Pastor’s Devotion #116

“How Many Miracles Will It Take?”

JESUS DID MANY OTHER MIRACULOUS SIGNS in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have LIFE in his name.” John 20:30-31

 

The Apostle John, traveled with Jesus for three years. According to his own words, he witnessed countless miracles performed by the Son of God. As he was moved by the Holy Spirit to write his personal account of the Gospel, do you think he ever wondered, “How many miracles will it take?”  How many miracles will it take to convince his future readers that Jesus truly is the Savior of the world? It seems John arrived at the number 7. Seven is a complete number. To the Jews, seven is a perfect number. Seven days of creation. Seven days in a week. Seven Jewish festivals. Debts released every seven years. The Year of Jubilee was to happen every 49 years, seven times seven – doubly perfect. In his Gospel, John records seven “I Am” statements of Jesus, in essence, declaring himself God. In his book, Revelation, John even records a message from Christ to each of the SEVEN Christian churches.

Which do you think came first for John, the number 7 or the miracles themselves?  However it emerged, moved by the Spirit, John recorded 7 key miracles between chapters 2 through 11. Each miracle mounting with growing meaning and impact. The first miracle records Jesus turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). Then John records Jesus healing an official’s son (John 4:43-54), followed by the healing of a man who had been an invalid for 38 years (John 5:1-11). Jesus, then feeds 5,000 people with only five tiny loaves and 2 fish (John 6:1-13). He then walks on water to meet is disciples in the midst of a storm (John 6:16-21). Jesus gives sight to a man who was born blind (John 9:1-7). Finally, after four days, Jesus resurrects his dear friend, Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44).

Since John was an eye witness to all of these miracles, and certainly he had to be drawn back in, recalling and recording the magnitude of these moments; do you think, he thought, “How many more miracles will people need, to prove that Jesus is truly who he said he is – the promised Messiah?”

This line of thinking came to my mind, as I recalled, the miraculous moments I have been witness to over just the past few months. How many more miracles DO I REALLY NEED to demonstrate that Jesus is truly the promised Messiah? How many miracles do you think YOU need? How many miracles will it take for your skeptical son or daughter, cousin, niece, friend or neighbor to come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? The truth is, it’s not so much about the number, it’s about the heart. It’s always about the heart. It’s about being open rather than being resistant. For many, it doesn’t matter the miracles, they are simply not open to the humble, honest, transparent confession of someone captured by the love of God. In part because they have been lied to, or deceived, or at the very least, distracted away from the truth. The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing. But that hearing is not generated by our human words. Faith is generated by the Holy Spirit. Faith is spoken by the Spirit into the hearts of those who will receive him. Thus, the mystery – and so our need to pray! We pray for the Spirit to move over the hearts and minds of us all, to be fully convinced of the Truth about Jesus Christ. And may we thank Him for the miraculous moments that are still taking place today, right in our very midst!

Whether it is received or not, I felt compelled to write down what I have been witness to over the past few months. I have talked about the necessity, in today’s world, to move from what has typically been a “private” faith into a growing “personal” relationship with Jesus and a “public” proclamation of who He is. As we have prayed and asked God to lead us. He has been answering our prayers! We have seen a steady stream of our own people willing to “publicly” testify and share their miraculous testimonies. As I remembered the stories and have recounted the moments, guess how many I came up with. Seven. I’m sure there are countless others, but these are the ones I’m highlighting today. I am praying that seven modern day miracles, at the hands of Jesus Christ, will more fully convince the nominal believer and the committed skeptic, that Jesus Christ is worth a closer look. Come Holy Spirit! Perhaps, one day, my grandchildren might be sitting on the fence of faith, and maybe after they read this devotion compiled by their grandfather, no longer living, but bearing witness to this selected list – perhaps they might take a closer look. So, I pray! Come Holy Spirit!

The miracles began with the testimony of a woman in our church, who had battled cancer for over two years. She is still in the battle. Cancer had spread to her brain. Prayers for healing. Intercession for intervention in the name of Christ. The day she arrived to begin treatment for the tumor – the doctor declared without human understanding – “The tumor is gone!”

