‘People do not live by bread alone,
‘He will order his angels to protect you.
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
Here is how we know…
‘People do not live by bread alone,
‘He will order his angels to protect you.
Here is how we know…
Last week’s shootings (Mr. Sterling, Mr. Castile, and the police officers in Dallas) are a poignant reminder that our world is being divided by fear before our very eyes. As the Church, we get to share a Love that drives out this fear threatening to rip us apart.
Next Wednesday, July 13th, a team from Courageous Church will be leaving to serve in El Salvador for the week. I am asking if you would join us in prayer starting this Wednesday, July 7th. Below you will find a prayer guide to pray starting this week (Wednesday, July 7th) through the end of our trip. We need people who will start praying now for our team, those we will be working with, and those we will be sharing the gospel with. We have many opportunities to live on mission both here and abroad and prayer is an integral piece to the fruitful work God has for us.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
— Psalm 2:8 —
I am especially excited as my oldest son will be going with me on this trip. He will have the opportunity to share the gospel and teach the elementary students in a school in Usulutan, El Salvador about creation and how it ties back to Jesus. I believe every person who can should take your kids on a mission trip. It allows them to expand their reality of the gospel work around the world. Mission opportunities also help us grow spiritually as a disciple as we have to exercise our faith and follow the Holy Spirit.
Thank you advanced for your prayers. Also… Thank you so much for those who have give to help make this trip a reality. You can still be involved as well by going to courageouschurch.tv and click on the El Salvador link.
Download: El Salvador Prayer Guide
As you fast this week I would encourage you to join us at Courageous Church in reading through two important books of the Bibles. We are asking everyone to read with us through 1 Corinthians and 1 John during our Love Is… 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer campaign. If you have not gotten your guide yet you can download one below. I hope you will take time to pray and read scripture over the next 21 days as pray and fast together. God has a huge work for us to accomplish together. I hope you will commit to reading the Bible everyday.
This is a very simple guide. You can decide how deep you want to take the reading each day. My encouragement to you is that you would commit today to growing in the Word over the next 21 days.
As we prepare to start a corporate fast together. I wanted to share a few thoughts about fasting that I hope you will find helpful.
Fasting has been one of the greatest and challenging things I have done. I have learned more about myself during these times of extended fasting. I have seen how much food is an idol in my life. I have also learned that my spiritual growth needs to take a step up. I have spent some of the most powerful times with the Lord during these times of fasting. I also have learned some things, like Michelle and I should never fast completely from food at the same time. We learned this out of love for one another. (She is the best wife!) I believe fasting is a calling. It is meant to be for certain times and seasons. I am more excited about this fast then any other because I believe God has some great things to show me and our church. I hope you will join me in this fast as we fast from distraction and feast on the word of God.
Why We Fast
The goal of fasting is to grow closer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with saying no to distractions for a spiritual reason; it is us hitting the reset button of our hearts and souls and renews us! Fasting also enables us to celebrate the kindness and goodness of God, and sets our hearts up for the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should have a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your own body, know your options and most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. There are several types of fasts. How you choose to fast is between you and the Lord!
Types of Fasting
This fast calls for drinking only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from a diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, or bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
This fast is sometimes called the Jewish Fast and involves abstaining from eating any types of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sunup to sundown.
This fast is common for those who do not have much experience fasting foods, who have health issues that prevent the fasting of food, or who wish to refocus certain areas of their life that are out of balance. For instance, someone might select to abstain from using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast—and then choosing how to carefully bring that element back into their life in an orderly fashion.
Why We Fast
At Courageous Church, we encourage fasting corporately for 21 days each year at the beginning of January. This is part of a season of prayer and scripture reading. You may also decide to fast at various times throughout the year for your own spiritual growth. It’s very normal to fast a single meal, or a whole day, or three days—even more. The time frame of your fast is not as important as your focus on God as you fast.
7 Steps to Successful Fasting and Praying by Bill Bright
Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Praying by Bill Bright
I hope you will begin to pray about what God will call you to as from so you can spend time seeking Him.
