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And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others.  Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
(Matthew 6:16-18)

Last week I argued that Fasting is NOT merely abstaining from something, good or bad.  Fasting is abstaining from one thing, even a good thing, in order to feast on something greater, namely, God Himself.  For HE is our REWARD!  The treasure of the kingdom is God Himself-we get God!  And when God is our reward, we hold on loosely to this world.  But questions remain about fasting, so I wanted to address some of those questions.

What is a fast?

Fasting is merely abstaining from food/drink or some other designated thing, so that you can turn your complete focus to seeking the heart of God.

Why fast?

Fasting is a way of breaking away from those things of the flesh (appetites) that control us so that we can hunger more for the things of God.  Fasting is not so much doing without food as much as it is feasting on the things of God.

How often should I fast?

The Bible is silent on how often one should fast; however, Jesus was clear to say “when” you fast and not “if” you fast, so it is something Jesus expected of his followers.

What do I do during a fast?

Take time that you would normally use for eating or watching tv or whatever you’re fasting from and spend that time seeking the heart of God in prayer, confession and the Word of God.  Fasting should be accompanied with other disciplines, primarily prayer and Bible intake (reading, studying, meditating, memorizing) so that your hunger for this world is lessened and your hunger for God is increased.

Do I refrain from every kind of intake?

You will want to keep your fluids up with water.  (If you have medical concerns, please check with your doctor before fasting.)

How long do I fast?

Again, the Bible does not explicitly suggest how long we should fast.  There are various kinds of fasts for differing reasons.  Perhaps, you may want to begin fasting one meal a week.  If possible, you may want to attempt a 24-hour fast.  You can go from sundown to sundown or from awaking one day to awaking the next.  

Should I tell others that I am fasting?

Fasting is an act between you and God.  If others ask you, you may share with them, but there is humility in this act of obedience.

What might occur spiritually during a fast?

As you fight to deny the fleshly appetites, ask for God to strengthen you and drive you by His grace and His Spirit to be satisfied in God alone.  Ask God to break the bondage the appetites of this world have on you.

Ask that as you grow in being satisfied by God and His Word that you may grow in your desire for the kingdom and the righteousness of the kingdom now.  But also ask that you may grow in longing for the kingdom to come because the coming of the kingdom represents the arrival of the king once and for all and the time when fasting will give way to feasting in the presence of God.

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“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together. . .”
(Acts 20:7, ESV)

            If the Lord’s Day (Sunday) is the day chosen by the early church for distinctly Christian corporate worship, how should we approach the Lord’s Day as 21st Century believers?  I want to offer four simple exhortations that will help us as we consider gathering together each Lord’s Day.

            SET ASIDE the Lord’s day for distinctly Christian worship gatherings!  If you are free and able, you should gather with the Lord’s people on Sundays.  If you are free and able, then set aside the entire day for Christian worship.  I say this not as a command (It wasn’t REQUIRED until Constantine), but for concern for your welfare.  Use this day to gather with God’s people both formally as we assemble together and informally to eat meals together, pray together, read together, sing together.  When you set aside the Lord’s Day and don’t let other things crowd out your schedule, you will find that this day will become much more meaningful as you share it with your family or other brothers and sisters in Christ.  If you are not a faithful part of a local assembly, then commit yourself to a gospel-centered, Word-saturared, Christ-exalting church.

PREPARE yourself for gathering with God’s people on the Lord’s Day – on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning.  Too many times we come to the Christian assembly consumed by the cares of this world.  Also, we often arrive distracted by tiredness due to the activities we choose to participate in the previous evening.  Consider using Saturday evenings to prepare your hearts and minds for the Sunday gathering.  Consider the texts that will be preached on Sunday.  At High Pointe, we offer meditation passages related to the preaching texts via our weekly email.  Read through these passages on Saturday night; share them with your family.  And be sure to get a good night’s rest.

When you arrive to assemble greet the brethren, then consider the passages that will be read publicly.  At High Pointe, they are written in the bulletin for your convenience.  Finally, when you hear the music begin, join in as we sing praises to our Lord and prepare your minds and hearts for what is about to happen.

            DECLARE the Lordship of Christ with God’s people as you gather on the Lord’s Day! 

