20 days for 2020
This past weekend as a church we talked about a story in Luke 5 where Jesus teaches on fasting. For those of you who are familiar with fasting it can be tough! We are sacrificing food whether that's skipping meals during daylight hours, eating fruits and nuts, or going all out and eating nothing. It's tough! The purpose of Jesus teaching this was because he was always getting questioned about why his disciples wouldn't follow the rules. Jesus responded after most recently picking up some outcasts from a fishing boat that "they'll get there", but in the meantime they can't become fully devoted followers of me (Jesus) and know the deeper disciplines of the Christian faith immediately.
So check this out; I'm a fisherman. My mother told me I was born with a fishing rod in my hand. I love it. It's what I do as a hobby and I constantly am thinking about what I can do to improve on my fishing for the next season - in my off time of course. I've had the blessing of taking several people out and teaching them some of the basics of fishing. Moon phases, lake structures, fish patterns, map reading, you know - the basic stuff. The reality is everyone wants to catch the fish but it requires learning the methods first, right? Same is true with the stories in Luke 5. Jesus calls on some outcast fisherman, heals up a couple of guys, calls out a tax collector to follow him (tax collector's were ruthless in that day), and then gets questioned about fasting. He uses an example I'll give you here and hopefully this will make your 2020 amazing!
Fasting is not: a diet plan, a way to make God happy with you, a box to check to prove you did it.
Fasting is about spiritual connection with Jesus.
Here's the scripture: Luke 5:36-38-"“No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins.
"Wineskins" were goatskins sewed together at the edges to form watertight bags. Because new wine expands as it ages, it had to be put in new, pliable wineskins. A used skin having become more rigid, would burst and spill the wine. Like old wineskins, the Pharisees the Jesus speaks to were too rigid to accept Jesus. This has been the case for hundreds of years. People can't accept Jesus because rules and regulations of doing good or being good gets in the way. Jesus could not be contained by their traditions or rules. Christianity required new approaches, new traditions, new structures. Church programs and ministries should not be so structured that they have no room for a fresh touch of the Spirit, a new method, or a new idea. We too, must be careful that our hearts do not become so rigid that they prevent us from accepting the new way of thinking that Christ brings. We need to keep our hearts pliable so we can accept Jesus' life-changing message.
Our church started a 20 day fast. We're fasting and praying that this year of 2020 is the year that we're able to reach more people with the gospel of Jesus than ever before. We're praying for a fresh, pliable heart so Christ can pour out His Spirit like never before. It is a lesson Jesus teaches us and we can practice to go deeper in our faith.
If you'd like to join us in our fast, choose a fasting method that works best for you and that God calls you to. Remember the purpose is to be closer to Jesus and hearing his voice louder. Will you go out deep with us to catch a harvest of fish? We're having a special prayer service January 25th after church and would love to have you join us.