“WHAT WILL YOU DO BETTER IN 2024?” #ChurchOfTheUndead

“WHAT WILL YOU DO BETTER IN 2024?” #ChurchOfTheUndead

IN THIS EPISODE: I have five things I want to do better in the new year… and they call come from just two verses in the bible!
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MENTIONS, SOURCES, AND LINKS…
(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“5 Things I Want to Do Better in the New Year” by Clarence L. Haynes, Jr.: http://tinyurl.com/yc5t3jsc
Darren Marlar is a licensed minister through the Universal Life Church: https://www.themonastery.org. Find his other podcast, Weird Darkness, in your favorite podcast app at https://weirddarkness.com/listen. “Church Of The Undead” theme music by Epidemic Sound.

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TRANSCRIPT:

The end of each year is usually a time of reflection and evaluation. People often set new goals and objectives for what they want to accomplish in the new year. Recently I was reminded of a truth from Scripture that forced me to make sure I am focusing on a few things in the upcoming year. Here is the familiar passage…

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

So… using these two verses, I have five things that I need to do better in the new year.

Hello, Weirdos – I’m Pastor Darren – welcome to the Church of the Undead.

Here in the Church of the Undead I can share ideas which are relevant to those who suffer with depression, need some encouragement, and for those who love (or are just curious about) the God of the Bible. And it doesn’t matter if you are a Weirdo-in-Christ or just a Weirdo – everyone is welcome here at the Church of the Undead. And I use the word “undead” because here we are DEAD to sin and ALIVE in Christ! If you want to join this Weirdo congregation, just click that subscribe or follow button – and visit us online at WeirdDarkness.com/CHURCH.

Full disclosure – I might use the term “pastor” because I’ve branded this feature as a church – but I do not have a theology degree, nor did I ever go to Bible college. I’m just a guy who gave his life to Christ in 1989 and has tried to “walk the walk” every since – and has stumbled a lot along the way – because, like everybody else, I am an imperfect, heavily-flawed human being. So please don’t take what I say as gospel; dig into God’s word yourself for confirmation, inspiration, and revelation.

That being said, welcome to the Church of the Undead.

The following message is adapted from an article at BibleStudyTools.com by Clarence L. Haynes, Jr., which I’ve linked to in the episode description. So most of the words you are about to hear are his, not mine – but I have edited it a bit to reflect my own life and make it more personal, because, while I didn’t write the original message, it’s definitely something I want to live by in the coming year, so putting it into first-person helps me do that – and I challenge you to do the same as you listen. So… those verses again…

Philippians 4:6-7 = “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

***Philippians 4:6 starts with, “Don’t worry about anything…”

In the new year, I don’t want to worry about anything.

We live in a world of cause and effect. When you do one thing, something else happens because of it. For example, if you eat right and exercise, you are going to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. The cause of eating right and exercising leads to the effect of losing weight. This is not only a natural principle but also a spiritual one.

One effect we experience in life is worry. I realize in my life how easy it is to slip into worry mode. When you consider what is happening in our world and combine that with the internal decisions you must make in your life, these can cause you to worry. If you spend your time listening to the constant conversations in the media around inflation, the economy, fear of recession, the threat of war, global conflict, gun violence, social issues, political issues, and everything else they are talking about, you are going to worry. I must admit I may have listened too closely this year, but I will not carry that into the new year.

Worry is not good for you. Studies have shown worry can cause anxiety and panic. It can affect your relationships, your sleeping habits, it can cause your heart to race, it can cause illness and for some it can lead to overeating. Some seek relief from worry by turning to drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol. Can you see why God doesn’t want you to worry?

* Matthew 6:25-27 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

So… here’s what I want you to do. If you are worried right now about something, stop worrying immediately. Did that work? Probably not because that is not how it is supposed to work. You can’t just stop worrying, you need to replace that worry with something else. This leads to the second thing I am going to focus on doing in the new year.

***Philippians 4:6,= “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything…”

So… next, in the new year I want to pray about everything.

I have learned a simple truth in my life – I can either worry, or I can pray and trust God. But I can’t do both. As God has outlined it, you don’t just stop worrying; you start praying. The cause of prayer leads to the effect of not worrying. Usually, if I am worried about something, prayer is absent. When you look at this correlation, the conclusion is simple. If you are worried all the time, you are not trusting in God. If you’re trusting in God all the time, you’re not worried. If you are praying and still are worried, then you still are not trusting God. You cannot trust God and be worried at the same time. One is going to override the other. If you pray but still worry, then you must ask yourself, are you really trusting God, or just going through the motions?

* 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

* Matthew 11:28 = “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

My commitment this day and leading into the new year is to pray about everything, no matter how big or small it may seem. The command is to pray about everything, and everything, if you go back to the original meaning of the word in the scripture… everything means… everything. I encourage you to join me in committing to praying in this fashion, because when you pray with faith and trust, it leads to the next thing I am going to do in the new year.

