Posted tagged ‘fasting’

Speed Fasting

November 4, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     November 4, 2018

                                     

It has been a deadly year in Colorado Springs on the roadways. Last week the 45th fatality this year occurred. It is the most since 1986 and we still have two months to go.

In the majority of the deaths, whether it be of a pedestrian or cyclist hit by a car, a vehicle losing control and crashing, a two vehicle collision, or a motorcyclist dying, speed and/or alcohol has been involved.

The roadways have become so treacherous that one of the head police officers has made several appeals on local newscasts pleading with drivers to slow down. 

I now think about the dangers of driving on two of the main roads close to our house, Powers Boulevard and Research Parkway, every time I get behind the steering wheel. Last May a man in his testosterone-laced pick-up truck decided he wanted to quickly cut over two lanes and he clipped the back driver’s side panel of my CRV. 

“I didn’t see you!”   

My CRV is midnight blue…and it wasn’t midnight! Thankfully, a lady saw what had happened and she stopped to let me know it. He was found at fault and, hopefully, is now paying as much each month to his insurance company as he is for his truck super-payment! I’m not bitter!

We need a “speed fast”! Kinda’ like fasting from chocolate during the Season of Lent, we need a fast from going fast. We need to take the pedal off the metal.

Speed has become ingrained in our culture. We’re like sugar-hyped elementary students the day after trick-or-treat. For example, there’s a growing movement to speed up the game of baseball. People say it’s too slow, as if that’s a bad thing! Most teams in football now have the “hurry-up” offense. 

I tell the basketball teams I coach to slow it down and players look at me like I’m looney!

Stores start trying to rush us to Christmas long before the aisles of Halloween decorations are gone. 

We tell our grandkids that they are growing up too fast! TV commercials are now 15 or 30 seconds long so the business has to QUICKLY sell their product! We’re told that we have too much to do and too little time!

It’s an addiction! We can’t slow down! I’m going to suggest that Starbucks serve Decaf one day a week, but not tell anybody! 

A speed fast…yes, that’s what we need! Like when I was growing up and we had phonograph records. We’d play the record at a slower speed and be amazed and amused by how we could make the Beatles sound as they sang “Lucy In The Sky”…slower!

In the Bible a fast usually refocused a person on the mission ahead, the source of life, and separated the important from the unimportant. It was kind of a cleansing event, like a reset button. Things that we thought were essential for life suddenly were seen with new eyes, and other parts of life that were thought to be excess baggage were seen for how utterly essential they were. 

A speed fast. I’m slowly inhaling and exhaling as I say it. 

I think I’ll take a long, slow walk today.

I think I’ll sit and read the newspaper, put my feet up, and read a book.

Maybe Carol and I will go and see the movie “First Man” about Neil Armstrong’s slow first walk on the moon and watch a story about a time past where things seemed to be slower.

I think I’ll take a nap and listen to Classical music!

I think I’ll type with one finger! Oh, wait! That’s how I type anyway!

I think I will stay off of Powers Boulevard and Research Parkway!

Negative Feast or Negative Fast

October 14, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     October 14, 2018

                          

Years ago an amazing woman named Jeannie Dohner came to our church and talked about “The Negative Fast”. Jeannie had dealt with cancer on two different occasions and in the midst of our struggles she had noticed how negative her viewpoint had become about many things that were really blessings. During that second bout with cancer God impressed upon her the idea of “fasting” from the negative. She would not say that the negative fast cured her, but it did set her mind and attitude in a better direction. 

There are plenty of people in this world who feast on the negative. They can see the bad in anything and anyone. They would have found something to gripe about when Jesus fed the 5,000! They get tired of days that are sunny and 72 degrees. Everything in the world is too expensive, even items in the free pile!

Negative people consume our energy; they dent our zest for life. I’m not sure how they got that way. Perhaps some of life’s problems and struggles pounded them for so long that they could no longer see anything positive. Maybe they’re a spitting image of either their mom or their dad! That is, their negativity is a learned behavior. They may even complain about how negative their dad was!

