Finding Hope as We Celebrate Our Nation’s Independence

By: Karen Polich

There is no greater apologetic than your life. It is the foundation of reaching others. Not a sinless life, but one that is upright and blameless. When others can see how Christ has transformed your life, true impact can occur. We live in uncertain times, much like 1st century Christians. In celebrating our nation’s independence, Pastor Michael Cook reminds us that we are called to show respect for our nation, submitting ourselves for the Lord’s sake to the authorities among men, for it is God’s will. (1Peter 2:13) Peter speaks to 1st century Christians who had deep hatred for Rome. They were frustrated and hurt. Peter reminded them that they were called to live on a different level, submitting to a greater Authority. (1Peter 2:11)

Peter speaks of three motives regarding being faithful to our government.
1. Submit to human authority in obedience to God.
2. Imitate our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus did not lash out or fight, but instead took the position of calling us to repentance. (1Peter 2:21-25)
3. Glorify Him. We honor God when we are obedient. God is always faithful.

There is still a battle, even as we submit ourselves.

We are engaged in a battle for what is right. We can’t change everything, but we can change some things. Our responsibility as Christ followers is to do all we can to build God’s Kingdom. God has not called us to submit only to the authorities we agree with, He has called us simply to submit and show proper respect for everyone. (1Peter 2:17). It may not always be an easy task. Pastor Cook talked to us about this and shared the words of radio personality Paul Harvey regarding the battle we face. Listen to Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil” from 1965 here.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get discouraged by the things that I see. I long for simpler days and less confusion, days where I don’t feel like I have failed to fully protect the innocence of my children because of the rampant images and sounds available to fuel the demoralization of our minds. But then, I am reminded that I am engaged in a battle that has already been won. God gave us the ultimate gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. I find hope in His Word, in His promises. I am called to be an obedient follower of Christ. To live a life that reflects the words of Peter and to do it for the Lord’s sake.


Hope in the Midst of Hurting Marriages – Part I

By: Karen Polich with Kevin Polich

What is on the other side of marital struggle?

The trouble doesn’t happen overnight, it builds over time with little things. But there is hope! God’s Word calls wives to a personal commitment of submission toward her husband. (1 Peter 3:1-6) This is something a wife chooses. It is hard. It is learned and it is scary. Adoration for a husband brings beauty to a marriage, motivating a husband like nothing else. The perfect picture of submission can be found looking at Christ in Philippians 2: 5-11. Continuing his series, The Other Side of Pain, Pastor Michael Cook began looking at marriage. To hear the sermon, click here.

A wife’s perspective.
Submission, a simple word that creates such a commotion in our culture. Should it? As a wife, God calls me to submit to my husband. Not as a servant or a lesser partner, but with confidence and trust. It is liberating. I can be me, basking in the love of a husband who honors me. My actions speak far louder than my words. I have a choice. How do my actions speak to my husband? I can show him how much I respect him when he chooses to do the right thing. I can honor him with gentleness. Belief in him and his abilities to provide for and lead our family is what I want to display. We are on this journey together, with God at the center. As a wife, I have the opportunity to champion him through my actions.

A husband’s perspective.
What impacted me? Hearing this sermon made me more aware of what our marriage looks like and who my wife chooses to be. It is comforting to see the confidence she has in me, confidence in who I am and what I do. I think the biggest part of this is trust. First, we both have to trust God. When we do this, it becomes easier to follow His plan for our marriage. This is how we work together as true partners.

What about you? What are your thoughts on Pastor Michael Cook’s message?

The Other Side of Pain – Hope in the Midst of Life’s Work

The Other Side of Pain – Hope in the Midst of Life’s Work By: Karen Polich

How is your work life? Are you excited every day, anticipating another great day with an amazing boss and wonderful coworkers? Is it a grind? Do you sigh heavily as you prepare yourself for another day doing something that you simply don’t want to do? Has your hope diminished?

1 Peter 2:18-25

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness, by His wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Pastor Cook discussed Peter’s words and what we are called to do. God has given us instructions with His clear intention that we endure whatever our circumstances may be. We are called to be a living and active illustration. (Romans 8:35-39)

What might God be working in your life? Does He have you walking through a difficult situation right now? Could He be after the process of your growth? We are called to follow the footprints of Christ. Your actions may be the only glimpse of Christ a difficult boss sees. Are you seeking out the opportunity to shine as His example? Excellence in all we do as we follow Him. That is the hope on the other side.

Want to hear more from Pastor Michael Cook? Listen here.

