Week2

Checking In!

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Our Goal

UNITY

Every year we set aside 21 days to pray and fast as a church family. This is a time to seek God’s presence, voice, direction, and strength for our lives. This year our fast will be focused around one word, UNITY. Our desire is to see a new level of unity within the hearts of God’s people. We long to see greater unity in our marriages, families, friendships, and communities. We also long to see a new level of unity among the Church / churches throughout the Gallatin Valley like we have never seen before. 

Our Path

Unity is not something we create, but rather a result of lives that share one singular focus and mission. It is our focus and relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit, that brings unity. We must turn towards the One who unites us all in one faith, one spirit, one hope, one salvation, one God.  (1Corinthians 12 //  Ephesians 4 )

We believe the path towards unity has 3 key steps........

1

Repentance

2

Restoration

3

Rejoicing

Lastly, we must rejoice. We rejoice and praise God for his goodness and all that he has done for us. In our rejoicing we become one unified voice of praise and worship. This is our popper response.

The first step is repentance, which means to turn and to change our minds towards Christ. We must first turn our lives towards Christ, the one who unites us all. Week 1 of the fast will focus on inviting God to search our hearts and show us anything that we must change and turn over to him.

The second step is restoration. Once we are fixed on Christ, He can begin to fix our thinking, our hurts, and our brokenness. We will spend week 2 asking God to heal and restore what is broken in our lives, to give rest to the weary, and to breathe life into dry bones.

Over the next 21 days we are going to walk through these 3 steps to move towards greater UNITY, both individually and corporately. 

Fast

What is fasting?

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Fasting is a focused period of time where we disconnect from the world, so that we can connect more to God. It is a time to slow down, fix our focus, and silence the noise of life, to hear what God is speaking. There are many reasons and benefits to fasting, but biblical fasting always has one primary goal, which is to draw near to God. 

 

Jesus didn’t require fasting, but he assumed it would be done as an essential part of keeping a healthy soul. Just like our body needs food and water to stay healthy and energized, so our soul needs prayer and fasting. It removes the gunk and makes room in our hearts to receive what God wants to bring into our lives. We often relate the process to giving our soul a pressure wash or hitting the reset button.

Pray

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What is prayer?

As we remove things in our lives through fasting, we fill that time and space with prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God. Like any conversation, it involves talking, listening, asking questions, and often just sitting in silence to hear God’s response. He speaks through our thoughts, emotions, scripture reading, and many other ways. 

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Before You Begin

Fasting requires reasonable precautions. If you have any health concerns, please consult your physician prior to beginning your fast, especially if you are taking any medications, have a chronic condition, or are pregnant or nursing a baby.

Start Where You Are

Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it’s very important to know your body, know your options, and most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. We are all at different places in our walk with God. Likewise our jobs, daily schedules, and health conditions are all different and place various levels of demands on our energy. So most importantly, whether you’ve fasted before or this is your first time, start where you are. 

Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it’s very important to know your body, know your options, and most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. We are all at different places in our walk with God. Likewise our jobs, daily schedules, and health conditions are all different and place various levels of demands on our energy. So most importantly, whether you’ve fasted before or this is your first time, start where you are. 

It’s better to commit fully to something small, than to commit partially to something big.

Start Slow

Depending on the type of fast you choose, it is very important to prepare your body ahead of time before beginning the fast. Take a week or so to transition into your fast; otherwise, you could get sick. For example, if you would like to go on a fruits and vegetables or juice fast, start eliminating meat, white grains, and refined sugars from your diet the week before. If you are going to fast from caffeine, you might want to ease off of it over the course of a few days.

Finish Well

The same principle applies to breaking your fast. When your fast is over, add foods back in very gradually. Please don’t break your fast with a greasy cheese-burger! Because your body is so cleansed and detoxified, you will most likely get sick if you do that. This is especially important if you fast from all foods, for more than 7 days.

As you prepare to fast, it’s important to choose a fasting plan that works for you. This section provides general information about different types of fasts, but it is important to remember there is nothing more inherently spiritual about one type of fast as opposed to another. 

