Archives For Fasting

Friday Meditation

March 11, 2011 — Leave a comment

I figured this would help kick-start the weekend.  Focus…contemplate…meditate…take action.


In 2005 a study indicated that 85% of all college students had a Facebook account (Source).   That study is now 5 years old so I would estimate that over 90% of college students use Facebook.  People in our congregation use Facebook as I see comments left and right about this event in their life and that event in their life.  Our teenagers talk now more on the internet and cell phone than they do face-to-face.  I often am asked, “Did you hear about so-and-so?”  To which I respond, “No I didn’t.”  Then the conversation usually begins with, “Well I heard on Facebook….”  Facebook has become part of our lives in a way in which everyday conversation hedges on Facebook.  “Did you hear that….” or, “You know what I saw yesterday on Facebook?”  It is all a mess if you ask me!  Facebook, in my opinion, has become an issue for three important reasons.  First, I believe Facebook has created a false way in which humans interact with each other.  Teenagers text, instant message (IM) and chat and there is no interpersonal communication.  I hear of people quitting jobs via Facebook, getting together and breaking up via Facebook and the ever reliable announcement of an engagement, a pregnancy or the fact you got a C+ instead of a C- on a Chemistry final!  Secondly, Facebook induces what I call cyber gossip.  you may have heard this as “Facebook stalking.”  This is what gets on my last nerve is when people look at a person’s profile and sees information then checks the other person’s profile to confirm it then sends a comment (FOR EVERYONE TO SEE) telling them about the juicy news.  Admit it…deep down inside you spend hours looking at photos, status updates and comments because you like to know juicy information.  Someone once came up to me and said, “Hey, I am worried about ___________ because I saw him in a picture with a beer in his hand!”  A) This person should not have put the picture for everyone to see and B) Did you call this person to let THEM know of your concern and C) why are you meddling in people’s business anyways (I don’t care if it is public information).  Finally, Facebook has become nothing more, at least to me, than idolatry.  I hear of some of my teenagers spending hours a day looking at Facebook.  HOURS!!!  With technology you can receive updates via text or send updates via text.  If you have an internet plan on your phone you can check people’s profiles (i.e. stalk people) all day long.  The opportunities are endless.  Anything that takes your time away that much from what is important is idolatry. 

No doubt you are coming up with counter-arguments in your mind about the validity of Facebook and all of the good things that come from it.  Churches have groups, people pray for one another, people get birthday wishes (all be it still impersonal), long-lost friends are reconnected, and so forth. 

I just can’t see myself succumbing to the addiction and calling myself a disciple.  No doubt I will be the last one to find out that so-and-so are no longer together.  I will probably be the last to figure out that a teenager is seriously depressed because the put “seriously depressed” on their status.  I guess I won’t get to join all of those cool groups and ever-important causes.  Perhaps I will just have to spend more time with my family, with my Bible and with my wife in prayer and serving the community.  Wait a minute…isn’t that what I supposed to do anyways?  Maybe this won’t be so bad after all…we will see.

Next week my 52 week fast begins but I have changed the direction and even focus.  On October 26, 2009 I wrote:

Fasting.  A simple definition would be to do without.  Jesus said it best when he said, “no man can serve two masters [lit. ‘lords’]” so I have come up with a personal project for 2010 of which I need your creativity.  For 52 weeks I am going to fast.  This is not an effort to show my piety nor is it designed to poke fun at ancient disciplines.  This is a serious attempt to discover what consumes me and what I really value. 

Upon reflection I do not think fasting is the word I am going to use.  I think I am going to call it “2010-Living With and Living Without!”  It is apparent to me that fasting is for a specific purpose and perhaps it is best I focus on living without certain materialistic things each week instead of calling it “fasting.”  I will “live without” each weeks task with the following stipulations:

  • It is only Monday-Friday
  • It does not harm my family
  • It does not promote boasting and pride
  • It allows me to focus on what is so important…HIM!

So join me on this journey as I blog about it.  I plan on reading a lot of Scripture and a lot of books in this process.  Who knows what I will see and who knows what God will show me this year! I hope to help myself, my family, my students and my church grow closer to God.  I want to apologize to my wife, my children, my students and my church for allowing selfishness to get in the way of ministry.  I feel God has done some amazing things with me but even more in spite of me.  I have not failed but I have not maximized my potential. 

So I’m living with and living without in 2010.  Next week begins my journey.  I am in prayer this week preparing myself.  Perhaps I will fast in preparation for this!  I love you all and thanks for reading. 

{Side note:  Our 4th child is due any moment between now and the 21st.  Keep Heather and the baby in your prayers}

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:16-18).

This past week I fasted from Facebook for about 4 days.  It was an uplifting experiment and one that I think many of you “addicts” should attempt to do in your own time (props to my friend Kalyn Drake for braving the fast with me…you are awesome!!!).  Fasting is one of those practices that I believe we have not discussed at length in the churches of Christ.  Rusty Pettus, on his blog, reviewed a book by Scot McKnight called Fasting in which I ordered a few minutes ago and I am looking forward to reading.  Rusty said that, “the purpose [of fasting] is to respond to something that compels us to stop and morn [sic. actually – mourn] the situation. It could be death, sin, hurt, pain, anxiety, injustice, or any number of things. Fasting helps us internalize the moment, grieve the consequences, and seek comfort from God.” (By the way…Focus Press released a series based on the Sermon on the Mount [includes fasting] written by Rusty Pettus and Joe Wells.  It’s called WORSHIP

Fasting.  A simple definition would be to do without.  Jesus said it best when he said, “no man can serve two masters [lit. ‘lords’]” so I have come up with a personal project for 2010 of which I need your creativity.  For 52 weeks I am going to fast.  This is not an effort to show my piety nor is it designed to poke fun at ancient disciplines.  This is a serious attempt to discover what consumes me and what I really value.  In my experience of fasting from Facebook I discovered that I was interested more in looking at photos, status updates and comments than I was imply staying in touch.  Facebook, for me, had become an addiction and I was consumed by checking it all the time so I decided I needed to fast from it.  I learned that I really do not need Facebook so it helped me to understand what is most important in my life: my relationship with God Almighty!!! 

So what ideas do you have?  Each week (Monday-Friday) I am going to fast from something.  What are your ideas?  I will give you the ones I have so far and I want you to add to them in the comment section.  

  • Talking
  • Caffeine
  • Saying/Thinking Negative Things
  • Candy
  • Shelter
  • Radio
  • TV
  • Internet
  • Driving a Vehicle
  • Watching Sports
  • Using a Cell-Phone
  • Eating meat
  • Eating fried foods
  • Drinking anything except water
  • Spending money

There are so much more but I want to know your ideas.  Please understand that this is not a cute, “Lessons-Learned,” blog for me to write about.  I am looking to make changes in my life and help others do the same.  A major component of fasting is to prepare oneself for mourning and difficult circumstances.  Much of next year will be for that as it will prepare me for a new phase in my ministry.  A new dedication and a new focus.  Please help me out!