Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Theater of My Mind” #OffScript

A screenwriter can spend months, or even years, perfecting a script. However, sometimes, the most iconic lines uttered on the silver screen aren’t the result of a writer at the top of his or her game, but rather an actor offering up some creative ad-libbing. Some of the most iconic moments in movie history were “off script.”

For example:
“Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good.” – Avengers Infinity War
“Here’s Johnny” – The Shining
“Here’s looking at you, kid” – Casablanca
The Joker’s slow clap – The Dark Knight
“I’m king of the world.” – Titanic
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat” Jaws

“Off script” seems to be a very apt way to describe what often happens to all of us. Something transpires in our lives that strays away from our intended plan(s). But that’s most of real life happens. It’s “off script”; completely unexpected and unplanned. This June, join us as we head into a story that is everything but “expected” by the people involved. The book of Ruth is canvas to view a beautiful picture of God’s love engaging in our “off scripted” lives.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • “Because women are co-equal revealers of God within creation, if we fail to pay close attention to their stories and experiences, we’ll fail to capture God’s essence in full.” – Bruxy Cavey
  • Pain does not discriminate. Pain does not wait for an invitation.
  • How things are “going” should not determine how you are “doing.”
  • When my expectations do not match the scene in my life, there is a tendency to think that God is absent my story. God is working behind the scenes. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • Write the “lines” (reactions and responses) of your life based off the ending you see in faith based upon who God is and how He works.
  • Every pain can become a place to discover the masterpiece that God has in mind to make of us all.

Purchase the Scripture Journal of Ruth HERE

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

One of the Few Things We Have In Common…and 5 Threats to Losing It.

In a few days, Anne and I will celebrate our 18 year anniversary. I still don’t understand what she saw (or sees) in me, but I’m very thankful she said “yes.” Every year, marriage presents new challenges and every year I fall in a deeper love with her. There’s no one else I would do life with.  

Now that the sappiness is out of the way…

Looking at our overall relationship these past 18 years, we have to admit how completely different we are. Someone just asked me about how compatible Anne and I are. I had to be honest…we don’t have a ton of areas of “compatibility.” I’m willing to bet that if we did the online dating 20 years ago, the online dating service would probably never match us up.

We have different interests
The interests we share, we do them differently (running, shows vs. movies, etc)
We grew up in completely different style homes.
We have different personality types.
We have completely different strengths.
We don’t share the same love languages.
We don’t grow spiritually the same way (the elements are similar but done differently).
We don’t fully grasp what each other struggles with.
I have better taste in music than she does. (Really babe? Justin Bieber?) 

So the question rises: Where are we alike (if at all)?

  1. We both passionately love Jesus.
  2. We both love to laugh.
  3. We both have a strong resolve.

I like the word “resolve.” You can call it “stubborn.” You can use the word “determined.” But whatever the synonym, Anne and I learned that having resolute mindset is a game-changer.

We refuse to paint an idealistic picture of a marriage without struggles (did you not read our list?).  Like the seasons of a Michigan calendar year, good moments and challenging moments are what life brings you. It’s the result of being a human that married a human. But it’s the resolve that will push you through.  It’s your resolve that has made your mind up that regardless of what you face, you’ll face it together and come out together on the other side.

But I promise (speaking from 18 years of experience) that there are things that want to weaken your resolve. Here are a few threats to look out for that want to weaken your resolve:

1 – Discouraging people.  I think of John 14, when Jesus warns against having your resolve weakened by what you’re facing rather than focusing upon Him. It happens to the best of us. And many times, it happens through people.  I don’t care if it’s family, close friends, or your connections on social media, avoid people who will weaken your resolve to be a good spouse and/or see good in your spouse.  Some people thrive on being critical without even desiring to be constructive. Find people who will encourage you. You need hope and not despair.

2 – Living on empty.  Anytime I’ve known people who have lost their resolve has been from a place of fatigue. Esau, in Genesis 25, sells out the future of his family out of being tired and hungry.  If you don’t care for yourself spiritually, emotionally, and even physically, you are going to drain the strength of the resolve that helps you push through. Getting proper rest, spending quality time with the Lord, and living at a healthy pace will properly fuel the resolute mindset that helps a marriage push through.

3 – Neglecting the simple essentials. Marriage isn’t about “set it and forget it.” It’s a constant upkeep of what I consider the simple essentials. It’s daily choices to build your resolve by facilitating:

  • Purposefully building healthy communication.
  • Serving your spouse’s love language.
  • Constantly building your relationship with Christ
  • Engaging in a consistent sex life.  
  • Learning how facilitate fun.

