Fasting, Black Holes, and the Death Star

black hole

Legendary film sound designer Ben Burtt, who has worked on five decades of films ranging from the Indiana Jones series to WALL-E, has talked about his philosophy of the “audio black hole.”

When doing sound effects work for a film, if possible, he inserts a brief moment of silence immediately before a particularly loud or emphatic moment. This, he says, is his idea of the audio black hole – it allows your ears to attune to silence briefly so that the following moment is even more powerful. In the climactic scene of Star Wars Episode IV, just before the explosion of the Death Star, there is an oh-so-short moment of silence that catches the listener by surprise.

Then…boom.

Fasting is like that. It’s time to pause and re-attune ourselves to God’s voice. So much conspires to distract us from what God is saying… Music. Television. Facebook. Twitter. Friends. Work. And oftentimes, food. Fasting helps us learn to listen outside of our appetites. Taking the time to stop, pause, tell ourselves and our distractions “no.” We can get reattuned to the “still, small voice” that Elijah heard on the mountaintop. We shut it all out and wait.

Then…boom.

God speaks, and we hear him more clearly than ever.

40 Days…Really???

solitude

40 days is a long time! That was my first thought… As we began talking about 40 days of prayer & fasting and I began spending some time thinking about what that looks like, what does that mean, what am I to focus on for that long??? God began to reveal things in my life and even dump new “opportunities” in my lap that definitely need prayer and fasting coverage.  So as we begin these focused days, I encourage you to Stop and Listen. For many of us, we never slow down long enough to hear God and what He is saying to us or even asking of us.  I speak from experience; God will get our attention one way or another.  My encouragement to all of us is to not compromise listening and waiting on God for the sake of getting the next thing accomplished.

My prayer is that over the next 40 days we will all spend some time in Solitude. Solitude rescues us from striving both intellectually and spiritually. Solitude…long enough…safe enough with ourselves and God to say, “Yes, this is who I am. I surrender it! Whatever it is that most needs to be done in my life, You God, will have to do it.” I pray we will be Silent. Silence allows us to give up control and for God to be God in our life rather than a thought in our head. As we stop and listen and allow God to transform us we will begin to realize that our transformation is never for ourselves alone. It is always for the sake of others. Then we can be effective as we seek God on behalf of His kingdom, His church-Faith Promise, our families and our teammates in the Worship Ministry. Can we even fathom what God has in store for us as His children? I know I can’t but I am willing.  I am willing and ready to be blown away! Are you ready?

Adventurous Faith

skydive

(written by John Adams, Blount Campus Worship Leader) I have a very adventurous spirit.  I love trying new things and having new experiences.  This works perfectly in the relationship I have with my wife because she loves capturing memories through photography and scrapbooking.  Food is something I especially love trying new things with.  New restaurants, new recipes… I remember the first time a friend took me to a Jamaican restaurant, Wow!!!

 What’s cool is that I have realized that my adventurous spirit applies to my relationship with God as well.  I was raised in a very traditional Baptist home, and adventure was far from the focus when discussing Christianity.  In fact, my understanding of religion seemed to condemn the new and adventurous aspects of life.

 As I’ve grown spiritually, God has shown me an incredible path of seeking after Him in ways I never have before.  In fact, this is where I have found I honor Him the most.  Hebrews 11:6 says that “…without faith it is impossible to please God…” and James 2:14 says “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  

 There is a lot to say about fasting: its origin, purpose, requirements etc.  Some can be agreed on by most people, other will be debated forever.  One thing is certain: God tells us to fast, and His Word tells us that great things can be accomplished through fasting, some only by fasting.  If anyone has a thirst to know God more, be used by Him in greater ways, and seek after Him with a boldness that will lead to great adventure in His Kingdom’s purpose, then Just Do It!  Put action to your faith and please God.  The rewards are amazing!