In our political climate there is a buffet of negativity. How many of us have grown tired of the negative political ads that paint one candidate as being the incarnation of evil and the other candidate as the new messiah? Don’t you just want to grind your teeth when one of those TV ads comes on? 

And yet those ads are effective in changing people’s minds! That’s why there’s a never-ending flow of them! “Negative Nellie” wins more times than “Positive Peter”.

Which points to a sad truth! That we are more effected or influenced by the negative than we are by the positive! We tend to believe negative news more than upbeat stories. 

What if we took a fast from the negative this coming week? What would that do for us? What would that do for the people around us? Perhaps, just perhaps, it might even cause the naysayers to stutter on their thoughts.

Maybe, just maybe.

Failure To Lunch

March 2, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                              March 2, 2015

                                                  

I’m trying to slow down! Yes, I talked about that last week…and here goes again! If I repeat myself often enough perhaps i’ll start hearing what I’m writing.

I had my moments last week where I remembered my words and fasted from going fast. I sat and pondered at times, did not speed on the ice-covered roads that covered our area, went to bed at decent hours, and even took in a movie with my wife (McFarland).

But there were the other times! I slowed down enough that a cold caught me.

Here’s my challenge this week. Sometimes fasting from going fast isn’t the answers to all the ills and problems. Another challenge for me this week is not just slowing down, it’s also to not pile the plate high with the week’s buffet of things that need to be done.

The excuse that I so often use is that they need to be done! If I don’t do them they won’t get done! As a pastor it’s easy to get whirlpooled into that trap. Every congregation has people within it who think the pastor has all the time in the world and are very free to assign him something else to do. And most pastors are not good at saying no. It’s the Baptist guilt element rising to the surface, that tells us that we can never do enough for Jesus. Baptist pastors have a hard time with those verses in the Bible where Jesus goes off by himself and takes some time to ponder. We can’t relate!

Last week I had one day that was loaded with this, that, and the other…little of which had any eternal value connected to it…and at about 3:00 I realized I had failed to lunch. Perhaps it was the three month old cookie that I consumed at 10:00 that made me forget, but regardless…lunch came and went and I ne’er noticed!

The tyranny of the urgent will always attempt to keep us from caring for our soul!

One good thing that happened last week was a gathering on Wednesday of a pastor’s group that I highly value. We intentionally take time to be still, reflect, pray, and share. It’s called a “Together in Ministry” group, or TIM group, and it causes me to value the sharing with the saints.

Now I come to another week of possibilities and problems, people in need and people in peril. How will I journey through this week? Reflectively? With eyes seeking glimpses of Him? How will I journey through this week with those who I love the most? With the third grandchild due to emerge into this world any day now will I be able to fast from going fast look enough to celebrate a new gift, a new grace?

I’ll let you know…in a while!

Fasting From Being Fast

February 23, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                         February 23, 2015

                                            

Some people would say that I don’t have to give up “being fast” for Lent. I’ve naturally migrated to that place of slowness. There’s some truth in that…okay, there’s a lot of truth in that. We used to call it “the painful truth.”

But in this season of Lent I’ve been trying to slow down in regards to other areas of my life. Basketball season is always the most hectic, chaotic time of the year for me as I coach two teams, officiate high school games when I’m available (which, my game assignor, this year informed me was not very often!), lead our church’s Buddy Basketball program, while beginning a new year as pastor of a church that is always challenging.

Going fast is a condition for me…kind of like dandruff! A few years ago I took two weeks off after Easter and on Day 14 I finally was slowing my pace.

So I’m intentionally trying to not be fast in the weeks leading up to Easter. How do you do that? I eat soup!

Say what?

I eat soup! It is hard to eat soup fast, especially tomato or chicken noodle. I can’t keep the noodles in the spoon if I try to eat them fast. Soup is a slow food for me…a reminder…to take my time.

I’m also pausing a few times each day to…do nothing…to just sit. I’ve been reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. One small detail hit me about Abraham Lincoln. He would often sit in a chair in front of the fireplace with his long legs crossed and ponder…think…for long periods of time.

