Thursday, September 24, 2009

Search for Stability...

After you experience separation or divorce, it is natural to want to try and stabilize your life and regain a feeling of personal security. Unfortunately, some people get so focused on finding that lost sense of security that they are willing to look just about anywhere.

"There's a whole industry evolved to provide excitement strong enough to divert the pain," says Dr. Jim A. Talley. "People in divorce are just looking for something to absorb some of that energy and some of that pain in their lives, and they tend to look in the wrong areas."

Roy says, "You can get consumed with your work. You can medicate the pain with drugs or alcohol. There are a lot of things you can do to try to live with the fallout of the divorce, but I don't think you are ever going to be released without coming to know God through His Son Jesus Christ."

Don't fall into the "Do what feels good" trap. You need to be free from this pain, not imprisoned by it. True security and true freedom are found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, and this relationship is available to everyone who believes.

"Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed'"
(John 8:34-36).
DivorceCare... Thursdays 7pm

Feeling Guilty About Lack of Balance...

Your energy imbalance affects every aspect of your life. You may feel guilty because you lack the spiritual energy to relate to God or because you lack the physical energy to care for your children or to keep up with family and friends. Please don't.

Dr. Jim A. Talley says, "You need to be aware that these things are normal and to be expected, that you will recover, and that things will be fine. It's a matter of going through the process and allowing God to help you stabilize yourself. Put yourself back on the right track, and allow God to walk through this process with you. It is not a quick fix.

"The painful reality is you have two choices as you walk through this process: You can either have extreme pain by doing it the right way or excruciating pain by doing it the wrong way. There is no pain-free way out."

Do not feel guilty if you are not living up to your own expectations of how you should act in regard to your spiritual, emotional, physical, or mental responses.

Regaining a balance is not possible right now. Just take one forward step at a time.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"
(Psalm 56:3-4).

DivorceCare... Thursdays 7pm

The Christian Ethos of Freedom Software...

an article by Ted Carnahan

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18.20

The essence of the Christian life is community. This promise of Christ places God’s presence in the other, so that while God is present within each one of us, God’s presence is most available to us in our relationships with other Christians. If we take that seriously, there is a great deal to be learned about how we are to interact with our neighbor. If people have needs, they should be taken care of as bearers of God’s image. The fundamental orientation of the Christian life, lived in relationship, is upward to God and outward to people.

I would like to focus on living outward to people today. How we interact with people says a lot about what we believe about God. If we are generous, it communicates – whether we intend it to or not – that God is generous. Where we are cruel and distant, we inadvertantly communicate that God is cruel and distant. These messages that we send extend to what we do with our posessions. Where we grasp onto our posessions, whether those are money, property, time, or abilities, we communicate that God’s grace is withheld for our neighbor. Where we give our posessions away, we communicate that grace is abundantly available to our neighbor. On top of all this, what we do speaks much more loudly than what we say.

One of the most powerful aspects of Freedom Software is the intrinsic right to give it away. Freedom Software comes with a license which guarantees your rights instead of restricting your freedom. With proprietary software like Microsoft Office, the license agreement (which everyone ignores and clicks past) is designed to keep you from giving copies away. In fact, our government calls that copyright infringement, and it is illegal. With Freedom Software, you are guaranteed the right to give copies away to everyone, without limitation.

Over-zealous Freedom Software enthusiasts will sometimes argue that all proprietary software is evil – that paying for something is intrinsically wrong. I think that leads in the wrong direction. At the same time, where appropriate Freedom Software equivalents to proprietary software exist, the church has an obligation to choose the software that it is free to give away. Spending less on software is better stewardship. More importantly, the message we send when we can give something away freely, unencumbered by copyright limitations or cost, is more hospitable to the other.

