Monday, November 21, 2016

Let's Change Together

read an article this week that hit me between the eyes. It was written by Tim Parsons, an executive Pastor at First Assembly Community Church. I would like to attempt to summarize what he was writing about.
He started by saying change is a function of growth. Churches, organizations, things, people cannot grow unless they change. The reason this hit me between the eyes is: I like consistency. I’m prone to just keep doing the things the same way I’ve been doing. Can’t we grow as a church without change? As much as I wish we could- we cannot.
Why is change so hard for us? Parsons suggests 5 things:
1.        I don’t want to. It may be because we’re obstinate or don’t agree with change. But we cannot grow without a willingness to change.
2.       I don’t see the value. To see the value we have to see the bigger picture of what God wants to accomplish through us.
3.       I’m comfortable. We all know how much hard work is involved in changing anything. To help us break through this resistance to change, we must see ‘there’ is better than ‘here.’ That makes it easier to leave my place of comfort and move to that place.
4.       We’ve tired that before. Sometimes what didn’t work in the past may work now because the culture is constantly changing. Perhaps something was missing back then that is not missing now. It is worth the risk of change to determine if that ‘something’ was missing in the past.
5.        It’s too much work. This is similar to our comfort zones mentioned in number 3. Change does demand us to work harder because change brings with it new systems, new processes, new personalities, and a new focus.
I so desire for us to learn and grow and change together. I want us to do whatever change is necessary to accomplish the mission. The soul of men and women, boys and girls, are at stake. We must see people introduced to Christ and have their lives changed from the inside-out. Their eternities hang in the balance. I can’t be comfortable with where we are. I hope you can’t be comfortable either.

I desire disciples to be fully devoted and obedient to Christ. Growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus is a far better ‘there’ than ‘here.’

I desire to see First Free be a greater light in the community of Lincoln, as a church that would be missed if we weren‘t a part of our city.

These desires of mine cannot be realized without your help in fulfilling our mission. Change is directly tied to our mission and if we don’t change, it means that we will not be fulfilling our mission and could, in a worst-case scenario, become extinct.

Let’s change together!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Presidential Prayer

The day before the Presidential election I received my favorite blog by James Emery White, Pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC. The title of his blog caught my attention: A Presidential Prayer. I would like to pass on some highlights from James Emery White’s prayer. He reminds us that this is how we should pray for our president, regardless if they were our person of choice or not.

To the President:
  • I want you to know that I will be praying for you. Not praying against you or about you, but for you.
  • I will be praying for you from my position as a father and grandfather that you have the foresight to think through what your decisions will mean for future generations.
  • I will be praying as a citizen of the U.S., that you will seek wisdom from God and humbly submit yourself to His leadership as you lead our nation through economic turbulence, domestic divides, and cultural diversities.
  • I will be praying for you as a mentor of the global population, that you will work with other well-intentioned leaders from around the world as we face environmental dangers, wars, rumors of wars, and humanitarian crisis.
  • I will be praying for you as a follower of Christ, that you will encourage faith in God to flourish and never allow deeply held spiritual convictions to become a matter of ridicule, but instead encourage everyone to grant them a respectful hearing, even if they go against the political policy of your party.
  • It is my pledge and my obligation as a follower of Christ to pray for you.

(1 Timothy 2:1-2) I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

PS- Do you ever think about the future? What will it look like? Where will you be? Does God really hold the future in His hands? Are you sure? This Sunday at 9:15 and 11:00 we will be talking about Jesus’ coming to earth again. Is it really going to happen? See you Sunday, and bring a friend!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

World Views Pt. 2

Last week I reviewed four basic worldviews that most people are party to, including Christians: Materialism, Hedonism, Individualism, and Collectivism (socialism). Today, I want to focus on a view of the culture, a view of the world, framed by scripture. My goal in this article is to challenge us all to see the world through this lens. God revealed the truth to us, giving us a picture of Himself, humanity, and eternity.
A Biblical worldview usually doesn’t upset anyone when you talk about helping the poor, caring for the sick, telling the truth and being fair, respecting and loving everyone, and taking care of the environment. But there are three aspects of the Biblical worldview that are hated by this world. And most Christ followers clam up because we’re afraid to stand up in the areas that are controversial. These three areas are:

1.        The sanctity of life. God has a purpose for every unborn baby. God planned your life before you were born. Your parents lives before they were born. A Biblical worldview informs us that before God created the universe, He thought of you. There are accidental parents, but there are no accidental babies. There are illegitimate parents, but there are no illegitimate babies. God is bigger than human sin.
 We are to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. The people in our culture least capable to speak up for themselves are the unborn- the 60 million Americans who would be here if they hadn’t been aborted. Every life is precious.
2.       The sanctity of sex. Sex isn’t bad. Sex isn’t dirty. Sex isn’t wrong. Sex is holy. Sex is God’s idea but it was created for marriage. To bond a husband and wife together and to be a model between Christ and the church.
 Hebrews 13:4 “Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.”
 God’s instructions have never changed. Premarital sex is unacceptable to God. Living together without getting married and the commitment of marriage and the blessing of God is unacceptable. Adultery is unacceptable to God. Pornography and the objectification of a man’s or woman’s body is unacceptable to God. Same sex sex is unacceptable to God. These things have always been unacceptable to God and always will be.
 If you are guilty of any of these sins, the church is for you because we are all forgiven sinners. You can find forgiveness through a relationship with Jesus and healing in the context of a loving and accepting church family.
3.       The sanctity of marriage. The Bible is very clear that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life. That is God’s intended, original design. Here again maybe you have violated God’s intent. He forgives you and will set you on the right pathway if you allow Him to.

There are many issues in life where people of goodwill disagree. There is no health plan in the Bible so we can disagree on an issue like that. There is no economic recovery plan for a nation, so we can disagree on that. There may be Biblical guidelines to follow in those kinds of issues, and we should strive to do so. But when it comes to the sanctity of life, marriage, and sex- these are non-negotiable. We are called by God to stand up for these things. God’s world is to be our first and final authority; it is the lens by which you view the culture. Will you stand for truth even when it is unpopular and is met with disapproval? John 7:13 states ‘No one had the courage to speak favorably about Jesus in public.’ Will you?

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

PS- Does your current environment and circumstances have its grip on you? How do you overcome living or working in a negative environment? Our environment can be an obstacle that trips us up. The Bible gives some helpful insights of dealing with your environment. Join me and bring a friend as we explore these things related to one’s environment. See you at 9:15 and 11:00 this Sunday!