On January 1st I invited the church to join me for a New Year’s fast. Though I am taking part in what is known as a “Daniel Fast,” I invited members to fast in a way they feel led. However, if health issues keep them from fasting, I invited each person to add a special moment of prayer or spiritual discipline to their daily routine. The purpose of this fast is to begin the year by listening to God in a new and more intimate way.
2016 was a very intense, busy and satisfying year. As the year came to a close, however, I started to sense a feeling of spiritual unease. This feeling wasn’t one of doubt or sadness, it was a feeling like God is trying to reveal something or move in a very particular way. Unable to fully discern what this message or call fully meant, I decided I needed to listen in a new and more intimate way – so I decided on this fast.
My hopes for this New Year's fast are three-fold. First, I hope to discern the message God is trying to send me and Central Christian Church. Second, I hope to develop a more centered spiritual practice in my life. Third, I hope to be more spiritually connected to the world around me.
I have invited the church to join me in this fast (or added spiritual discipline) because I believe the start to the New Year is a perfect time for us to listen to God more intimately. Who knows where the spirit will lead us if we are all truly seeking God’s guidance? Additionally, by doing this together, I believe this shared spiritual practice can bring us together as a community in a unique and deep way.
Starting today, I invite you to join me in this fast. Feel free to share your insights or thoughts with me personally, with the world via our social media outlets, or with our church community on Sundays. On Sunday, January 22nd, we will come together at coffee hour after worship to say a prayer of thanksgiving and break our fast together.
I look forward to this journey and will be holding our community in prayer.
by Pastor Stephen
What a better way to begin a new year than turning our attention and focus to God?
Towards the end of 2016 I felt God moving in my spirit and in the church but I do not believe I have fully understood everything God is trying to communicate. So, beginning Monday, January 9th, I will begin 2017 by engaging in a 2-week “Daniel fast.” Generally I wouldn't announce the start of a fast but this year I would like to invite anyone who is interested and feels led to join me.
The "Daniel Fast" is based on the fast that the Old Testament prophet Daniel engaged in after Judah fell to Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar brought him into his court.
There are many different ways people engage in a “Daniel fast.” According to the book of Daniel, the prophet ate only fruits and vegetables and drank only water.
“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables
to eat and water to drink.” Daniel 1:12
“I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I
anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” Daniel 10:3
The version of the Daniel fast that I am going to engage in will follow the tradition of eating fruits and vegetables but also add whole grains (excluding any kind of bread). In addition, I will be adding two moments of prayer to my day in order to listen to and engage with God.
There is no one way to fast. If you are interested in joining me, I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about what type of fast you would like engage in (whether it is giving up one meal a day, giving up bread, etc.) and what prayerful practice you would like to add to your day.
As always, if you have health concerns you should consult your doctor before engaging in any type of fast. For some, maybe focusing on prayer and adding some type of prayerful practice to your daily routine is more appropriate. At coffee hour on Sunday, January 8th, we will have a discussion on fasting for those who are interested. There will also be some materials about fasting posted on our website.
I think this could be a great opportunity for us to engage in a communal activity that allows us to kick off the new year in a very spiritual way.
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