We began with our last class from our study 6 Steps to Loving Your Church. It has been a great six weeks. Our prayer is we continue to do the things we learned in our time together. Something as simple as praying as you come into our building goes a long way. We want to be a people who seek the guidance of God’s Spirit. To see people the way our Father sees them. To reach out and encounter them the way Jesus would. When we enter praying, we take the focus off of ourselves and on God and others. Our conversations move beyond our worldly interests and into a heavenly realm. We might find ourselves praying with someone who really needs it. We might be inspired to sit with someone who is lonely and needs a friend. Let God work within our community of believers, to love and encourage each other, as well as those who come seeking Jesus.
Along those lines, we continued our series on “Created for Community” by looking into the Biblical subject of fasting. As stated yesterday, there was no way to dive into every aspect of this topic. We didn’t have time to look into the different types of fasts or even how it should be done. What I did share is this amazing journey from creation to fasting over sin and death. To see how the Messiah changed the nature of this ancient practice of Israel. Today the community of believers can participate in this spiritual discipline, as we seek guidance. We miss Jesus and long for day He returns to be with us forever. I know there was much more that could be said about the subject, but I hope you were encouraged. Steven Wilson is someone I respect in his studies of the spiritual disciplines and could add much more to the discussion. He is a great asset if you want to learn more about fasting. Next week, we will be moving in an opposite direction – our communal meal.
Speaking of communal fasts, Wednesday (at sunset) begins the Jewish celebration of Purim. It is a Hebrew word (פורים) meaning “lots” that commemorate God saving the Jews from a holocaust. You can read the story in Scripture – the Book of Esther. As time was running out, Esther sends a message to her uncle Mordecai – “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night and day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.” (Esth. 4:16) God saves Esther and the covenant people from annihilation, more importantly, the seed of Abraham who would save all the nations of the earth. Take some time this week to reread the story. This is one of the community fasts I was unable to deal with yesterday.
Sunday afternoon some of us were apart of the annual fund raiser for The Buggy Bunch. This is a community outreach for young mothers. Their main goal is to share the love of Jesus. Our building has been used for Bible classes and several of you have volunteered your time by providing free child care and mentors to these moms. Sue Dean, in particular, is a big part of what they do. I have not heard the final totals, but their goal was to raise $200,000. It was a good day.
As Joe mentioned Friday, we collected the top three songs from everyone who came to class yesterday. We will sort through them and come up with the top 16 songs. It is our own version of “March Madness,” as we vote each week for our favorites. As I told my Care Group, this is not a spiritual event, but one we think could be fun. Actually, you probably chose songs that have had some impact on you in the past. More to come.
COMING UP THIS SUNDAY:
- Care Groups F-J (Wild) and S-Z (Young) will meet for lunch following services. This is a potluck event and you should receive an email later giving more details.
- Sunday night (5 pm) we will meet in the Fellowship Hall for a special time of prayer and discussion about the recent shooting tragedies. We hope you will be able to attend and invite others in our community.
WINTERFEST: The pictures are in, and you can tell everyone had a great time. The theme was a domino effect. When you put Jesus first in your life it has an effect on every other aspect of your life. It was called “If Jesus…”. There were 15,000 teenagers! Let us continue to pray for their spiritual growth.
THE WRAP UP:
We live in the age of celebration and fasting. We praise God for delivering us from our sins and coming to live within us, although its full reality has not yet been realized. We long for the Day of His coming when Jesus arrives and dwells with us forever. A Day when sin and corruption is no more. Until then we pray and fast to seek the guidance of God. We make ourselves ready for the return of the Bridegroom.