The Other Side of Pain – Hope in Loneliness and Isolation

The Other Side of Pain – Hope in Loneliness and Isolation

By: Karen Polich

1 Peter 2: 4-6

As you come to Him, the Living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”

Loneliness…something Pastor Cook says he sees so often; loneliness leading to a sense of isolation. What is on the other side of that loneliness and isolation? The Living Stone.

We have a Savior who relates to our circumstances.

He understands. He was rejected. He experienced the things that we experience and when we come to Him, we are not alone. He is the Living Stone, our foundation. We are connected to a Savior who understands us and we are connected to each other by the Living Stone.

Peter takes us back historically to when Solomon was building the temple. He reminds us of the victory and the living foundation of Jesus Christ. The rejected stone becomes the perfect fit. (1 Kings 6:1, 1 Kings 5:15, 1 Kings 6:7)

At times, when we feel lonely, we tend to cut ourselves off. We cut ourselves off from those around us whom we love and from the Church, the very place we can get help. Peter wants us to understand that we are different. We have a Savior who receives every sinner. We are different because our identity lies in the holy connection with Christ. This connection makes us part of a holy and royal priesthood. We are distinct and have our identity in Christ.Colossians 3:3-4 says, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory”.

What are your circumstances today? Whatever today looks like, there is hope and you are never alone. You are becoming a living stone through the Living Stone of Christ.





The Other Side of Pain – “Hope Killers” (Part 2)

The Other Side of Pain – “Hope Killers” (Part 2)

By: Karen Polich

Craving God’s Word

1 Peter 2:1-3 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

What kind of appetite do you have for God’s Word? Do you crave God with the intensity that Peter writes about? Are you soaked in His Word? Continuing last week’s sermon on “Hope Killers”, Pastor Cook presented a challenge to go deeper, to crave more and to have a true hunger for the Word.

Pastor Cook discussed three appetite inhibitors:

  • Unconfessed sin
  • Ulterior motives
  • Spiritual diet

Are any of these holding you back from a true longing for God? Are these things that you allow to steal your hope during difficult times? Are you filling your mind with nourishing things that are helping you? Opportunities are there every day. Opportunities to seek God know Him and build a desire for more. How can this craving be developed? Reading God’s Word every day will begin to change minds and lives. There is so much more of God that can be found by absorbing Him through the power of His Word.

I ask you, do you have a true longing for more? Are you ready to see God change your heart and move in your life? He can be the source of joy and hope no matter what season you are in. He wants us to crave Him, to be fully devoted. I pray that today, you will long for more and feed the desire He has ignited in you.




The Other Side of Pain – “Hope Killers”

The Other Side of Pain – “Hope Killers” (Part 1)

By: Karen Polich

Are you killing your own hope?

1 Peter 2:1 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”

Peter knows. He knows what it is like to destroy your own hope. Peter understands the pressure and temptations that come with difficult situations. He knows about lashing out at others when hurt or scared. Peter wielded the sword in the garden, he spoke the denials. If anyone can talk about what you need to rid yourself of to keep your hope as a believer, it is Peter. His words are clear. “Rid yourselves…” The internal sins of malice, guile and envy will be expressed externally through hypocrisy and slander. Our own shortcomings can tempt us to speak against someone to make them look bad, but we may only be tearing down ourselves. Our hurts and frustrations are not resolved when we choose to respond with a sinful heart. As Pastor Michael Cook has discussed in this series, hope conveys love with integrity, intensity and identity. (1 Peter 1:23) How can we do this?

 We can rid ourselves of hope killers because our hearts are different.

1 Peter 1:22 “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” The heart of a Christ follower is different. It is a heart filled with the Living Hope. The hope that holds us together when we are hurt, wounded, and confused. We are going to experience situations in life that are difficult. We shouldn’t take up the things that will hurt us and do more damage. Rid yourselves of these things because they will bring you trouble, and that trouble will invade every area of your life. What about you? Are you choosing hope?

The Other Side of Pain – Hopelessness

By: Karen Polich

What do you do when hope flees and you are in the midst of the gigantic times that overwhelm you?

How do you combat hopelessness in your life? This series continues to look at what is on the other side of so many things in our lives. Have you given permission to the world or the evil one to shape your mind?  What are you feeding your mind? We need to be able to demonstrate God’s grace in any situation with a spirit of determination and a mind prepared and ready for action.

Fortifying your hope in Christ.

1 Peter 1:13-16

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Are you ready to learn more? Click here.