Sermons Archives: February 2016

What To Do When You Lose Focus

Posted on Feb 25, 2016 | Download

Philippians 4:1-8 has been a passage of scripture I’ve clung to for as many years as I can remember.  The reason is simple. I can’t stay focused. Not in an ADHD sort of way, but in a way where I let life overwhelm me and dictate my focus instead of keeping my thoughts and heart turned toward the One who can give me what I truly need no matter the circumstance. Recently, because life is good at giving us challenging situations, I turned to these verses again.  There are instructions in these verses that are almost like a blueprint for how to find God’s sweet spot of Shalom. Stand firm in the Lord (vs. 1) Standing firm could also be translated as persevere. In the Greek, the word literally means ‘to be stationary, unmoving.’ We are to persist, unwavering, in godliness. Be in harmony (with others) in the Lord (vs. 2) It’s almost a sense of sharing one mind, rather than creating discord. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything everyone else thinks, but rather, intentionally choosing to live at peace with others, remembering that we are part of one Body. Rejoice in the Lord always (vs. 4) Be cheerful! Reflect happiness! The hard part comes with the “always.” At all times. Every time. The Apostle Paul repeats this instruction, which tells us it is vital! We need to remember that the joy of the Lord is our strength, no matter what we’re facing, and know that we can reflect that joy with God’s help. This is the third instruction given that is coupled with “in the Lord.” Our own strength isn’t enough. To stand firm, to be in harmony with others, to rejoice in whatever circumstances surround us, we must take up a fixed position with our God. Let your gentleness be known to all people (vs. 5) Gentleness can also imply patience, mildness, and fairness. This is so difficult when we’re stressed, annoyed, frustrated, and tired of dealing with difficulty, but it is so important. Be gentle with others, be gentle with yourself, just as God is being gentle with you. Do not be anxious about anything (vs. 6) Another way to say this is to “take thought of nothing.” Do not let things trouble your mind. Empty your mind of your own troubling thoughts and let God replace them! The next verses even tell us what God would have us think about instead of the broken record of our own defeating thoughts. Finally, dwell on these things AND put them into practice (vs. 8): Whatever is true (accurate, exact) Whatever is honorable (worthy of respect, with high morals) Whatever is just (based on what is morally right and fair) Whatever is pure (unadulterated, free of contamination) Whatever is lovely (having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye) Whatever is commendable (deserving of praise) These verses are packed with guidance! What does Paul tell us in verse seven will be the result of our decision to put these things into practice? “The peace of God, which passes all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Messiah Yeshua our Lord!” That word “guard,” or “keep,” is worth looking at. At its simplest, it means that He will protect. The Greek word used indicates protection by a mounted military guard posted to keep watch. How amazing that God would do that for us! We are not alone! All it takes from us is a little re-focusing.

Too Busy For Church

Posted on Feb 16, 2016 | Download

 Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Too Busy for Life My weekends used to be filled with a long to-do list that I did not have time for during the week. At one point I was working and going to school and taking care of three kids. It was one of the hardest seasons I have faced. I was stretched to the max and felt like I had no time for anything other than “To Dos.” I had a love-hate relationship with the weekend. It was my time to get caught up on household chores and homework, and then squeeze in as much family time as I could. Life was too busy for church. Too Busy for Church Church always seemed to fall under the list of things I wanted to do, and things that I needed to do often took precedence. After writing out my schedule in detail I could tell you that there literally was no time for church. Any weekend that seemed to have a break coming would inevitably be filled with time consuming drama. On the rare occasion that we woke up with our day “free,” I would very easily become discouraged and justify not going for the simplest reasons. Even if we were only going to be five or ten minutes late I would just give up and not go. As many who have gone through this can tell you, this pattern cannot last long before you reach an ultimatum. I could either give up trying to make time where there was none and just wait for a season in life that was less hectic, (waiting for this season is a painful waste of time; it’s like the phrase “tomorrow never comes”), or I could resolve to eat on paper plates all week so that I could go to church instead of cleaning the kitchen. One little sacrifice, (though at the time it didn’t seem so little), for an opportunity to fellowship and be encouraged, all the while praying that the fight would be worth it. Too Busy Not to go to Church God is faithful and the message was something I could carry with me all week. With determination (I can be pretty stubborn when I want to be—sometimes it’s a gift, other times not so much) I did the same thing the next week, and then the week after. And a weird thing happened one day while at the grocery store. I passed the aisle with the paper plates and looked at my list and remembered that I didn’t need them because I knew we still had plenty. I hadn’t needed to buy any in a while. I had been going to church regularly, that was the only thing that had changed. Also, I no longer saw church as a want but I realized that it had been a need all along. Seeking God above the chores, seeking God above a lazy day off of work, seeking God above all else had rearranged my life in the best possible way. The house was kept clean, the dishes were getting done, and the laundry was all washed. Even all of the pointless and time consuming drama seemed to fade from my life. God Rewards Those Who Seek Him And that is only how my life changed on the outside. I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I felt on the inside. I could see a difference in my whole family as well—we could all feel the change. I made room for God and somehow everything else fell into place. I’ve talked to several families and they have all said the same thing about life going wrong on church days. I thought it would get a little easier when we found a church service on Saturday nights instead of Sunday mornings, but I was wrong. I can’t help but laugh because now my Sunday mornings are easy as cake and my Saturday evenings sometimes offer a struggle. But it’s a lot easier now to battle those little inconveniences of kids not finding their shoes or running a little behind. I realize now that it is better to be a little late than to miss the whole thing. Make room for Him and He will change your life.