Day 19: Perseverance – A.K.A. Stick-to-it-ive-ness – Pastor Kevin Lautar

Matthew 7:7-8 – 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door[a] will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
We covered this verse this week in our Wednesday Men’s bible study, “The Watchmen.” The verb tenses for “Ask,” “Seek,” and “Knock” are in the continuous action tense. So, one can read the red-letter commands of Jesus here to say, “Keep on asking,” “Keep on seeking,” and “Keep on knocking.” A productive and growing member of the Kingdom of God is persistent in their efforts to learn and apply the commands of Jesus to their lives. The Greek verb translated “to ask” is a strong verb that means to beg, call out for, or to crave or desire strongly. The Greek verb translated “to seek” is also a strong verb that means to seek in order to find or seeking that requires meditating, thinking, and reasoning to find. The Greek verb translated “to knock” is used in the context of our relationship with others. It means to announce your presence or to knock at a door.

In these verses, Jesus is teaching his disciples that relationships with God and others requires persistence and effort. We can’t treat the Lord or others like they are not important or that we don’t care enough to try to grow in a deeper relationship. Fasting and prayer are great ways to persevere in our relationship with God. In the practice of these spiritual disciplines, we can obey the commands of Jesus by continuing to ask, continuing to seek and continuing to knock. My prayer for you all is to be persistent in your efforts to grow in relationship with the Lord!

Only 2 days left until we celebrate the culmination of the 21 Day Fast together. I can’t wait to hear your stories of growth and revelation. God bless!


Pastor Kevin


Day 16: Seeking Understanding – Rev. Jonathan Rager

Through Fasting, I seek a clear understanding of God’s Will for my life and His power to carry it out.

Joel 2:12 and 13a “That is why the Lord says “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.

Fasting is not done very often, especially when it pertains to finding out God’s Will for your life. Jesus fasted in the desert. Everything Jesus did during his earthly ministry was an example for us to follow. Jesus spoke to the Father with these words “not my Will but thine be done.” Jesus showed us how to battle Satan by quoting Scripture and He also showed us how to gain spiritual strength by fasting. When you deny physical wants and needs such as food from your body, the Holy Spirit will fill you with the fruit of the Spirit called “self-control”. This supernatural “Spirit control” will lead you in winning the battle against sinful habits and also discovering what God’s Will is for your life.


Rev. Jonathon Rager


Day 15: Too Many Mary’s, Not Enough Martha’s – Pastor Jeff Dawsey

Luke 10:38-42 (NLT) “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

              A few years ago, I created ‘Operation Radical’ for our youth group. The goal was to penetrate the local housing projects with the gospel and continue ministry there. Shortly after, I shut it down and went in a different direction, because this question was asked of me: “How do you expect everyone to make disciples, if they aren’t disciples themselves?”

In response to this, I pledged that we would return one day, but first I would devote to growing those students who wanted to truly follow Jesus and fulfill His Great Commission, and we would go as a team of disciples to make new ones.

This cycle has become the norm in church culture: 1. Invite people to service, 2. Lead people in “the prayer,” 3. Find them a responsibility to keep them busy , and 4. Repeat. I call this the Martha Method.

I’ve often heard church leaders say they practice this in order to keep the people committed to attending church. It’s almost like service for church has been exalted above Bible study and quiet time with God. Looking at America’s churches, I don’t think this method works to fulfill the Great Commission, though it’s genius to fill a building with lukewarm hearts.

There is, however, a better alternative—which often takes more time but—produces sustainable and more desired results. I will call this cycle the Mary Method: 1. Proclaim the gospel, 2. Lead people to confess Jesus as Lord and instruct them on what it means to believe that God has raised them from the dead, 3. Thoroughly grow them in the word and prayer, 4. Allow the Word to challenge them to walk in obedience, and 5. Repeat.

If there’s so much service that people can’t sit under and truly focus on the Word, then we are simply doing too much—as Martha was doing—and not focusing enough on the Word. Yes, she was doing it for Jesus, but we need to remember that Jesus doesn’t need our help as much as we need His!

According to a 2019 LifeWay Research survey, only 32% of Protestant churchgoers read their Bible regularly. This means over 65% of the people in churches across the country know very little about God, but they are “serving” Him…? I’d rather believers do little during a church service, as they grow in their knowledge of God. And, as history shows us, the ones who will be gripped by the Word, will respond in obedience to His commands. This way, we will have believers who will not only be serving God, but they will know Him and will know why they are doing what they’re doing. Let’s go away from the Martha-mentality of doing 100 things to serve God, and let’s begin to develop more Marys who will fall in love with Jesus’ Word and respond to Him in obedience.