Lord knows, Lincoln had more things to worry about than I do, but he still slowed his pace to just sit for a while.

“Sitting for a while” brings back pictures of days gone by back in Oil Springs, Kentucky, where my grandfather…Papaw Dewey Helton, would sit in the swing on the front porch in the evening and watch the cars go by. There were also a few cows in the pasture across the road to look at, but it was a slow pace…a time to sit and jaw jack, tell inflated stories, and respond with amazement at other fish tales.

Soup and sit. Two things to remind me to not be fast. You might call them “simmering moments.” A good stew always needs some time to simmer.

I realize that there are other people around me in hyper-mode, who want to speed me up. I was officiating one of our Buddy Basketball games for the youngest age group Kindergarten through 2nd Grade). They run up and down the court like excited puppies at play time. I don’t move much during those games. As I said to someone, “I don’t have to run after them, because any moment now they’ll be coming back in this direction.”

I’m seeking to stay…not rush after what to others seems urgent…not rush to judgment.

Let me tell you! It’s hard. There are certain decisions that need to be made quickly, but most are saturated with the urgency of personal agendas.

I’m letting things simmer…eating the chicken noodle soup of life…and just sitting for a while!

Pop Fast Update and Finish

May 25, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               May 25, 2014

 

                                  

 

Today is Day 9 of my 7 Day Pop Fast!

Yes, my week without soda pop ended, but I’ve continued to fast from it. It’s more like a routine now. I’m sure I’ll have a can of pop sometime, but what has happened in the past “week plus” is that I’m feeling better. I don’t ache when I get up in the morning nearly as much as I used to. I played basketball yesterday and felt good! I’ve been drinking a lot more water. Perhaps I’ve even lost a couple of pounds…I don’t know…I don’t hover around the scale like its a lottery number that’s about to be revealed.

When I turned sixty on May 5 I felt sixty-five. I just didn’t feel good! I realized that i was whining a lot to myself, like that’s going to help.

I’m not saying that soda abstinence is the answer to all of life’s ills, but I have been thinking more about what I eat and drink. I even let my McDonald’s coupons expire without using them!

I friend of mine wrote me that he had given up soda for Lent this year. He said the first few days were the hardest, but then he didn’t feel the urge nearly as much after that. So…perhaps I’ll keep chugging the bottled water and got for a few more days without an Orange Crush in my hand.

 

The Pop-Fast

May 17, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                May 17, 2014

 

                                              

 

To be honest I’ve already cut back in recent weeks!

But I’m going cold turkey for a week. No soda pop, soda water, Coke, water with sugared fizz…whatever the term is that you use to describe that can in your hand that you just popped the top on.

A week doesn’t seem like much…when you are on Hour #1 of Day #1!

Day #4 in the evening when my wife has just popped some popcorn is a different matter. I was raised with the idea that popcorn could not be eaten without having a cold Pepsi at the same time. It’s the difference between eating a plain hot dog, or a dog with mustard, ketchup, and relish on it.

Hot dogs…there’s another item that I probably need to fast from!

In recent weeks I’ve been thinking more about what I eat and drink. I have a coupon for a free chicken salad at Chick-fil-A to be used this month. I think about that each day at lunch time. It would be a lot healthier for me to have for lunch than some other choices.

What did I proceed to do last week? Used a “buy a Whopper, get one free” coupon one day. Take a year off my lifespan right there! I did get the “Satisfries!” They are “less bad” for you! Notice the terminology we use to justify our bad choices.

The next day I did Panda Express. For some reason Panda seems healthier than Burger King. I’m not sure it is, but I rationalized, and I was hungry when I was rationalizing.

I did penance the next morning and had yogurt with a “cutie”…the orange kind, noy my wife!

Choices! I make them every day. Some days the choice that helps the health of my body is easy. Other days I’m humming the McDonald’s jingle more and more as lunch approaches.

Back to “the pop!” I’m laying off!

I know that it will be a item on sale this coming Memorial Day weekend at the supermarket. I’m even laying off filling my shopping cart with eight cartons each time I go. My daughters remember a Thanksgiving weekend when pop was on sale at K-Mart and I went about ten times during the weekend and got five cartons each time.

