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Put off, Put on

Most people are surprised to learn that I’m an introvert. But really, I am. I can choose to be extroverted and I recognize the value of that, but on the inside, I’m very introverted. On the other hand, I’m also very opinionated and can be outspoken (no wonder everyone is confused) so this week has been really convicting for me. Keep reading….

My small group is working through The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. Which is a great book by the way! I read it in high school but I really don’t remember much from it so this is a good refresher. Last week’s chapter was on having Holiness in Spirit because we all know that you can’t just change outward behavior and be holy. It all begins in our hearts. I was cruising through the chapter when I suddenly hit this line:

“One of the most difficult defilements of spirit to deal with is the critical spirit. A critical spirit is rooted in pride. Because of the “plank” of pride in our own eye we are not capable of dealing with the “speck” of need in someone else.” pg 110

The paragraph goes on but I wrote in my book in large letters: STRUGGLE! I really struggle with a critical spirit! I can be very opinionated (no really?) and quick to point out the flaws in others without regard to their needs. All rooted in pride.

Which brings me to my second punch in the gut for the week. The sermon on Sunday was on Ephesians 4:25-32 and he outlined loving ways of communication. I just wanted to cover up my head and hide. I’m terrible at good communication! It takes me a long time to figure out what I’m actually feeling and by then I think it’s too long to bring it back up but it’s still bugging me and so I sit in silence and brood. Anyone else have this issue? No? Just me? Okay.

Anyway, one of his points really his home with me (ALL of his points were very practical and useful!) He said to ask yourself if YOUR attitude is right before approaching another person AND to ask if this is what the OTHER person needs.

Many times I approach people to get things off my chest. It’s weighing me down, driving me nuts, and so I bring something up (usually from weeks ago because I couldn’t gather my thoughts) so we can talk through it. But maybe that’s just what I selfishly need, not what is most loving towards that person. If it’s not sinful or harmful for our relationship, I should really cover it in love. (1 Peter 4:8, Proverbs 17:9) SO hard to do when you’ve got a prideful, critical spirit to deal with! But that’s loving my neighbor as myself.

Over all, a pretty convicting and challenging week for this outspoken girl. However, just keeping my negative thoughts to myself isn’t enough. That’s not what the Bible calls us to. God has loftier things in mind for his children. Not only am I to put off my critical self, but I’m to put on gentleness, compassion, and encouragement for others. (Col. 3) It’s not enough to just empty myself of a sinful habit if I’m not also filling my soul with a righteous one.

The beauty of it is that the more I fill myself up with God’s Word and I practically apply what it says, the less negative thoughts even come to mind. What a blessing the Holy Spirit is! Reliance on him is the key to overcoming any sin habit.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2019 in encouragment

 

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The Idols of Life

If you don’t live in Ohio (or northeast US for that matter), maybe you don’t know that we had a wonderful, huge snow storm come through this weekend. It was great. Everything was closed, no traveling, the works. Which for someone who LOVES snow, that means that I spent the days with friends: sled riding, watching movies, playing games, and making waffles. It was superb.

It also meant that all the churches were closed on Sunday so my best friend and I decided to watch a sermon online. The one we watched was about idols. The argument was that although people may have a variety of “surface” idols in their life (aka: food, money, kids, clothes, cars, you-name-it), they all boil down to four “core” idols. Have to say, I couldn’t really find a whole lot of Scriptural backing for this idea but the logic was okay.

The first idol he mentioned was Comfort and the second was Approval. As he explained I really examined my heart and thought, “Nah, I don’t think those apply a whole lot. Probably sometimes.”

The third idol was Control. As soon as he said that word, I look at Natalie and said, “Weeeeelllll, this has been great but I just remembered that…” Yeah, I didn’t get away with it. She pulled me down and said that if she had to listen to her idols I had to sit through mine. *sigh*

We both know. I like control. I’m very organized and structured naturally and it gives me a feeling that I can control the world. One of the things he mentioned in the video is that people with this idol often will do everything because they would rather do it themselves and be SURE it will get done than have someone else do it. Ouch, man. That hurt. I literally winced.

