Saturday, July 25, 2015

Overcoming Worry

by Andrew Cromwell

It is said,“worry is the darkroom where negatives are developed.”   You know how it goes, you begin to focus on an issue or relationship that you are concerned about, and before you know it your stomach is in knots, you are feeling depressed and you’re in exactly the same position you were before you started to worry.  The negatives have been fully developed!

According to a University of Michigan study, of the things we worry about:
60% will never happen
20% are in our past and out of our control
10% are about insignificant little things.  

Of the remaining 10%, only 4-5% of the things we worry about are real and justifiable.

If this is true, we waste a lot of time worrying!  But it is worse than that.  When we worry we place ourselves in a mental state that is actually harmful to our body.  Worry has been shown to cause mental and emotional fatigue, high blood pressure, heart problems, poor memory, ulcers, headaches, insomnia, backaches and many other medical conditions. 

Even more importantly, though, when we worry we demonstrate our lack of faith in God.  Let me be clear about this.  Worry is not having one fearful thought about the fact that something negative may happen.  Instead, it is the decision to continually return to an area of concern and to allow our imagination to paint pictures of negativity and fear.

When we worry, we make a decision to ignore what God says and focus on our fears.  God says that He will work out everything for the good of those who love Him and walk according to His purpose.  We either believe God or we choose to worry.  You can’t do both at the same time. 

God says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Worry says, “but what if I make a fool of myself.”  God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Worry says, “God can’t love me because of what I’ve done.”  God says, “My God shall supply all my needs.”  Worry says, “I don’t know how I’m going to make ends meet this month.”

God and worry are always in opposition to one another.  They will never agree on anything.  The question is, who are we going to believe, God or worry?  God is a God of peace, not of worry.  So the next time you begin to worry, try this instead:

Focus on praising God not on your circumstances.
Remind yourself of God’s love and of the truths of His Word.
Chose to think God thoughts rather than worry thoughts.
Decide to follow Him, He will always lead you away from worry!

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Title: Big

There was only one word to describe my father when I was 5 years old and that word was Big! I realized this truth on more than one occasion when I tried to walk in his shoes, put on his shirts and look like him. Maybe every boy does this at some time or another or possibly I’m just weird. Regardless, that’s when I understood there is a size differential between people.

According to one dictionary the word ‘BIG” means: large, sizable, substantial, great, huge, immense, enormous, extensive, colossal, massive, mammoth, vast, tremendous, monumental, mighty, gargantuan, gigantic, giant etc.

There is a contrast between big and small seen in a historical narrative within the books of the Bible and it’s about a boy named David and a man named Goliath. This might be one of the best-known accounts in the entire Bible.

It’s a story about a young boy who faced a crisis of mammoth proportions. A gigantic and massive person named Goliath challenged David to a battle that would ultimately determine the outcome of a war. If there were an Ultimate Fighting Championship, this would have been it! The results seemed predictable but even though Goliath was more powerful, more experienced and much larger in stature, David overcame the odds, rose to the occasion and triumphed convincingly. His victory opened the door for His country to experience freedom from persecution and provided an opportunity for unadulterated celebration.

When a person is confronted with things bigger than he or she is – the possibility of fear and a spirit of intimidation can grip the heart and cloud the thinking. Paul the Apostle said these words:

2Tim. 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid but gives us power love and self-discipline.”

David wasn’t afraid. Here are 3 reasons:

1. David walked in obedience because he loved God.
God used his obedience as His pen to write David’s future. Walking in obedience prepares you for battles bigger than you! When you follow God’s lead, give heed to His instruction and walk in accordance to His Word you will triumph over your gigantic challenges.

2. David walked in humility while his opponent stood in arrogance and pride.
James 4:6,  “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.”

3. David depended upon God and not his own abilities.
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

David’s victory was not recorded to communicate mere information. It was written to help all of us gain insight and courage. Victory over the ‘bigger than you’ challenges is possible for you and me if we follow in David’s footsteps and place our confidence in the Lord.

Have you ever been confronted with things bigger than you? Maybe your debt has become a giant and seems insurmountable. Possibly you have lost your job and the very thought of training for a new career seems overwhelming.

We all encounter times when we feel like underdogs, facing insurmountable odds? If you humbly walk in obedience to God’s word, remain confident in His strength and stand in faith, you can face the big things in life with the assurance that God will fight on your behalf and show you the practical steps to victory. The ‘BIG’ things may be larger than you but they are smaller than God.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Live Different

by Andrew Cromwell

Dave Ramsey, the radio host and financial guru, says, “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” There is a lot of truth in that statement. For his purposes, he is talking about handling your finances in a way that is different from how most people do. Most people borrow more than they can afford and then they spend it on things they don’t need only to spend the rest of their lives paying for it. But for those that decide to restrict their spending, get out of debt and invest wisely now — even though it is difficult to do and even though it might mean driving an older car, getting a second job, or living in a smaller house — there is a payoff on the other side.