Don’t underestimate the importance of good software for improving peoples’ lives. Now, more than ever, computers and software are part of society. Access to computers and appropriate software is necessary in this day and age to find and apply for a job, take care of many daily tasks, be an informed consumer, and participate in the political process. Freedom Software offers effective alternatives for nearly every task an average (or, for that matter, professional) computer user may need, and all of it is available at no cost and grants the freedom to copy and distribute it far and wide.

Since the essence of the Christian life is community, and we ought to be directed outward towards others, every tool we can obtain that allows us to be more free to serve the other has intrinsic value. If someone is hungry, we should feed them. If someone is thirsty, we should give them something to drink. And if someone has need of our posessions, we should be free to offer them. Freedom Software is an important part of that picture for modern congregations.

How to clean a coffee maker with vinegar and 8 other great uses for vinegar…

- by Bob

If you have never tried cleaning your coffee pot with vinegar, it really is pretty simple:

Run a 50/50 mixture of Vinegar and water through the coffee pot. Afterwards you will probably want to do 2 runs with just water to remove any lingering vinegar.
And if after that you still smell a little bit of vinegar in the carafe you can fill it with warm water and a teaspoon of baking soda. After it sits for a few minutes you should be good to go!

8 other great uses for vinegar

1. Insect bitesPat vinegar onto insect bites to relieve the itch and pain
2. SunburnBelieve it or not spritzing a little vinegar onto sunburns helps soothe and cool the skin.
3. Clogged ShowerheadsOur showerhead occasionally fills up with mineral deposits from the water. You can just soak it in a 50/50 mixture of Vinegar and warm water and it will dissolve all the gunk away!
4. Vacation air-freshenerYou can leave a small container of vinegar in each room of the house while you are gone on a trip and it will keep the air fresh.
5. Wash your washing machineEvery once in a while, you can clean out the washing machine by adding a 1/2 of vinegar to a warm water cycle (without any clothes). Let it run for a complete cycle.
6. Keep your car frost-freeIf your car stays outside during the winter you can spray a solution (3 parts vinegar/1 part water) to the outside of your windows. It will keep them frost and ice-free.
7. Remove a bumper-stickerCoat is with vinegar a couple times until the liquid has thoroughly penetrated the paper and scrape it away with a plastic scraper.
8. Extend the life of your rosesIf you bring home roses for your wife, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of white sugar to the vase to keep them looking good longer.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Imbalanced Energy Distribution

When your energy distribution is imbalanced to such an extreme for an extended period of time, it is inevitable that you will experience an energy collapse.

"I was to the point of exhaustion," admits Cheryl. "I couldn't do anything. I couldn't go to work for a few days. I couldn't function. I was just a zombie. But it was after that time that I finally realized I needed to deal with everything that was going on. I had to pull myself together and deal with the issues at hand."

You will likely experience an energy collapse, but you will also begin to move back to a balanced state again. Nothing happens quickly in the divorce recovery process. The journey is mostly uphill, but there are things you can do and information you can gain that will aid you in your recovery process and bring you to a level of peace and healing. Each day, turn to God and call out to Him in prayer, asking Him to supply you with the energy to get through the day.

"Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak" (Psalm 31:9-10).

DivorceCare... Thursdays 7pm

Energy Distribution

Ideally, the amount of energy you expend each day is equally balanced across the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of your life. But during and after a separation or divorce, your energy distribution is much different. As much as 85 percent of your energy can be diverted to dealing with the emotional upheaval, leaving only 15 percent to deal with all your physical, mental, and spiritual demands.

"Emotionally you're spinning," says Dr. Jim A. Talley. "You are going round and round. It's like you are running your engine wide open, but you're in neutral and not going anywhere, yet you can't shut the motor off. Eighty-five percent of your energy is being consumed in the whole emotional area. That leaves you 5 percent mental, 5 percent spiritual, and 5 percent physical. Mental difficulties include the inability to make decisions. Physically, you are totally exhausted. Spiritually, you have a loss of faith; you are not sure God exists, and you're not sure if you even care if He exists."

