Friday, March 24, 2006

Slowing Down To Fast

(I started by showing the church a table full of food with chips, candy, cans of food, fruit, cereal, coke, etc…)

Have you ever thought of controlled we are by these things? There’s not a day that goes by where we don’t have these things or other types of food on our mind!

Food calls out to us all the time – at least three times a day and usually more! :)

  • Have you ever thought about how much time eating takes up?
  • Have you ever thought of how much a distraction food is? (Use loud radio in background.)

It’s hard to focus on other things when these things are calling out so loudly to us!

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about giving up eating completely. But what about temporarily?

What if giving these things up TEMPORARILY could change you or your life PERMANENTLY? Would it be worth it to you to try it?

How many of you have ever fasted one meal?
How many of you have ever fasted one day?
How many of you have ever fasted more than one day?

Think about this…

Fasting is something that’s universally practiced in most major religions. It’s also something that we seem to do naturally. It seems to be a part of our nature.

Don’t believe me?

  • Have you ever been so sad that you couldn’t or didn’t want to eat? That was you naturally choosing to fast!
  • Have you ever been so excited about something or focused on something that you forgot to eat? That was you naturally choosing to fast!

Today I want to talk about fasting.

I want to show you what it is, show you reasons from the Bible of why to fast, talk about different types of fasts, and then I want to end with a challenge for you -- by giving some reasons why you might want to join me fasting from now until Easter.

Alright, so, What is fasting? I know you know what it is but listen to what James Packer in "Your Father Loves You", says…

“We tend to think of fasting as going without food. But we can fast from anything. If we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God, that is fasting. It is helpful to think of the parallel of human friendship. When friends need to be together, they will cancel all other activities in order to make that possible. There's nothing magical about fasting. It's just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with him, sorting out whatever is necessary, and you have cancelled the meal, party, concert, or whatever else you had planned to do in order to fulfill that priority.”

So fasting is a natural thing that has nothing magical to it. But, don’t be fooled by this. There are some powerful things that Fasting CAN do in your life!

We’ll talk about that in a second but first, let’s look at 3 main forms of fasting that there are in the Bible…

This is from the “Holman Bible Dictionary” and it says…

“The Bible describes three main forms of fasting: 1) The Normal Fast, involving the total abstinence of food. Luke 4:2 reveals that Jesus “did eat nothing.” Afterwards “He was hungered.” Jesus abstained from food but not from water. 2) In Acts 9:9 we read of an Absolute Fast where for three days He “neither did eat nor drink.” The abstinence from both food and water seems to have lasted no more than three days (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16). 3) The Partial Fast—in Daniel 10:3 the emphasis is upon the restriction of diet rather than complete abstinence. The context implies that there were physical benefits resulting from this partial fast. However, this verse indicates that there was a revelation given to Daniel as a result of this time of fasting.”

One kind of fasting that many people are doing this time of year is called “LENT”. (I went on to describe it: why, how long, except Sundays, & what Sue & I are doing. Hear audio for exactly what I said.)

Before we look at what the Bible teaches us about fasting, let me tell you this…

There are a few places where God specifically tells people to fast, but usually in the Bible fasting is something that’s taught more by example than with words!

There are all sorts of places where Godly people in the Bible show by example why Fasting is important.

And when we look at these examples, we start getting a picture of reasons WHY we should fast. Let’s look at “WHY FAST?”

Hear the message below:

MP3 Stream

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