Lent: Liberation for the Soul!

Season of Lent

I am the current transitional pastor of Recreate Church which is located in San Jose, CA, and I wrote this for a blog article concerning some of the reasons why I am convinced that the Season of Lent is important for us to identify how Jesus Christ becomes our perfect example of how to overcome temptation from his own earthly journey of 40 days in the wilderness. We live in a day in which we are confronting the symptoms of people’s issues not confronting the reality of what is the cause. There is a need for us to begin to tend to the care and the nurture of our “Soul.” The symptoms of the chronic implosion of people’s lives from destructive thoughts that lead to destructive behaviors is a symptom of the neglect and poverty of the condition of people’s soul. Often times our approach to “Soul-Care” is to treat with more religious information as well as religious activity. This does not heal the soul!

Therefore, in a microwave world in which we are addicted to the busyness of our daily lives it is imperative that we who are unconditionally loved by God begin to learn and practice the gift of “Solitude.” It is the late, Henri Nouwen, when speaking of the transformative opportunities in one’s practice of solitude who states, “Jesus changes our history from a random series of sad incidents and accidents into a constant opportunity for a change of heart.” It is my prayer that I do not run to another coping mechanism but instead, “I run towards my Father’s Heart!”  It is in living in rhythm with His heartbeat that I live out my “True-Self.”

Winter 2016 Picture

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Recreate:

 

I am at a Panera Bread in San Jose getting ready for a full-day of meeting people and I thought I would take the time to communicate why I so appreciate the Season of Lent? Furthermore, I would like to take a moment to express why GOD’S timing is in this season for us as a faith community.

 

Yesterday, was Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of this season of Lent. For many years I have used the rhythms of the liturgical calendar as part of my own personal “spiritual formation.” Historically, the Liturgical calendar engages us in the earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ. In my practice of solitude I can reflect on very specific moments in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, which allows me to reflect and become open to those things that are in the areas of my “Soul” that continue to default to me living out my “False-Self.” It is in the sphere of my “False-Self” that I must surrender to the work of the Spirit to bring every aspect of “ME” into the full obedience to Christ.

 

In light of this, the Season of Lent was never meant to be a season which all about “ME” or the sacrifices I am making but instead, it is a season in which I am furthering my connection and relationship to God. It is in this season prior to Easter in which the awesome and miraculous event of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated. I am now invited on the journey with Christ and his 40 days in the wilderness as he is confronting temptation as Luke records “He leaves the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit.” It is a redemptive cycle of the Kingdom of God, which is like the seed which falls to the ground and experiences death only to be brought into “New Life!”

 

We as a team of people have been through a remarkable season in which we have to come to place of internal honesty in asking if we have the capacity to move forward. Through communal discernment with our leaders and we as team seeking the heart of God for our church the answer is – “There is A Future for RECREATE CHURCH!

 

Therefore, allow me to use the pattern of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness to set a course for our own journey as people who are moving ahead into our new future. Because I am on this journey with you I would like to invite you to spiritually partner with me concerning three areas of my life that I would want the Holy Spirit to work in me. They are:

 

  1. The temptation to turn “Rocks into Bread.” The answer that Jesus gave was, “Man does not live by bread alone.” What are the areas in my life that default to wanting to take matters into my own hands to have the needs of both myself and others met? What are the myth’s that I continue to default to that keep me in my “false-self” not more fully trusting Christ! In this season I desire to partake of the bread of life that Jesus Christ has for me. God free me from areas of self-sufficiency!

 

  1. The temptation in which Jesus was challenged to worship the adversary so that the kingdoms of this world would be given to him. What are the areas of my life that I have given place to idols that keep me stuck in my relationship with God? Al Soto in his “false-self” does not have as many of the coping mechanisms that my adversary has tactics for me being ensnared. God free me from my idolatry!

 

  1. The temptation that Jesus faced that if He would throw himself down from the cliff His father would have armies of angels to rescue Him. Jesus declares in response, “Do not test the Lord your God.” What are the areas of my life in which I desire to place God down to my finite human level in order that he would agree with my assumptions of life? Assumptions keep me from reality of the truth. Assumptions keep me stuck into believing lies. I need to go back and ask the Lord what the truth is so that it will set me free. God free me from my attempt to take on your job description and play God!

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. I sure love each one of you and am so appreciative to be on this journey with men and women who desire to fully obey Christ!

 

Al Soto


Recreate Church is a small growing community that is in a season of revitalization as they begin to reimagine their new future! Celebration Services are at 10 AM, Luther Burbank School located on 4 Wabash Ave, San Jose, CA. http://www.recreatechurch.com

About PastorAl

Al Soto has been married to his incredible wife Valerie for 30 years and they have five sons and one grandson. Al has been in Local Church Ministry for 35 years as both as a Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and for five years as a Regional Overseer for his denomination. He has a BA degree from LIFE Pacific College and is currently completing an MA in Leadership & Spiritual Formation from Vanguard University. He currently resides in Lincoln, CA where he is the new Lead Pastor for one of the Campus locations for Bayside Church. He continues to coach High School Football for the Lincoln Fighting Zebras for the Junior Varsity Program and is facilitating Leadership training and coaching as well as facilitating Spiritual Retreats. His hobbies include Golfing and Scuba Diving as well as he is a veracious reader. His Life Statement is “Real Success is Helping others to Succeed!”
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