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And I want you to know that I really enjoy my job. I love studying the Bible and then pouring His Word into your lives.
If this show has been a blessing to you in any way, I’d love to hear about it. Recently, I met a lady who told me that our episode on Celebrating God with Death was such a blessing to her. And that thrilled my heart to no end.
I love what I do, and I truly do this for an audience of One, but if you’re interested in being an encouragement, I’d love to hear how The Celebration of God is helping you become a better disciple of Christ.
And — of course — we’d love to hear what we can do better. You can connect with us on social media, or you can send an email to team@CelebrationOfGod.com.
And — speaking of serving people — if you are a parent, or you work with children in any capacity, I want to encourage you to check out Truth.Love.Family.
We started that ministry back in 2016, and since then we’ve ministered to tens of thousands of families via our podcast, Truth.Love.Parent. And that has enabled us to further minister to hundreds more through our speaking and biblical counseling ministries.
Check out TruthLoveParent.com to learn more about this Evermind Ministry.
And while you’re flying the online jet-stream, don’t forget about our free episode notes, transcripts, and Lenten resources at CelebrationOfGod.com.
And now I want to have an important conversation with you about 5 truths I learned that persuaded me to celebrate God during Lent.
I totally understand if the idea of Lent sounds strange or even a little wrong.
It’s very easy to see it as a Catholic holiday that focuses on all of the wrong things. But I’ve come to learn that that is simply not the case.
I’m not saying that people don’t misunderstand the holiday, and I’m not saying that God is pleased simply because people observe it. But I am saying that in the past few years I’ve learned some very important lessons that have lead me to believe that God definitely can be worshipped correctly during Lent.
So, what did I learn?
1. I learned that God deserves my worship all of the time.
If you listened to our introductory episodes, then you heard how I created The Celebration of God. It was the result of a lot of important spiritual introspection on my part. It grew out of the fact that I realized that my understanding of what worship is was wrong. It grew out of the fact that I learned that I need to be worshipping God every waking moment of my day. And it grew out of the fact that I realized I needed to teach these truths to God’s people — starting first with my family, and then to the boys I served at Victory Academy, and then to you.
When I was in college, my society’s theme verse was Colossians 1:18, “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
Since Jesus is the head of the church, since He’s the beginning of everything, since He’s the firstborn from the dead, He absolutely deserves first place in every area of my life.
But what does it look like for God to get first place in everything in my life?
Well, it means that His desire for my life trumps all of my desires. Whether I’m podcasting or gardening or vacationing or celebrating a holiday, God should hold the preeminent position. His will for how I function during all of those activities must have first place in my life.
This means that I must no longer consume Christmas and Easter and Halloween for my own pleasure. I need to approach them differently. And it means that every day during Lent, He still deserves my continual worship.
Now, that doesn’t mean that the only way to worship God during Lent is to participate in the unique elements of Lent, but it does lay a foundational understanding which would set the stage for my choosing to worship God via Lent.
How about you? Have you learned that God deserves first place in every facet of your life? He deserves it in your schooling, your marriage, your church, your recreation, your parenting, your entertainment, your friendships, your work, your everything.
How would your life be different if God were to have the first place in everything?
2. I learned that I needed to be more intentional about my discipleship if I really wanted to grow as God designed me to grow.
There’s nothing quite like working in a boy’s home for at-risk teens to open your eyes to the need for discipleship.
Every moment of every day must be carefully constructed to give God the glory and teach the boys to do the same . . . and still it’s amazing how much trouble can be caused.
But here’s the thing, my kids are no different. Let’s be honest. I’m no different.
Growing in my discipleship is an intentional and consistent practice in my life, and yet I still fail so often.
That means that instead of decreasing the amount of time and energy I pour into it, I need to increase it. I need more help and more dependance on God and more investment and more tools.
And the same is true for you.
And as I was learning this truth, I started to see my relationships and my resources and my religious holidays very differently.
I came face to face with the fact that I wasn’t using my relationships in redemptive ways. Sure, I was pouring into people, but was I taking advantage of how others could disciple me?
And what about my holidays? I started to see how intentionally and premeditatedly approaching my holidays with a spirit of worship would greatly benefit my growth in Christ.
What about you? Do you need to be more intentional in your discipleship? Well, I can tell you this, as you strive to give God the honor and glory that’s due Him every moment of the day, you will definitely see all the areas where you fail to worship Him as you should.
And that should help you identify certain tools that will assist you as you strive to become a better disciple of Christ.
Now, again, that was not Lent specific. But this next lesson I learned is.
3. I learned that Lent is not an empty Catholic holiday.
As most of you know, I celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas. But I do not observe most of the things Catholics are observing on those days.
I don’t celebrate the Feast of Stephen or recognize Pope Sylvester or even the Feast of John the Apostle.
I want my celebration of God to mostly focus on the character and deeds of God, and other than being thankful to God for how He used and uses the testimony of John, I see no specific biblical value in having a day that commemorates Him.
And I used to think that Lent was the same thing.
Growing up outside of Detroit, there was a huge Polish population, and most of them were Catholic. In fact, my mom’s family was part of that Catholic Population for a time.
Anyway, I would see Catholic school girls with ash crosses on their heads, and because it wasn’t something we Protestants did, I dismissed it as empty Catholic tradition. And I did the same with the whole Lenten season because — again — it wasn’t spoken about in my church, and I was completely ignorant of what the holiday was.
Yes, honestly, it was a decision based out of ignorant prejudice.