I’m going on a “pop-on-sale fast” as well!

I heard one of those statistics on how much sugar we put in our bodies, and the fact that in a few years one out of every three children will end up being diabetic. Perhaps I heard it wrong. It WAS in the midst of the promoting of a new “Wake Up” kind of documentary film. It did, however, catch my ear.

I’ll start with pop. The test for me is whether I can stop putting sugar in my coffee. When I started drinking coffee back in seminary during a semester I was taking Hebrew (An agonizing experience that resulted with my learning how to drink coffee much more than knowing the Hebrew alphabet) I retrieved from my memory bank how a person drinks coffee. My parents drank it each morning with cream and sugar. Thus, that’s how I began drinking it. Perhaps I should go back to drinking Folger’s black. It’s a fairly weak coffee experience anyway!

This week, however, I’m pushing the Sprite to the side. A benefit will be a reduction in the bill when Carol and I go out to eat. I’m so used to getting a Coke or a Sprite that I have barely noticed that most restaurants now secretly take you for two and a half to three dollars. Good Lord! Sheltered Bill still thinks that’s how much a beer is in a restaurant.

For those who are wondering, I dislike beer as much as I love soda pop! I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a Baptist, the son of Baptists, a Baptist minister, or because I simply abhor its taste. 

If you see me in the next few days and I’m looking ragged you’ll know why. I’m coming off a “sugared lifestyle.”

But one question! If I’m fasting from soda pop is it okay to drink something different out of my Coca-Cola glasses, A&W mug, or Orange Crush tumbler?

Soda-free Fast Week

September 13, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                    September 13, 2012

I’m on “hump day” of a week without soda pop. Someone said that it is all downhill from here. It may be, and the dream I’m having at the end of that downhill is sliding into a frosty A&W mug of root beer.

Not that I’m thinking that much about pop, but I’m waiting until Sunday to call my dad because when he answers the phone I always say, “Hey Pops!” Before Sunday my mind might wander after I greet him.

Thankfully the Broncos don’t play until Monday night, because if I hear that term “Orange Crush” one more time I’m going to sugar up!

Perhaps the problem is word association. This morning’s mist reminded me of Sierra Mist. Dr. Phil gets reworded to another “Dr. P.”

Deacons= “Diet ____”

Cream of Wheat= Cream Soda.

R.C. Sproul= RC Cola

I can’t get the song out of my mind: “It’s the real thing! It’s the way that we live…”

Four days in! Give me a high-five and a Nehi!

Why am I fasting from soda drinks? For one, it’s probably better for me…although an ice-cold Pepsi after a good work-out just seems to put all the stars and planets in order. Since this is football season, and I’m coaching middle school, I come home from practice on the verge of dehydration. With some cautionary advice from my wife and youngest daughter, I’ve tried to hydrate when I get home with glasses of water instead of a Grape Crush…or two! So my fast is partially because of the hot weather and the need to get fluids in me.

I’m not fasting from pop because I’ve made a deal with God. Seven days without pop means seven baptisms; or a week without pop will result in spiritual strength that will be astounding. That sounds too much like the televangelist who would ask for $1,000 seed and seemed to insinuate that there would be a $10,000 miracle return.

No, I’m fasting just because I sensed the need. I’ve admired a friend of mine, Mike Oldham, who has changed his eating habits…no, better yet, his daily approach to living…and is in a much better place physically. His discipline speaks to me, even though he doesn’t trumpet it, or be a poster child for some organization that is willing to take part of the credit.

So I decided to do it! It will not cause me to be sin-free this week, or eliminate some of the financial bills that need to be paid, but it will help me to know that one thing in my life doesn’t have control over me.

Perhaps next week I’ll feel led to fast from TV, or red meat, or long sermons.

Maybe I can even work some fasts in about eating oatmeal in the morning, abstaining from salads with light dressings, and staying away from the clearance rack at Target.

But for now I’ll stay with the soda, or…I mean stay away from the soda!

And that’s no Mr. Pibb, I mean fib!