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PASTORS SHAUN & AMY GUSTAFSON

 
 
 

GROW YOUR FAITH

With Biblical teaching from Pastors Shaun & Amy Gustafson 
 
 

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October 23 @ 6 PM 

 

 

 

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November 24 @ 6:30 PM

 

 

 

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November 13 @ 9 AM

 
 
 

 

 

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OUR PURPOSE

Where God is leading us
 
 
 
 
 

OUR MISSION & VISION

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

OUR LIFE GROUPS

 
 
 
 
 

FROM THE BLOG

Insight and wisdom from High Point Leadership
 
 

Praying Together

In Deuteronomy 30:32 we find that through the power of God on the Israelites’ side, one person was able to chase a thousand, and with two people they put ten thousand to flight! We have a covenant right to the same favor the Israelites had and even greater through Jesus Christ our Lord. If we can have the ability to chase ten thousand rather than one thousand spiritually, why would we not take advantage of it?
 
The Bible also says when two or three agree concerning anything it shall be done (see Matthew 18:19-20). A married couple in unity is clearly two in agreement. There is no stronger union between humans than the marriage covenant because it represents our relationship with God. Therefore, the enemy tries to make married couples ignorant of their power in agreement together.
 
We experienced a large challenge in our early years of marriage. There were some inappropriate situations going on at my place of work. Amy and I had discussed that I should start looking for a new job. One day after a situation occurred, I resigned and had to go home to tell Amy I had left my job and we were going to have to move quickly because my work was connected to our housing.
 
As I walked in the door, I wasn’t sure how to give Amy the news, so I just blurted it out, “I resigned from my job and we have to find a new place to live.” To my surprise, Amy got a huge smile on her face and said, “Praise the Lord! It’s about time! Let’s praise the Lord right now for all the great things He is about to do on our behalf.”
 

We praised the Lord with all of our hearts, thanking him for the new job I would soon have and the better home we knew by faith He had already prepared for us. Within one week we found a beautiful new home that was much more than what we had before. Within three weeks I had a new job that paid twice as much! The job also had insurance benefits, which we did not have before, and in addition to all this, they even gave reimbursement for my college tuition! During this situation as well as others, we never became angry at each other nor allowed bitterness to enter, because of our unity through daily prayer and trust that God would continue to keep us in his will.

 

HOW TO PRAY TOGETHER

 

During our prayer time we give God praise for His goodness and we also let our requests be made known to the Lord with thanksgiving (see Philippians 4:6). Daily prayer together should be a time of enjoyment and praise, which builds an atmosphere of peace in the home.
 
There are several suggestions we make for couple prayer time. We advise making time together in the morning if at all possible. Praying together while still snuggled in bed is wonderful because it bonds you spiritually as well as meeting each others need for affection. It will set you both on the same page when you communicate throughout the day, as well as when obstacles may arise.  If morning is not possible, pray together as soon as you can.
 

We also recommend husband and wife each takes turns, going back and forth praying for anything that comes to his or her heart. Some of the things we typically cover in our prayer times are:

 

  • Thanksgiving for what the Lord has done for us and those around us,
  • Positive and uplifting prayers for each others day,
  • Prayer for each other and our children’s protection and wisdom,
  • Prayer for each other’s extended family (parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews),
  • Prayer for those in authority over us: our President, nation, military, and employer,
  • Prayer for our church and the marriages the Lord puts on our heart.

 

There are several things we caution couples of during prayer. First, do not use this as a time to criticize each other. We once had a couple say to us, “This prayer together just doesn’t work.” When we inquired as to why, we found out they ended up fighting every time because they would pray for the other one to grow or change in whatever areas they felt they didn’t measure up. We should leave our prayer time together feeling positive and built-up in the Lord.
 
Second, remember not to criticize each other’s families. Prayer for one another’s extended family should be done with kindness and love. When we pray for family in a positive way, thanking and trusting God to minister to them and meet their needs, we will begin to look at our spouse’s family as our own. We will then see that our spouse loves our extended family as unconditionally as we do, which also builds unity.
 
Third, know that sometimes couples feel awkward when they first begin to pray together. It is just like learning to ride a bicycle when you were a child. Sometimes it was difficult to get up and moving, but you eventually learned to balance and ride smoothly. So it is with unified prayer. Don’t give up! Practice for short periods of time and be patient with one another.
 
As we learn to pray together, we will grow in God’s kind of love. 1 Corinthians 13:5 states, “[Love] does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil…” If we think no evil toward our spouse, then we will be patient as we both grow in our walk with the Lord together. We will choose to believe that they are trying their best and, therefore, we will encourage them when they pray.
 
