Say Hello to the Future

“I think I have a problem with self-sabotage.” As I spoke with this precious woman, she went on to share how her life had finally started improving greatly. She was used to men who didn’t treat her very well, and she was used to not really feeling close to anyone. It was a lonely road that she knew in her heart she didn’t want anymore. She had finally met a man with great potential for the future who didn’t treat her like any of the other men from her past. Everything was looking up, but she just wasn’t content. She wasn’t used to things going well in her life, and when it actually happened, she felt uncomfortable with it. Before long, she chose to walk away from the great guy for someone who treated her poorly again.
 
The story above isn’t just one person‘s. It’s the story of many. I’ve sat down with ladies who tell me, “I really want a man who treats me right.” I’ve also heard men say, “I really want to settle down and have a family.” The challenge is, once opportunity knocks on their door, some of them run from it. Why? Are they afraid of failing the other person? Maybe they think they aren’t deserving of a great relationship. Maybe they fear they won’t measure up to make the other person happy. Or could it be, maybe they are afraid of success? Maybe they are afraid of the daily habits and work that success takes to maintain, and they don’t know if they want that kind of commitment in life.
 

I’m sure it depends on the person. Everyone’s story is different. One thing is certain, thoughmany people are afraid of the future, probably because it holds so many unknowns! So the real mystery to solve is this: how can we embrace our future without fear? How can we say hello to what God has for us, even when it is unknown, rather than retreating to the comfort of what is familiar in our lives? 

Think of Sarah (originally Sarai) in the Bible. She was told by her husband that God wanted them to move to an unknown land, away from their family. I’m sure that wasn’t a cakewalk. They had no cellphones, social media, or quick means of travel. Back then, if someone moved away from family, they usually never saw or spoke to them again. Can you imagine the thoughts going through her head? But she did it! She and Abraham became spiritual parents in the faith to us, and they will always be honored throughout eternity for the courage they displayed here on earth to pave the way for the rest of us.
 
Think of Ruth. After her husband passed, she felt in her heart that she should go with her mother-in-law to a foreign land and take care of her. That’s a bold step! Yet she did it. She trusted God, honored her elders. Look how well things turned out for her. She met a loving man who was even wealthy. God blessed her so much that she even became part of the lineage of Jesus.
 
Think of Joseph. Although he was born into a family of rude, abusive brothers who sold him into slavery, Joseph kept saying hello to the future. He clearly decided in life that he was going to serve God no matter where he was (remove “at), whether as a servant or as an inmate. No matter what life threw at him, he chose to daily be the best person he could possibly be. He was definitely a taking lemons and making lemonade kind of guy. 
 
Think of Esther. She went from being an orphan child (remove “and teenager” to being taken into the kings palace, knowing that if she didn’t get the one and only position as queen, she was destined to a life of loneliness with all the other ladies who were “wives” of the king. That had to be a mental and emotional challenge! (remove “to get over) Think of how inadequate and unprepared she must have felt. As far as we know, she hadn’t been trained to be royalty throughout her childhood, yet she embraced the training they gave her in the palace with grace and dignity. The Bible tells us Esther found favor in the sight of key people. She chose to,despite the misfortunes of her past, (remove “she was going to) give the future her best.
 
Isn’t that really what God wants for each one of us? As a loving Father, He wants to help each of us become the best “me” we can be. The challenge is that we have to believe in the ability God has placed in each one of us, and we have to believe in His power working in and through us.
 
Can we really become version of us, full of wisdom, grace and powerthat God originally created us to be before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden? God would tell you an emphatic YES! Don’t be afraid of the future! Yes, there are things we all have to overcome, but it is worth it. We really have two choices in life: move backward or move forward. You may think, “Well I don’t want to do either. I want to stay comfortable right where I am. The truth is, however, that the world is always moving forward (remove “and taking advancements), so if we stand still, we are still technically moving backwards.
 
