How are you doing? I miss getting to see everyone. For those who joined us on Sunday for the service or watched afterward, thank you. To the many who have responded by offering help, thank you. We are waiting for needs to come our way and then will mobilize those who are willing to be a help to others. If you have spoken with a friend, a neighbor, a coworker that is in need, please meet those needs or let us know so that others can help.
During the message, I offered an opportunity to be part of the solution by joining us on Thursday for a day of prayer and fasting. That piqued some of your interest to investigate the spiritual discipline of fasting. I encourage you to do some research on fasting if you have questions about it.
Allow me to give you just a few thoughts about fasting. While you can find many reasons for fasting given by medical experts, such as, losing weight, feeling better mentally & physically, improving digestive functions, eliminating toxins, looking younger, reliving tension, or even sharpening your mental skills, those are not biblical reasons for fasting. Some would even encourage fasting to save money. Again, this isn’t a biblical reason for fasting. I would propose that biblically, fasting is associated with prayer.
There are many biblical characters who were recorded as fasting. Some of those include: Moses, Samson, Samuel, Hannah, Saul, Jonathan, David, Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, John the Baptist, Anna, Paul and Jesus. That is a pretty impressive list of people that God used in mighty ways.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to those gathered in such a manner that assumed that people were going to fast. Fasting was an integral part of the Jewish customs of the day. But the problem had become that Jewish people were fasting and walking around Jerusalem thinking and acting they were more spiritual because they were fasting. They were walking around in such a way that people knew they were fasting. Jesus warns us to not be like them when we are fasting. If you choose to fast on Thursday, I would encourage you to read Matthew 6:16-18 before joining.
As we fast and pray on Thursday, I encourage you to dwell on the idea that fasting, setting aside our dependency on food, is an act of humility. Fasting can be a tool to teach us that our real dependency is on God, not on food. So much of our lives revolve around food. And mentally we have a difficult time breaking our dependency on food. Fasting is a discipline we can take that will help us see we need to depend upon God. When those groanings and longings happen in our stomachs, it is a great time to give God thanks for all of His blessings. Humility comes in that we have to depend upon God for meeting all of our needs.
I realize many cannot fast because of health reasons. God doesn’t think less of you. A way you can participate in the fasting aspect would be to give up something else you have been depending on. It becomes a discipline for you to withhold that from your life for the day.
I would encourage you to set aside time throughout your day to spend in prayer. Whether that is the time you would usually spend eating or other time to concentrate on praying. Use the prayer sheet from the bulletin that Alison provides for things to pray about. Or use the LifeWay prayer guide that is posted further down on this webpage.
An idea for breaking your fast is to go out and bless one of our local restaurants by buying from them to encourage them during these difficult days.
Thanks for joining in seeking our Lord during these difficult days.
God bless, Andy
The Cascade Community Church leadership has been thoughtfully praying and discussing our response to the crisis upon our world. We are not worried or afraid for we know the One who has overcome the world. However, out of love for our neighbors and our body we want to be prepared and considered in our response. As we consider the words of Jesus as well as warnings from our federal and state government, here is our response as a church community during these days:
As your leaders we encourage you to:
Participate by watching the church services online. Pray and worship as a family.
Lead your kids in a children’s church experience.
Pray. Follow the Lifeway prayer guide
Join Pastor Andy in a Day of Fasting on Thursday, March 26.
Check your church directory to make sure your contact information is updated. We want to be able to tend our flock during these days. If you are uncertain if your information is correct, please call the church office.
SHARE THE HOPE
During this time the Lord has given us an incredible opportunity to share the hope that is within us through caring for and sharing with each other and those in the community. We hope to do this several ways:
STAY IN CONTACT
Check your church directory to make sure your contact information is updated. We want to be able to tend our flock during these days.
SHARE YOUR GIFTS
Many are out of work or needing food and the church comes together to meet these needs through our benevolence fund, as well as continuing to function. If you are able, consider giving during this time. At this time you may give by mail:
Cascade Community Church
P.O. Box 218
Cascade, ID 83611
We are living through unprecedented days. The leadership of Cascade Community Church desires to respond to the crisis with wisdom. The elders and I have spent time wrestling with the decision of what to do for Sunday morning church. We have decided to cancel church for the next two Sundays. Our modified church service will be made available online for you. Additionally, we will provide an at-home Kids’ Own Worship lesson for families. More details on that will be coming, so check our website, Facebook page, or your email later today.
For some of you, this may seem like a simple decision and you are wondering why it took us so long to make it. The reason is that the elders were praying and gathering as much information as possible. We want to best serve our Lord by serving you. We want to provide opportunities to participate in corporate worship and to serve our community with the love of Christ. Additionally, we wanted to be considerate to those who consider themselves vulnerable to this disease.
Flora Belzer sent me an image that expresses the quandary that we were wrestling with during the past days:
Everyone has an opinion on what is the best way to go forward, so no matter what decisions are made, some will be disappointed. I would ask that we lay aside our thoughts of what should have happened or how it should have been decided and choose to walk forward together in love for each other and for our frightened community.
Instead of meeting together this Sunday as the Church, I am asking that each of us seek Jesus on how we can be His Church, His body in our community each day. I will talk in greater detail about this in Sunday’s message and provide a starting place for each of us to fulfill our church’s mission. Please be in prayer about how the Lord would like you and your family to be part of the solution for our community going forward.
It is our intent to be back together for Palm Sunday services on Sunday, April 5, and for Easter Sunday, April 12. Obviously, that desire may be impossible to fulfill with things changing as quickly as they have been this past week. But we want to be able to bring people together as best as possible to celebrate what our Lord has done for us. Please continue to be patient as we formulate plans for those services.
Continue to be in prayer for the leadership of the church as we seek to honor the Lord. I encourage us to continue to allow God to lead us during these difficult days. My prayer for each of you is to find the truth of what David found, “For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.” Psalm 61:3
Pastor Andy & the Elders
Kind of strange times we find ourselves in. Some are wondering if this is a sign of the end times. Others are thinking that our government is up to something with their decisions of attempting to control our actions. What does God say in all of this? Or does God even care what is happening in our world? Let me take you back to words that He gave to Abram early in Abram’s journey with Him.
Shortly after God called Abram to leave his family and homeland, God made a promise to Abram that he would be blessed with a son in his old age. To help Abram take steps of faith, God encouraged him with these words, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be great” (Gen 15:1). God knew Abram would have reservations and concerns while Abram was learning to trust Him. So God told him to not be afraid. Rather than focusing on the unknown and the uncertain, God wanted Abram to look elsewhere. God gave Abram a visual of Him being Abram’s shield. Abram had just come from a battle. So a shield was fresh on his mind. The picture that God was planting in Abram’s mind was that God would protect him from what was coming next.
That is a story that we can take comfort from. God will be our shield as well. In these unknown and uncertain days, God will be our shield. No matter what happens, He goes before us and prepares the way. Most importantly, He prepares us for what He wants to work in us during these days. He can protect us from our fears. We can learn to look to Him, rather than allowing our questions and worries lead us. Let’s learn to allow God to lead us during these difficult days.