Thursday, April 30, 2009

Detach from the World....


The book of Daniel is divided into two sections: the first half of the book provides a historical account and the second half is prophetic. The theme throughout is God’s sovereignty and power over all nations and powers. Yahweh is the one true God. All other gods are merely idols.

Thursday April 30: Daniel 2
“With the all-powerful God nothing is impossible.” This was Daniel’s reply to King Nebuchadnezzar in verses 27-30. Wisdom and power belong to our God (v.20) but He freely gives to us because of His mercy (v.18). Before you go too much further today ask God to enable you to make Him known and intercede for the lost in this city.

Deeper Study: Compare Daniel 2 with Genesis 41 the story of Joseph and Pharaoh

The reason to detach from the world is to attach to God. Be desperate for His Spirit today.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

DETOX Engaged!

Here we GO!

The book of Daniel is divided into two sections: the first half of the book provides a historical account and the second half is prophetic. The theme throughout is God’s sovereignty and power over all nations and powers. Yahweh is the one true God. All other gods are merely idols.

Wednesday April 29: Daniel 1
Daniel detached from the pleasures of his status in Babylon in order to maintain his identity as one of God’s children. Prayerfully consider other activities, objects or “royal food” of the world that God would have you abstain from in order to focus more clearly on Him over the next 10 days. May God grant to you favor, compassion, understanding and wisdom (v. 9, 17 & 20) as a result for your undeterred loyalty to Him.

Vintage Podcast: listen to Rob talk about why Daniel & fasting means for us today.

Ps. 90:12-17
12 Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent, O LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.

16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.

17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us
yes, establish the work of our hands.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Detox Foods.....

Have you ever wondered what a diet of only fruits and vegetables would look like?
Well here you go! Below are the Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast…

All fruits: These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned (watch for added sugar).
Honeydew melons

Vegetables: These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned (watch salt content).
Brussel sprouts
Chili peppers
Collard greens
Ginger root
Mustard greens
Sweet potatoes

Legumes: (we're not sure if this is even a word)
Dried beans
Black beans
Pinto beans
Split peas
Black eyed peas
Green beans
Green peas
Kidney beans
Peanuts (includes natural
peanut butter)

All nuts (raw, unsalted)
Ground flax
Natural Almond Butter

Whole Grains:
Whole wheat
Brown rice
Rolled Oats
Plain Oatmeal- not instant
Grits (no butter)
Whole wheat pasta
Whole wheat tortillas
Plain Rice cakes
Popcorn (see recipe in FAQ’s)

Water (spring, distilled, filtered)
Unsweetened Soy Milk
Herbal (caffeine free) Tea
100% Fruit/Vegetable Juice (no added sugar)

Soy products
Small amounts of Honey
Small amounts of Sea Salt
Small amounts of Ezekiel Bread
Small amounts of Olive Oil
Spices (read the label to be sure there are no

Foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast…
All animal products including all meat, poultry, fish…
White rice
White bread
All deep fried foods
Coffee (including decaf b/c contains small amount of caffeine)
Carbonated beverages
Energy drinks
Foods containing preservatives, additives
Refined foods
Processed foods
Food additives
Refined sugar
Sugar substitutes
Raw sugar
Cane juice
White flour
High fat products
All leavened breads
Baked goods
All dairy

Yummy! :)

Here are some FAQ’s

What about prepared foods?
Read the labels of all prepared foods. Remember the Daniel Fast is sugar-free and chemical-free. So, if you use any canned fruits, vegetables, packaged foods, or prepared sauces you must read the label to be aware about just what is in there.

What about pasta?
Make sure the label says whole grain pasta with no additives (watch for sugar). Whole grain pasta offers 7 grams of protein per serving (3/4 cup of dried pasta).

I know it says raw, unsalted nuts, but what about roasted nuts?
The goal would be to stick to raw, unsalted nuts. But these are harder to find so in a pinch just make sure you get plain roasted, unsalted nuts with no preservatives.

How do I get enough protein in my diet while on the fast?
The following are protein-rich foods that are allowed on the Daniel Fast… almonds, sunflower seeds, lentils, quinoa, brown rice, split peas, whole grains, and tofu.

What kind of peanut butter is allowed?
A natural peanut butter with no additives…watch for sugars including molasses. Smucker’s creamy natural peanut butter has nothing but peanuts in it.

What about popcorn?
Corn is listed in the vegetables to eat list. You can use a pot on the stove…here is a recipe.
1) Put two tbsp. of olive oil in the bottom of a large pot.
2) Add enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan.
3) Turn heat to medium high. Look for the first popcorn kernel to pop.
4) Put the lid on the pot. Using potholders shake the pot over the burner.
5) Continue shaking until you no longer hear kernels popping. Remove from heat.

