Good Friday

Watch or re-watch the 6pm Good Friday Service

Friday, April 2 • 6PM

Scriptures takes us to the scene of our Lord’s betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial, setting us up for a deep celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Men’s Seminar: God’s Design for Sexual Wholeness

Content above begins at 34:08.

In our sexualized age, it’s difficult to discern what exactly our sexuality is for. Questions of identity quickly surface. Our longings for fulfillment are deep and often complex. And loud voices all around us claim versions of liberation.

All along, God stands ready to save, speaking into the confusion with kindness and clarity. God—the creator of our bodies, the one who spoke into existence our sexuality and capacities for pleasure and relationship—has laid before us His true, good, and beautiful design for it all.

As men who follow Jesus, we want to hear what He has to say, learning to live as whole beings, walking as disciples who enjoy the healing presence and genuine freedom afforded us in the grace of Christ. Let’s do that together.

https://vimeo.com/513677649

Ash Wednesday

Watch or re-watch the 6:30pm Ash Wednesday Service

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17 • 6:30PM

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the season of forty days leading up to Good Friday and Easter. The day reminds us of our sinfulness, our mortality, and the hope that is ours in Jesus.

Fasting During Lent

Adapted from Advent 2019.

“Fasting.” Just hearing the word can make us tighten up. Some of us feel guilt. Others become defensive or even angry. It’s a practice many of us have heard is probably a good thing and yet few of us engage it with any regularity.

Why is this practice so foreign? Why is it so difficult? Why do we run from it and then justify our avoidance of it? Why can’t we see the gift behind this discipline?

Richard Foster, in The Celebration of Discipline, reflects, “Why has the giving of money, for example, been unquestionably recognized as an element in Christian devotion and fasting so disputed? Certainly we have as much, if not more, evidence from the Bible for fasting as we have for giving. Perhaps in our affluent society fasting involves a far larger sacrifice than the giving of money.”

While there may be no direct command in the New Testament for the Church to fast, the words of Jesus in Matthew 6 appear to imply that all of His disciples will engage in this practice. “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward” (verse 16). Notice He says, when you fast. His assumption is that his followers will fast.

Following this assumption, Jesus is teaching us that our motives are what’s really important when practicing fasting. If we’re looking for praise or some kind of religious trophy, we might receive that—but it’s all we’ll receive. Jesus offers a better way: “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (verses 17-18). He is not saying we must avoid others’ knowledge of our fasting at all costs. The Bible is full of examples of corporate fasting (Acts 13 and 14, Esther 4, 2 Samuel 1, etc.). He is, however, concerned with why we’re fasting.

He wants our hearts. He wants us to be focused on Him above all else. He wants to give us a reward that can’t fade or be stolen from us.

So, despite our potentially-mixed bag of motives, we go together before God to engage with this practice. We want to put God first. Or, we want to want to put God first. We deny ourselves food to discipline our body, soul, and spirit and say that God is more important to us than food—than anything.

Below are a few ideas for best-practices and questions to consider for individuals, households, and Gospel Communities:

INDIVIDUALS

We’re inviting everyone in the church body to practice fasting on Wednesdays during Lent (February 17-March 31). Set a reminder for this upcoming Wednesday (or Tuesday evening) to join us because it’s so easy to forget!.

What exactly is fasting? David Mathis defines fasting as “voluntarily going without food—or any other regularly enjoyed, good gift from God–for the sake of some spiritual purpose.” Some people, for medical reasons or otherwise*, can’t fast from physical food but that doesn’t mean they’re excluded. Many have found that fasting from social media, Netflix, particular activities or foods has shown itself to be a helpful way of intentionally engaging with God. Fasting ultimately is about refraining from one thing that we might engage more intentionally with another, namely God.

Sam Storms comments: “The ironic thing about fasting is that it really isn’t about not eating food. It’s about feeding on the fullness of every divine blessing secured for us in Christ. Fasting tenderizes our hearts to experience the presence of God. It expands the capacity of our souls to hear his voice and be assured of his love and be filled with the fullness of his joy. Let me say it again: Fasting is not primarily about not eating food. It is primarily about feasting on God.”

