Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Will Our Words Lead Others to the Well?

Recently on KLOVE, a caller asked, “What should I do about a coworker who constantly curses around me?”  The DJ responded, “Do nothing.”  He explained that if you say something, all you have done is tell this person that we, as Christians, have rules and you just broke one.  That will not bring them to Jesus.

Words have power.  They can encourage or they can hurt.  They can heal or they can destroy.  

Maybe one of our greatest opportunities to witness God’s love to others is through the words we use.  Jesus told us to love other people, and that’s how they will come to know Him.  So often our lack of righteousness comes from speaking too quickly and harshly, making others think that we are judging and/or condemning them because of their behavior. 

No one wants to be criticized. Perhaps the kind words we say to someone are they only positive ones they hear on a given day.  Critical words can deflate any progress being made toward a goal, and cause people to throw their hands up and believe that they can’t do it.  It is important that we encourage unbelievers through our words and by showing love. 

This is illustrated beautifully in John 4:6-42 through Jesus and His encounter with the woman at the well.  Jesus had been travelling and was tired from a long walk.  He sat beside the well around noon, and a Samaritan woman came to retrieve water.  Jesus asked her for a drink of water, which surprised her.  There had been a long-standing animosity between the Jewish people and the Samaritans, and therefore she couldn’t believe that this Jewish man would speak to her.  He went on to reveal to her that He knew that she was living in sin, but that He was the Messiah and He had come to save everyone regardless of their race, social position, or past sins. 

He spared her dignity and dealt with her tenderly when confronting her with her sin.  As a result, she shared her experience with others and many in the town became believers.  Had Jesus spoken to her in a condescending or harsh manner, the outcome probably would have been a lot different.  He gave her merciful words that healed her soul, instead of pointing out her flaws which might have put her in defense mode.

How many people would tell the woman that she has to get her life straightened out before she can begin to follow Christ?  How many times have people used it as an excuse, saying they aren’t ready because they need to change first?  That isn’t true!  Change isn’t a prerequisite. On the contrary, it will come as a result of following Christ and allowing Him to transform their lives.

Susan shares this story..
Loving the unlovable is sometimes a difficult thing to do.  I recall one time several years ago, a lady who worked at a local strip club started coming to our church after the youth went through the neighborhood passing out information regarding our church and service times.  One morning, there she was...alcohol on her breath, but nicely dressed... an African American woman with pink hair.  Though there were a few second glances, I must say, she was welcomed with open arms.  People accepted her, embraced her and made her feel welcomed.  She would often frequent the altar to pray, but would go back out and do the same thing week after week. 

I do not know what happened to her.  I think she was evicted and had to move.  But my hope is that the love she saw during those several months by people who loved her without condemnation, somehow caused her to change her heart and come into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  We never know who the Lord will send our way, and we need to be ready at all times, as I Peter 3:15 says, to give the reason for the hope we have in us through Jesus Christ.”

Do you and I love unconditionally?  Are we prepared to give an answer to the "whosoevers" we encounter? Will our words lead others to the well where they will meet Jesus? Let's love the way Jesus loved.  If we can do that with the best of our abilities, the world will be a better person at a time.

Passages to Ponder:
Colossians 4:6- Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

James 1:19-20- Understand this my dear brothers and sisters:  You all must be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Proverbs 16:24- Kind words are like honey- sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Susan Haynes, Michele Killion, Kim McClure, Shawna Nelson and Kristy Tolley

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dance In The Rain

“When it rains, it pours”.  

That expression is pretty common, and known to mean that it seems like when one bad thing happens, another isn’t far behind and then another and then another… Life can seem like that.  We are cruising along in life down an open, sunny road and all of a sudden things change, and we are drenched and looking for a place to get out of the rain.

Rain is necessary.  It is a crucial part of our ecosystem, providing drinking water for humans and animals.  It keeps our planet’s beauty by filling our rivers, lakes, and oceans while it also provides nourishment for trees and flowers.  It is also necessary for our food supply to continue as it waters the crops.  Yet, most of us don’t like it.

