We anticipate the redemption of both our souls and our bodies.
Pastor to People
Advice for this Week of Fasting, Repentance, and Prayer
Humble yourselves before God. Come close to Him, and He will come close to you. Wash your hands; purify your hearts (from James 4:7-8).
Today launches a week of fasting, repentance, and prayer at Stone Hill. Your leaders have set this time apart for:
· Personal and corporate prayer for our church, especially as we move through the succession process;
· Spiritual assessment of ourselves, our families, and our church. Where are we pleasing the Lord? Where are we displeasing to Him? Where do we need repentance?
When used wisely, fasting is a discipline that fuels both prayer and repentance. But it is also a discipline that is easily misunderstood. What follows is some practical advice for fasting.
· What is fasting? It is the spiritual discipline of abstaining from something valuable or essential to life for a period of time. Fasting from food is the most common form, but you can also fast from things like smart devices, TV, or physical exercise. While most of those participating in this week’s fast (Wednesday) will probably abstain from food, please feel free to choose an alternative.
· Why should I fast? As the Book of James says (above), God works powerfully when we are humble before Him. Fasting is one of the primary biblical ways to humble oneself (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). In that state of humility and awareness before God, the Spirit can speak clearly about our need for renewal as individuals, a church, a nation, a world.
Because abstinence from food is the most common type of fasting, let me make particular comments about it:
· We are encouraging people to fast on Wednesday, November 20. But circumstances in your life and schedule may indicate otherwise. Please start and conclude your fast as personally appropriate.
· Fasting puts strain on the body, so please take necessary precautions. If you have health problems, seek your physician’s advice about whether you should fast from food.
· Drink plenty of liquids. Consider fruit or vegetable juices in addition to plenty of water.
· Be sensitive to your work schedule and responsibilities. If necessary, hold off on a fast until the weekend.
· Avoid caffeinated drinks during your fast. Caffeine is a stimulant and has a more potent effect when you are abstaining from food.
Week of Fasting, Repentance, and Prayer: November 17- 23
As a church, we are embracing well the pastoral succession before us. The opportunities for gospel advance, both in how we travel our succession journey together and where we wind up, are many. But God’s kingdom works through prayer. And so, your leaders have designated the week of November 17-23 as a time of fasting, repentance, and focused prayer. God will move as we call out to him. Copies of a prayer guide will be available on Sunday. Please plan on participating robustly in this Week of Fasting, Repentance, and Prayer. Here is the schedule:
· Monday 11/18– Thursday 11/21 Quiet Prayer in the Sanctuary. The church office door will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those who want to pray in the sanctuary. Note change due to Friday Funeral.
· Monday 11/18 12 Hours of Prayer. 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Individuals, teams and small groups are invited to sign up for 15 minutes time slots. We want to fill all the slots, but it is okay to double up. Sign up for as many slots as you want through https://tinyurl.com/12hoursofprayer
· Tuesday 11/19 and Wednesday 11/20 Dial-in Prayer Meeting with a Pastor. 12 p.m.-1 p.m. Details will be given soon.
· Wednesday 11/20 Day of Fasting. Fasting is encouraged throughout the week but Wednesday will be focused on it.
· Wednesday 11/20 A Church Prayer Meeting will be held 7:00 p.m. -8:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. Please feel free to come and go as you need to.
· Friday 11/22 12 Hours of Prayer. 12 noon-12 midnight. Individuals, teams and small groups are invited to sign up for 15 minutes time slots. We want to fill all the slots, but it is okay to double up. Sign up for as many slots as you want through https://tinyurl.com/12hoursofprayer
· Saturday 11/23 Day of Thanksgiving Prayer. Individuals and families are asked to give thanks for what God has done in Christ, through the Church, through our church and for what he has done and is doing in and through individual lives.
Sundays at 6:30: This Sunday evening, November 17, Pastor Matt along with at least one special guest will be teaching the second of five “Sundays at 6:30”—times of extended biblical teaching and interaction around important cultural issues of our day. The working title for the evening is The Gospel and Social Righteousness. For future planning, the other dates for upcoming Sundays at 6:30 p.m. are: 1/12/20, 3/15/20, and 5/3/20.
Prayer & Praise Service: “Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good.” We will gather in the sanctuary for a one-hour service on November 24 at 5:30 p.m. Its purpose is for God’s people to offer thanks to God together. We’ll sing and hear testimonies from one another of how good God has been.
Crock-Pot Potluck Dinner: A potluck dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m. in Harris Hall, allowing us unhurried time to enjoy rich fellowship and good food. Make your favorite crock-pot dish (serves 10-12 people) or bring a dessert or side dish to share. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Hope to see you there!
No Empty Stocking: This Christmas, Stone Hill is once again partnering with Princeton Human Services to give gifts to children from low-income families. We'll also be helping out about 20 families from within our own congregation. You can help by choosing a stocking with a child's name on it from the tree in the Atrium, which will be up this Sunday. Be sure to let us know your child's number on the sign up sheet. Pick up the instructions and return your unwrapped gift by December 3, 2019.
Christmas Decorating: We will be decorating the church for Christmas on Saturday, November 30 at 9:15 a.m. until around 11 a.m., depending on the number of volunteers. This is a fun time and is a great way to help our church begin preparations for Christmas. Families are welcome. If you are interested and/or for more information contact Brenda Nyce-Taylor at email@example.com.
Birth Announcement: Our congratulations to Alex and Annie Kato on the birth of their son, Oliver Kazuo Kato, on November 13.
Birth Announcement: Our congratulations to Jennifer Olsen on the birth of her son, Blake Olsen, on November 13.
WANTED: Jesus followers who love children! Currently we are in need of assistants to our Pre-K, Kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd and 5th grades. Options of bi-weekly, weekly or substitute positions. If you would like to make a difference in the life of a child by showing up in their lives, connecting with them and supporting their learning of God's word, please email Betsy Ferrer or Lindsei Lansky at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the Children's Welcome Desk.
D6 Starting on December 1: Reminding all parents of infants through High School that our new curriculum, D6, starts on December 1st. We are praying it will be a blessing to your family. Join us in prayer and preparation.
Family Christmas Celebration: December 8, from 4-7 p.m. We will enjoy the musical "Jesus Light of the World", presented by the Children's Choir, gather for a simple dinner in the Harris Hall and top the night off with an amazing Gingerbread-House-making time in the Atrium. Kids will love to sit together with their families and friends to enjoy this time of fun, (really) sweet fellowship! Come and invite your friends!
AWANA Store: Gently used items are needed for the upcoming AWANA Store on December 11. If you have items our AWANA clubbers would enjoy, or might make good Christmas gifts for family and friends, please bring your donations to the Children's Welcome Desk by December 8.