Important Update

High Point Family,
 
I’m in the process of putting together one of my favorite sermons yet! Amy and I will be sharing this Sunday, March 22 on the subject of JOY via our website only. We will have our normal worship service and message so please join us and watch services online (anytime after 9 am) at highpointchurch.com.
 
It is our heart to comply with the safety concerns of our nation’s leaders. As we join together in faith like this, we will be together in spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is — who is everywhere — He will minister to us exactly what we need.
As always, we rely on the Lord our God to sustain us and keep us from all harm. You can be sure that He is faithful to do it.
 
Mark 5:36
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
 
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 CEV
I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. The One who chose you can be trusted, and He will do this.
 
1 Thessalonians 5:24 KJV
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
 
With Faith and Love,
 
Pastors Shaun, Amy and HP Team

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Christ-Like Friends

How does the Word of God describe a true Christ-like friend? First, a Christ-like friend will above all else be a friend of Christ. Jesus was the ultimate example of friendship when He laid down His life for us in order to bring us back to right standing with God. Jesus taught in John 15:12-15, 
 
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
 
We recognize from this that the first way to discern if someone is a Christ-like friend is to observe the person’s love walk. If someone has a close relationship with the Lord, they will be growing more and more in His commandment to love. There will be fruit that demonstrates the love of God in their life. Even when someone makes a mistake, it is apparent how mature their love walk is by how quickly they repent and apologize for a wrong done to another and move forward in the Word to ensure they do the right thing next time. 
 
We once heard a speaker say that years ago she decided to take a very close look at herself. She was moving up in her profession and observing those she wanted to emulate in the company, as well as those she would like to develop friendships with one day. She asked herself, “What kind of person am I? What kind of friend am I?”
 
When she thought about the answer to these questions, she remembered having once heard that you can know what is in your heart by what spills out when you get bumped. In other words, when we are put under pressure or someone does not treat us right, how do we react? If we are at a restaurant and the waiter messes up our order, do we get irritated or do we respond with patience and kindness, using it as an opportunity to show mercy and grace?
 
As she reflected, she realized that often times what was spilling out of her wasn’t very nice. She chose to change herself with diligent study in the Word and prayer. Today she is a wonderful example of a Christian, at the top in her profession, a spiritual and professional mentor to many, and she has the kind of friends she once longed for. She realized that to be a great leader, as well as to have quality friends who walk in the love of God, she first had to become a person who walked in the love of God herself. 
 

STICKING CLOSER THAN A BROTHER

 
A Christ-like friend is one “…who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). True friends will be there to help each other when tough times come. It may be a word of encouragement based on Scripture, a helping hand, or some other means of support. This kind of person is also the type that will correct his friend if he sees him getting off course from the Word and plan of God. In other words, he will confront with love. Sometimes friends will be the first to notice the traps the enemy has set. A true friend will be more concerned about our staying on track with God that they are about offending us. They will diligently pray for their friend and bring correction as the Lord leads. 
 
We recently had someone share her personal testimony with us of a time when she had gone off track from the plan of God in a big way and had problems in her marriage. She credited one of her friends for being an instrument of God to correct her when she didn’t want to follow God. She said her friend was loving yet firm about what was right. Her friend gave her correction through the Word combined with genuine love, and through this, she chose to follow God’s plan for her life rather than the enemy’s agenda. 
 

IRON SHARPENING IRON

 
A true friend is an “iron-sharpening-iron” friend. Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Iron is known for being a strong building material. Therefore, two friends who are building themselves strong in the Word of God will come together to encourage and strengthen one another in the Lord. They will continually be building on, drawing out, and sharpening each other in a way that causes each one to produce greater spiritual fruit, becoming more useful for God’s Kingdom. 
 
This is one of the reasons Hebrews 10:25 says we as believers should be “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” God knows that the more we go to a great Bible-teaching church, we will encourage others, and others will encourage us in the promises of God. When we leave the presence of Godly people, we should have our countenance lifted, and they should have theirs lifted from having been with us. We should leave believing and acting upon the Scripture that states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
 
We pray this encourages you greatly, and that God will continue to bring Christ-like friends into your life.
 
