Dear Baseline Friends,
In each of the first three gospels there is a specific point in the narrative when Jesus tells his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, face arrest and trial, ultimately be crucified, but then be resurrected into new life. The disciples don’t quite understand, but Jesus and his band of disciples make the physical move towards Jerusalem.
Our sermon series – The Road to the Cross: Encounters with Jesus – will follow Jesus and his disciples on their way to Jerusalem. Jesus has many encounters on his way to the cross… and they are opportunities to teach about faith, gratitude, pride, rest, and repentance.
Much of the series will take place during the church season of Lent which is a time of preparing our heart for the events of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. I believe this will be a very important season for Baseline Church. I’m asking each of us to fast, pray, and listen during Lent.
Fasting is an important practice in the church where a disciple gives up (usually) food for a specific time – maybe a day or half a day (though some have gone on much longer fasts) – in order to cleanse their soul so that a deeper connection with God is possible. Fasting also shows us those areas in our life which need specific attention – maybe we have an addiction we weren’t aware of or a thought pattern which is unhealthy. Fasting seems to bring such things to the surface where the Holy Spirit can bring change.
My guess is that most of us believe in the power of prayer. Many of us might even have a routine of praying before meals, asking God to provide for physical needs, or crying out to God on behalf of the sick. These are good and beautiful prayers that are clearly in Scripture. However, if we stop here, we only skim the surface of what a life of prayer could be.
My hope this season is for us as a church to develop a posture in prayer where we take time to sit with the Lord and listen for his leading. This might be new for you. It will take a bit more time and is best experienced when we can find a measure of silence and solitude (which for some because of your season of family life might be next to impossible 😊). You might not hear the audible voice of God, but it’s likely that you’ll have a sense, an impression, a feeling, or a specific word from the Holy Spirit. Pay attention to whatever surfaces. Don’t overthink it. The point is not to pray perfectly.
Rather, our focus should be on resting in the presence of our loving God. And remember, this kind of prayer is very similar to physical exercise – the benefits become apparent through consistent repeated practice. Anything you sense God saying to you will line up with the truth of Scripture and will be confirmed by the Christian community around you.
My desire as we study the encounters Jesus has on the road to the cross is that we will personally encounter Him in our own lives today.
Blessings – Donn