Thursday, November 30, 2017

Have a positive outlook

Our world sure does have its troubles doesn’t it? Violence, war, crime, breakups, disease, prisons, terrorism, economic breakdowns… And yet, we are not to be a negative people. There is nothing worse in this world than a negative Christian!

In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us to be a rejoicing people. The process of becoming a rejoicing people and the process of becoming a positive influence in our world means we focus on positive thoughts. We concentrate on things that are true, honest, just, pure, and lovely, of good report, have virtue, and are worthy of praise. (Read Philippians 4:8-9.)

Sadly, not all Christians are positive. You don’t have to go far to find negative Christians. Honestly, this is an area I struggle with. That’s one of the reasons I’m writing this Freshly Bru’d. So, how do we keep ourselves from becoming negative?

First, respond to God’s love. His love is revealed to us on a daily basis. You see it in spite of circumstances, through answered prayer, through the work of Jesus on the cross, in creation, and in the Bible. These things should help with focus.

Second, reprogram the way you think. This is harder to do in our day of instant awareness of what’s happening. But we are to transform our minds daily with God’s word, we are to think or meditate on praise worthy things. You are not only what you eat, but what you think.

Third, you have to recognize the best in others. Remember, no one is perfect. There are no perfect people, churches, jobs, parents, children, or spouses. The things we remember about others and the things we pass on about others stem from our thoughts about them. Think positive thoughts of them and you will speak positive words of them.

Fourth, to be positive in our negative world you’ve got to reach out to the lost and hurting people. Winning people to faith and seeing them develop in their faith will always bring positive joy into anyone’s life. Be positive!
Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. Are you overwhelmed this Christmas? Are you having the time of your life this Christmas? Are you joyful? Are you sad? Is it a wonderful time for you or a difficult time of the year? This week we begin our Christmas series, “The Most Wonderful Time…Really?” Join us at 9:00 and 10:30 on Sunday as we discover how to make it the most wonderful time of year, for real. This Sunday we also welcome guest harpist, Katie Wychulis, as she enhances the start of our Christmas celebration.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Where is God when it hurts?

We all have been trying to make sense out of the mass shooting that killed 26 people, including children, during a worship service in Sutherland Springs, Texas. When these kinds of thing happen we sometimes wonder where is God when it hurts, when bad things happen, and tragedy strikes. I believe He is right in the middle of it.

We don’t stand alone in the midst of helpless rage at life’s injustice. We don’t grieve privately. Jesus shares in our grief, weeping with us. I say this because my Bible reminds me it is so. Did you know Jesus wept on three occasions (at least three times were recorded in the Bible)? He wept over an individual (Lazarus) in John 11:35. He wept over a nation (Israel) in Luke 19:41. He wept over humanity as a whole (in the garden of Gethsemane) found in Mark 14:33.

We find Jesus weeping beside our tombs. He snorted with anger and wept with grief; anger at what sin has done to the human race; anger at what sin had done to blind the eyes of God’s chosen people. The Bible says, ‘We have a chief priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses’ (Hebrew 4:15). Jesus understands our pain. He knows every fear, every scrape, every scar, and every surgery. He knows every heartbreak and heartache.

But Jesus does more than weep, He comforts with promises of Hope.
  • All who believe in Him have everlasting life.
  • All who believe will rise from the grave.
  • All who believe will escape the second death.
Promises of Hope that one day everything really will be made right. Biblical Hope is not a mere aspiration, it is certainty coupled with glad anticipation. We can be certain because Jesus has the power to keep those promises.

So whatever struggles you personally face, whatever senseless tragedies we are exposed to, whatever sorrows and pains we face, remember we do not weep alone. You have Jesus.

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. We tend to complicate, well, everything. The same is true for Jesus Christ and His gospel. Join us Sunday at 9:00 or 10:30 AM to simplify Jesus and His Gospel. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Get Your Bounce Back

What a week I’ve had... I was getting ready for family to come in to celebrate my mother’s 90th Birthday when two people died within 24 hours of each other. So I was planning two funerals the same weekend as the Birthday celebration. Then I officiated the two funerals while nursing the ongoing problem with sciatica and wobbly legs. Now, I’m not writing this for any kind of sympathy or for you to feel sorry for me. I know we all have these kinds of weeks from time to time.

