Pastor Rick, Lakeland UMC – April 21, 2020

Good Morning,
This might be difficult to do in these trying times that we find ourselves in but it might also increase our faith; and we could all use help in that area. I have accepted a challenge from my friend at Seedbed, J.D. Walt, to fast one day per week for at least 40 weeks over the next 52 weeks. He is proposing a fast every Wednesday and will be sending out reminders on Tuesday’s. There is also a Facebook Group you can join if you choose. Whatever J.D. sends me I will forward on for any who would also like to accept this challenge.
On another note, and I don’t want to start any controversy, but despite what Governor Kemp has suggested we will not be joining together in worship in the Church building for at least a few more weeks but will continue to worship online.
Stay safe out there!
Peace,
Pastor Rick <><

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Hi Rick,

Thanks for agreeing to join us on the Seedbed Daily Text 40 Day Fast. I will send out an email every Tuesday morning with some teaching about fasting and with guidance for the week’s fast. For additional support and encouragement, we have launched a private Facebook group you can join anytime. Find it here.

OUR APPROACH

The first thing that must go is a legalistic mentality. In order to avoid creating a legalistic context, we are working with a grace filled policy. One day per week for 40 weeks over the course of 52 weeks. Yes, this means we get 12 grace weeks for whenever and wherever needed. We will fast for roughly 24 hours. Eat the evening meal on the day prior to the fasting day. We will be skipping breakfast and lunch of the next day. Any day is fine, but let’s aim for Wednesday as the fast day with Friday as the backup if needed. End the fast around 4pm with a light and nutritious snack.

Prior to sleep, offer your fast to the Lord for his purposes with a simple prayer, something like, Lord Jesus Christ, I offer you this fast for your glory and my good. All I am and all I have I offer to you for your purposes in the world and my progress in your grace, Amen.

We are fasting from food, but remember this is not about food. Let’s not get hung up on whether coffee is legal or juice or whatever. If you simply cannot abstain from food for health reasons (and many cannot) the point is to change your relationship with food during this 24 hour period. Break pace from all the ritual and routine around meals. Take what food is required for your health as though it were medicine on the fast day. Choose something bland. Drink what you need to drink. Coffee is a better choice than softdrinks if caffeine is an issue (o.k., we should probably stay away from “adult beverages.” ;0) Fasting is about focus on Father, Son and Holy Spirit period.

YOU WILL NEED

  • The Bible– Electronic version is fine. Print is better.
  • A notebook of some sort.
  • Flashlight and sleeping bag. (just kidding!) ;0)

THOUGHTS ABOUT FASTING

—People ask, “What do I do during the meals I am missing?” We will give guidance each week along these lines; however, because fasting is not about food, we can’t limit our focus to devotional activities during meal times. The entire period, from the moment you say Amen the night before to the moment you say Amen in breaking the fast– we are fasting. Fasting causes our physical bodies to pray.

—Like Sabbath keeping is about a day unlike the other six days for the purposes of rest, so fasting is about a day unlike the other six days for the purpose of focusing our innermost person on the person of Jesus Christ, in the strength of the Holy Spirit.

—Fasting is not about trying to get God to do something. It is not a “functional” lever we pull to increase the power of our prayers. Fasting is about fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Fasting trains the human spirit to fellowship with the Holy Spirit and feast on the Word of God.

GUIDANCE FOR THIS WEEK

We will cover a series of biblical texts over the course of the forty weeks. For the first nine weeks we will abide together in the following text, Colossians 1:15-23.

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

For Breakfast: During the period in which you would have breakfast, slowly and deliberately read the above text aloud. Turn to a fresh page in your notebook and write the bolded text (the first verse) in your notebook and meditate on it. We will come back to this page and write the successive verses as the weeks go by. Try to keep the bolded verse at the forefront of your mind throughout the morning. (It will advance each week).

Turn to a fresh page in your note book and copy down the following text from Scripture. Remember, it is an act of worship to write the words of God.

I keep asking you, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know you better. I pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of your glorious inheritance in your holy people, and your incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength you exerted when you raised Christ from the dead and seated him at your right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And you placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. (adapted from Ephesians 1:17-23 changing pronouns to first person)

That’s it for breakfast. We will come back to this text for lunch with some additional work.

For Lunch: During the noon period read the prayer from Ephesians 1 from your notebook meditatively. Afterward, invite the Holy Spirit to stir your mind to help you remember people. Following the place in your notebook where you wrote the prayer, begin to list out these names. Trust that any and every name that comes to your mind is a prompt from the Spirit. Don’t question why you remembered that kid from junior high, just write down the name. Write every name that comes to mind. Avoid looking on other prayer lists you may have. Just go with your Spirit anointed memory. When you have finished, offer the following prayer over the list of names in a collective way.

I keep asking you, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know you better. I pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of your glorious inheritance in your holy people, and your incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength you exerted when you raised Christ from the dead and seated him at your right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And you placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Our Walking around Breath Prayers for the Day:

  • Lord Jesus, you are the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all Creation.
  • Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
  • Come Holy Spirit!
  • Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

Closing the Fast

–Read and meditate on this text:

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31 (NASB)

–Note any insights, impressions or implications from this time of fasting in your notebook.

–Close with Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, I offer you this fast for your glory and my good. All I am and all I have I offer to you for your purposes in the world and my progress in your grace, Amen.

For the Awakening,

J.D. Walt

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