What is Lent?

Question: "What is the meaning of Lent?"

Answer: Lent is a period of fasting, moderation, and self-denial. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays). During Lent, participants eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. It's not uncommon for people to give up smoking during Lent, or to swear off watching television or eating candy or telling lies. It is six weeks of self-discipline.

Lent began as a way for Christians to remind themselves of the value of repentance. The austerity of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1-3; Jeremiah 6:26; Daniel 9:3).

However, over the centuries Lenten observances have developed a much more "sacramental" value. Many Christians believe that giving something up for Lent is a way to attain God's blessing. But the Bible teaches that grace cannot be earned; grace is "the gift of righteousness" (Romans 5:17). Also, Jesus taught that fasting should be done discreetly: "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen" (Matthew 6:16-18). Jesus' command to "wash your face" seems to conflict with the practice of rubbing ashes on one's face on Ash Wednesday.

Fasting can be a good thing, and God is pleased when we repent of sinful habits. There's absolutely nothing wrong with setting aside some time to focus on Jesus' death and resurrection. However, repenting of sin is something we should be doing every day of the year, not just for the 46 days of Lent. 1 Timothy 4:8 says, "Bodily training is of some value, godliness is if value in every way."

If a Christian wishes to observe Lent, he is free to do so. The key is to focus on repenting of sin and consecrating oneself to God. Lent should not be a time of boasting of one's sacrifice or trying to earn God's favor or increasing His love. God's love for us could not be any greater than it already is.

Pastor Joshua Ponders...

Q: Pastor we approved an organ awhile back. What is going on?
A: We did as a matter of fact and we may be wondering what exactly has occurred since that time. And this is the
reality with the organ project is that when we start seeing things occur in the sanctuary of our church they will occur
very quickly. In fact there is much that is occurring now but it is just not in plain sight.

Q: What have we accomplished since the voter's meeting last year?
A: The main thing that we have accomplished is first we signed a formal contract with Parkey Organ Builders. This
contract was approved by the council, overseen and written primarily by Stan Speckhard, and looked over by Norman
Smith. And also, but important, we have written a very large check in terms of about 134,000 dollars.

Q: What has the organ company accomplished thus far?
A: What they have done was meet with us to talk about the contract. They too signed it. They took our money and
have bought materials with it. They also have clearly labeled and placed these items in their workspace for the eventual
building of our instrument.

Q: Okay so again what is going on now?
A: The answer to that is Parkey is in the design phase. We as a congregation approved a tentative design. And that
design was complete enough to give us rough estimates and a basic visual that will be very similar to what we will see
upon completion. Just like when you open up your cars owner's manual the designs and drawings in that book give
you a basic working knowledge of your car. And so too the working drawings and illustrations Parkey gave us were
enough for us to take a reasonable vote.
But if you were to go to Ford and ask for their actual blueprints of your car you would find multiple volumes inches
thick that would have the exact details of every inch of your vehicle. Parkey is making those multiple volumes right
now. And from time to time they are even sending rough designs to Dr. Carroll and Jeff Perrier where they give their
feedback and Parkey resumes making the designs. Upon final completion of the designs they will give a copy to Dr.
Carroll and Jeff Perrier. Then those designs will be reported to council.

Q: Will we then have another Voter's Meeting?
A: There should be no need for that. Unless the designs qualitatively change from the concepts that were voted upon
there should be no need for a further congregational meeting. The only thing that could change that is if in the design
process we discover something unforeseen that would fundamentally change the appearance or would be a price
increase above the allotted amount.

Q: So what then is the time frame to the Sanctuary and completion of the project?
A: Well some of this is impossible to answer until the designs are actually done. Then Parkey will give us a tentative
schedule. But so that we have something to go on... likely we will not see a change in the sanctuary till fall of this
year. If I was going to make a guess I would say after Christmas of 2015 you will start to see the sanctuary organ be
disassembled so that the new organ would safely be in place and operational before Easter of 2016.

Q: How long will the sanctuary be in disarray?
A: Now we all know how remolding projects go in our own homes. But since the floor will likely not be touched until
the old instrument goes out. And the old instrument will stay as long as possible so that we are not without an organ for
a long period of time. I think we are hoping that we go from the sanctuary currently as it is to its completed new form
in six weeks to two months. Now again remember your own homes and does any project every complete as fast as we
would hope? But that would be the goal.

Q: Will we have to worship somewhere else at that time?
A: We do not believe so. In the old cathedrals of Europe often people worship with sections blocked off for repairs. I
think for the life of the congregation it is good to see repairs ongoing. And if we all have to come in blue jeans one
Sunday because we just can't get the sanctuary clean enough then that is just not the end of the world.
And so again in summary we would hope that construction on the sanctuary would be started by January of 2016 and
hopefully be completed by mid Lent 2016. It shouldn't stop us from worshipping in the space. And if the designs get
completed sooner and things move on without a hitch we could see construction begin even sooner. But we can safely
say that we will have no physical change done to the sanctuary until Fall.

I hope these questions and answers help. The Lord bless and keep you all at this exciting time for our church.

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