We love you!
Pastors Shaun & Amy

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Unity in Marriage

You may still be packing up your Christmas items, but Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Love is in the air! There are flowers, chocolates, and other thoughtful gifts to be given. There are sappy movies to be watched or perhaps a perfect date with your someone special. This is what we call a Hallmark Holiday. What is love, really? We have to be careful that we don’t let the world define what love is, setting our expectations for worldly things and losing sight of the true Agape Love that Jesus has given us.
 
I Corinthians 13:
Love is patient, Love is kind, Love does not envy or boast, Love is not proud or rude
Love is not self seeking, Love is not easily angered, Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth, Love always protects, Love always trusts, Love always hopes, Love always perseveres, Love never fails.
 
Love is waking up with your kids so your spouse can sleep a little longer. Love is giving what is better and not worrying if you receive anything in return. Love is apologizing because you know that your relationship is more important than being right. Love is learning how to communicate with your spouse in a healthy way.
 
What expectations are you putting on your spouse or soon-to-be? For years I expected things from my husband without ever telling him my expectations, and I would always wonder why he wouldn’t do things the way I hoped. Without knowing it, I was setting my husband up to fail rather than to succeed. I was setting our marriage up for moments of strife rather than adding more joy. I held onto resentment, believing he did not truly love me or that I was not as important to him as other things. Rather than properly explaining my expectations or how I felt, I would bottle up and either become silent or explode without my husband knowing why. Without realizing it, I became a bitter and resentful wife. Proverbs 25:24 (NLT) It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely house.
 
At this point, no matter what my husband did, I complained or expected the worst. At the time, I had a “complaining friend.” Every time I saw her I would divulge everything that was I believed was wrong. I did not realize I was destroying our marriage and home with my tongue. I did not realize what I was doing to my husband. Proverbs 18:21 (CEV) Words can bring death or life! Talk too much, and you will eat everything you say.
 
As a wife, I was supposed to be the guard of my husband’s heart. Your spouse may not tell you where he or she is most vulnerable, but that’s where the Holy Spirit can help you know. We are to protect our spouse, guard them, and cheer them on. We are to help them laugh and see the joy in the situation. We are to direct them back to Christ in every situation, whether you be subtle or bold with your actions. In my role, I need to remind him who he is in Christ when he has forgotten; pray for him knowing that Christ has made him the head of my home. Proverbs 18:22 (ESV) He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
 
So in this beautiful valentine season, talk about your expectations, whether you don’t celebrate at all or you go all out. Do not let the devil have a foothold in your marriage by sowing discontent, bitterness, resentment or strife.
 
Amos 3:3 (NLT) Can two walk together without agreeing on the direction?
 
My husband helped redirect our marriage. There will be times when one of you is at a low and you need the other one to help you up. In our marriage, we were both at a low, but my husband chose wisdom and asked for help. We started praying together, and God was working on our behalf. God can supernaturally make your relationship more unified, like-minded, and peaceful. Marriage is meant to be performed as a team — A God-ordained team where two become one. The only way to do this is with the grace of God. Mark 10:8-9 ( NASB) And the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no one separate. Healing can take time, but God is faithful and will fight for you if you let him.
 
In Love, 
Kathryn Broadwater

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Creating a Peaceful Home

Have you ever gone into someone’s home and felt a sweet peace and calm come over you that was infectious in a positive way? Conversely, have you ever gone into a home and felt the opposite, a lack of peace in the atmosphere—maybe the home even looked clean, but it just didn’t feel right?

 

The atmosphere you create in your home is powerful and affects how everyone in the home feels and interacts. How are atmospheres created? Think about that for a minute. What types of atmospheres do most people enjoy, and most importantly, in which types do most people respond well to one another? Consider being outside in nature, or at a ballgame where your team is winning or attending a wedding where everyone is excited for the couple getting married. There may be other experiences you would add to this list of atmospheres that have a positive affect for you, but in these examples, what makes them feel peaceful?