The emotional turmoil, the mental fog, the total loss of energy, and the questioning of God are to be expected. You don't desire any of it, but you have it, and your feelings and thoughts are natural.

"I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer" (Psalm 6:6-9).

DivorceCare... Thursdays 7p

Pointed in the Right Direction

"I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your statutes" (Psalm 119:59 NLT).

The first step you need to take is to point yourself in the right direction. That direction is toward God. This may seem to be a pat answer, too simplistic for the complexity of your emotions. But it is true. God alone can save you and give your life meaning and purpose and energy again.

"When you finally reach the bottom and when you finally get to the point where everything else is exhausted and your very essence is gone and everything that you had on earth is gone and torn apart, there's only one way to go," says Don. "I learned very quickly that Jesus Christ is the only solution and the only way."

Anne Graham Lotz says, "In the middle of your problems, in the middle of the hurricanes and the storms that come into your life and turn everything topsy turvy, you need to keep your focus on Him. On the days when you lose focus, remember that He stays focused on you."

You may be thinking, God sure isn't helping me, but have you asked God for His help and do you trust that God's answer and timing is best? Each day give your burdens and your requests to God and focus on His lovingkindness. He will not fail you.

DivorceCare... Thursdays 7pm

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Coping with Feelings of Isolation

Laura Petherbridge says, "I would go to church on Sunday morning and I would think, Everybody has their wonderful little Ozzie and Harriet families, and I don't belong here anymore. I'm sitting in the corner of the pew drowning in sorrow. On the outside I might not look like I'm struggling, but inside I'm dying. I feel very distant from everyone. I can't connect with people anymore because they do not understand my pain."

This is a normal reaction for a person going through separation or divorce. You are not alone in these feelings, so do not let your confusing emotions worry you. If you would like to find a place where people truly understand how you feel and what you are going through, consider connecting with a DivorceCare group. In this type of group, you will not only find people to connect with, but you will also learn about a God who can be trusted no matter how difficult or dark your circumstances.

"Everyone who calls, 'Help, God!' gets help. But how can people call for help if they don't know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven't heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them?" (Romans 10:13-14 Msg).

DivorceCare... Thursdays 7pm

Happy Software Freedom Day

Today, September 19, is 2009's Software Freedom Day.

On this day over a thousand teams around the world will be holding events to promote the idea of free (as in freedom) software, and to help those who want to make the transition.

Yes, Pastor Steve is into "Freedom"...

Freedom in Christ... Financial Freedom... and Software Freedom...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not Sure About Church?

Many people look everywhere else for help before they go to the church, or they just don't give the church a chance. Perhaps you have had a bad experience there. Do not give up. The church is not a building or a social gathering. The church is a group of people whose lives have been changed because of Jesus. They are not perfect people, but their love and commitment to Jesus is the reason they gather together. There is room for you there. Find a church where the people love Jesus, and they will love you too.

"I'm not a big joiner of any group," says William. "I like to do things by myself. I'm a very stubborn person. But the warmth that I felt from being back in church and learning to develop a more active relationship with my God was a special thing in that time of my life."

God promises in the Bible that He will supply all your needs. These needs include physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Give God a chance to use the people in His church to help you.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

DivorceCare... Thursdays 7pm

The Church Can Help You

The church, as God intended, provides supportive hands, wise minds, and loving hearts to help those who are hurting and in need. The driving force and the solid foundation of the church is Jesus Christ, who loves you dearly and without conditions. Even if some people in your church have pulled away from you, help is still available there.

"When you are going through a divorce, you feel like you are wearing the scarlet letter," says Warren Kniskern, "and everyone is shying away from you. To some extent that's true, but the worst thing to do is to withdraw from the people of God.

"This is a time more than any other time that you need to be with the people of God and receive their encouragement. Keep your focus on Christ instead of on your problems, or else you're going to sink just as surely as Peter sank when he walked on the water to Jesus."

