Up & Coming Weekly

May 23, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 18 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 18 UCW MAY 24 - 30, 2023 Help your kids to develop reading and critical thinking skills by playing games, solving puzzles, and reading exciting educational stories! Fasting in Fayetteville: Bible Study open to all by DENISE MERRITT and SAUNDRA BLAIR FAITH e concept of Fasting in Fayetteville evolved from a conversa- tion between two old seminary bud- dies last year. Sporadically, my former Oral Roberts University classmate, Saundra Blair, and I would check-in with each other to share updates. As is consistent with Saundra, she mentioned praying for some family members to "come to know the Lord." Saundra went on to mention several specific concerns and passionately declared that she was still praying for them. My thoughts went to a cousin of mine who had died a few months before. I told Saundra that I had been praying for my cousin for years, and he still died at age 67 from a drug overdose. My lamenting to my friend in- cluded admission that my prayers for my cousin had come and gone. I found myself somewhat disheartened because his slow decline was observ- able. I asked my friend, "How do we walk out James 5:16b? How does 'the effectual fervent prayer of the righ- teous' get results"? e first part of James 5:16 states, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed." Unintentionally, my questions became a confession that I had not been consistent in prayer for my now deceased cousin. I had become discouraged in praying for him because there was no observable change over the years. As our conversation lengthened, we discussed the discipline of prayer and expectancy, and our responsibility to trust God for results. Being seminary graduates we automatically began to review Jesus as our model for prayer. We pondered, "What gets in the way of hearing from God? How do we foster a more disciplined, focused prayer life?" e Bible informs us that Jesus consistently lived in prayerful conver- sation with the Father. He completely humbled Himself before God with prayer and fasting before beginning His public ministry. e light bulb came on for us! As we began to look through multiple Hebrew Scriptures and pull out notes from our seminary days, the difference became clear. At times, we had "fasted" with and for others regarding a particular need within families and communities. However, we began to see that Biblical fasting and prayer with our lives yield- ed to God is completely different from us setting the agenda for time with God. I said aloud, "Hey wait a minute! I haven't been fasting, I've just been skipping meals!" So, we began our journey of humbling ourselves in fast- ing and prayer. In Isaiah 58, God calls a fast to put a stop to wickedness, lift heavy burdens, and for you to break every yoke. is got our attention! He promises outcomes of such a fast that range from healing and spiri- tual growth to rebuilding deserted ruins of our cities and restoring streets in which to live safely. We have been so exhilarated and inspired that we want to invite others to join in discovering the possibilities of how God fulfills His word through believers who humble themselves in fasting and prayer. Fasting in Fayetteville is a 12-week targeted Bible study and community dialogue with the goal of integrating healthy holistic lifestyle choices which are sustainable. is certificate sym- posium includes community wellness and fitness providers, nutritionists, lo- cal farmers, meal-prep restaurant and health store owners. Biblical perspec- tives will be shared by pastors, rabbis, theologians and participants. First Baptist Church, located at 201 Anderson Street, is hosting this interactive seminar which will meet in person and by Zoom on ursdays, beginning June 1 at noon. Sessions will be recorded and uploaded to the Fasting in Fayetteville YouTube channel. To register, go to www.FastinginFayetteville.org ere is no charge for this event. Editor's note: Saundra Blair, DMin, Ed.D., is a retired college professor and for- mer associate pastor. She is a nutrition and health enthusiast. Denise Merritt, DMin, is a retired Army Chaplain and currently serves as a Licensed Marriage and Family erapist in Fayetteville. She attends First Baptist Church on Anderson Street with her husband, Karl. MAY 04 - 28 BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW! CFRT.ORG or 910.323.4233 Take your seat at the legendary Jungle Inn Nightclub with your host, Jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton, for a night of music that might just change his life. When the Chimney Man comes to ferry Jelly's soul away, he gets one last chance to make amends for his mistakes. From the back alleys of New Orleans to the stages of New York – this sizzling story has seductive harmony and a score you won' t forget! A DAZZLING DISPLAY OF STORYTELLING, VOCALS, AND MUSIC!

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