold is broken, as when a Centurion sought Jesus out to heal his servant. Jesus would have been right to point out all the evil Romans had done to God’s Chosen people, but instead engages and shows us that the humility of even a Roman Villain can be edifying.

 

WEDNESDAY MIDDAY LENTEN SERIES:
JAMES: OUR FAITH JOURNEY

OVERVIEW: In this midday series titled "James: Our Faith Journey," we will have a time of teaching and worship to explore the many dynamics of life and faith that affect our journey. By learning from them, we can grow. Join us at 12:00 p.m. each Wednesday at Christ Providence (Christ Chapel) from February 14 - March 27. This service is in person and online. Those worshipping in person are invited to join us after the service for a light lunch in the Forum.

 

WEDNESDAY EVENING LENTEN SERIES:
THE EMOTIONAL FACETS OF JESUS

OVERVIEW: When you picture Jesus, what is your immediate image? What is He saying, where is He standing, what is He feeling? The difficulty with this activity is that Jesus refuses to be confined to a small box. The Jesus of Scripture expresses a wide range of emotions, reflecting our own highs and lows.

This series begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14 (with services at Christ Providence, Christ Concord and Christ Online at 6:30 p.m.) and continues each Wednesday until March 27 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Christ Providence (in person only). Please join us in Christ Chapel for a time of worship using Holden Evening Prayer with an extended time of study and reflection on the Emotional Facets of Jesus.

February 14 (Ash Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.) • The Sorrow Over Death
John 11; Revelations 21:1-6
Jesus expressed sorrow over sin and death. Knowing that neither are part of the original intent of Creation, Jesus mourns the chasm that separates us from God and draws us back through the gift of forgiveness. If losing someone through death has moved you to tears, magnify that to the sorrow of Jesus confronting this ultimate Enemy.

February 21 • The Joy of Pleasing the Father
John 15:9-13; Hebrews 12:1-3
The first step in maturing as a Christian is to remove the comma. Most of us simply say, “Please, God…” and then add a litany of requests to our prayers. By removing the comma, we reflect the Joy of Jesus with a life that wants to simply, “Please God.”

February 28 • The Exhaustion of the Daily Grind
Luke 5:12-16; Psalm 46
We have so much to be thankful for. Compared to the suffering around the world, we have little to complain about. And yet, sometimes the people and the tasks and the pressure become overwhelming to the point of exhaustion when we try to be all things to all people. When you are pouring out more than you are drinking in, you experience the exhaustion that Jesus did during His many times of withdrawing to be refueled once again by God.

March 6 • The Compassion for Those Who Suffer
Matthew 20:29-34; Hosea 11:1-4
Oddly enough, while the world wants to know how many houses were built, how many meals were served and how many wells were dug, God is less interested in the numbers and more about the heart. With this emotion of compassion, we pray, “Let my heart break with what breaks Jesus’ heart.” This compassion begins by seeing each person in need not as a number or as a consequence of their sin, but as a child of God for whom Jesus died.

March 13 • The Frustration at the Dullness of Others
Matthew 17:14-21 (John 3)
Keep Up! Our frustration is revealed in others when they do not get it, no matter how often it is explained or how much patience we give. Jesus also expressed this frustration with harsh words for his disciples who are slow witted and dull in their understanding. We can only hope it was a wake up call to Keep Up!

March 20 • The Agony of Suffering
Luke 22:40-44; Hebrew 4:14-16
Jesus expressed the agony in the face of his impending suffering, even asking God to take the cup away. This kind of dread we experience ourselves with an upcoming chemotherapy or a difficult conversation or in the breakup of a relationship. Jesus is a high priest who understands all of our emotions—even this feeling of dread.

March 27 • The Anger at Hypocrisy and Injustice
There is such a thing as righteous anger. It is an anger that moves us within to act on behalf of others, to speak in the voice of injustice, and to confront the façade of hypocrisy. Jesus called out the whitewashed Pharisees, calling them snakes who will not escape hell (Matthew 23:33). He called false prophets ferocious wolves (Matthew 7:15). He turned over the money changers for taking advantage of the pilgrims (John 2:13-17). And He made no apologies.  

 

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