Rescued From Boredom

by Joe Monds

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When you hear the word “summer”, what do you think about? Sunshine? Vacations? Summer house projects? Getting into a hobby? Exploring new things? The overall vibe of summer is fun! Yet, so often during the summer months we find ourselves shockingly bored. Why is that? With so much extra time on our hands, so many fun-filled advertisements passing by our faces, and so much entertainment at our fingertips, why do we find ourselves bored so frequently? We are bored at work, bored at church, bored on vacation, bored everywhere!

What makes something boring?  Why do we feel bored? 

Boredom does not require an absence of activity; it requires a lack of fulfillment and excitement about the activity. We may have our schedules packed with “fun”, yet if we aren’t doing something that provides us true life fulfillment, then eventually we will find ourselves in a state of boredom. 

Some people may think that boredom is just an occasional part of life.  I would like to submit to you today that boredom, for the Christian, is an indication of something much deeper. Boredom is the subliminal recognition of the gap between the life you live and the life God wants you to live. I’m not suggesting you fix your boredom by just conjuring up new things to do. That will only temporarily remedy your boredom. We try to take time to plan ways for our lives to feel fulfilled. Lasting joy and fulfillment comes from above. God already has a plan for you to have a more abundant life.  You just need to claim it! 

So how do we get rid of boredom?  Where Jesus is in control of a life, there is not just life, there is life more abundantly.  No room for boredom. John 10:10b, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

God doesn’t delight in His children living in monotony. He wants life to be fun and full of joy! Are you experiencing true joy everyday? Remember that God wants you to have an abundant (full) life and rescue you from boredom.

Patriotism

By Pastor Dorrell

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1 Peter 2:17

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King.

As Christians, we are called upon to demonstrate love and honor to all men. That honor is to be extended to those who serve in government and are placed in that position by God Himself.

Part of the way we demonstrate honor is by supporting our elected officials and those who serve us within the governmental framework of God’s institutional design. Beyond that, I believe we are to pray our country and ask the Lord to bless it so that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives.

I believe the support we offer and the prayers we extend on our nation’s behalf are part of what it means to be truly patriotic. Patriotism is defined as support for one’s country. Certainly, it only makes sense to be patriotic, because no one wants to tear down the house in which they live. However, supporting our country does not mean we are in favor of every policy or decision made, rather support simply implies we will do what strengthens and helps our country.

We can find scriptural advice here from the book of Second Chronicles chapter 7 and verse 14, which says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” If we truly want to support our country and seek its best, then the best form of patriotism is found in this scriptural formula.

Being good Christians is the best way to do good for our country. There is nothing wrong with displaying flags, having celebrations, and supporting our military. I believe these are good and necessary things and demonstrate that we understand the sacrifices others have made for our freedom. However, to truly strengthen and support our country, we need to understand that this country is held in the hands of God. His blessings flow from the hearts of those citizens who live there and from the relationship they have with Him. As we humble ourselves and turn from unrighteousness, as we seek God’s face and plead with him in prayer to protect and prosper our country, we are engaging in a kind of patriotism that is truly difference making. These conditions of heart and practices of discipline truly support and strengthen our nation and will preserve the United States in the future.

The difficulty here is these things require real devotion and a genuine heart of concern. It can be so much easier to make our patriotism external and superficial only. It is easier to have a special service than it is to have a repentant heart. It is more convenient to say some words than it is to engage in serious, heartfelt prayer. True patriotism is not lip service and decoration but contrition and humility. If patriotism is defined as showing support for one’s country, then let’s support our great nation by continuing its legacy of having a people who inhabit it who love the Lord with all their hearts.

The next time a sermon is preached, and you find yourself in need of change and repentance, then go forward and ask for God’s forgiveness and grace. You will have not only helped yourself and honored God, but will have secured a measure of God’s blessing for our nation. When you are tempted to sin and engage in evil, turn from that wicked way and ask the Lord for strength to truly live for him. You will save yourself from the consequences of sin and will have played a part in God healing our land. The health of our nation and the health of the heart of God’s people are inseparably tied, and we can see that played out in the Old Testament over and over again.

So, let’s follow the command of the prophet Micah when he said, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” (Micah 6:8) Those who follow this advice secure a better future both for themselves and the land they love and allow patriotism and a good heart to truly meet.

