I heard a story once about a man who fell in a hole. He tried and tried to get out, but eventually gave up. A long time later, a friend of his saw him down in the hole and yelled down "do you need help?" The man was so excited and hoped that his friend would get a ladder or a rope; but was flabbergasted when his friend jumped into the hole. "Now we are both stuck!" said the man. But his friend looked at him with compassion and said, "I've been at my rock bottom too and I know the way out"
I've used this little story (which reminds me of a parable Jesus might tell) to people who feel like they have no hope. Maybe their marriage is falling apart, or their drinking got out of control or any number of issues...but they feel like there is no hope and that nobody cares.
My goal in those moments is not to "fix" the problem (often the solution seems quite easy to those of us on the outside looking in) but to be there for them and let that know that we care.
If you, or someone you know, is in "the pits" maybe the best thing they can hear is "I care and I'll be there for you"...but even better than saying it is doing it! So invite them out for coffee or go over to their house to visit. Don't go with an agenda, but just to listen and empathize.
Proverbs 17:17 says "A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity."
Pastor Scott McDermid
My boys like to watch TV like most kids and they have always had their favorite shows over the years. Lately, a strange thing has happened though in terms of their viewing preferences, they want to watch youtube videos of people playing video games.
Before you laugh, this is actually a super popular thing among young people. Video game experts film themselves playing games, and narrating it as they play, and people watch this...a lot.
The strange thing is that my kids watch games we don't even have, on systems we don't own...so it serves no purpose other than entertainment. When I was a kid, I loved video games, but I played them; I didn't just watch others play.
I worry that in church sometimes we take a similar position. We listen as people sing praises to God, but we don't really sing along. We listen as people read from the Bible in public, but we don't read it on our own in private. We watch people preach the word, but we rarely even discuss our faith with others.
Instead of watching others, we need to be personally involved in our faith. We need to be praising God. We need to be praying. We need to be reading the word. We need to be sharing our faith.
For too long we have sat on the sidelines and watched others while God is calling us to live out our faith personally.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that we "walk by faith, not by sight" and while this is maybe not exactly what he meant (he was talking more about trusting the Lord even with things we can't see), I am confident that he would be fully on board with this. We don't just "see" others live out faith, we need to "walk" it ourselves.
So, get in the game. Get busy serving, praying, worshiping and teaching. You can do it. Don't just delegate faith to others, live it yourself.
Pastor Scott McDermid
Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I have some years and others years have not. I have kept some and not kep others. I did notice a major uptick in the amount of people at the gym in early January, but it normally tapers off a few weeks later. Lots of people want to lose weight. Lots of people want to quit smoking or drinking or cursing. Lots of people want to make their lives better and believe that if they try hard enough they can do it.
But, mostly people stay the same. Those resolutions are often quickly abandoned. The dream of dropping a dress size quickly fades as we fall into old habits.
So, I have resolved myself to lean not on my own inner strength (which often fails) but instead to rely on God's strength (which never fails).
Psalm 28:7 says "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me."
Will you resolve with me to trust more fully in the Lord this year?