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Posts Tagged ‘Healing’

Fasting can be a mysterious concept, and you may be reading this today with several questions about what fasting is, what it does, and how to go about it.  Richard Foster says in his book, The Celebration of Discipline, “The central idea of fasting is the voluntary denial of an otherwise normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity.”  He also goes on to describe just how many heroes of the faith fasted in the pages of Scripture:

“Abraham’s servant when he was seeking a bride for Isaac, Moses on Mt. Sinai, Hannah when she was praying for a child, David on several occasions, Elijah after his victory over Jezebel, Ezra when he was mourning over Israel’s faithlessness, Nehemiah when he was preparing the trip back to Israel, Esther when God’s people were threatened with extermination, Daniel on numerous occasions, the people of Nineveh – including the cattle (involuntarily no doubt), Jesus when he began his public ministry, Paul at the point of his conversion, the Christians at Antioch when they sent off Paul and Barnabas on their mission endeavor, Paul and others when they appointed all of the elders, and on and on it goes.”

That intense spiritual activity that Foster is referring to is most typically prayer and intercession and usually includes extended periods of time spent listening for the voice of God.  The voluntary denial of normal functions can include a variety of activities.  I’ve outlined a few for you:

  • Food:  Whether it’s a partial fast (not eating certain kinds of foods or at certain regularly scheduled times) or a complete fast (abstaining from all foods altogether), this is the most common form of fasting.  A common method for a first time fast would be to go without food from sundown to sundown the next day.  [Note:  Make sure your body is healthy enough to do this.  If you are not sure, talk to your doctor beforehand.]
  • Media:  Another version of fasting that can be highly effective at helping to direct our attention to the Lord is to give up all forms of media.  This would include television, computers, social networking, smart phones, etc.
  • Social Activities:  Many people find that withdrawing for a set amount of time from interaction with people is a wonderful way to focus on their relationship with the Lord.  These are often labeled as “spiritual retreats” and are just simply a time to remove yourself from normal conversation with those around you and get alone with God.  This often works best if you travel to a location away from home and stay in a place where you can have solitude and quiet.

The most important part of fasting is to make sure you keep God in the center of it.  It should have nothing to do with making you look spiritual and everything to do with sharpening your ears to hear God’s voice and heightening your commitment to obey what He tells you.

May God’s grace cover you, as you seek Him this week.

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Every Sunday morning, about three songs into worship, just before we receive Communion, I stand before my friends at church and invite them to experience the healing grace of our Lord Jesus.

I usually have a list in my hand, filled with words of knowledge from our ministry team.  As they pray for the service each Sunday morning, they take time to listen to the invitation of the Holy Spirit to speak to specific physical and emotional needs of people attending our worship service.

I often find myself saying something to the effect of, “When Jesus died on the cross, He made a way for your sins to be forgiven and your body to be healed.”  And every Sunday I watch in awe as people respond to the call for ministry and receive the healing Jesus purchased for them.  I’ve seen it over a hundred times and it is beautiful every time.

But, this Sunday was different.  This Sunday I was the one in need.  A few years back, I became aware of a painful spot in my left shoulder while I was lifting weights.  I didn’t give it much thought, changed my workout routine so as not to aggravate it, and moved on.  Recently that “catch” in my shoulder has resurfaced.  I felt it in the gym, I felt it wrestling with my sons, I felt it laying down to sleep, I even felt its sharp reminder when I would cross my arms.

The usual battery of fear began to run through my mind as I considered living a lifetime struggling with shoulder pain.  I found myself contemplating the possibility of shoulder surgery to heal the damage.  And then I remembered Sunday morning.  Every Sunday morning I invite people to experience God’s healing.  Why not accept my own invitation?

So last Sunday, I was the first one to the healing line!  I went to the first person in the line, explained the situation and received prayer for healing.  It was a simple and sincere prayer.  I didn’t feel anything or hear anything while being prayed for, but at the end of the prayer I started testing my shoulder and I was pain free!

It amazes me how I am still amazed by answered prayers.  I truly expected my shoulder to be healed and then I was stunned when it was.  Then, I began to wonder if it was really going to last.  We often program ourselves for disappointment in such a way that we have trouble receiving good gifts from God.  I still find myself being careful with my left shoulder, expecting a sharp pain when I move in a certain way.  But, the pain is gone!  And it’s not coming back!

I know many of you have been whispering fragile prayers and holding on to fading hope.  Hope for healing.  Hope for freedom.  Hope for reconciliation.