In the Bible, Peter was on a boat one stormy night, and he looked up and saw Jesus walking on the raging sea. Jesus asked Peter to come to Him. At first Peter jumped up with joyful assurance and started across the water to Jesus. Then he became afraid, focusing on his inadequacies instead of on Christ's sufficiency.

"When he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'

"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?' And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down" (Matthew 14:30-32).

DivorceCare... Thursdays 7pm

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alienation: What Is It?

Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines alienation as "a withdrawing or separation of a person or a person's affections from a position of former attachment." In separation and divorce, you are not only alienated from your former mate, but also from relatives, friends, and sometimes from the church.

Dr. Myles Munroe says, "When a person gets divorced, you often see the opposite of what happens in a physical death. Your family may back away from you, seeing you as a failure, a loser. Some people in the church may back away from you. Society backs off from you; they see you as someone whose life didn't work. When you divorce, you end up lonely, isolated, rejected, and dejected, which adds to the trauma.

"Being divorced is bad enough, but to have your family or your church turn against you, that makes the hurt even worse. A person who has been divorced ends up in a state that God never intended, and that is the state of isolation."

God does not intend for you to be alienated from other people, and He certainly does not intend for you to be apart from Him. God loves you unconditionally. While your family and friends are wrong to alienate you, separation from God only occurs if you are the one backing away from Him.

Keep in mind that while you may feel alienated from some people in the church, your best opportunity to find help and support remains in the context of a local church family.

"Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6).

DivorceCare will be held every Thursday
at the Church of the Nazarene in Westlock
starting September 17th at 7:00 p.m.

The Level of Pain

"I thought, 'There's no way anyone can survive this kind of pain. You can't have this kind of pain and live,'" says Yvette. "It was the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced in my life. I kept thinking, I'll soon die. Then I realized I wasn't going to die, and I would pray: 'Lord, please take my life.'"

The level of pain you are feeling is beyond the comprehension of someone who has not been through divorce. People around you may mean well, but they cannot understand how deep the pain cuts and why it would have such an extreme effect on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life.

DivorceCare will be held every Thursday
at the Church of the Nazarene in Westlock
starting September 17th at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You don’t have to go through it alone

Most people will tell you that separation and divorce are the most painful and stressful experiences they’ve ever faced. It’s a confusing time when you feel isolated and have lots of questions about issues you’ve never faced before.

DivorceCare will be held every Thursday
at the Church of the Nazarene in Westlock
starting September 17th at 7:00 p.m.

Where do you turn?

Steve is the kind of guy no one thought divorce could ever find.

“You get the warning signals. You briefly consider whether you should prepare; then you think, No, that couldn’t happen to me.” Then suddenly separation and divorce rips through your life like a tornado, crushing and destroying everything in your life. You feel like a bottomless pit has opened up beneath you and there is no hope. There is not one facet of your life that is left untouched. Every minute in North America, two marriages fail and 2,100 children hear, “We’re separating.”

“I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest, and no one would talk with me or even listen to my fears”. “People kept telling me “Get on with your life… there is someone out there for you.”

When he figured out that a divorce was inevitable, Steve wanted to do something positive, not just sit around and let his thoughts weigh him down. That's when he found Jean's DivorceCare class at the Church of the Nazarene.

Steve decided to go in with an open mind. "You're worried that since you're going through a divorce, you've got this big, black mark on you, but what I found was people going through the same thing I was. There's a fellowship that develops."

DivorceCare, is a 13-week series that addresses all the feelings and emotions people experience when going through separation or divorce, and it equips them with tools to understand and work through these feelings.

Steve calls DivorceCare “the emergency room where people can come to get the help they need in a safe atmosphere”. It is the trauma center for people whose lives have been ripped apart by the divorce tornado.

There are over 30 Christian counselors and ministers who speak on the videos addressing topics such as Anger, Depression, Loneliness, How Divorce Affects the Children, What the Bible Says About Divorce, Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Single Sexuality. “On the videos are real people who have gone through divorce and are expressing their feelings and emotions; there was always someone on the videos that I could relate to”.