Industrious Insects

by Joe Monds

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It’s interesting how God uses seemingly insignificant things to teach us significant truth. With a bit of humility, we can learn life lessons from anywhere, even from an insect. Proverbs 6:6 says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”.  At times ants make us look bad.  They show us up regularly because unlike many of us, they are always persistent workers that labor diligently to build their homes. They spend all their waking hours finding food and taking care of their dwellings. They have a job to do, and rather than sit around talking about it, they go out and do it. Ants don’t complain about work. They don’t sneak off to hide so they can get out of work. Ants know their jobs and do their jobs. 

The persistence of the ant has always amazed and challenged men to work hard. The practical implications from this verse in Proverbs should motivate us to be consistently hard workers at our place of employment, which is a testimony that honors God and leaves us satisfied with a job well done.  The spiritual implications have an even greater impact in our lives, for the discipline to habitually walk with the Lord is an area in which we can sometimes be more like a sluggard than like an ant.  Ants don’t put off until tomorrow the things that need to be done today. Do we? It’s hard work to cultivate a consistently good relationship with God, and if we don’t have the work ethic of the ant, then perhaps we are more like the sluggard, lacking in the wisdom that can only be attained by seeking the omniscient God. 

There’s not a magic formula for becoming closer to God; it is a choice that we intentionally make to be like the industrious ant to avoid being like the sluggard. The hard work we put in today will lead to great blessings tomorrow

True or False?

by Jim Ramsey

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I read somewhere recently that there is now a label out there (“truefax”) that is used when something is undeniably true.” I always thought that a “true fact” was an oxymoron, that if it was indeed a “fact” then it was indeed “true.” I’m confused! If there are “true facts” then are there “false facts” as well?

Start

By Andrew Calabrese

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Every day we make choices that shape our life story. What would your life look like if you let godly principles guide those choices? If someone asked you to tell your life’s story, what would you say?

Evangelism to the Max

by Jim Ramsey

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Mark’s Gospel is a “busy” book in which Jesus seems the busiest, moving from one event to another. In his “Gospel of the Servant” narrative, the emphasis is on the deeds of Jesus more than on the words of Jesus. One of those many deeds is recorded in the first twelve verses of chapter 2. It is an account that displays the extremes to which four men went to take a paralyzed friend to Jesus, the only One who had the power to change his condition. This “quartet” literally “raised the roof” to lower their friend into Jesus’ presence. Get the picture? They didn’t let the curious crowd that was in the way deter them, they didn’t let the necessary labor involved discourage them, and they didn’t let possible criticism and opposition diminish their faith in Jesus’ ability to help their beloved friend. Motivated by love, they found a creative way to accomplish the seemingly impossible task at hand.

The Cross of Christ Will Stand

By Jesse Becker

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Things change. The weather. The political scene. The stock market. Our health. Our families. Our attitudes and outlooks.

Near the very beginning, after God created a perfect world, sin entered in and everything changed. God’s relationship with man was interrupted, and the curse of sin prevailed throughout the universe.

But God set a plan in motion to reconcile sinful man back to Himself, and it all centered on the cross. For centuries those who believed God looked forward with hope to the sacrifice and salvation He would provide. And for 2,000 years since, those who believe God look back to that day when Jesus laid down His life and took our punishment — our separation from God.

The Joy of Getting There

by Jim Ramsey

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Ah, the subway! Allow me once again to reflect on a vacation experience (sorry no photos) that, believe it or not, I really enjoyed. I am a “people person,” and riding the subway in Boston was a time to rub elbows (literally!) with a great host of them as we spent a couple of days getting from place to place. What a blessing it was not to have to drive in the sometimes terrible traffic, and especially to avoid parking on the busy streets.

The Power of Words

By Daniel Fleet

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The words that we use are powerful and they have an impact on those around us. A hammer can be used to tear things down or build things up and our words are no different. The words we speak, text, or write can be used to nurture, heal, and protect, or, they can be used to ruin, tear down, and destroy. How you use your words will determine how successful you are in the relationship with your wife, kids, family, and co-workers.

Finishing Well

by Jim Ramsey

Finishing Well

Would you like the world to be a better place for your having been here?” This is the question posed by Ken Blanchard in his forward to Bob Bickel’s book Finishing Well. The premise of the book and its entire focus is on individuals who had a plan that they followed in an effort to make their later life one of significance, not just one of success. Bickel speaks of “Life I” when we have to “prove ourselves,” and “Life II” when we should “give back and make a difference.”