As the season of Lent draws near, I would like to invite you to join me again this year in a day of repentance on Ash Wednesday, February 26th. As Martin Luther noted in the first of his ninety-five theses: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
Through His living Word, God brings us back to repentance over and over again. He cuts through our calloused consciences and shows us our failures, our pride, and our sin that stand in the way of His work in our lives and for the world. We need a regular reboot of repentance.
So, will you join me? I invite you to fall before your faithful Father in heaven, humbly confessing your personal sins and your ministry’s failings. I invite you to be honest about your need for forgiveness, trusting that the blood of Jesus will cleanse you and renew you.
The prophet Isaiah highlighted two areas for our repentance: our attentiveness to God and our love for our neighbor. The prophet said:
“Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Isaiah 1:14–17
And then, after calling His people to repentance, God declared: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18. God is faithful to restore us.
This Lenten season, I look forward to dialoguing with you about our journey together—how we meet these changing times with Gospelvigor. Beginning this month, district staff leaders will team up for five regional one-day Texas District Leadership Gatherings under the theme: Ministry Conversations for Changing times. We’re inviting you to join the conversation. You can choose the date and location that works best for you:
February 29: Messiah, Plano
March 14: Redeemer, Lubbock
March 21: St. Paul, Bishop
March 28: Bethany, Austin
April 4: Trinity, Klein
If you haven’t registered already for one of these 9:00 am-3:00 pm gatherings, you can find information and sign up at 2020leadershipgatherings.eventbrite.com.
I look forward to the conversation with you,
By Rev. Michael Newman
President, LCMS Texas District
Questions for reflection:
Read Isaiah 1:1-17. Why is God not pleased with His people? How do these reasons relate to your life and church today?
Read Isaiah 1:18. How was this miraculous restoration accomplished and what impact does it have on your life and congregation?
Prayer starter: Let your Savior know what obstacles to repentance exist in your life and congregation. Let Him know how His grace is needed in your church and in your community.