We can either stay comfortable in what we are used to, which may be seeking out people who treat us with dishonor and disrespect, or we can retrain our minds to expect and display love and honor in the future. I would encourage you to take time each morning and night to visualize people being kind and honoring toward you (and you to them) so that it becomes normal for you. You may need to pray over and continually visualize what a healthy life and healthy relationships look like for you.
 
Saying hello to the future God has for us really boils down to this: Are we willing to choose and prepare ourself for wisdom in our future? Proverbs 26:11 tells us,“As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” This verse is describing someone who doesn’t want to embrace God’s future for them! Instead, they keep reverting back to their old ways.
 
What about you? What are you going to choose today? Psalm 4:18 says, “The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” Psalm 24:14 TLB says, “My son, honey whets the appetite and so does wisdom! When you enjoy becoming wise, there is hope for you! A bright future lies ahead!” Becoming wise is a choice we make daily — to listen to and read the right teachings about God’s love, people skills, faith, finances, leadership, and most important, to study the Bible! 
 
God is standing on your side, encouraging you, “My child, choose life! Choose wisdom! Choose to say hello to the good future I have for you!”       
 

There is a famous poem that says:

Doubt sees the obstacles

Faith sees the way.

Doubt sees the darkest night

Faith sees the day.

Doubt dreads to take a step

Faith soars on high.

Doubt questions “who believes?’

Faith answers “I.”

-Anonymous
 
-Love, Pastors Shaun & Amy

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A Vision Together

Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it (Habakkuk 2:2)
 
Zig Ziglar once said that when a person has a strong vision and a problem arises, the problem will be like a pebble on the beach they simply kick out of the way. However, if a person has no vision and a problem arises, it will be like a tidal wave washing them into the sea. We have found through working with couples, that this saying is very true. Setbacks and problems are just a pebble on the beach for couples who clearly know their God-given vision together, but for a couple with no clear purpose or plan problems of ten seem to become tidal waves. This is most likely why strife in a marriage and lack of a Christ-centered vision often go hand in hand. Without a strong eternal purpose together, believers are often washed into the same tidal wave of marriage disappointment that the world struggles with. 
 
It has been recorded that within the first five years of marriage the number one struggle marriages deal with is financial hardship. Although lack of wisdom with finances and lack of self control in spending are frequent causes for financial hardship, we strongly believe one of the biggest roots to financial problems within marriage is that many couples do not know their God-given purpose for being together, which often results in a focus on things of the world rather than the things of God. 
 
In our early years of marriage, we had very little. There was not any extra money for dates, gifts, or extra purchases of any sort. We thank God that as we look back on it, we never had one argument over money. We believe a large reason for this was that our vision together was so strong. We refused to get discouraged by the financial situation we were in because we knew God had a plan for our lives together. We also knew Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” We trusted God that is we pursued Hid plan for our life and marriage, He would take care of us and we would experience the goodness the Bible talks about.
 
The Bible encourages us to have a vision and make it plain, so we can run with it. Sometimes couples we encounter have some vision as an individual for their career or maybe parenting, which is good, but more is needed. Unless a couple has a focused, eternal purpose in their relationship together, they often end up just striving after material things as the rest of the world does. However when a couple has a Christ-centered vision, they are no longer satisfied with the status quo of just going to church on Sundays, reading their Bible on occasion, then living like the rest of the world throughout the week, doing little to nothing of eternal value. 
 
God created us as humans with a desire to do something of lasting value and to be a gift to the lives of others. We were created in God’s image, and He does things of eternal value. Therefore we also have an inherent desire to create something meaningful with our lives. Sin has tried its best to corrupt this desire in people, but when a person gives their life to God, the desire for their God-given purpose is renewed in them. Our goal today is to stir up that desire in you if it has been lying dormant or untapped. God has a plan for you to do something to change the world with lasting, eternal impact, not just as an individual but also as a couple. 
 
