Last week, we as a church concluded a 21-day fasting period. During the fast, each person spent time in prayer daily to focus on God and to deepen the relationship. The purpose of the fast was to cut out distractions from our lives such as social media or junk food and in its place spent time to draw strength from God. Along with prayer, it opened up an avenue for us to connect with our Lord and it enhanced that relationship.
Before Jesus began His ministry, he spent 40 days in fasting and in prayer. He wanted to connect with His Father. Despite the devil’s attempts to tempt Jesus away from his fast, Jesus resisted because His relationship with God was strong. Jesus depended on God for strength, not the temptations and distractions from the devil.
Several members of our church experienced great change in their lives during the three weeks of fasting and they volunteered to share their experience and testimony. We hope that these stories can inspire those who also participated in the fast; and encourage those who may be unsure about the benefits of fasting. May God continue to bless you in your journey with Him and may you draw strength from our Lord daily through prayer.
What does Christmas mean to you?
With Christmas only a couple days away, it brings back a lot of memories for some people. For others, it’s a time during the year where we reflect on the great gift God gave us with the birth of Jesus.
For everyone, there’s a different story about Christmas. Not everyone grew up with the same celebrations and for some, the story of Christmas is ever changing. Some have great family memories. Others have surprise presents.
We asked several people of our church to share their Christmas story. What was their favorite memory? What do they look forward to every year? What does Jesus’ birth mean to them?
Here are our stories:
What I love most about Christmas is that for one quiet morning, I feel as if God and my family have my full attention. The distractions of work and the world seem to fade away and I am fully present in the moment. I am truly content and blessed and at peace.
By Michael Au
When you first came to know God you may have been really engaged to know more about the Bible, Jesus, some of the characters in the Bible, and many aspects of Christianity. However as time goes on your engagement with God may have waned.
Not like you don’t follow God but rather you don’t seem to find God too interesting.
Basically bored of God.
Your walk with God will be boring at times but does that mean it has to remain that way? Does God have to be fascinating just when you first came to know Him or can your current relationship with Him be filled with much more excitement?
The lie we may entertain at times is, “God is boring.” Yet the reality is, “God can be exciting.”
King David knew God’s right hand was full of eternal pleasures (Ps 16:11). On one occasion he expressed celebration to Him by “dancing before the Lord” (2Sam 6:14-15). God even says enjoyment should come from enjoying the food and drink we eat from our labor – “it is a gift from God” (Ecc 3:13).
Clearly God can be a delight to be with yet there are factors that can hinder our enjoyment with God. Today I’ll share one common hindrance that makes us bored of God – same routines with Him.
A routine is defined as a usual pattern of activity. I have routines for when I exercise, cook, and my quiet times with God. These routines are good because I’m doing something that is beneficial to my life. Though sometimes I can let its repetitiveness get to me thereby making the activity boring. Yes, I can change my attitude and think of all the benefits that this has for me, thereby making the routine more interesting, yet one helpful thing I can do to enhance my enjoyment is bringing more variety to my routines.
Like for exercise, I can do different exercises. For cooking, I can add new ingredients to a common dish I make. As for my relationship with God, I can find different ways to draw closer with Him.
Over a hundred men committed to Jesus during an alter call on the first night of Act Like Men.
(Photo by @BrandonHilstad on Twitter)
By Michael Au
This Act Like Men conference gave me great hope and faith.
I really liked Matt Chandler’s message on “Standing Firm in the Faith” and Mark Driscoll’s message on, “Be Strong.” Connecting both messages revealed to me that standing firm in the faith is essential if I am to leave a godly lineage (my future children, grandchildren and so on).