Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Top 20 Worriers

Have you ever found yourself worrying? Of course you have. Benenden Health surveyed 2,000 American adults to get a pulse on the 20 biggest worries of American adults. Here are the results:
  1. My stomach/being overweight
  2. Getting old in general
  3. Savings/financial future
  4. Debt
  5. Energy levels
  6. Credit card debt
  7. Paying rent/mortgage
  8. Job security
  9. My diet
  10. Keeping the house clean
  11. Finding a new job
  12. Sex life
  13. General happiness
  14. Wrinkles
  15. Whether not I’m attractive
  16. Physique
  17. Meeting work targets/goals
  18. Whether or not my partner still loves me
  19. Whether my current partner is the right one or if I’ll ever find the right partner
  20. What happens after death
It’s hard for many of us to get out of the worry mindset. Christian psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud states “when your mental map says that nothing you do matters, you stop focusing on the things that you do have control over, things that actually do matter and that can make a difference. When you regain control of yourself, strong results can be obtained, even in crummy environments.”

So how do I get out of the worry mindset? First, take your worry to God. He is the only One who has the power and wisdom to deal with every issue perfectly. He works in our best interest.

Second, memorize Philippians 4:6-7. When you find yourself worrying say “stop” and then recite the verse. If you have a hard time memorizing, take a notecard and write the word “stop” on one side and Philippians 4:6-7 on the other side; keep this notecard handy so that you can pull it out when you start worrying.

Third, replace the worry with something you could be doing the place of worry. Here is a list of things; let me know what you would add to it: smiling, taking a shower, calling up a friend to talk, exercising, doing a random act of kindness, making the bed, reading the Bible, cleaning the kitchen, sweeping the floor, going for a walk, praying, taking a few deep breaths, going to see your doctor, meditating on scripture, organizing the closet.

As the old song says “don’t worry, be happy.”
Pastor Mark
P.S. If love is so natural, why is it so hard? Have you ever been confused, frustrated, blind-sided or otherwise backed up against the wall when it comes to love? If so, you’re in good company. Join us this Sunday at 9:00am or 10:30am as we probe the subject that has confounded philosophers, scientists, poets and pretty much all of us at one point or another.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Anticipation... It's Making Me Wait

Do you anticipate going to church each weekend? I mean, when you consider “getting ready to go to church” this Sunday, what emotions does that phrase evoke in your family? In your heart? In your mind?

Psalm 84:1-2 tells us how the Psalmist longed for the next time he could be in God’s house, worshipping with God’s people. He actually couldn’t wait he was so excited.

May I remind you of a couple of things that will help you to get ready for church? First, get to bed at a descent hour on Saturday night. Second, bring your Bible. God’s Word is to be looked into intently. It is called “the sword of the Spirit.” Who would want to leave home without that?

Third, begin to get spiritually prepared. Spend a few minutes before the service in prayer. That means you have to arrive a few minutes before the service. Ask God to forgive you of any known sins (1 John 1:9). Ask God to use the volunteers who will be serving to bring glory to Him. Ask God to give you the desire to bring your best worship and service to Him. Pray for the worship team. Pray for the pastor to speak clearly and accurately God’s truth.

Forth and finally, connect with others. After all, worship has a corporate aspect to it. The church is to come together and worship. Pray for that person sitting next to you. Pray God will bring people who are disconnected from Christ and the church to First Free. Pray for your friends who need to give Jesus and the church one more try. Invite them to join you.
It’s time to meet with God in His dwelling place. Are you ready?
Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever questioned if you can walk the Christian walk with the strong anti-Christian lures around you? Do you ever feel weak in your faith? If you answered yes to any of these questions join me Sunday at 9:00am or 10:30am for some needed encouragement.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thoughts on Mother's Day

This Sunday is the day in which we recognize our mothers and their contributions to our personal lives and our society. Years ago Erma Bombeck wrote one of the most meaningful tributes to mothers. I have enclosed it for your enjoyment.

When God Created Mothers
Erma Bombeck

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."

And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands."

The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way."

“It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have."

“That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded.

“One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word."

“God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...."

“I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger...and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower."

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.

“But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure."

“Can it think?"

“Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

“There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model."

“It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear."

“What's it for?"

“It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride."

“You are a genius,” said the angel.

Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.”

Lord, help us never to be too busy for mom. If you could take time and great effort for her on the cross in your death, help us to love her while we have her in our life.
P.S.  Have you ever felt manipulated into doing something out of “compassion?” I bet it didn’t feel very loving did it? Join us on Sunday at 9:00am and 10:30am as we dive in and look at the biblical boundaries of compassion. You also won’t want to miss this special Sunday as we honor those amazing women we call mothers.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How Should You Respond?

Have you ever felt like your life is spinning out of control? Do you ever think the world is spinning out of control? Does it seem like you’re going from one major crisis to the next to the next? Ever say “I wish the world or my life would slow down so I could at least catch my breath?”
How should we respond in the midst of crisis? Distress? The short answer is, no surprise: by praying. More than any other writings, the Hebrew and Christian hymn book, the Psalms show us how. From beginning to end you will see the Psalmist actively and fervently praying to God in various difficult and dire circumstances.
How many are my foes! Give me relief from my distress! Listen to my cry for help! Away from me all who do evil! Save and deliver me from all who pursue me! (Sampling from selected Psalms)

Often the Psalmist prays for physical salvation, thanking God for sparing his life, reminding himself of the results of living righteously in contrast to evil doers, and reminding himself of God’s faithfulness and support because of the scriptures.

Let me list 12 things you can do to turn to God in times of trouble and distress. I hope you will look up each reference.

1. Call out to the Lord (Psalm 61:1)
2. Ask for help! (Psalm 70:1)
3. Tell God about your troubles (Psalm 79:4)
4. Admit if you feel abandoned or forsaken (Psalm 89:46-47)
5. Describe what you want God to do (Psalm 90:15)
6. Explain why He should act on your behalf (Psalm 102:18-20)
7. Give a candid appraisal of your enemy (Psalm 109:3)
8. Ask God to put that foe in his place (Psalm 109:6-7)
9. Honestly evaluate your guilt or innocence (Psalm 119:30-31)
10. Confess any sins (Psalm 119:176)
11. Affirm your implicit trust in the Lord (Psalm 121:1-2)
12. Praise God for His deliverance (Psalm 124:6-8)
P.S. Do you struggle with control? Is it hard to allow God to be in the driver’s seat of your life? Join us this Sunday at 9:00am or 10:30am as we probe the subject of surrendering our lives to God.