Thursday, February 26, 2009

Preparing to Fast

As I said last week, tomorrow starts a week of fasting and prayer for our church in order to better discern God's leading for some big decisions that our church elders are wrestling with. Here are the three big areas where we are fasting and praying as leaders and inviting others to join us...

1) Facilities - one, should HCB-RR continue our relationship with the YMCA, and two, where does the Lord desire the new church plant to meet?

2) Church-planting - does God what HCB-RR to be involved in church planting again in 2010 in some capacity?

3) Staffing - wisdom for how best to use the additional staffing money we have in our 2009 budget?

SO, as you can see, we have some big decisions in the weeks ahead. We are moving through this season of decision with prayer and fasting so that we can make sure our church is in tune with the Holy Spirit and not just expecting God to bless our plans. I've heard several questions about fasting this week.

Here's a FAQ related to fasting this week:

1) Do I have to fast from food? No, because not everyone can fast from food (like me, since I'm diabetic). However, fasting from one meal a day for a week is the most common method of fasting. Because we spend so much time and energy eating, fasting from food can reveal our inner world in a new way and free up time to seek God. If you can't fast from food, pick something else that you can fast from for a week that will free up time to seek God and pray. I'm fasting from television all week in order to spend more time with the Lord.

2) What do I do while I'm fasting? You can do several different things with the free time. As I've told you many times before, I prefer to journal while I'm praying - it helps my mind to concentrate and allows me to jot down notes when I'm discerning some kind of leading or impression from the Holy Spirit. So I will spend my fasting time journaling, reading Scripture, and journaling some more. I will also spend some of my fasting time praying with my wife and listening with her for direction from God.

3) Why should we fast? As I mentioned in last week's post, fasting reminds us that our desires for food and entertainment and relationship (all things we can fast from) are simply temporary imitations of our eternal desire for the greatest treasure, Jesus Christ. The church historically has practiced fasting in order to celebrate the all-encompassing sufficiency of God, to discipline themselves away from idolatry to things in this present world, and to increase their attentiveness to the Holy Spirit. As mentioned above, we are fasting this week corporately as a body to say to the Lord and ourselves that we desire Him over all else and that we desire to hear from Him over ourselves.

I'd love to hear any stories of what the Lord shows you during times this week of fasting and prayer. May He richly bless you and meet with you as you seek His face. I'll be posting some observations throughout the week.

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