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!

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