We live in an increasingly complex moment in human history. The suffering across our planet continues to deepen. The longing for healing and new ways of living is palpable across all segments of humanity and even creation. What will it mean for all of us to live as truly free? Not just on the outside, but also on the inside? More and more we will need the ability to live from places where the waters run deep. We will need to make decisions from a viewpoint larger than ourselves. We will need one another to support, encourage, and build us up to take the steps of faith that we are too scared to take alone. We will need to be courageous.
When we see the word courage, it often calls forth images of a valiant warrior or a bold pioneer bravely facing great challenges against all odds. While inspiring, these images feel removed from our everyday reality.
But what if courage has more to do with claiming our identity as children of God? With being brave enough to face what is real and true in our lives and in the world and to share it with others? With claiming our gifts and stepping forward in faithfulness while we are still afraid and uncertain about the future?
This year, we want to explore what it means to live with COURAGE. We will explore first what the foundations of courage are and are not. We will dive into the life of Jesus and how he taught his disciples to be men and women of courage. We will explore what God’s vision for a courageous church is. We will dive into the lives of some of the well known and not so well known courageous characters in the Bible. And we will also explore what it means to be courageous citizens in a deeply divided nation.
Join us this year as we embark on this courageous journey!
THE SEASON OF LENT: A CALL TO COURAGE
When Jesus called his disciples to follow him, it was a courageous invitation to leave behind the old way of living, along with all the lies it entailed, and step into the courageous call of God to live with faith and trust. This meant a new way of SEEING and BEING, and courage was absolutely essential. The disciples that said “yes” to this journey were saying “yes” to a life lived IN CHRIST. They were tapping into a courage and flow from a source that was not from them but CHRIST.
This Lenten season, where is Jesus inviting you to step out of the boat and onto the water? What will you need to leave behind so that you can SAY YES?!
February 26 – Ash Wednesday – An Inner Seeing and Knowing – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
7am & 7pm, both around 30 minutes
Pastor Jon Osmundson leading worship
Jesus calls us on a spiritual journey that is our own. We don’t need others to see and affirm the journey, but we do need to connect with ourselves and with Christ. What does it look like to courageously begin the Lenten journey in solitude with Christ, asking the question, What do you wish for me to see? How will you reveal to me my own blindness?
March 1 – The Courage to Move Into Deeper Water – Luke 5:1-11
Jesus calls his first disciples not from the elite members of the religious establishment but from the fishermen along the shores of the lake, who when prompted were courageous enough to leave behind the old ways of doing things and be open to a new way of seeing. Only with this kind of openness would the journey to see what Jesus wanted to show them be even remotely possible.
March 8 – Brave Enough to Take Action – Luke 9:1-6
Pastor Jon Osmundson speaking
It isn’t long after being called to learn and serve that Jesus sends the disciples out and tells them to act in his name. They had barely received training, but Jesus seemed to know that until they began to actively put this into practice, they would not be able to understand the fullness of the teachings themselves. How is your ability to live in Christ being inhibited by your unwillingness to go where you are uncomfortable?
March 15 – Courage to Re-Imagine What is Possible – Luke 9:10-17
The disciples have just returned from their journeys, traveling two by two. They have debriefed, and now they are ready to learn more. When the enormous crown presses around them, their response is to do what they’ve always done. But Jesus asks them to re-imagine what may be possible in this moment. What would it look like to truly trust that God would give them what they needed so something impossible would be possible?
March 22 – Brave Enough to Get Out of the Boat – Matthew 14:22-33
Beth Palmer, Director of Adult Discipleship, speaking
The disciples have just witnessed the power and presence of God when they head out to sea. Jesus joins them walking on the water and invites Peter to get out of the boat with him. What is keeping us in our boat? What is preventing us from stepping out onto the waves and joining God in the courageous journey?
March 29 – Courage to See What is Before Us – Luke 10:25-37
After Jesus sends more of the disciples out, and after they are finally beginning to understand the work that they are to do and are experiencing some fruit, he tells them the powerful story of the Good Samaritan. Essential to the courageous journey will be that we must KEEP SEEING what is before us in the given moment and responding in Christ.
April 5 – Palm Sunday – Brave Enough to See What is True and Real – Matthew 21:1-11
The broad hosannas shouted on Palm Sunday were shouted by people who saw what they wanted to see in Jesus and not what God was truly giving to them. Too often we are the ones shouting hollow praises to God instead of TRULY surrendering ourselves and our own worldviews and visions — and allowing them to die — so that something new can be reborn in us. Are we willing to TRULY see what is real and release our false ideas?
April 9 – Maundy Thursday – Courage to Take Off our Shoes – John 13:1-17
April 10 – Good Friday
April 12 – EASTER – Courage to Rise WITH Him! – Matthew 28:1-10
Jesus’s resurrection was marked by earthquakes, fear, and dread. The women and the disciples whom he meets are immediately invited not to fear but to JOIN Jesus in the ongoing work and healing of the world!