The four tracks are all a little bit different and one may seem more attractive depending on your circumstances and season of life. You may want to do something different (either less intense or more) and that’s fine as well.
Why Are We Doing This?
Unfortunately, fasting isn’t a very common practice amongst Christians today. There’s a lot of mystery around it.
There are certain traditions like Roman Catholicism that practice things like Lent every single year. But fasting isn’t something you “just do” because it’s a certain time of year or a certain tradition in the culture.
Fasting is something you do voluntarily upon the prompting of the Holy Spirit to accomplish a spiritual purpose.
The fast we are doing is “congregational” in nature. That means each person in our church family is being called upon to voluntarily deprive themselves of something physically essential (food) for the sake of something spiritually essential (being desperate for and dependant on God.)
A Personal Testimony
At first, this fast was just something I was going to do personally. The Holy Spirit had made clear in my own heart the need to do an extended fast. The church never would’ve even known about this fast much less participated in it. I began to study fasting, it’s purpose and the biblical teaching around it. In my preparation for the fast, the Lord made clear to me that I should extend the invitation to our entire congregation.
Here’s what’s crazy. Several months ago I reached out to a group of pastor friends to ask them about “church-wide” fasting resources and tools. I shared with them how the Lord was leading me to call our church to a 21 day fast leading up to Easter. What blew my mind was that FIVE of those seven pastors were also planning to do a congregational fast on the SAME DATES and for similar reasons.
None of us had any idea that any of us were even thinking about a fast. Upon further investigation I came to discover that the Lord has been calling MANY churches to engage in congregational fasts across the United States and ours is just one of many that the Lord is preparing for this process.
A Theology of Fasting
I don’t know what the Lord is going to do through this fast. I’m not “expecting” the Lord to “do” anything. Neither should you. Fasting is not something you engage in so that God will “do something” in your life or our church.
We don’t fast in order to get things from God. We fast in order to get more of God because he’s so much better than any “thing” this world has to offer. Fasting is a way to reorient our heart and mind around that which is most important.
It’s a way to teach our body and soul that we were made for worship. We were made to desire God, be satisfied in God and to glorify God through the pursuit of his presence.
Today, God’s presence is already ours through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The blood of Jesus covers our sins and we stand completely righteous in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. We don’t fast in order to “get God’s love.” We fast as a response to having already received His love and as a reminder that his grace is sufficient for our every need.
Your Motivation Matters!
Our motivation for fasting matters to the Lord. When we fast in the right way and for the right reasons then we will position ourselves to experience a great reward. (Matthew 6:16-18) That reward is the gift of God himself.
When Jesus finished his 40 day fast in preparation of his public ministry he returned to Galilee “in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 4:14) As believers, we’ve been given the Holy Spirit to empower our witness in this world as well. (Acts 1:8)
Don’t miss this opportunity to partner with your church family in expressing a renewed hunger for God and a renewed outpouring of his Holy Spirit in our congregation.
Once you’ve prayed and decided on a plan you can indicate your decision by filling out a commitment card during the Sunday morning service. This commitment is between you and the Lord. Filling out the card is just a way to publicly express that private decision.
We will not be sharing who all is participating in the fast but we will share the total number of people so that you can be encouraged by the fact that you’re not doing this alone.
I hope you’ll seriously consider participating at one level or another.
I also hope you’ll join us for the Sunday night prayer meetings starting March 27th.
If you have any questions, reservations or feedback please let me know. You can just reply to this email.
Before I close out this week’s update don’t forget that we have our Hands & Feet ministry project coming up April 7th. You only have until the end of the month to turn in a project or sign up to work. You can read more information in the announcements below.
There are also still openings for the J.O.Y ministry trip to Branson if you’re interested in going. Contact Phyllis for more information. You can read the details about the trip in the announcements below.
In our prayer time during staff meeting this past Monday we prayed over many people in our church family who are walking through deep suffering. This world is so broken and so many people are walking through such challenging times. You do not have suffer alone. If there’s anyway I can pray for you please reply back to this email and let me know.
We can also put your prayer need on the church prayer list through the church app. That way more and more people can join you in prayer. If you don’t know how to do that reply back and I can send you some instructions.
I hope you have a great rest of your week!
Until Jesus Comes,