Lent is a 40-day season in the church year (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.

Fasting and spiritual disciplines are an important part of the season of Lent. Through this season of Lent I am asking the entire church to participate in fasting of some type (See article and ideas below). I also want to encourage the entire church to worship with us every Wednesday @ 6pm where we will be exploring vital disciplines of the Christian life more significantly in a series called “Leading by Example.” Some of the topics we’ll be exploring are Spiritual Disciplines, Hospitality(Compassion), Use of the Tongue, Work(Not Entitlement), Contentment.

I pray that the Lord reveals something profound to you this Lenten season and that he unites us as a church in a remarkable way. Let’s step out in faith and press into the heart of God together!

Living for Jesus!

Pastor Per

Join Us In Fasting This Lent

There are many ways you can fast. The challenge and opportunity this Lent is to do it!  Here are the 3 steps we are challenging people to consider regarding fasting:

1-Decide to Do It (in your head & heart!)

2-Plan to Do It

3-Commit to Do It

When Jesus speaks about fasting to his disciples, he doesn’t give them an out. He says “When you fast…” not, “If you fast….” (Matthew 6:16) Fasting is a normal and essential part of the Christian life. Jesus’ words imply that fasting will be a regular practice in His followers’ lives.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book The Cost of Discipleship, said, “Jesus takes it for granted that His disciples will observe the pious custom of fasting. Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian life. Such customs have only one purpose — to make the disciples more ready and cheerful to accomplish those things which God would have done.” And Wesley Duewel, a twentieth-century writer, said, “You and I have no more right to omit fasting because we feel no special emotional prompting than we have a right to omit prayer, Bible reading, or assembling with God’s children for lack of some special emotional prompting. Fasting is just as biblical and normal a part of a spiritual walk of obedience with God as are these others.”

It’s important to note that there are different types of fasting. Some possibilities are listed below. The point is to do something, to confront yourself with the significance of obedience to Jesus. You can also find resources online and in the bookstore to help you.

I have been fasting for many years. One of the things I find helpful is to have a focus for fasting. Sometimes it’s healing. At other times it’s wisdom or strength. I don’t know what the focus will be for you, but I do want to set a focus for us as a church. As you fast, however you fast, pray about and explore scripture surrounding “Unity and Renewal.” Those two themes are significant points of focus for us as a church entering into these next months. I believe God will do something in us and through us in these areas as we join together in fasting. God honors obedience! He always has. He always will.

Be sure to share your stories of how God moves in your life through fasting. Send them my direction via email (PerNilsen@cohlc.org)!

Ideas for Fasting:

21 Day Fasting Devotional – Instead of giving something up, decide to take something on!  Commit to pursue Jesus more significantly during Lent.

Social Media Fast – Give up your choice media.  Say bye to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest.  And an extra challenge, try doing it without posting about it!

Netflix Fast – Say “no” to TV and “yes” to something else.  Fill the time you typically spend watching your show with something significant!

Food – Make different decisions about what you are eating.  Decide to do Whole 30 or Paleo during Lent.  Exchange your desire for food for a desire to spend more time in investing in a spiritual discipline.

Daniel Fast – We have done this particular fast at Community of Hope a few different times.  It is based on Daniel’s experience with giving up “choice foods.” daniel-fast.com, ultimatedanielfast.com,

Sugar/Junk Food Fast – Choose to avoid sugar, fast food or junk food this Lent.  Possibly try this one with your kids!

Unhealthy Habits – We don’t really need to name them here because you know what they are.  If there is something that is preventing you from walking closer with Jesus or being in healthy relationships with others, see what God can do with 40 days of avoiding these things.

Time – This is our culture’s #1 valued commodity.  What would it be like to create extra time in your schedule by saying “no” to something you regularly say yes to?  What could the season of Lent be like if you were to choose to spend your time differently?

***We would love to hear what you decide to do, how it goes, and what God does in your life while fasting!  Please let us know!  Happy Fasting everyone!