A young executive was called upon to take the helm of a growing insurance agency based in Seattle. As the pressure mounted and physical pain emerged, he found himself calling out, crying out to God for help and relief.  In the middle of the night, he awoke to a Scripture verse spoken to him. A completely unfamiliar Scripture verse. One in which, he called out in the darkness, as if young Samuel calling out to God, for clarity. He again received the word, “1 Chronicles 4:10”. He woke his wife. He wrote it down. What could this mean? In the morning, He opened his Bible to 1 Chronicles 4:10, which read, “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain. And God granted his request.” Having never heard of Bruce Wilkinson nor his tiny book, The Prayer of Jabezhis pain left him and has not returned!

A woman who lost her husband, lost her stability, lost her health and lost her will to live. She described a loss and lack of connection with God that seemed insurmountable. Yet through her pain and emptiness, she shared her experience and life changing encounter with the mercy and love of God. God has opened her heart and increased her faith. God has placed her feet on steady ground and given her the fire of the Holy Spirit that burns within like never before.

A retired, extremely wealthy and successful business man – who had every luxury at his fingertips. He described the joy of a successful career – but now, has come to understand, in indescribable fashion, the true riches and wealth he has found in the treasure of knowing Jesus Christ. His focus, attention and what he values as success has been turned upside down – on its head. He is now in hot pursuit of knowing his Savior, Jesus Christ, on a daily basis and living to obey his will.

A young woman lost her seven-year-old son almost 20 years ago. She recalled a conversation with him before he passed away. She wanted to know that he made it safely to heaven and that he would let her know. He agreed he would send a sign, only if God allowed. They talked about yellow flowers and a green snake. After his passing and she returned to work as a nurse in the ER – a fellow nurse came to her one day, carrying a single yellow rose. When asked why she brought her the rose – she had no answer. She just felt she was to bring the rose to work for some reason. Tears fell from a mother’s eyes. Later that year, while hiking in Colorado, she almost stepped on a snake. She had seen plenty of snakes in her day, but never like this one – a neon, green snake, lying across the trail. Once again, tears fell from her eyes. She received the message. God allowed her son to deliver the message, loud and clear – he made it home to heaven safely!

A woman lost her husband, surrounded by the love of her family. As we shared memories, she recalled losing her father years ago. They had been very close, and his passing was terribly traumatic. She felt utterly lost. She prayed, and cried out to God for help. She was given a dream and taken to see a glimpse of heaven. The experience was so powerful and wonderful, that she never wanted to return. She woke up at peace, without fear, assured that her father was home and one day, she would be too.

Finally, last week, on Wednesday, I received this text message:

Dear Pastor Mark,

Early on January 5, just as I was beginning to wake up, I saw words and heard a voice say, “The cancer is gone!”

Monday, of this week, (January 25th), I had a CT scan. Today, Wednesday, I saw the doctor and with a smile on his face he said the same thing. God is so good!!

This, from a woman who had never personally heard from, nor seen a direct message from God such as this! Now she knows! Now she knows!!

So, how many miracles will it take? Do your friends or neighbors need more? OK, I have two more bonus miracles to share with you – from a few years ago.

 

Mary Jane Lund. After hospice had been called in, she confessed to having Jesus, personally come and hold her hand, during the night, in her time of need. Mary Jane carried her share of anxiety and worry through life, and also as her last days approached. After that morning, a peace that passes understanding fell upon her. Some might want to dismiss this because of the pain meds administered by hospice. But those present know better. This peace remained visible upon her face. Those close to her could clearly see, it was more than medications. And it remained until her time to go home.

Erling Skrinde. He walked directly into my office after a doctor visit. A man in his late 80’s, the doctor gave him 3 months to live. The doc told him to get his affairs in order and maybe meet with his minister. Erling and I went on to meet weekly for over three years and he lived a total of SEVEN more years. Erling was a quiet, humble, Norwegian farmer who attended the local Lutheran church for most of his life. He was a man of few words. One day, without warning, Erling shared an out of body experience with me. He was in surgery, was lifted above his body, watching everything in the room and given a glimpse of heaven. It was not his time. He was healed and returned to his farm. He kept his experience a secret for years.

