We are in the midst of Lent. For the Christian, Lent is a time of self-reflection, sacrifice, fasting, soul searching and spiritual renewal as we approach Easter Sunday.

As I have been doing my own reflecting I felt compelled to issue a challenge to the Mercy Church congregation I serve and the city we live in, Kansas City, to LIVE HOLY THE WEEK OF HOLY WEEK - April 13 – 19. Unfortunately “living holy” can and often means different things to different people, so allow me to clarify.

I am NOT referring to a bunch of rules that the religious-church-folk often impose on us, like NO Drinking, NO Dancing, NO rated “R” movies, NO reading Harry Potter Books and definitely NO Tattoos! These are only some of the ridiculous man-made “religious” rules that we thought if we could adhere to would get God to like us more. I was raised in that legalistic culture and now see why so many people who came from that no longer attend church. It’s heart-breaking!

Leviticus 11:44 “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.” - NASB 

When I say “LIVE HOLY” I am referring to 3 things primarily that, if not all at least one, will make sense to you I am sure:

1) Keep the 10 Commandments 

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.' TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.' THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.' FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.' FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.' SIX: 'You shall not murder.' SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.' EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.' NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.' TEN: 'You shall not covet…’

2) Live by the Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12 "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the Law and the prophets." - RSV 

3) Love your Neighbor as yourself 

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” 

I am convinced that if we will commit to live holy the week of Holy Week it will not only impact us personally but also our churches, our friends, our neighbors, our cities and the world we live in.

On a very practical level let me give a bit more detail; the bible clearly states that we should “obey the laws of the land” as long as they do not hinder us from serving Christ, so included in this challenge is for us to live as law abiding citizens … no speeding (this is going to be a huge sacrifice for me, ha ha! I have a really heavy foot!), wear your seat belt, if you have had too much to drink - call a Taxi or a friend to drive you home, etc.

I can feel some of you rolling your eyes … listen take the challenge to Live Holy for one week, come on! You’ll be glad you did! Here’s the deal… if every person in Kansas City would do this it would be like utopia … like Heaven … everyone caring, giving and loving … it would be awesome! Crime would stop completely! Amazing! Wouldn't it be cool to see crime stand still for one week in our city, or whatever city you live in? I think so!