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The Follow Fast

Vertical Church will do a 5 or 12 day fast beginning at sunrise on Monday, January 13th through sunset on Friday, January 17/24th.

As we go into this new year we are asking God to help us to love Him more than anything and to love people as much as we love ourselves. The purpose of “The Follow Fast” is one of personal devotion and spiritual cleansing. As we learned last year in Psalm 25:4 says, we are praying and asking God, “Make me to know Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths.” Fasting is one of paths that God uses to increase our faith.
The goal of fasting isn’t doing without food – the goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. During this time we are connecting with God and disconnecting from our busy lives. Work hard to remove some of the distractions of your life (tv, facebook/twitter, video games, texting) and replace that time with things that will nourish your spirit (the bible, prayer, a spiritual book).
We want everyone to participate in the fast in one of 3 ways:
  1. A Specific Food or Activity Fast – Omit a specific type of food from your eating. Example: all red meat. all processed or fast food, or sweets. You may fast from a regular activity or habit like Facebook or TV. Some may do a combination of all of this. Important thing: have a plan and stick to it.
  2. Daniel Fast – Consist of fruits, vegetables and water only. Also omitting distractions (tv, facebook/twitter, video games, texting)
  3. Juice Fast – Fruit and vegetable juices and water only.
  4. Water Only – This is the normal fast referred to in the Bible, how Jesus and the early church fasted.
If you are going to be successful it’s important to prepare. It’s easy to prepare for a water only fast – but for others (juice or Daniel), having the necessary items will help you to be more successful. Below is a sample of some fasting menus.

FRUITS, VEGETABLES, JUICES, AND WATER

Breakfast

• Fruit smoothie with whey protein

Mid-­‐morning Snack

  • Fresh fruit or fresh vegetables Lunch
  • Raw vegetable salad with light, organic dressing and vegetable broth soup Mid-­‐afternoon Snack
  • Fresh fruit or fresh vegetables Dinner
  • Fresh salad with light, organic dressing and steamed or grilled vegetables

    SAMPLE MENU 2: LIQUIDS ONLY

    Breakfast

• Fruit smoothie with whey protein

Mid-­‐morning Snack

  • Herbal tea or vegetable broth soup Lunch
  • Raw, juiced vegetables Mid-­‐afternoon Snack
  • Fresh fruit juice or fruit smoothie with whey protein Dinner
  • Vegetable juice or vegetable broth soup

    SAMPLE MENU 3: MODIFIED DANIEL FAST

    Breakfast

• 1–2 servings whole grains with fresh fruit juice

Mid-­‐morning Snack

  • Fresh fruit or fresh chopped vegetables Lunch
  • 1–2 servings whole grains; fresh salad with legumes and light, organic dressing Mid-­‐afternoon Snack
  • Fresh fruit juice or fruit smoothie with whey proteinDinner
  • 1–2 whole grains; fresh salad with legumes and light, organic dressing
We will have a daily online devotional for each day of the fast to guide you as you take the Path towards a greater faith.

I Wish I Woulda… I Knew I Shoulda… Guess I’ll Quit

You ever MEAN to do something but then something happens and you put it off? You think to yourself, “I’ll catch up tomorrow.” Then tomorrow becomes 2 days, 3 days, 4 days more.

What do you do then? If you’re like most people, NOTHING.

This weekend we come to the last Sunday of our “Who i am > Who i was” series. When we started so many people felt like, “here we go – time to jump-start my faith!” only to find themselves a few weeks later wondering what happened. Feeling like a quitter. Feeling like they failed.

“I wish I woulda learned that memory verse from week one.”

“I wish I woulda not slept in on week 2 (because i didn’t learn the memory verse from week one – GRIN).”

“I knew I shoulda taken the extra couple of minutes per day to allow God to use this to speak to my heart. I’m so far behind now I guess I’ll just quit.”

Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.

Before you give up, here’s an idea: How about believing God?

