Fasting 101

By Karen Polich

Fasting 101 may sound like a boring sermon topic, but on Sunday Dr. Trey Sullins delivered this fast-paced message with passion and purpose. Listen to the podcast here. In his message, he focused on two areas, fasting and praying and respect for holiness.

Sullins’ message is a direct response to Pastor Kevin Linthicum’s call for the church to fast in preparation for upcoming mission trips to Malawi and throughout the world.

Fasting and praying. At its core, fasting is sacrifice. It’s getting rid of the things of the world and focusing on God. It is an outward expression of an inward devotion. Fasting is an act of worship. Nowhere in the Bible is fasting required. It is a choice of the heart. Fasting is a time of giving God all the honor and glory. Sacrifices are not easy. We can choose to make the sacrifice for Him.

In scripture, many fasted to seek God. Nehemiah, Daniel, David and Esther are examples of fasting during times of need, mourning and repentance.

Respect for holiness. What goes on in our hearts and the act of that is what is holy. We are made holy through Christ. (1 Peter 2:9, Colossians 3:12) We are often clear on what is unholy, but uncertain about what is holy. Holiness comes with a separation from the world and a holy pursuit of God and His call on your life.

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10

What about families? In 2 Chronicles 20:1- 29 King Jehosaphat called everyone to fast a pray, begging God to show up in their time of need.

In this process, the pursuit of holiness and the respect for holiness was being taught. Fasting is an opportunity to teach our children what it means to respect holiness. It is the act that brings holiness.

Not sure where you are with this? Search out God’s Word. As a church, we will be fasting from midnight Friday, May 19 until noon on May 21. If you choose to fast, immerse yourselves in it all day long. Talk about it as a family; pray as a family. For children or young adults, or those with health concerns, fasting is not necessarily about food. We can fast from many things. Also, it is not for everyone to see. It is for us to walk through as we would during a normal day. It’s not for social media and loud boasts, but a true focus on God.

“The end product of any fast is God’s will.” – Dr. Trey Sullins

The challenge is to embark on this journey with God, pursuing God and pursuing holiness.

Missing the Mark of Holiness

By Karen Polich

“A Holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine.”  – Dwight L. Moody

Have you noticed, at times Christians can stoop lower than even the most immoral non-believer in their behavior? We all fall short, but there is a difference between boastful embraced sin and sin we turn from. Within the church, a life of perpetual, unrepentant sin is a personal tragedy that leads to a negative public testimony without the removal of it from the fellowship. Sin in the fellowship that comes with no desire to change must be dealt with.

Listen to Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon, Missing the Mark of Holiness from the Forming the Church We’re Called to Be series here. Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 5: 1-13 focused on how the church in Corinth had lost its way. As believers, we are called to more. We are called to change the culture around us and show Godly influence in the world around us. We cannot have a flippant attitude toward sin. As a church, if sin is allowed to go on, what testimony does it send? God’s Word is clear. In sincerity and truth, the sin must be removed and put out of the fellowship. (Paul was clear that he was speaking about the immoral behavior of believers, not the lost. See scripture above.)

Church discipline is something done out of love, like the correcting of a child. It is about love for people but hate for sin. The church is to help, bearing witness to the testimony of Christ, not hiding in isolation. A church without holiness has nothing to say to a lost world. We are called to be different and to be the salt and light for a lost world. Matthew 5:13-14

It starts with the close examination of our own hearts. How are we choosing to live? If we are allowing sin to infiltrate the outpouring of our lives, how long before we are just another bad apple in the bunch?

The church must demonstrate within its own body what holiness looks like. Everyone is a sinner. Believers are forgiven in Christ but must choose to pursue a life focused on Christ and free from the shackles of sin. To miss the mark and fall short is one thing. To live a life saturated in chosen sin is another. As the church, we are called to live in obedience and shine the light of Christ into the world. Church discipline is a necessary part of a genuine testimony focused on His Kingdom.