What is the Holy Spirit speaking to our church?
There has been a consistent and confirming whisper among us that God is calling into a season of consecration. Two Sunday mornings ago I awoke with Romans 12:1-2 booming in my head. After the worship gatherings Pastor Amanda mentioned to several of us that God had directed her attention to this verse the same week and on the same Sunday the Holy Spirit spoke to Pastor Dorothy and said, Consecrate. We, as pastors, sense that God is calling the entire body of believers into a season of consecration.
We do not merely see the Lent season as just another Christian activity on the calendar for 2015. At least that is not how we are seeing it this year. We sense deeply that the Holy Spirit is drawing us, collectively, to set aside this time for consecrating ourselves to Him and for what he is about to do through us. There is a growing sense that God is preparing us for a new mission and challenge; that is, he wants to ready us for something big he is going to do through us in this City. Consecration is how we feel God is calling us to ready ourselves.
What is Consecration?
Literally it means, "to associate with the sacred." The first mention of the word (qadash) in the Torah was an instruction regarding "setting aside to the Lord" the firstborn male of Israel for priestly service. It is to designate a person, place, thing or even a time (like Sabbath) as the Lord's. The following are some examples of what was consecrated in Biblical times: temple vessels, people of God, places, time for fasting. In the Gospels the word (hagios) is used in reference to Jesus. John talks about how the Father consecrated Jesus to the task of saving the world and Jesus talks about how he is consecrating himself for his disciples.
I have a wooden spoon that I have consecrated to my French Press. Since I have to use wood to stir the coffee grinds and since wood is porous I have set aside that spoon just for the French Press, it's been consecrated, designated as solely and wholly for French Press stirring. The wooden spoon has begun to take on the character and color of the coffee.
In a similar way we believe God is calling us to designate the time from Ash Wednesday (Feb18) thru Easter (April 5) as a season for consecrating our lives and bodies to Jesus. We are challenging the church to step into this next season with a renewed vigor for "becoming by grace what God is by nature."
- Ash Wednesday. There will be two "kick off" services for our Consecration time. Both are on Ash Wednesday (6pm and 7:15pm) they will be brief times of prayer and a time of consecrating ourselves to God as we prepare for what we sense he wants to do through us.
- Fasting. Each week we will pose a fasting challenge to the church. The first week (Feb18-) we ask the church to fast whites--sugar, flour, and dairy products. Some weeks we will challenge the church to fast media. Other weeks we will challenge the church to fast meats. And then there will be a week we challenge the church to fast al liquids (coffee, soda, juice, etc.) and drink only water. Each week we will post what we are fasting.
- Practicing. Each day we are challenging all members to collectively join in with living-out Jesus's happycity ethic which is taken from the sermon on the mount. You can sign up for daily challenges on twitter, instagram, facebook or by SMS texting from your mobile device 313131 and putting in the text box "happycity". We are challenging each other to "Seek God's kingdom first" each day, to make his #happycity a priority and passion and trust him with our worries (Matthew 6:33).