Monday, September 9, 2013

"Rend your hearts and not your garments."

My youngest son came through to the lounge this morning looking forlornly at his dry bowl of frosted flakes. "I'm not lucky," was his lament. You see, he has decided to give up what is most precious to him during our three day fast.  Milk. What followed was a little coaching conversation about remembering Jesus every time he craves milk. Fasting is not just denying ourselves what we enjoy. It's denying ourselves so that we remember and rely upon Jesus.
Fasting is feasting on Jesus.
I'm not sure he finished the conversation feeling any 'luckier' about his dry frosted flakes,
but hopefully he understood a little more about the reason for their dryness!

We are doing a liquid fast as a church from Monday to Wednesday. That means water, juice and soup. Even if our children cannot manage just liquids, I want to encourage you as parents to talk about fasting with your children, and to help them to find a meaningful way to join in. For some, it may be a media fast or fasting from snacks.

The point is not so much from what we turn, as it is to Whom we return.

The Prophet Joel said it so well.

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity Joel 2:13

Yesterday was such a great Commissioning Sunday, wasn't it? Our largest attendance ever on a Sunday in Brea, and such faith in the room, as both Brea and Fullerton communities were freshly commissioned by Jesus to Dwell on Mission. We spoke of God's call to love and serve our cities, seeking their peace and prosperity. As we pray today, can we ask God to break our hearts of apathy and criticism towards our cities, and  breathe a fresh willingness to dwell amongst them?

 I also spoke of repenting of the idols of our city and of boldness to call others to repent of them.
As we pray today, let's allow God to show us if there are idols of moralism, materialism, humanism, or hedonism that are causing us to forfeit the grace of God. Perhaps we need to repent of making community an obstacle to mission? Or have we made our gift or ministry an obstacle to simply serving the people of God?

God is a gracious God. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. He is doing great thing amongst us. He wants to meet with us powerfully at this critical moment in our community.
Revival begins as the people of God return to the Lord their God. He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents when we repent and return to Him.
Look forward to seeing you tonight at 6:30pm.

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