Extra Strength: Don’t Buy the Lie {Hyacynth}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Pressure Points: Selfie: Whole {Sunday, April 12, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

By all standards, my life feels pretty full.

Our family calendar, although now a more-tamed beast than in years past, lends evidence to its fullness.

I call much of what makes up the fullness of my life blessings.

The family I love. The hobbies I enjoy. The job at which I work. The friends with whom I commune. The home in which I live. The food we eat. The passions that burn brightly in my soul. Each is a gift, a blessing to me.

But there’s a problem when the blessings, the fullness of life is mistaken for a wholeness, a completeness in our souls.

Fullness doesn’t mean wholeness.

And I think we’re often deceived into thinking just the opposite — that the fullness of a life can complete us, that the fullness of a life can make us whole.

And when fullness leads into inevitable busyness? Well, I think we’re often left aching and limping our way through these lives chocked full of blessings.

Add to that the busyness of going from one thing to the next in the fullness of life, that often we don’t even realize that we’re trying to fill a hole … we often don’t even see depths and width of that hole.

“We never stop long enough to figure out what we are trying to fill.” Pastor Josh Petersen

But there are signs everywhere of that hole we’re trying to fill.

We fill the holes in our homes with more treasures than what our bank accounts can account for.

We fill the holes in our schedules with serving and helping and feel exhausted just looking at our packed calendars.

We struggle to make the button meet the hole of our jeans after too many handfuls of snacks.

When we finally recognize the holes, we stare at the gaping spaces in our lives, shake our heads and wonder why we can’t get it together … Wonder why there is so little within our easy reach to fill the holes that seem to only grow wider and wider. 

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Photo courtesy of Danny Lagunas

“It’s gotta come from someplace else — wholeness only comes from the outside, but you better choose wisely. You will have to add something, and it’s probably not what you think. You’ll have to add carefully.” Pastor Josh Petersen

We are full, yes and yet, we are aching for wholeness.

We look for it in the desserts we eat and the gadgets to which we upgrade and the drinks in which we drown our sorrows and the service we extend in the overextension of ourselves.   

And yet we still ache so we go back and do it all again, mistaking fullness for wholeness over and over. We buy the lie time after time. 

“That outside thing that’s worth your time and energy is Jesus.” Pastor Josh Petersen 

The first step in trying to remedy a problem is admitting there is, indeed, a problem, and my very problem is summed up quite easily in admitting that all of my attempts to make me whole haven’t ever completed that aching empty in the depths of my soul.

I can’t eat, shop, serve, create, perfect myself into wholeness.

And the second step? It’s replacing the lie with truth.

When I am tempted to try and eat myself into wholeness, I can choose instead to feast on truth: Jesus is the bread of life.

When I am lured into trying to perfect my way into wholeness, I can choose to recall that His grace is sufficient for me.

When I am desiring for someone to assign me worth with their words, I can choose to remember that God so loved *me* that He sent His only son to give me life.

As we walk into the fullness of a new day, let’s not buy the lie that fullness is wholeness. Let’s not fill the holes with more stuff. Let’s instead fill it with Truth.

Let’s choose wisely, friends.

headshotHyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and author of Undercover Mother. She also works as the Online Communications Coordinator for Immanuel Church.


Be Challenged:  This week, when you feel tempted to buy the lie …

  • Identify the lie

  • Replace it with God’s truth

  • Remember and declare that you are #wholeinone!

Extra Strength: Silent Retaliation

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Pressure Points: The Pressure of Retaliation {Sunday, March 22, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

During those lonely days of adolescence, as I was growing into a new body with a big heart and tenderly thin skin, I realized the power of words after my good friend’s mom nearly spat some from her mouth, something that’s stuck with me for years:

“You are so bossy! Stop being so bossy, or no one will want to be your friend.”

To a kid who was exceptionally good at organizing ideas and events, but was still working on the intricacies of organizing people in relationship to ideas and events, her words were like a razor to my heart. It was the first time I could recall being so wounded by something someone said.

Shortly after that realization, I discovered a parallel revelation; while words could really cut deep the opposite of offensive words was just as dangerous of a weapon: silence. After those hurtful words were spoken, I retreated away from the relationship and stopped speaking with my friend for quite some time. I was so hurt by her mom’s words and her agreeing with her mom so fervently, that I simply stopped speaking to her.

If hurtful words can be a razor blade to the heart causing it to bleed out, silence in retaliation can be a sneaky paper bag that smothers our relationships into silent death.

To be clear, I’m not talking about holding our tongues so as to not say something we might regret; I’m talking about those intentional times when we choose to let the offender of hurtful words or actions suffer in the aftermath of our purposeful silence.

Though I was young, I learned a powerful lesson: I held great power in inflicting suffering through my silent retaliation.

I’d like to tell you when I left childhood that I also left behind my way of retaliation. My husband is so gracious with me that he’d allow you to believe that and never call me out. But even as an adult, I’ve recognized I’ve sought retaliation after I’ve been hurt by remaining silent, within my marriage, friendships, relationships and even my relationship with myself and with God. Though my retaliation of silence is now much different than the whole, “I’m not talking to you,” feel it had in my childhood, it still is rooted in the pride: “I’m not letting you in. No matter what you say or do or how you apologize, you are not getting in here: no way; no shape; no how.”

3.23.15 blog Patient EnduranceWhat began as a reaction to hurt had become, as I grew older, a thought-out response, a response that leaves only loses and never wins.

Because as an adult, I’ve realized that in the silence of retaliation, it’s not just the other person who suffers; the one who inflicts the silence suffers in it as well.

The retaliation of silence as an adult looks most like quietly shutting down, denying the other person any insight into our pain, denying anyone the ability to come close to the deep hurt that’s been suffered, denying anyone the ability to come comfort us as we hurt. With our own conscious selves. With our closest relationships. Even with God.

