my simplest statements about Lent for Non-Lent People.

I’ve tried to simplify how to talk about the book I wrote for Lent and how I describe myself in a couple places. With Lent starting one week from today, I wanted to share these with you and ask, if you would be willing, to share them with people who may find them helpful. And then, starting tomorrow, we’ll go back to other kinds of posts. But I realized one day that this book can help some people hear God more clearly. And that I need to encourage that, at least a little, as clearly and simply as I can.

Thanks for your help and patience.


“How can I hear God better?”

One way is by learning to pay attention. “Lent For Non-Lent People” is a seven-week guide to learning to listen for God. In this short book, pastor and social media chaplain Jon Swanson helps readers use the season of Lent to learn to focus on God by:

-Learning how to break habits of distraction and busyness;
-Learning how God spoke to a prophet in depression after a big event
-Listening to Jesus talk to an ostracized woman, to a close friend, and to the enemy of our souls.

In the appendix, Jon shares his own story of Lent and the loss of a child.

Whether or not you grew up with Lent, this book can help you listen for God.

Available in paperback and for Kindle and Nook


Jon Swanson helps people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

Once upon a time, Jon thought he would use his PhD in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism to teach college students how to analyze speeches. Instead, he has been helping people read the Bible for more than thirty years. In small groups and conversations, he tries to listen to the text, listen to people and connect the two in ways that are practical and often unexpected.

Recently, he’s been writing about changing our routines, and his books on Advent, Lent, and the Sermon on the Mount give practical examples. His most recent book, “A Great Work”, is a conversation with Nehemiah which, in the words of one reader, “offers the gift of allowing people to feel they can understand without having to be scholars.”

Jon has been a communication prof, college administrator, and, since 2000, an associate pastor. Currently, he’s the executive pastor at Grabill Missionary Church. (His published writings do not necessarily reflect the positions of that church.)

He and Nancy have been married since 1983 and have two children (one married). Jon and Nancy walk at least two miles a day, conversing the whole time.

Jon has been blogging since 2005. In 2008, he started, where he writes in simple language about following Jesus, 300 words at a time.


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2 thoughts on “my simplest statements about Lent for Non-Lent People.

  1. Scott Howard (@ScLoHo)

    Lent was one of those church calender events that I recall from growing up in a mostly Lutheran church with a touch of Roman Catholic tossed in every once in awhile.

    After high school my attendance at church was nill and my relationship with God was more of a nagging guilt. I use to pray “God forgive me for the sins I’m about to commit”, then go out and have fun. A few years passed and in my 20’s my girlfriend and I were talking about our beliefs. At this point I figured, I had committed enough sins that I was unforgivable. She challenged me to ask God for forgiveness and ask him to come into my life as not just the Jesus that I heard stories about, or the Old Testament Yahweh, but an actual loving being who cared about me and knew what was best for me, and loved me more than I could fathom. That day I prayed, “If what she said was true, I want to stop living my life my way and surrender to you, Lord.”

    The transformation began that summer day in 1982 and over the next 18 years, I never looked back wishing for either my early “christian” life, or the years in between. Fast forward to the year 2000 and the woman I am dating, who would become my wife was very devout in her faith but was one of those “Lutherans”. During those 18 years, I had been a member of Grace Brethren, American Baptist, and a few other non-denominational congregations, none of which paid much attention, that I recall to Lent and other church calender events besides Easter and Christmas.

    I had to make peace with my Lutheran background that I had felt failed me in bringing me to a true relationship with God as a youth.

    Now I’m involved in our Lutheran church, respectful of their traditions, but not as observant as my wife of the church seasons.

    Honestly, when I received this book this week, I really wasn’t even sure when Lent was this year, except it was coming up. Yet here I am involved in outreach ministries in our church! Guess it illustrates that God wants a willing heart more than anything else.

    I now look forward to reading & following along over the next seven weeks as I am definitely one of those Non-Lent People Jon wrote this for. If my story is anything at all like yours, I challenge you to get a copy or two of this book too.

    Thanks Jon for your 300 words that start my day when I wake up and it’s waiting for me in my email and for this journey too.


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