Worship
 

   
  
  
Ash Wednesday service this year will be on March 6th.
Some facts about Ash Wednesday and Lent:
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. The Lenten season is a moveable period of time falling on different dates each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter. Ash Wednesday can occur as early as February 4 or as late as March 10.

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes remind us there is a price for sin – Death. You know that “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” thing.
 
The ashes used are typically from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday.
 
 Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.
Let me note, at this point, that if you think of Lent as a season to earn God’s favor by your good intentions or good works, then you’ve got a theological problem. God’s grace has been fully given to us in Christ. We can’t earn it by doing extra things or by giving up certain other things in fasting. If you see Lent as a time to make yourself more worthy for celebrating Good Friday and Easter, then perhaps you shouldn’t keep the season until you’ve grown in your understanding of grace. If, on the other hand, you see Lent as a time
 
 
to grow more deeply in God’s grace, then you’re approaching Lent from a proper perspective.
While I intend to “give something up” for Lent, I can understand another’s emphasis being not so much on fasting as on intentional devotion to God. Sometimes added special Lenten Bible studies or prayer can lead one to a deeper experience of Good Friday and Easter. After ignoring Lent for the majority of my life, I’ve paid more attention to it during the last two decades. Sometimes I’ve given up something, like watching television or eating sweets, in order to devote more time to Bible study and prayer. (The television fast was especially tough because I love watching March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament, on TV.) Sometimes I’ve added extra devotional reading to my regular spiritual disciplines. I can’t claim to have had any mystical experiences during Lent, but I have found that fasting from something has helped me focus on God. It has also helped me to look ahead to Good Friday and Easter, thus appreciating more deeply the meaning of the cross and the victory of the resurrection. Before I began honoring Lent, Good Friday and Easter always seemed to rush by before I could give them the attention they deserved. Now I find myself much more ready to meditate upon the depth of Christ’s sacrifice and to celebrate his victory over sin and death on Easter. Let me be very clear: Lent is not a requirement for Christians. Dallas Willard has said that if “a certain spiritual discipline helps you grow in God’s grace, then by all means do it”. But if it doesn’t, don’t feel like you must do it. I’d say the same about Lent. If it helps you prepare for a deeper celebration of Good Friday and Easter, if it allows you to grow in God’s grace, then by all means keep it. If Lent isn’t your cup of tea, then don’t feel obligated to keep it. You should realize, however, that millions of Christians – Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Independent – have found that recognizing the season of Lent enriches our worship and deepens our faith in God. 
I am a sinner. I do not always reflect God’s love as I should. Ash Wednesday reminds me that it is only by God’s grace that I have life. He gave it to me and I have no chance of eternal life without Jesus. Ash Wednesday will begin my preparation for Holy Week and the Passion and Resurrection of my Lord.
 My thoughts as I enter this years’ Lenten season will be simple:
 God forgives. God loves. God gives sinners a second chance.
Hope to see you March 6th,
  
  
    God Bless,
James Bost