GPS | Week of January 31, 2021
Weekly Grow-Pray-Study Guide
This week we are focusing on minding our mental health, using Paul's guidance to the early Christians in Philippi. We also had some difficulties in getting the sermon video added in real time on Sunday morning... In cased you missed it, view Sunday's worship service - including the sermon - below.
Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength.
Self-Care for a Happier & Healthier New Year
READ | Scripture Readings
You are encouraged to use the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina as you read this week's scripture passages.

Try reading each scripture through 3 times, aloud if possible. (You may want to choose one scripture a day)
  • Pause when a word or phrase seems to “jump out” or “shimmer” as you read.
  • Why does that word or phrase seem to stand out?
  • What is God saying to you in this moment? What action is God calling you to?

Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Psalm 46:1-3, 10
1 God is our refuge and strength,
  a help always near in times of great trouble.
2 That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart,
  when the mountains crumble into the center of the sea,
3   when its waters roar and rage,
  when the mountains shake because of its surging waves. 

10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
  I am exalted among the nations,
  I am exalted in the earth.”

Philippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Matthew 6:25-33
25 “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? 27 Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. 29 But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. 30 If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? 31 Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ 32 Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
REFLECT | Reflection Questions
These questions can be used as personal reflection questions, prompts for journaling, or as discussion questions with a friend or small group.
In a long-term study of aging and Alzheimer's disease, conducted by David Snowdon, initial results and practical lessons seem to suggest that working on our reading and writing skills throughout our life can help 'renew' our minds. (David A. Snowdon, Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us about Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives. New York: Bantam, 2001).

  • How regularly do you read and write?
  • What other intellectual pursuits do you enjoy?
  • What new things are you learning or would you like to learn?
  • How often do you nourish your mental health with music, art, poetry, or the beauty of God's creation?

"According to a recent study, spending time on Facebook makes people unhappy. When everyone else on Facebook and Twitter seems to be having a wonderful time, our own lives can seem rather drab in comparison." (Yamasaki, April. Four Gift: Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength. Herald Press.)
  • In what ways has the digital world hindered your mental health and self-care?
  • In what ways has it made a positive contribution?
  • How often do you take breaks from social media or mute the negativity in your Facebook feed?

Author Amy Simpson points out a qualitative difference between worry and anxiety. She distinguishes between anxiety, which she defines as an initial signal that alerts us to danger, and worry, which she defines as “a choice we make to stay in that place of anxiety that was designed to protect us from immediate danger, not to see us through everyday life." (Simpson, Amy. Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry. Downers Grove, IL. InterVarsity Press.)

  • Do you worry about 'worry' only when it becomes too much? Or do you notice a difference between constructive anxiety and destructive worry?
PRACTICE | Mindfulness
"Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your body, mind and feelings in the present moment; thought to create a feeling of calm."
- Cambridge Dictionary

Researchers at Mindful Magazine found that “When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being. Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.”
How to Practice Mindfulness (from

  1. Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills—but you do need to set aside some time and space.
  2. Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Easier said than done, we know.
  3. Let your judgments roll by. When we notice judgments arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.
  4. Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.
  5. Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.

If you'd like to find ways to work mindfulness into your daily routine, check out these 5 Simple Mindfulness Practices for Daily Life.
PRAY | Joys & Concerns
If you would like to be part of a new Care Ministry, to follow up on prayer requests, and to reach out to those in our faith community who may be lonely, ill or feeling disconnected, sign up on our website & Pastor Melody will contact you with more information:
  • Prayers of sympathy and comfort to Julie Caster, Alissa Mangae, and Abigail and Hannah Mangae on the loss of their father/grandfather/great-grandfather Lyman Rule who was laid to rest today in Zearing, Iowa.

  • Continued prayers for Diane Hammond who is being treated for severe Congestive Heart Failure and severe mitral valve damage. If you would be willing to provide a meal for the Hammond family, sign up here: (there are still a couple of spots open)

  • Continued prayers for JJ Johnson as he begins several weeks of out-patient therapy to recover from a stroke. If you would be willing to provide a meal for the Johnson family, sign up here: (there are still a couple of spots open)

  • Prayers for Don Fertig who is home from a short hospital stay.

Have a prayer request? Email Dixie Bequeaith or Pastor Melody Webb
RESOURCES | For further reading