How fast are you?
When humans fast (not eating food) intermittently for extended periods of time, our bodies default to a catabolic state, this is a result of not consuming glucose and other dietary components from our diet in the form of simple and complex carbohydrates. Therefore, our body compensates and sources glucose by breaking down cells, such as adipose tissue (white fat cells) via the pentose phosphate system and eventually skeletal cells, producing physiological changes such as weight loss, stabilised blood sugar levels, faster metabolism and better cognition.
Fasting in today’s society has exploded in popularity with scientists and celebrities showcasing the latest health benefits of fasting, supported by growing scientific research identifying health benefits of; higher cognition, longevity, physical endurance and enhanced metabolism.
We are bombarded with continuous diet plans and eating regimes with the promises of 100% success rate to succeed IF we conform to such plans and regimes with the added financial cost. Through the glorified goal posts of success we are forfeited with an increase in depression and low self-esteem in young people and adults worrying and working tirelessly to reach these pseudo expectations. And some diet plans such as the Ketogenic diet has been observed to be dangerous to health if not monitored appropriately (doi: 10.12659/AJCR.917226).
Fasting is originally a core foundation to living a religious life in the Christian faith, providing time and opportunity for meditation and prayer. Fasting was common practice among the early Christians during and after the time (AD 30) of Jesus. Christians would fast to humble themselves, resulting in high appreciation for the food God provides and regular fasting twice a week was to strengthen an individual’s self-discipline and relationship with God. Jesus taught his disciples to look after themselves when fasting, not to walk around glum faced with messy hair and telling everyone they are fasting but fast and pray in private where only the Lord God knows of their true intentions (Matthew 6:16-18).
“So why don’t many Christians fast today?”
The church has been penetrated by Western culture, people don’t want to be uncomfortable or feel the grumble of hunger in their belly regardless of the spiritual, health and cognitive benefits. We must confess it is far easier to follow Jesus when everything is all “dandy” rather than leaning on him in times of struggle and persecution.
Jesus himself went into the desert to overcome temptation, greed and fame (Matthew 4:1-11). It is written in scripture that Jesus abstained from food for 40 days and 40 nights. How awesome it is to think what our perspective on life would be if we could imitate Jesus’ actions and overcome these factors which so many of us suffer over.
John Wesley, pioneer of the Methodist Church, is recorded as refusing a man’s Ordination on the grounds he did not fast twice a week as directed in the Didache. The Didache (meaning “Teaching” of the first Apostles) a 1st Century document clearly directs followers of Jesus to fast from the evening of Tuesday till Wednesday 15:00 afternoon and Thursday evening till Friday afternoon 15:00.
Caution! We are not called to fast as an action which paves the way for us to reach the celestial city of heaven. St Paul warns us we cannot be saved and give our life to Jesus through works alone (Galatians 2:16), it is when we act out our Christian faith with the true submission of mind, body and spirit in our day to day lives.
Peace be with you,
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Well what a fantastic year we have had in Messy Church 2018 to 2019. We have seen lots and I mean lots of new faces every session this year. That's made for some lively and exciting sessions. Sometimes the building has been packed.
We have worshipped God every time in all kinds of ways and that's one of the reasons we, the church are here. We have also spent time alongside our community, letting them know they are loved and that we are here. That's another portion of our mission. Of course we have also shared the good news of the gospel with lots of new people. That's another essential part of our mission. Finally we have had fun and that makes it even better.
So, why am I writing, well none of the fun, crafts, worship and food happen without the work effort and dedication of so many people within the church. This is true testament to a people obedient to God's call and loving the community just as we are commanded.
We now have a little respite as we enjoy a summer holiday from messy church and a chance to recharge those batteries, physical and spiritual.
So a massive thank you to you all and I am looking forward to 2019-2020. Thank you messy churchers! With love !
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“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
These are words spoken by Jesus to his disciples. It isn’t long at this point in the gospel until he is crucified and he is preparing his disciples for that event. The verses around this one are full of things he wants to impart before he goes. Really important things like the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Here Jesus says he will be leaving “my peace”, his peace with them. Not “Peace” stop but Jesus own peace. This is something different from the peace you find in the bath for 10 minutes, or in the car, or on a walk. This is a special kind of peace. It is not a peace as the world gives.
There is a story of a young girl traveling on a train in 1940. The train should be taking her, her mum and sisters from Calais to relative safety near Paris. It’s 1940 and the Luftwaffe are dropping bombs trying to destroy railway links, they are bombing Calais where the BEF is held up desperately trying to reach England. However, the train is not heading for Paris, it’s been turned back to Calais to carry urgent orders to the British and French troops trapped there. The people on the train are afraid, there is crying and screaming the train is being buffeted by explosions that seem dreadfully near. And yet, the girl and her sister are calm, relaxed, at peace! One of the other passengers asks her Pourquoi êtes-vous si détendu., why are you so relaxed. She replies: I’m not afraid because my Dad is the engineer, he’s driving the train, and I know he will get us there safely, why would I worry.
We are called into the world, to serve Jesus amongst all the hard and difficult challenges of being human. It’s even harder than that we are called to strive for a higher standard, obedience to Jesus above all else. That’s not easy!!
One of the great advantages we have is Jesus Peace. We can find peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of the soul whenever and wherever we are because he gifted that to us.
Jesus peace is available to us, his disciples, 24/7 we need only submit ourselves into the arms of God; who truly loves us, and we can receive an inner peace!
Hope you all have a great few days, see you soon 😊
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‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Today's lectionary reading is from John chapter 17 v20 to 26. The passage is a prayer from Jesus to the father. It is a heart felt plea.
We see Jesus acting here in the role he promised to fulfil as the mediator between us and God the father. Jesus prays "...on behalf of these ...". He is praying for us. Not just the disciples there near him but those who hear what they, the disciples have to say.
In the previous verses of Chapter 17, Jesus begins his prayer for the disciples. Knowing that he will soon be leaving them he is clearly concerned for what might happen to them without his protection. Jesus has given them the word and as he phrases it the world hates them for it. Jesus knows that one of the tools, you may say weapons they have to enable them to succeed is sticking together. Following Jesus gives us, as Christians real unity as we have one master, and one word at our head.
The disciples are in the world but called not to be of it. To bring a message that will not always be well received. Jesus is clearly anxious what they will do next. We are charged with the same responsibility and we make mistakes along the way. Some of those bring us disunity.
There is a story I love of a camp at Schlos castle. The camp was operated by the Germans and on the penultimate day of the war in Europe the guards fled. This left the French prisoners of war with a problem. An SS grenaders unit was planning to attack the camp and kill the prisoners. The French sent two of their number to find help. They found a German officer Gangl. Gangl, although German was no Nazi and had been helping the local resistance.
He and his 20 loyal men could not hold off the SS so in an act of bravery a handful of Germans and a handful of Americans took up position on the castle walls. On the morning of May 5th 1945, and at the closing hours of the war this bizarre group fought the only joint German American action of the war and a successful one.
Even the most bitter of enemies are able to work together and when they do great success can be had.
How much, how very much more can we the Church succeed when we work together. Jesus desperately wants us to work side by side to achieve the mission and call he has given us. That's not always easy but we don't have to strive alone. We have the spirit ever with us and Jesus mediating prayers to the throne on our behalf!
We don't have to look far into the new testament to see disagreements, splits and divisions. Our Christian history is full of breaks, disagreements and falling out. However, unity for us comes from having one head, one God, one clear leader to follow. He stands in front and if we all look to him; we will find we are all in unity. Our own opinions and views become the lesser when Jesus is at the fore.
To quote my favourite poet ... `Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back— For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack
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