Fasting and Prayer for Mission

By Kevin Wolfe,

As we unveiled our 5 year vision of “Intentionally on Mission…Purposefully Making Disciples” we invited you to pray and fast with us on a weekly basis.  Why would we want to pray and fast for people in our life, begging the Lord to save them and asking the Lord to use us?

First, we are absolutely dependent on God to change a heart.  Titus 3:16 remind us that it is the Holy Spirit who regenerates a heart!   Therefore when we are begging the Lord for someone’s salvation, we are crying out to the only one who can change them!  No matter how good of a presentation we make, no matter how much we love, or how we serve other…. we can’t change a heart.  

Secondly, prayer and fasting changes us.  As we set aside time to seek the Lord in dependence: praying for people, meditating on eternity, worshipping the God who has set us free,  He begins to transform our hearts in the process.  I have consistently seen in my own life when I take the time and discipline myself to fast and pray, that God often changes me and gives me an eternal perspective I did not have before.  Several times over the past few weeks, after this time of praying and fasting, God has put someone on my heart in which I have been able to contact and begin to pursue them in love.  Without this time of fasting, I am not sure I ever would have thought about them and certainly would have not been moved to action.  Prayer and fasting changes us!

Please consider joining the pastors at MVC to fast a meal a week.  Take the time to purposefully pray for those in your life to come to faith in Christ.  Pray for opportunities to share Christ with them.  Ask Lord for opportunities to spend time with them.  Watch what God will do as we seek Him.

Below is a study to help you think through why we fast and pray.  Study through it but more importantly, apply it to your life!

FASTING

Mt. 4:1-4 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”

  • Jesus was our example in fasting
  • Though He was hungry, He fought Satan’s temptation by declaring that we are ultimately satisfied not by food, but by God and His word

Therefore, when we choose to fast, we can use it as an opportunity to do without physical needs to declare our dependence ultimately on God.  God is ultimately the one who will satisfy us, and fasting forces us through our hunger to actively choose to find our satisfaction in Him.

John Piper writes:  “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.  The fight of faith is a fight to feast on the all that God is for us in Christ.   What we hunger for most, we worship,

His goodness shines with brightest ray

             When we delight in all His ways.

His glory overflows its rim

            When we are satisfied in Him.

His radiance will fill the earth

            When people revel in His worth.

The beauty of God’s holy fire

            Burns brightest in the heart’s desire.”

Fasting helps us to declare to ourselves that God is what we desire most, even above food!

As we fast and worship God, God seems to sharpen our perspective on Him often giving us a heart for the things that matter the most.

Referring back to the Mt. 4 passage, John Piper continues by writing:  “The Spirit of God willed that the Son of God be tested on his way into the ministry, and he willed that Jesus triumph in this testing through fasting….Think on it.  Jesus began His ministry with fasting.  And He triumphed over his enemy through fasting.    …And the aim of fasting is that we come to rely less on food and more on God…The point is that we must learn to depend on God and not ourselves.”

Consider a few practical thoughts about fasting:

  • Rather than just skipping a meal or two, use those meal times for extra time in prayer.  Do a prayer walk.  Get alone.  Seek God!
  • As you feel hungry throughout the time, let it prompt your heart to worship Him declaring He is the bread of life and the satisfaction of your soul.  Then turn and pray for the specific things you are fasting for.
  • Don’t make it a public spectacle.  This is between you and the Lord.  If you are tempted to be grumpy towards others in your hunger, make sure you ask the Lord to help you show His grace and mercy to others.
  • Be sensitive to His voice during this time.  Be faithful to follow through with the things He puts on your heart!

Mt. 6:16-18  “Whenever you fast (notice it does not say “if you fast”), do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

Enjoy this time of fasting and seeking the Lord!  Be expectant of what God will do in and through your life as we depend on Him!

Pastor Kevin

Living Like A Missionary

By Kevin Wolfe,

We have set out over the next 5 years to be “Intentionally on Mission….Purposefully Making Disciples.”  This follows our great calling from Jesus.  Right before He was betrayed and murdered on the cross, He turned to the Father in prayer “…As you have sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (Jn. 17:18)  Jesus repeats this prayer/calling to the disciples after He gloriously rose from the dead, He turned to His disciples and said “…as the Father has sent me, I send you.”  (Jn. 20:21) As followers of Christ, we are “sent ones!”  What does this look like to be a “sent one” in the unique sphere of influence that God has put you? 

