Lent: What are you going to give up? What are you going to take up? #bigread2011 #biblefresh

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What is Lent?

???Lent is a time when many people turn their gaze toward Good Friday and ask themselves, ???How dare I force someone who loves me this much to go through something this awful???? Perhaps they see the Cross and ask, ???Lord, what can I do to stop doing this to You? How can I love you better???? Many times in the Gospels, Jesus called on people to repent, to turn away from doing evil. So the fihttp://bigbible.org.uk/wp-admin/post-new.phprst impulse of love is to try to do things that Jesus would want of you.???

Why do people fast at Lent?

???In Lent, it???s traditional to give up (or ???fast from???) something(s) that we do a lot of and that we find pleasure in. This giving up or fasting is done:

  • as a discipline for learning self-control, to free our minds from the chase after material things, to tell ourselves ???no??? and make it stick;
  • to identify with Christ???s sufferings, and remember what the true pleasures are for followers of Christ;
  • as an act of sorrow over our wrongdoings and our state of sin.???

Read more on ???Lent: The season of repentance and discipline???.

What can replace fasting?

This year, ???The Year of The Bible???, where many are celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible, is a year in which, to replace something that you???ve given up, with a different sort of feast, a Biblical feast: ???The Big Read 2011???:

The housegroup materials above are intended for Christian discipleship. If you are working with a group who are interested in Christianity, see the Seeker study written by Russ Gant, which also focuses upon the book of Matthew.

Instructions on using the forum/uploading to 12 baskets will follow shortly; the videos are being recorded on 23rd February, and the audio recordings are in progress.

???Don???t Give Up??? image from 12baskets.

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For the last few years I have given up alcohol for Lent. I do like a drink (as my friends will confirm!) and occasionally I will think ‘oh I could murder a glass of wine’ at the end of a long day. We all have our little vices that we turn to when we’re feeling rubbish. For a lot of people it’s chocolate or shopping (retail therapy!). For me it’s wine. And that’s why I give it up for lent. Going without reminds me that the only thing (or person) that can really fulfil my needs is God Himself. His water is living water that truly satisfies.

Most of the year I forget this. Lent is a time to remind myself of Jesus’ living water:

???Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.??? – John 4: 13-14

So I’m both giving up wine and taking up reading Matthew’s gospel through Lent. It’s going to be good!

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