How are you making disciples?

How are you making disciples- - Blog Graphic

How Jesus Made Disciples 

– Invited them to Follow
– Trained & Developed
– Expected Obedience
– Sent Them Out
– Evaluate Them on Return
– Release them to Go

I think it would be worth repeating.

#Jesusway #makingdisciples #simple

Posted in Missional Living Tagged with: , ,

New Thru 22 | Fasting Resources

New Thru 22 logo - 800 x 800

As we prepare for our fast beginning this Saturday, January 10th. I wanted to share many of the links all in one place to several resources. I hope this will be helpful for you as you prepare! I believe God is going to do amazing things in your and our church during our New Thru 22 Prayer and Fasting emphasis.

What’s the Big Deal with Fasting?

Fasting for Kids 

Frequently Asked Questions about Fasting

RESET – Message explaining New Thru 22 and reasons to fast and reasons not fast.

New Thru 22 Devotion Guide

#newthru22

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New Thru 22 | What is the big deal about fasting?

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.

Personally
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

Complete Fast
This fast calls for drinking only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.

Selective Fast
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.

Partial Fast
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.

Media Fast
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.

Scripture about Fasting:
Matthew 6:16-18Matthew 9:14-15Luke 18:9-14

Prayer and Reading of the Word:
1 Samuel 1:6-817-18Nehemiah 1:4, Daniel 9:3, 20Joel 2:12Luke 2:37Acts 10:30Acts 13:2

Corporate Fasting:
1 Samuel 7:5-6Ezra 8:21-23Nehemiah 9:1-3Joel 2:15-16Jonah 3:5-10Acts 27:33-37

Resources 

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 11th and be called New Thru 22. I am praying for you!

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New Thru 22 | Fasting for Kids

Fasting For Kids

It is so important to model the principle of fasting to our kids and it’s actually quite simple to introduce different ways they can participate. However, their involvement should come only from a heartfelt desire to, just like our fasting should. The best way to encourage our kids to fast is to keep it fun and simple.

An easy way to explain the benefits of prayer and fasting to kids is to compare it to cleaning out old toys that might no longer work, or that they might have outgrown, to make room for new ones. As we clean out our bodies and make time to connect closer to God and His Word, we make room to receive new gifts from Him.

We do not recommend that children skip meals or drastically reduce their food intake, but a modification of their diet might prove to be an easy place to start. For example, fasting from specific items such as sweets, red meats, fried foods or even introducing a form of the Daniel fast which includes legumes, nuts and whole grains is a great way for children to participate in a safe and healthy way.

Another great way to fast is by reducing some of the time and energy spent watching TV, playing video games, using the computer or phone, and instead choosing to spend time praying, reading their Bible or serving others. Check our “Fasting for Kids Info” as an additional resource for you and your kids during the fasting season.

The main thing is for them to recognize the value behind setting aside special times to disconnect from some of the extra-curricular activities and treats they enjoy on a regular basis and learn how to connect to God in a closer way.

Of course, you should always check with your child’s pediatrician before fasting.

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

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New Thru 22 Prayer and Fasting | Frequently Asked Questions

New Thru 22 Prayer and Fasting 

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 22 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 22 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:

Dear God,

I want to set aside the next 22-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

Posted in fasting Tagged with: , ,

Advent Guide 2014

Advent Cover 2014 - SocialAs many of you know we are ready a advent guide together as a church. It has be so helpful in starting the Christmas season off with a great way to download the Word everyday in our lives. I thought I would share it so if you haven’t had a chance to get one you can download it here. Don’t feel the pressure to have to go back and read everything, just start today!

Good News of Great Joy – Advent Guide – small version

I just want to thank several people here for their help in making these guides possible.

Thanks : Desiring God for allowing us to rebrand the cover. Haley Uhrig reading over tons of guides and bring the best to the table as well as talking with Desiring God to get permission for its use. Amberley Gutscher for designing the cover. Stephanie O’hare, and Seth and Debra Greybeal for putting the books together.

#awkwardchristmas

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What is a Debt Snowball?

snowball

I can remember as a boy in Kentucky we would often get snow in the winter. One of my favorite things to do was build a snowman. I would first pack a small ball of snow then I would begin to roll it around the yard. I would love to see how big it could get. I would roll it and roll it until I couldn’t push it around anymore. Then I would commencing repeating the process until the snowman was built. Debt can feel the same way in that we started with a small amount but we keep taking on more and more until we find ourselves in a mess. Typically in a mess we feel helpless and unable to get out of. My hope through this post is to help you see that you can start a new snowball that can crush the back of debt. I am not going to tell you it will be easy or painless, but with some serious determination you can do it.

The debt snowball is actually step 2 in a plan to get out of debt. Step 1 is to save $1,000 for emergencies. Once you save $1000 it is time to move on to start the debt snowball.

The debt snowball can change your situation much quicker then you expected. Here is how it works. Take all of your debts and put them in order from smallest to largest (amounts). We don’t care which was one has the smallest payment; we just care about size of the debts. We are only going to pay the minimum payments on all the other debts but the smallest one at the top of the list. If we need to reallocate funds or get a part job to put some extra toward this top debt, it might be a good time to do it. You put any extra you get toward this debt until this debt is paid off, then take all the money you were dumping into first debt and put it toward the next debt on the list. If you continue to do this over and over again until all the debt is paid off you will create a debt snowball that starts small but grows larger and larger over time to crush the debt much faster then paying minimum payments on the debt for the rest of your life.

If you will just take this plan and begin to implement it your debt situation will be turned around quicker then you could have ever expected.

What are some things you have done to help eliminate debt? What encouragement would you give someone else who is considering using this method?

Here are Some Other Helpful Resources:
Dave Ramsey Explains the Debt Snowball: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZP9aflH7MY
Online Debt Snowball Calculator: https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/debt-snowball/ 
daveramsey.com
josephsangl.com
iwasbrokenowimnot.com

Posted in money Tagged with: , ,

Sunday Setlist – 11.2.14

 

Sunday Setlist - 11.2.14

If you could have been a famous singer…who would you have been and why?

#sundaysetlist #worship #music #thecirclemaker

Posted in music, sunday setlist

Sunday Setlist – 10.26.14

Sunday Setlist – 10.26.14

Sunday Setlist - 10.26.14

Like a Lion

Song of Hope (Heaven Came Down)

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

Christ is Risen

Lord I Need You

Posted in music, sunday setlist

Sunday Setlist – 10.19.14

Sunday Setlist - 10.19.14

What is your favorite genre of music?

Posted in music, sunday setlist