40 Day Challenge

“If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” 

– 1 Corinthians 15:17

 

Everything hinges on the reality of the resurrection.

 

That is Paul’s reasoning in 1 Corinthians 15.  If Christ has not been raised, then our gospel is in vain, we are false preachers of a false gospel, and we might as well eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!  Without the resurrection of Jesus – physically, bodily, permanently  - then Christianity is a sham.

 

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead!” – 1 Corinthians 15:20

 

We do a really good job of getting ready for Christmas.  Our culture even “helps” us think about Christmas for months ahead of time when we see rows and rows of decorations in stores starting as early as September and hear the radio play song after song declaring what season it is, not to mention our own hour after hour spent buying, wrapping, delivering (and returning) presents.  It’s really hard to forget.  But our celebration of the birth of our Savior would be meaningless if we did not have our Savior’s victory over sin and death to celebrate at Easter.  Yet we normally spend almost no time preparing ourselves for Easter other than maybe shopping for a new outfit and maybe some candy ahead of time.  But what about our hearts?

 

Enter our 40 Day Easter Challenge.

There is nothing intrinsically holy about particular days but for much of church history, many Christians have set aside the 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter to read, pray, and fast in some way focusing on repentance and worship – drawing near the cross and celebrating the empty tomb.  Whether you are a novice or a pro at something like this, we invite you to “set your heart and mind on things above” in preparation for our Easter celebration.

 

 

GIVE UP

1) Choose some part of your everyday life that is important to you to fast from for 40 days so that whenever you miss it, you are reminded to focus on Jesus’ sacrifice and your thankfulness for your salvation.

 

2) Some “less than best” habit, sin, or part of your life that you know is not what God wants.

 

TAKE UP

1) A fast as described in #1 above is only biblical when whatever is given up is replaced with spiritual activity. Take Up your personal spiritual growth by spending time in the Word and in prayer every day, by using your fast to focus on Jesus, and by making any opportunity where Jesus is the focus (Worship service, Sunday School, Equip Classes, Small groups, etc.) a priority in your life.

 

2) Pray specifically, by name, for three people in your life who are lost to come to know Jesus and look for opportunities to share the gospel with them before Easter or to invite them to worship with you on Easter Sunday.

 

From February 26th to Easter

40 Days – No excuses – No “buts…” – Just your choice to seek the God who died for you because you love Him.

 

40 Day Easter Challenge Resources
 
 
YouVersion app has dozens of bible reading plans for Lent, some with devotions. This one by First15 is a great option if you want devotions with your bible reading.

  

RightNow Media Resources

 
  This 6-video study of the final words of Jesus on the Cross comes with an excellent free study guide downloadable from the RightNow Media site.

This is a great resource for individuals, couples, or even small groups.  Existing Small Groups may choose to do this study for 6 weeks on Sundays leading up to Easter.

 

 Secret Church 6: The Cross of Christ is 6 hours of incredible teaching from David Platt that is like drinking from a firehose but will radically change your perspective on Easter this year.

 

 Use these 5 minute devotional videos for each day of Holy Week leading up to Easter with your kids.

 

 Or try the 11 short scripture-to-music songs in Seeds of Easter to help kids focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

 

Other Great Resources

"Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross" - a 47 day devotion and bible reading plan online at www.shereadstruth.com/plans/lent

“40 Day Walk Through the Gospels” bible reading plan online at https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/lent


 Bible REading plan

Spirit
2/26 Ash Wednesday Luke 4:1-13
2/27 Thursday Romans 8:1-17
2/28 Friday Galatians 5:16-26
2/29 Saturday Ephesians 4:17-24
Week 1 March 1-7
Lord God, by Your Word
Fill Me with a Spirit of Repentance and Forgiveness
Sunday Psalm 51
Monday Matthew 6:5-15
Tuesday Matthew 18:21-35
Wednesday Luke 15:11-32
Thursday Ephesians 4:25—5:2
Friday 1 John 1:5-10
Saturday Psalm 130
Week 2 March 8-14
Lord God, by Your Word
Fill Me with a Spirit of Hope and Trust
Sunday Genesis 12:1-9
Monday Genesis 22:1-19
Tuesday Isaiah 51:1-16
Wednesday Luke 12:22-34
Thursday Romans 4:13-25
Friday Hebrews 6:13-20
Saturday Psalm 62
Week 3 March 15-21
Lord God, by Your Word
Fill Me with a Spirit of Gratitude and Thanksgiving
Sunday Luke 17:11-19
Monday 2 Corinthians 9:1-15
Tuesday Ephesians 5:6-20
Wednesday Philippians 4:1-9
Thursday Colossians 3:1-17
Friday 1 Chronicles 16:7-36
Saturday Psalm 103

 


Fill Me with a Spirit of Love and Servanthood
Sunday Matthew 23:1-12
Monday Mark 10:35-45
Tuesday John 15:1-17
Wednesday Romans 12:9-21
Thursday Romans 13:8-14
Friday 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Saturday 1 John 4:7-21
Week 5 March 29-April 4
Lord God, by Your Word
Fill Me with a Spirit of Discipleship and Commitment
Sunday Luke 5:1-11
Monday Luke 9:22-27
Tuesday Matthew 10:16-33
Wednesday Matthew 10:34-42
Thursday John 15:18-27
Friday 2 Timothy 2:1-13
Saturday 2 Timothy 3:10-17
Week 6 April 5-11
Lord God, by Your Word
Fill Me with a Spirit of Obedience and Humility
Sunday John 13:1-20
Monday Philippians 2:1-11
Tuesday Psalm 22
Wednesday Isaiah 52:13—53:12
Thursday Luke 22:39-71
Friday Luke 23:1-56
Saturday Hebrews 4:14—5:10