He chose to share his miracle with me. I’ve been blessed to have these many miracles shared with me; countless miracles.

I haven’t even mentioned, my friend, my brother from another mother – Ric Shallow. He has a story, and a book detailing his whole miraculous experience!

Today, I am choosing to share these miracles with you!

So, what do you think? How many more will it take?  

If you find yourself on the fence, I hope this moves you off. And so, I pray! Come, Holy Spirit!

LET’S ALL PRAY! “Come, Holy Spirit!”

God Bless You All,

Pastor Mark 

 



Pastor Mark’s Devotions, May 8

“V-V Day”

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray…” 2 Chron. 7:14

Today, May 8th, is the 75th Anniversary of V-E Day. This day marks the end of World War II in Europe, known as “Victory Europe”. The youngest living veterans of this foreign war are nearing 92 years of age. Needless to say, there are not too many veterans left alive. The war, to be remembered for the ages, that cost nearly 70 million lives, is nearly forgotten by younger generations. Soon, museums will be the ones left to tell their story.

Recently, I listened to General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s speech following the signing of Germany’s unconditional surrender in Reims, France. He talked about the “togetherness“of those soldiers who fought on land, in the air, and on the sea. Together, they were able to overcome a terrible enemy. Together they were able to establish peace on European soil. The war was not completely over, for victory over Japan – “V-J Day” would not arrive until August 15, 1945.

Some have stated that we are at war with the coronavirus. Is that true? Are we together, as a nation, in that declaration? I’m not sure. If we are, it feels more like the Vietnam War than World War II. The Vietnam War did not unite the nation. The Vietnam War divided the nation. The Vietnam War was confusing, unclear, and troublesome. The soldiers of that war came home to little appreciation and much hostility. There were terrible casualties in both wars. But in the former conflict, they fought together. The enemy was clear. The objective was without question. The cost would be mighty. But those on land, in the air and on the sea – so also those at home – would make sacrifices, work together, and wrestle the dragon to the ground.

If we are at war, this is a new war. It is a war we have not seen before. We face, for all practical purposes, an invisible enemy. In former world wars, the nation was called to action. People of all kinds were put to work to achieve the common goal of freedom. In this war today, most people are called to inaction. People are called to sit on their hands and watch their life savings and small business’ dreams wash down the drain. There seems to be a growing fight among ourselves rather than against this coronavirus because there is no clear objective.

V-V Day will arrive. The Victory over the Virus will be celebrated. But when will that victory be achieved? It seems that the coronavirus will be unwilling to sign off, until a vaccine is found. But when the vaccine is found, will that mark the end of the war or symbolically like taking of the beaches at Normandy? Right now, if we have secured the beaches, it seems like a lot of people are satisfied to slather on sunscreen and play in the surf. But the truth is, we have yet to organize an assault on Normandy. The time has not yet come. And when we do have a vaccine, and when we execute the assault on Omaha and Utah beaches, we will still be a long way from Berlin. The good news is that a vaccine means that the days for Covid19 are numbered. The bad news is that there will be more casualties on the road to that victory.  

This new war is challenging everything we know about how to fight. We must determine new technology and acquire new insights to combat our foe. But is there anything we can carry forward from those who have fought before us? The word from the Supreme Allied Commander, is still ringing in my ears; “Togetherness”. If there is one truth to take away from a World War that inflicted massive casualties, let it be a commitment to fight together. This fight will not be identified by those soldiers who fought on land, in the air, and on the sea. Rather, this new war will require those in politics, in financial markets, in medical fields – and all of us around the country, to come together to win this war.

Many challenges face us in these coming months. But if we attack these challenges together, by God’s grace, we can save lives, restore peace, and perhaps find greater unity than our divided past.

This unity will only be found by God’s grace. Just as God led this nation through World War II, God is the one who will unite our nation and provide vision for our future.

As people of God we must pray! We must pray for God to press in upon his people. We must pray for the leaders of our nation and for all our people, to live in humility and unite together.  

