Friday, July 24, 2009

Negative thoughts

I've just realized how negative thoughts are interfering with progress in the Church today.

The only reason I know this is because of the substantial amount of stress and trouble I've caused myself at work over the past several years. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was left in a situation that I felt was overwhelming.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSV)

These verses have always been special to me, and my "target". They have also been some of the most difficult verses to obey! Because I have a lot of difficulty letting go, and trusting God.

Instead of letting go, and giving God my difficult situation, and trusting on His wisdom and guidance, I struggled. I turned everything into a negative. I dwelt on these negative thoughts constantly, becoming very bitter and angry. It was reflected in my entire life, at home and work. I believe it was also a huge factor in my physical and mental health. I couldn't seem to break out of the negative, downward spiral of self-pity and anger towards the person I perceived as the cause of my trouble. Everything was a direct attack on me, belittling me and my efforts. At least, that's how I saw things.

I wish I could say that some miraculous event occurred and my eyes were opened. But no, that's not the case. It took growing as a Christian, and slowly changing my personal beliefs and behavior, to see what I was doing to myself and those around me. I realized that the decisions that were being made were not to punish me, but were in the best interest of my employer. Nobody was attacking me, nobody was belittling me, other than myself.
Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding;
a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.
A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones. Proverbs 14:29-30 (The Message)

Another scripture passage comes to mind, one that I prepared a sermon for.
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 1 Corinthians 1:10-11 (NRSV)

Paul was writing to the early church in Corinth about the quarreling taking place. I saw that I was too involved in feeling hurt and looking for attacks, to concentrate on the goal, moving forward and providing the best possible service for our customers.

I think the same thing is happening in the Church today. People are too busy feeling hurt and maligned, too busy defending their "territory" to focus on the goal, sharing the Good News. It truly is time to be selfless. By focusing on the negative emotions, we give the Devil an opening, and the Church can't afford that, the Church needs solidarity and single-mindedness of purpose.
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. Ephesians 4:26-27 (The Message)

(You've probably figured out, by now, that I find tons of good "stuff" in Paul's writings.)
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. Philippians 2:5 (The Message)

Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. 1 Peter 4:1 (The Message)

God has created each of us with an ego, and our own will. And we see, from the example of Adam and Eve, where that can lead. We have to submit ourselves, and our egos to God. And we can't do that by merely making a decision to do so. We need to cry out to God to help us trust Him to guide us, to catch us when we fall and to heal our bruised egos, so that we can focus on sharing and growing the Kingdom of God here on earth.
“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Getting ready for Sunday morning

I just watched a church service on, online church, quite a concept. There were people from 20 countries online at one point tonight. What an awesome use of the internet! And, if you take care to watch in the right location (quiet, undisturbed), it can be a very nice worship experience.

Tonight was the second sermon in a new series, At The Movies. During the service, we watched clips from a selected movie, not necessarily a Christian movie, and looked for God's message that was presented, or can be found in the movie. This week's movie is Henry Poole Is Here

Though I rarely watch movies, this one might break my dry spell. (the last movie I watched in a theatre was A Perfect Storm)

I also started to watch an instructional DVD I purchased several weeks ago, Leading Worship : Creating Flow, from the Paul Baloche Modern Worship Series from But, I missed taking a nap this afternoon and I think I'm going to postpone viewing the rest of the DVD until tomorrow.

I hope that you take time to attend worship service tomorrow and thank God for his blessings. If you can't make it to church, check out

God Bless
Blogged with the Flock Browser