Thursday, October 27, 2016

What is your world view?

We are twelve days away from the presidential election and I want to encourage you to fulfill your civil responsibility and cast an informed vote. By an “informed vote” I mean: Do you know the key issues facing our nation and where each candidate stands on these issues?

I am not telling you who to vote for. I have friends in our church who are democrats and friends who are republicans, and I am for my friends. I want to minister to both sides of the aisle.

I am calling you to adopt a Biblical worldview as you consider your vote. Everyone thinks about the world through a particular lens or filter. This is a ‘worldview.’ Believe it or not, most Christians have a non-Christian worldview.

Today, I want to focus on 4 worldviews.
1.        Materialism. All that matters is the physical, material world. Therefore, what matters most is money and the acquiring of possessions. Economics trumps everything else. But the Bible says ‘a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ In other words, your valuables don’t determine your value.
2.       Hedonism. The philosophy that whatever feels good must be good. Proverbs 21:17 says ‘the pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.’ There is more to life than having fun and being comfortable. These are the byproducts of living the purposeful life for which you were created. They are not the goal of life.
3.       Individualism. It’s a ‘me-first’ view. America was built on individualism. But God didn’t create you to live for you. You were made for something far bigger than yourself. Read Philippians 2:4-5. Individualism destroys marriages, relationships, and makes us selfish to the point of making destructive decisions.
4.       Collectivism. Collectivism is also called socialism. This worldview says government is god. It basically says government should control everything.
Jesus explained the limited role of government in Matthew 22:21 when he said ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but give to God what belongs to God.’ I should give my government my respect, my taxes, and obey the law of the land.

But who is ‘Caesar’ in a democracy? It’s the people, the voters. The power in America is not to reside with the judicial, legislative, or the executive branches. It is to reside with the people who elect politicians.

As Christians, we need to know the Bible teaches a difference between God and government. A Biblical worldview rebukes any belief that God and country are equally important. So what is the Biblical worldview? Tune in next week as I attempt to answer that question and give three areas that are hated by this world.


Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott
PS- I have struggled with fear, anxiety, and depression throughout most of my adult life. Come this Sunday as I will share my journey using the life of a man just like us named Elijah. Bring a friend with you who might be struggling with fear, anxiety, and depression. See you at 9:15 and 11:00 this Sunday.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Are You Hiding?

After Adam and Eve rebelled and disobeyed God, the first thing they did was to cover themselves and hide from the Lord (Genesis 3:7-8). Since then we all hide and cover up the real us. We live behind a veil of secrecy. We pretend to know more than we know. We act like we are better than we are. We present to others only the presentable parts of our lives.

It’s in our nature to cover, deny, and fake it with the hope that we might eventually succeed. We conceal our struggles. We cover our inadequacies behind a mask of perfection. We are too proud to admit our defects, too egotistical to acknowledge our shortcomings, and too afraid of rejection. Besides the pride and fear, sadly, we sometimes hide because we find sordid and bizarre pleasure within the shadows. As a result our love of self and our delight in the hiding becomes the fruit of putting our needs and our desires above the needs of others and a desire for God.

Is there any value in living a humble and transparent life? Yes, there is. Transparency is humbling but comforting because you find that you are not alone in the struggle. For the record, being transparent with others doesn’t hinder your relationships, it enhances them. Transparency is challenging but as you confess your sins and struggles, great things happen and God begins to heal your soul (Psalm 51:17). Transparency is where your freedom is found. Walking in the light is liberating (1 John 1:5).

If transparency is good (and it is) and if we fail at it (and we do), then why hide? Why do we waste so much energy on pretending to be something we are not? Why do we attempt to cover up our physical, emotional, and spiritual illnesses?

Are you hiding? Are you covering up? If so, may I suggest “Stop it.” The more we know who we are in Christ and the deeper we understand His unquenchable love for us, the freer we are to admit to one another how puny we are and how great God is. The only way to become the man or woman God wants you to become is to stop hiding, be authentic, and be transparent. It’s worth it.

Mark "The Bru" Brunott
P.S. Bad habits are hard to break- and they’re even harder when we don’t even realize we’ve created a habit out of something. Join us this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00 as we learn about the danger of one habit that causes us to sin every time: procrastination. Come learn how to beat procrastination before it beats you!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

How to Grow the Chruch

Jesus wants His church to grow. This is seen in Scripture over and over again.
  • “I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
  • “Go therefore into all the world and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19).
  • “You shall be my witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon you in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the remotest parts of the world” (Acts 1:8).
  • “[God our Savior] wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
The first church in Acts 2 demonstrated God’s desire for numerical and spiritual growth. It provides a platform of growth manifested by the Grace of God to the church of all ages. This pattern includes: growing up into spiritual maturity and coming to know God more intimately. This maturity is developed through teaching the Bible and prayer (Acts 2:42).

