Tag Archive: fasting

as i lie on my bed, i have an ash cross crudely drawn upon my forehead.


i have never celebrated Lent before.

and i don’t intend to start now.

at least i didn’t.

in fact last nite when our housemate Aaron announced that he was giving up coffee and liquor for Lent [just before having a tot of coffee liquer with us to see in his time of fasting] it was yet again for me a moment of, ‘Oh, it’s that time again.’

i have wanted to try it before but it always comes upon me too quickly and then suddenly with a flourish it’s there and i’m left saying things like, ‘Well, maybe next year.’


tonite Aaron invited me to a service and altho i don’t think i would have been typically amped, something inside of me knew that this was something i really wanted to do

i’ve been feeling disconnected from God lately and really wanting to get more disciplined in my prayer and reading and so spending some time in a service focusing on the time leading up to Easter sounded like just the right thing

it ended up not really even being a service, but more a gathering,

ten of us sitting in a circle, mostly older people,

talking about what people were thinking about giving up for lent, reading some liturgy and then,

turning off all the lights and sitting in the glow of some candles as we went around the room,

each person dipping their finger in to a mix of the remains of the palm branches from palm sunday which had been burned down,

and some olive oil to make a paste,

and then making a cross on the person’s forehead next to you, while speaking these words:

“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”


actually i will have to go with ‘Invitation’ cos one of my friends already told me he was giving up being challenged by my blog for Lent

Matt, whose church we were at for this meeting handed around a piece of paper with 40 suggestions on it:

at the top of the sheet it reads ‘House for All Sinners and Saints’ which i’m fairly sure is Nadia Bolz-Weber’s church

followed by 40 days and 40 suggestions of things to do to observe Lent

things such as:

‘No complaints day’ 

Don’t turn on the car radio

Educate yourself about human trafficking http://www.praxus.org

Look out of the window until you find something of beauty you had not noticed before

and so i have decided that i am going to observe Lent by compiling a list of similiar things

using some of them and coming up with some of my own [and open to suggestions]

and i would like to invite you to join me in this 

if you are going to give it a try, simply leave your name as a comment below and say i am in

40 days – 40 postings of simple challenges

to connect with God and to love people and to view the world differently

and just a heads up that day 1 is pray for your enemies

day 40 is pray for your enemies [you probably have new ones by now] and then decide which of these exercises you will keep for good


maybe invite a friend to join you or your home group and do this together

maybe even come up with your own list

We finished off the evening with these prayers:

Gracious God,

our sins are too heavy to carry,

too real to hide,

and too deep to undo.

Forgive what our lips tremble to name,

what our hearts can no longer bear,

and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgement.

Set us free from a past we cannot change;

open us to a future in which we can be changed;

and grant us grace to grow in Your likeness and image;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

followed by the Assurance of Forgiveness Prayer:

May Almighty God

who of great mercy has promised to forgive all who truly repent and in true faith turn unto the Lord,

strengthen you in all goodness and bring you at last into the fullness of everlasting life,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We departed into the season of Lent with these final words:

Go forth on your journey of following Jesus,

strong in the face of afflictions,

speaking truth,

and knowing that you are loved well by God.

Go in peace. Amen.

May this time be more than simply a thing you are giving up… may that all mean something far deeper…
Enjoy. We celebrate together.

[To begin the 40 days of Lent observance with us, click here]


Eugene Cho writes [and speaks] a great piece on the Lent season over here.

coffeefastIn the Anderson household [Val is away in Atlanta this week] a variety of yellow post-its have suddenly appeared saying things like ‘No coffee’ and ‘Coffee fast’ as reminders to me of what i have committed myself to.

Who is up for a new challenge?

So by now if you’ve been following this blog you will know that tbV and i are leading a book study of Mark Scandrette’s book, ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ and have been engaging in a variety of experiments which i have been inviting others to join in via this blog and the book of facings.

First up was the invitation to stop rushing and to be still and it was most excellent reading the feedback in the comments section of others who gave it a try with me [so thank you for that gift!]. Next up was the gratitude log, making a note of at least five things every day for ten days that you are thankful for [and the feedback post for that will be coming later this week].

This coming week the chapter we are looking at is titled, ‘Believe you have enough’ and the experiment we have been invited into looks like this:


‘We are challenged to believe that we live in a world of abundance and that our true happiness comes from receiving the lives we’ve been given. As with all of His teachings, Jesus’ instructions about money and wealth point to the heart and invite us into greater freedom. They are designed to help us see accurately that we live in a world where God provides all that we need.

Take a voluntary fast. To experience the freedom of enough requires us to take new risks of action and practice.

For thousands of years the discipline of fasting has helped earnest spiritual seekers to curb the desire for more and to distinguish between needs and wants. Jesus seemed to have assumed that His followers would fast [Matthew 6.16] A fast can also help to reveal our disordered attachments – those things we habitually go to that are not a true or lasting source of comfort. Many people find that abstaining from something they normally us as a coping mechanism brings them face to face with pain, worries or deeper wounds they have been avoiding. Dallas Willard suggests that fasting helps prepare us to do good, because it trains us to say no to bodily desires in favour of intentional choices of obedience.

What do your patterns of spending or consumption reveal about a potential disordered attachment? Is there something that you consume on a daily or regular basis that would be revealing for you to abstain from this week [snacks, coffee, alcohol, media, meat]? As an act of contentment commit to a seven-day fast from something you regularly enjoy… Remember, your fast is something between you and God. Jesus taught that fasting should be done discreetly, in a way that wouldn’t be obvious to others. [Matthew 6.16] 

You may also want to consider the potential benefits of a longer-term fast of some kind. Our friend Melanie has challenged herself to live on $1.50 a day for forty days, giving the money she saves on daily living expenses to an organisation that helps people get access to food or clean water. The next year she tried to live on $1 a day. Each year our friend Darin gives up something he enjoys and will miss as a reminder that his true happiness isn’t dependent on always having more or getting what he wants.  One year he might abstain from meat or caffeine; another year he might abstain from watching movies or buying books. Many people have found it helpful to fast from shopping or buying new clothes for a specified time. To make it more fun, people often make these commitments with a group of friends.’


So i am inviting you to join me in a week’s fasting of something you enjoy. I have chosen to abstain from coffee for the week. And I know there is the line about keeping fasting to yourself but I am going to invite you to share with us what you choose to fast from as a form of accountability. So don’t make it a status and let everyone else know, but if you choose to join us on this, then leave a comment telling us you’re in and letting us know what you will be choosing to abstain from for the next seven days [if you start this late just do seven days from when you begin]

As with the other challenges, i will do a follow up post later and you will also be invited to let us know how it went.

So is anyone with me and what is your thing?

[For the Final Part Summary and Conclusion and Invitation to you to get involved, click here]

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