Welcome to the 2021

21-day-challenge

We’re so thrilled you’re committing the first part of your year to developing yourself spiritually.

WHY ARE WE DOING THIS CHALLENGE?

It happens every year… January 1st comes and we resolve to improve ourselves.  Eat less, exercise more, stop smoking, lose a hundred pounds.  We start the first day of the year with the best intentions. And then the second day of the year comes… and then the third. On average, New Year’s Resolutions are broken by the second Friday of January. We can’t even last two weeks!

Maybe we’re focusing on the wrong things. Have you ever resolved to become a person of prayer? Or read your Bible from cover to cover in six months? Well, maybe not six months… What if we resolve to be the man or woman that God would have us be?  In Galatians 5:22,23 Paul tell us that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” There are many days that I can’t even demonstrate ONE of the fruits.  So much for being like Jesus!

But unlike the annual New Year’s Resolutions—that are made and broken within two weeks—becoming more like Jesus is a constant goal. It’s something we must resolve to do every morning.  Paul tells us “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) So if Christ lives in me—and in you—how do we let Him grow in us and flow from us in 2021?

In the following pages, you’ll find a 21 day devotional guide. Each day has a short reading, a few scriptures, some questions to ask yourself, and a prayer.  To be sure, this isn’t a formula for a holy existence. But it is a guide to help you begin your pursuit of God in 2021.  I encourage you to set aside a specific time and place to meet with God over the next 21 days.  Determine right now to pursue your best spiritual life and hear what God has to say to you. Matthew 6:33 encourages us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” We’re excited to hear what God has for you in 2021!

Darryl Marin

Interim Lead Pastor
The Hills Church

WHAT IS THE 21 DAY CHALLENGE?

The Hills Church invites you to take on the 21 Day Challenge—a focus on putting God first in our lives.

For 21 days, we will commit to communicating with God by praying on our own and together as a church family. To find out more about when and where you can join us for church-wide prayer, go to hillschurch.online.

During this challenge, we will commit to growing closer to God through discipline in the form of fasting food or something else we use on a daily basis, so we can identify God as our true priority.

Along with prayer and fasting, we will commit to getting to know God better through a daily 15-minute devotional which will help us grow in the areas of our lives that matter most to Him.

21 DAYS OF DISCIPLINE

WHY WE FAST

The posture of fasting in its simplest form is about putting God first in our lives. In our fast-paced, ever-evolving world, it’s important to take time to remind ourselves of our true priority. Closeness with God is the one and only thing that can bring us true peace, fulfillment, joy, and assurance.


Fasting is not always a comfortable journey for your physical body, but if you commit yourself to prioritizing God for the next 21 days, you’ll find there’s nothing better for the health of your spirit and your relationship with God than to intentionally put Him first.

Joel 2:12–14 MSG: “Come back to me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins! Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe.”

Matthew 22:37–38 HCSB: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command.”

Romans 12:2 NKJV: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

HOW WE FAST

You may be happy to know there is more than one kind of fast. Especially if you’ve never fasted before, we advise you to consult your doctor before taking on a complete fast or certain selective fasts. Here are four primary ways to fast:

Complete Fast

This fast calls for drinking 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 abstain from meat, sweets, and bread, only consuming 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 sunrise to sunset.

Soul Fast

This fast is common for those who do not have much experience fasting food, who have health issues that prevent them from fasting food, or who wish to refocus certain areas of their lives that are out of balance. For instance, some might select to abstain from using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast, carefully bringing that element back into their lives in an orderly fashion at the conclusion of the fast.

21 DAYS OF DISCIPLINE

WHY WE PRAY

Every good relationship starts with the same key elements—love, trust, honesty, and communication—and the same concepts apply to our relationship with God. Prayer is all about connecting with God through a personal relationship with Him. God speaks to us through His Word, but He also wants us to talk back to Him.

It’s through prayer that we express our love and thanks to Him, we ask Him for the things we need, or we just let Him know where we are struggling and need His help. God is never far away from you. In every little moment of every day, He is right beside you with His love fully focused on you—so just talk to Him.

HOW WE PRAY

At the end of each of the 21 days, we have provided some simple prayers for you to pray. We encourage you to continue praying beyond just the words we’ve given you as a starting point. You don’t have to say or do anything that you wouldn’t normally say or do when you’re talking to someone—just be yourself! God wants to hear your honest prayers. Share your thoughts, your frustrations, what you’re thankful for, what you need—He wants to hear it, so He can respond! God doesn’t want polished, eloquent prayers; He just wants to hear from you. He wants to have your undivided focus as you speak to Him throughout your day.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16–17 ESV it says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God.”

Pray when you’re getting ready in the morning, when you’re on your way to work or school, as you’re walking to your car or the next destination, when you’re driving, and everywhere else. God is with you all of the time, so anytime is a great time for prayer!

DAILY READINGS

Daily prayer will be available at 6 am each day, starting January 11th.