I think one of the things I really enjoy about leading a church, just one of the things not the only thing, is God has given us freedom to be a bit unorthodox. To challenge the way things have always been done...or the things you do to be more successful as a pastor...you know, get your church bigger. Now I am not opposed to growing larger in numbers...in fact that could be kind of fun...not at the expense of allowing God to be God...and have His church back. This is not criticizing anyone else...because I suspect they are doing what they feel God has called them to do and they should have the same freedom I want to do what God has called them to.
A couple of years ago God lead us as a church to begin the New Year with a 21 day fast...it came at a time of desperation for me as a leader. It was right after Christy Wimber had been with us and really challenged me to be a leader...when people were angry with me and leaving...many did not even know why they were mad, they just were. I started in December to get a head start on the rest of the body and did a forty day fast. The whole thing was life changing...and church changing. Couple of things happened for sure...I had to call the church to the fast and lead them in it. They had to respond...and they did. For me it was a somber time as I sought God for huge changes in my life...healing had to happen for me to go on...and it has...with more to come. It brought the church together...the stories from families were awesome...it was a somber time for sure.
Last year we did the fast again...not as hurting as the year before...but crying out for God to move among us. In the past I have always come up with a saying for the New Year, but last year I did not come up with one. In the middle of the year God really began to lead us into some really cool thing...hard things, but awesome. It became a year of choosing life...over death. Hard things were preached and people responded...really felt challenged to challenge us to live a life that honors God and not to live for ourselves and our own happiness....the American dream. We wanted to be a people “preoccupied with God” giving Him room to work in our lives individually and corporately.
So this year I was getting ready to write a devotion to send out to the church for the week and begin to prepare them for the time of our fast together. I began to sense God was speaking something to me concerning the fast...this will sound weird but I think it was Him...that this fast will be one of celebration and gratitude. As I thought about it my heart filled with thanksgiving as I thought about God and His blessings. Then I wondered can you fast and celebrate? Can you fast and be joyful? I mean can you really be happy without food? Or technology? Or TV? Or???? I am thinking YES YOU CAN! Jesus said...”I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food is to do the will of Him who sent me..” “I am the bread of life...” That’s it...i want to celebrate the Bread of Life...I am going to wash my face...comb my hair...well shine my head...and celebrate the bread of life...sent from God...for my consumption. So it may seem odd but I really believe this will be a season to celebrate God...to taste and see that the Lord is good. Doing a fast forces you to slow down...slow down and focus...On Him.
As a regular guy who leads and amazing church family...I have much to be thankful for...so step aside as I celebrate...by fasting...hmmm.