 

In nature there are lively colors such as pretty greens, calming blues, earthy wood tones or maybe bright flowers. Depending upon the season, you may see beautiful fall colors or glistening white. Sounds in nature can also impact our sense of wellbeing. Consider a bird’s joyful song, the wind blowing with it’s melody with the rhythmic sound of water flowing in the background. There may be sunny skies or fluffy white clouds floating by. These are all things in nature we consider to be peaceful.

 

What about a ballgame? Again, there may be the peace inducing aspects of nature if it’s an outdoor game. Also, the comradery of cheering for your team together can add to a feeling of peacefulness. The act of wearing the same colors and uniform helps create a sense of unity.

 

In the example of attending a wedding, notice everyone is happy about the couple getting married. Again, there is a sense of unity with others for the couple getting married conveyed through complimentary words being spoken. There may be flowers, candles and relaxing or fun music. The order and organization of the event and knowing everyone is there for a common goal of celebrating the joy of this union with the couple getting married— all these add to a feeling of peacefulness.

 

So let me ask you, if you could take some of these elements from the three places that I mentioned and consciously apply them to your home life, do you think it would improve the joy and peace in your home? I remember going to Shaun’s parent’s home for the first time: It was very peaceful. There was soft instrumental music playing that had running water and birds in the background. There were several plants in their home, they had beautiful flowers on the outside and their house was painted in cheerful light tones. I remember they had wind chimes outside that were very light and beautiful. Just the music and the plants made me feel very welcome and at home immediately. Whether it’s music or creating the feeling of nature inside the home, music is a great way to bring peace into your home.

 

Thinking about music and birds in the air makes me think of specific music. I remember a time after speaking in church that I was talking briefly about music and how it affects how we feel. A man came up to me and said, “You know that’s right about music.” He continued to tell me how he used to be angry and upset every day when he got home from work. One day his wife said to him, “What do you listen to during your drive time”? He responded that he listened to hard rock and metal music. So she suggested that he start listening to peaceful instrumental or worship music on the way home to see if it helped his mood. He did that for a couple of weeks and everything changed. Things that used to bother him quit having an effect on his emotions. He said they just didn’t get him upset or worked up anymore. The words in music do have an effect on us. In fact Mark 4:24 tells us to “Take heed to what we hear …” In other words, if we’re supposed to be listening well to what we hear, we certainly don’t want to be putting junk in our ears. What you and your kids hear and see will eventually get in your heart.

 

Let’s think about the words spoken in your home. Do you and your family make a habit of edifying and encouraging each other? This can make or break the peace in a home. Practice speaking highly towards your family and your friends instead of saying things that criticize. Look intentionally every day for things that you can say to edify your kids, your spouse, your friends and those around you because what you continually say will eventually get in your heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” The words you speak over your kids will help direct their future and determine the course of their life for good.

 

What else can you do to make your home peaceful? Take a look and evaluate the colors used in your home. Do they invoke feelings of peace, comfort and joy, or do they bring about feelings of darkness or heaviness? Or are they just plain boring? Evaluate your home and think about how you can do to cheer it up. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Often a few small changes or rearrangements can make a space feel more peaceful. Simple changes such as adding fun scented candles, changing paint or curtains are some of the best ways to change the atmosphere. Decluttering a space can make a big difference, too and this doesn’t cost any money at all! Studies have shown that our brains go into overload if we have too many things to look at or too many things to choose from. For this reason, clutter can cause definite problems in our home and take away the feeling of peace.

 

I once read a study about a grocery store that did research on this. They had people at tables for customers to sample different jellies sold in the store. At first they put out 20 jellies for people to sample. Interestingly, after trying a bunch of samples, most of the people didn’t buy any of the jellies. The next day they put out only 4 samples all day. They discovered doing this back and forth with 20 samples one day, 4 samples the next – back and forth over a period of time – that people were over 50 percent more likely to purchase one of the jellies when they had fewer choices. Why? Their brains weren’t overloaded with too many choices. Think about this in your home. Is there loud music or video games going all the time, clutter in your key spaces such as the kitchen or bedroom, boring or depressing colors or maybe even bad odors in the home? If so, this doesn’t feel peaceful, does it?

