This past Sunday we finished a five week sermon series in the Book of Joshua. The sermon series was entitled "Seasons of Success." Throughout the series our teaching team said that Joshua was "the account of a warrior God, fighting on behalf of an obedient people and giving them the promised land of rest."
As we meditated on these victorious passages, I couldn't help but sense God's presence and victory over our local church. Sure we have had challenges in these first years, and it has required sacrifice from those that have chosen to plant a new church, but as we taught about God granting Israel victory, we saw new friends added to the local church. We had the opportunity to come alongside some of those in need in our community and grant them much needed support. We had members joining in with the developing Lake Elsinore Dreamcenter on Saturday mornings to have a positive presence in our community. In all of these things, I saw victory, and I saw God's kingdom, His heavenly city, moving into our cities of need.
After a welcome season such as this, it is with some hesitation that I begin to look forward toward the season of Lent, and its start on Wed. Feb 18th. Is the season flowing with milk and honey gone so soon? Must we start our fasting and confession already? Isn't Christ still risen from the dead, and the Holy Spirit still alive in our hearts?
Surely, for those that trust in Christ, our final victory is still won. And one day our fasting will be through. But the history of Christ's church teaches us that if we want to continue experiencing this victory in greater fullness in this life, we mush know Christ, not just in his resurrection, but in his sufferings and death as well. We still live in the tension of Christ's victory being inaugurated, and purchased but not yet consummated. And so our spiritual wells need both seasons of enjoying their waters, and seasons of being hewn deeper so they can continue to supply us with ever richer drinks of water.
Entering Lent is a choice we make. Our culture would encourage us to stay positive, and to live in a state of diminishing spiritual enjoyment, but if we want to see victories continue, even more powerfully in the years ahead, it would be wise for us to go back into training, to take up our cross, to embrace our approaching disciplines, and to know Christ more in His distress and not just His success. May we be a people that knows success now, and with passion, prepares for even greater victories to come!
Author: Cameron Lemons
Reflections from the pastor