Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Daniel Fast Song

The Hill kids having fun after their Daniel Fast! We truly have some great children. As we did our church wide 21 day fast and prayer they would walk around talking about all of their favorite foods. We also fasted from TV, limited our internet browsing, and cut out video games. This spawned creativity in our children in a fresh way. The kids decided instead of being bored let's sing about the food we miss. I know I'm biased but I can't help but laugh each time I watch it. Whenever you finish a Daniel Fast in the future pull up this video and laugh!!
Click here for video:

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ending a Fast-6 Things to Remember

The fast is over, now what? Earlier I passed on 27 Biblical Reasons to Fast and also 8 Biblical Reasons to Stop Fasting. Let's look at six things to remember when ending a fast.
1) The fast may be over but the purpose of the fast is continual.
2) Don't gorge yourself, ease back into your regular eating.
3) Any new habits that you developed keep them throughout the year.
4) Continue to pray without ceasing
5) Stay attune for other times God may inspire you to fast
6) Take time to evaluate your fasting period by asking your self these questions:

-What have I learned about myself?
-What have I learned about God?
-What were some breakthroughs in my life or in the life of others?
-What contrary attitudes or behaviors came to the surface while fasting?
-What did I discover about my pace of life?
-What did I discover about my ability to focus on God?
-What were some obstacles that I had to overcome?

Biblical fasting is a means not an end. There is really nothing that you were doing while fasting that you should stop doing, short of abstaining from food or drink. The expereince of fasting may not be as good of a teacher as an EVALUATED fasting experience. Use the questions above to evaluate your fast. May your season of fasting be a platform for a fruitful year.

Read here for instructions on completing a 21 day prayer and fast: 21 Day Prayer and Fast

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Monday, January 28, 2013

How to Pray for Your Facebook Friends-8 Tips

I had one of those God thoughts four years ago. Why don't I start praying for my Facebook friends. Over time, Facebook can loose it's thunder so why not put it to good use. So I started praying for my FB friends each year. See below for some tips on how I do it; you may consider doing the same thing.

Prayer transcends time, culture, gender, race, relationships, age, social status, geography, religion, politics, and mostly any barrier that it comes in contact with. Jesus taught us that prayer in His name grants us access to the Father, prayer is a vehicle for asking God, prayer is a catalyst for healing, prayer is a weapon of spiritual warfare, prayer is an expression of humility. The Bible teaches that prayer should be made for your family, your friends, your coworkers, your leaders, and even your enemies.  (Luke 18:1 Matt. 21:21-22 Matt. 5:44)

With the far reaching capability of prayer why not use today's tools such as Facebook, Twitter, or blogs to pray and serve your friends or followers. Don't just be satisfied with the quantity on your friend or follower count. Put it to a good or should I say a "God" use. Jesus reached multitudes on foot. Didn't he say we would do greater works? (John 14:12) Our social network need more than what we can offer them; why not give them one of the greatest gifts, which is heartfelt, sincere prayer to the Father on their behalf. Facebook friends are real people with real needs not just a face and status updates.

Eight tips on praying for your FB friends:
  1. Block out 21-26 days in a row for the campaign.
  2. Specify a time each day for 30 minutes of prayer.
  3. Pray for a letter of the alphabet a day A-Z (First initials); unless there are only a few names for a letter then you can combine some letters.
  4. Notify the each group with the letter of the alphabet you are covering that day with a simple status update such as. "If your first name begins with an "__" I will be praying for you by name today. Message me any specific request. I'm praying thru my FB friends A-Z" Typically post in the morning between 7-8.
  5. Go to your friends list with this prayerful aim. "Lord, show me how to pray for each of my friends today."
  6. As you go down the list some are long prayers some are very short.
  7. You may be inspired to send some a private message with your prayer included.
  8. Respond to all request sent to your inbox or comments to your status. 
It really is not that time consuming at all. Just imagine the impact that faithful prayer can have in the lives of your friends that you may never have knowledge of. 
"...praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,..." Eph. 6:18
"And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart." Luke 18:1

Happy Praying!!