Now, I don’t advocate for the ash crosses, but I do have a much better understanding and appreciation for where the tradition started.
But though I don’t see anything in Scripture about worshipping God by smudging ash on my head (though, again, I must admit that the symbolism can be very instructive), I do see a lot in Scripture about fasting, mourning over our sin, and the other specifics of the Lenten season.
And, as I mentioned last time, the men and women who participated in the early church tradition of Lent did so for very biblical and noble reasons.
Yes, Lent, like any other holiday can be used to worship self, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are some very real spiritual benefits of the observance.
And this transitions well into another important lesson I learned.
4. I learned that Lent is an amazing opportunity to spiritually reset myself.
First, Lent itself is an extended Preparation where God’s people are to ready themselves for a Christ-honoring celebration of Easter.
If you know my story, then you know that I didn’t used to appreciate Easter for what it is — the single greatest holiday on the Christian calendar.
When I learned how Lent can be used to tune my mind to a purposeful and Christ-centered celebration of Easter, I was all in.
But Lent is not merely about getting ready for Easter.
Second, Lent is historically a time of growing in our spiritual disciplines including Scripture reading, prayer, helping the poor, and righteous living.
So, we come out of Christmas into the New Year, we’ve made our holiday-inspired resolutions and we’re excited about the New Year, and then a month or so later we’re right back where we started.
Lent is a wonderful way to keep the momentum.
Every year Lent provides a purposeful and church-wide focus on renewing the spiritual disciplines of Bible study, prayer, church attendance, service, and holy living.
I don’t know about you, but I need to grow in all of those areas, and I greatly appreciate the help of having over a month dedicated to passionate followers of Christ all training together.
Imagine how helpful it would be for you as you work to mature in your relationship with God to have all of your church services, all of your small groups, all of your discipleship conversations with friends to be instructing and encouraging you along the same lines!
The spiritual reset that Lent offers should be more than a mere personal enterprise. Lent sets aside a deliberate and consistent time every year to reevaluate and make changes as necessary.
Can we do this any time? Sure, but when we never approach these discussions as the body of Christ, it’s easy to emphasize the Maverick Christian approach. You’re working on you in June, I’m working on me in September, she’s working on her in February, and we’re not doing it together. It’s easy to not talk about it, it’s easy for our friends to not even know how the Lord is working on us.
And though I wholeheartedly endorse growing in your sanctification every day of the year and actively and intentionally maturing every time you find areas that need to better conform to the image of Christ, it’s also amazingly advantageous to set aside a time every year when the entire fellowship of God’s people is intentionally working on the same things — training together in the spiritual disciplines of the believer.
And Lent provides us just that.
But here is the final lesson that convinced me to observe Lent. And this one is huge.
5. I learned that fasting should be an important part of a Christian’s life.
This is a big part of the spiritual reset.
Now, I didn’t really plan to say much about this today, and here’s why. Even though it’s a hugely important topic, I recognize that you — like I used to be — are probably only superficially acquainted with the idea of fasting.
I was telling a friend recently that the idea of fasting in the Bible is rarely explained in any detail because it seemed that everyone back then was familiar with the process. But it appears that modern Christians have forgotten something that was once an integral part of the church’s memory.
And I believe that we need to relearn this very biblical and spiritually beneficial discipline of fasting.
To that end, I want to study the Scriptures in more detail as well as comb church history in order to present a short series on the topic. I want God’s people to be able to remember — or learn for the first time — the value and place of fasting.
But, I also want to be able to provide an experiential explanation of the process.
I know that in Matthew 6:17-18, Jesus said, “when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
And the idea of a secret fast is very important and will be something about which we speak. However, this particular passage was dedicated to helping people reset their motivation for their spiritual disciplines. That motivation should never be personal pleasure and definitely not the praise of men. It should be the glory of God and God alone, but that does not mean that it’s a sin to talk about a fast or to let people know that you’re planning to have one.
In fact, there’s a lot of value to friends and families fasting at the same time. But — of course — I’ll talk more about that later.
For now, I mention all of this because I want you to know that I’m planning to fast this Lent. I’m doing this for a number of reasons:
1. I believe it will glorify God for me — Aaron Brewster — to utilize a fast as part of my spiritual reset and continuing discipleship.
And 2. I believe I will be able to use this experience to help other followers of Christ — including you — learn about the spiritual and physical benefits of a biblical fast.
So, I do plan to publish my research, both professional and personal, so that more of God’s people can rightly discern whether or not the Lord would have them worship Him via a fast — whether it happens during Lent, Advent, or any other time of the year.
In closing, I will say that I do already have experience with fasting. This will not be my first. But also, it’s going to be a little while before I complete my research and share it with you.
My hope is to have much of it available by this Advent, which — as you know — is considered a second Lent.
And I hope that the bulk of the information is available by this time next year so that you can go into Lent with a far more robust understanding of how valuable this Holiday observance can be for your personal relationship with God.
And with that, I will ask once again that you please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets so that other Christians can be encouraged by the lessons that I learned.
And I hope you’ll join me on the Wisdom app on Wednesday, March 2nd (the first day of Lent) to talk more about this holiday.
I’ll be live from 11:30am to 12:30pm Eastern Standard Time. You can come onto the show to ask questions, share your personal experiences with Lent, and even — if you must — engage in a little debate about the pros and cons of the season.
But — of course — I hope that you will join us next week as we once again seek to better know, love, and worship God . . . and help the people in our lives do the same.
To that end, as we enter the Season of Life, we’ll be starting a short series about how you can celebrate God when you’re at work and school.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.