Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's All A Matter Of Faith

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

Reflections on 'Made To Crave' by Lysa TerKeurst


My eating healthy journey is going well.  I am not perfect and I  still occasionally eating things I should not. Every time I make a good choice it becomes easier to make a good choice next time, so I am feeling energized.  

My weight is still not going down the way I want it to but I keep reminding myself that the goal is obeying God not losing weight.  This frees me to rejoice in the progress regardless of how much I weigh.

I found a scripture when I was doing the Bible study Made To Crave that has really helped me get to the core of my eating problem.

When the Lord heard them, he was furious;
    his fire broke out against Jacob,
    and his wrath rose against Israel, 
 for they did not believe in God
    or trust in his deliverance.
Psalm 78:21-22

http://madetocrave.org/This verse is referring to when the Israelites were in the desert and they wanted food.  Even though God had miraculously provided water in the desert they did not believe He could give them food too.

I think I may have the same attitude as the Israelites.  I haven't been trusting God with my food and that is the core of my problem.  I want what I want and I don't want to give the eating choices I make to God.  I don't trust Him that He has the power to save me from the cravings that cause me to eat things that make me sick and fat.  I want to keep eating the things that are bad for me, the things that God has called me to give up.   I am afraid of losing the tiny bit of happiness I get from eating those bad things.

But God is the source of my joy and I can trust Him to replace the happiness of sin with a more lasting joy that is not tainted.  God does have the power to save me from my cravings.  I have seen that when I trust Him and rely on God, He can enable me to eat the healthy things instead of junk.  It still hurts a bit to say no to 5 cupcakes but it is exhilarating to push through that pain and find the strength to make the healthy choice. 

God is faithful and able and He is giving me the strength to win more battles in this food war than I lose.


 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters - one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith

Priorities In The New Land - Sermon Video



Watch on YouTube...

Friday, March 13, 2015

How a Sermon From 50 Years Ago is Still Relevant Today

flash back friday, hanover missionary church

Ever wonder what things looked like around HMC fifty years ago?

Hanover Missionary Church, old bulletinThe modern technology of the 60's allowed the church bulletin to be produced on a typewriter.  Perhaps they weren't the colouful, eye-catching documents we create today but one thing is abundantly clear - this has always been a congregation intent on providing great ministries for it's people and community!




Notice the scripture reference for Pastor Purdy's message on this particular Sunday.  Hebrews 11:1-27 describes faith in action as demonstrated by numerous characters throughout the Scriptures.  How appropriate for us now that we, as a congregation, have embarked on the journey of defining our values and setting our vision.

Hebrews 11:1-27 New International Version (NIV)

Faith in Action

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

May we be like these biblical heroes.  May we move forward in faith and trust in the God who is bigger than all of us that He will make a way, that He will guide our decisions and mark the path He would have us take.

These words are as relevant to us today as they were fifty years ago.  They are as relevant as they were the day they were written into Scripture.  By faith let us move into the future, confident in the God who always provides.



Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she's trying hard not to love.  She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications.  You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.
 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Is Your Scale An Idol?

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

Reflections on 'Made To Crave' by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Is your scale an idol?
I am on a journey of learning how to get my happiness and peace from God instead of the contraband food that I crave.  It is going well - difficult at times - but I am learning to lean on God's truth instead of my addiction to food.

You would think that since I have been following God's guidelines and not overdoing it on fat and sugar, that I would be losing some weight; however, the scale has been very disappointing.  I am not losing weight at all!

As a result I am struggling with depression and self-pity.  Why am I going to all this trouble to eat healthy if I am not seeing any success in the weight loss department?

To be honest I am a bit ticked off at God.

The disappointment I feel makes me want to eat some cookies!

Why does the scale have such power over my emotions?  I am realizing that I feel it is wrong to rejoice and relax unless I have reached a specific marker of success.  I do not deserve to be happy when I am an obvious failure at meeting my weight goal!

Because I have not had success at losing weight, the feelings of anxiety and failure overwhelm me.   Until I have arrived at my goal, there seems to be no way to banish the anxiety and depression.  I must wait until my weight has gone down to be content and feel like I am succeeding.

Not only does this apply to weight loss but my need to succeed applies to nearly every goal I set in my life.  And more often than not, I am shooting for perfection!

I have set impossible goals!  I have sentenced myself to never being able to be happy, satisfied or feeling like I am worthy.  This is crazy!  My own mind is the enemy of my soul! 

My all-consuming desire has become perfection and I don't think I can relax and rejoice in anything until I've reached it.

But this is what I'm realizing:  I can't ever reach that goal.  And even if I could, I would likely find that it was empty and unsatisfying.  I cannot fill my soul by being perfect.  I can only fill it with God and by building a strong relationship with Him.

So what do I do now that I realize I have set weight loss as the marker for success?   

 

I am pretty sure that this is not the marker of success God wanted me to set as my goal.  I was trying to get happiness out of a scale instead of from God.  That is as empty as trying to get joy and peace from sugar and fat.

I had just replaced the idol of sugar with the idol of a scale.

I find jouralling has been a great way to hear what God wants to say to me.  About a month ago I wrote down some things God said to me...

 "Let me be God and put the cares and responsibilities on my shoulders.  Rejoice in all the answers and blessings and praise me even when your mood is in a funk.  Obey minute by minute and let that bring you joy and peace.  Get back into developing good habits (such as eating right and brushing your teeth)  Your goal is obedience to the spirit, and to obey you must stay close to me. Trust your emotions to my care and don't fear or worry but trust and rejoice.  Grab hold of my peace and don't let go.  Evaluate your success by your lack of fear and your obedience to me, not by worldly markers.  Go for the gold, go for the best, go for God!"  