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Waiting for Daybreak

There are some seasons in life where it seems like heaven is closed and God is not listening. I'm convinced that those seasons are just a build up for your breakthrough or the night before your dawn. God's blessings will spring forth over a person that is faithful during their night. For it is thru the night that character is formed and faith (without feelings) is forged. Daybreak is when the veil of darkness grows thin and heaven opens. The same efforts you toiled with thru the night become easier after your daybreak. The answer to prayers seem to be released like a ray of sun piercing through the dawn of the morning. The glorious power that is released after the buildup of prayers is a flood of grace that drowns your doubts, disappointments,and despair. "For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning." (Psalms 30:5) The night is like day to God so he abides in both seasons; your diligence is to hold on through the night and wait for your daybreak!

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stop Fasting-8 Biblical Reasons

People fast for many different reasons. Some fast before a medical appointment, some fast because it is part of their diet plan, and others fast to refocus their body, mind and spirit on God. I am not addressing dietary or medical fast at all, they are effective and I have done them before. People need to stop fasting if you are doing it for the wrong motive. I wrote earlier about 27 Biblical Reasons to Fast, but now I also want to address what a Biblical fast is not.

8 things a Biblical fast is NOT:

1) A time to look sad, mean, and destitute. Matt. 6:16
2) A time to look for attention and rewards from people. Matt. 6:16
3) A time for you to showcase & boast in your deep spirituality. Luke 18:12
4) A time to seek your own pleasure. Isaiah 58:3
5) A time to argue, quarrel, and fight. Isaiah 58:3
6) A time to hide your self from the poor and needy. Isaiah 58:7
7) A time to twist God's arm to do what you want outside of his will. Acts 23:12,14
8) A time to manipulate God to overlook sin. Jeremiah 14:10,12

Fasting is an external act that is driven by the motives in your heart. Those motives must be laced with spirtual ends in mind. With fasting you may lose a few pounds and lose the taste for twinkies; however, if those are the initial motives you will miss out on the heart transformation that can come from fasting. To make a further disctinction, a biblical fast is often accompanied with prayer, confession, & Bible meditation (Neh 9:1-3; Acts 13:2-3). Fasting along with these things creates a recipe for spiritual transformation.

I met a person that got so busy at work that he missed lunch. Feeling the hunger pains, he then decided to take his act of missing lunch, wrap it up in spiritual fasting clothes, and offer it to God as a sacrifice. Wow! God can not be played for a fool? Keep in mind that the act of fasting and the physical byproducts it may produce are only means; the end should be to have your eyes fixed on God and to glorify your father which is in heaven. Most people fast because they want to move God but he is not the one that is stuck. Fasting is not to move God closer to you, but rather to move your heart closer to God. Happy fasting!

Read: 21 Day Prayer and Fast for basic instructions for a fast.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

21 Day Prayer and Fast

Blow the trumpet! For the month of January (Jan 7th- Jan 27th) we are consecrating a church wide prayer and fast. 21 Days! The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". It means to set apart for a special purpose. We are taking ourselves, our time, our appetites and dedicating them for HIS special purpose. Read below:
Joel 2-15,16 "Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber."
Notice in Joel that everyone participated young and old. So to some varied degree please have everyone in your family participate. This is a great tool to emphasize a Christ centered home.


1) Determine why you are fasting
-Read: 27 Biblical Reasons to Fast.
-Let your "Why" determine your "What".

2) Choose how you will fast.
-The Daniel Fast is a great way to start fasting. It is based out of Daniel 10, basically a vegetarian diet (no fried foods, just grilled and steamed) + brown rice + water. Click here for more details: Daniel fast. If you choose to skip a meal or some other fast, just be sure it is depriving your body of your normal eating and be consistent during the 21 days. If you have a medical condition please consult your doctor first.
-Along with food are there any other things you need to abstain from during this fast? It is a good time to do an inventory of your life and let go of any habits that have a tendency to distract you from focusing on God.