In love,
Pastors Shaun & Amy

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How to Love Effectively

As with our spouse, it is essential to maintain a loving relationship with our children at all times, including when time is spent apart. One of the biggest keys to maintaining a relationship is to know what makes the other person feel loved. It may be time together, gifts, affection, words of appreciation or something else. A basic key to remember with our spouse and children is that men thrive on respect and women thrive on love (see Ephesians 5:33). 
 
We have a close friend who is one of the best parents we have ever met. She has three beautiful daughters who are currently between ages 15 and 23. They all love the Lord and are some of the most loving, considerate, thoughtful, honest, selfless, and sincere young ladies we have ever met. In addition to all that, they are extremely intelligent, motivated, talented and beautiful. One of the most outstanding characteristics the three daughters have is their deep loyalty and respect for their mother. This respect is not just there by happenstance. It has been cultivated consistently over many years by a very wise and loving mother. Let us share a few of her secrets to great parenting with you. 
 
People often feel valued through traditions that make them feel important. This mom has many of those traditions. Many years ago, the mom purchased a red plate and started having a monthly dinner called “The Red Plate Dinner.” Each month, a different member of the family received the special honor and appreciation at the meal that evening. During or after the meal, they go around the table and everyone tells things they love, appreciate, and respect about that member of the family! Her girls love and look forward to this night every month. It serves a twofold purpose: in addition to building them up if it is their night, it also teaches the other family members to verbally place value on and esteem others. The honor and value we place on someone consistently with our words and actions will become an equal measure to the commitment they have in their hearts toward us. 
 
When her girls were young this mom also started a tradition of having a tea party together every Friday when they would get home from school. This is just a simple way that their mom consistently shows them she values her time with them. It gives the girls opportunity to talk, which most women and girls like to do. 
 
There are numerous ways that parents, including those who travel and sometimes work long hours, can show honor to their children. A once-a-month fishing or camping outing or making time to play catch with a ball once or twice a week may be just what makes kids feel loved by dad or mom. Whatever you choose, be sure it makes your child feel valued, and make sure you do it consistently. Children need consistent and tangible displays of honor and love. Throughout the week, keep the focus on what you plan to do together, and then make sure you always follow through with it. 
 
If you or your spouse travel often, make every effort you can to travel together and even bring your children whenever possible. Make sure those you love know how much you love them. It is essential to a good relationship to make sure each person in our family knows we honor and value them. Ask them what makes them feel honored and valued. Study them to see what they do to show others love and you will probably have found what makes them feel loved. 
 
God’s best is for us to have strong families and maintain closeness with them. When we consistently do and say things to show our family members that they are in our heart, they will feel honored and valued and be committed to us in their heart. 
 
In love, 
Pastors Shaun & Amy 
 

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YOU

Sunday mornings are early for Tyler and me. No surprise. We arrive well before practice time, not only to finish up some sound and stage preparations, but most importantly to pray over the worship. About a month ago, during pre-practice prayer, I couldn’t get past the word YOU (usually followed up by something like “… have all authority over this service” or “…are so deserving of everything we have to give”). But I was caught on the word. You, You, You, You… You… You.
 
I’m going to have to stop this train of thought for a second to clear off the upcoming track.
 
I’m guessing you have a couple favorite worship songs. All worship is great, of course! But when “Build My Life” or “Way Maker” start up, your heart beats faster and your hands start moving!
 
Different songs have different impacts on different people. This is why my husband, Tyler, can listen to “The More I Seek You” time and again still excited by it every time while he has a harder time sitting through my 8th replay of “Shout of the King.” This is not only due to diverse music style tastes but also to the importance we each attach to certain words in worship, often determined by our personal experiences with that word. If you’ve been believing for miraculous healing, for example, you might feel the words in “Healer” more strongly than the person sitting next to you. Instead, they are praying for comfort after loss and feel the strength of the song “You Restore My Soul.”
 
