A Bible Study for Lent 2020 – Tuesdays from 7:00-8:30 p.m.


March 3, 2020

To join the Bible Study online, either click on the following link or copy and paste it into your online browser:


Introduction to Lenten Practices:

So what is a Lenten practice? A Lenten practice is anything we do during Lent that opens us up and brings us closer into God’s presence. A Lenten practice is like going to the gym for your faith. It may be awkward at first and difficult, but afterwards you feel good; and after doing it for a while, you notice changes and strengths, and it becomes so much a part of your routine that you can’t imagine life without it. Some common Lenten practices include prayer, fasting, generosity, confession, Bible study, hospitality, working for justice, and meditation.

The Lenten discipleship practices that we will explore are each tied to the Christian values of generosity, thankfulness, and stewardship. Each week, not only will we learn about a specific Lenten practice, but you will be given ideas about different ways that you can actually do it. Try it; play with it; see how it opens you up to God. By taking this opportunity and trying each practice, you will be making space in your life to actively live out the Way of Jesus.

Opening Litany:

As we travel this Lenten pathway, we journey together, a community of faith.

As we travel this Way of Jesus, we journey together, but also alone.

Practicing our faith:

living Christ’s call to love God with all that we are, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Practicing our faith:

as stewards on the Way.


Reading Scripture – Matthew 4:1-11

Narrator:   After his baptism, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the tempter. Jesus fasted for a long, long time – forty days and nights – and, by the end of it, he was painfully hungry. At that point, the tempter came to him.

Tempter:    If you are the Child of God, tell these stones to become…hmmm…loaves of bread!

Jesus:        No! It is written in the Torah: “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Narrator:   So the tempter took Jesus to the holy city and sat beside him on the highest part of the temple, the absolute top.

Tempter:    If you are the Child of God, jump! Throw yourself to the ground, for, as it is written in the Torah, “God will command God’s angels for you,” and “They will gather you up in their hands, so you will not dash your foot against a stone.”

Jesus:        No! Again it is written, “Do not put Adonai, do not put God, to the test!”

Narrator:   So, this time the tempter took Jesus to a very high mountain from which they could see all the kingdoms, all the nations, all the places of the world, in all their greatness. As they looked down, the tempter spoke again.

Tempter:    I will give you all of this. I will give you all of this. You only need to do one thing. Bow down! Bow down and worship me!

Jesus:        No. No! NO! Go away, Adversary. Go away. It is written, “There is only one you will worship, only one you will serve – your sovereign God!” Go away!

Narrator:   And, right then, the tempter left Jesus. Suddenly, God’s Holy Messengers appeared, and Jesus was cared for.


  • ‘No” is always one of the first words that children learn as they grow up. So, why is it so difficult for many of us to use the word ‘No’ as we grow into adulthood?
  • What are some of the consequences of saying ‘Yes’ too often and ‘No’ too seldom?
  • Maybe it’s time to regain the ‘spiritual’ practice of saying ‘No’ wisely and intentionally like a follower of Jesus.
  • Look back at the scripture we just read from Matthew 4. In this passage of scripture, Jesus says ‘No’ to the tempter on three separate occasions:
    • Command these stones to become loves of bread! – No!
    • Throw yourself down from the highest point of the temple! – No!
    • Fall down and worship me! – No!

What reasons does Jesus give for saying ‘No’ on these occasions?

  • To what extent is Jesus saying ‘No’ to these things because he has already said ‘Yes’ to something else?
  • As those who follow Jesus, each of us constantly gets a chance to choose ‘No’ or ‘Yes.’ How will I use the time and resources that I have been given. This is a stewardship question.
  • Take time to make a list of three things, Christian values, to which you have already said ‘Yes.’
    • ________________________________________________________
    • _________________________________________________________
    • _________________________________________________________
  • What are some examples of things to which you will say ‘No’ because you have already said ‘Yes’ to these things/
    • _________________________________________________________
    • _________________________________________________________
    • _________________________________________________________
  • Carry your list of values with you throughout the week and use it to help make a decision whenever a choice presents itself to you. Next week come back prepared to share a brief story of how this Lenten practice worked (or didn’t work) for you and how it helped (or didn’t help) open you to God.

Prayers of the People and the Prayer that Jesus Taught Us

One:          Loving God, we thank you for the journey of our lives, with its ups and downs, with its questions and challenges, and with its moments of joy. We thank you for the beauty around us, for the hills and the trees, for the water and the weather, for all that reminds us of life, and life made new.

Today, we are especially thankful for…

Please share aloud your thanksgivings for the community and/or for current events.

In the quiet of this place, we offer you our celebrations.

A time for silent prayer.

Even as we say “Thank you,” we realize that there is brokenness in us and in our world. We realize that we have not always lived the love to which you call us. Sometimes by action or by inaction, sometimes by just going along with things, we have broken faith with each other and with you. We offer to you our brokenness, loving God, not only asking that we would be forgiven, but that, by your love, we would be made whole, living in new ways, living out Christ’s love. Receive the prayers of our hearts.

A time for silent prayer.

Knowing that we are forgiven, knowing that we are loved, we turn to the world to love it into wholeness. We pray for people living in desert times in their lives, people who are facing famine – of body or spirit, people who are tempted to turn away from what is right and just. And we pray for a world, all creatures, all places, facing destruction.

We remember especially…

Name concerns about the congregation or about current events.

We pray for healing and wholeness, and we ask that we would be part of the solution, loving God, turning our prayer from words to actions. Bless our journey, we pray, sharing the words that Jesus gave all his disciples:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Announcements and Assignment for Next Week:

  • Read Genesis 12:1-4a. Spend time praying about how God is calling you to be a blessing.
  • Practice saying ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ wisely and intentionally like a follower of Jesus. Be prepared to tell a brief story about how giving conscious thought to your values in the decisions you make have helped open you to God.
  • Other announcements?

Benediction and Commissioning

As we travel this Lenten pathway, we journey together, a community of faith.

As we travel this Way of Jesus, we journey together but also alone.

Let us go into God’s world, practicing our faith,

living Christ’s call to love God with all that we are, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Let us go into God’s world

knowing we are never alone. Christ’s peace, the Creator’s love, and the breath of the Holy Spirit go with us. Amen!

Based on “Called to Be the Church: Congregational Giving Program,” The United Church of Canada