1.  SING – In singing, we are jointly declaring the Lordship of Christ over all things.  Declare with your lips that Jesus is Lord and worthy to receive all glory and honor and praise!

2.  PRAY – In praying, we jointly declare our dependence upon Jesus, the Lord who provides for the needs of His people.  Therefore, cast all your anxieties upon the Lord.

3.  GIVE – In giving, we are declaring the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all our wealth and possessions.  Since Jesus is the sovereign Lord who provides everything we need, He is the Lord of everything we have.

4.  READ/LISTEN TO THE WORD – In preaching the Word, we are declaring the Lordship of Christ and urging those who do not presently submit to Jesus’ Lordship to repent, bow down or be consumed in His wrath.  Be careful how we listen; pray for the preacher; obey the Word!

            In all things REST in Christ!  Do not rest in what you do: i.e., Lord’s Day attendance/participation, membership, giving, etc.  Rest in Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Categories : Church, High Pointe, Sermons
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Matthew

High Pointe Preaching Schedule
Pastor Juan Sanchez

Mini-Series: True Righteousness
2012

December 16
True Righteousness: Urgently Pursuing Peace in an Evil World
Matthew 5:21-26

2013

January 6
True Righteousness: Radically Fighting Against Sin & Temptation in a Lust-Filled World
Matthew 5:27-30

January 13
True Righteousness: Faithfully Reflecting the Divine Marriage in a No-Fault Divorce World
Matthew 5:31-32

January 20
True Righteousness: Continually Walking in Truth & Integrity in a Dishonest World
Matthew 5:33-37

January 27
True Righteousness: Patiently Awaiting Divine Justice in a Vigilante World
Matthew 5:38-42

February 3
True Righteousness: Vulnerably Reflecting the Love of the Father in a Hate-Filled World
Matthew 5:43-48

Mini-Series: True Religion
February 10
True Religion: Giving so as to Receive Our Father’s Reward
Matthew 6:1-4

February 17
True Religion: Praying so as to Receive Our Father’s Hearing
Matthew 6:5-13

February 24
True Religion: Forgiving so as to Receive Our Father’s Forgiveness
Matthew 6:14-15

March 3
True Religion: Fasting so as to Receive Our Father’s Food
Matthew 6:16-18

March 10
True Religion: Investing so as to Receive Our Father’s Inheritance
Matthew 6:19-34

Mini-Series: Kingdom Living in a Foreign World
March 17
Kingdom Living in a Foreign World: Be Discerning without Being Judgmental
Matthew 7:1-6

March 24
Kingdom Living in a Foreign World: Ask Our Father for the Things You Need
Matthew 7:7-12

March 31 (Easter)
Kingdom Living in a Foreign World: Two Paths that Lead to Two Different Destinies
Matthew 7:13-28

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As you prepare your hearts for Christmas, here are some sermons from Matthew’s gospel that may help you consider and meditate on Christ’s first coming.  May these sermons serve to focus attention on the promised king from David’s line.

Matthew

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If you are in town this Christmas, be sure to join us for our Christmas eve service. This is a great opportunity to bring unchurched family and friends.

May you have a blessed Christmas and new year!

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Categories : Church, High Pointe, Sermons
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Plenary Sessions

John Piper
Prelude to Acting the Miracle: Putting Sanctification in Its Place

Kevin DeYoung
Incentives for Acting the Miracle: Fear, Rewards, and the Multiplicity of Biblical Motivations

Ed Welch
Sinners Learning to Act the Miracle: Restoring Broken People and the Limits of Life in the Body

Jarvis Williams
Acting the Miracle in the Everyday: Word of God, Means of Grace, and the Practical Pursuit of Maturity

John Piper, Ed Welch, Kevin DeYoung, Jarvis Williams, Russell Moore
Speaker Panel

Russell Moore
Acting the Miracle Together: Corporate Dynamics in Christian Sanctification

John Piper
Act the Miracle: Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises

Seminars

Forgotten Factors in Sanctification

Sanctification in the Seasons of Life (audio only)

  • Elyse Fitzpatrick, “Grand-Parenting
  • Carolyn McCulley, “Singleness
  • Sally Lloyd-Jones, “The Child, The Parent, and The Story” (forthcoming)

Also download the list of songs from each worship session.

