Thursday, October 26, 2017

Don't Waste Your Pain

For the last three weeks I have been suffering with some sciatic nerve pain. Perhaps you have seen me waddling up to the platform to preach or walking around with a cane. I must say that the pain is excruciating. And as a typical male, I waited until my arm started getting numb before calling the doctor to learn how to correct the problem.

During my time of suffering, fellow sciatic suffers have given me some therapy tips: ice cube baths, whirl pool baths, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, sleeping in a recliner, lying on the floor and attempting certain stretches, and of course my favorite suggestion: lose weight.

But, in the midst of the pain, I got to thinking about those people who live with chronic pain. My sciatic pain will eventually subside. But so many people have to live with chronic pain daily. How in the world can they do that?

Then I remembered what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 about his struggle with his pain. He concluded this: ‘God’s grace is all you need, God’s power works best in weakness.’

His grace is sufficient today and will help me today, and then tomorrow His grace will be sufficient and on and on. He gives me the strength, the peace, and the help I need in that moment. When God is all you have, you turn to Him and realize He’s all you needed in the first place.

The thing I’ve come to appreciate about my recent pain episode is ‘when I am weak, the power of Christ works through me’ (2 Corinthians 12:9b). It makes me more compassionate to the pain of others. It helps me identify with the hurts of others.

God never wastes a hurt. He will use the pains, wounds, difficulties of life, to enable us to be better encouragers, prayer warriors, supporters, and comforters of others.

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. Did you realize the Bible contains some ‘dirty words?’ Many in our culture would say that these words are perhaps the most demeaning and devaluing words to be spoken. What are they? What do they have to do with relationships? Join me this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00 AM to discover the answers.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Study in Contrasts

Let me give you a brief study in contrasts. The first part sounds negative, horrible, and comes across as a downer. Yet, it is our reality; it also makes the second part all the more wonderful and marvelous.

The first part of the contrast comes from Hebrews 4:13. ‘Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before God’s eyes.’ Included in the ‘nothing’ is our sin. The Bible defines sin as “missing the mark.” Anytime we miss the mark of God’s perfection that qualifies as a sin in God’s eyes.

Let me break that down in terms we can understand:
  • We think something that God would never think. Sin.
  • We look at something God would never look at. Sin.
  • We say something God would never say. Sin.
  • We don’t do or say something God would do or say. Sin.
  • We look at a person in a way God would never view a person. Sin.
  • We treat our spouse, children, grandchildren, and friends in an uncaring or unloving way. Sin.
  • We act like somebody we’re not. Sin.
  • We react in fear instead of trust. Sin.
  • We lie, cheat, or steal. Sin.
  • We act selfishly. Sin.
Depressing isn’t it? Honestly, if I were God, and I’m glad I’m not, I would be fed up with me. I would say, “Mark is a mess. He just keeps on sinning and sinning. What am I going to do with this guy?” Well, let’s get the second part, the best part of the contrast. This contrast is taken from Psalm 94:18 “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, you supported me.”

Our Savior says:
  • They’re broken, but I can work with that since I’m bigger than their defects.
  • They failed me, but they’re forgiven.
  • They’ve got a long way to grow, but I will never give up on them.
  • They are a mess sometimes, but they are my mess and my children, and the apple of my eye.
  • They are forgiven because they trusted in my final work on the cross and resurrection, and will never be more forgiven than they are right now.
  • They are already loved, and will never be more loved than I love them at this very moment.
Wow! Isn’t that great? Doesn’t that fill your heart with joy? It does mine. I still need to grow. I still need to change. Becoming more like Jesus is always the goal; saying no to sin should always be my desire. But how great to know that nothing separates me from God and His love!

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today or our worries about tomorrow- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. In today’s culture, we are surrounded with opportunities to be alone. But is this what Christ desires for us? Join us Sunday at 9:15 or 11 AM to discover why we should pursue real community.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Personal Longing

Do you ever long for heaven? This was one of those weeks when I have. I came back from a beautiful week in Northern Minnesota with the fall colors thinking this must be what heaven looks like. I can’t wait.

I then went to church to be with the community of people I love. We sang praises to God, heard God’s word preached by Pastor Brian, and I thought: This is but a taste of what heaven will be like around the throne of God. Voices of people from every tongue, nation, and tribe will be praising God.

After church, I experienced the pain of this world. I met with a family at a funeral home, making arrangements for their 18 year old son who has died. Oh how I long for heaven.

Then I talked to a good friend who told me about one of his clients who has a 12 year old daughter with bone cancer. Oh how I long for heaven.

I woke up Monday morning to hear about 58 killed and 500 injured in Las Vegas at a concert in the largest mass-killing in U.S. history. Oh how I long for heaven.

Added to that, I spoke with one of our dear brothers who is in hospice care at Monarch, living out his last days. Oh how I long for heaven.

I also called another dear friend who has some unidentified infection and has to be flown to Mayo Clinic in hopes to determine what it is. Oh how I long for heaven.

Then to see the devastation of the hurricanes most recently in Puerto Rico, I once again said: ‘Oh how I long for heaven.’

Added to the above, very minor in comparison, I’m experiencing the aches and pains of my body approaching 65. Oh how I long for heaven.

I took some time out of it all to read the following words. First the words of Jesus from John 14:1-6. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Second, the words of Revelation 21:3-5. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. What does the word “commitment” mean? Is commitment over-rated? How does it relate to our spiritual lives? How do I know if I am really committed? Join me this Sunday at 9:15 and 11:00 to discover the answers to these questions.