How can I identify whole grain foods?
Typically if the ingredient lists "whole wheat", "rolled oats", or "whole corn" as the first ingredient, the product is a whole grain food item. Another way to identify whole grains in the foods you eat is to look in the nutritional facts information and check if the food item contains dietary fiber. If it contains a significant amount, it most likely contains whole grains. "Wheat flour" is not a whole grain and therefore does not indicate a whole grain product.

Where can I go out to eat?
Well, we think you can go anywhere and order cautiously, asking lots of questions to the wait staff, knowing ahead of time that you may be ordering a salad with olive oil and a baked potato with no extras.

The Vintage Website got DETOX-ed over the weekend, check it out!
The Podcast should be up tomorrow. Rob's sermon(s), 2 20 minute sermons, were a powerful word from the Word of God. You should also check them out before Thursday.

"Expect great things.....
Attempt great things!" --William Carey

Friday, April 24, 2009

Vintage "DETOX"-ing


To all my regular blog readers, this blog that you are about to read will probably be one of the longest I’ll ever post, but I think it is also one of the most exciting up to this point in my short ministry career. Going into this year, the Vintage Church leadership that I serve among felt God continually speaking that this year would be something special. God would do something that only he could get the credit for. Personally my prayer for 2009 has continually been from Psalm 90:17, that God would establish our work. My heartbeat is to do only that which He is leading. After the first quarter He is indeed moving in people’s hearts around Uptown, but it’s still early in the game. For this reason we the leadership have been led by the Spirit to enter into a time of corporate fasting. The purpose is to more wholly seek what God has for the church in this important year. The fact is that without His Spirit there is NO church. We have chosen to participate in a Daniel Fast, which means that we will only eat fruit and vegetables for 10 days. Our window to fast will be from Thursday April 30 to May 9.

Fasting?!?!?!? WHAT?
Yes, currently this is one of the lost spiritual disciplines in Christianity.

The truth of the matter is that our lives are so busy with constraints and obligations for work, family, school, etc. When you think about your daily “To Do” List, what is #1? If you are honest with yourself I think you would agree that your prayer life and communion with God commonly fall dead last on the list. It’s just what happens when life gets crazy. However, as Christians our availability to God should be the highest priority. Sometimes in order for us to spend time in prayer, we must cut something else out in order to make ourselves available.

This is where fasting comes in to play. Fasting is the spiritual discipline of abstaining from some activity in order to devote oneself more wholly to prayer and seeking God. The abstinence can be from food, TV, video games, sex, etc. During a fast a person makes himself or herself more available to God, which means that the time that would be spent partaking in a certain activity is instead spent in prayer with God. Biblical fasting must be partnered with prayer, because without prayer there is no spiritual value. Instead you would just be starving yourself. This is probably a great dieting plan but not a good spiritual plan.

If you have never done any type of fasting let me encourage you by telling you that the first few days are fascinating physically, but the more important focus is on the change of the inner attitude of your heart. During a fast, it is important to continue to perform regular duties of the day while inwardly you will be in prayer, confession, intercession, adoration and worship.

"The theology of fasting, then is a theology of priorities in which believers are given the opportunity to express themselves in an undivided and intensive devotion to the Lord and to the concerns of the spiritual life." --Eugene Merrill

The Vintage Church staff and leadership will be participating in the fast and we are asking for our Vintage family and friends to join us as we seek God during this exciting season. I know that many of my blog readers are some of the greatest prayer warriors for God’s work through Vintage in New Orleans. I thank you for your prayers to this point and would like to invite you to join us on this journey over the next two weeks.

Thursday, April 30th @ 7pm is the beginning part of the Daniel Fast. We will break the fast on Saturday May 9th @ 7pm.

April 29th – May 10th a daily devotion will be posted each day from a chapter of Daniel here on my blog. This is a prayer guide that we are providing for the duration of the fast.

The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, which means that we will eliminate some common things from our daily diet, but will have generous options available. We will focus on eating fruits and vegetables that are pure and simple. I will post a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid next week (Monday) in preparation.

This fast is just one of the many types of fast designed to better connect us with God. As a church, we're taking 10 days within the two weeks of the “DETOX” series, to deepen our relationship with God and center ourselves on what God is going to do in our church and in our lives during this series. We are praying that many people will come to faith in Christ during the “DETOX” series as we invite and share with our friends who are searching for and wrestling with God.

My good buddy Rob will preach two sermons from the book of Daniel over the next two weeks. Rob's Blog Feel free to download the podcast and listen: Vintage Podcast

Also, in conjunction with the fast we'll be reading a chapter in the book of Daniel per day for the duration of the fast, and like stated earlier check back here for a daily devotion and prayer guide each day. This will be a challenging process, but we look forward to seeing what God does in our church and experiencing him with intensity during the 10 days of the fast.