God answers prayers, my friends.  Psalm 103 tells us He forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, and satisfies.  I encourage you to stretch out and ask God to bring healing to your situation.  I encourage you to let a friend pray with you at church this Sunday.

And don’t be too surprised when God answers your prayer.

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It’s been a wild few weeks around EFC!

Between the Take Everything Tour, A Night With The King, the coming Light the Night and Spiritual Freedom Retreat, there is a little (or a lot of) something for everyone to do. I hope everyone is finding ways to participate, enjoy and help out. More on the helping out part later.

I want to give a special thanks to the Burke’s for the terrific messages they shared yesterday. They were very encouraging and motivational.

Podcast

If you missed the Burke’s messages, I think you will be able to listen to them online when the link becomes active.  Click to listen.

On the Radar

Light the Night: Next Sunday evening from 6-8 pm EFC will have the Light the Night fall festival. Kids of all ages are welcome to join us for games, food, jumping castles, and prizes! It’s going to be loads of fun, and friendly costumes are welcome.  A concession stand will also be open. For more information or to volunteer to help, contact Pastor Lolo. We still need:

  • Volunteers to man stations, and
  • Candy donations.

Spiritual Freedom Retreat: The Spiritual Freedom Retreat is November 5 & 6. If you have never attended, please prayerfully consider doing so. Even if you have and you need refreshing, join us again. Childcare will be provided and so will lunch on Saturday. You can register online.

Lifegroups: Lifegroups continue this Wednesday. If you haven’t joined a Lifegroup, there is one tailor made just for you:

  • Family Lifegroup-led by Cliff and Carolyn Lotzenhiser’s and Ray and Deb Doak meets @ the Lotzenhiser’s.
  • Ladies Lifegroup-led by Jay Neal meets in the Prayer Center.
  • Bible Study-(and, honestly, probably the coolest Lifegroup ever) led by yours truly meets @ EFC in the fishy room.
  • New Members-led by and meets @ the von Atzigen’s.

Revelation Bible Study continues Tuesdays, 12-1 pm.  Bring your lunch and join in the discussion!

Election Day is November 2: We are privileged to be able to participate in our government by electing our public servants. I encourage everyone to exercise this right on election day.

Stay Connected

You can stay connected to the EFC happenings on facebook or any of these websites and blogs:

Shameless Self Promotion

I can’t let you get away without plugging my very own Bible blog, Beauty of the Bible. It’s got an all new look and feel, so if you haven’t checked it out in a while, click on over.

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, October 31, we will continue with the sermon series “The Children’s Bread: Exploring what the Bible Teaches about Healing.”

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Does God still heal?

Can I pray for the sick?

Why do some people not get healed?

Where does sickness come from?

 These are the questions we are looking at during the current sermon series at EFC, Healing: The Children’s Bread.

Once you have an encounter with the amazing power of God and experience healing first-hand, you usually don’t have a problem answering the first question.  However, many people stumble on the second one.  Is praying for the sick only appropriate for a few, select people?  Maybe just the pastors?  Possibly just the really special people who haven’t taken an aspirin in ten years?

I’d like to encourage you today, my friend, with the truth that Jesus not only invited YOU to pray for the sick, He fully expected you to do it!  The Great Commission is an invitation for us to do what He himself had already done—heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, and raise the dead.

Whew!  Sounds kinda intimidating, doesn’t it?  How about this—follow Jesus, do what He asks you to do, when He asks you to do it, learn from your mistakes, and try again.  Can you handle that?

If you need some help getting started, here’s a few pointers:

  1. Find someone sick to pray for (shouldn’t be too hard!)
  2. Find out what the problem is.
  3. Put your hand on them and pray for their healing.  Pray outloud.
  4. Stop and ask them if they feel God doing anything in their bodies.
  5. If they feel something, thank God for what He’s doing and ask for more.  If they don’t, pray again.
  6. If you’ve prayed for awhile and do not sense anything happening, pause and ask God if there are any other directions you need to follow.  Obey what He says.
  7. Repeat until breakthrough comes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Substitutions are a standard part of life.  We substitute onion rings for fries.  We substitute Splenda for sugar.  We substitute texting for talking.

We all remember causing mischief when a substitute teacher walked into the classroom, or at least I do. 😉 And some of you may even remember when the von Erichs and the Freebirds would face off in wild wrestling melees called tag-team matches.  I would watch from the edge of my seat as an injured Kevin would stretch out his hand to tag up with Kerry to get a fresh sub into the fight, and Kerry would explode over the ropes to change the flow of the match.

But, there are some things for which there are no substitutes.

Each of us have been created with a “God-sized hole” in our souls.  It’s a missing piece in the puzzle of life that leaves the picture incomplete.