Wouldn’t it be great if there was one word that took us all straight into worship?
 
Let’s start the train again.
 

There is a word, if we can all understand it. It shows up in just about every contemporary worship song now as worship continues to shift from a third-person perspective of God (God exists but is too almighty for a direct relationship) to a second-person view (God has a personal 1-to-1 relationship with each of us). The word is YOU:

 
 

You have no rival, You have no equal” “This is unfailing love, that You would take my place” “I believe You’re my healer” You restore my soul” You’re a good good Father”

 
 

Perhaps we could all feel every moment of worship if we all really understood the word YOU.

 
 

She’ll be coming around the mountain in a second; one more stop…

 
 

Think about the phrase, “I love you” for a moment. In any sentence, the exact meaning of the word “love” is established by the recipient of that expression (who or what you love). For example, “I love you” means something different to me when I’m talking to my parents versus when I’m talking to my spouse.

 
 

In the case of my parents, “I love YOU” encompasses a twenty-three year history of sacrifices, training, boundaries, and all kinds of proof of their unconditional love. I know well what their love looks and feels like. With Tyler, although the history behind YOU is shorter, the intensity is heavier; there’s a passionate side as well as a conscious “I-chose-you/you-chose-me” side. When I say it to him, it means something different. Even my “I love YOU” to our babies-to-be is different I haven’t seen them or held them yet, but I love them purely by their existence and budding potential. The concept of love is the same across the board, but the variety of love is specific to the context (the YOU).

 
 

So YOU, determining the whole connotation of love, is really the most powerful word in the sentence.

 
 

All aboard!

 
 

So what does YOU mean in the context of worship? Well, that depends on what you know about who God is. It’s probably difficult for you to say, “I love you” to a stranger, not because you don’t understand what love is, but because you don’t understand who they are. In the same way, it’s difficult to express worship if you don’t understand at least a small part of who God is.

 
 

As a new Christian, you can at least recognize God in the context of salvation and forgiveness. To you, YOU (as in GOD) embodies “Savior” and “Redeemer.” When you sing lyrics like, “I will worship You for who You are,” you can easily call to mind those characteristics of God, even without singing those specific words. As you begin to read the Bible, YOU starts to embrace other aspects of God’s character – maybe you start to learn more about His creativity, His mercy, and His power. Even farther down the line, your personal experiences with God multiply healing, freedom, and mental restoration – and worship just keeps getting deeper and deeper as YOU becomes more saturated with meaning! At this point, the worship team doesn’t need to sing “Healer” for you to hear “Healer” in the lyrics or “No Longer Slaves” for you to hear “Father” and “Deliverer.” You hear it in the YOU.

 
This understanding requires effort on your part, of course. God is always ready to reveal Himself as you seek Him (Matthew 7:7-8). The more you read God’s Word, pray, and listen, the more YOU will open up and embrace all He is. Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Provider, Unconditional Love, Passion, Potential everything that you can understand about who God is – it’s all in YOU. You, You, You, You… You… You.
 
-Catherine Lexvold

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Finding your Purpose

Happy New Year, High Point Family!

 
With the start of the new year, it is a good time to talk about finding your purpose. Why is it important to discover your purpose? I believe one of the main reasons is that if you don’t know your life’s purpose, you won’t know what you’re aiming at. “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time,” as the saying goes. Not having any target in life is the equivalent to a hunter going in the woods and shooting off a bunch of random gunshots through the trees and saying, “wow, I sure hope something good runs into that.”
 
 
We need to discover our purpose, and we also need to help our children work towards discovering theirs. Sometimes parents tell their kids, “Honey, you can be anything you want to be.” That statement isn’t really accurate—If it was, many boys and girls would grow up to be pro athletes. A more accurate statement would be, “Honey, you can do great things in life. God has a wonderful plan for you, and I know you can fulfill it with His help.” So how do we find our purpose and help our kids find theirs? A major key is in Joshua 1:8. It says, “Study this book of instruction (meaning the Bible) continually, meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” How do you do this? How do you meditate The Word of God until it starts directing you from the inside out, so that you prosper in the plan God has for your life? I found that God will illuminate certain scriptures to people based on what their calling is, and there will be different scriptures that God illuminates at different key points in your life. I believe there are certain scriptures we are to meditate on in different seasons of life.
 
