Live Passionately // Day 1

Welcome to the Lent Experience. Ash Wednesday began a spiritual journey that will take us through Passion Week to Easter Sunday. The journey is referred to as Lent simply because that is the Old English word for Spring, the season of the year during which these days fall. The Latin term means “40 days”. This journey is marked by prayer; fasting and giving in a way that will help you become more intimately acquainted with the Lord Jesus whose death and resurrection we celebrate at its conclusion.

Each day we invite you to join us by reading the selection from One Month To Live for that day that we will post online. Personal challenges will follow each daily post for you to apply that will activate your faith as you encounter the risen Christ. These daily posts on the blog will fall into four categories:

  • Live Passionately
  • Love Completely
  • Learn Humbly
  • Leave Boldly

The final week, Holy Week, will focus on events in the life of Christ leading to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We encourage you to leave comments on the daily posts and challenges as we take this journey together. I look forward to hearing how you are encountering Christ on the journey.

Live Passionately // Day 1

If you’ve ever participated in an Ash Wednesday service you understand that the ashes are a symbol of our mortality. From dust we came and unto dust we shall return. That’s a sobering reminder isn’t it? The fact is, your time on earth is limited. Job 14:5 says, “Man’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.”

No matter how much this idea makes you squirm, it’s a fact. No matter who you are, how young or old, what measure of success you’ve attained, or where you live, mortality remains the great equalizer. With each tick of the clock, a moment of your life is behind you. Even as you read this paragraph, seconds passed that you can never regain. Your days are numbered and each one that passes is gone forever.

If you’re like me, you may be tempted to view this reality as harsh and unwelcome, to let it overwhelm and even paralyze you. But that’s not my purpose – just the opposite. I’m convinced that rather than inhibiting us to play it safe, embracing our time on earth as a limited resource has incredible power to liberate us. Most of us, if we knew we only had a month to live, would live differently. We would be more authentic about who we are and more deliberate about how we spent our time. But such a contrast begs the question: what keeps us from living this way now?

Let me get personal for a moment. It will make your journey more meaningful. If you knew you had one month to live, how would you live differently? I want to challenge you in your Lenten Journey to live the next 40 days as if they were your last and to write down what happened in your blog. Use a journal for the more personal comments you may want to keep between you and God.

When I first took this challenge I found that it wasn’t so much any huge changes that made such an impact in my life as much as the little, daily things that took on a whole new meaning to me and forever changed my life. Taking my youngest two children to school every day became a real joy. I became keenly aware of what a sacred moment it is every morning to play twenty questions with Steven and to make up silly songs with my teenage daughter Megan. I made sure that I met my two oldest sons; Ryan and Josh, at their favorite restaurant once a week after school just to connect. Looking back, now that Ryan, Josh and Meagan are all off in college, I have no regrets! That’s the real benefit of the one-month-to-live lifestyle that you will experience in your journey.

So let me challenge you. Be brutally honest with yourself. Your time on earth is limited. Shouldn’t you start making the most of it?

Here’s some questions to help you kick start your One Month to Live challenge:

1) As quickly as possible, without thinking too hard or too long, make a list of five things you’d change about your life if you knew you only had a month to live. Choose at least one to begin changing today, right now.

2) Tell at least one other person – friend, family member, or co-worker – that you’re taking this journey. Ask that person to join you and help keep you accountable to the changes you’ve chosen to make in your life.

  • Terry Wolfe

    The serman yesterday was a confirmation of how Jesus wants us to live out each day for him. Through Quest my journey has shown me that I give every once of my being to my day to day work but I am completey exhausted when it comes to my wife and kids. Our children our grown up now and it is even harder to try and create what Tierce called “margins” in our lives for time spent together with our older children who in many ways are following in our footsteps trying to carve out careers in this crazy world we live in. I literaly envy the steps that Kerry took to spend time with his his kids as they went through high school. Wha a lasting bond that they created with each other. At 56 I have begun to focus on the younger men that are in my sphere of enfluence to challenge them to make the effort to connect with their own children and their wives. I look forward to the journey.

  • Dennis M.

