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Tag Archive | "Barry Briggs"

Do you want to be successful?


TheSpringsPastor Barry Briggs

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs

 

 

Do you want to be successful? Successful at work, successful in your relationships, in your marriage, as a parent, successful in life? We all want to be successful. I’ve never met anybody who wanted to be a failure in life. The problem is we often define success the way our culture defines success. Our culture tells us if you want to be prosperous and successful, you need to work hard. If you work hard and rise up the ladder and push it to the grindstone, and if you’re willing to do what others won’t do, you will be successful. There’s nothing wrong with working hard; the only problem with working hard in order to be successful is that you can work hard at the wrong thing. You can give your life to something that you shouldn’t give your life to. You can spend all your time doing something and the thing you’re doing isn’t the thing that God created you to do.

Our culture also tells us if you want to be prosperous and successful you need to make a lot of money. Again, nothing wrong with making a lot of money, but the trouble with gauging success by the amount of money you have is that there is always someone who will have more. Besides that, you can lose your money at any moment. If you tie success to money, and the money goes away, your success is gone. And beyond that, you can’t take your money with you when you die anyway. So if success is based on how much money you have, and you leave it all behind when you die, then at the end of your life you haven’t been successful. A lot of people confuse wealth with success. You can be wealthy and be a failure at life. Your net worth is not the same thing as your self-worth. The two don’t go hand in hand.

But our culture tells us if we work hard and make a lot of money will be prosperous and successful. We’re also told if we want to be prosperous and successful we need to invest well, we need to live in the right neighborhood, we need to drive a certain car, we need to have a particular look, and we need to know the right people. And again, there’s nothing wrong with any of these things, but the problem with saying that good investments, and a nice house, and a name brand shirt equals success is that you can have all of those things and still miss the point of why you are here on planet earth.

What if success is something different, and what if the path to success is something altogether different?

After Moses died, God tapped Joshua on the shoulder and said, “I want you to be my replacement for Moses. This would be the ultimate test of Joshua’s life—to see whether or not his leadership was sufficient for the task that God challenged him with. Do you think Joshua wanted to be a successful leader? Of course he did, just like you want to be successful. In Joshua 1:8 God told Joshua how to be successful. He said, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (NIV).

God says if you want to be successful you need to know My Word. That’s not what I would have guessed. I would have thought He would have said, “Joshua, if you want to be prosperous and successful, if you want to take the Promised Land, if you want to defeat all your enemies, you will need to be the strongest and have the best weapons and work really hard, and work over time, and invest well, and meet the right people and make the right connections.” But that’s not what God told him.  God said, “If you want to be successful don’t let My Word depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night, and be careful to obey everything in it.”

Here is true success in life: To stay in the Word of God until we find the will of God so that we can walk in the ways of God. God has a different way of defining success than we do. We define success in what you have, what you achieve, what you own. God doesn’t define success that way. The Scripture makes it clear that God defines success in different ways—right living, peaceful relationships, being in harmony with God and other people. That’s success in God’s eyes, and it is only found through knowing and living the Word of God.  My encouragement to you this week is to spend some time in God’s Word so you can be successful in the things that truly count.

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

House makes way for green space


By Judy Reed

 

A house that had seen better days is now making space for something new.

N-HouseThe house, formerly at 95 E. Maple, was torn down a few weeks ago.

When The Springs Church, located at the corner of Oak and Grant Streets, began to buy the older homes on the block so they could expand their parking to accommodate growth, the house at 95 E. Maple was the only holdout. When the landlord decided to sell it a few years ago, the church went ahead and bought it, although they had finished their parking lot. Since then, the house has been put to good use.

There were renters in both sides of the duplex, but those on the east side soon moved out. The church, who has a heart for serving the community, turned the east side of the house into the Embrace Home, a short-term transition home for moms that need to get back on their feet. The moms had to fill out an application and agree to an action plan.  They also received counseling and coaching from local missions Pastor Cherri’ Kerr. The church helped several families in crisis get a hand up this way.

For the last year, The Springs’ new youth pastor, Chris Anton, lived in the house while waiting to get married.

When the renters on the west side moved out this year, the church had to make a decision on what to do with the home—renovate it or tear it down as originally planned? Things started to go wrong with the home, and improvements were going to be costly.

“It would cost too much to bring it up to code to rent,” explained Senior Pastor Barry Briggs. “It really needed a lot of work. We decided it was better to bring it down and turn it into something good for the kids and community.”

The area has now been graded and seeded, and a new sidewalk put in. “I’d like to see hard benches, a picnic table, maybe playground equipment,” explained Briggs.

 

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How Jesus handled stress


TheSpringsPastor Barry Briggs

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs

Nobody carried greater stress in life than Jesus. Not only did He carry the weight of being the Savior of the world on His shoulders, but there were constant demands on His life. People wanted to see Him. People were trying to trap Him. People were trying to kill Him. Nobody has ever experienced greater stress than Jesus did.

Yet, if you look at His life, He doesn’t seem to be bothered by it. He handles all the pressures with peace. In fact, we never see Jesus in a hurry, even though He had the most important assignment in life. No matter what the world threw at Him, He handled it with grace.

I want to learn how to do that. I want to learn how to be at peace under pressure. I want to learn how to handle stress. Fortunately Jesus gave us a model. And if you will follow Jesus’ example, your stress will go down and your fulfillment and joy in life will go up.

