Fasting


12 Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13     rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. 14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16     gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.
Joel 2:12-16

As I talk to many of my friends who are unchurched I have often been asked, “What relationship really matters to you, pastor?”

My answer is not simple but consistent,” The relationship that matters most to me is my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I am committed to following Jesus and still there are times when I am overwhelmed in my quest to live for Jesus. This wonderful relationship can be draining as I go to rehearsal, LIFE groups, committee meetings and spending time studying and in prayer.   As a result every once and a while I need to be recharged.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, lent is a time to restart and refresh your relationship with God through reconnecting with the spiritual disciplines that sustain us in this Christian journey.  Lent is a 40 day season of self-denial and an opportunity to evaluate your relationship with God.

DetoxOne spiritual discipline referenced in the scripture is fasting. Fasting is a time of cleansing the heart as well as the body.  This could include getting rid of the toxic relationships, negative attitudes and distractions. Cleansing our lives of  negative spiritual and emotional junk so that our lives are focused on hearing, following and living for Christ is the essence of fasting.

Prayer:  God, move all distractions from my life that would keep me from focusing on serving you with my whole heart.

William T Chaney Jr
New Church Strategist
Path 1

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“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…” Luke 4:18 (MSG)

ImageLent is a 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter where we recommit to our spiritual disciplines, repentance and fasting, and we remember the life, death and burial of Jesus, and prepare for the celebration of his resurrection. At the end of our 40-day journey, one of the great hopes is that we have realigned our lives with the life that Jesus lived.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Jesus’ ministry was not his interest in the secure, affluent, popular, well educated or politically well connected in society. Jesus had a passion to dwell among and to serve people who lived beyond the boundaries, people who were without power and people who lived on the margins of society.

Jesus ministered to those who were poor, homeless, prisoners, and carrying heavy burdens. These same people in our society are often easy to see, but many times difficult to engage. This is true especially when we are consumed with our own personal agendas rather than a Kingdom agenda. When our consumer acquisitions leave no room for us to share or give anything away. When our to-do lists are so packed that we do not have any time to share with those who Jesus ministered to. When this happens, the people who are hurting and living on the margins just become a part of the landscape that we tend to ignore-unless they get in our way.

If we are realigning ourselves with the mission of Jesus during this 40-day journey toward the resurrection, we have an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the mission of serving those who Jesus served. We can commit to serving the poor who are trapped by systems and have no visible escape route. We can go to the jails and the prisons to proclaim the Good News. We can be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world so that they may have their spiritual sight restored.

Selfishness, self centeredness and self-indulgence are the core values we experience when we have lost sense of our mission to serve those who Jesus served. Sharing unconditional love is an oxymoron in a society that teaches it is all about me. My challenge to us as we begin this journey together is to find a place to serve beyond our comfort zones, that is, if you are really willing to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord, open my eyes to all who need to hear the Good News. Give me the words to say and the courage to speak. Give me the discipline to live out your mission with the people that others avoid, ignore and shun.

William T Chaney Jr
Infinite Grace Fellowship
West Baltimore UMC

2014 Lenten Devotional

You can request our Lenten devotional to be sent to you daily. Email to info@infinitegracefellowship.org