Well the weather feels like it's fall but the calendar still says August, at least for a few more days.
Kids are back to school and there's the usual fresh energy of another "new start."
There's a lot of new things on the horizon at The Orchard Church over the next few weeks. In addition to our new season of Growth Groups (Small Group Studies), and a full calendar of great opportunities to connect and grow, we're holding the Grand Opening Celebration of our new 2 Service format. That's right, as God has graciously blessed we're just about out of space and need to get ready for all that He has in store for us in the coming months. So beginning September 20 we'll be gathering for worship at 9am and 11am every Sunday morning.

With this big and exciting new change coming up fast, and with the new season of new beginnings upon us, I'm calling on the church to join me in seeing God in prayer and fasting for the week between Sunday, September 13 and Saturday, September 19.

Why prayer? Why fasting?
Well, we could plan all sorts of great "programs" but other than perhaps keeping those of us who are already at the church entertained, it would all be for nothing if the Lord is not the one to direct our steps and transform lives. Psalm 127 says Unless the Lord builds the house, they that build it labor in vain.
Quite honestly there are already more than enough professing Christians that seem to be running around busily working on something or other, but doing it apart from God.

When we together earnestly seek God in prayer, asking for His Spirit to move, we pave the way for Him to accomplish His purposes in His way and for His glory. What's more, when we humble ourselves before Him in prayer, expressing our need for Him we make ourselves available to be changed too.

Prayer, that's something that most of us are somewhat accustomed to, but fasting, that's a whole other thing. Yet, fasting is a precious gift given to the people of God, not as a means of trying to manipulate God or impress Him by our "own righteousness" but rather in fasting we in a very real way express our absolute need and dependence on Him. When we voluntarily abstain from food for a period of time our senses are heightened toward God, our hunger pangs prompt us to look to Him and our spirit is quickened. In short when we set aside a time in which we refuse to satisfy our physical hunger, we allow ourselves space to allow God to satisfy our Spiritual hunger.

I wish that I understood why prayer and fasting are effective tools for our Spiritual growth and our drawing near to God, but quite honestly I don't understand it. What I do know is that God honors those who seek Him earnestly.

Friends, I ask you, I'm challenging you - take time to join me in prayer during the week of September 13-19 and choose 1 day that week specifically to spend in prayer and fasting.

Oh Lord,
that you would do in our midst in these coming days exceedingly and abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine.
Transform us, more into the image and likeness of Your Son.
Set us free from the things that we have allowed ourselves to become ensnared by.
Use us to proclaim life and freedom through Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.
Give us a great harvest of souls this fall, not for our glory but for yours.
Lord, do not allow us to labor in vain but set us about your work we pray, in Jesus' name.


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