3) Choose your time for personal prayer, solitude (alone time), and journaling.
-More information on spending time with God through Bible Reading can be found here: Spending Time with God-Bible Experience. We will be reading a chapter a day in the Psalms and Matthew during the Bible Experience.
-More information on journaling can be found here: Journaling-Five Things.
-More informaion on the importance of solitude and secrecy can be found here: The Secret Place

4) Choose to get on a women's and men's prayer call in the mornings.
-Gather together with people you know and get a conference number from
For Church Ablaze:
-Women-Monday and Friday morning at 6am-7am..Led by Lisa Hill and others
-Men-Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6am-7am..Led by Jonathan Hill and others.
NUMBER: 218-339-4600 CODE: 881607#

Let's start our year off together. Pounding heaven with our prayers. Remember we are not trying to get God's attention we are molding our hearts closer to His.

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Spending Time with God-Bible Experience (BibleX)

Spending time with God is so important. Some people just say God understands I just don't have time to spend with him exclusively. I would argue that you don't have time not to. Spending time with God is the source of life as a Christian. John 15 is clear that unless we abide in the vine we will not live fruitful lives.

The Bible Experience is a tool to facilitate prayer, Bible reading, and journaling as you fellowship with God. The Bible Experience is a unique opportunity for you to draw close to the author of the Bible. The Bible is a collection of books that have been inspired by God and left for us as a tool to get to know Him and be transformed in the process. On this journey we will read through select books of the Old and New Testaments two chapters a day, five days week, taking Saturday and Sunday off as days to rest and worship with the church.

This experience is a steady pace of reading that will allow you to soak in the Word of God and apply what you have read to your life. We are not trying to read through the entire Bible in a certain amount of time, rather we are developing a repeatable and reproducible pattern that will help you read the Bible for life. As in any relationships knowing God takes time together. If you are just beginning, 20 minutes a day is a good way to start. Find a quiet place and a workable time when you can regularly be alone. Then…

Pray (5 minutes) Talk from the heart about the things that matter most to you. You might follow the well-known pattern of
-Adoration: “Lord, I’m amazed by Your
-Confession: “Lord, I was wrong when I…”
-Thanksgiving:”Lord, I’m grateful for…”
-Supplication: “Lord, I need…”

Read (10 minutes) Follow the Bible Experience reading Guide, read one or two chapters a day.(5 days a week)

Journal (5 minutes) After you’ve read your chapter go back and ask, “what is God saying to me?” In just two or three sentences write what you are hearing.

Join in and experience a more intimate fellowship with God. If you would like a bookmark mailed to you every two months please email: Leave us your name and mailing address.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Health Scare-Having Joy in Trials-End of 30 Day Negativity Fast