Take a moment before Wednesday to prayerfully consider how you might engage well with God through this practice. Many will choose to go without food for breakfast and lunch. Others will skip one meal or go the entire 24-hours only consuming water (or maybe a cup of coffee). There isn’t a hard and fast rule here; the end goal is to increase relationship with God and ask Him to increase our desire for Him.

One healthy practice is to use the time you would’ve spent preparing and eating food to actually stop and pray! We can miss the point if we simply work through the lunch hour to keep our minds distracted from our hunger. Use the questions below to guide your time in prayer.

Many of us will feel some negative emotions and attitudes rise when we go without the food that our bodies are used to. This is normal and can actually be a gift from God. It is often being revealed what is inside us all along – weakness, dependence, anger, greed, etc. We often use good gifts like food to cope and cover up our inadequacies without even realizing it. Take these emotions before God in prayer, and give yourself grace for these feelings that certainly don’t seem very “spiritual.”

A note to those who choose to abstain from something other than food: You may decide that fasting from food is not a good idea because of a medical condition or because you are pregnant or nursing. Others may have an eating disorder or unhealthy relationship with food or body image, and this may not be a practice to try at this time. That’s okay! We’d encourage you to ask yourself before God, “What’s a good gift that I could give up temporarily in order to help train my heart to long for God more than His gifts?” Otherwise, perhaps now is a time to pursue healing and hunger for God in some other way. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Gospel Community Leaders or a staff member if you need help walking through this.

Questions for individuals to consider or journal about:

  • What are some things I hunger for or look forward to more than God?
  • Why am I hesitant or resistant to fasting?
  • How might my relationship to food or other good gifts be an indicator of what I long for?
  • What do I long for God to do in my heart through fasting?
  • What do I long for God to do in my community and my church through fasting?
  • What are some negative emotions, attitudes, and feelings that rise in me while fasting? Bring those before God, asking for forgiveness, healing, and dependence on Him.
  • Pray through this week’s confession of sin here.

HOUSEHOLDS

For families with small children, this practice may not be possible to engage with all together. Depending on the ages of your children, you may be able to choose one thing to give up together on Wednesdays like dessert or screen-time. Read through the “Individuals” category above and decide if you may be able to cast vision for your whole family to practice a form of fasting together. You may phrase it something like, “We wish we wanted God more than dessert, but usually we don’t. Tonight, we’re choosing to pray and ask Him to be happy with His presence instead of eating dessert, and thank Him that many days we do get to enjoy it.” Again, if possible, spend time praying together in the same time-slot you would have been engaging in whatever activity you’re abstaining from. Use the questions below to guide discussion or prayer time together.

For spouses and housemates, read through the “Individuals” category above and decide if you want to practice fasting together in the same manner. You may choose to keep each other accountable to practicing it (regardless of whether you practice it in the same way). Again, if possible, spend time praying together in the same time-slot you would have been preparing and eating food. Use the questions below to guide discussion or prayer time together.

Questions for kids and families to consider:

  • What is fasting?
  • Why does it sound hard?
  • Why could fasting a good thing?
  • What is a good thing we could give up for one day (or half-day) to spend time with God and ask Him to help us love Him more than anything else?
  • Pray that God would help us want Him more than anything else. He is the best thing for us!

Questions for housemates or spouses to consider:

  • What are some things we hunger for or look forward to more than God?
  • Why are we hesitant or resistant to fasting?
  • How might our relationship to food or other good gifts be an indicator of what we long for?
  • How might fasting actually be a good gift for us?
  • How can we help each other engage in fasting during Advent?
  • What do we want God to do in ourselves, our families, or our households through fasting? Take these answers to God in prayer.
  • Pray that God would increase our hunger, dependence, and desire for Him in this season.

24-Hour Prayer for Justice: Prayer Guide

Thank you for signing up to pray for a shift during our remote 24-hour prayer event! Haven’t signed up yet? Click Choose a shift below.

