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July 8 – August 17

There’s something that happens when you set aside a season of your life to seek the face of God. A mountain top or wilderness season where distractions are diminished. Though we cannot live at the top of the mountain or in the quiet of the wilderness, we can journey there for a season.

Every summer for the past 7 years, we’ve set aside 40 Days for a season of increased spiritual intensity. This won’t be easy. The 40 Days is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You can sign up to participate and be updated throughout the 40 Days.

Prayer Venues

We will be hosting prayer every Wednesday night during the 40 Days of Focus at both campuses. Prayer will be from 7:00-8:00pm and is open for everyone to attend. The specific dates for the Prayer Nights are:
July 10
July 17
July 24
July 31
August 7
August 14

East Campus
7000 Destiny Drive
Raleigh, NC 27604
Apex Campus
2186 N Salem Street
Apex, NC 27523

FASTING

The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it hits the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.

Types of Fasts

Types of Fasts

Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.

Complete Fast
In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
Selective Fast
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
Partial Fast
This fast is sometimes called the “Jewish Fast” and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sunup to sundown.
Soul Fast
This fast is a great option if you do not have much experience fasting food, have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast.
Tools for The 40
Pastor Mike’s Essential Tools for Maximum Impact:
A Bible – NIV or NLT are recommended translations. I usually read from the NLT during my sermons on the weekends. I grew up with the NIV as my primary translation, so I still study in both the NLT and NIV. The translation is not of primary importance as much as just the simple act of reading the Bible regularly. If you are unable to follow along with the NIV or NLT, “The Message” is a translation that was recently written by a great author Eugene Peterson. I don’t encourage everyone to make “The Message” their primary source of study but it does sometimes help us understand the more culturally relevant material in today’s terms.
A journal – At least 40 pages worth. I have used the same kind of journal now for years. Three or four times a year I make the $20 investment in these Moleskine journals. I have tried several different kinds but these red ones seem to keep me on track to write my prayers, dreams and goals on a regular basis. I have the desire to be able to leave a handwritten legacy for my grandchildren, knowing how technology-driven they will be. You can use an online journal or blog platform like Tumblr or WordPress, if that’s what comes easy to you. For all my electronic note-taking and journaling, I use Evernote. Evernote has every single one of my sermons stored, so I could access a message or note at any time from anywhere that has Internet access. I will say this, there is nothing like the feeling of placing an actual pen to paper when it comes to time with God. We will have free journals for anyone participating in the fast.
A reading plan – I have always been better with a clear plan. The reading plan is designed to help you stay on track to reach a certain goal. If you log into www.Bible.com you will find a ton of great reading plans for you to choose from. These plans come equipped with mobile reminders, email reminders and accountability options so that you can stay on track during the 40 days. I will be attempting to read the entire New Testament portion of the Bible over the next 40 days. I think it is a great place for someone who has ample time to read an average of 8 chapters of the Bible per day. Another option for those looking for a little lighter load in regards to reading scripture, is 1 chapter in Proverbs, 1 chapter in Psalms and 1 chapter in John per day.
https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/867-the-40-day-nt-challenge
https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/521-40-days-of-revival
https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/495-restart-stepping-out-in-faith
 
A prayer circle – The 40 days of Focus is designed to be personal but not individual. I know first hand how lonely something like this can be. A prayer circle is a group of two or three other people of the same gender that serves as your daily and constant accountability partners. They will know your goals and requests during this journey more than anyone else. These people are assigned to help you as you help them. Whether it’s a quick email, text or phone call, their job is to be closely connected to you at all times during the 40. My desire by the end of the 40 is that you would have a new solid set of friends that you could call on at any time.
 
A playlist – If you have been around our church for any given amount of time, you know how much we love music. 50% of our time on Sunday is spent singing and worshiping God. This ancient practice does something in the spirit. I have created a public playlist on Spotify with some of my favorite music to listen to while praying, reading and worshiping. This might not be your preference of music but it is a great start.  
Looking for direction?
40 Directional Questions:
These 40 questions are designed to help you understand where the areas in your life that might need to most change are. This questionnaire is not a test and will not be graded. This is just a tool for you to use that will help you set a plan in place for the next 40 days. If you answer these honestly and thoroughly, you will see the areas in your life that need the most attention. Once they are identified, you can then begin to ask God to take those areas and transform you into the person he wants you to be.
  1. If you could identify your greatest struggle, what do you think it would be?
  2. What would you give up today if you knew you would never have the desire to pick it up ever again?
  3. Are there patterns in your life that need adjusting?
  4. Is there a significant amount of time spent doing unhealthy things?
  5. Have there been lies you were told that you have come to believe?
  6. What is one characteristic you would like for people to remember you by?
  7. How do you measure progress in your spiritual life?
  8. Are there small steps you can take today that will get you to a healthier spiritual state?
  9. Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt more passionate about your walk with Christ? If so, why do you think the passion faded?
  10. Would the people in your life consider you a person who prays? If not, how can that be changed?
  11. Do you find yourself wanting to be able to reference the Bible during daily conversations but are scared that you’re not informed enough?
  12. Are there people in your life you would consider yourself accountable to? If not, who would those people be?
  13. Do you think having someone in your life that was fully aware of your struggle would help you overcome it?
  14. Have you ever experienced a time when God spoke to you clearly? Explain that time?
  15. Are there any specific settings when Gods voice seems to be more identifiable?
  16. When was the last time you intentionally set aside some time in those settings to listen for His voice?
  17. Can you make some time every week for God to be able to speak to you?
  18. Is there a certain album or set of songs that you seem to connect with God through the most?
  19. When was the last time you wrote down thoughts that God spoke to you?
  20. Do you own a journal or an app that you could track your thoughts with?
  21. Have you ever just written out your story on how you came to know Christ?
  22. Is there something in your life that isn’t necessarily bad but highly time consuming? If so, list them out.
  23. Can you picture yourself going without that thing or activity for 40 days?
  24. Would replacing the time you spend with that activity with prayer and meditation help your relationship with Christ?
  25. Add up all the time you spend doing the thing  that you would like to replace, how many hours does that total?
  26. Can you see yourself setting that same amount time aside for prayer, reading, meditation and journaling?
  27. When was the last time you took a 30-minute walk or jog to clear your mind of distractions?
  28. Would a 40-minute walk help you better get in touch with what God is speaking to you?
  29. Do you intentionally avoid change? Why do you think that is?
  30. What is the most intimidating thing about these 40 days?
  31. Do you have any major physical needs that you would like to see God heal in the next 40 days?
  32. Do you have any major decisions that you need clarity on over the next 40 days?
  33. Do you have any family members or close friends that you have been praying for? List their names here.
  34. Are there in financial needs you need met miraculously over the next 40 days? If so, list them here.
  35. Is there any tension between you and a friend, family member or co-worker that you would like to see resolved over the next 40 days?
  36. Are there changes you have been putting off that you would like to see happen over the next 40 days? If so, list them out.
  37. Are you committed to seeing this thing through to the end?
  38. Are you comfortable with allowing God to really transform your heart and rearrange your priorities over the next 40 days?
  39. Are there areas of your life that you are ready to surrender to him over the next 40 days?
  40. Are you ready?