The Fanning the Flame team gathered recently to listen to a talk by Presbyterian pastor Lynn Downing, entitled, “A Call to Repentance.” He defines repentance as turning away from sin by God’s grace in order to be reconciled with Him. For those who are already Christians, repentance is not a conversion experience — rather,we repent as God’s children desiring a more intimate relationship with Him. Our repentance indicates a willingness to let God change us as He chooses —no limits attached.
Church repentance begins with individual repentance. The team was asked to pray and meditate on these verses from Psalm 139:
Search me, God, and know my heart;d
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
During the time of prayer we were to ask God to bring our sins to our mind and compile a list. I must admit that mine was pretty long, although practically everything boils down to selfishness of one sort or another. After making our list, we were to tear it up, knowing God has already forgiven all of those sins and more.
After individual repentance, the leaders of our congregation will be asked to go through the same exercise, seeking to repent of our corporate sins. Eventually we will be holding a special service, a Repentance Sunday, when individual members will be asked to pray on behalf of St. Paul’s.
As an interesting aside, neither I, nor any of the Lutheran Ladies of St. Paul’s suggested this month’s theme. It was Sarah’s idea, but I think God inspired it. It can’t be an accident that we will be studying, meditating and praying about repentance this month. Please pray along with us and send us your comments. God may be speaking to us through you! He loves you and so do I!