But when I add to the list the tragedy of what took place at the Baptist Church in Texas, I will admit, I got a little discouraged. And I know that when we get discouraged, it opens the door for our adversary to come into our lives and try to defeat us.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs by Rick Warren and he was talking about four things to do when you find yourself being discouraged. He actually was writing about what Nehemiah did from the fourth chapter of Nehemiah.

The first thing to do is rest your body. That’s what Nehemiah did, and that is what I’m going to do as soon as I finish this blog. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do in a moment of exhaustion and discouragement is to go to sleep. (Psalm 127:2) It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Second, reorganize your work. Nehemiah did that for the families. He gave them new assignments and tasks. Tomorrow, I have cancelled some regular scheduled meetings and activities and am going to read about a new approach to accomplishing tasks.

Third, Warren says you must remember the Lord. His point is that when we get discouraged, we sometimes choose to think discouraging thoughts. What I am going to do is read Philippians 4:4-8, focusing on verse eight and then write out my prayer using the following acronym: ACTS
  • Adoration- focusing on God’s attributes and works
  • Confession- confessing my sin and discouragement
  • Thanksgiving- listing as many things I can think of that I’m thankful for
  • Supplication- praying for the specific needs I am aware of
Fourth, resist the enemy. James 4:7 states ‘Resist the devil.’ I know he wants to discourage me, defeat me, but greater is He (the Holy Spirit) who is in me than he (the Devil) who is in the world.

And when we resist him, he flees. Victory is ours because of Jesus Christ. So when you’re feeling down or discouraged, these four things can help you bounce back.

Pastor Mark "The Bru" Brunott

P.S. God’s will is simpler to know and understand than you may realize. It’s not about what job to take, where to live, who to marry. If it’s not about those kinds of things, what is it all about? Join me at 9:00 and 10:30 and discover the answer. Why not bring a friend with you who might have some questions about knowing God’s will?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Disappointments are God's Appointments

What has been the greatest disappointment of your life? Perhaps it’s on this list:
  • Not getting that promotion
  • Early death of a loved one
  • An event that changed your academic or career goals
  • Not getting married
  • Marrying the person you married
  • Getting a divorce
  • Having a rebellious child
  • Not providing enough for your family
The list of disappointments goes on and on. Disappointments come in different sizes, shapes, and pain levels.

Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. It is similar to regret, but it differs in that a person who feels regret focuses primarily on the personal choices that contributed to a poor outcome. A person feeling disappointment focuses on the outcome itself.

Often when we experience disappointment, we get extremely frustrated with ourselves, with life, with others, and with God. When that happens, here are five simple steps to take to help with those disappointing and frustrating times in your life.

Step One: Ask yourself, “Did I cause it?” The Bible says ‘we reap what we sow.’ We often bring frustrating things upon ourselves. When that happens you have to ask, “Who’s to blame?”

Step Two: Ask yourself, “What can I learn from it?” Use the disappointment, the frustration, and the irritation as an opportunity to grow in character and become more like Christ.

(Romans 8:28-29) 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. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Step Three: Thank God in the situation. You don’t have to be thankful for a bad situation, but you can be thankful in a bad situation.

(1 Thessalonians 5:18) Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Step Four: Turn the disappointment into a funny, humorous event. A sense of humor is God’s antidote to anger and frustration.

(Proverbs 17:22) A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Step Five: Ask God to fill you with His love. Instead of focusing on your frustration, focus on others, on Him, and let His love compel you to a healthier response.

(Isaiah 26:3) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Try these five principles out the next time you find yourself disappointed or frustrated. You might want to keep a copy of them on your refrigerator door or dashboard of your car. Perhaps your office desk would be another appropriate place to have a copy.

P.S. Do you find yourself discontented with your car, house, job, life, or whatever? What about your spiritual life and journey? Do you believe there has to be more than what you are experiencing currently? This Sunday we begin a new series entitled: Uncomplicated: Making Christianity Simple. These questions will be explored as we begin to probe the book of Colossians for answers.

P.S.S. Don’t forget to set back your clocks one hour AND we are starting our new service times: 9:00 First Service and 10:30 Second Service.