***Philippians 4:6= “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need…”

That’s the next thing. I’m going to tell God what I need.

When you tell God what you need, this is a critical step in replacing worry with trust. By nature, when I see a problem, my mind immediately goes to solution mode – I want to fix it. While this may be good for some areas of my life, this is horrible for my prayer life because worry rises when you try to figure out how things are going to work out. I have done that too many times and I realize when I do this, I am not really trusting God; I am searching for my own answers.

Here is what I have learned about trusting God. Trust is not when you try to figure it out, but when you rely on God to work it out. When you try to figure things out, you may not see how all the pieces are going to work together, which increases your anxiety because you focus on the situation. When you tell God what you need and trust him to provide it, you don’t need to know how it is going to work, you just know it will. This puts your focus on God.

* John 15:7 says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

* John 16:24 states, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

We often forget how powerful God really is and how much he loves us. Whenever this happens, it means you must change your perspective. Whenever I travel, I usually fly out of O’Hare in Chicago. One thing Chi-town is known for is towering skyscrapers that fill the skyline. From the ground up, these buildings are massive structures. However, when you view them from above, the higher you go, the smaller these buildings become. This is how God sees everything. He looks down on every situation and they are small in his eyes.

Telling God what you need is simply changing your perspective and taking the weight off you and putting it on him.

* Matthew 21:22 = “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

What a relief it is to know I don’t have to make things happen. I can tell God what I need, trust him to provide it, and do what he tells me to do as he works it all out. I have lived the other way far too often, and trusting God is by far a better way to approach the new year.

Philippians 4:6,= “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done”

***IN the new year, I will thank Him for all He has done!

This is such an important instruction because it forces you to look back. When I look back over my life, I have a long track record of God proving himself time after time. I could fill up pages telling you of God’s faithfulness to me and Robin – and if you think about it, you could probably do the same. There’s an old hymn that sings “count your blessings, name them one by one.” I’m not a big fan of hymns, but the message is perfect. I encourage you to do this today. Start counting all the things God has done for you in your life. When you remember what he has done and thank him for it, this gives you hope and expectation that if he has done it before, he will do it again.

* Psalm 118:28-29 says, “You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

* 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 = “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”

I want to encourage you to do something else. Don’t just think about what he has done, write it down. Get a notebook or journal and write down the times God has proven himself faithful in your life. Whether it’s provision, healing, comfort – whatever he has done, write them all down. Every time you feel a little anxious or worried, return to this journal and thank him. I am going to commit to remembering God’s faithfulness and thanking him for it. I know God has been faithful to me throughout my life and he will not stop being faithful to me now.

Philippians 4:6-7= “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

So in the new year, I plan to walk more in peace.

Earlier, I mentioned causes and effects. When you do certain things, other things will happen. The reason I want to do these first four causes in the next year is because of the effect it will have in my life. I will experience God’s peace.

When you stop worrying, start praying, start asking, and start thanking, then his peace is on its way, and nothing can stop it. You don’t have to try to experience his peace, it will come automatically. This is the difference between the peace of God and the peace of the world. Peace in the world comes only after the conflict is resolved. God’s peace comes when the storms are still raging. The world’s peace depends on the circumstances. God’s peace depends on his presence. The peace of God is not based on what is happening, but on who you are trusting.

* John 16:33 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.”

No matter what you are going through or will go through, know that God is in control and is all-powerful.

For this year, I am going to trust in the one who knows all, who sees all, who can do all, and who loves me. When that is where my trust is, peace will be the result.

As we face this new year, guess what? I do not know what is going to happen, and that is just fine. I am committed to not worry about anything, but to being a man of prayer whose hope and trust are completely in the Lord. There have been moments where I failed to do that in this past year – and I’m sure there will be in the year to come. But my goal is to try and not make those same mistakes again. If you want to not worry, pray about everything, tell God what you need, thank him for what he has done, and experience his peace – if you want all of these things in the new year, maybe print out these two verses and place them prominently in a place where you’ll see them each day and be reminded of them. I’m taping it up right here in front of my microphone so I’ll always see it.

Philippians 4:6-7= “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

This is my prayer for the new year – and I pray it’s yours too.

Again, if you’d like to read the original article this episode is based on, you can find the link in the episode description.

If you like what you heard, share this episode with others whom you think might also like it. Maybe the person you share it with will want to join this Weirdo congregation too! To join this Weirdo family yourself, find us on Facebook, listen to previous messages, even find out how to join me in my daily bible studies, visit WeirdDarkness.com/CHURCH. That’s WeirdDarkness.com/CHURCH. You can find the sources I used for this week’s message in the show notes. I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me, Weirdos. Until next time, Jesus loves you and so do I. God bless.

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