Thursday, August 23, 2007

PRAYING AND FASTING FOR 1,000!

For many weeks we have been praying for August 26. We're anticipating a huge Sunday as summer vacation is over and kids are back at school. At church, The Edge service moves to The Pointe, new small groups are forming, Chapin U begins, and a Ignite adds a middles school time of worship. We're praying that God will bless us with 1,000 people this Sunday.

Recently, student pastor James Clonts, challenged the senior staff to spend some time fasting during the week leading up to August 26. He challenged his student leaders to do the same. Throughout the Scriptures we find evidence how God poured out His blessings when His people spent time praying and fasting. On one occasion when the disciples had difficulty freeing a man from demons, Jesus informed them that some barriers require prayer and fasting before they can be crossed.

The purpose of fasting is to turn one's focus completely on God concerning a matter of significant importance. Fasting is not just eliminating or reducing food intake for a period of time. That's just the mechanics. Fasting, from a biblical perspective, doesn't happen until the person turns his focus completely on God.

Usually we think of fasting in terms of food. But actually the concept extends beyond food intake. What are the "things" that dominate our lives? Sometimes it is food. But it could be the internet, video games, television, etc. So, the purpose of fasting is to eliminate something that often preoccupies our attention and instead divert that attention to God.

In Monday's staff meeting we went around the table and shared what our fast was going to look like this week. I've also heard reports from some of our students. For some it was eliminating all sweets, caffeine, or after-supper snacks. Others are doing a bread, fruit, and water fast. Some are eliminating time on the computer or Braves baseball. One is significantly reducing his visits to Tigerillustrated.com. (I wonder who that would be.)

Our staff pastors are serious about wanting to see God break through our attendance barriers. We're not satisfied and we don't believe God is satisfied. We're praying and we're fasting for 1,000 this Sunday. We've been meeting for extra times of prayer all week long. And instead of Braves baseball or Tiger Illustrated, we're using that time to pray.

Are you praying for breakthrough? Are you praying for 1,000 this Sunday? Are you inviting friends, neighbors, and work associates to join you this Sunday?

God is the one who causes His church to grow. But He doesn't grow His church apart from using His men and women to accomplish the task. So join me in praying (and fasting) for 1,000 this Sunday.

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