    As the financial world continues to make no sense to me, it becomes increasingly difficult to have assurance for the financial future of my family. This has been a terrible weight on me, both as a husband and father, and I know it’s affected my relationship with those around me.

    My long time passion has been to try to help and encourage others, and I have allowed this concern of the future erode my contentment for the day, and my relationships. Kerry’s challenge to live like there’s only a Month-to-go, teaches me that this is a time to really step up and let others see what real faith is, by choosing to have contentment and joy instead of worry and fear. I know, with God’s help, my passion will be restored along with my relationships, and that no matter what, God’s best is in my family’s future.

  • Kim

    I am so thankful that we have a pastor who takes the time each day to help lead us through the week as well as on Sunday. May we each learn to live each day so that we have no regrets and remember that each day is a chance to start over and not look at our past mistakes.

    I am looking forward to these days of Lent leading up to Easter with you leading the way.

    Thanks Pastor Kerry.

  • http://www.jesusandjaxyworld.com Jax Hill

    Well done Pastor Kerry! I know you saw my Lenten blog (www.jesusandjaxyworld.com) and wanted to get on the bandwagon, huh? :)

    Seriously though, the Ash Weds service was beautiful, the sermon this weekend was so challenging, and now this call to live passionately is something, I think, we all need to hear. I’m taking this journey with you. My Lent blog is one way I’m living more passionately and loving more completely, and it’s exciting to know others are on this journey, too. Thank you, Pastor Kerry, and Woodlands Church team!

    You’re preparing us for a marvelous celebration of resurrection.

  • Sally

    What a great idea! Thank you for challenging us.

    For the next 40 days, I’m going to give up an addiction that I’ve battled my whole adult life…not a debilitating one, but one that I feel is robbing me of living the life God means me for me. And second, to live to my full potential. I often feel that I’m not acting with the sense of urgency that God desires. There’s always tomorrow. But starting today, there are only 40 more days to accomplish all that God has commanded.

    I say, bring it!

  • Shivana Khoza

    Firstly, I am thrilled that there is another challenge for us to pick up. We really enjoyed the Gospel of John, then Proverbs, and now look forward to continuing our spiritual journey with this great church. I pray that God will continue to bless Pastor Kerry, his wife Chris, and their family; may our mighty God continue to use them for His great works in leading God’s people, serving others and bringing more people to know Christ.

    Over this Lenten period, I want to focus on my relationship with my kids and also on serving others. With God’s help, I look forward to breaking through the chains of procrastination to fully embrace life, living in the present and doing so passionately. And I thank God for the opportunity to do this, freely, without the fear of persecution… God, may the day soon come, when all Your people everywhere will be able to worship You freely…

  • Patti Lis

    Thank you once again for your commitment to lead us daily, this 40 days focusing on spending time with God each and every day as He draws us closer to Him and as our relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, grows stronger each and every day, as we prepare our heart, mind and soul for Resurrection Week-end. Job 14:5 is such a great reminder that my days are determined. God has decreed the number of my months and has set limits that I cannot exceed. I am looking forward to embracing my time on earth as a limited resource with incredible power for liberation.

    Thank you Pastor Kerry and Chris, many blessings to you and your precious family.

  • John M.

    “You are who you hang around with.” How many times have I heard this and glossed it over when I think about my lost passion and how my time spent with God has dwindled as well. There is definitely a correlation.

    The message this weekend was extremely relevant and it is my prayer to spend the first of each day with God, renew my passion through Him and with Him to, “do the things I did at first.”

  • Angela Mercer

    I look at each day as a new challenge to make a difference in someone’s life and to improve my relationship with God. I have used this poem to help me achieve my goals, especially when I have storms in my life to cope with.
    Today is the very first day of my life
    This is the begining of a new day
    I have been given this day to use as I will
    I can waste it or use it for good
    But what I do today is important
    Because I am exchanging a day of my life for it
    When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever
    Leaving in its place something that I have traded for it
    I want it to be gain and not loss
    Good and not evil
    Success and not failure
    In order that I shall not regret
    The price I have paid for it
    I will try just for today
    For you never fail until you stop trying.

    I hope this poem will also help others as it has helped me. There is also a nice video on You tube of this poem.
    God Bless