Pause

You are here. God is here.

God meets you right where you are – in a place God has been before.

God calls you into a place of promise, a place of blessing, a place of grace.

Stay here awhile. Stay here with God.

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Listen

Then Jesus began to teach his disciples: “The Human One must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and the legal experts, and be killed, and then, after three days, rise from the dead.” He said this plainly. But Peter took hold of Jesus and, scolding him, began to correct him. Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, then sternly corrected Peter: “Get behind me, Satan. You are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.”

After calling the crowd together with his disciples, Jesus said to them, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me and because of the good news will save them.”

Mark 8:31-35

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Think

For much of my childhood and youth, my family had the practice of “giving something up for Lent.” Individually we gave up things like chocolate, soda, or cookies. As a family, we’d have what we called a “solidarity meal” one day a week — often just rice or potatoes or bread. We said “no” to these special treats for a month, or to more elaborate dinner five or six times during Lent, as a way to either deny certain pleasures or feel for those who had less.

That was a good practice for as far as it went. But what Jesus calls us to say no to, to do without, to deny, is so much more than that. He calls all who would follow after him to place others’ needs above their own. To prioritize living and sharing the good news of Jesus’ love with others. To put God’s thoughts ahead of our own. It’s that easy — and that hard.

Peter Hanson

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Pray

God, help me to say no to myself, so that I can say yes to you. Amen.

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Go

Walk with God, trusting in God’s promises.

Be convinced that God will do what God has promised to do.

Live in that trust, in that conviction, in that faith.

Walk with God and be trustworthy.

Peter Hanson

Peter Hanson is the lead pastor at Christ the King/Cristo Rey Lutheran Church in New Brighton, MN. Over the course of thirty years in ministry, Peter has served as a youth minister at a mega-church in the Twin Cities suburbs, a street chaplain in Berkeley and San Francisco, a solo pastor in small-town Vermont, as well as a missionary in Dakar, Senegal. His wife, Sarah Grow, is a yoga instructor who also works with new immigrants and refugees. They have one son in college and one in high school and frequently a foster dog or two at home.

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Ken Medema

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