Thursday, August 19, 2010

Be Our Guest

When I opened up this email, it struck a nerve with me immediately. It told me that although I was not a part of what was going on with Direct Buy, I could participate… but only for a short while. The main take away for me what how I do not belong, probably the opposite of what was intended to be communicated, but nonetheless it was the message received.

From the start of my time at First Baptist Jenks I have communicated that we have guests, not visitors. The term visitor represents someone that does not really belong. “Visitor” screams of a disconnect between us and them, and is an unfriendly word we need to avoid. When a visitor comes to your house, you stand at the door and listen to what they have to say until you deem the conversation to be over. When a guest visits, you welcome them in, offer them your choice seat, and offer a beverage or even food.

To give credit where credit is due, Disney taught me this through one of my first first employers and their coined phrase, “Be our Guest, Be our Guest…” In church life (and business), we should all strive to make those who grace us with their presence feel like welcome guests, not visitors.

In short, the language we use matters… may we use the right words!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

FASTING AND PRAYER By Pastor Rick Warren

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is taught in the Bible. Jesus expected His followers to fast, and He said that God rewards fasting. Fasting, according to the Bible, means to voluntarily reduce or eliminate your intake of food for a specific time and purpose.
"When you give up eating, don't put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They make their faces look sad to show people they are giving up eating. I tell you the truth, those hypocrites already have their full reward. So when you give up eating, comb your hair and wash your face. Then people will not know that you are giving up eating, but your Father, whom you cannot see, will see you. Your Father sees what is done in secret, and he will reward you." Matthew 6:16-18 (NCV)

There are many good reasons, and even health benefits, for fasting. However, our the 40 Days is for three primary reasons:
1. Fasting gives you more time for prayer. You can use the time you'd normally spend eating as time in prayer for what God wants to do among us during this Campaign.
In the Bible, fasting is always connected with prayer.
"While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off." Acts 13:2-3 (NIV)
2. Fasting demonstrates the depth of your desire when praying for something. It shows you that you are serious enough about your prayer request to pay a personal price. God honors deep desire and praying in faith.
"Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” Joel 1:14 (NIV) "Even now," declares the Lord, "return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Joel 2:12 (NASB)
3. Fasting releases God's supernatural power. It is a tool we can use when there is opposition to God's will. Satan would like nothing better than to cause division, discouragement, defeat, depression, and doubt among us. United prayer and fasting has always been used by God to deal a decisive blow to the enemy!
"So we fasted and prayed about these concerns. And he listened." Ezra 8:23 (Msg) "God says, "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?" Isaiah 58:6 (NIV)

Often in the Bible, God's people fasted immediately before a major victory, miracle, or answer to prayer. It prepared them for a blessing!
• Moses fasted before he received the Ten Commandments.
"Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments." Exodus 34:28 (NIV)
• The Israelites fasted before a miraculous victory.
"Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar" (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah." 2 Chronicles 20:2-3 (NIV)
• Daniel fasted in order to receive guidance from God.
"So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes." Daniel 9:3 (NIV)
"While I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came tome in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, 'Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.'" Daniel 9:21-22 (NIV)
• Nehemiah fasted before beginning a major building project.
"When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven." Nehemiah 1:4 (NIV)
• Jesus fasted during His victory over temptation.
"For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry." Luke 4:2 (Msg)
• The first Christians fasted during-decision making times.
"While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off." Acts 13:2-3 (NIV)

1. Remember that fasting is not "earning" an answer to prayer. God cannot be blackmailed by human effort. God wants to answer our prayers and He answers out of grace. Fasting simply prepares us for God's answer.
2. Fast only if your health allows it at this time. If you are able to do only a partial fast - do it in faith and God will honor your intentions.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

40 Days of Prayer & Fasting

Our (First Baptist Jenks) 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting Begins tomorrow, here is an online copy of the guide:

40 Days of Prayer & Fasting (For our Relocation)
Wednesday, August 4 – Pray for Dependence (John 15:5)
Thursday, August 5 – Pray & Fast for Unity (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Friday, August 6 – Pray for Love (1 Corinthians 13)
Saturday, August 7 – Pray for our Community (Matthew 25:31-46)
Sunday, August 8 – Pray for Church (Mark 8:27-30)
Monday, August 9 – Pray for Boldness (John 14:12-15)
Tuesday, August 10 – Pray for Kindness (Romans 2:4)
Wednesday, August 11 – Pray for Sanctification (John 17:17)
Thursday, August 12 – Pray & Fast for Greater Things (John 14:12)
Friday, August 13 – Pray for our Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11)
Saturday, August 14 – Pray for Preparation (1 John 5:14-15)
Sunday, August 15 – Pray for Blessing (Isaiah 43:19)
Monday, August 16 – Pray for Protection (Luke 10:3)
Tuesday, August 17 – Pray for Action (Matthew 7:24-27)
Wednesday, August 18 – Pray for Fruit (Galatians 5:22-24)
Thursday, August 19 – Pray & Fast for Repentance (Titus 2:11-14)
Friday, August 20 – Pray for Proof (James 1:22)
Saturday, August 21 – Pray for Perseverance (James 1:12)
Sunday, August 22 – Pray for Baptisms (Matt. 16:18-19)
Monday, August 23 – Pray for Effectiveness (1 John 4:9)
Tuesday, August 24 – Pray for Finances (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
Wednesday, August 25 – Pray for Marriages (1Corinthians 7:1-5)
Thursday, August 26 – Pray & Fast for Freedom (Romans 8:1)
Friday, August 27 – Pray for Resolve (Matthew 18:19)
Saturday, August 28 – Pray for Wisdom (Proverbs 1:7)
Sunday, August 29 – Pray for Salvations (Matt. 16:18-19)
Monday, August 30 – Pray for Righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Tuesday, August 31 – Pray for Giving (2 Corinthians 8:3-5)
Wednesday, September 1 – Pray for Endurance (Matthew 11:28-30)
Thursday, September 2 – Pray & Fast for Life-Changes (Ephesians 2:8)
Friday, September 3 – Pray for Graciousness (Romans 8:32)
Saturday, September 4 – Pray for Offering of Self (I John 4:10-12)
Sunday, September 5 – Pray for Strength (Joshua 1:9)
Monday, September 6 – Pray for Prayerfulness (Philippians 4:4-7)
Tuesday, September 7 – Pray for Holiness (Romans 12:1-2)
Wednesday, September 8 – Pray for Evangelism & Discipleship (Matthew 28: 19-20)
Thursday, September 9 – Pray & Fast for Service (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Friday, September 10 – Pray for Peace (John 14:27)
Saturday, September 11 – Pray for Power (Matt. 16:18-19)
Sunday, September 12 – Pray for Impact (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)