There’s a song I’ve listened to probably a hundred times because it hits me so square in the hear that I’m drawn to it time and again. The chorus says,

“It’s a fight between my heart and mind
No one really wins this time
No one really wins this time
In the endless fight of grace and pride
I don’t want to win this time
I don’t want to win this time.” (Copeland)

With the silence of retaliation, no one really wins, and even as I internalize this truth more and more, I still often find a war going on inside of me after I’ve been hurt and wronged, a fight, it seems, between grace and pride.

I’m learning now that I can let grace win because I can trust in a God who promises to make to make all things right.

And to be quite honest, if grace doesn’t win out every time, no one really ever wins.

headshotHyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and author of Undercover Mother. She also works as the Online Communications Coordinator for Immanuel Church.

 

 


Be Challenged:  This week, when you feel you’ve been wronged, remember this:

  • “When it comes to retaliation, our choice is not a difficult one to understand but it is a difficult one to obey. We have the ability through the Holy Spirit in you to choose patient endurance over retaliation.” -Pastor Joe Boerman

 

Our Prayer for the Monday After: Pressure Points: The Pressure of Retaliation

TheMondayAfterPrayerEach Monday we’ll be bringing Sunday into the work week by sharing a prayer for the week based on the Sunday sermon. You can now catch the sermon blogs written by our blogging team Wednesdays, where they’ll offer a mid-week shot of espresso to help re-energize, encourage and challenge us in the midst of our work weeks! 

The Monday After Sunday, March 22, 2015: Pressure Points: The Pressure of Retaliation

Yesterday, Pastor Joe Boerman taught from the book of James on the pressure point of retaliaton.

We looked at James 5: 1-12

“Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you.

7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.”

3.23.15 blog Patient EndurancePastor Joe highlighted a few things:

1.”When it comes to retaliation, our choice is not a difficult one to understand but it is a difficult one to obey. We have the ability through the Holy Spirit in you to choose patient endurance over retaliation.” -Pastor Joe Boerman #retaliation

2. “We can have patient endurance when our trust is in a God who promises to make wrongs right. ” – Pastor Joe Boerman, #icPressure #retaliation

For the next seven days:

Consider the difference it would make in our lives, our world if we each chose to trust God to right the wrongs we face.

Extra Strength: How to Really Win an Argument (Gracie)

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge.

Extra Strength for Pressure Points: The Pressure of Conflict. (click to listen to the message)

I instantly felt a punch in my gut.

As I sat in church Sunday listening to Pastor Josh’s message, I realized we were talking about conflict. I immediately became uneasy because I am afraid of conflicts. Conflicts mean that something isn’t  right between me and another person, and it could also mean the scariest part of it all: confrontation.

 

True, we could just bury our feelings and never bring it up, but you know what happens then.

As author Joseph Grenny says, you either find a way to talk it out or you act it out.

Talking about it, though, requires effort and some discomfort, if we’re being honest.

We become vulnerable.

We share our innermost insecurities.

Honestly, a lot of times, if not every time,  it’s so much easier to place the blame on the person with whom you’re having the conflict. Can you think of the last time you were confronted or confronted someone and you willingly took all the blame? I can’t.

blog 3.18.15 win an argument

But one truth James tells us in chapter 4 is that it is on us. Conflict starts and ends with us. It’s the evil desires within us that wedge themselves into our relationships: jealousy, anger, pride. They all get in the way.

It’s only when we bring ourselves down from this pedestal and place Christ on it instead that we can see conflict is not about the other person and all the things they’ve done and said to us; it’s about what we have going on inside ourselves.

James 4:10 goes on to say “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” ‭

God wants us to build up other people. We can’t do that if we are all about ourselves. God also wants to mend the hurt places in our own hearts. When we bring to Him what’s going on inside ourselves, we open ourselves to His healing.

We win when the Spirit through us wins others over to Christ, when Christ’s mission wins inside of our hearts.

So come down on down from there, humble yourself and reap the blessings of submitting to the One who rules best from the throne.


Be Challenged:

  • Right now, in whatever situation you find yourself balling up your hands and getting ready to throw the next punch — be it in the form of words or actions or reaction — ask yourself this:”Right here, right now, Lord, in this situation, how can I best be an ambassador of grace and reconciliation?”

    Spend a few moments quietly sitting before the Lord as the Holy Spirit helps you form a response instead of a reaction.

  • Ask God to help you understand what’s inside of your heart causing the conflict. Ask the Father to heal the root of the conflict in your own heart.

Our Prayer for the Monday After: Pressure Points: The Pressure of Conflict

TheMondayAfterPrayerEach Monday we’ll be bringing Sunday into the work week by sharing a prayer for the week based on the Sunday sermon. You can now catch the sermon blogs written by our blogging team Wednesdays, where they’ll offer a mid-week shot of espresso to help re-energize, encourage and challenge us in the midst of our work weeks! 

The Monday After Sunday, March 15, 2015: Pressure Points: The Pressure of Conflict

Yesterday, Pastor Josh Petersen taught from the book of James on the pressure point of conflict.

We looked at James 4:1-10:

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Blog 5.16.15 Ambassadors of Christ

 

Pastor Josh highlighted a few things:

1.”Conflict begins and ends with you.” -Pastor Josh Petersen

2. “The key to conflict resolution is humility. That’s the combatant — humility before God and humility before others.” – Pastor Joe Boerman, #icPressure #conflict

3. Jesus reconciled us to the Father. If we’re emulating Christ, conflict resolution isn’t about winning; it’s about reconciliation.

For the next seven days:

Take seriously the idea of being an ambassador of reconciliation to the world. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10