Our prayer and fasting time will start January 10th and be called Love Is… I am praying for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Like prayer and Bible reading, fasting is one of the spiritual disciplines of followers of Jesus. Are you wondering what fasting is about or just how you can get started? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to help you get your mind around fasting, and help you begin this powerful experience.
What is Fasting? Biblical fasting is, very simply, denying oneself food for the sake of seeking God and drawing closer to Him. Pastor Stovall Weems says that “prayer is connecting with God; fasting is disconnecting ourselves from the world.” That’s a great way to describe how prayer and fasting work so powerfully together.
Why should I fast? Fasting is like hitting a reset button, both physically and spiritually. As we go about our daily lives, there are things that can build up over time and we can start to lose our spiritual focus. Fasting is like a deep cleaning both spiritually and physically that helps us take our minds off the things of this world and instead gives us a fresh spiritual focus. It’s all about drawing closer to God.
How do I fast? There are several different ways that you can fast. For the most part, fasting involves abstaining from food or certain types of foods. You can also fast from specific activities or habits, or from other things that keep you connected to the world. Things like TV, social media, news, video games, shopping etc.
How should I prepare to fast? It’s important to choose ahead of time what type of fast you will participate in. Not only will this help you prepare, but when you commit to your plan ahead of time, you’ll set yourself up to finish strong. Choosing your fasting plan is a very personal decision. We are all at different places in our relationship with God and we shouldn’t compare our fasting plans to other people. Pray and ask God to show you what He wants you to do, and then commit to your plan.
What should I do while fasting? Do more of the activities that draw you closer to God. Pray. Read your Bible. Worship. Get alone with God.
Do I have to fast the entire 21 days? You should fast as many days as you feel God is asking you to fast. You could give up certain things like bread and dessert throughout the week, and then eat only fruits and vegetables on the weekends, just an example. Ask God to show you how many days to participate and during the 21 days be sure to set aside time each day to pray and read your Bible.
What kind of fasts are people doing? There are a variety of fasts you that you can choose to participate in. There is a specific food/activity fast, the Daniel fast, juice fast, water fast or a total fast. Choosing your fasting plan is a very personal decision. Your personal fast should present a level of challenge to it, but know your body, know your options, and most importantly, seek God in prayer about this and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. It’s important to not let what you eat or do not eat become the focus of your fast. This is a time to disconnect with your regular patterns or habits in order to connect closer to God.
What about caffeine? Some people feel led to cut caffeine out of their diets entirely during the fast. Nothing says you “have to”. But the great thing is, when you fast, your body automatically craves less caffeine. If you are wanting to cut it out of your diet completely, ease yourself off and make it your goal to be completely caffeine free by about two-thirds of the way into your fast.
What about eating disorders? Remember, fasting is a tool used to get closer to God, and it actually should keep us from being preoccupied with food. If your method of fasting is going to cause you to obsess about what you eat in any way, you will need to either change your approach or mind-set. Either way, remember this situation is primarily a battle of the mind you can win through Christ. (Phil 4:13)
If giving up food is a stumbling block to you, then consider fasting from television, reading (other than the Bible, of course), social media, or shopping. There are too many distractions and ways that we use to stay in control that we could eliminate from our daily routine. We do these things to distract ourselves from the real issues hurting us. If you can identify such other things, maybe you can give those up instead of food.
What if I stumble? If you “mess up” during your fast, don’t get discouraged. Just get right back on track and keep going. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). He wants you to finish, and He will give you the grace and strength to do it.
Here are two additional great tips that can also help to keep you on track:
1.) Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with the items you need. Being unprepared to fast sets you up to give into temptation.
2.) Make it a priority to attend church during your 22 day fast and consider getting with a small group of people to pray. Being around other believers will encourage you to keep on going when fasting gets difficult.