Choose a Shift

Pete Greig, founder of the 24-7 prayer movement writes, “99% of prayer is just showing up; making the effort to become consciously present to the God who is constantly present to us.”  We believe in a God who hears our prayers and acts on what he hears. It can be difficult to prioritize prayer, but this is one way we can put our money where our mouth is, even if we’re lacking faith or motivation. We’re the salt and light of this world. Let’s show up in prayer on behalf of our church, our city, and our world – praying for healing, racial reconciliation, and real systemic change.

We encourage you to pray with your housemates, family, GC, or a friend (when possible), but you’re also welcome to spend this time alone with God.

How can I pray for 30 or 60 minutes?

It may be intimidating to think of praying for a half hour or entire hour; many of us struggle to pray for five consecutive minutes. Below are a number of suggestions on how you might spend your time with God. Further down are two optional minute-by-minute guides, if that’s your style.

Here are a number of suggestions for types of prayer you might engage in:

  • Time in silence. Sit before God in a posture of reverence and love.
  • Pray through Psalm 101. You might take one line at a time, praying anything and everything it brings to mind. David is honest, and we can be too – even with our emotions, struggles, and shortcomings. Pray for holiness, healing, and righteousness in our world.
  • Lament. Spend time in sorrowful reflection over the brokenness in our hearts and world. It’s okay to sit in pain over the centuries of racial oppression, and also over recent events in particular, longing for God to move and heal our world.
  • Confession & repentance. Humble yourself before God, confessing ways you’ve wandered from His good & holy ways. Receive His forgiveness (and in doing so, forgive yourself!).
  • Reflect and rejoice. Thank God for His provision, goodness, justice, mercy and love. Reflect on your life and your salvation. Praise God with words or with a song!
  • Petition and intercession. Ask God for specific movement or provision. Ask for His Kingdom and Spirit to come in power to our city and world. Ask for specific needs to be met among family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Bring anything and everything before him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
  • Breath prayers. Spend a few minutes repeating the same prayer as you breathe in and out. A few examples: “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner,” “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done” or “Abba, I belong to you.”
  • Listening Prayer. Spend time in silence, asking God to speak to you. Pay attention to where your mind goes – it may need to be redirected toward the presence of God, or it may start wandering toward something God is stirring.
  • Prayer Walk. Get out of your home and go for a walk in the neighborhood. As you notice people, places, landmarks, homes, and nature, turn to God in prayer. Ask for righteousness in your neighborhood, salvation for neighbors, healing for the community, etc.!

We’d love to hear your stories, prayers, encouragement, or struggles during your time in prayer. Please share by emailing John@parkchurchdenver.org.

Hour of Prayer Minute-by-Minute Guide (optional):

Right Beforehand: Find a quiet space and remove distractions. Turn off your phone if possible.

0-5 minutes: Settle in a comfortable position but with good posture. Remember Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” Spend a few minutes in complete silence and stillness, remembering and enjoying His presence with you.

5-15 minutes: Read Psalm 101:1 – “I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music.” If possible, sing a song about God’s love. You may use a song like “King of My Heart” or “Steadfast” by Sandra McCracken, played on an instrument, on YouTube, or singing a capella. If you don’t want to use music, spend these minutes thanking God for his steadfast and personal love toward you and toward those you know. Thank Him for His justice and His mercy.

15-40 minutes: Read through the rest of Psalm 101 slowly. Ask God to illuminate specific phrases or concepts. Re-read it again, slowly. Spend time praying for things that are stirred up because of the passage.

