Thursday, January 28, 2016

What do you do when you're discouraged?

Life has its high points and low points, ups and downs, and encouragements and discouragements. This issue of Freshly Bru’d is going to focus on those lows, downs, and discouraging times. What do you do when you are discouraged?

First, you need to determine what is causing the discouragement. Maybe you’re fatigued or out of energy. Maybe you are trying to shoulder the pressures, problems, and challenges of everybody else at home or at work.

Take a deep breath and transfer the stress off of your shoulders and place it on God’s. Jesus said “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Maybe you need to take a vacation, start a regular exercise program, start watching your nutrition, or develop a hobby to help you. But it all starts with transferring the burden from you to God.

Now maybe you are discouraged because you feel like you’ve failed your family, your co-workers, or failed your dreams. If this is the cause of the discouragement, listen to God’s word. “There is, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” God does not condemn you. He loves you. He is on your side. The Bible says “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Maybe you’re discouraged because of fear. Perhaps a fear that things will not turn out as you have prayed, a fear of the unknowns in life, a fear that you are undeserving of any kind of blessing, or fear of too much responsibility in a given situation.

Whatever the fear, you can choose to resist the discouragement. Say, “God, help me get my eyes off the fear, off the circumstance, and keep my eyes on You.” Tension in life is a warning that you have taken your eyes off the Lord. When you get tense, it’s God saying, “You’ve lost your focus.”

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”

Resist the devil and his discouragement. He will do whatever it takes to divert you, discourage you, and defeat you in hopes to destroy you. “Resist the devil and his tactics and he will flee from you.”

Pray this prayer: Heavenly Father, I am discouraged today because of (name the discouragement). I need a touch from Your loving hands today. Teach me to transfer the burdens off of my shoulders and place them upon Yours. Help me realize that sometimes You have to make me lie down in green pastures in order to get my attention. Help me spend time by those still waters that will restore my soul. Grant me a new focus. Renew my strength, my mind, my purpose. Encourage my heart today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

P.S. What do the bread and cup represent in Communion? How is God’s presence experienced in Communion? Join us Sunday at 9:15 and 11:00 as we focus on Communion.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What Do You Think?

As a regular reader of Freshly Bru’d, you may have gathered that I love to read about trends, directions, and tendencies of churches. I came across an interesting article written by Phil Cooke who is a media producer and strategist. He says that as he looks at the direction of the culture and the shaping of trends, here are some things we can look for in 2016. As I list these ask yourself ‘What do I think about this?’
  • First, people in churches will be looking for deeper answers to their lives rather than how-to and self-help messages. More pastors are speaking for an hour going verse by verse. What do you think?
  • More people will be looking for a local church. They don’t want to drive 30 miles to the mega church but want a church that is part of their local community. What do you think?
  • Polarized Politics will be the perfect opportunity to offer a better way. Cooke claims that as the left goes further left and the right further right, people will get more disenchanted with the answers offered by the government. This gives Christians the opportunity to tell people where the true answer of life is found. What do you think?
  • It is time to get serious about social media. Churches must make an impact online because social media is here to stay no matter how much we like or dislike it. You will be able to have tremendous influence upon people through this medium. What do you think?
  • People want more theological and distinctive teaching than has been experienced in the last few years. Accommodating our theology into the culture will no longer be popular. If we, as Christians, are no more distinctive than the Kiwanis Club, then what’s the point? What do you think?
  • Themes of freedom in Christ, overcoming fear, joy, building better families will become very popular in 2016. What do you think?


P.S. Ever wonder where you could find some additional money in your current budget? Ever feel trapped in debt and don’t know how to get out? Come this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00 and experience the road to financial freedom.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What Drives You?

What drives you? No, I’m not talking about a car or other forms of transportation. I am referring to what guides your life- what directs your life- what controls your life? Is it circumstances? Is it values? Is it emotions? The five most common drives are:
1. Guilt- Some people spend their entire lives running from regrets, hiding their shame, are manipulated by memories, or imprisoned by past mistakes. This drive will sabotage any hope for success.

2. Resentment- Some people hold on to hurts and pains. They clam up and internalize their anger or blow up and explode. Resentment always hurts you more than it does the person you resent. You simply are unable to move on in life because you are stewing in the past.

3. Fear- People are driven by fear because of a traumatic experience, unrealistic expectations, or failure. These people often miss great opportunities because they are afraid to venture out. They are trapped in the safety of their insecurities, avoiding risks at all costs.

4. Materialism- For some, the desire to acquire becomes the goal of their lives. These people live with the misconceptions that having more will make me ‘happy,’ ‘secure,’ or ‘important.’ They often find themselves bored until something newer, bigger, and/or better comes along. This drive creates a miserable existence.

5. Approval- This drive is when you are constantly trying to earn the approval of parents, spouses, children, teachers, and friends. Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God’s best for your life.
All of the above ‘drives’ lead to the same dead end: unused potential, unnecessary stress, and an unfulfilled life.

Every one of us needs to look past the problems, and challenge ourselves to reach the fullness of the potential God desires for us. We need to discover and embrace His purpose for our lives.

Jeremiah 29:11 affirms ‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, plans to give you a future and a hope.’

God’s plans for us are always for our good. He gives our life purpose. If we patiently and obediently wait for Him, He will most certainly fulfill His promises to us and purposes for us in a way that’s above and beyond all that we ask or imagine.

Romans 8:29 states God’s purpose for your life. ‘For those whom He foreknew, He also predestines to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.’

Becoming more like Jesus is God’s will and purpose for you. This is what should drive us, control us, guide us, and direct us. This will give your life motion, meaning, and delight. Live your life with purpose.


P.S. Is your financial life in trouble? Would you like a plan to create more financial freedom? Do you want to discover how to be a faithful steward pleasing God with your finances? Join us this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00 AM as we discover how to get unstrapped, unstuck, and financially free.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Happy New Year! The first edition of Freshly Bru’d in 2016 is committed to Bible Engagement. 90% of church goers in America desire to please and honor Jesus in all they do. Yet, when asked how often they personally (not as part of a church worship service) read the Bible:
  • 19% say every day
  • 26% say a few times a week
  • 14% say they read the Bible once a week
  • 22% say once a month or a few times a month
  • 18% say rarely/never
Bible engagement has an impact in just about every area of spiritual growth. You can follow Christ and see Christianity as your source of truth, but if that truth does not permeate your thoughts, aspirations, and actions, you are not engaging the truth.

Take a look at the above categories. Where would you place yourself? Remember you simply won’t grow if you don’t know God and spend time in His word.

Since a new year is a time of resolve, why not join me in the resolve to read God’s word daily? Why not be part of the 19% category? If you missed the last few days, start today with a new resolve.

What helps me personally is to set a designated time each day, go to a quiet place, pray ‘open my eyes that I might see wonderful truths from your word’, and begin reading. Currently, I am reading through the Gospels.

Whatever you read, get started today.

Pastor Mark Brunott
P.S. Feeling strapped financially? Are you still climbing your way out of debt because of the holidays? Do you think you’re doing pretty well in the management of your money? Whatever you’re feeling, don’t miss Sunday’s message on “Strapped: Walk Before You Run”. Service times are 9:15 and 11:00 AM. Bring a friend with you!