What is Going on in January!?
- Hey Guys! I don't know about you, but I am so excited for what God has for me and for us as a church as we seek him this month in fasting and prayer. As we wait, we can begin to prepare our hearts for what God is going to do. Ask God what/how he would like you to fast and how to carve out time for Him in this 3-week period. We begin our fast this Saturday evening as a church at 6pm. As always you can feel free to join us for pre-service prayer at 5:15pm as well.
- As a reminder about Tuesday nights, we will not be doing our normal bible studies but we will be joining together with the congregation at The Sanctuary Church on Tuesdays from 6:00pm-8:00pm to pray together. The address is 3502 N. MULLEN ST. TACOMA, WA 98407. This will be a very important time for us as a church to really seek God as a body as to where he is taking us and Parkland. Please try your best to make it so we can be of one mind as we seek Christ in this time.
- We will be breaking our fast on the 27th as church as well. Details to come on that as we get closer.
Rewards of Fasting (Pastor Dan's Sermon)
As we are gearing up for our fast together Pastor Dan felt that is was necessary to dive into why we are fasting and what we can expect through the fast.
We have now been a church for three years and we sometimes need to take time to take a step back and let God show us where we are going and where He wants us to go. Fasting combined with prayer allows us to do this in a powerful and meaningful way. Pastor Dan used the metaphor of a broken record spinning and repeating the same monotonous line over and over as a way to describe how we can get if we just continue on with "business as usual," and forget to seek Him and His will. We need to let God stop the record and, "lift the player's needle," and fix the record so it can play rightly.
Pastor Dan shared with us that he believes God is taking us into a time of repentance. This does not mean that we have to drum up feelings of repentance but just seek God and ask Him, "Search me out and see if there is any wicked way within me." God is wanting to bring us to the place of coming under His leadership and direction. We are prone to veer off course and follow our own course and that is where our "record" comes to be "broken." This time of fasting will be very helpful to guide us back to healing and being set on that, "narrow path," of following Christ in His mission for us as we remain here on Earth.
Fasting is nothing new. It has been around since the Levitical priesthood and continued even into the early church and is still practiced today. This practice, though, has somehow been lost in western Evangelical circles. One of the early Church theologians, Augustine, said, "Man's righteousness in life consists in alms, fasting, and prayer. Alms and fasting are the wings that give flight to our prayers." We can see this in the life of Cornelius in Acts as a precursor to the breakout of God's Spirit into gentile circles.
We need to keep in mind that fasting in itself does not make us righteous but the one who we seek makes us righteous. The definition Pastor Dan is such a great way to look at it, "The restraint of natural legitimate pleasures(such as food) to put ourselves in a more open posture to receive what God is giving." It puts in the mindset of Christ that, "man cannot live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God." The yearn for food is channeled into a filling of ourselves with the Words of the living God and His holiness and presence. We are taking advantage of these coming 21 days to grow more dependent on God's Word and Spirit.
Pastor Dan mentioned some quick fasting facts that can help us as we fast:
- Fasting is voluntary. You make the choice to pick up or leave behind this discipline.
- It is a lost discipline not a useless discipline.
- God's gives grace to fast. Ask God for grace and He gives it.
- Fasting makes you physically and emotionally weak. You may be a little "raw" as you fast.
- Fasting must always be done with increased time in prayer. The church will be providing corporate time to pray but you will need to take some 1-on-1 time with God as well. Very important!
- There will be an increase in temptation but an increase in grace to have victory over it as we ask for it.
- Expect to hear God's voice!
Remember we are doing this onto God, not for our own glory (Matthew 6:17-18.) This is to know God and to be connected with Him. We are fasting to grow in intimacy with Christ.
- Fasting tenderizes our hearts to feel God's presence more.
- Fasting changes our desires. It empowers us with new desires for righteousness and for the things of God.
- Fasting increases our understanding/love of God's Word. It may also bring about dreams and visions confirmed of course through God's unchanging character and Word.
- Fasting strengthens our sense of identity in Christ as we listen to what God says and block out the other voices.
- Fasting also helps our physical bodies become more healthy and increases our desire for nutritious and truly beneficial foods. It should help us to stray away from gluttony.
The following resources will help us to prepare our hearts as we come into this important time as a church:
If there is something I missed please let me know and I will take a look. (Thank you!)
Church, I can feel the anticipation for God's presence rising. It is on your heart and my heart. We long for God to come and meet us in our utter dependence on Him and his strength. This should be a revelatory and refreshing time as a church. God bless you and lead you in this time. Amen!
A prayer, "Lord help Parkland Foursquare to grow in it's desire for you, the Lord of all creation, Maker of heaven and Earth. We long for breakthrough in our personal lives and in our community at large. We thank you for our past three years of growth but we ask for greater things yet to come and to bless us with an increased understanding/love/appreciation of who You are and those things You love. Lord, let this not be in vain but be a catalyst for our church to follow You into every place you desire us to travel both physically and spiritually. We thank you Lord for what You are now doing and what You will do in this time. Visit us Lord. Show us the way to go! To You be the glory, honor and power forever. Amen!"