Perhaps no better theme could be given for this year’s IF:Gathering than the one selected by Jennie Allen and the IF: Team: Jesus.

I’m so humbled and excited to be part of this year’s global gathering, is February 5-6, in Austin, Texas, an event that will be experienced around the globe through IF:Local.

Here are 7 tips to prepare for this for this year’s IF:Gathering:

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Every year, I pray, “God, what do you want me to lay hold of through Lent?”

Those of you who have read the Wonderstruck book and 7-Session DVD Bible Study know how giving up long-winded prayers for 40 days transformed my communication with God. Those of you who dared read the entire Bible with me in 40 days, know the transformative power of rediscovering the grand story of God.

As I prayed this year, I sensed the urge to zero in on Luke and Acts. Many scholars believe dynamic duo of New Testament books were written by the same author, possibly even as a single unified work.

Throughout the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, God’s joy is displayed in the life of Christ, his followers, and the start-up of the church.

Both volumes begin by addressing a man by the name of Theophilius, but without an author’s name in the text the writings remain anonymous. Scholars estimate these the book was written sometime between 70 C.E. and 90 C.E. and written to invite people to know Jesus as savior and discover the emergence of the magnificent church.

For me, I long to know, understand, and be transformed by and through both Jesus and the Church. That’s what I long to lay hold of through Lent this year.

I’m inviting YOU to join me.

Lent begins February 10 and ends March 26 this year.

Would you consider joining me in reading Luke and Acts during the 40 days of Lent to rediscover Jesus and the Church anew?

To open your hearts and minds to what Jesus wants to reveal to you?

To ask God, What do I least want to read but most need to hear?

Because we need Jesus and we need each other.

I’d love for you to join on this journey. We’re providing a FREE 40-Day Lent Reading Guide here.

Or if you prefer, we’ve developed downloadable eBook called The 40-Day Live Lent Challenge: A Color Method Study for Luke and Acts for only $8.99. This 100-plus page booklet includes: a welcome letter, the reading plan, instructions on how to use the Color Bible Study Method, ideas on how to get the most from your study, creative artwork, and space to journal and doodle.

Simply read along and then post your reflections, insights, questions, oohs and ahhs and more on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or old-fashioned chalkboard with the hashtag #LENTCHALLENGE.

We want to shout out about your discoveries and interact with you!

So if you’re in…go ahead and post your blog or social media handle as a comment below so we can find you as we lay hold of the fullness God has for us this Lent.


Imagine spending the 40 wondrous days studying the stunning teachings of Jesus, watching the miraculous start-up of the church, and learning to live out your faith with God with each turning page.

You're invited to come along as we read Luke and Acts during Lent 2016 beginning on February 10.

A few years ago, I prayed, “God, what do you want me to lay hold of through Lent?” I felt led to read through the entire Bible in 40 days. We posted a reading plan online and more than 5000 people downloaded it in the first few days.

The next year, I invited you to join me in reading through the entire New Testament for Lent. Friends joined in including, YouVersion, Catalyst Conference, and many more. Last year, we studied the Gospels in order to prepare our hearts for Resurrection.

This year, I sense we’re supposed to study the life of Christ and birth of the church.

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Men color too. What?

My friend, Matt, shared that his men’s study has come alive with a pack of colored markers. Before the meetings, Matt prints out the day’s Bible reading and invites participants to circle verbs, underline names, draw arrows between repeating phrases, highlight details, and make notes in the margins before discussing the passage.

My friend, Christian, a member of Matt’s Bible study group, remembers feeling hesitant at first:

“Here I am with a group of guys who have nicknamed themselves ‘Manbeverages & Bibles’ and now rainbow markers are strewn all over the table where we’re meeting. It’s starting to feel like a Pinterest party.

But 15 minutes into the study, the Bible started coming alive in a whole new way,” Christian says. “Each of us started noticing details, phrases, patterns—God began speaking through the Scripture to each of us in a personal way.”

Christian and Matt’s story raises the question: Can a pack of colored markers make that big of a difference in studying the Scripture?

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Over the last few years, I’ve come to believe that the 40 days leading up to Easter can be some of the most life-giving, perspective-changing, hope-filled days of the entire year—not just for me, but for you.

This is the moment in the church calendar when we get to prepare our hearts and minds for the resurrection of Jesus at Easter. Past years have plunged me into the Gospels, silenced my prayer life with shocking results, and exposed the layers of contempt in my heart. (You can read about those here).

Three years ago, we read the entire Bible during Lent. Two years ago, we read the entire New Testament. Last year, we read the Gospels. Tens of thousands from around the world responded. We were wonderstruck as pastors, churches, parents, kids, coworkers, and friends dove head first into the great big story of God.

That intense time of Bible reading is transformative spiritual discipline for me.

After much prayer, I’d like to invite YOU to join me in reading two powerful books of the Bible this Lent: Luke and Acts.

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