Wow!  What He had me write down a month ago is overwhelmingly relevant for me right now!  God is so good and wise and supernatural and provided the clear answers I have been longing for.

My goal should not be losing weight as defined by the worldly marker of my scale.  My goal needs to be obedience to God.    I need to leave my weight to God to look after in His time.  I need to rejoice in each answer God gives and each little victory He enables me to succeed at.  The path to joy and peace is not in perfection or success as I define it, but in trusting and obeying God and looking for things to rejoice in all along this journey.  Peace is something I can decide to grab hold of by getting it God's way not my way

http://madetocrave.org/I can be at peace even if the scale does not show any progress.  My peace comes from obeying God and following His spirit.  I can be peaceful and joyful because I am obeying Him and eating healthy. I don't need to punish myself until I reach to what the world says is success.   I can let go of the anxiety and be satisfied and happy right now.  I have been believing a lie and now I can replace it with the truth.  Satan has been stealing my joy and peace and I do not need to let him have that power over me any longer.

I am not doing this perfectly but that is okay because I will not be perfect until heaven.  I am just aiming for improvement and obedience.

Thanks for taking this Made To Crave Journey with me!

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters - one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Snow Camp 2015

Over the last few years there has been a great push towards strengthening relationships between various age groups - a lot of focus on mixing generations and age demographics in an effort to solidify the Biblical call for us to be one body in Christ.

"so in Christ we, though many, form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others."

Romans 12:5

In keeping with this focus, for the first time ever, the Junior Youth Group was invited to join the Senior Youth Group for our traditional HMC Snow Camp weekend retreat.  "Doing something new often causes apprehension," says Karen Krotz, coordinator of the Senior Youth program at HMC. "It raises questions like Why am I doing this?  Why change things when it has worked perfectly fine the same way for many years?  What happens if it doesn't go well?"  The questions really could go on and on.

The age range between a seventh grader and twelve grader is huge.  The shift in dynamics had to be considered during planning and changes had to be made to accommodate a wider age range but, much to the delight of Karen and the other leaders, "our younger youth joined in all the activities - including the talent night...and our senior youth welcomed them into what used to be 'their' weekend with open arms."

hanover missionary church snow camp group photo

"What a great bunch of kids," reported Jason McDougall, who helps his wife, Melissa, with coordinating the Junior bunch.  "I bunked with the junior high boys and LOVED it.  Stayed up late, told stories, laughed, and learned as much from them as they did from me."

The weekend was a time of getting to know the kids better through play, learning, and relaxing together and it was all possible because of the great team of volunteers that were there. From the
leaders to the volunteers in the kitchen to all the incredible prayer support and encouragement from the church family.

"God is good," Jason shared. "It was a privilege to watch the kids grow as a group - to learn, and laugh, and play.  I enjoyed my weekend with them and the other leaders... and we are all looking forward to doing it over again next year."

"Was it a success?" Karen asks.  "Are we glad we tried it?  Do we do this again next year?" 

And her answer to these questions is a resounding, "YES!"



Watch the Snow Camp video on YouTube...

See the full photo gallery on Facebook


Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she's trying hard not to love.  She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications.  You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Turning Torture Into Victory

the following words are those of Pastor Jason, shared before entering into a time of Communion -  transcribed from the recording of the 9:00 am service on Sunday, March 1, 2015

*****

There are situations in our life where we may feel like we need to put up a fight...The question is, is it something worth laying down our lives for? 

We've seen a lot in the headlines lately about Isis and we see people actually laying down their lives - involuntarily, as far as we can tell - and for what?  What is it for?

21 coptic christian martyrs
Artwork by Tony Rezk
I was struck this past week as I was reading the news.  These are the twenty-one martyrs, these twenty-one Coptic Christians that were beheaded at the seaside by Isis. 

And it's interesting, the article I read talked about Jesus and the cross and how crucifixion was, in some ways, the instrument of torture in that day...We hear about beheadings now... well that was the cross of Jesus' day. 

And Jesus came and took that very symbol of torture and turned it into a symbol of victory.  


How?

Because Jesus demonstrated that even your most gruesome thing that you can put before me or put me on - I will overcome itI will overcome death.  And what struck me about this story was some of the family members of these men - they were thankful for Isis for not editing out the video, and showing these men uttering the name of Jesus Christ in their very last breath.  They were thankful that was not edited out... 

We gather at the table and we celebrate the death of Jesus Christ.  For what? 

For our freedom!  So that death doesn't have a hold on us.  So that we can say, just like Jesus was raised from the dead, we too who have hope in Him will be raised from the dead so that no matter what happens, we know that death is not the end. 

And what's beautiful about this is that it's not the black hooded men who are standing there - it's the Lord Jesus Christ who's there to receive these men. 

And as we gather at the table we recognize that it's the Lord Jesus Christ who gathers to receive us at our hour of need and at our hour of death no matter when that comes. 

"I have brought victory," Jesus said. "You put before me the cross and I overcame that....Death is not the end."

No matter what this world shares with us - no matter what comes in this world - we know that Jesus Christ has overcome.  We know that is what the cross is all about...

Spend some time reflecting on Christ as the One who has died and shed His blood for us and the victory that has come in his resurrection - that he stands alive, welcoming people who trust in him.