Here are some prayer points you might use: 

  • Confess ways that your heart has not always been full of integrity, that you’ve actively participated in injustice, slander, pride, lust, or greed. Ask your Father for forgiveness, knowing He offers it freely through Jesus.
  • Pray for the Church. Ask God for an increase in His Global Church. Pray that Park Church would do justice, and to love kindness, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). Pray that we’d be known for our love (John 13:35). Pray that we’d be a generation that seeks His face, etc.
  • Pray for the city of Denver. Pray that God would bring about healing and justice, especially for those who have been oppressed, overlooked, and marginalized. They are near to God’s heart. Ask God to heal wounds and bring about racial reconciliation, beginning in your own heart. Pray that the Church would shine brightly in this city.
  • Pray for our world. Pray for our world leaders to walk humbly and submit to Jesus’ reign. Pray that this season would bear Gospel fruit throughout the world. Ask the Lord to send out laborers to see many come to find joy in Jesus soon (Matthew 9:38).

40-50 minutes: Engage in “listening prayer.” Prayer should be more than a list of demands we lay at God’s feet – it can also be a two-way conversation. Ask God if there’s anything He’d like to speak to you or remind you of. Then sit in silence for at least 5 straight minutes. If your mind wanders, sometimes you’ll need to reign in your thoughts. Other times, you may want to invite God into your thoughts, asking if He wants to say something. Pray about whatever He brings to mind. If you don’t “hear” anything, that’s okay! Time in silence before God is always time well spent.

50-55 minutes: Reflect on what God may have stirred in you in the last hour. Is there something you’d like to do or change because of this time? Is there someone who may need a word of love or encouragement? Invite God into this thought process. Make a mental note (or a real note!) of what the next step may be (if there are any).

55-60 minutes: “Breath Prayer.” Choose a word, phrase, or sentence prayer from this hour and spend 2 minutes breathing slowly in and out, repeating that prayer. You may choose to use this: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” Thank Jesus for His attentiveness to you, this hour, and always.

Afterward: If anything stood out from your hour, we’d love to hear your words of encouragement, prayer, or struggle. Send your thoughts to John@parkchurchdenver.org

30 Minutes of Prayer Minute-by-Minute Guide (optional):

Right Beforehand: Find a quiet space and remove distractions. Turn off your phone if possible.

0-5 minutes: Settle in a comfortable position but with good posture. Remember Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” Spend a few minutes in complete silence and stillness, remembering and enjoying His presence with you.

5-10 minutes: Read Psalm 101:1 – “I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music.” If possible, sing a song about God’s love. You may use a song like “King of My Heart” by Sarah McMillan or “Steadfast” by Sandra McCracken, played on an instrument, on YouTube, or singing a capella. If you don’t want to use music, spend these minutes thanking God for his steadfast and personal love toward you and toward those you know. Thank Him for His justice and His mercy.

10-25 minutes: Read through the rest of Psalm 101 slowly. Ask God to illuminate specific phrases or concepts. Spend time praying for things that are stirred up because of the passage.

Here are some prayer points you might use: 

  • Confess ways that your heart has not always been full of integrity, that you’ve actively participated in injustice, slander, pride, lust, or greed. Ask your Father for forgiveness, knowing He offers it freely through Jesus.
  • Pray for the Church. Ask God for an increase in His Global Church. Pray that Park Church would do justice, and to love kindness, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). Pray that we’d be known for our love (John 13:35). Pray that we’d be a generation that seeks His face, etc.
  • Pray for the city of Denver. Pray that God would bring about healing and justice, especially for those who have been oppressed, overlooked, and marginalized. They are near to God’s heart. Ask God to heal wounds and bring about racial reconciliation, beginning in your own heart. Pray that the Church would shine brightly in this city.
  • Pray for our world. Pray for our world leaders to walk humbly and submit to Jesus’ reign. Pray that this season would bear Gospel fruit throughout the world. Ask the Lord to send out laborers to see many come to find joy in Jesus soon (Matthew 9:38).

25-30 minutes: Reflect on what God may have stirred in you in the last hour. Is there something you’d like to do or change because of this time? Is there someone who may need a word of encouragement? Spend another minute in silence, inviting God to speak to you. Make a mental note (or a real note!) of what a next step may be (if there are any). Thank Jesus for His attentiveness to you, this hour, and always.

Afterward: If anything stood out from your hour, we’d love to hear words of encouragement, prayer, or struggle. Send your thoughts to john@parkchurchdenver.org