And the problem with this idol is the blatant lack of trust is displays. A lack of dependency and trust in the Lord. Like somehow I can do things better than he can and I know better than the Creator of the World. But I don’t. And boy did God have to YANK that control right out of my hands in order to teach me that! These last couple of years have taught me just how little control I have. (And how much he DOES have!)

Sometimes I need a good smack…err…reminder that I’m not in control and of Who is. And of how grateful I should be for that!

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Prov. 19:21

P.S. The fourth idol was Power. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2019 in sermons

 

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What I Wish MY Church Knew About ME

In case you didn’t think memory loss was real, I’ve had this paper sitting on my desk for about a month now with blog ideas scribbled on it so that I wouldn’t forget them. I purposefully left it there to remind me to write a post. And what do you know today I sit down to write and behold, my paper (okay, to be honest, it was a prayer sheet from church…but hey…I have to write on whatever I find at the time…) was gone! I looked all over for it and then remembered that I cleaned off that area earlier this week and could I possibly have thrown it away?? Noooooo…surely not. So I went to my bedroom trash can and looked through it but no old prayer sheet. 😦 And I can’t search my main trash can because I did some crafting this morning and there is glitter and modge podge in there and EVERYONE knows you can’t open that back up.

All that to say this is pretty much the only post I remember from the list and I’m still waiting for the others to come back to my brain so this is what ya get today!

It has come to my attention that Sunday is usually the hardest day of the week for me and almost no one at my church knows it. It’s my fault. I’m really good at putting on a fake face, so good that I fool myself sometimes. I’m still learning to be more open with people. I know I need to work on it.

Sundays are hard because they require a lot of energy. Mental, spiritual, and emotional energy. There’s also pressure to be “put together and cheerful” although there shouldn’t be.

Sunday School starts at 9am. I walk to church (duh) which I love to do. Don’t get me wrong- I am surrounded (literally) by people who go to my church and would gladly give me a ride but I like the 11 minute walk there. If it’s raining, that’s another story lol. SS is great because it’s more interactive than church. But it requires more thinking and concentration- first energy drainer.

There is a half hour in between SS and worship to fellowship. My heart really likes that time because I get to talk with people and find out how they are doing. But sometimes it can be really hard, if I’m feeling lonely or tired, it’s hard to put myself out there and engage others- second energy drainer.

Worship is my favorite time because as stated before, I LOVE music! I wouldn’t trade the singing time for anything. But I also said before that the noise hurts my head most days. A lot of Sundays I think to myself, “Which would you prefer, Lord? Do you want me to stand up and be silent or would you like me to sit and actually sing? Because I’m not sure I have the energy to both stand AND sing right now.” -third energy drainer.

By this time, I’ve actually made it to the sermon. I will listen as much as I can but I won’t be able to tell you what it was about later. For instance, I can tell you my Pastor right now is preaching out of Titus on elder qualifications because we are in the middle of a pastor search but probably anyone who follows our Facebook page could say the same thing. Pretty sad, huh? Once in a while, something particular will catch my attention and will stick but not often. And taking notes actually makes it worse as weird as that sounds. I usually remember more from SS because of the interactive nature of that setting than from the sermon- fourth energy drainer.

And then I will walk home (or sometimes get a ride) to fall asleep on my couch for a while. Later that night, I’ll either go to small group or Sunday night church- fifth energy drainer.

You might be asking: why do you go if it’s so hard? I’ve asked myself that too sometimes and occasionally I need to leave early to give my brain a break. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to fellowship with my brothers and sisters, to worship our Lord together, and to learn more about Him. My struggle is infinitely less than what he went through for me and he still counted the cost and thought it was worth it. What a good God!

But if you see me dazed or sleepy on a Sunday or doing something unusual (like the fact that I usually take off my shoes during the service lol…) come ask me about it and I’ll gladly explain.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2018 in church

 

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