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Ash Wednesday Service @ Out Of The Box


Jonah 1: 1-2 NRSV

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.

Jonah 3: 1-10 NRSV

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashesThen he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their handsWho knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

There have been many traditions through the years that people have begun to commemorate and to remember this time and season.

One of the most prominent things people do is to give up something for the season of Lent.

Soda’s          Television    Social Media         Sweets         Bread         

Some give up food and Fast

Some Fast for the entire 40 days – some eat only on Sunday’s

Some Fast certain meals each day

Ashes and Burlap Bracelets

These are simply reminders to us of whose we are and who we are, that we belong to Christ and only because of his gift of GRACE, God saw the destruction we were headed for and He offered his son Jesus Christ that we might live.

But then there is one other thing that I want to offer you tonight:

I have been reading a book by Al Roker, “No Going Back

Many of you know who Al Roker is, he is the weather man for the Today Show on NBC. Al struggled with his weight all of his life. He did the yoyo diet thing where he would lose 50 pounds and gain back 60.

He tried everything

Liquid diets, Protein Only Diets, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig.

He even promised his father on his death bed that he would lose the weight.

But here is what Al said…

“In the end, we only make permanent changes when we are willing and ready to make them.”

Luke 18:9-14

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I heard of a story that actually happened locally a few years ago. It was about a man who had an automobile accident and there were no external injuries.

There is nothing wrong with me” can be a dangerous thing to say.”

Spiritually, it is probably the worst thing a person could possibly say.”

Lent is all about preparing!

A 40 Day Journey! To get us ready for New Life.

The Pharisee in this story said, I’m OK, sure am glad I’m not like those sinners. He looked good on the outside, not a scratch you could say.

But the Tax Collector, he said God, I need your mercy.

Jesus says the sinful tax collector was the one that was forgiven by God, and not the Pharisee.


Jesus said, those who humble themselves will be exalted, lifted up, forgiven.

Jesus isn’t saying you can earn forgiveness, he is simply saying that one must acknowledge their need.

So many people hide behind being good. All Kinds of Masks…

Neither of the people in this story DESERVED forgiveness. The difference is one admitted his unworthiness. He was honest.

The truth will set you free!

Lent is a time of self-denial. It’s a time to give up something.

I applaud you for giving up food, sodas, social media, television, etc…

But I wonder how many would be willing to give up SIN?

Oh, what do you mean Pastor???

I don’t know what it is in your life, BUT YOU DO!

Lent is a time for us to give up our sinful habits, (those little sins you have grown comfortable with), our sinful attitudes, to stand before God and to ask him to forgive us, to wash us clean, to empower us to turn away from our sinful past and to live new lives that are dedicated to God.

And after we lay our sins before Christ, Lent is also a time to give up our guilty feelings.

Just as that tax collector walked home justified before God, we walk away, knowing that we have been forgiven. 

Last night I tweeted this:

“OK tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, what are you giving up for Lent? I’m thinking about giving up sin…” The following are responses.

All sin or some sin?


That just sounded funny

Let me know how you do with that.

What if you change your mind about giving up sin, does that mean that you can keep on sinning?

Al Roker

My weight will continue to be a lifelong battle, but at least I’m prepared to face it head-on and slay the dragon. I know it’ll take hard work, discipline, perseverance and persistence. If I had a choice between going on a twelve-mile run or sitting at home in front of the fire and reading a book, in my heart, I would prefer the book, but I am aware that isn’t going to keep me in shape. So when I look at the alternatives and weigh the options, there’s one thing I know for sure—I no longer identify myself as the fat, jolly, rotund weatherman. That guy is gone. It doesn’t mean he won’t try to stage a comeback. But if he does, I’m ready for him, because I love where I am, and I’m never goin’ back!

Lent is about slaying the dragon of SIN!

no perfect people allowed (3)


February 13, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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