It is a true example of good stuff coming out of something unpleasant.  There is no doubt that every person reading this has at least one thing going on in life that you wish you could change or stop or erase and start over.  This can be stressful and cause us to worry as we seek a place to get away from it.

Here’s the deal.  That sunny, open problem free day is a gift from God, and so is the dreary, cluttered, stressful one.  Everything is His!  We can’t take credit for our prosperity, because it comes from Him.  We can’t hide under the covers until the rain passes either because this rainstorm comes from Him too.  We need to face it head on, and see what we can learn from it.

WHY?? We don’t have the ability to think like God does.  Our heads would explode if we could, but we are told that God causes ALL things to work together for our good according to His purpose.  He uses the rainy, problematic days to teach us and help us grow.  He gives and He takes away, and we have to learn to be content in all things and see that He is faithful and will provide.  Is it always fun? NO!  But, realizing that there is a reason for all of it makes it easier to embrace.

Being a Christian doesn’t make you immune to problems. Problems fall on the righteous and the unrighteous.  How you choose to get through them is where you will see the difference. 

Drink in the rain, focus on the purpose of it, and know that it will end.  Be brave enough to dance it.  It will make us more beautiful, nourish our souls and help us grow.  It sounds cheesy to say that you can’t have a rainbow without some rain, but it’s true.  Everyone marvels at the beauty of a rainbow as the storms are ending and the sun is coming back out.  It’s a masterpiece. 

When the rain is pouring, you are drenched, and feel like you can’t see beyond the next moment, praise Him!  Allow Him to take away your worries and become one of His masterpieces.  The problems might come back, praise Him again!  Praise Him in everything!

Passages to Ponder:

Ecclesiastes 7:14- Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.  Remember that nothing is certain in this life.

Romans 8:28- And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

Matthew 5:45- In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.  For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Tammy Holtzapfel and Kim McClure

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Plug In To The Power of Prayer

You know how good it feels to connect with your best friend over the phone? 

You let it all out, you laugh, you cry, you tell old stories…That’s how we should feel about prayer.

 God knows your heart.  He knows your fears.  He holds you tight when you are scared and He will always give you a signal that you’re on the right path when you ask for one.  What more can you ask for in a friend?  AND He is available 24/7.

If someone asks you to pray for them, do you nonchalantly say that you will and then forget, or do you say that you will and do it?  It is convicting to respond,” I will pray” when we are asked to lift worries up before the Lord.  We are giving our word that we will do it.  It takes a commitment to follow through, and it might even require immediately stopping to say a brief prayer.  If your request comes from the heart, there is no time limit that makes it more or less precious to God.

It takes vulnerability to ask someone to pray for you, and many wonder why we, as Christians, put it all out there and let the world see how weak we are?  Well, we are vulnerable, and humble enough to show it.  We can stand in awe knowing that as we cry out in prayer at night, so is another woman down the street or across the ocean echoing those same concerns to our Father. 

He hears them all.  He cares about all of them, and He will respond according to His loving will in His time.

It is an incredible blessing to pray for someone, and then watch God work.  It refocuses our hearts and minds on Christ instead of the circumstances.  One of Jesus’ most important commandments is to love thy neighbor as thyself.  What better way to love someone than to pray for them?

 We are told to pray for “all people”.  That includes the ones who have hurt us, the ones who have turned their backs on us, and the ones who aren’t believers.  Lifting up your enemies before the Lord can result in healing of your heart and He will somehow use it in their lives too.  When He was dying on the cross, He said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”  Those walking in darkness need prayer because they know not what they do, and their eyes need to be opened to the miracle of God’s love. 

Many Christians struggle with prayer.  They don’t see the point in devoting any real time to it because God is going to do what He is going to do regardless of what He ask for, but prayer might have more to do with building each other up in Christ, deepening our relationship with God, and learning about ourselves as we listen and let Him lead us. 