Try as we may to fill the hole, we always come up empty on the other side.

There is no substitute to the presence of God to bring wholeness to our life.  Nothing else has ever satisfied, and nothing else ever will.

In John Chapter 5, we read the story of man in need of the wholeness Jesus has to offer.

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.  (John 5:1-9 NKJV)

In this encounter, we hear one of the greatest questions Jesus ever asked, “Do you want to be made well?”

Jesus never asked a question for His own benefit.  Through this question, we see the invitation to abandon the substitutes and discover wholeness through the grace of God.

When you don’t know what you want, it makes it very hard to get.  When you want what you don’t need, you’ll pass right by the solution to grab hold of a substitute.

Consider today four substitutes to choosing to be healed:

  1. I want to be helped.  I need someone else to take responsibility for my situation.
  2. I want to be heard.  I want sympathy more than solutions.
  3. I want to be happy.  I chose to settle for the best of a bad situation.
  4. I wanted to be healed.  The pain of life slowly eroded my hope for real wholeness.

The reality is there is no substitute for the wholeness Jesus offers.  Many of us have wasted so much time looking other places for other solutions.  And we have come up empty every time.

But, the question of Jesus is still echoing through two thousand years of human history.  “Do you want to be made well?”

His question today is your invitation to experience the joy of life according to God’s design.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.  –Romans 5:5

Click here to discover more about the wholeness Jesus offers you today. 

Podcast

Click to listen to “Do You Want to Be Made Well?

Links

Click here to read stories of those who have been made well through the power and grace of Jesus. 

On the Radar

Night of Worship and Art Fusion coming next Wednesday, June 2!  The party will start at 7:00pm. 

Family Fun Night is scheduled for Wednesday, June 9, at 7 pm.  You are invited to join us for this entertaining evening of softball, homemade ice cream, and fellowship at Newman park.

Family Connection

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery all the way up to our youth.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well, at www.efcyouth.com.

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Sing to the King”
  2. “I Have Found” by Kim Walker
  3. “Healer” Kari Jobe version
  4. “Awesome God” by Rich Mullins

Sunday Preview

Sunday, May 30, we will conclude our “Questions Jesus Asked” sermon series.  Join us for this final exploration of the questions of our Lord.

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If you are like me, you watched with a broken heart as scenes of the earthquake in Haiti flashed across your television screen in January.  The images of brokenness and devastation where overwhelming, and it was easy to feel helpless in the face of such a disaster.

The world’s response to the earthquake was amazing to watch, as well.  Resources began to flow into the small nation like a flood.  In fact, resources flowed in so quickly and with such abundance that they were unable to be processed and distributed to the millions of people in need.

As heartbreaking as the scenes of destruction were, the scenes of the Port Au Prince airport overwhelmed with supplies and actually having to turn away planes filled with relief aid left viewers frustrated and bewildered.

Our gifts and our aid were not fully effective because the infrastructure of the nation was so devastated that the supplies could not connect to the need.  The resources were at hand, but still out of reach.

Jesus paints a picture of a similar scenario in a conversation He has with some Pharisees.

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”  (Luke 17:20-21)

All of our lives have been shaken by some quake or another.  We are all surrounded by people each day who have been wounded by the challenges of life.

How many people suffer every day when the assistance they need is at hand, but still seems out of reach to them?

The resources of Heaven to heal, cleanse, refresh, and make new are nearer than our next breath, but they are of no benefit if we are not able to access them.

One of the keys to hope and healing in life is establishing an infrastructure in the soul that can allow our hearts to access the abundant resources of Heaven.  We must build the necessary roads, bridges, water ways, and communication systems to create a framework through which the culture of Heaven can impact our lives.

Prepare the way for the Lord, and may His glory be revealed in your life.  Amen.

Podcast

Click to listen to “Infrastructure: Roads and Bridges.”

On the Radar

Membership Dessert tonight!!!  You are invited to join us as we enjoy dessert together and share the vision and mission of EFC, and how you can get connected.  We will meet at the church at 7:00 pm and childcare is available.

Beautiful One,” EFC’s Spring Women’s Event is this Saturday, April 17, 10 am – 2 pm.  Ladies, bring a friend and join us for a wonderful day!

“All Things New” CD update: Mindy and I are excited about the great response to the new CD.  The Sweetwater Reporter gave us some excellent local exposure and we are getting good internet traffic to von Atzigen Ministries.  I just dropped a CD in the mail to Oregon this morning.  How cool is that?  We’d love to hear feedback from your experience with “All Things New.”