Live differently and you get a different outcome.

But how you manage your money isn’t the only way we should live differently. Those who follow Christ should live differently in many ways. Jesus said to His followers, “I chose you to come out of this world.” And in Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome, he writes, “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. “

It is pretty clear that Christians are supposed to be non-conformists. This doesn’t mean that they are supposed to disagree and get into arguments with everyone (which it seems some believe is their personal calling), but rather that they are to live their lives in a way that honors God. God wants ownership of every area of our lives and this means that as followers of Christ we should live differently in all areas, but we will name a few specifics.

For those that follow Christ, their thoughts, behaviors, and relationships should all be conducted in a way that honor God.

in thoughts…   We see over and over again in Scripture, God’s thoughts are different than humankind’s thoughts. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes reading Jesus’ Words that we begin to see how differently He wanted His followers to view the world and people. We are struck by His concepts of leadership, servanthood, forgiveness, and grace. These concepts are so different from our natural human concepts that we struggle to even hold them in our mind for longer than a few moments. But if we are to get them inside of us so they actually become the way we think, then our very thoughts about everything must be changed. The only way to get our thoughts in sync with His thoughts is by repeated exposure to the cleaning power of the Word (the Bible). This means we must read, memorize, think about and talk about it!

in behaviors…  The Apostle Paul reminds Christ-followers that their bodies don’t belong to them, but they belong to Christ. He compares the bodies of those who have given their hearts to Christ to temples of worship. Temples are cared for, kept clean, and are set apart for worship services. In the same way, the body of the believer should be cared for. What goes in it, how it is used, where it is taken, and what it does should all reflect that this body belongs to Christ.

in relationships…  The way we treat ALL other people should be characterized by kindness, patience, deference and humility. This includes the people we like and the people we don’t like. Interestingly, Jesus said the way we should treat even those who hate us is with love and goodness. So Christians shouldn’t go around cutting people down to size with their words, waving at people with that special finger, or losing their temper when other people are dumb. Instead, they are to treat every person as one who is valuable and precious (because they are).

Following Christ is not a recreational sport. It is a life-decision. But for those who choose this way of life, Jesus promised to give an enduring joy and a continuing strength to face all of life’s challenges.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


by Tim Howard

If you want to gather a large crowd around you, simply shout the word ‘FREE!’  People from every nook and cranny will come running because the very term itself suggests you will get something for nothing. Most people like a good sale but everyone loves to get something for free.

The truth, however, is just the opposite. Everything costs something! Nothing is FREE!  It may be at no expense to you personally but believe me when I say: Someone paid a price!

Today we celebrate our freedom as a nation. The idea of liberty that has kindled the fires of independence in this nation is firmly rooted in the Word of God. 
The cost for our nation to experience freedom from tyranny came at a very high price. Every year on Memorial Day we remember the fallen solders who made the ultimate sacrifice so others could experience liberty and independence. As we celebrate today, may we not pass the opportunity to pause and say Thank You!

We must never forget: The call to freedom is a privilege – not a right. It has been provided for us, by others and should be honored by those of us who have been entrusted with it.

We must never forget: We are free to choose but not free from the consequences of our choices. We are responsible for the decisions we make. It is not the right to choose but the privilege to choose what is right.

There is not victory without a fight! It’s one thing to get free and another thing to stay free. Since July 4, 1776 America has fought many wars to insure our continued freedom as country.

The freedom God brings to us goes far beyond a physical freedom, however. He sent Jesus to free us from selfishness, greed, hatred, lust and so much more. You don’t have to walk in depression or darkness because there is a light that leads to liberty. That light shines brightly wherever Jesus is exalted. Nations may leave their roots but to those who stay connected to the foundation will prosper.

Jesus said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set FREE those who are oppressed.” He died so we could live life to its fullest. He came to set us free!

People everywhere – living in a free nation but still bound and addicted to sin, drugs, alcohol, perversion, materialism, racism and a host of other things. Living in a free nation doesn’t guarantee your personal freedom.  

In John 8, Jesus made an incredibly profound statement.  He said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.  And if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We’re not truly free and cannot experience God’s ultimate freedom unless we accept the price that our Great Liberator has paid for our freedom.

Jesus tells us that we are slaves to whatever controls us. He came to liberate those who are bound and He is available to free you right now. Why live in a free nation and remain bound? Why not ask Him to set you free?  Make this weekend a time to celebrate – Not only our nations freedom but yours as well. God came to set you free!