Read Isaiah 58:1-14
So why are we doing this? For many of you, this will be your first fast. As we prepare for our fall kick-off, we prayerfully seek God’s guidance for our God Talks series beginning on September 3. We pray that people who are far from God, will be moved with a new desire to be in relationship with him. We pray that people who have drifted from God, will come back to him. We pray for our children’s relationship with him. We pray for the release of sin that so easily traps us.
- Moses fasted for 40 days at least two times. Jesus fasted just before his earthly ministry began.
- Fasting will help restore the loss of your “first love.” (Rev. 2:4)
- It’s a biblical way to humble yourself before God. (Psalm 35:13, Ezra 8:21)
- It enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true condition, resulting in repentance and transformation.
- It can transform your prayer life, worship, and strengthen your relationship with God.
WHAT'S UNDER THE HOOD?
It begins! The writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (NKJV).
Let’s begin our fast with an inward focus. What is going on in your life that you need supernatural strength to beat? Is it an addiction? Is it anger? Bitterness? Maybe you’re just struggling to get through. As children of God, we’re not called to survive, we’re called to thrive! But you have to get sick and tired of being sick and tired! That means with God’s help, you can run this race with endurance.
When I ran my first half marathon, I made the rookie mistake of buying new running shoes, and taking them on a half marathon for their inaugural run! Even my running coach said not to. “Nothing new on race day!” She said. But I’m the type of person, if I’m going to do something new, I probably need new shoes! By mile 5, I realized this was a mistake! I started developing a blister. Now I’m 5 miles from the beginning, and 8 miles from the end! So what did I do? I persevered. I finished the race, with all the Texas hills, complete with blisters, and limped through the finish line.
Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Now is the time to shed the sin that so easily traps you. If you’re truly going to live for God, confess your sins, and lean on his supernatural strength to get you through. Just like that half marathon, blisters and all, one foot in front of the other! You can do this!
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (II Chronicles 7:14)
DEFINE THE WHY.
When Jesus had been fasting for 40 days, just before his earthly ministry began, he was led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the Devil. Did you ever wonder why the Spirit would lead him to be tempted by the Devil? The writer of Hebrews tells us why. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
We had an amazing church service on August 14! It was a time where the Spirit of God was moving long before the first song. And at the end of the service, three people made decisions for Christ!
Isn’t this why we have church? To introduce people to Jesus, and help them follow him?
Etta James made famous a song called A Sunday Kind of Love. She sings of a love that lasts past Saturday night. Many of us treat Christ as a Sunday kind of love. But we don’t need Christ only on Sunday! We need him on the 35 freeway on Monday. We need him in our office meetings on Tuesday. We need him in our kid’s soccer match on Saturday.
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Matthew 4:11 ESV)
YOUR MISSION IS THE COMMISSION
At Grace Place, our vision is simple. Love God, love people. How are we going to do that? Our mission is to Gather to worship Jesus. Grow to know Jesus. Go to preach Jesus.
“On your tombstone will be two numbers. When it all began, and when it all ended. My question for you is, ‘what are you going to do with the dash?” –Dave Ramsey
If 2016 were to be the last year of your life, what would you want it to be known for? We were made for a purpose! There may be accidental parents but there aren’t accidental kids. God formed you on purpose, for a purpose.
Our purpose is to live a life of such significance, that people want to know what makes us tick. Hint… It should be Jesus!
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs. (Mark 16:19-20)