Growing together in maturity of relationships marked by committed love and practical sharing includes sharing of material goods (Acts 2:44, 46). We want everybody at First Free in a Life Group to experience this type of growth and sharing.

Growing in service to the larger community at First Free means we must grow in compassionate and costly service to the needs of the world. That is why we desire to be ‘outward focused’ to the community of Lincoln.

Growing larger in number occurs as more people respond to the reality of the coming of the Kingdom of God. Acts 2:47 says ‘and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’

That is why we are always encouraging you to invite your unchurched friends. Every empty seat at First Free represents a person that God wants us to reach with the Gospel. This Sunday, October 16, is ‘Invite a Friend Day.’ While we should invite people every Sunday to come with us to church, we like to emphasize this invitation on certain Sundays throughout the year.

Cindy and I are inviting four friends. We hope they can all come, but they felt honored even to be asked. God wants to use you to be part of building His church. It’s not too late even for this week to invite someone to sit with you and hear the message God has for them. Pray for those who will be invited that the Spirit of God would show them their need of a Savior.


Mark Brunott
P.S. Do you have some things in your past that prevent you from moving forward? Are there any habits in your life you would like to discard because they’re unhealthy? Is there an unhealthy emotion that raises its ugly head to discourage you? We all have obstacles that trip us up. Invite a friend and join us for Friends Day and discover how to overcome those obstacles that trip us up. See you at 9:15 or 11:00!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Invite a Friend - 2

With ‘Invite a Friend’ day approaching October 16th, I wanted to challenge you as I am challenging myself to invite a friend or two to church.  Last week, Freshly Bru’d gave some specific things to say in terms of how to invite a friend.  This week I want to focus on ‘why’ we should invite a friend.

First, we want our guests to connect with a Biblical community to witness how we worship God together, serve one another and love one another.  The church is the bride of Christ.  It is not to be messed with, minimized, put down, ignored, underrated or negated.

We ought to love the church as Christ loves the church.  We know that there are so many things that the church can do, and Biblical community is one that it does best.  Church is a hub for spiritual discovery and growth and we want guests to engage in that.

Second, we understand that guests will get the invitation to follow Jesus through the sermon and our general community environment.  We all want our friends to hear about God’s love through Jesus and experience that.  Can you imagine heaven seeing one of your unchurched friends there because it all began with your invitation?  Wow!

Third, we believe what we have at First Free will meet their deepest needs, help them grow, rest, learn, gain passion and strengthen their life direction.

I once heard a pastor say, “I have never seen an empty seat get saved.”  I happen to believe he is right.  We ought to invite people with the intention of them hearing the gospel.  Every filled seat represents a person reached.  Every empty chair represents a person yet to be reached.

If I had it my way, every time we open our doors we would be at max capacity.  This Sunday you will receive 3 personal invitations to use to invite your friends.  Use them.  Cindy and I have at least three we’ve already invited.  I hope everyone will be challenged to do the same.

Mark "The Bru" Brunott
P.S. One of the greatest curve balls that we will experience in life is ‘death.’ We all have lost loved ones.  We all know what it means to grieve.  This Sunday morning at 9:15 and 11:00 we will examine how to grieve and discover hope in the process.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Invite a Friend!

If you are anything like me, you wholeheartedly want to see everyone you know sitting in the chair next to you on Sunday morning.  You know how exciting it would be to sit next to your dad, coworker, friend or the employee you see every day in your activities.

You are sold on the mission God has given to the church of introducing people to a personal relationship with Jesus.  God probably has brought somebody to your mind in reading this Freshly Bru’d.

While you can and should invite your friends, any Sunday, at First Free we pick a couple of days out of the year to emphasize an ‘Invite a Friend Sunday.’  Our next invite a friend Sunday is October 16th.  A series begins that day on “Overcoming Obstacles That Trip Us Up.”

However, you may recognize a fear rising up in you when extending the invitation.  Perhaps you have thoughts like ‘Will they think I’m weird for inviting them?’ or ‘I know they probably won’t come anyway,’ or ‘I don’t know what to say.’

Let me give you a couple of suggestions to help you overcome these fears.  Let me share with you how you can naturally invite someone to church in a way that does not feel forced or unnatural.

First, categorize the relationships you have and then adjust your invitation to be appropriate within the context of each relationship.  You wouldn’t invite a family member to church the same way you would a casual acquaintance.