As you might have noticed there are many ways to do the fast. However, to keep it simple, I have included below a few resources we will be using during the fast. This fast will require preparation as most meals will be made from scratch. We are also working to have some recipes available online: Vintage Home

Extra Resources:

The Daniel Fast Blog

Daniel Fast Blog 2


John Piper's Preaching & Teaching

We truly believe that the sky is the limit so join on this amazing journey!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rough Week....

This Blog comes a day late because I had a rough week. But the roughest week in history happened not this week with me but with 11 of Jesus' closest friends and ministry partners.

The week began on a high as they sang their king into town like one that had come to conquer. The first few days of the week were spent clearing the Temple, calling out the religious leaders and some great pep talks from their leader about the coming kingdom. The great week continued as they had the most memorable Passover dinner when Jesus their Lord and Master humbled himself and washed their feet. After dinner, like every other day that week, the group left the city headed to the Mount of Olives. On Thursday night their teacher continued to teach them powerful lessons as they walked around the city walls toward Gethsemane, these are recorded in John 14-16. After a full day of ministry Jesus encouraged them to have a prayer meeting. Tired from the busy day the inner-three couldn't even keep their eyes open. It was in this garden that everything went south REAL quick. A mob comes and arrests Jesus. Their conquering king is silent and never fights back. He is carried off to face beatings, mockings and false trials. The Jewish religious leaders declare him guilty and take him to Pilate first thing Friday morning. At the hands of Romans, who were expert executioners, Jesus is flogged and crucified. Jesus, who was the conquering king at the beginning of the week, died like a criminal in the most tortuous way ever made by man. Friday night the 11 disciples and probably a few other supporters of the ministry gathered together. The mood was defeat, despair and hopelessness. These people had thought he would be the Messiah. Jesus had given them so much hope.

Below is a YouTube Video that got my adrenaline pumping. In the midst of their hopelessness there was hope, because Sunday was coming.


Jesus is the Conquering King - just wait until Sunday!

Friday, April 3, 2009

9 Minute Video to Change Your Life....

Over these past few months, Sarah and I have both been contemplating our praise of God.

The Two Driving Questions:
1. Do we praise Him for who He is?
2. Do we praise Him for all the good and nice things He does for us?

The understanding that God has revealed to us is that we praise Him for both. As humans #2 is more common than #1. But #1 is the accurate place to start. God is holy, righteous, gracious, merciful, compassionate, etc. No matter what He does or doesn't do for us, He is worthy of our praise.

A huge part of this journey has come from a song that Andrew has been singing on Sundays.

Below is a video of the song and a short testimony from Jill McCloghry, one of the Hillsong singers. I hope this challenges & blesses you today in your relationship to God.


This is my prayer in the desert,
When all that's within me feels dry,
This is my prayer in my hunger and need,
My God is the God who provides,

And this is my prayer in the fire,
In weakness, or trial, or pain,
There is a faith proved more worth than gold,
So refine me Lord through the flame,

I will bring praise,
I will bring praise,
No weapon formed against me shall remain,
I will rejoice, I will declare,
God is my victory and He is here,

This is my prayer in the battle,
When triumph is still on its way,
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ,
So firm on his promise I'll stand,

I will bring praise,
I will bring praise,
No weapon formed against me shall remain,
I will rejoice, I will declare,
God is my victory and He is here,

All of my life, in every season,
You are still God,
I have a reason to sing,
I have a reason to worship,

I will bring praise,
I will bring praise,
No weapon formed against me shall remain,
I will rejoice, I will declare,
God is my victory and He is here,

And this is my prayer in the harvest,
When favour and providence flow,
I know I'm filled to be emptied again,
The seed I receive I will sow

Psalm 104
"1 Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent....

33 I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the LORD."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fooled NO More: Lesson in Hebrew....

This spring semester I have had the “joy” of taking Intermediate Hebrew. We are currently halfway through the semester, and I have a new appreciation for the Ancient World and the Romans. Before the Romans’ standardization of the alphabetic script everything just looks like a bunch of symbols or pictures. Piece these pictures together and you some how get words. I just wish an “A” look like an “A.”

However, a bright spot for me personally happen last Friday in class. We were translating through Deuteronomy 24. As the professor read through the passage and we dissected each word. My NAME literally jumped off the page!!!!

I’m being as serious as a heart attack on April Fool's Day.
Look @ this Picture:

Underlined in red are the last two words of Deuteronomy 24:16
Transliterated: B-eh-H-E-T-O "AND" M-A-T-U
Translation: Matthew Brichetto
See it’s there in the Hebrew!!!!!!

I’m still wrestling with what the theological meaning behind all of this might be, if there is actually any.
Basically for now Moses (Author of Deut.) is my homeboy and God has loved me since the beginning of time.