February 5, 2021
Dearly Beloved First Pres Family,
We have been learning from our Ephesians study that the church of Jesus Christ is “God’s Enduring Community.” Our Gospel Priorities Month emphasized that we are adored by God and adorned to be “God’s Beautiful Community.” As we look toward Holy Week, I want to invite us all to prepare our hearts as “God’s Consecrated Community.”
Consecration means “to be set apart” or “dedicated for a higher purpose.” The good news of the gospel is that God has conquered evil and reconciled sinners to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Those who have been united with Jesus by submitting to his Lordship and trusting him as Savior have been set apart (consecrated) as those united to him. (John 17:19) Consecration is not just a set of behaviors that set us apart from the world, consecration is the position we have been given because of Jesus’ purchase of us in salvation. In this way, being a consecrated people, we can delight in how we are positioned for our relationship with Jesus Christ, and our lifestyles can reflect the celebration of our fellowship.
Join me over the next forty days as we prepare for Holy Week by engaging in a study written by members of our staff and congregation. Together let us we seek to understand the depth of what it means to be “God’s Consecrated Community.”
On the Christian calendar, Lent (from Latin, meaning “fortieth”) is the forty days beginning on Ash Wednesday and leading up to Easter Sunday. (Sundays are not counted in these forty days.) The number forty carries great biblical significance. Forty days represents a period of trial, preparation, and consecration. Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate the death (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter Sunday) of Jesus. It is this very preparation and repentance—aimed at grasping the intense significance of the crucifixion—that empowers us to live into the consecration that the resurrection has purchased for us. During Lent, as a period of focused consecration, believers mourn their attachments to idolatrous sin, repent of clinging to lesser loves, and by faith, increase their pursuit of God.
Our study will take eight topics that are important in the understanding of consecration and offer a passage, a reflection, application questions, a prayer, and a worship song for that day. The study will be released daily via our mobile app, and they will also be accessible from the home page of our website. It is my prayer that, even though we are separated physically more than ever, this study will provide a shared experience for us as a church family and help us prepare together to experience Holy Week in a deeper and fuller way as God’s Consecrated Community.
Blessings, dear family!