When Work Isn't Work by Larry Refsland
How come I feel so exhausted after a weekend of “relaxation”? Maybe it’s because of all the work that goes into relaxing. See if this sounds familiar to you: Before you can go to the “relaxation” spot, you have to go shopping for supplies; the vehicle has to be gassed up and loaded with all sorts of things to help you relax: lawnmower, shovels, rakes, wheelbarrow, etc. Then you have to hook up the boat and load up all the fishing gear. You can either run down to the sporting goods shop to get bait or spend part of your time relaxing by digging for worms.
Once you get to the lake, (a relaxing 1-2 hour drive) everything has to be unloaded. The boat has to be launched. You probably need to start a campfire and prepare some food. If you can get the lawn mowed and a few projects completed in time, you just might get to actually do a little fishing! Before long, you’ll be loading it all back up again for the drive home where everything will still need to be unloaded. Sure, it’s a lot of effort, but it doesn’t really seem like work. Maybe it’s because all of this effort is our own choice.
Some people believe it’s a lot of work to serve God. Those are the people who serve only from a sense of obligation or perhaps a feeling of guilt. Others find joy in serving God. Those are the people who simply have made a choice to put God first in their lives. Switching from a chore to a choice makes all the difference in whether the effort seems like work or pleasure. When you serve God with a willing heart you will find the rest that God promises.
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Are You Making Positive Ripples? By Larry Refsland
Can you throw a stone into a lake without making some ripples? Skipping stones seems to continue to be a favorite summer pastime. It’s cheap and takes little skill. Did you ever notice how it’s impossible to skip a stone without creating some ripples? The ripples are the side effect of the rock hitting the surface. The ripples are not the exact location of the impact, but the result of the impact on the surrounding area.
Our lives have similar ripple effects. Everything we do, good or bad, has an impact on the people around us. Everyday we are making ripples. Our children, our spouse, our co-workers are all affected by our actions. These ripples can be negative. For example: a job supervisor yells at one of the employees who in turn goes home in a bad mood and takes it out on his wife, who then is short with the children who go out and kick the dog which chases the cat and… you get the idea.
Think how that scenario could be so different if the initial impact were positive: the job supervisor praises the employee who goes home and greets his wife with a big kiss, who decides to make the kids a favorite treat who share it with the neighborhood children; the dog and cat, well they lick up the scraps, and everyone is happy!
Go out and make some ripples today! See how far a positive action actually goes in your sphere of influence.
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A study just came out about how rudeness is contagious. In the workplace, if someone is rude it can negatively affect everyone, and in future incidences people will perceive rudeness where there may be none. Some workplaces have viral rudeness, but God can help us to clear the air with positive words that build one another up. Let me share how.
In a court of law, anyone about to give testimony must be sworn in, and I think it’s interesting that part of the oath is to ask for God’s help to tell the truth. The Bible tells us that God can help us with what comes out of our mouth. God is truth. He cannot lie. When God is in control of our lives, his character naturally is revealed in our lives.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Jesus is recorded as saying in Matthew and Luke. One of his disciples, James, compared our speech to a river when he wrote, “Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh and bitter water?”
We need God’s help to cleanse our inner being—our speech will reflect whether he has done that or not. Let me encourage you to ask God to “set a watch over your lips and guard over your mouth” (Psalm 141:3). He will help us to not only tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, He will also help us to speak works of healing, encouragement, and love.
Just as one person can influence a conversation negatively, one person can also influence a conversation positively. The Bible encourages us to think of things that are pure and lovely and of a good report. These thoughts will come out in the words you choose. Let us be the people with words of truth and love, so help us God!
“When I was a kid, I used to walk five miles to school in chest-high snow, up-hill…both ways!” We’ve all heard the accounts of “when I was a kid”. You’ve probably used them yourself; I know I have. If you’re like me, your family had certain expectations for each person in the family. Every child, for example, had chores. In my family, my little sister would set the table, I would clear off the table after dinner, and my older brother would dry the dishes as Mom washed them. I always encouraged my brother to finish up the uneaten potatoes or vegetables, because I hated finding Tupperware bowls to fit leftovers into. The point is everyone was expected to do his or her share of the work to make life better for all of us.
You know, the family of God isn’t any different. Your church is like a family. The Bible says that we grow and become strong as we build one another up in love and as each part does its work. You wouldn’t expect to get all the benefits of living at home without doing some of the work. The church family is the same way!
This weekend, go tell your pastor you want to know what your chores are! After you’ve revived him, tell him you aren’t kidding! There’s no telling what God will accomplish when each member is doing his and her part. Be a participator, not a spectator in your church family. Everyone will win that way.
Just when you thought the campfire was out, along came a gust of wind that brought the flames to life again. Anyone who has spent time in the great outdoors has learned a thing or two from a campfire. First, there’s the trick of getting the fire started in the first place, especially if you don’t have lighter fluid, gasoline or most importantly, a match. Assuming you have the good fortune of successfully starting a fire, that doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. Next you have to feed this fledgling fire carefully, first with small, dry kindling and gradually working up to a log or two. Once you’ve built it up, the fire will burn nicely on it’s own for quite a while. It’s during this time that the fire can be used for cooking or heating up water or just to enjoy its warmth. However, it will eventually die down if no new fuel is added.
The correlations between a campfire and our spiritual lives are numerous. When the flame of God’s love is ignited in us, it usually starts out hot but in danger of quickly dying out if no one is there to add solid teaching and an occasional prod to keep us turned towards God’s presence. From time to time we are allowed an opportunity to relax and enjoy the warmth, to taste the benefits of sustaining this fire. But to keep it going, we need to allow God to add new truth and inspiration on a regular basis. Even if we do allow the flame to die down, thankfully it only takes a fresh gust of the Holy Spirit to blow through us to cause us to once again be burning enough to be built up again. Our responsibility is to tend the fire. Keep feeding it with God’s Word and worship. You’ll not only be revived, but the fire in you will bring warmth, joy and sustenance to the world around you.
Tune Up Your Life!
Our hope is that you will find encouragement from the brief but thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) musings of Pastor Larry.
Take East of Backus on Hwy 87 to Cass County 49. Take 49 to Shortcut Rd and then left on 8th St NE to church.
You can also type in 812 8th St NE in Pine River, MN into your GPS, but if your GPS steers you differently, we recommend following the directions above.
Join Us Every Sunday
Interactive Bible Course – 2:00 pm
Fellowship and the Good News – 3:00 pm
For immediate requests, please contact Pastor Larry or Patti Refsland at 218-348-2202.