This is what we were talking about earlier when we compared unified prayer to a tennis doubles team practicing daily. When we make the effort to get ourselves unified in the small things like daily prayer, trials are much easier to overcome when we encounter them.
 
If you and your spouse have had challenges with prayer together, don’t be discouraged! Just start by praising God together each day and thanking Him for the good things He has done in your life and in the lives of those around you. Focus on His goodness.
 
In Love, 
Pastors Shaun & Amy

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We Attract What we Are

Many people are looking for the right person without realizing that they should focus on being the right person. We typically attract what we are. Do you want someone who is educated? You are more likely to find that if you are pursuing growth yourself. Do you want someone who compliments you often? Practice complimenting those close to you several times a day consistently. Most important of all, do you want someone who is committed to God? Then purpose to daily keep your focus on Him.
 
If you haven’t met the right one yet, don’t lose hope! Keep believing. In the meantime, develop yourself. Let that be a lifelong pursuit of all of ours, married or single.
 

The following is a short list of questions we would encourage you to ask yourself while waiting for the right one:

  1. Am I close in my relationship with God? If not, I would be concerned about making a good choice for a spouse. Sadly, we have seen numerous people invest little to no time with God who then marry someone hoping they will be a good spouse. God wants you to seek Him and pray over your future spouse. He can and will help you make the right choice when you stay close to His side and put Him first place consistently (Matt. 6:33).

 

If you have a desperate longing (rather than a healthy desire) to get married, it’s often a sign that you are trying to fill a void that only God can fill. People are notorious for trying to fill the deep need for intimacy with our Creator with other things.

 

Some people think, “If I get married, I will finally be happy and feel loved.” No person is perfect. In reality, the person you marry will not agree with you or please you 100% of the time. They will not always make you happy. Marriage is a union that makes two spiritually and emotionally healthy people even more fulfilled, but it also makes two spiritually and emotionally unhealthy people feel emptier than they did before marriage.   

 

  1. Am I emotionally mature? Are you quick to forgive or do you tend to hold a grudge? Do you take your frustrations out on others by being silent, moody, drinking, cussing, or insulting others? Although a Christ-centered marriage is wonderful, it is not a fairytale. We all have to work on problems, but emotionally mature people learn to work things out without the added drama. This is easier said than done, but it improves with maturity.

 

Are you bothered when you don’t get things your way? Do you become depressed when things don’t work out how you hoped they would? If so, one way to build your emotional stability is to pursue being a more giving person. Purposely place yourself in situations where you have to learn to become selfless rather than selfish. We all have two choices in life: serve self or serve others. Choose daily to serve others and trust God to take care of you. Volunteer and help others who are hurting and less fortunate!

 

  1. Am I financially ready for marriage? Genesis 2:24 admonishes us to leave our father and mother and cleave to our spouse. If you are financially (or emotionally) dependent on your parents after marriage, this will likely be a problem. God gave Adam dominion over plants and animals (a career) when He gave Him a wife. If you are going to have to live with parents after marriage, you’re probably not ready to get married.

 

We strongly encourage you to make sure the one you marry is financially assiduous. If you need help in this area, go through a class such as Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University together. Regarding finances, sometimes we’re asked if the wife should work outside of the home. If the wife wants to work, this is the couple’s choice. We understand there are also times when the wife may work and the husband stays home with young children for a season as well. Just remember, if someone is lazy or a poor financial steward before marriage, they will typically be just as much and even more so after marriage.

 

  1. Am I planning for marriage? If you want to be married, plan for the future! Start saving money right now for your honeymoon, even if you haven’t met your future spouse yet. Years ago when Shaun was finishing college, we knew a very gifted doctoral student. Many young women on the college campus admired and swooned after his classic tall, dark, and handsome appearance. He had an amazing voice, with a captivating Spanish accent, a result of being raised by highly respected missionary parents.

 

A friend of his told us that he had been traveling with his parents to other nations for years, and since being a teenager, he had purchased a gift for his future wife in every place he visited. He planned to lavish the gifts on her when they got married. We were told that he had a closet full of gifts saved for her! He met and married a wonderful young woman a couple years later, and she received the blessing of his wonderful foresight. It is much better to be over prepared than under prepared when you meet your dream spouse.

 

  1. If the right one came into my life at this moment, would they be physically attracted to me? It may not be fun to face up to, but this can be a roadblock. We’ve heard people say, “I don’t want to change to attract someone. They need to love me for who I am.” Keeping yourself physically appealing through attractive hair, stylish and modest clothing, and a healthy lifestyle is helpful in the search for the right person.

