Feeling “Spiritually Stuck”?

Do you feel “spiritually stuck”?? Read on!
 
Christians sometimes talk about being in a “dry season” in our relationship with God. And while often we feel like we are thriving spiritually, other times, life sucks the wind out of us and we are feeling drained and empty. I want to caution you to not let yourself sit at length in what you think to be a dry season because it’s a normal or an ok thing. If you are feeling distant from the Lord, PRESS IN CLOSER! Remember David was a man who constantly pursued God despite his grave imperfections and that is why he was called a man after God’s heart.

Here are some pieces of advice for getting out of a spiritual dry season.

1. Stop doing small reading plans in your Bible app that only deal with where you feel you are in life. If you are single, there are other Bible reading plans than “How to not be depressed in your singleness”. If you are in a season of financial despair, don’t just seek out the plan called “God wants to bless me”. Yes these can absolutely be good and helpful, but not if its all you seek. There is more! When we seek God only according to our world view and want to see him only through the eyes in which we choose, we will quickly fall into a spiritual rut. There is SO much more to who God is and the abundant life he wants for his children. The Bible wasn’t written topically, so don’t just study it topically. Study the whole of scripture and you’ll get a whole picture of the life God intends for you.

“The Bible wasn’t written topically, so don’t just study it topically.”

Might I suggest, if you are in a spiritual rut, hop over to The Bible Project‘s Facebook page or website and dive into one of their seriously awesome, full of depth podcast or video series. If you really want to know who God is, this is one incredible tool. You will quickly find your appetite for the Lord growing as you start to see the layers upon layers of the incredible character of God found in scripture.
 
Consider reading through longer segments of scripture. Go through an entire book rather than just one verse here and there. Take a solid week to go through Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, or Galatians.
 
2. Choose a fresh, new space to study God’s word. Spring is beginning to spring! Grab your Bible and study tools and head out to your front porch first thing in the morning with a blanket and cup of coffee. Put the kids down for a nap then head to a bright window and study in a position that may be unusual to you to break you of your comfort zone. Save a special dessert to enjoy during your Jesus time. 🙂 Go to the beach or find a park bench to read. Make your time with the Lord special, different and enjoyable.
 
3. I also recognize that you may be in a spiritual rut because you feel tired. Maybe you have a new baby in the house (#preachingtomyself) or your work hours have thrown you for a loop. In these seasons, let the word of God pour into you through podcasts and the “read to me” feature on the Bible app! Personally, sometimes my brain just doesn’t soak in things that i’ve read when i’m running on 4 hours of sleep. There are many, many apps I keep on my phone that are incredible resources and really help me in these seasons. Ask me to send you a list of my favorites if you are looking for more Bible study resources. Many of them don’t even require you to read a thing, just to listen. How incredible is that?
 
Here is a promise to hold on to:

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.. James 4:8

 
-Written by Sarah Pudlo

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Weed and Christians… What does the Bible say?

Hello April 20th… Yes, your church just posted about 4/20, aka Weed Day.

How should Christians respond to weed/marijuana/cannabis?
In the Apostle Peter’s first letter to the Christian Church he says “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). No one can deny that the effects of THC in weed alter a consumer’s decision making skills. Judgement becomes clearly impaired, users become giddy, overcome with hunger, light headed, tingly and relaxed as dopamine is released in the brain. The results are typically childlike behavior from adults.
So what do Peter’s words have to do with weed? When we allow ourselves to lose control over our mental faculties for a high, we compromise our ability to live alert and aware of the potential pitfalls around us. We are left in a compromised position, potentially engaging in behaviors with regrettable repercussions or shame. There are plenty of warnings in the Bible about being ready at all times to make wise decisions, take thoughtful approaches, recall scripture to overcome temptation or for the encouragement of others, and to be capable of giving a reasonable answer to others about our faith. How can we do these things if we are experiencing a high that alters our mindset and instead leaves us unprepared?

What about medical marijuana?

There are approximately 500 chemicals in cannabis that work together to create the high that a user feels. The two most prominent are THC and CBD. THC is mostly responsible for the high, while CBD actually has a more medicinal effect, cooling overactive electrical systems in the brain. This is why strains of cannabis that are high in CBD are effective for those who suffer seizures and various nervous system disorders. Anxiety is also often remedied by the use of medical marijuana. But the problem comes in when users don’t actually need it or don’t need as much as they are consuming. As with anything, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Self control is essential whether it’s alternative or traditional forms of medicine we are using.

What’s the point of all this?

We simply want to help you make wiser decisions. Decisions that lead you closer to the God who created you. Don’t live for the temporary experiences of substances in this world, but live for the one who created you —and do so with a clear head which will lead you to an eternal experience this world only wishes it could match.


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A confession from your pastor

I have a confession to make… I read the headlines yesterday, paused for a moment to think “there’s another one…” and started to move on with my day; it wasn’t my child’s school nor one any of my family or friends are associated with. Then it hit me… 

I have to confess that I have grown too numb to the loss of human life in our world today. 
 

Since 2013 there have been almost 300 school/college related shootings according to everytownresearch.org (some accidental weapon discharges, others involving casualties). Our media covers mass shootings so sensationally with mixed intentions to report the news and maximize profits through viewership. We watch war waged around the world with massive casualties of both soldiers and civilians. Earthquakes, fires, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes and other weather elements rip through communities leaving lives upturned and people devastated. Humanitarian support advertisements are everywhere to support all of the victims. We hear rumors of a human trafficking and think it doesn’t happen here… but it does. 

This isn’t a post about politics, gun safety, global warming, etc. It’s about our hearts.

Have we let our exposure to human tragedy in our world today cause our hearts to become callous? Do we recognize the pain in our world that only has one solution? Jesus. Do you read the profile of the Parkland FL school shooting suspect and pray harm on him or break for the pain in him that would grip his heart so strongly that he would take the lives of others?

As I’ve taken time to reflect on yesterday, I’ve realized that I have grown too familiar, too callous, too numb. 

My heart breaks for the victims and their families. My heart is broken because lives who may not have had relationship with their creator have expired. Some may distance themselves from God because of this. My heart breaks for the suspect because of the pain inside that drove him to this. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

Ezekiel 18:23 do you think I enjoy seeing evil people die?” asks the Sovereign LORD. “No, I would rather see them repent and live.

The mission of the church is so critical. Lives can be forever changed when they encounter the love and comfort of Christ.
 
-Pastor Mike

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Making Small Talk Count

Have you ever traveled by plane, sat next to a stranger for several hours and found yourself at the end of the flight knowing nothing about the passenger sitting next to you?

Maybe you found out they were a salesman from Houston who was on a business trip for his company that was making him travel on his wife’s birthday. Maybe they were a father heading off to Disney for their annual family vacation and he had 2 twin girls who were sitting across the aisle already dressed as princesses. Sure we know a few details about why they were in the same place as you, but you found out nothing more than small talk. Read more…


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