Sunday, February 28, 2016

Healing (Part III)

Temps hit 50 yesterday afternoon, with sunny skies and a firm clue that spring really is coming before too long. The snowfall this morning reminded us that it's still winter, but we're gathered together here to be warmed inwardly, no matter the weather.

Pastor Brad welcomed us and noted that today we will continue with another aspect of healing... the problem of anger.

1. Seeking volunteers to help with the sound system. (See Brad or Brooke)
2. It's not too early to think about this summer. If you're interested in helping with VBS this summer please see Brooke.

The worship team then lead us into worship with a song that included this affirmation, "Greater is He that is in me when you praise the hurt away." Brad thanked God for His presence here and offered our worship up to Him.

Chuck read the familiar passage from Corinthians, "If one part suffers, every part suffers." We can't live our lives like islands on the seas. We need are connected and what happens to one happens to all, whether pain or honor. The worship team then sang "I know the Master of the wind." We then together sang from the blue Praise Book.

The offering taken, we spent a period of time in prayer before Pastor presented the message.

Healing (Part III)

Today's message would be drawn from Ephesians 4. The theme centered on anger, in this with regard to our own anger.

Not all anger is bad. It's a matter of what we're angry about. The words anger and fire are in the same verse in one place, and that applies because fire can warm you in the winter and cook food, but can also destroy your house.

Are you giving the devil a foothold? The passage Brad pointed out begins with verses 26 and 27. Anger is a means of opening the door for the evil one to walk in. When Cain killed his brother Abel, God gave a warning because He saw Cain's anger. Be careful.

Then there's the kind of anger which we conceal but it's there. We keep it under the surface but it's there. Angry with people at work, or spouses or the political landscape, and then transfer all that toward anger with God.

There are two kinds of anger. First is the rager, a hot-tempered person who lets everyone know it. Proverbs 29:11 says, "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but the wise man keeps himself under control."

Some people think it's OK to blow up and it's over. They just move on. Problem is, we leave a whole lot of wounded people in our wake when we are this way.

The second group is not ragers, but they are suppressors. Psalm 32: 3 says, "When I kept silent my bones wasted away..." There's a smoldering beneath the surface that will also do damage. This stewing is destructive. It destroy's marriages. It destroys lives.

Luke 15:28 is the story of the Prodigal Son, and when the older brother sees the way the younger brother is welcomed home he begins to stew beneath the surface.

What kind of anger is this? Is it the kind of anger the reflects the character of God? Or is it sinful anger? If the latter, we need holy water to pour over that and put the fire out.

"Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam, so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." In other words, drop it.

James 1:19-20 is another insightful passage. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to become angry. Brad shared that he used to have such a serious temper problem he had a nickname given to him because his anger could flare from zero to 100 in seconds.

Yes, Jesus got angry, but He didn't sin. On one occasion he healed a man with a withered hand, and the Pharisees were so critical of Him for helping this man on the Sabbath. The religious leaders tried to trip Him up and though it made him angry He did not hold back His compassion for the man.

Brad then said we need to be angry about the right things. When it's sinful anger we need to drop it. When it's sanctified anger, something that grieves the heart of God, how do we respond?

If it is anger that is hurting other people we need to put it out. Pour the water of the Spirit of God on it. But if you are angry at things that anger the heart of God, throw gasoline on that fire. Let God ignite you to make a difference for the kingdom because fire can be both good or bad.

In all cases, bring it before God in prayer.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


On this Second Sunday of Lent Pastor Brad welcomed us with warmth while noting that a lot of young people are missing this a.m. because the youth group had an overnight last night. Our theme continues along the overarching theme of healing. Today will address emotional healing. Some of our self-messaging hurts us, Too often, even when so many good things are happening in our lives, one criticism can send us into an emotional tailspin. Brad's aim today is a message of hope.

Darlene opened with with a gentle meditative rendition of "I Surender All." Brad and Darlene then led us in singing several songs from the blue songbook.

After the offering was taken, we shared news, needs and spent time in prayer.


As I open up the service, our goal today is to let the power of God come and deliver us from those false voices that we carry day after day through life so we can embrace the words that God declares about us.

What kind of negative emotional wound have you left yourself open to?

Brad said he would give us prompts to trigger where we might be struggling.

1) I want you to envision in your mind's eye a Chameleon.
When we feel we don't fit in we tend to compromise who we are and become something we're not. I Samuel 15:24 provides an example of this. There are all kinds of things people do to fit in, things that are not good for us. Too often we buy things we don't need to impress people we don't like.

2) Now picture Lady Gaga.
"No matter what I do is not good enough. I don't measure up." Lady Gaga is a performer, and we think we have to perform. "If I perform well enough maybe Jesus will love me." In the story of Martha and Mary, Martha caught up in trying to impress.
For some of us it's sports, or providing for our family. Are you burdened by this pressure of always trying to measure up.

3) Think about Elmer's Glue.
We want to stick, get clingy. Driven to connect with someone, trying to validate ourselves through being in a relationship, even one that's not good. Brad cited John 4:17, the story about the woman at the well who entered multiple relationships in an attempt to satisfy a need that only God could fill.

* * * *
Our goal is healing. Hold these truths, not the lies you tell yourself.