 

You should continue this after marriage, not just prior to it. We’ve had men tell us that they feel their wife pulled a bait and switch on them. She was physically attractive and dressed nice before marriage, but started overeating, wearing sweats, and rarely wearing makeup after marriage. It really isn’t honest for men or women to make a big effort in their appearance to gain a spouse then let this effort fall to the wayside after marriage.

 

  1. Do I have any addictive behaviors that I need to work through? Obviously people with addictions get married all of the time, so this is not a roadblock to getting married. However, all addictive behaviors will be a hindrance to the health of a marriage in some way, so our recommendation is to deal with these issues now so you can have a strong marriage with minimal barriers. Whether it is pornography, alcohol, drugs, gambling, anorexia, food addiction, or anything else, get help now. When you are single is the very best time to work on getting emotionally healthy.

 

Some of the affairs we have helped people work through have been committed after the cheating spouse had a few drinks. Casually drinking with other people lowered their guard, and they gave into temptation. Many of those who cheated on their spouse without the influence of alcohol had a history of viewing, reading, or listening to some type of pornography.

 

Addictions catch up with us. You may think nobody knows or that you are not hurting anyone, but nothing could be further from the truth. Addictive behaviors are a cover-up for some kind of pain and insecurity in a person’s life. The sooner you seek help, the better off you will be and the better future you can obtain. There are many great books and sources of help to get through addictions.
 
As we mentioned previously, being the right person includes learning to think positively of yourself if you don’t already. Having confidence is vital to building a strong relationship. What you think of yourself right now is evidenced by the type of people you consider for marriage. If you go for confident and secure people, it’s likely a reflection of what you think of yourself.
 
On the contrary, if you date or have interest in people whom you feel obligated to bring up to a higher level, it may be a sign that you have issues yourself. If the majority of your closest friends frequently struggle, or strongly depend on you to feel happy or good about themselves, you most likely have issues of low confidence and insecurity as well.
 
Take a good look at your life. Are you drawn to people who are “need projects” in one way or another? A woman with this issue may be drawn to a man who frequently causes others to say, “No one will ever be able to tame him!” Low confidence also shows up in the form of dating men who don’t treat females with genuine love, honor, and respect.
 
Men with low confidence are often drawn to women who need rescuing. They get to rescue her from all the drama in her life. Needing to be the hero is an especially common trait among men who had an alcoholic parent. They grew up protecting their younger siblings from the alcoholic parent’s behavior. As adults they have a need to find a spouse they can bail out financially or protect in some other way. They look for and attract high-need people rather than healthy people.
 
A truly content person tends to have at least several stable friends. Instead of being a constant need project, they simply enjoy their friends’ companionship, strengthening each other. If the majority of your friends are unstable or if you struggle with emotional issues yourself, find a stable mentor who has a solid marriage or is happily single. With the help of the Word and mentoring, ask God to show you why you have a tendency toward unhealthy relationships. The reason is most likely rooted in insecurity from your earlier years.
 
God wants His Word to renew your mind about who you are and the value you have. Jesus paid everything for you. You are valuable to God. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God wants you to have friends who will strengthen and encourage you and vice versa. Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (NLT). You will become like the people with whom you spend the most time, good or bad. Don’t ever think that you will affect them while they won’t affect you.
 
Sometimes people who were once on a good track with God lower their expectations because they so desperately want to be married. In doing so, they compromise their vision and values. We wholeheartedly agree with ministering to those who hurt, and we value and encourage mentoring those who want positive change. However, dating people with low standards or even maintaining a close friendship with those who compromise integrity will eventually bring you down.
 
Galatians 5:9 warns, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Notice it doesn’t say, “A lot of leaven leavens the whole lump.” In other words, subtle comments and behaviors make a big difference. They will slowly rub off on us while we don’t even notice what is happening.
 
If you choose to hang around friends and coworkers who harbor bitterness or have disdain for the things you value, their attitudes will eventually rub off on you without your conscious knowledge. Rather than becoming sharpened, you could become dulled towards God and His direction over the process of time. Be intentional to invest quality time with people you want to emulate so that their positive behaviors can rub off on you.
 
Make goals for your life and pursue them! Develop a personal growth plan to help you become everything God has called you to be. Rather than investing all of your time looking for the right spouse, make your primary focus to become the right spouse. Then, as you pursue God and personal growth, dare to trust God’s best for you!
 
