May Newsletter

   By now, most of us are weary of the daily grind of bad news.  We see the updates of the number of COVID-19 deaths, the number of new infections, and the constant bickering of elected officials who cannot all seem to work together to help solve this crisis of our country.  If you allow it to, you will be consumed by the constant barrage of negativity and it may give you periods of anxiety and even depression, even for deeply committed Christians.

Perhaps a baseball illustration will help.  When a major league baseball player steps up to the plate, the thought patterns he is having while he digs in and takes is stance is an important component of whether he will get a hit or strike out. Players who are on a hot streak describe their mindset such that they are, what they call “in a zone” and concentrate so hard that they can even pick up the rotating seams on a ball to determine if it’s a fastball, curve ball, sinker, slider, or knuckle ball. Even when the ball is traveling 90+ MPH, hitters that are deep in concentration are able to see these things and put the bat on the ball to put it in play. On the other hand, players who are struggling, often address the plate with the mindset, “don’t swing and miss, don’t swing and miss, don’t swing and miss.”  Guess which types of players are going to hit 300+ for the season and guess which hitter is going to strike out more often?

Controlling what our minds think about is a major issue for most of us Christians.  If we spend all of our time watching the news, reading articles about the virus, and seeing all the inaccurate information posted on social media, it will quickly consume us and we will be like the baseball hitter thinking, “don’t swing and miss.”  What we dwell on, what we think about, will control our attitudes and our actions.

The apostle Paul gave us the antidote to keeping a healthy and helpful mindset.  He wrote Philippians 4:8 which says, “Finally, brethren,
whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and
if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things.

Paul gave us these eight values to dwell on or to continually mull over in our minds.  What are you thinking about today? Is it true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise?  If it does not fall into these categories practice what I call a MIND SHIFT.  Shift the thoughts of your mind to that which falls into these eight categories. While it’s important to stay current with the news and know what’s going on in our world, these things are not right, pure and lovely.

In the sermon for April 26th, I encouraged our church to take up the Biblical practice of meditation.  To do that, simply center your mind on a particular verse in Scripture or maybe a paragraph of verses or even a whole chapter like Psalm 23 or Psalm 100.  As you think on this, you will be practicing a MIND SHIFT, centering your thoughts on God’s Word rather than the current crisis in our country.

If you are really struggling right now, please know that I’m available. While we may not be able to meet in person, we can talk on the phone or meet via Zoom, FaceTime or Skype.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or your shepherd. We will be glad to walk with you through this challenging time.

Blessings everyone!

Tom