Pastor Jeff


Day 14: Seeking God through Prayer – Rev. Jonathan Rager

Through Prayer, I seek a clear understanding of God’s Will for my life and His power to carry it out.
Psalm 27:7,8 and 11a Hear me as I pray Oh Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk to me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Prayer is simply talking to God. You can ask God to show you His Will. You are actually commanded to pray according to God’s Will and He promises to answer you. However, God can only hear your prayers when your sins have been confessed, repented of and forgiven. The Bible says “If I regard iniquity (sin) in my heart the Lord will not hear me.

Here is an example of a prayer seeking God’s Will. “I am thankful Heavenly Father for the expression of your Will for my daily life as you have shown me in your Word. I therefore claim all the Will of God for today. I am thankful that you have made a provision so that today I can live with the Spirit of God through the fruits of the Spirit. I recognize that this is your Will for me and resist the devil as he tries to rob me of the Will of God. I refuse to believe my feelings and I claim the fullness of the Will of God for my life today and your power to carry it out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen


Rev. Jonathon Rager


Day 13: God-like Fasting – Pastor Jeff Dawsey

Isaiah 58:6-11 (NLT) “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. 7Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. 8“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. 9Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! 10Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. 11The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.”

              In my last devotion, I explained the beginning of this chapter. God confronted His people, according to their hypocritical fasting. They made little sacrifice but didn’t want to focus on God nor the more important issues that can be found in His heart. So, He asked them this rhetorical question: “Do you really think this will please the LORD? (v. 5)”

              What makes God amazing is that He never leaves us in the dark; He always provides us with the RIGHT way of serving Him and responding to Him. Following God is not a guessing game. People who often ask, “I don’t know what God wants from me” rarely are truly seeking His will for their lives.

              But, in this passage, God shows the people that FASTING is not about the momentary sacrifices we make for ourselves or for even God. Biblical, God-pleasing fasting aligns itself with an already devoted lifestyle. For some, fasting is simply a brief period where we actually decide to devote ourselves. That’s completely backwards! If we truly want God’s attention to our problems, wants and needs, we must—first—focus on God’s desires. Jesus reminds us of this in Matthew 6:33, when he said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

              So, in this season of fasting, commit more than a delicacy or mere inconvenience to God; commit or re-commit your life to Him! Then, as He says, “The Lord will guide you continually.”


Pastor Jeff


Day 12: Meditating on God’s Word – Rev. Jonathan Rager

Through the meditation of God’s Word I seek a clear understanding of God’s Will for my life and His power to carry it out.
Joshua 1:8 Study this book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.

The meditation of God’s Word has three important elements.

  1. Remembering: remember the victories God has given you over sinful behaviors and impure sinful thoughts.
  2. Experiencing: experience God’s love, forgiveness and peace every time you confess your sins and put them to death.
  3. Learning: learn more about Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Learn from His examples while He was here on earth; how He responded to Satan tempting Him; how He treated the sick and the poor, and children and how He responded to His enemies. Meditate daily on these things. They will lead you toward God’s Will.


Rev. Jonathon Rager
Pastoral Care


Day 11: The Religious Version Of ‘We Need Space’ Called Fasting – Pastor Jeff Dawsey

Isaiah 58:3-5 (NLT) “2They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. 3‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. 4What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. 5You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?”


When I think about the religious practices of other belief systems and what has now become the typical church’s 21-day fast to begin the year, I can’t help but to consider God’s words from Isaiah 58. Here, we see an interesting observation in which God breaks down the Israelites’ fasting, what they want from Him, and what He really thinks of it.

Looking at this “religious” people from a distance, one might feel inspired with the lengths they had gone to show how devoted and how delighted they were in God. They pulled out all the stops to demonstrate those around them that they were walking passionately before God. Only, God seemed to have missed everything!

When these fasts take place, I often hear how people take on these challenges to sacrifice their gods…I meant their delicacies (select foods, TV, games, etc.) for a couple weeks, and they expect God to move on their behalf in some supernatural way. But, as I’ve often witnessed, the contemporary religious  have made the same mistakes as the Israelites of Isaiah 58.

We can’t simply make these moments about us, momentarily separate from the very things we can’t wait to return to and expect God to be thrilled that we “put up a fight!” God takes no delight in our disingenuous piety toward Him, and we should never expect anything less. On the other hand, God is looking to move on the behalf of those who will honor and seek Him in truth. In my next address, we’ll see what type of fasting gets His attention, and we need to ask ourselves an important question before we nonchalantly practice these fasts: Am I doing this for Him or for His


Pastor Jeff


Day 10: Fasting – Rev. Jimmy Freeland

Matthew 4: 3-4 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘ man shall not live on bread alone , but on every word  that proceeds out of the mouth of  God .'”