So how did Jesus handle stress? He did it in three ways: By getting alone, by getting away, and by getting together. Let’s unpack those.

First, the Bible says if you want to learn to be stress free like Jesus you need to get alone with God. Mark 1:35 (NIV) is the secret of stress relief.  It says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

What’s Jesus doing? He’s having a quiet time. He’s getting alone, getting quiet, and spending time with God. Over and over in the Gospels we see Jesus doing this. Look at Luke 5:15-16 (NCV), “News about Jesus spread even more. Many people came to hear Jesus and to be healed of their sicknesses, but Jesus often slipped away to be alone so He could pray.” Notice it says Jesus did this often. You need to do this often too. You need to have a quiet time every day to reflect, renew, and recharge.

Next, if you want to reduce the stress in your life you have to take time to get away. Trust me, Jesus had more important work than you or I do. But He frequently took the time to relax, to go to parties, go to weddings, to kick back and have fun. Jesus said, “I, the Son of Man, feast and drink…” (Matthew 11:19 NLT).

The Pharisees accused Jesus of being a party animal. They said this guy’s always going to parties, always eating and drinking. Do you want to be Christ like? Go to a party. Enjoy life. If you’re too busy to take your vacation time, you’re too busy. If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy. And if you’re too busy to relax, you’re too busy. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not merely endured.

Jesus lived a stress free life because He would get alone, get away, and finally because He would get together.  Look at Matthew 26:38 (NIV), “[Jesus] said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.”

The night before Jesus went to the cross He went to a place called the Garden of Gethsemane. He went there to pray, but He didn’t go alone. He took His friends with Him. Even Jesus needed a group of friends to help Him through the tough times, and He was perfect. Like Jesus, when we’re going through stressful times we need friends to be there with us too.

Stress is increasing in our culture. So you’ve got to take some intentional steps to combat the stress in your life. What are the steps? Jesus modeled them for us: get alone, get away, and get together. Do this often and it will reduce your stress.

Hear the full sermon at thespringschurch.info. Click on media.

 

 

 

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

Is Hell real?


Barry Briggs, Senior Pastor

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs

 

Everybody wants to know the answer to the question, “What happens after I die?” In a recent survey, from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, they found that only 59 percent of Americans believe in Hell, compared with 74 percent who believe in Heaven. Even a well-known pastor, at a large church in Grand Rapids, wrote a book recently suggesting that Hell—as it has been traditionally understood–d oesn’t exist.

Those who challenge the notion of a place of eternal torment wonder, “How could a loving and gracious God send someone to Hell?” And, when the question gets framed like that, it does seem at odds. But what if God doesn’t send people to Hell? What if people choose to go there? What do I mean?

Hell is total separation from God. 1 Corinthians 16:22 (NCV) says, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be separated from God—lost forever!” The choice is ours. If I don’t want God in my life now, why would I want to spend eternity with Him? Why would I say I want to live without God on earth, but I want to live with God in Heaven? That doesn’t make sense. God says, “You get to choose. If you don’t want Me in your life, I’ll stay out of your life—forever.” We can choose to accept Christ and live with Him forever, or we can choose to reject Christ and be separated from Him forever. So God doesn’t send people to Hell, they choose to go there.

What is Hell like? Think about this—if Hell is total separation from God, then it’s the exact opposite of everything God is. We know that “God is love.” That’s His nature. So what is it like to live completely separated from God? There’s no love there. God is light, so Hell is complete darkness. God is good, so there’s absolutely nothing good in Hell. God is life, so that means it is eternal death. God is gracious, that means there’s no grace there. You don’t want to choose Hell.

One of the big myths about Hell is that Hell is going to be a big party for all the people who like to party. Hell will be no party. For one thing, no one will see anybody else in Hell. It’s total separation from God and everybody else. There are no relationships in Hell. There are no friends in Hell. It’s total aloneness. It will be like being by yourself, in a pitch dark room, with no windows and doors, for all eternity. There’s no way in or out. In Hell you are alone and afraid, for all eternity, because there is no love.

Sometimes you hear these guys preaching about Hell on television—the hell, fire and brimstone preachers—and they’re yelling and they’re sweating. When you listen to them you think they want people to go there. What’s with that? I don’t want anybody to go to Hell. And God certainly doesn’t want anybody to go to Hell. Jesus doesn’t want anybody to go to Hell. That’s why He died on the cross.

So how do I avoid Hell? Colossians 1:21-22 (NCV) tells us. “At one time you were separated from God. You were His enemies in your minds, and the evil things you did were against God. But now God has made you His friends again. He did this through Christ’s death in the body so that He might bring you into God’s presence [that’s Heaven] as people who are holy, with no wrong, and with nothing of which God can judge you guilty.” The key that unlocks the door to heaven is friendship with God. If you become a friend of God in this life you will remain friends forever. If you are not a friend of God in this life, you will not be friends in the next.

Jesus says in Revelation 3:20 (NLT) “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear Me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” Friendship with God is the key that unlocks the door of heaven.  Jesus is standing at the door of your heart right now. He is knocking. He is calling to you. If you open your life up to Him and let Him in, He promises to open the gates of Heaven and let you in. Why don’t you take a moment to do that right now?

 

 

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