Changing Priorities

GUEST BLOGGER: Randy Sarno

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Most people realize addiction comes in many forms such as overindulgence in alcohol or drugs, gambling, or porn. However, addiction can also come from activities that start out as a hobby. Things that at first are something to take your mind off the busyness of this world. A routine pastime that builds and consumes not just your time but your thoughts. Some examples are an obsession with your job, sports, binge watching, or social media. Chances are you may have had an addiction and did not even notice it unless stated by a loved one or close friend. Past and present relationships can be damaged by taking the "me" time to satisfy our addictions.  

There are many different help groups for many different addictions but as children of Christ we know our strength is not just our own. We need to put God first right in front of our steps and walk the straight path. We need to find scripture powerful to our current state so that we can "be still" (Psalm 46:10), know that "the Lord is my strength" (Exodus 15:12), and understand "anything is possible if a person believes" (Mark 9:23). 

Anyone who has seen me around the church in a t-shirt will notice me by my pjs, what i refer to as my pre-Jesus tattoos. I have gone through many addictions to fill holes in my life mentally and spiritually. They have never worked and I have driven away many relationships to continue those actions. Recently I gave up and put my life into God and from that feel like I am for the first time starting to succeed. I am not motivated to get worldly tasks done in such a manner that I forget about others and now delight in spending time in discussions with chance encounters I was never open to before. I am at peace and accomplish so much more while taking the focus off myself. Instead I try to spread joy to those in my life.

My priority each day is moving closer to the word through reading scriptures. I wake each morning with a prayer of thanksgiving and to focus my mind and heart in the direction Jesus would go. I get ready and take a morning walk while only using my phone to read devotionals and scripture from a bible app. I use Youversion and welcome anyone to create an account, become friends, and create a plan to share in the discussion. My radio is set to K-LOVE and at work I stream pastor podcasts. I try to devote time to reading published works that will bring me closer to knowing more about God each day. I am much more into serving others and helping in ways that I am capable. 

My prayer through this short blog is that the Holy Spirit will stir inside you pushing you to follow the Word more closely. I pray you break the addictions that are consuming your life. I pray for you all because I love you all but Jesus loves you even more. Please if you know anyone who is struggling reach out to them lovingly as a true friend. "a triple-braided cord is not easily broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Find your strength in Christ and he will be that third sturdy braid. Thank you for taking a few moments to read these words.

I'm Inspired

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We all need to be inspired. 

One of the reasons I love my job so much is that I get inspired all the time from the people of this church. I have countless examples of people doing things that truly encourage and motivate me. They also strengthen my faith. Based on the fact that the people I speak of are not mentioned by name is because honestly they’d probably feel very uncomfortable. (They’re not very comfortable with praise.) That may be another reason why I love them so much and are inspired by them. So here is a list that is never ending. The stories keep coming.

I’m inspired by:

  1. The lady from our church that despite dealing with agoraphobia (fear of leaving their house) for more than 2 years decided to step out, come to church, then go public and be baptized. The baptism, in turn, inspired2 others to do the same!
  2. A young lady here who despite countless health issues, where the pain and fatigue is unbearable, sings beautifully on Sundays preparing the hearts of those attending to hear from God.  She inspiresso many of us, never complaining and always praying.
  3. The couple that despite the difficult season they are in, asks others to pray for them and their marriage. Their transparency and clear effort to get better is inspiring. You can’t fix fake! 
  4. A lady that gives countless hours to the teens at our Living Proof environment and the children of Vacation Bible Camp. She knows every teen by name. She knows what they’re all going through. She listens to them and they absolutely love her. #Teenwhisperer. She tirelessly sets up for VBC with her team. She’ll often say she didn’t go 'all out' but when we see it each year, we wonder what ‘all out’ could possibly mean with her. It’s always next level and all of us look at it inspired!
  5. The couple who serve in every environment and always wonder why everyone wouldn’t want to do this. They see their growth in Christ moving each time they (like Christ) serve. 
  6. The lady who who first brought her daughters to the ‘LP Mess Fest’ last year and actually returned! She now brings them every week. 2 weeks ago she went from a daughter’s dance practice to church to the other daughter’s soccer practice! She still fit church in. She gets it. That is inspiring! 

Here’s the thing. I have so many more. 

I can go on and on. I actually left out my wife, my mother-in-law and our staff. They have inspired me all along. I am beyond blessed to be inspired daily by the people I get to do life with.

Who are you inspired by? Who are you inspiring? People are watching!  

 

 

Warrior Conference 2018 HOPE not HYPE

 Some of the greatest men I know

Some of the greatest men I know

Most of us will not forget this year's Warrior Conference. I'm still on cloud nine thinking of all that God did over the weekend. Our biggest prayer each year is for men to grow closer to Christ and to have better relationships with others. I truly believe this was accomplished. In fact, one of the highlights of the weekend was spotting five FC men huddled together praying. Five men, by the way, who didn't even know each other the day before. It was in this moment where I knew God was steering the ship. 

 Our favorite spot

Our favorite spot

 I am chosen, not forsaken. I am who You say I am

I am chosen, not forsaken. I am who You say I am

The teaching was great. The biggest thing I took from the weekend was that Warriors ask for help. We’re all in some level of rehab.  We cannot do it alone. We had 30 plus men in a room after one of the sessions pouring out their heart with a commitment to be better, to fully surrender, and to do life with fellows warriors. 

 Pre-hike, hence the smiles

Pre-hike, hence the smiles

We continued our annual hike tradition (one might call it more of a trek) where many of us pushed through the soreness and fatigue. At some of the peaks, we would have a push up and a one-arm push up contests (to feed our egos). It is a men's conference. We also continued our 'fight club' but that's really all I can say about that. 

 What happens at Warrior Conference stays at Warrior Conference

What happens at Warrior Conference stays at Warrior Conference

Men - If you have never attended a Warrior Conference, mark your calendars for next year (May 30th-June 1st) You will be glad you did.