A prayer to help you get started:
I want to set aside the next 21-days so that I may honor you with my life, my time, and my resources. Lord, please show me what you should have me fast. Please be my guide and help me to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. During these 21 days please help me to keep you the focus of everything I do. Search me Oh God, and help every area of my life to reflect that of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your faithfulness and for leading me during this time of prayer and fasting. This time is for you Lord, may you be honored in all that I do. I love you God.
In your name I pray, Amen.
Important Note: Fasting requires reasonable precautions. If you have any health concerns, please consult your physician prior to beginning your fast, especially if you are taking medications, have a chronic condition, or are pregnant or nursing a baby.
Used with Permission from Awake21.org
This Sunday we are doing things a little different. Every 5th Sunday we have a special family service. This means all our kids are in the service with you. In honor of the 5th Sunday I will give you 5 reasons to bring your family to church this Sunday.
5. The music is going to be off powerful. Our worship always kills it.
4. The snack/activity bags. How many times a year can you actual get fruit snacks at church?
3. We’ll be talking about what it looks like to have a godly family. And…Lets be honest it is not easy. We want to help you.
2. Parents this is a great chance to help your kids understand what it means to worship. You are one of the greatest influences in your kids life (we will be talking about your influence in your child’s life).
1. Kids and Families can connect together in worship. We will have some special time of discussion for families. Come even if you don’t have kids because you might be invited in on the conversation to.
There you have it, 5 reasons to be at church this weekend. Make plans now to attend Courageous Church at 10:30am. We meet in the Williams School Auditorium off Zierdt Road.
Photo Used by Permission of Paul Monaghan
Just in case you haven’t heard today Haley announced his leaving Courageous Church to take the position of Associate Pastor at Richmond Hill First Baptist Church in Georgia. Obviously we are sad to see Haley leave but know we know God has great plans in store for him and us. We will be having post service meal together on February 1st to celebrate Haley Uhrig. During the service on February 1st we will ordain Haley. Our hope is you will make ever effort to be there for this special day. Also, there will be some special baskets on Sunday for you to drop a financial gift to share with him how much you love and are grateful for him. Continue to pray for Haley as he makes this transition.
Here is the story about how things happened to lead Haley to this new destination: http://haleyuhrig.com/2015/01/unexpectedly-trained-for-the-next-step/
Evaluation can be a scary word, especially when it comes to the 4 areas in this blog. Evaluation is not my favorite things but it is necessary to grow, excel, and get better in every area of life.
Here are 4 Things We Need to Evaluate
1. Health – On a scale of 1 to 10 where is your health. 10 being you are in the best physical shape of your life. 1 means you almost can’t do the daily routine of life do to your health.
Solutions: Consult a doctor, meeting with a dietitian, hire a trainer, join a gym, do CrossFit, go for a walk, stop drinking cokes (For all my southern friends…sweet tea is a southern soda)
2. Marriage/Family – Obviously if you are married you this will be your spouse. If you are single this would be your family. On a scale of 1 to 10 where is your marriage/family. 10 being you couldn’t imagine things being better. 1 means you could care less weather they live or die.
Solutions: Plan a date night, let your kids know your spouse is the most important priority and remind them that way day they will be gone but your spouse won’t, go to a marriage conference, get counseling, pray together
3. Relationship with God – On a scale of 1 to 10 where is your relationship with God. 10 being it is the best that it has ever been and you feel like God is speaking to you everyday. 1 means you can’t remember the last time you read your Bible or where it even is for that matter.
Solutions: Plan time during your day to spend time reading the Bible and praying, put it on the calendar, journal, find a plan (YouVersion.com has great Bible ready plans), join a small group for relationship and accountability.
4. Ministry – On a scale of 1 to 10 where is your ministry. 10 being it is the best that it has ever been and you feel like you can’t wait to serve. 1 means you can’t stand what you do and wished you could quit tomorrow.
Solutions: Find a new ministry area to serve, development plan, read books, listen to podcasts, read blogs
I am sure you could come up with a few more areas to evaluation. I think these should be at the top of the list. If you need help taking the next step in any of these areas I would love to help you. Know that I am on the same journey to grow in everyone of these areas.