Congratulations! Yesterday you finished 30 days of Feasting on Gratitude and Fasting from Negativity. What a journey!
During this 30 days my family had one of the biggest health scares ever. My wife had the worst asthma flare up she has ever had in her life. Along with that, a speculative diagnosis of bronchitis and pneumonia. If that wasn't enough, they found a spot on her lung and we had to go through a series of test to determine what it was. So how are you suppose to stay negative free in the middle of a bombardment of negative doctor reports? That is where the challenge came in. Immediately fear and worry began to hover over my wife. All of the thoughts of "what might happen" and "what could be" began to flood her mind. The physical symptoms associated with fear, worry, and anxiety are amazingly real. Each time we took a test there was this agonizing waiting game that drove us to our knees. Each time we got a report back that was inconclusive, disappointment would wrestle for our affections. Here are ten things I learned on this 30 day journey.
  1. It is a minute by minute battle to combat negative words and thoughts.
  2. You can not tame your tongue you must tend to the condition of your heart
  3. The only way to get your heart right is to allow the forgiving and cleansing power of Jesus' sacrifice to cleanse it properly.
  4. Filling your heart with the Word of God smothers the negative thoughts and leaves them powerless.
  5. You really can address negative circumstances in a hopeful way. I learned to say "let me rephrase that" alot over the last 30 days.
  6. The greatest challenge to stay positive is often with the people you are closest to. (i.e. marriage, family, friends, and coworkers)
  7. Discouragement is real and leads to other things like: Fear, dismay, feelings of abandonment, sadness, forgetting what God has said, terror, weakness, disobedience out of fear, resignation, doubt, intimidatation, dread, and you begin to believe lies about you.
  8. Encouragement is real too. We have the power to put courage in our hearts and other's hearts through our words and through the Word of God.
  9. God has given us a wonderful tool in our words and we can create an atmosphere of peace and life or turmoil and death.
  10. That joy is a choice that takes courage to choose.
Hourly my wife and I had to confess the word of God out of our mouths to overcome the fear. She wrote out things from the word of God that she believes were promises from God in regards to her circumstance and would confess them throughout the day. She started journaling her prayers daily, stating truly how she felt but also stating truly who she was trusting in. We would pray together often and when we got done she would feel strong and fit for the task of believing in the face of this trial. However, an hour later the same negative feelings would begin to hover again. We realized that prayer is not a one stop shop and that we needed to pray and confess the word continually through this trial (See below for some scriptures). We learned that no matter what the circumstance is it all falls under the heading "Trial of your Faith", James 1:2-4. We took time to remember times in our past when God was faithful and brought us through. We enlisted several friends and family to pray for us and to be an encouragement for us.

After plenty of time, money, three different scans, shots and antibiotics we got a report back that the spot on her lungs was benign and there was nothing to be concerned about. They didn't even bother to call us or set up an appointment to tell us; they just sent a letter. In essence the spot had nothing to do with all of the other bronchial symptoms she was experiencing. This was great news! The greatest thing for us was that the Sunday before we got the results back we made our confession before the entire church that no matter what the doctors report said we would be standing with our faith in God and not in the outcome. So this entire exercise was a strengthening of our faith muscles and also an opportunity for my wife and I to increase our spiritual intimacy. My wife and I have a new appreciation for those that struggle with anxiety, but we also got a renewal in the importance of feasting on faith-filled words. God showed us how to "count it all joy" even when the circumstances look bleak. We were turning over rocks searching for joy during this 30 day challenge. We found a joy that is not rooted in our circumstance but is anchored in God and his promises that can shine bright even in the face of the toughest trials. Truly the joy of the Lord became our strength. We have lessons to carry with us and to pass on to others that we will never forget. Part of this trial was expressed in this message: "Feasting on Faith-filled Words"
Download here: "Feasting on Faith-filled Words"
Play at Sermon Network here: "Feasting on Faith-filled words"

I'm sure you have had a testimony similar to ours. Let's take all of our lessons into this new year and live a lifestyle of feasting on gratitude and starving negatitivy.

Here are a few passages of scripture to carry you through trials with joy:
Phil. 4:13; Isaiah 40:29; Psalms 119:28; Eph 6:10; Isaiah 40:31; II Cor. 12:9-10; Psalms 46:1; Neh. 8:10; Psalms 28:7-8; James 1:2-4; Psalms 118:17; Prov. 3:5-6; II Sam. 22:33; II Tim 1:7; I John 4:18

Past Post:
-Read about A Broken Record-Murmuring
-Get your free Fast and Feast Poster
-Read about Overcoming the Flesh
-Read about Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty-5 Observations on Choosing a Joyful Perspective.
-Read about How to Wash Your Mouth
-Read about The Anatomy of the Mouth a hidden component.
-Read about Fast to Feast-30 Day Challenge
-Read about 15 Viable Reasons to join this campaign.

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