Sermon Notes
Pleasant Hill Missionary Church, Bronson, MI
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Speaker: Pastor Cory Weatherton


Fasting in Acts 13:1-3

Observations:
  1. The fasting occurred after Jesus' First Coming, so fasting is not just an old covenant thing - Christians should continue to fast today
  2. Fasting occurred as a group (but not otherwise announced to everybody - see Matthew 6:16-18)
  3. This was an occasion for the Holy Spirit's special guidance (verses 2 and 3)
  4. Fasting changed the course of history: God directed them on the very first missionary movement. If this didn't happen, we wouldn't have Paul's 13 letters of the New Testament - these were all written to Paul's church plants.
"Fasting is essentially saying, 'we want more of God.'" - Pastor Weatherton, 8/1/10

Another Observation: Things were going well in the church - the church was growing, etc. But they still fasted.

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Kevin North's comments on the above: We Americans are way too comfy. Are we feeling hungry? We grab a bag of chips, or hit a McDonald's drive-thru. Are we hot? We turn on the air conditioner. Are we bored? We turn on cable TV. We may complain a lot, but we really do have the easy life. And we want to stay in our comfort zone. But God may have a greater purpose for us.

The thing that intrigued me the most about today's sermon was that the Christians were not fasting as a last resort in a crisis situation. They fasted when things were good. This got them out of their comfort zone. The hunger pains reminded them of their dependence on God, and got their mind away from themselves and totally focused on God's Will. Once their minds were totally sharpened and focused on God, then they were ready to receive God's instructions about a missionary journey.

Follow-up comments (8/4/10): There's a lot of people out there saying how fasting unlocks the power of God. This may be true, but we have to be careful not to think that our fasting is going to make God do something. Fasting is about God changing us, not us changing God (God doesn't change). It's not like God needs fasting as part of a magic recipe to do something - he's all-powerful, he doesn't need anything. So why fast? Like Pastor Weatherton said, "Fasting is essentially saying, 'we want more of God.'" We want to change ourselves to be more like God. Only by fasting can we really get out of our comfort zone and really hear what God has to say. And then we lay it all on the line for God, saying, "God, I need you. I desire to do your will. I will go wherever you want me to go. I will give up food for a day (like I'm doing now). I will give up something else in my life. I will change priorities. I will do whatever." When we truly lay it all on the line and make ourselves available to God, then, by all means, the full power of God is unlocked! But we're not seeking to just sit by while God does it all... we're an active participant. And it's because we're an active participant that God can really work through us to do great things. When the early church leaders said to God that they'll go whever He wants them to go, God sent two of them on the mission trip, and thus the course of history was changed! (But only because they participated and obeyed God with this calling.)