Let me take a few minutes to share something the Lord has increasingly laid on my heart over the past several months. The promise found in 2 Corinthians 6:2 (In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation) is a promise I want us to contend for as a church family in 2010. You may have heard the saying, “One moment of favor is worth a lifetime of labor.”
As we move into the New Year, I want us to join our faith and believe God for increased favor in our lives and on our church, as well as for an increase in salvation for our loved ones, co-workers, and members of our community.
To help get ourselves in the right mindset and to position our hearts toward this focus at the beginning at 2010, we will be doing a series this January called FastForward. Here are a few ways you can get involved in this New Year emphasis:
- Attend 3 weeks of teaching on Biblical fasts on Sunday mornings (Pastor Joshua on January 3 & 10; Pastor Eric Peoples from CT on January 17)
- Participate in some way in our 21 days of prayer & fasting (January 3–23)
- Read the book, Fasting by Jentezen Franklin, and “helpful tips” articles from at the
- Participate in the worship gathering on Sunday night, Jan. 17, with worship led by Mike Kim and ministry from Eric Peoples
- Attend weekly prayer and worship, Saturdays 8–9 am in Youth Room
In preparation for this emphasis, our elders, pastors, lay pastors and several staff have already begun to read Jentezen Franklin’s book on Fasting. This book had a significant impact on my life when I read it in 2008. It’s filled with helpful teaching on the subject of prayer & fasting, as well as inspiring testimonies from members of Pastor Franklin’s church. I hope you’ll pick up a copy at the
Before jumping into such a sacrificial emphasis, we should ask ourselves the obvious question: Why do we fast? We’ll be talking more in-depth about this in January, but here are a few reasons why I have worked to build fasting into my lifestyle.
- Men and women of God have sought the Lord through consecrated times of prayer & fasting in both the Old and New Testaments. Moses fasted. Ezra fasted. Daniel fasted. Esther fasted. Elijah fasted. Paul fasted. Jesus fasted.
- Jesus said His disciples would fast after His earthly ministry was complete. (Mark 2:19-20)
- All throughout church history, corporate fasting has positioned God’s people for fresh breakthroughs. Are you in need of a physical healing? Do you need deliverance from an addiction or habitual sin? Are you in need of a financial breakthrough? Do you have a loved one, co-worker, or neighbor who needs to get right with God?
- Fasting helps break the “at ease disease” that can so easily set into our relationship with the Lord. (Amos 6:1) Over time, all of us are prone to selfishness, distraction and apathy in our relationship with the Lord. I’ve found that setting aside time to fast and pray has been one of the best ways for me to jumpstart my devotional life when I have found myself in one of these spiritual ruts.
- Our heavenly Father still loves to reward those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6; (Jeremiah 29:13) We do not fast to twist God’s arm or because we need to get His attention — we already have it. We fast to remove the obstacles and distraction that are in our own hearts, minds and lives. Sometimes we find ourselves saying things like, “God is trying to speak to me” — as if God ever has to try to do anything! God is never trying to speak to us, we are just trying to hear what He is clearly saying to us. Fasting can help clear up the lines of communication. “Man does not live on bread alone but every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
Fasting is not about putting on a show of spiritual discipline. Religious Pharisees in the New Testament would fast to impress others — they missed the whole point and power behind this spiritual discipline. When done with a right heart, fasting is one of the most humble offerings we can bring to the Lord. As we fast, we are saying to the Lord, “I need more of You more than I need my next meal.”
Fasting is not “easy” or glamorous. It is a pretty grueling denial of our flesh. I’ve found it’s easier for me to give God my time and money than sacrifice my meals! Yet I have never fasted without some significant change in my heart and life. Sometimes the change comes through answered prayer, sometimes through a change of heart, and sometimes I’m simply left with an increased love, clarity, and spiritual hunger in my relationship with the Lord.
I hope you will prayerfully consider joining us on this FastForward 2010 journey. No matter what level of participation you feel the Lord is calling you to take, there is some-thing special about offering up the “first fruits” of our new year as we seek first the Kingdom and seek first the King. (Matthew 6:33)