Saturday, August 25, 2012

Your Health

by Tim Howard

It has been said: “You never fully appreciate something until you lose it.” You take certain things for granted, thinking they will always be present but then something happens. Things change and you are awakened to how grateful you should have been for what you had. Loss can stimulate this type of awareness.

You should have done this. You shouldn’t have done that. You ask yourself “why didn’t I see it?” “Why did I act so selfishly?” “Why didn’t I appreciate what I had?”

I often take for granted my health. At 61 years of age, I’ve never had a surgery and only visit the doctor’s office occasionally. I seem to have a utilitarian body! It doesn’t look all that great but it keeps on ticking and running like the energizer bunny. When sickness hits and I lose my strength, however, I awaken to a new appreciation and gratitude for a healthy life.

The Bible reveals God as our healer. He doesn’t eliminate sickness from our human experience but he does want to help us recover our health when it’s lost.

High on God’s agenda is emotional health, mental health and spiritual health as well as the physical arena. He gives five words of advice through Paul the Apostle in Ephesians chapter 4 that will help avoid sickness and release wellness.

1. Make sure you are connected to a healthy church family. No one remains healthy by isolating and removing themselves from others. Church families come in all sizes but don’t be fooled! It’s not the size that’s important - it’s the balanced diet being offered. Bigger is not always better and smaller is not always better. Better is better!

2. When you connect with others in a family setting, make every effort to walk in unity. This unity will require a give and take lifestyle. You can’t just think about yourself; you must consider what’s best for the whole. If you follow verse 2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” The door to unity will open a little wider.

 3 Unity, however, is not based on conformity but diversity. Paul says: each person is given different gifts, talents, abilities, perspectives, insights, tastes and those differences are beneficial to the ongoing health of any business, group endeavor, organization, or church family. When people are allowed to be whom they are created to be rather than forced to fit some cookie cutter mold, your business will thrive. Allow for diversity yet insist on unity. It produces healthy people!

4. Truth is a good medicine when it’s given in the context of love.
Eph. 4:15 “… by speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up … .” An environment of love, acceptance and forgiveness, surrounded by truth will boost the morale of any organization and release an atmosphere of wellness.

5. Lastly, Paul tells us that everyone must participate. Do what you are called to do. Don’t let others pull your weight. If exercise is good for physical health then fulfilling your responsibilities will produce a healthy sense of value and self-esteem. Vs. 15 “As each person does his or her own special work, it helps the other people grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

If you’re not feeling healthy, you may want to consider making a connection with one of the many church families in Kings County this weekend? Follow Paul’s advice and your strength will return. You don’t want to lose your health, so appreciate it!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Smile, You'll Feel Better

by Andrew Cromwell

It is amazing how our outside affects our inside. I’m not talking about what is going on around you, but instead what you are doing with your face. Too many people walk around with a sour expression, looking as if they like to suck on lemons for fun.

All of us know that there is a correlation between facial expression and what is going on inside. If someone is sad, depressed or just generally having a bad day, then nine times out of ten their face will show it. If they are feeling happy, then their face is bright, their eyes light up and when they smile they look like they have more teeth than the average person. We take this for granted -- what is inside is generally reflected on the outside.

What we forget is that sometimes, the best way to get out of feeling sad, is to make our face do the opposite of what we are feeling. Instead of walking around with a long face, you decide to put a smile on. Of course it helps immensely if you also stop focusing on the negatives and instead focus on the positives.

I did this just the other day when I was feeling glum. I realized that I had been pretty much focusing on all the reasons why I was justified to feel sad and sorry for myself. My face was expressionless at best and pouty at worst. The more I brooded the worse I felt and the nastier my face got.

Then I asked myself what good this was doing. It wasn’t going to change anything and it certainly wasn’t winning me any points with my family. So I gave myself a little talkin’ to and decided to stop focusing on all the reasons why I was justified to feel bad, and instead start focusing on what I could do to change my situation. I started with putting a smile on.

At first, my smile was forced and looked more like a snarl, but I kept trying. I even did my best to make my eyes sparkle! Suddenly, I found that it was easier to think good thoughts and my smile was less forced. And as I thought more good thoughts, I smiled more and before I knew it, my smile was not forced at all and my heart was happy.

Studies show that when you smile -- even if you’re faking it, the muscles that your smile is connected to begin to release endorphins into your bloodstream which makes you feel better. So this is not just a nice thought, it’s good science. Oh, and it’s spiritual too. The Bible says, “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” It’s almost as if God knows what He’s talking about!