If you are struggling to find the time to pray every day, or you think there’s no real point, or you think your concerns are minimal in the grand scope of problems, try some of these things.

  • ·         Read some books about prayer.  If you’d like some suggestions, email us at
  • ·         Talk to other Christians about it, and their experiences.
  • ·         As Nike would say, “JUST DO IT”.  Remember, God knows you.  He knows YOU. It’s okay.  The more frequent conversations you have with Him, the easier it becomes.
  • ·         Look online for a prayer calendar and print it out. It will have a different scripture and a different prayer focus for each day.  It’s a great way to remind you to pray for things you wouldn’t have thought about. This is especially helpful when praying for our kids.
  • ·         Incorporate it into your chores.  When you fold laundry, pray.  Keep index cards with prayer requests beside the place where you fold and just talk to God as you do it.  Just have a conversation with Him, you don’t have to be formal. 
  • ·         Keep a prayer journal.  Go back occasionally and check off the answers that you’ve seen.

Prayer works!

     Believe that God will deliver the best outcome in each situation according to His plan.  That doesn’t always match up with what we want, but He has a bigger plan that we can’t see. However, when we do see the miracle of a prayer being answered it is something that we never forget.

Kathy shares this testimony about prayer
When my daughter was 18 months old she developed symptoms where she could keep no food in her system. She was in Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She had 3 doctors working on the case. None could seem to find out what was wrong. A week had gone by and no answers on why it was happening and she was no better. I remembered what I had been told in my younger days that Jesus was the answer.
So I knelt down where I was and began to pray and cry out to God. I asked him if He was there and truly loved me to show himself. I cried until a real presence of peace overtook me. The tears stopped and I knew that He was truly real and that He had heard my prayers.
 It was a short while later that I heard God say go and check your daughter now. I went to her and she was peacefully sleeping and was sweating badly. That was a good sign the fever had finally broken. I began to praise God right then and there and told my husband that she was going to be fine and that God had taken care of the situation. When she awoke she was singing like she had never been sick. I brought her food that she had not been able to keep down, gave it to her and she ate it, kept it down and when the doctor came in I told him that God had healed her.
They actually put what I said in her file. I read it. It said verbatim "Her mother said God healed her"!
 I have never been the same since. Not all my prayers have been answered so quickly or quite the way that I might have wanted them to have been answered but they have been answered nonetheless.

Don’t give up.  Don’t look at praying as something you have to do because you’re told to.  Open up to God, let it all out and BELIEVE!

Passages to Ponder:

I Timothy 2:1- I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.  Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

II Chronicles 7:14- Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,  I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

Philippians 4:6- Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 


Karen Bromby, Kathy Derda, Jodi Dunbar, Michele Killion, Kim McClure, Marla McDonald, Brooke Radnor and Kristy Tolley

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Power in Our Priorities

As my children get older, I find myself looking back a lot and wondering what I forgot to teach them.  Some of that is evident as I watch them make mistakes, and while I know that it is necessary to let them  suffer the consequences of poor decisions, it isn’t an easy thing to do. 

We have children and it seems like we start asking them as soon as they go to school, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”.  High schools expect incoming freshmen to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives before they register for classes, so that they can be assured to be on the “right track”.  They are 14 years old.  I know several people that are 44 years old and don’t know what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

As a nation we are achievers, strivers, and accumulators.  The American Dream is really a wonderful thing, to be able to see that virtually anything is within our reach if we just work hard enough is amazing.  There is nothing sinful about being successful in your career, as a matter of fact, it honors God when you work hard and set a good example in the workplace, but success can be addicting and just like any addict, it’s possible we will do whatever it takes to get it and keep it.
There are a lot of demands on our time, and unless we make God a priority, He will be the one that gets neglected most easily.  Spending time reading the Bible daily or finding 10 minutes of quiet time to pray and listen get shifted from today’s to do list to tomorrows.  I speak from experience. Been there..done that. 