4 – Pornography. The goal of pornography is to skew the authentic with fantasy.  Whether it’s visual porn (hyperbolized sexual imagery) or emotional porn (hyperbolized relational fantasy) the more open you are to it, the weaker your resolve will get as it will seed a false sense of dissatisfaction. Two of my biggest reasons is it causes an unhealthy view of the female body as well as an unhealthy sexual expectations.  Top it off with the addictive nature of porn devised to make you dependent upon it, you then have a monster that isn’t worth the amount of space it will take up in your thoughts and the way it weakens your resolve.

5 – Toxic mindsets. Hopelessness wants to break the back of your resolve. Like mixing too much sand into your concrete, it wants to make your resolute stance a bit more brittle than you expected. It’s why scripture challenges us to stay clear of toxic mindsets like bitterness, rage, , comparison, criticism, and unforgiveness. They say “you are what you eat.” But a more biblical stance would be, “you are what you think.” (Proverbs 23:7)

Your marriage doesn’t need the compatibility that the world will say you need. But you do need to have a resolve.  

I leave you with these final four challenges about your resolve:

  1. Let your resolve will be driven from the heart of Jesus.
  2. Let your resolve will be shown through the character of Jesus.
  3. Resolve to seek AND be open to how the Holy Spirit wants to change you.
  4. Resolve to not try to change your spouse but allow the Holy Spirit to change your spouse with the same amount of freedom you’ve given Him.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Done with Guilt: Recap of 10 items from Sunday at KFirst #ChangeTheStation

We’re coming out of week 2 of our series “Change the Station” and Anne and I had quite a few requests for some of the notes  from the message, “Get Tuned In” as we dealt with the issue of guilt.  

Scripture: Romans 7:18-25; 8:1-6; 26-39

  1. The state of your life is usually a reflection of the state of your mind. As a man THINKS so is he!
  2. Guilt, by nature, is meant to BREAK YOU DOWN by doing 2 things:
    • Overwhelm you.
    • Overwork you.
  3. Guilt stays where it has been invited to rest.
  4. John 16:8 God has called us to live according to CONVICTION and NOT GUILT. 
  5. There’s huge differences between GUILT and CONVICTION:
    • GUILT: Causes me to think about myself through the lens of ME.
      • CONVICTION: causes me to think about myself through the lens of JESUS.
    • GUILT: Wants to wallow in sinful patterns.
      • CONVICTION: Uses Godly sorrow to identify sinful actions
    • GUILT: Wants to make you discontented and lethargic.
      • CONVICTION: Wants to push you into action. 
    • GUILT: Steals my hope by focusing on all that is wrong. 
      • CONVICTION: Give me hope because I see my wrongs through of the work of Jesus Christ.
    • GUILT’s role is to push you down on the ground. 
      • CONVICTION’s role is to get you up off the mat.
    • CONVICTION is that nudge of the Holy Spirit in our lives to point us in the right direction. 
    • CONVICTION makes uncomfortable in moments in order to move forward in a Christ-centered manner. 
    • CONVICTION puts Holy Spirit passion to our direction.
  6. Guilt is an anchor; Conviction is a baton. 
  7. The Holy Spirit helps us by…
    • 1 – Releasing you from Guilt
    • 2 – Guiding you with conviction.
    • 3 – Equipping you to live.
  8. Are we actively creating a culture of guilt instead of a culture that cultivates Holy Spirit conviction?
  9. 1 John 3:20 “…for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” 
  10. Holy Spirit conviction brings change that guilt can never produce.

It was  awesome to hear how God was speaking into hearts and lives.  We’re praying the response to the second half of our series is as good as the first half.  

Pastor Dave and Anne

Eviction Notices: 8 Things to evict from your mind to help your marriage.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Proverbs 23:7

I can’t say that I’ve ever been given an eviction notice.  But I assume it’s not a good thing to get one.  In my lifetime, I’ve had my power shut off before.  I’ve even had collections call.  But to get an eviction notice, that’s something I do not desire to experience.  It was about a year ago that our staff helped an individual who was being evicted.  The experience of seeing everything the person owned thrown on the lawn was surreal to say the least.  But to deal with the people whose family member was being evicted was quite the learning experience. This man went to bed in his “home” and woke up to not having a home.

Eviction notices.  The notification telling someone who they are being expelled or kicked out from the place they called home.  This is where Proverbs 23:7 comes in.
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
The mind is a powerful thing.  And carrying unhealthy mindsets in your marriage can cause your marriage to struggle far more than it needs to. There enough challenges in this world for your marriage and your mind shouldn’t be the place where they start or are fed.  When we conceive an unhealthy mindset about our marriage and/or about our spouse, we will ultimately live it out.  It won’t stay in the mind.  Whatever it is you are entertaining in your thought life, you are inviting into the rest of your life.  So today I’m challenging you to serve eviction notices to things that have been living in your mind.
 
