This year for Lent, I’m doing something special, something a little different. And, as you dive deeper into this Year of the Bible, I’d love to invite you into this journey. But before I do that, let me explain why Lent is so meaningful to me.Continue Reading ›
What would it look like if you spent the next month or so consuming less, so that when Thanksgiving arrives, you’ll have a renewed sense of what it is like to truly be thankful?Continue Reading ›
Inspired by Chris Seay’s book, “A Place at the Table,” the Pina family decided to fast from certain foods. For 40 days they are eating the same foods that their sponsored Nicaraguan child eats.
Nate and his family are just over halfway through a 40-day “A Place at the Table” journey of eating what their sponsored child in Haiti eats. They’ve been eating rice, beans, chicken, avocados, bananas and oranges.
In A Place At The Table, author Chris Seay proposes that we spend 40 days in a fast with a unique twist: eat what our sponsored child eats. And in the process, recapture gratitude and a sense of solidarity with the poor.
Pastor Chris Seay invites you on a journey. A 40-day journey that will disrupt your habits and your rituals. A journey that will help you identify and connect with the poor and the suffering — the ones Jesus loves.
The enemy has spoken lying words to those caught in his scheme. He has told them they don’t matter. He has made them believe they are all alone in their suffering. He has deceived them into thinking their situation will never change.
Fasting isn’t an instrument to get God to hear our prayers or to help us master a primordial impulse or to accomplish anything. It’s something you do when circumstances are bad enough that you don’t want to eat and it would seem wrong to do so.
The words the Holy Spirit shares with us require us to “step up.” This discipline is not something to do on a lark because it sounds fun. It requires a commitment. It’s something that requires you to lean into the Lord and to step up and assume responsibility for the talents He has given you.
In October, my crazy friend, Marc, and I will be running a marathon! To build the stamina to run 26.2 miles we started training months ago. I underestimated how much of my time and energy this consumes. We meet early mornings, usually around 5 a.m., for long runs.
Some mornings, it’s rainy. Or cold. Most mornings, my bed feels so cozy and the thought of hitting the pavement sounds ridiculous! However, I know in the end, the discipline will pay off when we cross the finish line.
In order to keep our minds off the pain of running, Marc and I usually talk about a number of our favorite things, but rarely do we talk about spiritual disciplines. Although lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fasting, which is weird since training for a marathon means I should probably be eating more food. 🙂
However, there are a number of different ways to fast – with refraining from media outlets andbeing quite common. But regardless of what the fast is about, they all make me uncomfortable. I told this to Marc, a relatively new Christian, and his response stunned me.
“Well, I don’t understand fasting. Jesus Christ died on the cross for me, and in return, I’m supposed to give up Starbucks? Seems like we’re missing the point.”
Whoa! Instantly, I was humbled.
When I fast, I usually chose something that won’t necessarily bother me too much… like abstaining from Starbucks or Facebook. Marc and I discussed the issue of fasting for the next couple of miles. We compared it to our marathon training.
I realize that much like my marathon training prepares my physical body for the task ahead of me, Christian fasting is a discipline for the soul. By fasting, I make a conscious decision to sacrifice comfort to draw closer to the heart of Christ. Fasting allows us the privilege of sharing in His suffering.
After a couple of miles, I realized that maybe my problem with fasting is that I was missing the point all along. As with all things that are difficult, such as fasting or marathon training, there is also so much joy to be found.
May we challenge ourselves today to pray about a way we can experience the discipline of Christian fasting, and in doing so, enter into the presence of our God.