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Showing posts from March, 2010

Fasting Study Guide

Jesus said, "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

A few weeks ago, our church joined together in a very unique way. Over 40 hours, more than 80 of our members and friends joined their hearts and souls in prayer out of love for Jesus and his church. Some prayed at home, some in our Sanctuary. It was a time of great unity, knowing so many PUMC folk were joining in a common purpose. I was so proud of our congregation over that last weekend of February.

Last Sunday, I issued a similar challenge to the church. We would join together again in a spiritual way, but using a different form of prayer: fasting. Many people missed church due to the snow last Sunday; if you are one of those, let me take a moment to recap the thoughts I shared on the ancient discipline of fasting:

* It was ancient when Jesus practiced it, meaning it is very, very old. In fact, almost every world religion in existence calls for fasti…

Coincidence?

Last night I watched a very remarkable film, Magnolia. Magnolia came out over the winter of 2000, and I remember seeing it with Christy when we lived in England. It's made by Paul Thomas Anderson, one of my favorite directors. It's one of those stories, like Pulp Fiction or Crash, where the lives of the characters are intertwined: some are obvious connections, like parents and children; others happen by coincidence. Or is it coincidence?

The central theme is one that every responsible parent thinks about: how our actions and beliefs impact the lives of our children. That relationships are all about responsibility, and we should cherish and nourish them. The film is not for kids, nor the faint of heart. There are real consequences at play in how we choose to live our lives. Some of the characters experience redemption. Others, failure. Some experience healing and restoration. Others, loneliness and shame. Such is life.

Throughout the film, images and references to t…