Evict 2

7 Mindsets you need to evict: 

1 – Assumption.  The old adage says, “When you assume you make a _______ out of U & ME” and it’s just as true in our marriage.  Fear drives assumption.  It’s the result of darkness in your relationship.  When you don’t know what has happened and/or what is going on (even in the little things), your mind is going to wander and indulge in wrong thinking. When you have communication breakdowns, assumption is the natural result and it will toy with your mind.  How many times have you had a shift in your mood because assumption has filled your thoughts and changed your emotions? How many times do you find yourself mad, hurt, frustrated with your spouse AND you don’t even know why? It’s assumption.

Side note:  If you are keeping ANYTHING from your spouse, don’t complain about your spouse assuming things.  Again, assumption is the natural result of invited darkness/mystery.

2 – Jealousy. This is a negative mindset rooted in low self-esteem and fear. Spouses are more likely to be jealous when he/she doesn’t believe he/she is lovable or that they are not worthy of being loved. People like this live in constant fear that their spouse will, first, see others more attractive and, second, take actions based upon those feelings.  Jealousy rapes your mind.  I know that’s a strong word but it’s the only way to project that damage it does.  It will rob the individual experiencing it of value while ripping the trust from the marriage.

3 – Suspicion. (Anne encouraged me to separate this from jealousy.) Many times, this isn’t based on anything a spouse may or may not have done. It might not be about what he/she actually did or is presently doing.  It may not be about what a spouse will ever do, Suspicion lives off of the “what could be” mindsets.  Suspicion is demanding and unreasonable because the spouse doesn’t have to do anything wrong. The fear is that they are losing that person and they have to do something to hold onto them, to test them and to make them understand that they are needed. If not dealt with, suspicion knows no reason and can be very detrimental to a relationship.

4 – Visual Pornography.  NOTE: This is not just a male issue.   Both men and women can be visually stimulated.  The goal of pornography is to skew the authentic with fantasy.  Visual pornography is a huge stumbling block for couples and causes tremendous sexual issues. Two of my biggest reasons is it causes an unhealthy view of the female body as well as an unhealthy sexual expectations.  Top it off with the addictive nature of porn devised to make you dependent upon it, you then have a monster that isn’t worth the amount of space it will take up in your thoughts.

5 – Emotional Pornography.  I guess I could have lumped both kinds together, but like jealousy and suspicion, this second type of porn needed to be separate.  Again, the goal of pornography is to skew the authentic with fantasy.  Emotional porn may not fill you mind with naked people, but it will fill your imaginations with the skewed reality of where your marriage is at.  Like it’s counterpart, unhealthy scenarios of what your partner is/isn’t doing, what you do/don’t deserve, what you are/aren’t experiencing fill your thoughts and develops unrealistic expectations that probably can never be met.  Like a thirsty man crawling through the desert after a mirage, emotional porn has you crawling toward an illusion that will leave you constantly in want.

6 – Unforgiveness.  I can’t bring this up enough.  Unforgiveness is the best way to define what having “skeletons in the closet” means.  Some of you are holding onto the bones of previous fights and issues that have long since died.  But you still keep the remnants around.  Maybe it’s because of the hurt.  Most the time it’s for ammo to use just in case a fight starts.  Nevertheless, the bones/remains of past issues will haunt your mind unless they are released to be buried in time.

7 – Negativity.  Living life in a pessimistic state is miserable.  Some people place themselves there because he/she feels they don’t deserve anything good. It’s like some sort of way of living out punishment.  Others refuse to be positive because they’ve never known that growing up. They’ll call it being the “realist” in the marriage.  I’m, by nature, a dreamer so I recognize the need for a realist (Anne) in my life.  She dreams with me but knows, at some point, the rubber must hit the road.   Spouses who rent out space in their heads to the negative are miserable people.  Stop giving yourself permission to be negative by saying you’re a realist.  That negativity in your mind is sucking the fun out of your life.

8 – Envy. Why do we look at others and fixate on what they have and what we do not.  We see others, compare our marriages, material possessions, and lifestyles and use them as ideals to chase.  In our minds, we conjure up so much frustration with ourselves AND our spouse because what we don’t have what others do.  We then project that mindset onto our spouse and make them feel miserable because what they offer and who they are is never going to be enough.

