40 Days of SeekingJon Burgess
11The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 13Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. Mark 8:11-13
Hot on the heals of another multiplication miracle where over 4000 were fed from 7 loaves and a few fish, the religious leaders came demanding another sign. According to Matthew 16:1 they were literally ganging up on Jesus as the Pharisees and Sadducees put aside their theological differences to unite in opposition to Jesus. The orginal language reveals that this wasn't mere inquiry. It was an unmitigated, unsubstantiated, unending dispute against Jesus and his claimes. Jesus knew that no matter how many signs He performed it wouldn't be enough to convince them. They weren't seeking to know Him, they were seeking to expose Him. Acts 4 reveals that even after the greatest miraculous sign of all time, the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, these same relgious leaders still denied the truth. They wanted a sign. What they got was a sigh. This wasn't a wistful sigh. It was a deep gutteral almost groan from the bottom of His heart. He knew many of them would never see Him for He who was because they would never seek Him from their hearts. They would continue to explain away every sign as a natural phenomenon and would never experience the supernatural transformation Jesus had for them.
Today is the beginning of Lent. This is the 40 Days of spiritual preparation leading up to Easter. Six weeks set aside to seek God and to be re-awakened to what He has done for us through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. I don't want a sign. I don't want a sigh. I want to see Jesus! I want to see God in a new light as I seek God with a fresh focus on what He is doing around me already! The religious leaders explained away the move of God and missed the miracles right in front of them! I don't want to make the same mistake.
Many liturgical churches begin the 40 day journey (technically 46 but they don’t count Sundays) by giving up certain activities or foods. If you feel God leading you to do this to prepare for Easter then please do so. I am feeling particularly stirred to emphasize not what I’m keeping myself from but what Im giving myself to. Here are few ideas:
* TGIT- Thank God It's Thursday- from 6:30 - 7:30 we do prayer and worship in the round in the auditorium. It's completely unplugged and unprogrammed as we are led to pray over the church, island, country, etc. Consider committing to joining me and others as we seek God together over the next six weeks!
* Small Groups- There are now 568 DCAT small groups with 2,172 group members going through this amazing DVD curriculum. It's not too late to grab a DVD and booklet and start your own and invite a few friends. Just email email@example.com. Paul and Donna Nakamura are hosting the corporate DCAT study beginning March 2, 6:30pm at the Mauka Annex. Let them do all the work and you can sit back with your small group and enjoy the study. Register at SaLT@eNewHope.org
* Outreach- Consider stepping outside of your comfort zone over the next six weeks and serving those around you. How about helping out the Kokua Pantry Outreach Ministries?
-3rd Saturdays, 7am, at the Kokua Pantry, Pastor Shon Kihewa, firstname.lastname@example.org
-Every 2nd Thursday, 6:30pm, at River of Life, Bobby Smith, email@example.com
-Every 3rd Tuesday, 6:30pm, at River of Life Raymond Primicias, firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to email them for the details about what they do and where they meet. It's an awesome way to reach out to those in need.
* Volunteering- Over 185 people have signed up to volunteer in serving in various ministries throught the church over these past few weeks! This is amazing and I'm so thankful for each of you! All God is asking for is a willingness to try it out. If you have not yet signed up to serve, use these next six weeks to do so. Simply email email@example.com visit the New Hope In Action kiosk under the Ohana Tent this weekend!
The idea of Lent comes from the 40 Years of wandering for Israel and the 40 Days of wilderness for Jesus. Though neither of these things sound appealing consider what came on the other side of the 40 Days: The Promise And The Power! Let me know what you are “giving yourself to” for Lent!
I don't want a sign. I don't want a sigh. I want to see You Lord as I seek You as never before over these next 40 days! I pray that You would reveal Yourself to Your people. That You would break our hearts with the things that break Yours. That we would have an encounter with You and see what You are already doing right in front of us!