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.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dark Days and Stormy Nights

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand we live in troubling times. Prices are rising while incomes are falling. We’re hearing endless reports of senseless violence, natural catastrophes, and uncertainty in what the future holds. It doesn’t matter which news feed you prefer, the world sees little hope for the future.
But we can be encouraged because God is never caught off-guard or surprised. The Psalmist declares “He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade (Psalm 121:3-5).”
God knows the future. He knows that in life you will be faced by dark days and sleepless nights. He has promised to walk beside us during those dark days and sleepless nights. He will give you the ability to keep going despite the setbacks you experience in life when we trust in Him.
As Christ followers we need to understand we may not be given the explanation for the dark days and sleepless nights, but we have been given His promises. Promises like:
  • The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever (Psalm 121:8).
  • I will never fail you. I will never abandon you (Hebrews 13:5b).
  • The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me (Psalm 118:6)?
  • And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them (Romans 8:28).
Trust in God and trust in His unfailing promises. They will carry you through the dark days and sleepless nights with a joyful spirit, free from bitterness and complaining. Remember whatever happens today: job loss, economic disaster, natural disasters, relationship struggles, rebellious children, health issues, etc. God is at work. He is in control; yes even in the viciousness of the presidential race. God doesn’t sleep so you can. He is light and in Him is no darkness.
Do you believe God’s promises and the Psalmist’s words? "I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on Him. I have put my hope in His word (Psalm 130:5)."

Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel because life has thrown you a curve ball? Are you discouraged about the way life is going for you? If you answered yes to these questions, you will not want to miss Sunday at 9:15 and 11:00 as we begin a new series: Finding Hope When Life Throws You a Curve ball.