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Bill's LifeTalk

New Hope Community Church

Action Abolishes Fear

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Business leader and author Dale Carnegie stated, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” It’s amazing what action can do to relieve the mind of a thousand scenario’s. If we sit still in times of challenge our mind produces rabbit trails of untruth that only build our fear. If we begin to move out fear lessens as we experience small wins toward our challenge.

As the Israelites came out of slavery in Egypt they were trapped by the Red Sea with the Egyptian army in the distance, they stood still and their inactivity grew their fear. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” (Ex. 14:15) God called them out to move forward and as they did they saw victory one step at a time and saw their fear move to celebration. Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” When you fear, seek God, seek action, and you will see(k) victory.

God Still Has a Body

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God wants nothing less than to represent himself through you. As a Christian you are a child of God (John 1:12-13) and as a child of God you are in essence “little Christ’s.” My four daughters are “little Berg’s” and they represent my wife Cherie and I. Often they have heard, “Oh, you must be a Berg.” Since God has created you in His image he desires you to reflect him and to carry on His heart for the world. As John Burke states in his book, Soul Revolution, “He wants to include you in his dream for humanity. All you have to do is stay connected, willing and responsive, and you and your friends will be amazed at what God will do through you.”

Jesus words in the upper room made this vision clear, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” So stay connected with Jesus (John 15:5) and allow Him to “Do immeasurably more than all you could ask or imagine by His power that is at work within you and for His glory…” (Eph. 3:20-21). So get out and live as a “little Christ.” God still has a body and it’s you!

“To Grow Strong, Grow Together”

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The Redwood tree root system is very shallow, often only five or six feet deep. This is pretty amazing for trees that can grow to 360 feet tall and weigh up to 4,000,000 pounds. With such height and weight how are redwoods able to keep from falling over during the harsh storms that rage around them? Redwoods handle the storms because they are connected together. What redwoods don’t have in depth of roots they make up for in width and the welcome strength of fellow redwoods. Redwood roots can extend up to 100 feet from the trunk, they thrive in thick groves, where the roots intertwine and fuse together. When a storm comes it’s “all for one and one for all.” They are strong, because they have grown together. A good lesson for how we should live life with others.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Do you want to grow strong? Do you want to withstand the storms of life? Then grow together with others who are going where you want to grow, whether educationally, emotionally, physically, relationally, or spiritually.

Cast and Cut

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In Minnesota the stores have transitioned quickly from ice fishing gear to open water gear. The ice melt and open waters have brought a high anticipation of the fishing opener. An odd approach to fishing would be to cast out your line and then cut it. Nobody does this! To even suggest this approach would be crazy and counter productive to fishing, but if we wish to rid ourselves of our anxiety we need to cast and cut. 1 Peter 5:6-7 states,

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ”

God invites us to recognize His power to handle and carry our burdens and invites us to “cast” them upon Him literally. The problem with living in Minnesota is casting includes reeling. We are used to casting out our line and then reeling it back in over and over. God is inviting us to a different practice of casting and then cutting the line. We need to cut the line otherwise we end up reeling in our anxiety and taking it on again. So, as we approach the fishing opener let’s put into place a new spiritual practice of casting our cares on Jesus and then imagining in our mind cutting the line so as not to reel them in. If we can cast our cares on Jesus and keep the weight of them with Him it is a lot easier for Him to “lift us up in due time.” So daily cast and cut.

Getting or Giving?

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Author Bernard Bailey stated, “When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be discouraged to discover they are not it.” I think if I am honest, I will be a little disappointed myself. Whether with our jobs, marriage, money, free time, or over-all life, most of us struggle recognizing there is a world outside of ourselves that we are responsible for. In a world that is prone towards just getting, may we be a people who are prone to giving. Living a life of generosity is good for living.

Proverbs 11:24-25, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

 

Wrong Maybe Right

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We often live a life of fear in the world, due to our finite perspective. Over the last year the discussion and focus around our government and political leadership has not quieted down. Daily tweets, posts and news feeds can easily keep us up at night, but what if all that we view as wrong around us is right? In Acts 3-4 the Apostles Peter and John make bold statements to the high priest and religious cohort of the day that “They did what God’s power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” (Acts 4:28) They are speaking to the crucifixion of Jesus, that ultimately God was in control of what the high priests had decided and the overriding purpose was part of God’s plan for reconciling mankind to Himself.

The disciples themselves thought the crucifixion was wrong until Jesus stood before them in the locked room in John 20:19 to show them it was right! Out of this Peter and John could speak of God’s sovereign position and that He ultimately is in charge, that it is evident through His making the heavens, earth and sea, and everything in them (including us). So when it seems like so much is going wrong around us maybe God is using it to bring forth what is right. From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same God is Sovereign.

“Free Counselors”

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Up to half of the people in the United States has a relationship with a counselor on a regular basis. Counselors are good and necessary but I wonder how much free counseling we forgo due to the fact that we do not daily spend time in God’s Word? I love what Psalm 119: 24 states, “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” Did you get that? God’s laws, His rules, His boundaries, His Plan for how we live is like having a group of counselors in our life.

We don’t often view God’s Word or His law this way. If we are honest we see it as a communication that is to hinder us than actually help us. That is why the Psalmist prays a few verses earlier in Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” When we invite God to open our eyes, and we sit before His Word like many counselors in our life, we will respond as the Psalmist did in Psalm 119:32, “I run in the path of your commands for you have broadened my understanding.” Much of our need for counseling can be provided by knowing God’s Word, whether for marriage or money, finances or fears, business or burdens. Invite God today to open your eyes (your heart) to His wonderful laws, our counselors. No wonder the Psalmist rejoices in Psalm 119:105 by saying, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

 

 

Questions Followers Ask

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In John Maxwell’s book, “Intentional Living” he states, “Most people don’t live their life they accept their life.” This is why as leaders we need to pour value into followers, assisting them in seeing the truth of Ephesians 2:10 for their lives, “For we are God’s workmanship (Greek = art work), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared for us in advance to do.” God has created His creation to reflect His image not to refrain from it.

So as leaders, our followers question: 1.) Do you like me? Compassion  2.) Can you help me? Competence  3.) Can I trust you? Character. So if you lead, lead your followers intentionally looking for ways to add value to their lives, value that reflects the image of God and reflects living life to the full.

Take Out The Trash

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We by nature are not good at confession. We hold onto our sin thinking at some point we will know what to do with it or that it will stay unnoticed. Not confessing our sin before Jesus is like carrying around our trash everyday, all day. Who sleeps, eats, exercises, commutes, and works with their literal trash always with them? Confessing is leaving it at the foot of the cross and asking Jesus to take care of it and walking away. “If we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all righteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9)

I love Mondays at our house because it is trash day. All week long I accumulate trash but Mondays I put it out in the morning and by night it is gone. It’s amazing. Jesus invites us to put our trash out daily and He will take care of it. Amazing. So stop carrying your trash and leave it out for Jesus.

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