After King Solomon finished building the Temple in Jerusalem and his royal palace, God came to Solomon. He said that he had heard Solomon’s prayer. God also promised in times of plague and hardship, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Let us pray for humility. Let us pray for unity. Let us seek God. The beaches at Normandy will be taken as before. A vaccine will be found. Berlin will be conquered as before. Treatment will be made available to all in need. The virus will be brought to its knees. V-V Day will surely come! 

God, bring us together and win this war.

God Bless You All!

Pastor Mark

 



Pastor Mark’s Devotions, April 1

“April Fool’s Day”

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

April Fool’s Day, April 1st, is the day practical jokes are played on unsuspecting fools. We have a member in our church who loves to catch me by surprise on this foolish day each year. I remain on guard, even on locked down, because I know anything is possible. But April 1, 2002 was no joke. Interestingly enough, I received a phone call from none other than Michael Dennis. Yes, the same Michael Dennis that I wrote about yesterday. He was alive and well on that particular April 1st. He was serving on the Call Committee at Sierra Lutheran, my former congregation in California. My family and I had just moved to Oregon, less than a year earlier, to serve another congregation. He was calling to see if I would consider returning to Sierra as their pastor. “Is this a joke?”, I asked. “No joke”, he said. That opened the door to a period of time that would get worse before it got better.

We heard the sobering news from President Trump yesterday that this Covid19 pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. I know many of you have faced situations in which your life has become worse before it has gotten better. You have faced cancer and had to endure chemotherapy. You have faced strokes and had to persevere through physical therapy. Some of you have lost your jobs, financial security and retirement and had to fight your way back. Many of you have lost spouses or loved ones, and have had to adjust to life alone. There are many other situations in which people have had to face circumstances that have become worse before they have gotten better.

Hearing the President’s words yesterday and waking up wide eyed this morning at 5:30 a.m., a flood of memories ran through my mind. I thought I might share a snapshot of my own “worst” experience before it got better.

That April Fools phone call from Michael Dennis would end up taking us back to Sierra Lutheran in Central California. Over the next three years it just seemed like things went from bad to worse. When we moved back, we couldn’t afford to buy a house because house prices had increased. We ended up living in 6 different locations over the next 18 months – a guest house, a mountain cabin, an apartment over a garage – finally culminating in living in our 23-foot trailer in the back of our church parking lot. We took showers from a hose at the church with our bathing suits on. No joke! We definitely had to look like fools lathering up for the whole world to see. But actually, the kids and I had quite a bit of fun jumping around on the hot concrete. I know, I’m not arguing that I am a fool and a few other things!

Church life was struggling. Family life was struggling. Snow storms delayed the building of our home. Finally, on my 43rd birthday, during a Bible study, my doctor called and said the results of my colonoscopy showed cancer. I would have surgery the following week and spend the following 8-10 weeks at home. Being locked down at home was probably my “worst” moment. But in the darkness of that moment, GOD RESTORED MY SOUL! Little did I know that the worst was going to become my best!

Why I mentioned earlier about waking wide eyed at 5:30 a.m. is because, after my surgery, God woke me up told me that He needed to spend time with me. I am not, by nature, an early morning person, but for those next weeks of recovery, I woke up with ease and met God in his Word from 5:30 a.m. until 7:00a.m. God opened my eyes to his Word, showed me things I had never seen before, and healed my heart as only he could. Before my surgery, my soul was dry as dust. I was worn out and beaten down from all the battles. But God restored my soul and lifted my spirit as King David wrote, “He put a new song in my mouth”. When I returned to church, hearts began to heal. As we settled into our home, our family continued to heal. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, God was moving and God was healing. New life sprung forth in all kinds of directions.

Not long after unity had settled in, I received another call from a Call Committee member. John Homes, from Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church called me. Because of those 5:30 a.m. meetings with the Lord, my heart was full and I felt I truly had something to offer this new congregation in Washington.

For a period of time at Sierra Lutheran, things got worse before they got better. But God did amazing things during that time. How can the most difficult time of my life also be the best time of my life? I’ll tell you with all the confidence that this one soul can confess – it is because of the love, grace, and power of our Lord Jesus Christ! And the truth is, when we moved to Washington, we would face more moments when things would get worse before they got better. But in all things, God has continued to shine His love, grace and power upon us.