Don’t be shocked when God does something to grab your attention and shift your focus back on Him. 

When He does, will you blame Him for it while throwing a tantrum?  Lots of us do.

 But, sometimes that’s what it takes.

God wants us to be relational.  He wants us to reflect His light onto the rest of the world.  You might interact with many people every day, but are you building a relationship with them?  Look for people who need to see God’s light and reach out to them. 

Ask God to provide you with a friend or mentor who will pray with you and for you, while loving you as He does.  This person and those prayers will open your eyes to the parts of your life that might be separating you from growing in your relationships with the Lord and with your family.

What do I want my kids to be when they grow up?  My first thought, now, doesn’t go to a career.  I want them to be happy and confident in their own relationship with God.  I still want them to be independent and support themselves financially, but those things don’t bring true happiness.  Only God can do that.

Passages to Ponder:

Mark 8:36- And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

Matthew 6:33- Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

Psalm 39:6- We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.  We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.

Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Michele Killion and Kim McClure

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Holding On To Hope


It’s one of those words that we say a lot. “ I hope so..”, “ I hope that…” But, what is hope?

Hope is a strong, confident expectation
Hope is often intertwined with change.  Aren’t most of our hopes tied to some sort of change in ourselves, others, or a circumstance?  When we are waiting on a report from a doctor or watching our children stumble over obstacles in their paths, hope is what keeps us going.
Kristy’s mother recently passed away unexpectedly.  In her words, “ I can’t imagine wading through this grief without being able to “expect with confidence” that I will see her on the other side.  A friend of mine told me when her mother died, someone told her,  ‘Don’t ever forget that your mom is still in your future’.  If we weren’t Christians, I wouldn’t have that hope of a future with her.  It brings me so much comfort to know my hope is a reality of things to come.”

Hope is a guarantee
Hope brings great comfort through trials.  As believers in Christ, hope doesn’t merely mean, “I hope we can go to the lake next week.”.  In God’s word, hope is a promise of what will happen.  Feeling a glimpse of hope gives us courage, and in those small moments, we feel protected and can rest.  Be reminded that whatever you are experiencing is only temporary.  The truth of what lies ahead for God’s children is eternal. 

Hope is a gift
Hope pulls people through their darkest places and loneliest moments.  It’s a way God summons us to keep trudging through the mud and the muck.    Every time you read God’s promises in the Bible, be comforted and strengthened to press on.  When we are in the midst of pain, hope is all we have, yet it’s hard to have it.  Don’t refuse the gift of hope.

Hope is a promise
Hope is that glimmer in the distance for safety, success, blessings, healing, adventure and the next step.  When people around us are losing hope, it’s important that we keep ours turned up loud and bright, to help them find a way out of the darkness.

The world is becoming more and more wicked, which can easily cause us to become more hopeless, but we serve a faithful God who always keeps his promises.  This life is full of many battles. It isn’t easy, but don’t give up because with God there is always hope for something better. 

In Psalm 10, David calls out to God asking how long He is going to allow wickedness and why He doesn’t intervene.  At the end of the chapter, David leans into God, acknowledges that God knows what He is doing, and decides to trust Him.  In order to have hope, we have to do these things:  lean into God, not turn away, trust, and believe without a doubt that all things work together for good for those who love God.  Focus on the belief that God would not place challenges on any of us if He thought we could not overcome them.  Hold onto hope and watch yourself become stronger for it.

Will it be easy? Probably not. 

Will it hurt?  Probably. 

Will it be worth it? Definitely.

Passages to Ponder:

Job 11:18- Having hope will give you courage.  You will be protected and rest in safety.

Psalm 10:17-18- Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.  Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.  You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.

Psalm 94:19- When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.


Karen Bromby, Monica Brown, Jodi Dunbar, Michele Killion, Maria Kucharczuk, Kim McClure, Shawna Nelson and Kristy Tolley