              Jesus was about to undergo a series of tests, and He knew going into the situation that it wouldn’t be easy. For forty days He would deny Himself the most basic human needs, and He would do so for the purpose of drawing on the Father’s strength. Why would Jesus, the Son of God, need to fast? Wasn’t He God in the flesh? Absolutely! The fact remains however, that He knew that to make it through, He would need to draw on God’s strength, and to truly accomplish this great task, He would have to deny Himself and make God His source of power.

              “I’m hungry!” If you’re like me, you say these words numerous times a day, and you never wait too long to satisfy the desire to eat. If you have children or grandchildren, you certainly hear these words even more often. We usually think of fasting as something foreign, or perhaps unnecessary in modern times. The fact is, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In this passage, Jesus was about to tempted by the devil. Sure, He is the Son of God, but in the flesh, He struggled with many of the same things we do. Jesus put on flesh so that He could be that perfect sacrifice God required to for humanity’s sins. Why fasting though?

              Jesus Fasted for the purpose of drawing nearer to God and drawing on God’s strength. He knew that He could never make it through these tests without it! He denied Himself food because He needed something more important: An uninhibited connection with God that only comes from denying oneself. Jesus knew that it wouldn’t be easy. He knew that He would be weak and hungry at the end of it all. He even knew that the lack of physical strength that comes from fasting would make these trials even harder. The most important thing He knew though, was that He would make it through with God’s strength, and so He didn’t need His own. So, what do you need to hand to God so that you can lean into His strength instead of relying on your own? Have you not realized that your own strength only leads you so far? Why not let go of the unimportant and grab hold of the most important. I can promise you that God’s strength will take you further than your own ever could.


~Pastor Jimmy


Day 9: The Real Reasons We Should Be Fasting – Pastor Aaron Hoogerwerf

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)


Have you ever given serious thought to what it truly means to “renew our minds”?  It is not something we just do whenever we feel like it.  Rather, it is a daily, intentional decision to pray, take up our cross, follow Him, and allow Him to change us from the inside out.  The Apostle Paul spoke to this when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).


It is difficult to stay consistently focused on His purposes because we get distracted by the cares of this world and often forget that this world is not our final home.  We tend to get consumed with whatever we think is important and we don’t slow down long enough to be still before Him and really listen to what God is telling us to do so He can reveal His perfect purposes to us (Psalm 46:10).  Jesus spoke of the weakness and sinfulness of our fleshly desires when He said in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


Fasting and prayer naturally go together and one of the great benefits of fasting is that we spend more concentrated time in prayer, so as we take this time to fast before the Lord, it is my hope that we will resist the temptations that will surely come and slow down and use this time to think more seriously about where we want to be at the end of this process.  Let us remember that the ultimate goal in what we are doing is the “renewing of our minds” so that we can serve Him more fully each and every day.  May God bless you!!


Pastor Aaron



Day 8 – Christians and Politics: What is our Biblical responsibility? – Dr. Jason Harrison

Romans 13:1–2

Submission to the Authorities

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment

With all of the polarizing political issues that are currently facing us in this nation, as Christians we must never forget that we are children of God first.  Our primary duty is to continually protect and uphold the absolute truth that is found in God’s Holy Word.  We are to be salt and light in a world of melancholy and darkness. 

How do we accomplish those tasks successfully you might ask?  We are successful in this charge when we correctly view our lives as humble servants of the Lord.  We are successful when we daily live our lives as soldiers for Christ, when we handle sensitive issues with love, when we sacrificially support the case for Christ in a fallen world, and we show unwavering support for all Biblical scripture not matter how it might contradict with culture.  We fail when we change scripture, or soften it, to fit with a man-made sense of political correctness.  We fail when we deliver all truth with no love.  We fail when we offer all grace with no claim for the necessity to adhere to Biblical authority concerning sin in our daily lives. 

So, to answer the original question concerning Christians and politics.  As Christians we must be concerned with every aspect of this world and how those aspects may affect reaching the lost.  Doing nothing in the political realm would contradict our Biblical call to publicly stand for Christ.  Ultimately, we are called to both elect and support leaders who most closely reflect Biblical values.  No leader in our world will ever be perfect, but we must still participate in the selection process.  Even when things do not go the way we wish during that process, we are Biblically commanded to obey and respect our government, unless it is in direct conflicts with Biblical teaching.

Sometimes our greatest witness to this world may come when we show love and respect to leaders, and other authority figures, who disagree with us politically.  Our ability to love those who are different than us reveals that we see a bigger picture than just what is occurring here on this Earth at this moment.  As Christians, we should look at all matters of life through a Biblical lens of eternity, rather than a short-sighted carnal lens of self-satisfaction and personal satisfaction.


Dr. Harrison