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For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 

Romans 8:5

The Daniel Fast is a biblically-based partial fast – meaning that some foods are eaten and others are restricted. The fast is typically 21 consecutive days after the New Year and is similar to a vegan eating plan with more restrictions and only water as a beverage. This is based out of Daniel 10 in which Daniel the Prophet ate no meat, bread or wine for 21 days. The purpose is to have a quiet time with the Lord during this period so your faith and intimacy with him will grow. I was first introduced to the Daniel Fast when I briefly attended New City Church. My current church Hillsong Phoenix is doing a corporate fast as a church to start off 2018. I haven’t decided to what extent I’m going to fast but I feel this will be a good thing for me to do with my church.

On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.

Nehemiah 9:1-3 (NIV)

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The Bible Project

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Today I started a new course with CCEF called Biblical Interpretation. It’s a course that helps apply scripture to the everyday hustle and bustle of life. As I go through my counseling training with my church, I pray that this course will enrich my life with the Word as I apply it and help mentor others. I met Dr Mike Emlet at the CCEF national conference last year and I’m looking forward to having him as an instructor for this course. My Mission Community consists of many former Pastors who took the time to pray for me and encourage me as I begin this journey with my studies. I am thankful for the ministry of CCEF and how it has been a huge blessing to my life.

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I attended Food for the Hungry’s Hope & Courage conference today with a few friends. Food for the Hungry partners and walks with churches and leaders in overcoming poverty in various countries. I’m a huge fan of what they do and have enjoyed a long relationship with the organization.

The first session was led by Os Guinness – founder of the Trinity Forum and renowned speaker and writer. Os talked about how our faith has become diluted and that we need to get back to the gospel. He identified three big tasks: repairing the global south, winning back the west and contributing to the human future. The church has gotten worldly and has spread out to areas that aren’t influential. We need leaders and we need to let the Spirit lead like in Acts. We live in an upside down Kingdom where the least is not the greatest. We give money to get and we have an American worldview of how to care for people. But despite all that has gone on, the gospel still underlines this world and has shaped it. Accomplishing these tasks would give to rise and caring (humanity, gratitude) and Christ needs to the one to lead the movement.

I was looking forward to the next speaker. Laurent Mbanda is the bishop of the Shyira Diocese for the Anglican church of Rwanda. Laurent shared a little about his story of leaving Rwanda after the genocide and then returning. He noted that as thousands were being killed in the churches, the leaders did nothing. But today there is a lot of aid with poverty as a result of the church’s partnership with the community. He talked a lot about partnerships with existing organizations, training and working together. Today he is noticing many changes in Rwanda and he credits that to many leaders becoming Christians. He stressed areas of importance to the poor, children, education, women and health.

Bob Moffitt of Harvest Foundation spoke on poverty from scripture. Poverty is defined more than a lack of materialism. Jesus was poor and was in bad living conditions, yet he had enough. He became all God wanted Him to be without having an abundance of stuff. (He then gave the example of Japan – very materialistic and wealthy, yet the highest suicide rate). There are two types of poverty – voluntary (ex: Jesus, Mother Theresa) and involuntary (as a result of sin). He stressed scripture more than projects and that we need to respond – Personal lifestyle (humility, worship – 2 Cron 7:14, Is 58:1-6), Corporate (the church-Eph 3:10) and Transformation (our success is based on obedience, not numbers).

Hope – hope in His promises when we are obedient and then we will be courageous

Courage – like  in the book of Joshua. Be strong and courageous

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Laurent Mbanda

“The church always goes forward best when it goes backwards first.” – Os Guinness

“If you’re going to change a community, you have to focus on children” – Bishop Laurent Mbanda

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I think I got five hours of sleep last night. I quickly got up, grabbed my $3 special and headed to community groups. John Piper met with us leaders to encourage us in our respective ministries. He spoke from Matthew 6:25-34 on this topic of anxiety. He encouraged us not to be anxious about tomorrow or this upcoming year 2013.

Dr. Piper first talked about scripture and three ways of how to approach it – Memorize it, Analyze it and Believe it. The original authors did not intend for the books to be split into chapters. He encouraged us to read scripture with the whole book in mind. If we don’t do this, will have a tendency to become moralists (one concerned with regulating the morals of others). He then talked about faith.

Eight key points from Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV):

1. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (v.25) Do not get caught up with physical things or outward appearance

2. Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (v.26) We are more valuable to God than the birds

3. And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (v.27)We add more stress and trouble when we are anxious

4. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (v.30)God provides

5. Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (v.31) – Don’t act like the Gentiles (unbelievers)

6. For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (v.32)We can trust God – He is all-knowing

7. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (v.33)We have the promises of God for our needs – He meets them

8. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (v.34) –  Each day has enough trouble of its own. God gives us what we need to deal with the trouble for the day. We can’t run tomorrow’s trouble today. (Lamentations 3:22)

Pray and let your requests be known to God!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

One thing I took away from this morning was the importance of memorizing scripture. Just seeing Dr. Piper quote long passages of scripture showed me the importance of letting the words of God sink in. I pray that I will spend more quality time in the Word this coming year and truly allow scripture to penetrate me.

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