Most of the people reading this know that I go to GateWay Church.
They also know that my husband is the Worship Pastor.
He is the most awesome worship leader ever!
(I'm biased of course, but the man has a divine gift!)
Anyhow, I hadn't been to church in a while.
This last Sunday I was superwoman.
Four dozen cookies baked, dishes rotated, kids dressed, me showered and dressed,
and all to church by 10:30.
I left the cape at home :).
The sermon series is called, "Constructing the New You."
You know, with the new year and all.
The focus verses were Philippians 4: 1-9.
The goal was to see God at work in our life,
and to do that there were six commitments to make.
Pastor Ed took us through sections of these verses and went over the commitments found in them
There is some really good stuff here:
#1- Agree to disagree agreeably. Vs. 1-3
"I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up.
God doesn't want his children holding grudges." vs.2 MSG
Did you know that people who are connected to others
are healthier than those who lead lonely, withdrawn lives?
He had the research.
They even fight colds better and faster.
As humans, I believe we were inherently designed with a desire and need to be connected to others.
We crave meaningful relationships.
And when those relationships are in strife we are miserable and feel broken.
This is not what God desires for us.
He desires us to extend grace as it was extended to us by Him.
Even when the situation seems impossible.
Think about about it, holding that grudge only sickens us.
Imagine the freedom that grace can allow us.
I believe he wants us to be in healthy relationships.
#2- Celebrate something. vs. 4-5
"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!" vs. 4 MSG
As I type this I have the choruses to two songs running through my head.
Sing along with me:
"Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!
Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!
and again I say Rejoice!
and I again I say Rejoice!"
"Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes Yes Lord!
Yes Lord, Yes Lord Yes Yes Lord!"
You sounded lovely,
How did I sound?
Please contact Jason if you think I should be on the praise team too!
#3- Worry about nothing. vs. 6a
Pastor Ed shared that worry is assuming responsibility God never intended for us to have.
I totally agree with that, but I do want to add that there are
certain times when worry and anxiety is a mental/physical issue.
I have struggled with it for years and significantly this last year.
I will say that I have found myself in a place where
I am less worried and more mindful of the blessings God has provided me.
I am in a more positive frame of mind.
Spending more time with Him and casting my worry and anxiety to
Him who can handle it has eased my burden.
#4- Pray about everything. vs. 6b
I know that God knows what I need and don't need.
I do think He wants us to share our every concern with Him.
Just like our earthly dads want us to share with them,
our Heavenly Father desires that of us too.
So much so that he impressed these words upon Paul to share with the people.
#5- Thank God for anything. vs. 6c
"Thank you God for turning the light green just now!"
Raise your hands if you've prayed that prayer before!
A quick shout out to the Lord Almighty.
My hands up.
I remember someone sharing this same idea once.
We need to be thanking God for everything.
Not just the big stuff, but the day to day stuff.
"Don't fret or worry.
Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers,
letting God know your concerns." vs. 6
#6- Think about the right things. vs. 8-9
"Summing it all up, friends,
I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true,
noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-
the best, not the worst;
the beautiful, not the ugly;
things to praise, not things to curse.
Put into practice what you learned from me,
what you heard and saw and realized.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together,
will work you into him most excellent harmonies." vs. 8-9 MSG
I love the word choice from the Message version.
I will admit right now that I don't always dwells on the above attributes and qualities of others.
I easily get sucked into drama which is often negative in nature.
I can join in the conversation with the best of them.
I can spout my concerns or observations to Jason like nobody's business.
BUT WHAT IS IT REALLY ACCOMPLISHING?
Yes' I'm shouting it at my computer, and myself, right now.
Now I know that there are times to be involved in serious discussions about important matters.
I just want to remind myself to make sure they are productive.
This is a work in progress.
Something I have to remind myself about daily,
and when I screw up I dwell on it forever.
See commitment #1, don't hold a grudge against self, extend grace.
I need to refocus my thoughts to be on the qualities that Paul wrote about in verses 8-9.
Things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
I need to also put these qualities into practice.
Have I been lovely, admirable, or excellent?
I don't think this is about tooting my own horn as much
as it means being an example of God's love and attributes to others.
And what will I get if I put this all into practice?
"Before you know it,
a sense of God's wholeness,
everything coming together for good,
will come and settle you down.
It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces the worry at the center of your life."
vs. 7 MSG
It's is wholeness I seek.
Living a life that is good and reflective of His love for us.
Tonight, what are you thanking God for?
What do you need specific prayer for?
Tomorrow (or today), think about the good, the beautiful, the authentic and gracious things.
Finding the blessings,