By Jane Lewis--
This past Wednesday was the beginning of our Lenten season, and what some Christian denominations refer to as “Ash Wednesday.” I remember both in my youth and young adult life going to mass on this day and receiving the incense-infused ashes spread on my forehead in the shape of a cross. The priest would say, "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” It was a tangible reminder of our mortality, and even more so, a reminder of the darkness of sin and that Jesus died for us. I always felt humbled when I received the ashes, as well as a sadness that MY sins were part of the reason Jesus suffered and died. We would leave the church in silence. It felt like a holy moment.
Lent is a time where we can encounter many holy moments. This year, I want my personal reflection and remembrance of Jesus’ journey to the cross to be deeper and more heartfelt than ever before. I want to ponder the scriptures and embrace as much of Jesus as I can.
I would like to personally invite you to make this Lenten season one of the richest ones you have ever encountered as well. Make it more personal than it’s ever been. Set apart time to spend with Him. Open your eyes to see. Open your ears to hear. Open your heart to feel. Read the scriptures about Jesus, our sacrificial lamb. Meditate on His journey to the cross, put yourself into the story, walk alongside Him. Listen to what the Holy Spirit might want to say to you, or perhaps just allow yourself to feel His presence. Make it personal, because, my dear friend, it is personal.
As we all know, life sometimes throws us for a loop. We experience the loss of a loved one, job losses or changes, health problems, difficult relationships, situations with our children, divorce, and the list goes on. We feel scared, fearful, weak, confused, lost. It feels like we’re alone in our own private wilderness, and there seems to be no help in sight.
Greg reminded us last Sunday that as Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, the Holy Spirit was with Him. In our wilderness moments, we too, have the Holy Spirit there with us. Yet God knows that sometimes we also need a human connection, and He provides others to come alongside us to give us support and encouragement along the way. We currently have two care ministries at GPBC that provide such support.
Stephen Ministry at GPBC is made up of lay Stephen Ministers who meet one-on-one with those who are going through a difficult time. Stephen Ministers are Jesus to their care receivers, providing a listening ear, encouragement, prayer, and support.
We also have new support groups starting soon, more information can be found here.
Please contact the church office at (503) 452-9375 if you are interested in having a Stephen Minister contact you, or if you want additional information regarding our support groups.