Step off the deep end with God by PASTOR RON AULBACH BridgeWay Community Church “Go ahead and step off the platform when you’re ready,” the scruffy 26-year-old tour guide informed me. “But are you sure it’s hooked on right?” I responded with a touch of fear in my voice. “Yup, just step off when you’re ready sir.” “You’re sure this cable is gonna hold me?” I stalled as best I could. “It will hold you, just step off the platform. Others are waiting sir.” It was one of those moments where I just had to think about it. I was standing 20 stories up over a river gorge, connected to a thin cable stretching over 1,000 feet to another small platform on the other side of this mountain. In Canada they call this zip-lining, but I still affectionately refer to it as voluntary suicide. What was I thinking? In a matter of 29 seconds, I would travel above this river valley, zipping along at death-defying speeds, and completely out of control—my control that is. And, I had put my complete trust in a thin wire, carabiner, and a tour guide who confessed to me that this wasn’t his real passion in life—he wanted to be a pro surfer. Way too much information to process as I stood on that little platform, with the decision to take a step into thin air or chicken out. I thought for a moment how my wife might spend the life insurance policy, then the strangest thing happened. I stepped off the platform. Turns out, the experience was absolutely amazing! Zip-lining back and down this mountain above a frothy river was something that is impossible to put into words. After a few zips, my confidence started to grow and I was gaining more control, flipping upside down, and genuinely enjoying the ride. It was exhilarating, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it required I take a risk and go for it. I got to thinking about faith and living a life that really matters. How often have I stood on the edge of a big decision or a turning point in my life and just needed to think about it? And God was right there saying, “You’ll be fine, just step […]
BridgeWay Community Church
by PASTOR RON AULBACH BridgeWay Community Church You ever notice how air travel brings out the best in people? I used to be that road warrior, and my job took me on trains, planes and automobiles every week. I loved it—thrived on it, actually. Today, I wonder how I even tolerated it. Recently I caught one of those $79 deals and all the modern amenities that go with air travel these days. Everything started out fine. Security, no problem. Forecast, clear blue skies. Plane, spacious and less than half full. The flight crew was even accommodating and cheerful as if we were going on this journey together, minus of course the bag of peanuts, as that is far too much to ask these days. I was fortunate to have an aisle seat, and as I stuffed my bag under the chair in front of me, I met that person. The voice said sternly, and with a deep sense of conviction, “Watch it, I could have slammed my bag into your head.” I was stunned as I looked up to see a sweet elderly woman and her red purse. I quickly apologized and made light of the fact that I would have deserved it. I mean, everyone needs a whack in the head from time to time, and I clearly had infringed on the “no fly zone” of the aisle in her opinion. I sat there for the duration of the flight thinking, would she really have done it? The fact that she said it meant that she was clearly capable. It started to gnaw at me, to think that someone could be that cruel, that brutal. How would I have responded? Who was in the wrong here, me or this sweet old lady from Pasadena? The Bible says, “In humility consider others better than yourselves,” (Philippians 2:3). Then it hit me: don’t become that person. Be humble. Don’t be that person who compares or seeks justification for their actions. Be considerate. Don’t be that person who needs revenge or even the slightest bit of satisfaction from being “right.” Think of others better than yourself. Don’t be that person. We need to love people more and need them less, resisting the need for someone’s approval, acceptance […]
My dream marriage by PASTOR RON AULBACH BridgeWay Community Church What makes a great marriage? How would a person know if they were really experiencing the dream marriage that they signed up for? Why do some marriages thrive, while others fizzle or flame out? I thought these would be good questions to wrestle with now that Valentine’s Day has come and went. I enjoy doing premarital counseling. I meet with young couples and they have all these dreams and ambitions of what they expect their marriage will be. They don’t have a clue. Let me give you an accurate picture of “till death do us part.” It looks like dirty clothes and bounced checks and layoffs and time pressures and mortgage payments. Your kids will climb into your bed in the middle of the night, all soggy wet with urine or throw-up, or worse. Lots of issues, and two completely different people God has placed as close as he possibly could to solve these daily dilemmas. One of the most dangerous dishes to eat is wedding cake. And one of the most rewarding ways to honor God is by showing the world that it is all worth it. You can refocus your marriage by taking an inventory of the C.R.U.D. that inevitably builds up over time. Every marriage has some issue, and a thriving marriage looks to get rid of it. C.R.U.D. is a term I use for the criticism, resentment, unhappiness and drifting desires that have incrementally stolen the love. Take unhappiness as an example. I have this theory that the more a person looks for fulfillment and satisfaction in someone else, the more miserable they will become. Your joy comes from God, and you are to rejoice in Him, not your spouse. Yes, together life is richer, but your spouse is not responsible for your happiness. Take some time as a couple to identify the C.R.U.D. and get rid of it. Marriage is not easy. It is an incredible gift, but not easy. It involves two people who are prone to make mistakes. When a marriage is in the most trouble is when one person focuses more on the other person’s mistakes than their own. The only force that will hold two people […]
Did You Know, 1.0 by PASTOR RON AULBACH BridgeWay Community Church Have you noticed that we live in a world where the rate of change is just staggering? You compare this era to your childhood and you find yourself saying, “When I was your age…” and then you give a full description of what life was like for you just a few decades ago. It always involves you walking uphill, both ways, in the snow. What do you do in an ever-changing world, where you don’t get to vote on the change? Sometimes you like the change. Sometimes the change affects you in such a way that is brutal on your family, finances and faith. The only way to navigate a changing world is to hold onto an unchanging God. There are some viral videos on YouTube called “Did You Know?” and they demonstrate how information is getting easier and easier to access. There are over 240 million televisions in our country, and what’s staggering is over two million of them are in bathrooms! Apple now boasts over 100,000 iPhone apps. The average teenager sends 2,272 text messages per month. One ambitious teen in Los Angeles, Brady James, holds the current record of over 217,000 text messages in one month! Doctors have classified a new injury for patients who use a Blackberry device, called tenosynovitis, also known as Texter’s Thumb. “What doesn’t change?” you might ask. The love of God and his unending pursuit of you and me does not change. This is good news. You don’t have to worry, He will not go out of fashion. A better 2.0 version is not in the works for you to upgrade. Of all the statistics that shocked me the most was that over one million new books get published every year. Yet one book has outsold them all. It’s the Bible, and it offers us life through a relationship with Jesus. Maybe that’s why the writer of Hebrews made this very simple statement—the original “Did You Know?”—“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8). He is not surprised by change. You can trust him with every doubt and struggle you face.
BridgeWay Community Church is sponsoring a totally free car wash on Saturday, August 15, in the D&W parking lot at Ten Mile Road in Rockford from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. “Everyone is welcome to join us for our free car wash. This is just our way of giving back to the community for all the blessings we receive,” commented Pastor Ron Aulbach. For further information, contact the church at (616) 874-7115.