Sunday Preview

January 3, 2013

I hope you had a blessed Christmas and New Year’s Day. I enjoyed the holiday celebrations and I’m now looking forward to our Fast, Pray, Grow season from January 7-30th. Though fasting is a discipline that has some painful dynamics, it is a great help to get us in good spiritual shape. I first embraced fasting as a spiritual discipline many years ago because Jesus tells us to fast, just as he did. Fasting helps me feel close to the Lord and tuned in to the Holy Spirit. God honors fasting and prayer times in wonderful ways.

Last Sunday one of our members came up to me with a big smile and said, “God changed my life when we were fasting last year!” It brings me joy to see people get spiritual breakthroughs and see God answer prayers each year when we have this season of seeking the Lord with special intensity. It is more than worth the temporary pain of letting go of food and activities that are self indulgent when the Lord brings refreshing from the Holy Spirit.

We want to encourage each member of our church to write down three things and place your list on the prayer wall which will be on the altar in our sanctuary.

1. What you are going to fast from during January 7-30th.
Some people will fast from all food and drink except water for one or more days, or several meals each week. Others will give up all sweets, alcohol, coffee, etc. Some will fast from TV, Facebook, video games, or other time-consuming diversions. Many will choose to fast in a combination of these things.

2. The focus of your fast.
Write down a couple of your spiritual goals or special prayer requests that you want the Lord to honor.

3. Your commitment to spiritual growth.
We strongly encourage each of you to make a commitment to join a new class, small group, One-Year Bible study, or ministry. Our pastors and leaders are offering a great variety of new groups during January to help you grow in faith and ministry skills. Some groups will be just for the fasting season, others will go on longer. My sermon this weekend is called, A Vision for Growth and Blessing, from Matthew 13:1-23. I hope this will be a new season of growth and blessing for you.

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