Blessed

Living with Balance

By Karen Polich

Not much about our lives is perfectly laid out. How do we find balance?

Our focus point is key in living with “balance”. When our focus is in the right place, we can make the adjustments we need. When we are firmly focused on Christ, we can put everything into perspective. We are gifted with the perfect filter for everything we do.

“So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

We are called to do all things for the glory of God. It’s that simple.

Matt Snook & Ty Haguewood delivered Sunday’s message on balance in our lives and with our finances. You can dive in with them on the podcast.

When it comes to our finances, it’s just one more area where we have the opportunity to glorify God. As we live out God’s call in our lives, advancing the Kingdom is the goal.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:19-24

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 This scripture reminds us our dependence should be on God in all things. There is no reason to trust our own efforts or riches above Him.

When our focus is on Him, all the correcting and adjusting become easy and constant from the perspective His will. We can become out of balance with great things as well as bad things, but when God is at the center, and our hearts stay on Him, we will seek the light and live our lives His way.

God has designed happiness and holiness to sync with Him. He is the source of our balance and our joy.

Do you need to shift your focus back to Him? Spend time with God today and ask Him to restore His balance in your life.

 

Blessed To Be A Blessing

By Gerry Wakeland

Just a few days ago Karen Polich wrote a post reminding us that there are needs all around us. Some of those needs are physical while others are financial. Some are critical while others are every day essentials. Needs can be just a one-time issue or consistent every day, every week occurrences. There are needs everywhere. God desires all of us to help meet those needs, especially in His church.

In the church setting help often comes in the form of volunteers. People like you and me who are willing to invest their time and talents in God’s Kingdom work. At AFBC we place a strong emphasis on volunteering.  Our volunteers range in age from 4 to 95. They serve in many different ways. Some are teachers and Life Group leaders. Others serve on the First Impressions team on Sunday morning. We saw many of our students serving at the recent Legacy Banquet. Earlier this week four-year old Nolan Sill helped our senior ladies with their crafts at Senior Vacation Bible School.

We have a number of people who serve in the community. The Rock at NoonDay and Ronald McDonald House are just a couple of examples. We have parents that serve at their children’s schools. Pastor Cook often reminds us, it doesn’t matter where you serve, what matters is that you serve.

On Sunday August 21st long time member of AFBC Lucy Stevens was presented with the Legacy Award. This award is given to those who have made a significant investment in our church. Not a financial investment, but an investment of time and service. When we asked Lucy what inspired her to be such a committed servant she responded, “God blessed my marriage, my children, and my life in so many ways.  How could I not be His servant?”

Perhaps you are already serving somewhere in our church and enjoy what you are doing and are willing to sign on for another year. Maybe you want to invest in another area of ministry, try something new and different. There are so many ways you can help.

As the AFBC Volunteer Coordinator I am often asked, “How do I find the right place to serve. I have three questions I use when helping match someone to a place to serve.

  1. What is your passion? We all perform at our optimum when we are working in an area we love. Are you good with people and are energized by being around them. Then the First Impressions Team may be the place for you. Do you long to make a joyful noise to the Lord? Pastor Matt would love to have you join our choir.
  1. What are your spiritual gifts? God has gifted each of His children with gifts that equip them to serve the Body of Christ. Do you have the gift of teaching? Encouragement? If you’re not sure what your spiritual gifts are we have a simple assessment that can aid you in discovering them. Any of our staff would be happy to help you with this.
  1. What are your skills? Have you received some type of special training? Dealing with finances? Nursing? Construction skills? Are you good with crafts? Do you play a musical instrument, like to cook? We all have things that we are especially good at. It’s a blessing to be able to use them for the Lord’s work.

As we prepare for worship this Sunday, let’s remember that one of the ways we worship is through serving and begin to ask the Lord where He would have you invest your time in His Kingdom.

For more information about serving at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church visit the First Stop Info Center on Sundays or contact Gerry Wakeland at Gerry@fbcabq.com

Who Can You Help Today?

By Karen Polich

Proverbs 11:25 The Message (MSG)
25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.

In the midst of our busy lives, opportunities surround us. We have moments with those close to us and cross paths with strangers as we engage in the day’s to-do list. While we may be consumed with our responsibilities and the need to get things done, we can choose to help others along the way.

How wonderful is it when someone steps in and brightens your day? Even on a great day, a kind word or a helping hand is a blessing. When a day is going from bad to worse, the generosity of another can be the catalyst to a new outlook.

God gives us opportunities to impact others. Sometimes we get to help in “big” ways, while other times it’s something done in the moment. It may not always be life changing, but the little things we do can have real impact. Life is meant to be lived with others. When we take the time to help those around us, we are often the ones who receive the biggest blessing.

A tiny shift in our focus can open our eyes and hearts to the needs around us, bringing blessings we didn’t expect. When we are looking, we can see needs everywhere.

Be intentional. Who do you know that could use a word of encouragement? Simple words of encouragement can lift someone’s spirits.

Slow down and pay attention to those around you. We are often in a rush to get to the next thing. Today, let’s take a closer look at who God puts in our path. How can we influence even a small part of their day?

Demonstrate grace. We all tend to show our worst side when the pressure is high. If someone is less than pleasant, be kind anyway.

When we take the time to slow down and see things around us, our view changes. What kind of day do we want to have? How can we share that with someone?

What if today, we were all intentional about helping someone else? What kind of impact could we make?

Days of Suffering – Testing & Crisis

By Karen Polich

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

God is in control no matter what is going on in your life and God is always good. We choose to allow circumstances to dictate our reactions or we choose to bless the name of the Lord in all things. Job had experience after experience full of crisis. He was tested beyond measure, yet he chose to bless the name of the Lord.

Job 2:1-10
On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” Read more here at BibleGateway.

Pastor Michael Cook gave us two things to remember in times of testing and crisis. Listen to the podcast here.

Trust in God’s Sovereignty. God is always in charge. Satan never has the upper hand and must always report to God. You will be attacked time and time again, but the parameters are not set by Satan despite his ambition for total destruction. Complete control belongs to God alone.

You can express testimony. In crisis, a gentle response can speak into the heart of others. Job’s wife had also lost everything. Job responded to her outcry with the reminder of God’s control in all things. We should be bonded together in difficulty, not separated. How you choose to respond has a significant impact on those around you.

Job demonstrated what it means to truly walk with God. He showed us what it looks like to trust Him and bless the name of the Lord, despite circumstances. How about you? What sets you off? What will you choose to do?