October and Fasting
The month of October is a time when our culture celebrates darkness in the name of fun. As followers of Jesus we are people of light who follow the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:9, 14)
How can we be people of light when we seem out of step with our cultural values? The key is connecting with Jesus with intentionality. Our daily prayer, Bible reading and worship is even more important when days feel dark. Continue to cultivate the spiritual disciplines in your life, especially in the month of October.
A new theme for us in October this year is to encourage fasting. We have often encouraged fasting in the season of Lent (prep for Easter) or at the start of the New Year. It fits that we consider fasting in a season when evil is glorified and our children are being drawn into a culture that normalizes elements of witchcraft.
Fasting was a common practice in the early church and throughout the history of the church. Queen Esther called for a three day fast before seeking favor from the king. Nineveh fasted in repentance to stop God’s judgment as told in the book of Jonah. Jesus and others went without food for a 40 day period in preparation for ministry.
Because encouraging fasting in October is new for our congregation, we are open to various approaches. We do encourage your fast to be focused on ‘prayer and fasting.’ We pray for spiritual strength to be overcomers.
Ephesians 6:10-20 is a suggested foundation for our October fast. Our goal this month is to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (vs. 10) This comes from taking on the armor of God.
Fasting has a way of strengthening us for the spiritual battles of life. Fasting intensifies and focuses our prayer life. It is helpful to take usual meal time to be a time for prayer.
One qualifier on fasting is that you need to have adequate health to skip meals. People taking medication should consult their physician before fasting. For those who should not skip a meal or for children, October could be a time for simply adding more prayer time.
For teens and adults able to fast, consider skipping a lunch once a week or forgoing food for a 24 hour period once a week. Some may chose a longer period to fast. Jesus taught that we should be discrete when we fast.
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matt 6:17-18)
A part of the focus of fasting is that we finish the month with a celebration on October 26th, our ‘FLGC All Nations Celebration.’
Our prayer is that October would be a season when God is glorified in our lives and in our church. Be strong in the Lord!
Operation Christmas Child
This year Fort Lee Gospel Church will continue to encourage the congregation to prepare shoe box gifts for children around the world.
Operation Christmas Child is a program that fills shoe boxes with school supplies, small toys, and toiletries, to be sent to children in poor and war-torn nations of the world. Our church has participated in this program for over a dozen years. Shoe boxes will be collected during the fall to be shipped out in time for Christmas, with a collection date of November 10th through 17th.
Samaritan’s Purse has been sending shoe boxes around the world for many years. Plan to take part in this important ministry that God is using around the world. For details on packing the boxes, brochures are available or you can speak with Laurie. Further information on building a shoe box can be found online at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. Be sure to check out this site.
The past few years our church has prepared about 100 shoe boxes each year, with last year reaching the highest total. We believe God will use this ministry to touch many lives, as we all participate and do our part.
Preaching Series: A New Culture in Christ
In the weeks between Labor Day and Thanksgiving the theme of the messages on Sunday morning has been that there is a New Culture in Christ. The backdrop for this message is threefold.
First we live in a time when racial and cultural hatred is on the increase. In our nation and around the world foreigners are less welcome and animosity is on the increase. Could this be a sign we are living in the last days?
Second, we are a church of many nations. Our church of about 100 adults come from over 20 nations.
Third, the Bible has much to say about our the church transcends culture. Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) The preaching series is building the case behind this verse from both the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is not neutral on the topic.
Light Over Darkness Readings
This month we will have a Bible Reading Guide available on the topic of “Light Over Darkness.” This Guide was developed with the context of October in America where darkness is celebrated in the culture.
The Reading Guide includes a reading from the gospel of John, the Psalms, and other New Testament passages. It is a 10 day Guide which is intended for use from October 22—31. It can be adapted to another timetable.
Read on your own, with family, to start the day, or end the day. You will be blessed as you spend added time in God’s word. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
October Events @ Fort Lee Gospel Church
11:00 AM Worship Service Our weekly service including worship through singing, prayer, preaching and fellowship. Nursery and three children’s classes are available.
9:00 AM Chinese Worship Service The Chinese worship service is led by Pastor Sandy Xie and she can be reached at 917-593-0420.
1:30 PM Korean Worship Service Contact Pastor Jaedoo Lee for further details at 646-464-2448.
5:30 PM Spanish Worship Service Contact Rev. Esteban Canales at 973-510-8834 for more details.
7:00 PM, Oct 6 & 20 Evening Service Our Sunday evening service usually meets on the first and third Sunday of the month.
1:30 PM, Oct 13 & 27 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
1:15 PM, Oct 20 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck.
12:30 PM, Tuesdays Men’s Lunch & Bible Study We meet for a meal before we study the Bible and pray together.
7:30 PM, Tuesdays Bible Study The group is studying foundations of the faith..
6:00 AM, Wednesdays Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
6:00 AM Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting combining personal and group prayer meets every Saturday.
2:00 PM, Oct 5 & 19 Women’s Bible Study starting a new study that meets on alternating Saturdays.
5:00 PM, Oct 5 & 19 Youth Group For those in 7th grade through 12th grade.
5:00 PM, Oct 26 FLGC All Nations Celebration See page 4 for details.
Halloween and Christian Parenting
Halloween is a major event in our culture. Christian parents wrestle each year with how to respond to this event which celebrates darkness and often makes evil look like fun.
Christian families have responded to Halloween by either not participating, passing out Christian literature with candies, or dressing children in wholesome costumes. Each family will respond in different ways, but the following are a few principles to consider:
First, be aware that Satan attacks children. Satan does not have a human conscience which respects the innocent. Parents must be protectors of their children. Schools, media, and the culture are not working from a Christian value system.
Second, true joy and fun are God given. In the words of Jesus, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Satan is a master imitator. He takes our desire for pleasure and twists it so that God looks boring and sin looks fun. The reality is that true joy is found in following Jesus Christ.
Third, fears and phobias are real, often with roots in childhood. I do enough counseling to know that childhood exposure to evil has adult consequences. A childhood protected from horror movies, excessive violence and sexual perversions is more likely to lead to the need for less therapy in adulthood. Halloween often celebrates what is harmful.
There are plenty of creative ways to enjoy the autumn season without giving Satan access to our children. Enjoy God’s creation and I pray that your late October season will be God-honoring. May God give us wisdom to raise our children to know the love of Christ, the blessings of God’s peace, and the joy found in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
FLGC All Nations Celebration: October 26
We are planning our second annual special event for Saturday October 26th at 5:00 PM. The event is called “FLGC All Nations Celebration.”
This will be a celebration of the various cultures that we represent as a congregation. The theme verse is Rev. 7:9 which says,
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
Just like last year, our FLGC All Nations Celebration will include varieties of food, stories of faith from various cultures, special music, games and testimonies. A committee is working on the details now. They ask that you RSVP by Sunday Oct. 20 to help in preparation.
For details we ask that you speak with Patricia Allen as she co-ordinates the meal and program. After the blessings of last year’s event we look forward to again celebrating who we are in Christ.
One of the blessings of our congregation is the diversity of cultures which define us. We look forward to an evening that celebrates our Great God who sent His Son, Jesus to bring salvation to all cultures. Mark your calendar and consider inviting a friend. We look forward to a great time.