“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” – Ephesians 6:10
Dear New Life in Christ Church Family,
Are your priorities in good order? Do your priorities reflect God’s priorities for you? Or, do you find that you simply follow your emotional desires (what the Bible calls your passions)?
Many times, we don’t take the time to figure out what priorities should direct our lives. We move from emotion to emotion, activity to activity, and don’t always think about the priorities we bring to each and every action we take, every conversation we have, each and every day, in our work and free time.
Even if we have identified our priorities, it is easy to get distracted from doing our top priorities and get sucked into a whole different world.
What are your priorities? What parts of yourself do you want to demonstrate everywhere you go? Are you demonstrating those priorities?
I’ve been thinking about this recently for myself. I have identified six top priorities that I want to demonstrate in everything I do. One of the priorities I believe God calls me to demonstrate is strength on behalf of others. The people around me need me to be strong. My family needs me to be strong for them. If I cannot lead them spiritually through leadership, conviction, and confidence, they will miss something I was created to give them. In as similar way, the church needs me to bring strength into my leadership and into the pulpit.
As a result, if I am mentally lax, I will not have the focus to do my work well. If I have not cared for my emotional well being, I will take energy from others instead of giving to them. I will be afraid of criticism and respond negatively to conflict. If I am physically unwell, I will not be as present in the lives of the people as I should. Whether I think about my pastoral ministry or my family life, I need to be strong for the sake of others. It is a priority for me. So how does that work its way out?
Since this is a priority of mine, I try to bring it to every part of my life. That is not to say that I perfectly do it, only that I work to more faithfully include my priorities in every area of my life.
First, I know that I must be strong in spirit. True strength of spirit is a gift from God. Therefore, I study of Scripture and meditate on its message. I learn what God wants in my life and I commit to living his Word. Second, I know I must be strong in mind. This comes from diligent study and knowing my work well. For me, strength in mind requires reading and constant learning. Third, I know that I must be strong emotionally. This means that I need to focus my mind on the promises of God. This means I need to submit negative emotions to God. This means I need good friendships so I can be honest with others. Finally, I want to be physically strong so I bring my best energy to everyday living, which helps with my emotional well-being and mental focus. This motivates me to be involved with weight lifting at the gym. When I grow tired or I don’t want to go to the gym, I remind myself that my habits in the gym are reflective of my top priorities and values in all my life. I’ve realized this is a major motivation for me to keep exercising.
What I have noticed is that when I think about the person God has called me to be, it is a lot easier to start good habits. My habits are not to cover one of my weaknesses, they exist to create every opportunity for God to work in my life and through my life. They are part of God’s process of making me into the person he wants me to be, which is also the person I want to be (Philippians 2:12-13).
What about you? What are your top priorities? Why don’t you pick one to focus on for the different areas of your life? I have posted some ideas online. You can pick one to focus on and see how you can build your life around it in your work, your family, the church, and in the community. How will you grow in it and embody it in everything you do?
- I have a couple of other items of note.
First, we have changed the church email address. From now on, we will be using firstname.lastname@example.org for all church correspondence, including communicating with Pastor Doug (yes, he reads every email he gets there). Please update your records. In light of a recent email breach, we are in the process of adding more security to our email accounts. We will periodically check the email@example.com account for a little while and we are currently forwarding all email to the new address, so your emails will not be lost even if you send it to the wrong place. Still, we will eventually phase that address completely out, so please use the new address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, the neighborhood association near us has commented upon traffic tie-ups as cars turn left onto Bragg Road (the road around the mall). While I am not aware of any complaints about the church, it is helpful to remember something Jonathan Allison said a few years ago, “though many people coming to New Life In Christ Church for services, activities and events are not part of the Waverly Village neighborhood, the church is. It behooves us to be respectful to our neighbors by following posted speed limits and being courteous to those attempting to enter and exit Waverly Village. So plan enough travel time and it will be easier to be courteous!” Its just part of our witness, right? We want our neighbors to see Christ in us!
- Creation Club (7:30 PM) – This meeting will feature a DVD titled “Leaving Your Brains At The Church Door? – the power of logic in defending your faith”. The speaker is Dr. Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International. Learn how to examine arguments from a standpoint of logic from a champion chess player. Babysitting Available (Dessert and coffee will follow the presentation.)
- Men’s Breakfast @ 8 AM
Dear New Life Men, we want to invite you to the men’s breakfast this Saturday morning at 8 AM. It’s a time for great food and fellowship, and this month we will have the chance to get to know Sammie Arisifi-Addo and hear his testimony.
- 10: 30 AM – Praise Team Rehearsal (sanctuary)
- 2:00 PM – Baby Shower Celebrating the arrival of of Mairéad Eleanor Ewing this Saturday, October 18th from 2-4pm in the Fireside Room This will be an opportunity to meet this precious little one, pray for the family, and share a verse or word of encouragement. Gifts are not expected, but welcome. The family has been blessed and is well set with clothes and other baby items from big sister.
- Children’s and Adult Sunday School Classes – 9 AM
- Worship Service – 10 AM –Pastor Doug continues to lead us through our study of Matthew.
- Women’s Retreat Meeting – 11:45 AM – Meeting for all attendees after this Sunday morning service in the Fireside Room – Sign up for activities and carpooling on the Women’s Ministry bulletin board in the hallway to the Fireside Room.
- Evening Service – 6 PM – Pastor Sean is preaching.
- Youth Discipleship Groups– 7 PM – Junior High and Senior High Youth Groups meet tonight. Senior High will meet in the youth room (new addition, top floor). Junior High will meet in room 216.
- Elder-led Prayer Time – 7 PM – Join our evening prayer group for elder-led time of prayer this Sunday and every Sunday through the year. Mark Shigley and Sam Capitano are leading this week.