Youth Bar-B-Q Sandwhich Fundraiser after the service next Sunday!  April 18, we are hosting lunch on the grounds.  The youth are providing sandwhiches to raise money for camp, and the rest of us are bringing dessert and side dishes.  Make plans to hang around for a wonderful time together and bless our youth at the same time.

Kids’ Camp Garage Sale Fundraiser coming Saturday, May 1st.  If you have some items to donate, we’d appreciate your help.  You can bring your items to the church anytime after this Sunday.

Family Connection

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery through to our children’s minsitry.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well, at www.efcyouth.com.

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Beautiful One” by Tim Hughes
  2. “I Have Found” by Kim Walker
  3. “God, You’re Beautiful” by Anthony Skinner
  4. “The Same Power” by Hillsong  

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, April 18, we continue our “Infrastructure” sermon series.  Come join us as we examine the essential building blocks of the Christian faith — and stay for the Fellowship Meal afterwards!

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Gdanks, Poland

Gdansk, Poland

Wow! There’s a lot to talk about this morning. Pastor Eric is in Poland (soon to be in Croatia), Pastor Mindy, Pastor Lolo and Jay Neal got set on fire at Global Awakening’s School of Healing, it was Missions Sunday, and it’s the harvest season.

Has there ever been a better time to be at EFC? Well, the Cowboys did lose, so maybe next week will be even better.

Courage

Courage is a curious thing. And as we learned from Pastor Mindy, courage can also look like a crazy thing. But, when God is on your side, it can also be a pretty cool thing. Just like Jonathan’s plan to take on the Philistines single-handedly seemed crazy, we should start coming up with some crazy plans of our own, and trust that the same God who delivered the Philistines into Jonathan’s hands, will deliver our enemies into our hands. Courage, after all, is a lot easier to command when your trust is in God.

You can read this part of Jonathan’s story at 1 Samuel 14.

Missions Sunday

Appropriately, yesterday was EFC’s Missions Sunday. For anyone who stumbles upon this post or who is relatively new to EFC, the third Sunday of every month at EFC is designated specifically for giving to mission organizations. Here are just a few of the opportunities to support missions work at Emmanuel Fellowship Church:

Prepare International – Pastor Eric and Keegan are currently traveling with a team from Prepare International, and EFC members frequently support and accompany Prepare International mission teams.

Mission Brazil – Part of the reason Pastor Mindy and Pastor Lolo attended the Global Awakening School of Healing and Impartation was because it is a prerequisite to travel with a Global Awakening team to Brazil, which they will be doing in 2010. If you are interested in going to Brazil with the team, please contact Pastor Mindy for more information.

Tents of Mercy – Tents of Mercy is a Messianic Jewish organization spreading the gospel in Israel.  Tents of Mercy currently has five congregations throughout Israel, and EFC currently supports the Katzir Asher (Harvest of Asher) congregation in Akko.

World Bible Translation Center – Help translate the Bible into new languages for distribution throughout the world.

Sweetwater Prayer Center – Help support our very own Sweetwater Prayer Center.

Harvest Season

It’s the harvest season, and all the seed you have sown over the year – whether financial, in ministry, or at home – is ready to be harvested. The key, however, is to harvest because the crop doesn’t gather itself. So go and gather your financial harvest. Go and gather your spiritual harvest. Go and gather the harvest of souls you have worked on all year. They are ripe for the harvest.

I’m not sure where exactly that came from, but I hope it’s a good word for somebody, or a lot of somebodies.

You Heard it at EFC

The just-for-Bryant Wilkinson version (which includes his favorite song):

On the Radar

Advent Choir – The Advent Choir is a new and exciting adventure for EFC and is open to anyone who would like to participate. The choir will sing throughout the holiday season. Practice begins tonight November 16, 2009 @ 7pm at EFC.

WorldChangers – The EFC children’s ministry, a.k.a WorldChangers, has a new website where parents can keep up with weekly lessons and everything else going on with their little world changers.

Revelation Bible Study – The Revelation Bible Study meets weekly on Tuesdays @ noon at EFC. It’s not too late – it’s never too late. Come join in this in depth study verse-by-verse through the book of Revelation led by EFC’s very own Curtis Ward, who is blogging about the study on his blog The Watchman’s Gaze. Check it out.

Last Word

All the reports I’ve heard from Pastor Eric have been good, so keep praying for the wondeful work being done in Eastern Europe by Pastor Eric, Keegan and the whole Prepare International team.

I think I will also be writing next week’s Monday Morning Review, so if you have any news or info that you want included, please email me or leave me a comment below. Have a great week.

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