 

I want to encourage you this week to take a little inventory and decide three small things you could do to add peace to your home. Don’t write down a bunch of things that will take you a long time to do, just make three baby steps toward peace and then it will be easier. Each month add a few more small changes. Maybe it’s to practice encouraging the others in your home with two or three positive comments or appreciation daily. Maybe it’s to have some peaceful nature music playing in the background each day when you get home from work or school. Or maybe it’s to clean your kitchen counter off and keep it clutter free. Maybe it’s to paint your bedroom a cheerful color and keep your window shades open more often. Whatever it is, pick three things and make those changes in the next week. Soon, you’ll begin to see peace improving in your home. Make little changes in your environment, and it will add up to a more peaceful atmosphere for you and your family. As UCLA coach John Wooden used to say, “It’s the little details that are vital.” Little things make big things happen! 

 

With love, 
Pastors Shaun & Amy 


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Benefit of Praise

With Christmas right around the corner, family get-togethers are a common celebration. When we are with family, we have the option to build them up with praise or tear them down with criticism. Here are the benefits of choosing praise: Praise benefits the giver as well as the receiver. When someone focuses on consistently giving sincere praise to others, they are protecting themselves from a heart of ungratefulness. Romans 1:21 tells us what happens to the heart of people who are ungrateful:

 
…Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
 
We see in this Scripture that the key to having a pure heart (both with God and our marriage) is to keep a continual heart of thankfulness. Genuine appreciation and thankfulness is also a good way to stay humble. People who don’t want to give others praise or appreciation are often marked by their eagerness to boast about themselves. Pride likes to focus on self, while humility is glad to let others have the spotlight. When we choose to consciously look for the good in others and to verbalize this to them, we guard our own hearts from growing cold toward them. Likewise, as we glorify and thank God, we guard our hearts from growing cold toward Him and His word. 
 
Sometimes people are concerned about praising their spouse or other family members, wondering if being edified often will make the other person prideful. In fact, some people even purposefully insult family or even laugh when their children insult each other, thinking it will keep them humble or prepare them to handle the “real world.” This is actually an attack of the devil, intended to greatly damage and destroy a spouse or child’s confidence. 
 
Satan knows if he succeeds in destroying someone’s confidence through their loved ones, that person will feel inferior or inadequate to accomplish what God has called them to do, blocking their God-given destiny from being fulfilled. Anyone who has experienced great success will tell you that a person still gets much farther ahead in the “real world” through praise rather than criticism. 
 
When edification is done the right way, which includes building a person up for who God made them to be, pride should not be a factor. In fact, edification often brings out humility, especially when a person is complimented for who they are in Christ. 
 
Amy experienced this when she was a child. Whenever someone complimented her appearance as a little girl, her mother would immediately respond by saying to the person, “Thank you! And what’s most important is that she’s just as pretty on the inside!” As a result, Amy grew up knowing that being kind to people was of utmost importance. Her mother wanted her to grow up knowing that a kind personality is more important than looks. When a parent gives a child compliments on their kindness toward others, the child will make even more effort to show that kindness! 
 
The Bible admonishes us about the importance of building one another up in 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore comfort [encourage] each other and edify one another…” Interestingly, the original word translated as edify here actually means “to be a house builder, to construct, confirm, build up, and embolden” (Stron’s #3618). This is profound! When we edify and encourage those in our household, we are being house builders! With our words of edification and praise, we are inspiring them to go forth in courage and become all God has called them to be! As we edify those we love, we actually construct a foundation in them that will endure the test of time!
 
This Christmas season, we encourage you to purposefully praise and edify all those around you. You’ll be amazed at how your words of encouragement are as much a gift to you as they are to the receiver.   
 
We pray you have a wonderfully blessed Christmas season, and that you are overwhelmed by God’s love and grace,   
 
We love you! 
Pastors Shaun & Amy

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