The pastors in Kings County would love to help you discover how to bring the joy back into your life. Why don’t you give them a chance this weekend?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Are You Rich?

by Tim Howard

Grandchildren are great! My 6-year-old grandson recently asked: “Poppy… are we rich.” I responded by asking him what he meant when he used the word ‘rich’? He then replied: “ you know… do we have enough money to buy me a toy today?” On the basis of that question, I have to admit I am rich. Even though we didn’t purchase a toy that day, I could afford to do so. 

When we think of those who are rich, we too often think of the ones who have large sums of money and an overload of possessions. Assets, 401K’s, investments and a great cash flow may be a part of the wealth equation but surely not everything. 

Revelation 3:17 “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” From God’s vantage point: riches extend far beyond the material and temporal realm.

A distraught wife sought out a Christian marriage counselor and told her sad story of a marriage about to dissolve. “But we have so much!” she kept saying. “Look at this diamond ring on my finger. Why, it’s worth thousands! We have an expensive, beautiful house in an exclusive area and even one on the coast. Why, we have everything money can buy!” We are rich…
The counselor replied, “It’s good to have the things money can buy provided you don’t lose the things money can’t buy. What good is an expensive house if there’s no home? What good is an expensive ring if there’s no love?”

Jesus put it this way: Matt. 16:26… what good will it be for a person if he or she gains the whole world, yet forfeits his or her soul?

 Paul the apostle in Ephesians Chapter 1 lists several blessings that belong to those who follow Jesus Christ and are a part of his family. He refers to them as ‘spiritual blessings - not monetary assets.’ 

You are rich because God chose you. Verse 4. You aren’t an afterthought, unwanted or unplanned.  You are loved, desired and specifically chosen by God.

You are rich because you have a God-ordained purpose. Verse 5. You don’t have to merely exist, scrape by or survive but you can live fully and thrive!

You are rich because God values you enough to make an investment by redeeming you. Verse 7a. There is no need to struggle with a sense of worthlessness because he valued you by giving his life.

You are rich because God has forgiven you. Verse 7b. In Him we have … the forgiveness of our trespasses... Guilt, shame and condemnation lose their power in the life of one who is forgiven.

I personally wasn’t born into a wealthy family according to our culture’s standards. When my parents passed on, the monetary value of there possessions were so small, each child received less than $1,000.00. While the inheritance was minuscule in a temporal sense, the legacy was large. 

My parents taught me about God! I have lived life knowing I am chosen, I am valuable, I am free, I am here for a purpose, I’m not alone and I am forgiven. Those are treasures you can’t buy! Maybe we need to rethink our definition of ‘riches’. Are You Rich?

You may have enough money to buy a grandchild a toy, but you may not be wealthy. I’m not wealthy but I am rich. So are you if you know Jesus!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stupid Stuff

by Andrew Cromwell

Everyone does stupid stuff. It’s just a part of life. Have you done any of these things lately?
  • Brush your teeth before eating.
  • Search frantically for the glasses that are on your face.
  • Wave your hands around wildly to explain something while you are on the phone.
  • Press the buttons harder on the remote control when you know it’s just weak batteries.

And even if you have never done any of these things, there is little doubt you could come up with a list of your own stupidities. When it comes down to it, no one is exempt.

The problem with the above list is that it lists more “silly stuff” than truly “stupid stuff.” If you happen to brush your teeth before dinner or make a fool of yourself looking for glasses that are already glued to your nose, you’ve done nothing more then look a little foolish. Give it a few hours or days and you’ll be able to laugh at yourself along with everyone else.

But there is another list of things we do that is not quite so funny and harmless and silly. These things end up damaging our life and relationships. Things like:
  • Continuing to lose your temper and saying and doing destructive things.
  • Lying to the ones you love the most.
  • Drinking too much and losing control.
  • Chasing after things that only end up hurting you when you get them.

We all do our own version of this type of “stupid stuff” too. Just when things are going right, we go and do the very thing that we told ourselves we would never do again, and we mess it all up. We are often our own worst enemy.

So how do you stop?

First, admit that what you are doing is stupid. Too many times, we hold onto our pride or anger or bitterness or whatever, just because we don’t want to admit that our behavior is actually destructive.

Second, be willing to work. A lot of people are not ready to change. They know their bad behavior is destructive but they don’t really want to do anything about it. They might say they want things to be different, but they really don’t.

Third, reach out for help. The first two steps won’t do anything until you do the third one. Getting help involves doing something different. It is not until we reach out beyond ourselves that we can truly see change happen.

No matter who you are or what you have done, there is a person who you can always reach out to—Father God.  If you are ready to stop doing the stupid, then maybe it’s time to get help from the One who knows you inside and out.  

The churches in Kings County would love to help you and your family find out how great life really can be when we reach out for help from Him!