"You don't really realize all of the emotions and uncertainty inside you when you start out" he said. "The good thing is that while you're dealing with all of those issues, you can have a place where people understand you."

Westlock’s Church of the Nazarene is one of over 10,000 churches around the world that offer DivorceCare, a non-denominational faith-based program that tries to help people whose marriages have fallen apart.

In the end, the mostly negative experience of his divorce ended up strengthening Steve’s faith. "You sometimes wonder why God would let you go through something like this." "But now, I'm getting to serve other people, and that's wonderful."

Steve has lead 13-week DivorceCare programs for more than five years. "We're very open about having a spiritual approach and for some people, that's a bit of a turnoff, at least at first. We also have strict rules about confidentiality."

Each of the groups Steve has taught has been different ranging in size from three to fifteen people. “The fellowship among participants probably does not form immediately. Participants may be wary of one another, especially depending on the cause of the separation”. DivorceCare allows people to sit down and talk with others who are in the same situation. "People enjoy the way it's set up - the support side, the video side and the Bible study," he said. "You can move as slowly or quickly as needed through each session."

Even if a divorce occurred long ago, the program has been known to help people find solace years later. Steve has faith that the program can be beneficial: "I've seen some real positive results."

DivorceCare will be held every Thursday at the Church of the Nazarene in Westlock starting September 17th at 7:00 p.m.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why Divorce Hurts So Much

"It's pretty natural to expect hurt when a mate leaves, but I was not prepared for the level of hurt or the level of pain I felt," says Steve.

The pain of divorce is much deeper and more soul wrenching than most people can imagine, unless they have been through it themselves. Divorce can mean the end of your hopes and dreams, the end of your life as you have known it, a loss of control, and feelings of rejection, loneliness, and blame. There is anger, depression, helplessness, bitterness, resentment, feelings of worthlessness, and guilt. The list goes on and on.

"I was afraid that once I opened that door, the intensity of what I was feeling would break me into little pieces," says Marie. "I'd be scattered all over the floor in little tiny scraps, and I'd never be able to pull myself back together."

You will not be able to "hurry up and get over it." That is not possible. Instead, start by making a commitment to take a small step forward every day. Marie says, "Gradually God has put the pieces back together, and the pieces that I don't have anymore, the severing of the part of me that was bonded with my husband, God has healed and replaced. He's in the process of finishing that up."

DivorceCare... starts Thursday 7pm

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Find help and healing for the hurt of a broken relationship, separation and divorce

Healing from your broken relationship, separation or divorce is not easy.
It’s a long, sometimes painful process.

We want to help you on your journey toward recovery. Don’t try to go through your broken relationship, separation or divorce alone. Link up with a DivorceCare divorce recovery support group. It’s a place where you’ll find caring people who understand the issues you face.

DivorceCare... starts Thursday 7pm

What's Happening?

Divorce is like a tornado—ripping through your life, threatening to destroy everything in its path. The emotional whirlwinds bring fear, confusion, and despair, affecting you, your children, family members, and friends. You will likely wonder Why did this storm hit my life and why does it hurt so much?

Dr. Jim A. Talley says, “The reality is that divorce is the most painful thing you can go through because it impacts so much of your life. There’s no way around or easy way out. And everybody is looking for a painless way out of this whole situation.”

It is easier to clean up the physical damage of a tornado than the emotional damage caused by divorce.

“I hated life,” says Ginny. “I woke up every morning, and I absolutely hated it. I hated the pain that I woke up with and the pain that I went to sleep with.”

You may wish you could get through the pain quicker, but healing is a process, a day-by-day, moment-by-moment process. In order to experience any level of recovery, you must see it through. There are no shortcuts. But take heart, in the coming days and weeks you will see it is possible to heal and to look to the future with hope.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

DivorceCare... starts Thursday 7pm