Join ECUMC this Lent as we explore the theme of "Giving it Up." Many of us give up certain things for the forty days of Lent, and doing so can be a very beneficial thing for us. This seven-week worship series takes that idea one step further, talking each week about things that God wants us to give up, not just for forty days, but forever.
March 5 - Giving Up Control
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11
In the modern world, where we are used to having control over so many things, we often fail to seek God's will for our lives and try to call all the shots ourselves. God wants us to deny ourselves and give him the final say when we are charting out the course of our lives.
March 12 - Giving Up Expectations
Genesis 12:1-4a; John 3:1-17
Sometimes we just can’t know what’s going on or what’s coming next. God doesn't guarantee any future circumstances or uninterrupted prosperity, but we can trust that God will be with us through whatever circumstances we face and that God will work with us to make the best result out of even the most hopeless of places.
March 19 - Giving Up Superiority
God doesn't care about any of the artificial lines we draw to make ourselves feel superior to others. Letting go of status symbols and attitudes, helps us hear Jesus’ call more clearly and we are able to respond more faithfully.
March 26 - Giving Up Enemies
Loving our enemies can sometimes feel like as idealistic a notion as instantaneous world peace. Jesus shows us that caring even for those who persecute you is a real, actionable mandate that we can carry out by following Jesus’ example.
April 2 - Giving Up Our Lives
Ezekiel 37:1-14; John 11:1-45
We are used to thinking of life in terms of fixed beginnings and ends. The story of Jesus calls us to throw away our old categories and embrace God's larger vision of eternal life that begins here and now.
April 9 (Palm Sunday) - Giving Up Popularity
What a welcome Jesus got as he entered Jerusalem. “Hosanna!” the people cried, hailing him as an honored king. Later, a different crowd was calling for his death and the release of a murderer. God calls us to put our faith in God's unending love and grace- something that will never go away, and will sustain us through the times when others have abandoned us.
April 16 (Easter Sunday) - Giving Up Death
Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18
Jesus’ rising on Easter morning was more than a showy miracle to shock and awe his attackers and followers. When Jesus rose, he turned the entire order of the universe on its head. The Resurrection shows us that Death does not have the last word. God has the last word, and that word is Life. Suffering and Death end, but God's Kingdom lasts forever.