[8:1] There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 ESV)

You feel condemned by your failure. It is not Jesus Who is condemning you – it is your enemy the devil who wants you to feel defeated and quit.

This weekend as I bring this last message in the series we are going to talk about the FACT that OUR GOD IS FOR YOU!!! He knows your faults, your tendencies, your failures. He knows them today and He knew of them before He purposely gave His Son, Jesus, on the cross for your sins. You feel condemned by your failure. It is not Jesus Who is condemning you – it is your enemy the devil who wants you to feel defeated and quit.

Want to jump-start your weekend?!? Commit to your heart the memory verses we have learned so far. Don’t just learn the words – Ask God to give you understanding about them. Learn their meaning. Let them not just seep into your mind but saturate your whole life. Here they are:

[5] 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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5 ESV)

[15] For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” [16] The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:15-16 ESV)

[26] Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26 ESV)

If you allow it to this Sunday may change your life forever. Can’t wait to see you then!

What are we Running From?

I have been serving Jesus for 16 years. And throughout those 16 years I have witnessed countless people run from God. Some were scared, some were comfortable, some were uncomfortable and some just had no excuse at all.

I have had people confess to me that they knew they were called to full-time ministry but chose not to follow… I have seen marriages break up because “their plan” was better… I have watched people give into their great desires, choosing to fulfill their “needs” over their relationship with God.

We’re like little kids – always knowing more than our parents and dreaming of the day when we can leave their homes. Why do we run from God’s plan for our lives? What are we running from? Blessing? Fulfillment? Purpose? Destiny? Seriously, do we really think we know better than He?

[11] For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. [12] Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. [13] You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. [14] I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (Jeremiah 29:11-14 ESV)

Does it really have to get to the point that GOD has to bring us back from the place that WE have exiled ourselves to? Quit running, it’s time to come to the place where we say, “I am Your, Jesus.”

This weekend at Vertical we will take our 1st step in that direction. Instead of running FROM, many will begin to run TO.

Naming Your “LIMP”

Donnie’s message from this past weekend’s “Summer Blockbusters: Jacob” was such a great reminder of something I hope everyone understands:

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WALKING WITH “a Limp”.

The reason that Jacob walked away with a limp was the fact that he finally wrestled with God.

[25] When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. (Genesis 32:25 ESV)

[30] So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” [31] The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. (Genesis 32:30-31 ESV)

Most people would view this on the surface as being a bad thing. “You wrestle with God you’re gonna walk away with a limp!” I do not. Of course I am speaking about a spiritual limp, not an actual physical one.While there is nothing wrong with walking with a limp, there IS SOMETHING WRONG when you don’t know why. Who does that in real life? If you find yourself limping and it doesn’t go away, eventually you go see a doctor, right?!? Jacob KNEW why he was limping. He had lived his life in a way where he was trying to receive God’s blessing in hIS OWN power – now after wrestling with God Jacob was not fighting anymore.

I see people all the time “limping around” because they’ve wrestled with God but they let go:

  • when they turned to God in a true moment of need only to let go because things seemingly got better or even worse…
  • when in a moment of weakness they turned back to the substance that they had been clean of and are ashamed to come back to God…
  • when they can’t get their head above water in life because of a really bad decision they made in a moment of passion…
  • when they repeatedly make the same bad decisions time and time again, KNOWING THEY ARE “LIMPING”, yet don’t understand why.  

Some of you reading this have wrestled with God but forgot and it has left you with a limp and you don’t know why. Here’s an idea: When you “wrestle” with God determine that you won’t let go until God gives you a new “name”:

[26] Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” [27] And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” [28] Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:26-28 ESV)

“I used to be (you fill in the blank), but my new name is “FORGIVEN”, now I walk with Jesus. Yes, I have “a limp” but that limp is a blessing as it reminds me of the day He changed my life.”

FAQ Week 1 – The Hot Seat

This is from Week One of FAQ. We’ll have “Hot Seat” segments in all 4 weeks!

Hot Seat – FAQ Week 1 from Vertical Church on Vimeo.