Consider for a moment if you were part of one of our church planting teams at MVC.  You and your team were getting ready to move to the Czech Republic to see God’s fame spread across this great, but godless country.  How would you approach your time there as a “sent one?”

Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, in their great book “Total Church”, give some great questions you would want to ask yourself if you were part of this church planting team:

  • What criteria would you use to decide where to live?
  • How would you approach secular employment?
  • What standard of living would you expect as pioneer missionaries?
  • What would you spend your time doing?
  • What opportunities would you be looking for?
  • What would your prayers be like?
  • What would you be trying to do with your new friends?
  • What kind of team would you want to be around you?
  • How would you conduct your meetings together?

Chester and Timmis go on to challenge us by saying:  “We find it easier to be radical in our thinking when we transplant ourselves outside our current situation.  But we are as much missionaries (or sent ones according to the above verse) here and now as we would be if we were part of cross cultural team in another part of the world.”

Imagine if we approached our lives here in the Front Range of Colorado with this same intensity, purpose, intentionality and passion?  What could God do?  Why don’t we approach it this same way?

Let me encourage you to now go back through those questions above in the context in which God has placed you.  Pick your neighborhood or your workplace or your school and see yourself as a “sent one” into that environment to proclaim the Gospel.  Live like a “sent one” purposefully and intentionally living your life through the above grid and watch how the Lord can be magnified in and through your life!!!!

Letting Our Light Shine!

By Kevin Wolfe,

Jesus last words before ascending to the right hand of the Father was to commission His followers to take this glorious news of the Gospel to the World.  “Go” He said and “make disciples”   What a privilege we have been given to be His ambassadors!  Entrusted with the greatest news this planet will ever hear!  I have never gotten over the fact that God would use me, with all my challenges, to proclaim Him to a dying world!!!  Absolutely Amazing!

We have been looking at this humbling call the last few weeks as we believe more than ever, Jesus wants MVC to be vigilant about being on His mission and making disciples.  This is why we have set out over the next 5 years to be “Intentionally on Mission…and Purposefully Make Disciples”  and to let this drive all we do at MVC.

Over the next several weeks, I hope to give many practical suggestions on how we can live our lives intentionally each and every day.  Instead of adding many new activities and ministries to our lives, we can simply be incredibly intentional and purposeful with where God already has us.

Most of these ideas are going to be based on the principle Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven.”  This requires two things:  First, that we are in close enough proximity to those who need the hope of Christ that they can see the way we live.  This requires spending time, opening our lives and homes, and building relationships.   But secondly, it requires that we live in such a way around non-believers that they see Christ in us and desire to know what makes us so different.

Please keep in mind though, that relationships will never bring a person to faith in Christ.  Neither will loving people, serving people, or being the best neighbor in the world.  What saves people is Jesus and His glorious Gospel.  Therefore our desire is to herald and accurately proclaim the Gospel.  Loving people, building relationship and being intentional with those in our life builds bridges into their lives from which we can proclaim the Gospel from.  The relationships become simply a bridge for the Gospel to travel across.   This is important because we can be very faithful to love, serve and build incredible relationships with those around us, but that will never ultimately change a heart.  This is why we must always keep the Gospel central.  However, we often never get to proclaim the Gospel because we aren’t close enough to people to be able to share His truth with them.  I believe when we are intentional and purposeful to get into people’s lives, loving and serving them, this will open up great doors where we can point people to Jesus.  So often, the first step of proclaiming the Gospel is building a bridge into someone’s life.

So, where has God sovereignly placed you to be a light?  In your neighborhood, your workplace or in your school? How can you be more intentional in those environments to build relationship with people.  How can you put Christ on display in those environments so that people can see Christ in you?  How can you be purposeful in the way you act, in your speech, the way you serve, the way you don’t complain, the way you honor others, the way you love?  We all have been given a great opportunity to let our lights shine before men and women!  Let’s shine brightly and point people to Christ!!!