RECAP: TRUE FASTING based on Isaiah 58
My first introduction to Lent was during my time in high school. I grew up in a church tradition that really did not focus on the liturgical Christian year (no Advent, no Lent), but there were many Catholics who did practice Lent and wore the cross of ash on their head on Ash Wednesday. When I asked what it was all about, my fellow classmate complained, saying it was a season they were supposed to be devoted to God, but really they were upset that they have to eat fish every Friday. For him, Lent was not a meaningful practice, nor was the fasting of lasting value; it was rather just something he did.
We see the same reality in Israel reflected in Isaiah 58. The prophet Isaiah, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, spoke to a nation that knew the practice but was missing the heart. Fasting is a way indeed to draw closer to God, to sacrifice oneself in order to hear God more clearly and draw ever closer to him. But for Israel, and many today, they had lost the point of it all.
How do we know when we are fasting incorrectly?
1) There is spiritual manipulation (58:2-3). When we are fasting not to draw closer to God, but to convince God that he should do what we ask, we are in the wrong frame of mind.
2) Our words will not match our deeds (58:3-4). We can say all the right words, but we truly show God our heart by the action we take once our knees come off the ground and we exit the doors, or when the time of fasting comes to an end. In one breath, they prayed to God, but in the next, they cut people down with their words and were prone to violence. This should not be!
3) It becomes ritual and nothing more (58:5). This is when we fast and pray, going through the motions because it is what we always do and not because we want to push closer to God.
God is not impressed with our hearts removed from our worship. He wants us to be real and genuine, to give our all. He wants us to truly fast! We show this by:
1) Striving to meet the needs of others (58:6-7). This is fulfilling the very mission of Jesus in setting people free. This happens by taking care of both the physical needs and the spiritual needs of others.
2) Righteous house-cleaning (58:9-10). We have to remove all traces of sin from our lives and cast it out, not letting it hang around. We wouldn’t keep cat-peed sheets and papers stick around in the house! Neither should we allow sin either.
3) Whole commitment to God (58:13). We should not give God a part of ourselves, but our whole self. God does not want our leftovers; he wants our best self.
What are the blessings of a heart that is right in fasting? God promised we would find spiritual healing (58:8), the presence of God (58:8-9), our light will shine in the darkness (58:10), guidance and provision of God (58:11-12), and spiritual joy (58:14).
Will we take this season to pursue God with everything we have?
Questions for Reflection
1) Do you find yourself practicing one of the incorrect motivations for fasting (spiritual manipulation, words not matching deed, ritual, nothing more)? Can you let it go to God?
2) In what ways can you help meet the practical needs of someone in our community? What about spiritual needs?
3) In what areas do you need to “clean house”?
4) What is one sacrifice you can make to increase your commitment to God?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will start the study in the discipline of confession with the sermon titled, “Rend Your Heart”, based on Joel 2:12-17. What is the confession that God is looking for? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for February 28 – March 6
February 28: Daniel 9 What was Daniel’s prayer?
March 1: Joel 1:13-20 Why were the people called to fast?
March 2: Joel 2:12-27 Why should we fast?
March 3: Matthew 6:5-18 What guidance did Jesus give on fasting and prayer?
March 4: Matthew 9:14-17 What is the true point of fasting?
March 5: Genesis 3:6-24 What was the consequence of Adam and Eve’s lack of honest confession?
March 6: Genesis 4:1-14 What was the consequence of Cain’s lack of honest confession?
This Week’s Events:
Saturday, March 4–Emma Eckard fundraiser
Sunday, March 5–First Sunday Breakfast & First Sunday Offering–Area Food Pantries
Sunday, March 5–Worship Team Meeting immediately after church
Monday, March 6–Timothy Bible Study @ 7 pm
Saturday, March 11–Emma Eckard Fundraiser
Wednesday, March 15–Outreach Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Thursday, March 16–Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Friday, March 17–Community movie night @ 7 pm
Prayer & Fasting / Spiritual Discipline Challenge
Part of the reason we struggle with prayer is that we don’t know exactly how to pray. When I was younger, I was blessed to participate in an hour of prayer. Each hour was divided up into twelve five-minute sessions of prayer with a specific focus. Over this month, I will give three sections a week until you have all twelve that you can practice on your own.
- Fasting. At its core, fasting is going without food for a time to devote to prayer for God. There are many different types of fasts in the Bible. There is a total forty-day fast (Elijah, Jesus), where one goes without food or drink for a time of devoted prayer. This practice is something you would have to build up to. There are also three-day fasts, juice fasts, only vegetable and water fasts, and so forth. The point of fasting is again to spend that time in prayer to God. Fasting helps us focus on God and drown out all distractions.
- Praying together. When two or three are gathered, Christ is in our midst. In this, you can pray together for commonly shared things, such as asking God to move or intervene. But then you also pray for one another, to encourage one another toward love and good deeds.
- Silence. In this prayer, you completely quiet yourself before God. You must drown out all forms of distraction in order to hear the voice of God. Go to a place of quiet like nature, away from all the hustle and bustle and noise. Just soak in the presence of God, and allow him to speak.
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office or leave in the offering plate your birth date so we do not miss anyone!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are in need of both worship leaders and children’s storytellers. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Phyllis Simmons (children’s story).
Fundraisers for Emma
Many of you have inquired how to help Emma achieve the funds for her mission trip. She needs to raise approximately $4500 before the trip begins. Here is how you can help:
- You can donate through the offering plate. Make the check out to the church and notate “Emma Eckard mission” on the memo line. Likewise, if you want to give cash, put it in an envelope and also mark “Emma Eckard mission” on the envelope.
- There will be a paint night this Saturday, March 4. More details forthcoming.
- There will be another fundraiser on Saturday, March 11. More details also forthcoming.
- If you would like to give only, go to http://crossworld.org/give.
Click on support a disciple-maker.
Enter Emma Eckard for name and 40612 for account number
All gifts are tax-deductible.
On Friday, February 17, there will be a movie night for free for the community. We will be showing Despicable Me. Please share the word, especially to those households you know have children, to your neighbors, and to anyone you know that has kids that also does not have a church home. We have plenty of flyers at the church; please share with your friends and neighbors!
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for six to eight volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour and church hour. There will be a signup sheet in the back. If you would be willing to volunteer to allow our families to be able to participate in worship, please let one of the members of Christian Education know (Theresa Eckard, Scott McAvoy, Becky Whitmore), or sign up on the signup sheet!
The Christian Education team would like to relaunch children’s church for our kids, as well as for the kids in our community without a church home. To be successful, we need six to eight volunteers who would be willing to give up one Sunday either a month or every other month to minister to our children. If you are interested, please let one of Christian Education know, email the church office, or sign up on the sign-up sheet on Sunday.
The hope is that as we build our children’s ministry, more young families will want to participate in the church.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
Eddie Baker (health)
Sandy Bennington (peace)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Lynne Lent (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Savannah Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (house)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Jeff? Wilbur (health)
Cindy Wittig (surgery)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church