We love you! 
Pastors Shaun & Amy

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Sowing, Reaping & Prayer

When God created the world, He put into place a spiritual law called the law of sowing and reaping. We will reap what we sow. This law applies to spiritual matters, emotional matters, and physical matters. A farmer sows seed in the ground and eventually reaps a harvest of what he or she planted. A person sows money in the offering to a church or ministry they support, and God sends them increase through multiple avenues. A person sows their time into reading the Bible and reaps the fruit of faith, wisdom, and understanding which directs their life for earthly and eternal good. Let us look at Galatians 6:7-9:

 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

 

Therefore, when we sow time to the Spirit each day by obeying the Word through practicing and walking in unity, we are building fruit for eternity. This Scripture also encourages us to be diligent about sowing to the Spirit. In other words, don’t practice spiritual unity for a week or two and then forget about it. Strong physical muscles are built steadily and consistently by working out but then must continue to be maintained in order to remain strong. Likewise, strong spiritual unity is built through consistent, daily effort that results in a lifelong bond.
 
We once heard about a study done that showed the divorce rate among couples who pray together regularly is 1 out of every 1,152. This demonstrates great evidence that praying together provides substantial benefit for building and increasing unity. If you and your spouse currently pray alone, why not draw another step closer to God as well as each other by adding unified prayer to build your relationship even stronger.
 
Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” When we give Him first place in our marriage relationship, He will add the other things to us by causing us to reap a harvest of spiritual, emotional, and physical unity. We have found the more years we pray together, the more we grow in the rest of our marriage. We enjoy our relationship more now than when we were first married.
 
Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35). If we can exercise love at home and walk in peace consistently with those closest to us, the world will see we have love for one another.
 
What a great testimony for unbelievers to see a Christian marriage and home filled with an abundance of love created through spiritual unity. What an excellent testimony it also is for unbelievers to see a marriage healed through a couple turning to God and His Word, building a lasting spiritual bond. As we consistently build marital unity through prayer together, we will find ourselves living in a marital masterpiece more and more.
 
During our prayer time we give God praise for His goodness and we also let our requests be made known to the Lord with thanksgiving (see Philippians 4:6). Daily prayer together should be a time of enjoyment and praise, which builds an atmosphere of peace in the home.
 
There are several suggestions we make for couple prayer time. We advise making time together in the morning if at all possible. Praying together while still snuggled in bed is wonderful because it bonds you spiritually as well as meeting each others need for affection. It will set you both on the same page when you communicate throughout the day, as well as when obstacles may arise.  If morning is not possible, pray together as soon as you can.
 
We also recommend husband and wife each takes turns, going back and forth praying for anything that comes to his or her heart. Some of the things we typically cover in our prayer times are:
 
  • Thanksgiving for what the Lord has done for us and those around us,
  • Positive and uplifting prayers for each others day,
  • Prayer for each other and our children’s protection and wisdom,
  • Prayer for each other’s extended family (parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews),
  • Prayer for those in authority over us: our President, nation, military, and employer,
  • Prayer for our church and the marriages the Lord puts on our heart.

 

There are several things we caution couples of during prayer. First, do not use this as a time to criticize each other. We once had a couple say to us, “This prayer together just doesn’t work.” When we inquired as to why, we found out they ended up fighting every time because they would pray for the other one to grow or change in whatever areas they felt they didn’t measure up. We should leave our prayer time together feeling positive and built-up in the Lord.
 
Second, remember not to criticize each other’s families. Prayer for one another’s extended family should be done with kindness and love. When we pray for family in a positive way, thanking and trusting God to minister to them and meet their needs, we will begin to look at our spouse’s family as our own. We will then see that our spouse loves our extended family as unconditionally as we do, which also builds unity.
 
Third, know that sometimes couples feel awkward when they first begin to pray together. It is just like learning to ride a bicycle when you were a child. Sometimes it was difficult to get up and moving, but you eventually learned to balance and ride smoothly. So it is with unified prayer. Don’t give up! Practice for short periods of time and be patient with one another.
 
As we learn to pray together, we will grow in God’s kind of love. 1 Corinthians 13:5 states, “[Love] does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil…” If we think no evil toward our spouse, then we will be patient as we both grow in our walk with the Lord together. We will choose to believe that they are trying their best and, therefore, we will encourage them when they pray.
 
This is what we were talking about earlier when we compared unified prayer to a tennis doubles team practicing daily. When we make the effort to get ourselves unified in the small things like daily prayer, trials are much easier to overcome when we encounter them.
 
If you and your spouse have had challenges with prayer together, don’t be discouraged! Just start by praising God together each day and thanking Him for the good things He has done in your life and in the lives of those around you.
 
We truly believe this one simple change will make a lasting difference in your marriage! 
 
Be blessed! 
Pastors Shaun & Amy

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Want To Call High Point “Home”?

 
 

4545 N Frontage Rd Rochester, MN 55901