Embrace the fact that you are forgiven.  II Corinthians 5:17 We are new creations.
It's time to claim that forgiveness and walk away free.
Ephesians 1:7 "In Christ we have the redemption through His blood."
II Corinthians 1:21-22
The Bible is our "All Access Pass" that says we have access to the very throne room of God. Because of who we are in Christ.
John 8:36  "If the Son sets you free you are free indeed."
You are free to become everything Christ intends you to be.

Shut out the lies and listen to the truth of what God says about you:
You are forgiven.
You are secure.
And you are free in Christ.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Healing

"Good morning. How's everyone doing?" Pastor Brad welcomed us and shared a little but about the Ash Wednesday service and the theme for this time of Lent. Lent is forty days, and traditionally a time of new beginnings. The overarching theme is one of healing. There is so much brokenness in the world. It's not just out there but in here as well. What will it take to heal us so we can move forward in our faith walk.

It can be any number of things that hold us back, but what we have is Jesus who promises to make all things new. Brad's prayer for each of us is healing not only now but all through Lent.

Next Sunday we are having a special dinner for the contractors who worked on our church. It's our way of saying Thank You.

The quartet opened with Led By The Master's Hand by Mosie Lister. Brad asked for God to bless our gather and we continued with singing. "There's victory in Jesus, my Savior forever." We proceeded to sing choruses from the blue songbook and then took the offering while the quartet raised our spirits with a rousing "Heaven On My Mind."

Susan Jessico called the kids to come forward for a special Valentine time. The kids were asked, "How many times is the word Heart used in the Bible?" The kids guessed numbers from 3 to 21 but the correct answer is 570. Hearts have a lot to do with love... and so she asked how many times the word Love is used. The children guessed much closer this time, and the answer was 551. The best expression of love is found in John 3:16.

The needs of our church family were then lifted up in the time of prayer that preceded the message.

Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Healing

The starting point for the sermon was Psalm 109. In verse 22 the psalmist states, "For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me." But the good news is found a few verses later. "I will praise him. For he stands at the right hand of the needy."

Brad outlined the various ways we can be walking wounded, and encouraged us to be aware that we're not alone, neither the first nor the last. The wounds can be a result of many things, including abuse and horrible things we can't imagine.

What Lent is about finding genuine healing. To this end Brad offered is three prayers to make our own.

1st Prayer: "Lord, renew my mind with Your truth." Romans 12:2
There are all kinds of lies we tell ourselves. What is it that holds you back?
Brad led us to Ephesians 4:22-23 where it says, "Be made new in the attitude of your minds."

2nd Prayer: "God, would you restore in me what has been lost?" God specializes in finding what is lost and healing what is broken. Several of Jesus' parables touch this truth. What have you lost? Maybe it's hope that God wants to restore in your life.
Jeremiah 30:17  "But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds," declares the Lord,

3rd Prayer: "God would You help me release my offender?" Forgiveness is an essential step in moving forward. "Forgive as the Lord forgave you," says the Scriptures. Until we release the one who hurt us, we are forever linked to that hurt. Carrying our hurts gives us false power so that we feel we have a right to behave badly. Holding a grudge against those who hurt you only hurts you more.

Whatever the offense, we have to let it go.

When Jesus was on the cross, and the world had done its worst to Him, he said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Our prayer during Lent this year is that you would find healing during this time. Let go of your wound, lay it down at the foot of the cross. Allow God to show up and do what only He can do.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Take Home Truth

Well, it's Super Bowl Sunday, and even though we're Northern Minnesotans, there's quite a bit of Orange here this morning. Why? Because a lot of people who love Brooke want to show their support for her inasmuch as her roots are in Colorado. The abundance of orange jerseys will not distract us from why we're gathered here. It is a vivid and bright color, like joy.

Susan Jessico took a minute to share a pair of special gifts for Brooke and Brad for today. For Brooke Susan had an orange ball that she could bounce off the walls so that Brooke wouldn't have to bounce off the walls. Susan also brought orange and blue bottles of Gatorade for the congregation to use. When Pastor Brad makes a point today, we were encouraged to pour Gatorade over his head.

This week we'll be celebrating the beginning of Lent with an Ash Wednesday worship service at 6:30 preceded by a dinner at 6:00 p.m. There will be no kids club, though Youth Group will still meet.

Brad and Gail Carlson led our singing this morning, beginning with the classic How Great Thou Art. We then sang Here I Am To Worship, Cornerstone and For You Are Good.

After the offering and a time of prayer we listened to Brad deliver the message.

A Take Home Truth

Succeeding in the big things has a lot more to do with our succeeding in the little things... our thoughts and words and actions.

"My one point is this," Pastor Brad stated, "If you want to accomplish the big things people see, it all boils down to the little things no one sees."

The good news is that it's not big changes that enable us to do big things. It's the small things that make all the difference.

Small things make a big difference. It may be your walk with Christ, or your relationship with your spouse, or fulfilling your life purpose.... God can help you see the way, and it will be little things that take you there.

Brad directed us to Zachariah 4 to bring home his message before we entered into communion.

"Not by might, nor by strength but by My Spirit, says the Lord."

After the message the congregation shared the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.