Types Of Fasts

Water Fast

A water-only fast is the normal fast referred to in the Bible. This is how Jesus and the New Testament church fasted. A water fast is just that, no eating of any food or drinking of any liquids except water. Periodic water fasts can be very beneficial, but precautions should be taken. For some people it is hard to perform effectively at their jobs and have energy for their families while drinking only water. We recommend consulting your physician first, and water fasting only for a day or two unless you can get away or your job allows you to really disconnect so you can give your best energy to the fast. 

Media Fast

While fasting typically refers to refraining from specific food items, you may also find it extremely beneficial to fast from a regular activity or habit. This might include things such as television, social media, and the like. Prayer and fasting are not just about connecting to God but also about disconnecting from the world. Try to tune out some of the regular distractions from your day as much as possible. Replace that time with things that will nourish you spiritually.

Daniel Fast

The Daniel fast is a great model to follow and one that is extremely effective for spiritual focus, bodily discipline, and purification of the body and soul. It is probably one of the most commonly referred to fasts. In the book of Daniel we find two different times where the prophet Daniel fasted. Daniel 1 states that he only ate vegetables and water, and in Daniel 10, while the passage does not give a specific list of foods that Daniel ate, it does state that he ate no rich (or choice) foods, as well as no meat or wine. The foundation of the Daniel fast is fruits, nuts, and vegetables.  (A plant based diet) Some starchy vegetables and dairy could be included, but that depends on the individual. 

Selective Fast

In this type of fast you omit a specific item(s) from your meal plan. For example, you may choose to eliminate all red meat, processed or fast food, or sweets. Most people can incorporate this type of fast relatively easily. It can also prove to be a great solution for people with specific dietary needs or medical conditions that may cause certain limitations.

FAST ZONE

When most people start fasting, there is typically some level of discomfort. However, it is possible to get used to the fasting routine pretty quickly. Quite simply, you must learn to fast in a way that works for you. While any true fast does involve abstinence from food or at least certain types of food, typically different fasting combinations work better for different people. The goal to having a successful fast is all about finding what we like to call your Fast Zone, and that is different for everybody and can change depending on the season you are in.

 

The best way to describe your Fast Zone is the place where you feel light and spiritually in tune, your mind is easily focused on God and spiritual things, you have an increased spiritual energy, and you can feel the fast working. Just like runners know what their target heart rate is to see the benefits of their physical training, the Fast Zone is similar in a spiritual sense.

Finding your Fast Zone helps you choose both the type and length of fast. Let’s say you choose to go on a Daniel fast (fruits, nuts, and vegetables). Should you eat beans? If you can eat beans and stay in your Fast Zone, go ahead. But for some people eating beans takes them out of the zone. Should you eat peanut butter? Probably not. Peanut butter is more of an indulgence, and not many people can stay in a Fast Zone while enjoying indulgences.

 

If you drink coffee regularly, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to fast for one to three days and cut caffeine out completely. Please don’t do that, or you will spend this time grumpy and in withdrawal instead of enjoying God’s presence.

 

There isn’t one approach that works the same for everyone. Follow the Holy Spirit, mix it up, find what works for you, and stay in your Fast Zone!

Spend Time With God

We really want to encourage you to look daily for opportunities to seek God. As you fast a meal or activity during the day, give that time to God. Spend quiet times with Him in prayer. Disconnect from the world and connect with Him in worship. Read and meditate on His word. Focus on His goodness and greatness. Use this guide to help you focus your heart and prayer times.  Fasting is hard work, but it is worth it!

“Remember, the goal of fasting is not just to go without food. The goal is to draw closer to God.”

21 Nights Of Prayer
Every night we will be meeting for prayer at the church.

6:30-7:30pm

January 2nd -23rd

Sunday

Mark & Elizabeth Fredenberg

Wednesday

Ted & Kristy Sullivan

Saturday *For Children

Gillian Zohner

Monday

David & Hannah Runia

Thursday

Michael & Emily howard

Tuesday

Scott & Abagail Wolf

Friday

Aaron & Anna Flood