 
When I first gave my life to Christ, I used to struggle a lot with fear. The first scripture that the Lord started illuminating to me was 2 Timothy 1:7 that says, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.” I would read that scripture often and think about it whenever I went to bed, meditating on it at night. Overcoming fear was the first key for me being able to fulfill my destiny, so that’s where God started with me.
 
 
Then during my latter years of college, Jeremiah 29:11 stood out to me So I kept it before my eyes, thinking about it often and meditating, “I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord, they are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” At that time in my life I met my husband Shaun, and I still wasn’t completely sure what God was calling me to in my future, but that scripture started directing me into the plans of God.
 
 
In the next season of our life, Shaun and I were in a training period and it wasn’t easy. We barely had enough money at times to get by. We prayed much and learned to believe God for our basic needs to be met, which wasn’t always easy. In that season, I sensed a strong pull towards Isaiah 55 and I read that scripture multiple times every day. I especially meditated on Isaiah 55:1-3 which says, “You who thirst come to the waters and you who have no money come buy and eat, yes, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me and eat what is good, and your soul shall delight itself in abundance.” I just kept meditating these scriptures, believing even though we were lacking monetary means, God would supernaturally provide for us as we let our souls delight in His goodness and abundance; that He would supernaturally get the provision to us, and He definitely did.
 
 
Then in the next season of our life, God was preparing us for our calling of marriage and family ministry as well as preparation for pastoring a church one day. During that time, Ephesians 3:20 was strong in our hearts to meditate. It says, “Now to him, who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all, much more than we could ask or think, according to His power at work in us, be glory forever through Christ Jesus.” Through meditating this together daily, Shaun and I experienced many miraculous breakthroughs, including knowing where and how to start the church that we now pastor. We had a miraculous breakthrough for finding a house when we were moving back to Minnesota, and the house that we found to rent, through the total grace of God, was two and a half times bigger and better than our prior house and half the price. It was an absolute miracle! We also had a miraculous connection to amazing babysitters, which we were praying to find for our kids and had a phenomenal breakthrough when we found a place to rent for starting our new church. We experienced miracle after miracle for everything we needed by putting God first and meditating the scripture God had put on our hearts. 
 
 
 
As scriptures strongly stand out to us, we focus on them and God uses these scriptures to direct us in the right direction in our life, and He will do the exact same thing for you! As we focus our attention on these scriptures—targeting them—at certain seasons in our life, the meditation of  these scriptures bring wisdom and revelation on the inside of us. This wisdom and revelation then produces the outward result of prospering us in our life and calling.
 
 
If you’ve never meditated scripture before, or if you haven’t been doing this regularly, I’d encourage you to start doing this daily. When you are patient and consistent with meditation, it does bring about major wonderful results. The key is to not just do this for a week or a month, but instead to stay focused; day after day, month after month—you will see consistent results. Also, ask the Lord to give you a verse to meditate over each one of your kids. Then print it or write it and place it up on their wall so that you remember to pray it over them each night before they go to bed, so they hear you saying it. There may be times when the Lord adds another verse for your kids based on their season in life. You can be creative with this and have someone who’s a great artist paint that scripture for their wall or print it with a nice graphic design behind it and frame it for their wall.
 
 
Remember, the key for you, as well as your kids, for prospering in the life God has called you to is to meditate the specific verses God puts in your heart, like a target you are pointing your arrows at. When you do, you will begin to move forward in your life’s purpose like never before.
 
 
May this year be your most prolific,
Pastors Shaun & Amy
 

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