Tag: peace

Overcoming Anxiety With Christ

Antioch Dallas recently released a post about overcoming anxiety and it is definitely worth the read! Check it out:

Whether it’s those nervous butterflies or crippling fears, anxiety is an inevitable part of human nature. We don’t choose to be anxious, it happens to us. Anxiety is an emotional reaction to the “What ifs” in life. “What if my kids aren’t OK? What if we run out of money? What if she’s sick? What if she’s really sick? What if I don’t find someone?”

Like an emotional smoke detector to our senses, anxiety lets us know when there is a fire of fear burning within us.

Ever since I can remember, my tendency has been to lean more toward caution than risk. You know the type. The friend who would literally list the ways a decision could go wrong. As I grew older this tendency to worry began to run my life. I’d worry about what other people thought about me, about failing in school and sports, about my looks, about my family. With all the changes that happened in my life over those adolescent and college years, worry was the one thing that stayed consistent.

Like a glowing “Check Engine” light to my soul, anxiety was letting me know something was off internally.

Not knowing how to fix myself I did what most people do – ignore the light and keep driving. Maybe this is your story as well? It could be a challenge you’re facing that dominates your thoughts. It could be a fear that the bottom is going to drop out any minute.

One of the blessings of anxiety is it causes us to go in search of answers. When we can’t find answers we usually end up going in circles.

The problem is apart from Christ there is no answer to finding lasting peace in this life.

Not a peace absent of hardships, but a peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:6). A peace that even when circumstances are out of control somehow Christ’s love, security and presence holds true as the anchor in the storm. The solution is only found in the Gospel.

1. Who’s Your Master?

Jesus says to his disciples three times in Matthew 6:24-34, “Do not be anxious.” The only way this kind of transformation can happen is when the God of the Gospel is bigger than your fears.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…” – Matthew 6:24-25a

Jesus draws a line in the sand and says choose wisely who you will serve because you have to choose one. If God’s the one you serve, you can trust God to provide you with what you need.

2. Magnify God’s Truths

Jesus continues to give a logical progression of examples and promises as to why we should trust Him. Since anxiety is a reaction to worry – Jesus gives us a list of reasons to not worry once we’ve received His grace in the Gospel.

While you can read the whole passage of Matthew 6:24-34, below are some bullets of truth to help you fight anxiety.

Truths seen in nature:

  • You are more valuable than the birds of the air and God feeds them. (v. 26)
  • You are worth more to God than the lilies in the field and God clothes them. (v. 28)
  • You have a greater purpose than the grass of the fields and God causes it to grow. (v. 30)

Truths we have experienced are true:

  • What good does worrying do, really? You can’t even add an hour to your life by doing it. (v. 27)

Truths seen relationally:

  • You are not an orphan. You have a heavenly Father that knows what you need.
3. Seek First God’s Kingdom and God’s Righteousness

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33

Jesus ends with the point He began with. He’s inviting us into something cosmically big. Something larger than our generation or our life span. He’s inviting us into being a part of His forever kingdom. He’s made us to be ambassadors of this Kingdom in our time here on earth.

“Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (v. 25)

Yes, it is. And with Christ at the center he helps us find peace for our worries and overcomes our anxiety.

By Joe Paolino – Antioch Dallas Pastoral Leadership Team

joe

Come to the Mountain: Blessed are the Peacemakers

Today, Drew Steadman continued our Come to the Mountain series and focused on what it means to be a peacemaker. Matthew 5: 9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” The more we understand we have been reconciled to God, the more power we have to reconcile with others. Here are some of our favorite quotes from his message:

  • It’s easy to skip past this Beatitude, but why? I think we all agree that peace is good and we all feel like peacemakers. Let me put it another way: almost no one thinks of themselves as a conflict-maker.
  • We have all bought into the idea that someone or something is blocking us from happiness.
  • There is hope for the world because the One who has the greatest reason to demand justice is the very One who sacrificed His rights so that we can be reconciled.
  • No matter how badly you’ve been hurt or you’ve been wronged, the debt you owe God is far larger. The more I understand this about myself, the more free I am to forgive others.
  • Making peace requires sacrifice: we give up our right to be angry and take the first step of reconciliation – even when the other person doesn’t deserve it.
  • Peacemaking is not appeasement. Appeasement is avoiding conflict. It turns the other way when it sees injustice.
  • Peacemaking actively confronts injustice, but the goal is reconciliation, not retribution.

Key Scriptures from today’s message:

The Arrival: Peace Arriving

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

Counter-Pressure Peace

On the night Jesus was born, Angels appeared to the least important people in ancient society;  the Shepherds.  Make no mistake, the wealthy and prestigious wise-men had seen a sign in the heavens as well, however the lowly shepherds received a message they couldn’t miss.  I love that God communicates so we can hear Him, no matter our education or background.

On that special night, the angels communicated that a savior had been born.  This was news all the people had been waiting for.  However, before the angels left the shepherds to return to heaven, they said something amazing;  “Peace to those on whom His favor rests.” 

The peace of God can be thought of as both a blessing and sustaining power.  Peace resides on the inside of us acting as a counter pressure against all the stress and anxieties of this world.

Jesus never promised that life would be perfect once we started following Him, but He did promise to be with us. 

Where Jesus is, peace is present.

As we celebrate the end of Advent and the beginning of Christmas, I want to encourage you to take time everyday to connect with the counter-pressure peace of God.  Daily time reading God’s Word, the Bible, and speaking with Him through prayer is the only way to access the peace of God.  If you’ve decided to follow Jesus, His favor, and therefore His peace, is available to you.

If you’re unsure about where you stand with God and want to explore what relationship with Jesus looks like, I would like to personally invite you to join us for the next Alpha Course starting January 6th, 2015.  May God grant you an amazing new year, and give you His peace.

And don’t forget to join us on Christmas Eve as we celebrate the best gift we’ve ever been given; our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We’ll have services at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and kids are invited to join us in the auditorium for the service.

By Van Vandegriff, Family Pastor

What is Peace?

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

This summer I was on vacation in Oregon. As I was reading on the deck of a coffee shop overlooking the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, a thought crossed my mind: This is the life! It’s so peaceful here. For some reason it got me thinking about the concept of peace. What is peace? Is it an emotion? A feeling that comes once a year while on vacation?

People often say they want world peace in reference to the end of wars. But would resolving all the world conflicts actually bring peace to the nagging thoughts of insecurity, comparison and fear? The battle for peace is not one for relationships or circumstances, but for the mind and spirit. Peace is an internal stability – an inner confidence in the goodness and sovereignty of God. As believers, it is our job to daily get our hearts and minds to a place of solidity in the truth of God.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

Here Jesus introduces us to a new kind of peace; not like the world, but one of our hearts. He challenges our hearts, not our circumstances. Two chapters later, Jesus explicitly says, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV, emphasis added). Another translation says, “Be of good cheer, take courage, be confident, certain and undaunted! “ (AMP).

Jesus is not calling us to end challenging circumstances or even to understand those challenging circumstances. Rather, he’s calling us to be of good cheer in the midst of those circumstances! Peace is not an escape from crisis, but rather a resolve in the midst of chaos. The hymn writer said it best when he wrote, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.”

May we be ones who rely on the word of God over the actions of man.

May we be ones who don’t look to change our circumstances, but our hearts.

May we be ones who find peace solely in Jesus today.

By Owen Wible, Associate Worship Pastor