December 2, 2008
By Dorie Meendering
Associate Pastor, Women’s Ministry, Resurrection Life Church, Grandville
What a challenge to stay on course through all the emotion of life! It’s important to remember that we are here because God designed us and put us here. We were God’s idea in the first place and He has a special place for us!
However, I Peter 5:8 tell us we have an adversary trying to devour us. He will try to make you feel discouraged and want to give up. But you have the ability to persevere because you have a personal guide, the Holy Spirit, who leads you every step of the way. So, why would you give someone else more power over your life than the Holy Spirit? If some situation has made you want to give up, you are led by the situation and not by the Holy Spirit.
Outlasting the Devil
You can always outlast the devil’s attack by “doing” the Word. The “Word” is usually quite different than how you feel but, it works! And, if the ‘Word’ works, why not do it?
Rom. 12:21 – overcome evil with good
I Peter 3:9 – bless so you receive a blessing
Matt 6:14 & 15 – forgive so you are forgiven
Phil 4:6 & 7 – pray and be thankful with your request
Rom. 15:13 – believe in the God of all hope and receive peace and joy.
Matt. 5:44 & 45 – do good when there’s opportunity
Prov. 2:1-7 – seek God for Wisdom
You do not have to understand everything that happens. “Wondering” can keep you from believing. If you have a divided mind, the Bible says don’t plan on receiving from the Lord. (James 1:6)
There is a Way of Escape
Remember, there is a way of escape so you will be able to bear what you are going through. (I Cor. 10:13) However, several things can block your escape. Take time to examine how your life is lining up with the Word of God. One of the most common things blocking our victory is a lack of forgiveness, or holding on to offense. Since God has forgiven us we are able, and expected, to forgive others. Sometimes the hurt took only 5 minutes but we give it the right to hurt us 10 more years. Why would we be so stubborn and continue to punish ourselves by making the choice to disobey God and not forgive? You should love yourself more than that!
Attack with Tenacity and Perseverance
Recognize who is trying to pull you off course. (I Peter 5:8). If you don’t recognize your enemy, you won’t know how to fight and take your authority to use the power of Jesus’ name. God, in His wisdom, has already laid out the only battle plan that will work and it is found in Ephesians 6: 10-18. Use these tools and choose to be immovable in your faith. Stand firm and don’t let your faith become shipwrecked!
You can outlast the devil!
July 30, 2008
By Matt Haverdink
The ever daunting task of helping employers find ways to control healthcare costs and keep benefits strong and affordable is not an easy one. Fortunately, the small employer can do something other than the “do nothing” strategy.
We, as a community or employer group, pay for our claims one way or another. I’m here to tell you the doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and insurance companies are NOT losing money. We’ve all seen the tremendous expansion in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas. Who is paying for that? The cost is being passed on to employers and employees.
I have yet to find someone to disagree with the theory of – healthy employees cost less than those who are sickly. Sure some illnesses can’t be avoided, but the Center for Disease Control states 70% of our healthcare costs are controllable. By that I mean, nutrition, exercise, weight control, smoking etc. The obesity rate in Michigan (27.7% in ’07) is increasing at a very rapid rate. Long ago are the days when kids spent the entire day playing ball and being outside. It is a different society with the computer and video game options available.
My experience with several of my clients as well as our own experience is worth mentioning. For our agency we have been able to keep our health care cost increases to a minimum. In fact our rates for a no deductible plan are slightly lower than what they were 4 years ago and we haven’t had to increase our employee portion of the premium or reduce benefits. Unfortunately, most employers have had to simply cost shift by raising deductibles and premiums to the employees or absorb the costs themselves-sound familiar.
When you design your plan you can afford to take more risk if you have a healthy group. Why pay for low deductibles if you are healthy? Insurance was designed to cover that which you can not afford to pay yourself. A well designed plan would take into consideration the makeup of your group, i.e. claims, utilization, age and family status.
ResLife of Grandville has experienced a huge cost savings over the past 2+ years by encouraging healthy lifestyles and designing their health plan so that their better than average claims experience rewards them and not the insurance company.
Talk to your agent to make sure that you have analyzed the different options available
(HRA, HSA, FSA). How is your premium determined (community or experience rated)? These are questions you should ask to make sure you are aggressively doing everything you can do to control healthcare costs.
Matt Haverdink has been providing employee benefits for 17 years and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Matt is also the co-owner of Ottawa Kent Insurance and co-founder of HealthTrack. HealthTrack is a corporate wellness provider in West Michigan of which local companies are offering their employees as a prevention tool to combat rising healthcare costs. Questions can be directed to email@example.com or (616) 392-6006.
June 25, 2008
Messages–we preach them every week. We hear them on our cell phones. We try to get our message across to our staff members day after day. We even spend lots of money on nice printing, put hours into coming up with just the right examples or download some snazzy video that hopefully, will catch their attention. Sometimes, it works, other times it’s like they didn’t hear a word we said.
When it comes to messages there are some great communication theories with clever analogies of message senders and message receivers and the distortion that can happen in between. It’s interesting stuff. Really…but theories can be quite dry when you’re pretty sure it’s just that they’ve got something clogging their ears. Here are four tips to help you get your message across to whatever audience you are working with…
1. Have a message worth sharing–Ok, I know I’m talking to pastors here so this should be an easy one. Yes, your message is worth sharing, but take this a step further. Having a message worth sharing means you should look at what you are trying to get across and boil it down to the heart of the message. Think how your message would read if it was a front page story. The headline and the first paragraph would have the most important information, then the rest of the story builds on that. Giving all the facts is not nearly as effective as giving the most important ones and then reinforcing them with the details.
2. Give them a “next step”–I’ve heard pastors give great sermons, but fail to provide a next step for people to take. That doesn’t just mean an altar call, though that’s important to provide. It also means thinking about what questions people might have. For example: If you’re teaching your staff about the importance of integrity. Don’t just say, “You’ve got to have it.” Answer the question, “How do I get integrity?” by giving some examples of how you or someone else built a lifestyle of integrity. That’s giving them a “next step.”
3. Tell them again–It’s the principal we learned for writing school papers. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Then, tell them. Then, tell them what you told them. Reiterating the value and the heart of what’s important. This helps them retain what is so important about what you are telling them.
4. Genuinely care–We are in the church, so you’d think we’d have this down. Didn’t Paul say that if we don’t have love we’re like a noisy gong? Well, the principle applies to communications too. You can have the most fabulous message, presented in the most dynamic way, but if you don’t genuinely care about the people you are communicating with, then that’s what you’ll communicate the most. A great message from someone who doesn’t care is like giving someone a drink of their favorite hot tea without a cup. They might get the message, but they weren’t able to receive it as nearly as well as they would have if you’d included it in a cup of genuine love.