I don’t know what your mind is consumed with, but it’s time to hand out eviction notices.  It’s time to identify the infectious crap that wants to cloud your minds and destroy your judgement.   Remember, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”  Whatever it is you are entertaining in your thought life, you are inviting into the rest of your life. If you’re struggling with your thought life, would you take a moment to confess it? It may sound crazy, but scripture says,

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  James 5:16

We confess vertically to Jesus that we may be forgiven.  We confess horizontally to someone (namely our spouse) that we can find healing.  Sit with your spouse, and pray.  Take time to confess to the Lord what you’re struggling with. He already knows what you’re dealing with.  He’s faithful and just to forgive.  Then talk with your spouse.  Let him/her help you as you both move forward with minds that give no room for ANYTHING that has no right to take up space in your mind.

Guard your marriage by guarding your minds.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Affairs and fruit.

“I do not expect that we will ever have serious problems in our marriage.”

It’s one of the statements in the premarital counseling questioner that I have couples respond to.  Most of the time, one person will disagree and the partner will agree.  I am ALWAYS fascinated to hear the reasonings of their answers.  I then follow-up with a simple question: 

What is your definition of “serious problems”?

The majority of responses: adultery/affairs.

It’s in that moment in their first appointment where they learn a powerful thing about adultery: Yes it’s a problem. But you have to see much deeper.  It’s the fruit/result of deeper problems.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t take adultery lightly…and I never will.  But we have too many couples that are taking the issue of adultery and labeling it as a symptom of a bad marriage instead of the fruit of a struggling one.  

I have a thing for apples…specifically Honey Crisp Apples.  I swear, every time I eat one, I feel like I’m drinking down a glass of cider at the same time. Thus the marvel of eating a Honey Crisp Apple. I don’t know how you cannot believe in God after eating one.

1-abstract-tree-natee-srisuk

But a perfect apple doesn’t just happen.  It’s the fruit that…

…grew from a bloom…
…which grew from a branch…
…which grows from a trunk…
…which grew from a seed…
…which grew from the soil…
…which needed sunlight and water…
…which probably needed tending by someone watching over it. 

Fruit doesn’t just happen.  It’s the result of a process designed to lead to what you experience. 

You don’t fall into an affair.  It’s the result (the fruit) of a process designed to lead you into a destructive experience. If there’s any take-away from today’s blog it’s this:

Infidelity is carried out in the mind and heart much longer before you see the fruit of it carried out with your body.  

Proverbs 4:23 says, 

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

In Hebraic thought, the heart was the seat of intellect and will.  We, in our western culture, picked the heart as the seat of emotion.  So when we read this scripture, it challenges us to guard our mind and will.  Why? Because our thinking/will determines the course of our life…specifically, today, our married life.

When the mind begins to conceive ideas about people not our spouse…
…when our mind begins to fantasize about scenarios with other people
…when we compare our marriage journey to someone else’s journey.
…when we get fixated on being discontent

…when we disconnect our thoughts from our spouse

…we set the course of our lives in a direction that can result in fruit you never dreamed you’d be partaking from.

Simply said: If you want to protect the life of your marriage, you need to guard your mind.  And that happens by following through with simple, intentional, biblically practical actions. Pray with AND for each other.  Keep healthy communication flowing. Don’t stop dating/pursuing each other. Keep your sex consistent.  Fight fair. Foster a light heart and laughter.

None of us are exempt from temptation. But if you’re waiting for the fruit to come to change your mind about your marriage being susceptible to “serious problems”, then you are setting yourself up for failure.  

You want to guard against the fruit of an affair?  Get rid of the seeds of it.

And it starts with guarding your mind simply, biblically, and intentionally. 

Thanks for letting me ramble… 

 

 

2 Minute Devo: What are you thinking Day 20

We’re focusing on what the Bible says about the “mind” and how that affects us.  Spend time on the devo and take a minute or two to ponder what the Word is challenging you to do.

Proverbs 14: 30

A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

You may already know that October is Breast Cancer awareness month. There is a group doing a special event auctioning three unique pieces of furniture. All the proceeds of the sale will go towards Breast Cancer awareness charities.
You can see the details here:
http://www.regencyshop.com/charity-auction.html

2 Minute Devo: What are you thinking Day 19

We’re focusing on what the Bible says about the “mind” and how that affects us.  Spend time on the devo and take a minute or two to ponder what the Word is challenging you to do.

Psalm 4:4-5

Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah.  

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

You may already know that October is Breast Cancer awareness month. There is a group doing a special event auctioning three unique pieces of furniture. All the proceeds of the sale will go towards Breast Cancer awareness charities.
You can see the details here:
http://www.regencyshop.com/charity-auction.html