Here are examples of an invitation for different types of relationships for those who are close to you: “Hey, Steve, I’ve told you about how my church has been impacting me positively in my life.  Why don’t you come this Sunday with me and we’ll grab lunch after?” or “Sara, you know how I told you I have been kind of depressed since my dad died.  We are doing a message series and I think you would like it.  It’s about overcoming obstacles in life that trip us up.  I think this series will not only help me but you as well.  Why don’t you come and we will go to brunch afterwards?”

Those who are not close to you (co-workers, daycare workers, lawn care service people, etc.): “Bob, you do such a great job on our lawn and I’m not sure if you have any plans for this Sunday, but I have been attending a really cool, relevant church and I’d like to ask you to come and check it out.”

Those you do not know (people you sit next to at a restaurant, or your waitress, or at Starbucks, etc.), “So, I am curious. Do you attend a church? If you are looking for a relevant place, I’d like to invite you to church on Sunday.”

Don’t let this year pass you by without rising to the challenge of impacting the spiritual lives of the people God has placed in your life.  Imagine the day when someone you know, that you invited, is worshipping God as they stand next to you.


Pastor Mark "The Bru"

P.S. Have you ever felt like life was spinning out of control? Have you struggled with knowing how to maintain control? What if there was a way to be prepared to walk through life no matter what came your way? Join us this Sunday at 9:15 am or 11:00 am to discover the way to maintain control when you’re tempted to lose control.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Did you know that you have influence? Every one of us influences someone. And God expects us to be good stewards of that influence for His Kingdom and for His Glory.

You may think ‘I don’t have influence in somebody’s life.’ If you are a parent, employer, employee, friend, neighbor, classmate, teacher, student, peer, child, spouse, human being… you have influence.

What you do with the influence you currently have will determine whether or not your influence grows more. You influence people every day through a smile or frown, with your conversation, and with your silence. You can influence with email, text, and a host of other actions.

In order to understand what influence is, it’s helpful to understand what influence is not. Influence is not necessarily authority, fame, or wealth. You can have these things and not have influence for the kingdom of God.

When God gives you influence, it isn’t for the purpose of making you rich or famous, especially for your own pleasure. He gives us influence because He wants people to help other people. It’s about others. And the blessings of your influence are not for you to consume, but for you to share.

The question God will ask every human being in His judgement is ‘What did you do with my Son, Jesus?’ God will ask everyone who is a member of His family, ‘What did you do with the time, resources, talents, gifts, and influence that I gave you?’

Are you influencing for God’s glory? Are you influencing people in your family, at work, in the neighborhood, in the classroom, or at play? Are you influencing children and youth in the church? Are you influencing the fatherless, the isolated, the poor, and the oppressed?

We are all called to be influences for God’s kingdom and for God’s glory!

Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. Do you ever feel like you’re drifting away from God? Are you mad at God for allowing something to happen in your life that you can’t understand? Do you feel like giving up the faith and you would be living a better life without God? If you can identify with these feelings, I want to encourage you to be at church this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Life Groups: The Place for Authenticity

Life Groups start this coming week! Whether you’re returning to your group or trying a new one, get the most out of your Life Group by doing life together. One of the key ingredients to doing life together effectively is authenticity.

The truth of the matter is we often fake the real us because we are scared to uncover what is really in us. We pretend to know more than we know. We act like we are better than we are. We share only the presentable parts of our lives and feign a perfection that we do not possess. We cover and deny our sin with the hope that we might actually succeed spiritually. We conceal our struggles. We cover our inadequacies behind a mask of perfection.

It would be better for you and your Life Group to admit:
  • I am broken, but I also am being transformed into the image of Christ.
  • I am weak, but He is strong. His power never fails.
  • I am not perfect, but I am loved. Nothing can change His unfailing love towards me.
  • I limp and stumble, but God never gives up on me.
We are in this journey together. We need each other. We are to stimulate, urge, and encourage others to love and do good deeds. You can’t do that well if you are not transparent.

Everyone struggles with pride, fear of rejection, and “What would others think if they knew the real me?” Life Group is the safe place where I can be the real me, and I don’t need to fear those doing life with me.

Why do we insist on pretending to be something we are not? Why do we waste so much energy on propping up a false image of ourselves? It’s okay to be authentic. It is good to be honest. It’s always best to be real.

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. When life throws you a curveball how do you respond? What is the most important question I can ask myself when I encounter a curveball? Join us this Sunday at 9:15 and 11:00 as we continue learning how to find hope when life throws curveballs.