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We are quickly approaching the season of Lent.  Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent and our Ash Wednesday Service will be Wednesday, February 22, at 6:00 p.m. in the sanctuary.   This season is often framed by fasting in some form.   The idea of fasting for Lent is a Biblical one and is based on the life of Jesus when he fasted 40 days in the wilderness before starting his ministry in Galilee.  Lent is 40 days (not counting the Sundays) before Easter.  This season was intended to help the early Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  The early believers recognized that the event of resurrection was on that first Easter morning, but the reality of resurrection was always present in our lives.  Whenever we find the hope of new life rather than the darkness of our sin, it is a confirmation that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at work in us.  Our small group study for Lent is Colossians: One Jesus, One People.  The church of Colossae was a diverse group.  They had different religious, economic, ethnic, and even nationalistic backgrounds.  As you can well imagine they had many of the stresses that we have today which could create doubt, division, and discord!  The sermon series based on the Lent study is Staying The Course and the first sermon is True Center.  Some of the early believers were tempted to believe that Jesus was a way and not The Way to find God’s love and power.  After all, there were temples of other gods that filled the streets of the city, how could Jesus be the only way to the living God?  Or how could they know that Jesus was The Way?  In Colossians 1:13-23 the Apostle Paul tells them why Jesus is The Way and how they can find the abundant life God intended for them by focusing on this center of truth and hope!  This is our prayer for you that you will experience the truth and hope of God’s resurrection power leading you to new life, and new strength as you read Colossians 1:13-23! 


For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.