St. Paul points us to the truth, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Paul certainly knew what it was for things to get worse before they got better. He describes his life to his congregation in 2 Corinthians chapter 11. He tells them of having been put in prison, flogged, stoned, shipwrecked, and left out on the open sea among other things. Within a few days of Paul’s conversion, his fellow Jews were already plotting to murder him for preaching about Christ. But those initial difficult days gave rise to a mighty evangelist who finished as one of the best and greatest at his craft!

Yes, in the next few weeks, this pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. And WE NEED TO PRAY for God to Protect, Provide and Pour out his Power on the sick and those serving on the front lines. As we move forward, let us put our trust in God. It might look like foolishness to the world. But know this, from the worst of times, God can turn our worst into our best. If you have a hard time believing, Mary Magdalene and the disciples have a story to tell about one Easter morning.                      

It will get better!

Your Fellow Fool with Foolishness in his heart,

Pastor Mark



Pastor Mark’s Devotions, March 30

It’s Monday, Let Us Pray”

“Our Father, Hallowed Be Thy Name…”

During last week’s taping of my sermon, a phone call interrupted my prayer. I forgot to silence my phone ahead of time. I also forgot to go back and re-tape the prayer. The last few weeks, I’ve written out a prayer so that it might be a little more intentional and comprehensive. I thought we might begin Monday with this prayer – and then conclude with Psalm 71 – two ways to turn our hearts to God and acknowledge Him as we begin a new week. God Bless You All! God goes before us!

Let us pray,

Heavenly Father, these are concerning times, these are uncertain times – fear and anxiety can sneak up on us. Let us remember that you are a God of Promise. You have made promises and agreements that we can hold on to in times like these:

-You have promised to ALWAYS BE WITH US!

-You have promised that YOU HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!

-You have promised to HAVE PREPARED A PLACE FOR US!

-You have promised that IF WE SEEK YOU, WE WILL FIND YOU!

-You have promised that, IF WE ABIDE IN YOU, WHAT WE ASK, WE WILL RECEIVE!

-You have promised that, EVEN WHEN WE ARE UNFAITHFUL, YOU REMAIN FAITHFUL!

Thank you, Father, for your promises. Your Word is trustworthy and true.

We also pray that you make us one, Father even as you and Jesus are One. Even though we are separated by distance, unite us in deep union with you. Unite our country and communities. Guard and guide the people serving our communities and those who are sick. Have mercy upon us.

We pray for healing over those who are infected with this virus. We pray for those who have lost loved ones from this virus. We pray for continual protection over the care givers and health providers. We pray for containment and the quick development of an effective vaccine We pray that all people will practice “safe distancing” and take it seriously. We pray that medical equipment will be distributed in an effective manner to all the states and areas where these resources are needed. Direct our President, our Federal and state governments, governors and local leaders – that decisions will be well thought out and implanted to help our people in need.

We pray for parents, families, couples and individuals. Let us make the most of this pause – that we see opportunities more than obstacles.

And Father, we thank you for all the ways that love, kindness, and compassion is being demonstrated. Neighbor loving neighbor. Strangers helping strangers. Let it continue. Let it abound. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN. LET IT BE SO!

 

 

Receive the words from Psalm 71:19-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
    You have done such wonderful things.
    Who can compare with you, O God?
20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
    but you will restore me to life again

    and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 You will restore me to even greater honor
    and comfort me once again.

22 Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
    because you are faithful to your promises, O my God.
I will sing praises to you with a lyre,
    O Holy One of Israel.
23 I will shout for joy and sing your praises,
    for you have ransomed me.
24 I will tell about your righteous deeds
    all day long,

 

Yes, it is Monday. This is the day the Lord has made, let us claim joy and be glad in it!

P.S. – Share the joy – Sahara Pizza serves us half price pizza for Monday Take Out!!

Always trying to look out for you!

Love and Peace, Pastor Mark



 

“Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. Then I will praise you



Pastor’s Blog March 16

“On Eagles Wings”

 

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles…”

                                                                                                                              Isaiah 40:31

 

Yesterday, we all were challenged to find a way to worship away from church.  I chose to listen to a sermon online entitled, “Ruah”, from my sister’s pastor. “Ruah” is the Hebrew word for “Spirit” or “Breath of God”, and refers to the Holy Spirit.

