OUT OF CONTROL

OUT OF CONTROL

Neal Pollard

Four people were ushered into eternity in a horrible way, ten people were injured, 28 vehicles were wrecked–some burned down to the engine block, and one young man’s life is forever changed as he bears the guilt of causing the horrific crash just a few miles north of our church building. Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, just 23 years old, barreled into the vehicles, already at a standstill because of another accident further east on I-70 in Lakewood near Golden. At this time, no official reason has been given for the crash. However, the young truck driver has been charged with four counts of vehicular homicide. Witnesses say his semi was barreling out of control moments before colliding with the others. We have no idea how remorseful this young man is, but it is most likely that he would like to have those moments back. It was tragic, senseless, and, by all counts, preventable. 

Scripture has several illustrations to portray the tragedy of a lack of self-control. Solomon likens a man who has no control over his spirit to a city broken into and without walls (Prov. 25:28). A woman who cannot restrain her argumentative ways is easier to control than a person can hold onto the wind or grasp oil with his hand (Prov. 27:15-16). James compares an out of control tongue to a rudderless ship, an unbridled horse, and a forest fire started by a small fire (3:2ff). 

Just one person’s lack of self-control in sexual desire has destroyed marriages, harmed families, ravaged congregations, and the like through fornication, pornography, and adultery. Just one person’s lack of self-control in speech has split churches, ended relationships, revealed destructive secrets, and condemned souls. Just one person’s lack of self-control in attitude has caused impressible people to stumble, provided a horrible example which others followed, and brought about a shameful family legacy through learned behavior.  Just one person’s lack of self-control of his or her thoughts has wrought “fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). 

We may influence others, but we can only hope to control ourselves. The best way to do that is to allow the love of Christ to control us (2 Cor. 5:14). If we can appreciate the damage caused by others’ loss of control, let us be motivated never to allow such in our own lives! We may not be able to foresee what we cause, but we know it could be far more than we imagine. 

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9 News aerial footage
DEALING WITH STRESS

DEALING WITH STRESS

Neal Pollard

A few years ago, the American Psychological Association named Denver the city with the most stressed out people in America. 75% of Denver residents are too stressed out about job and money, with half of Denverites saying their stress had significantly increased over the past year. Doctors and researchers have long connected a variety of health problems to stress, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The Harris Interactive polling group conducted this survey on behalf of the APA. Maybe the high stress levels are why so many Denver-area folks have such high octane workout routines, to counteract all of this.

In response, the Colorado Psychological Association provided some tips for coping with stress: (1) Set limits, (2) Tap into your support system, (3) Make one health-related commitment (cut back on caffeine, exercise, get more sleep, etc), (4) Strive for a positive outlook, and (5) Seek additional help. These tips are wise and useful, and especially is this true when we consider a “spiritual twist” on them. While I have found living in this area to be peaceful and enjoyable, I also know that life in America in general is stressful. There are so many uncertainties and that alone is a stressor.

Christians are best-equipped to deal with stress. Matthew 6:33 helps us properly prioritize so that we have a spiritual basis to determine what needs to be eliminated and what is more valuable. Further, we have the greatest support system possible through the church (cf. Rom. 12:15; 1 Thess. 5:11; Eph. 4:13-16; Heb. 13:1; etc.). Living the Christian life properly is a prime way to a healthier lifestyle, so long as we remember such principles as are found in 1 Timothy 4:8, Proverbs 23:2, and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (I’d recommend your reading those). Who has a more positive outlook than one who can say, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21-24). That is essentially saying, “I’ve got it great, and it will only get better.” Finally, there is no better help than that which we have available in Christ. Having the help of heaven to cope with life’s uncertainties is the greatest stress-buster there is.

Whether you live in Denver or even Small Town U.S.A., you are not immune from potential stress. Yet, wherever you live, if you are a Christian you have the best coping tools imaginable. Being in Christ eliminates many of the worries so many face. May we not take this for granted. Even more, let us not neglect to take advantage of the peace found only in Jesus (cf. John 14:27).

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