Categories : Resources, Sermons, Theology
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I’m looking forward to traveling to Minneapolis for the Desiring God National Conference this weekend.  I would encourage you to “listen in” or live-stream if you are unable to attend.  At the very least, download the audio/video after the sessions.  Below is the information DG just sent out with the live-stream schedule:

If you’re not able to join us in Minneapolis for the conference this weekend, each of the main sessions will be live-streamed in both English and in Spanish at www.desiringgod.org/live.

The following is a schedule for the live-stream feed (all times Eastern). The live-stream feed will not include musical worship. Messages marked with an asterisk (*) are approximate start times only. The actual start times may vary based on the length of musical worship prior to teaching. Be sure to tune into the stream a few minutes earlier than scheduled for these sessions.

Friday, September 28

8:30* – 9:30 PM, John Piper, Prelude to Acting the Miracle: Putting Sanctification in Its Place

Saturday, September 29

10:00* – 11:00 AM, Kevin DeYoung, Incentives for Acting the Miracle: Fear, Rewards, and the Multiplicity of Biblical Motivations

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Ed Welch, Sinners Learning to Act the Miracle: Restoring Broken People and the Limits of Life in the Body

2:45 – 3:45 PM, Jarvis Williams, Acting the Miracle in the Everyday: Word of God, Means of Grace, and the Practical Pursuit of Maturity

4:15 – 5:15 PM, Panel Discussion, DeYoung, Moore, Piper, Welch, and Williams

8:30* – 9:30 PM, Russell Moore, Acting the Miracle Together: Corporate Dynamics in Christian Sanctification

Sunday, September 30

11:00* AM – 12:00 PM, John Piper, Remember the Gospel, Act the Miracle: Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises

Categories : Resources, Sermons, Theology
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Join us at High Pointe beginning this Sunday morning at 10:30. 

May 20
Title: Gospel Parenting and The Father’s Love
Text: Hosea 11

May 27
Title: Gospel Parenting and Parental Example
Text: 2 Timothy 3:14-15

June 3
Title: Gospel Parenting and Biblical Instruction
Text: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

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Resources
Leviticus – Outline (PDF)
Leviticus – Book Overview (PDF)
Leviticus – Study Resources (link to The Gospel Coalition)

Sermon Series

 

Categories : Resources, Sermons
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The book of Exodus ends with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle. Leviticus begins with “And the Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting.” Now that the Lord had filled the place of His presence, the people needed to know how to approach Him. The book of Leviticus answers the question, “How can a sinful and rebellious people approach a holy God?”

We began our study of Leviticus on October 23. Though I had originally planned to be finished with Leviticus by now, the Lord has allowed us to slow down and consider several parts of this book for further application. I pray that you have been as blessed and challenged during this study as I have. I pray that you will faithfully join us as we continue to see God’s answer to the problem of our sin. Below you will see a tentative preaching schedule that will take us through the rest of Leviticus. I am providing this schedule to help you look ahead and prepare yourself for our Sunday morning gatherings.

As you will also note below, I have already begun preparing for our next study in Matthew’s gospel. Feel free to begin working your way through the gospel of Matthew. I think it will be a helpful follow up study to Leviticus as we see how Jesus applied the Law of Moses in His day. Until our study of Matthew, I look forward to growing with you as we finish Leviticus together. May the Lord grant us much grace, and may the Holy Spirit be our teacher

 

2012 Sunday Morning Preaching Schedule

Mar 11: Leviticus 22:1-15 | Holy Sacrifices Acceptable to God

Mar 18: Leviticus 22:16-33 | Holy Sacrifices Acceptable to God, part 2

Mar 25: Leviticus 23 | Holy Days or Holidays?

Apr 1: Leviticus 24 | An Eye for an Eye

Apr 8 (EASTER): Leviticus 25 | The Year of Jubilee

Apr 15: Leviticus 26 | The Curse of the Law

Apr 22: BEN WRIGHT PREACHING

Apr 29: Leviticus 27 | Let Your Yes be a Yes!

Beginning in May: The Gospel According to Matthew

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