As I listened to the message, I walked to the window, the sun was streaming in. The mountains were crystal clear. It was an incredibly beautiful morning. As I stood gazing at the beauty, with coffee cup in hand, my eye caught an eagle in flight. Then I saw two. They were beautiful birds, wings extended, drifting and hovering high above the trees. It seemed as if they were suspended and were being lifted up higher and higher without any effort of their own.

Then the scripture came to mind, “Those who hope in the Lord, they will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Can you picture those beautiful birds? I’m sure you’ve seen eagles in flight many times before. They are magnificent, strong creatures, but they also know how to use the wind beneath their wings.

In these next weeks of uncertainty, let us be like the eagle – stretching out our lives, our concerns, our worries and allow the “Ruah”, the Holy Spirit to lift us up and hold us steady. The Holy Spirit will lead us, guide us, strengthen us, and give us peace.

Isaiah tells us that those who “hope” in the Lord will renew their strength. That word “hope” refers to “waiting patiently with expectation”. Many circumstances are beyond our control. We are being called upon to be concerned, to take this pandemic very seriously, to plan but not panic. Let us wait patiently with the expectation that God will continue to lift us up, and direct our paths through this difficult time. Let us continue to pray for our leaders, communities, business owners, the sick, our friends and our neighbors – that the Holy Spirit will lift us all up, unite our hearts and allow us to soar high above all fear.

 

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Mark 

 
 


Pastor Mark’s January Blog

Pastor Mark’s January Newsletter Blog

“Fast & Pray”

In the Old Testament book of Ezra, as the exiled children of Israel are preparing to return to Jerusalem, Ezra says, “Therefore, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possession.”

Ezra goes on to say,

“I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen

to protect us from enemies on the road,

because we had told the king,

‘The gracious hand of God is on everyone who looks to him,

but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’

So we fasted and petitioned our God about this,

and he answered our prayer.” (Ezra 8:21-23)

Have you ever fasted?

And preparing for a colonoscopy doesn’t count….otherwise I would be a veteran “faster”.   I have intentionally fasted a few times in my life, but in general, I think fasting has become a lost discipline. Many times, the Bible records God’s people taking time to fast and to pray as they face a crossroads looking to the future.

In the New Testament book of Acts, in the church at Antioch, we are told,

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,

‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the work to which I have called them.’

So, after they had fasted and prayed,

they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:1-3)

I believe that the year 2020, in the life of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, will be a very important one. In many ways, this past year has been one of preparation. Our facilities are being prepared. Youth ministry is being prepared. Structures are being prepared to support ministries like the Caring Place.   And our hearts are being further prepared to…..

walk in faith,

follow the leading of the Holy Spirit,

and encourage one another in love.

As we enter this new year, what might happen if we all humble ourselves before God, fasting and praying that God would move powerfully through our church?   LCMC is encouraging all its congregations to PRAY for 3 days from January 7-9, 2020. I’d like to include fasting along with prayer. Fasting involves intentionally denying yourself something that you value as a sacrifice in honor to God. This self-denial is an exercise that opens up the senses to further connect with God. Is it a mandate? No. But just as singing in a worship service is not required in worship to God, the act of making a joyful noise further opens up one’s heart to connect with God. So also, fasting can further open one’s heart in prayer and connection to God.

So, I invite you to join me in fasting and prayer during these 3 days in early January. You can choose whatever food or drink you would personally like to include in your fast. Perhaps keep it to yourself.

Jesus says to keep it between you and the Father. (Mt. 6:16-18)

And then pray…. Pray, Pray, Pray, that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in power will direct our church, our ministry, our personal faith in dynamic ways. Pray…. that we would, as one body, live and share in the joy of Jesus Christ. Pray…. that we grow in boldness, confidence and humility recognizing the move of God in our congregation and in our community. Pray…. that the presence of God will fall upon us and that it will be undeniable. Pray…. protection against the evil one and that nothing interferes with God’s desire for us.

I’m looking forward to an amazing year filled with many challenges and many celebrations!!