Editor’s Corner: Getting Your House Together

My “Editor’s Corner” also dealt with “Getting Your House Together.”

The theme of this issue is “Getting your house together.” It is crucial that we make positive steps toward improving our overall health (emotional/mental, physical and spiritual).


While the terms emotional health and mental health are often used interchangeably, some separate emotional health as the ability to express feelings based on circumstances and mental health as the ability to process information. Others refer to it all as mental health, which includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. For the purpose of this article, we will use the latter.


Our mental health impacts how we act, feel, think, handle stress, relate to others and make decisions. Mental health is important from childhood to old age because feelings like anxiety and depression can occur in all age groups. If you are overwhelmed and need help, please seek counseling! There is no social taboo to this. Many employers offer an Employee Assistant Program, which often includes a few free sessions. If more counseling is required, a referral can be made, and counseling may be covered by your insurance.


In addition, many suffer from stress. Stress can impact our mental and physical health. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that we reduce situations in our lives that are causing us stress, especially if they are things we can change. For example, work can cause stress so determining if it’s a “normal” level of stress or a toxic work culture that needs to be left is key. Some ways to reduce stress are exercising, being outside, having pets and journaling. Also remember that the Bible says that laughter is good medicine, so seek things that bring you joy. Research shows that laugher boosts your immune system, eases pain and relaxes your body – all ways to reduce stress!


I also sincerely encourage the practice of taking good care of your physical health! Some of us face health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. This could be because of genetics as well as poor diet and lack of exercise. A huge part of physical health is eating nutritional foods, exercising, drinking water and getting enough rest. Don’t forget about routine health checkups like getting your eyes examined, teeth cleaned, annual physicals, prostate exams, breast exams, colonoscopies, etc.


On the spiritual side, I find that simply singing encouraging music while I am walking is very effective. It is a way I turn my mind off when my thoughts start to wander in unnecessary areas. I simply refocus my attention by singing praises to God. I find myself walking around my job humming songs. In addition, prayer and Bible Study are always key to improving your outlook on life.


In this season, I am so aware of the importance of having a loving church community. Members of PCC, you guys are awesome. We do a good job of coming together and showering each other with love and fulfilling needs that arise. Having strong connections and a strong support network (be it family, friends or church) contributes to your overall happiness.


A big part of getting your house together is getting help from any addictions. These addictions could be drugs, alcohol, sex, food, cigarettes, exercise, etc. Basically, anything you do to



To be your best, you must get your house together! As you turn the page to a new decade, place a priority on improving your emotional/mental, physical and spiritual health. Freeing yourself gives you a chance to pursue the hobbies and relationships that give you the most pleasure and support your purpose.


Word of the Quarter: Getting Your House Together

The editing team wrote about “Getting Your House Together.”

Last issue, we started a new overarching theme of “Anchored” with the topic of “Returning to the source.” With this issue, we continue the overarching theme with the subject of “Getting your house together.”


When the editing team met, we asked the question, “How do you know your house is not in order?” There could be signs and symptoms in your behavior like lashing out at loved ones or unhealthy coping mechanisms (food, alcohol, drugs, etc.). There could be emotional and health symptoms like depression, anxiety, stress and high blood pressure. There could be relational issues like abuse or codependency.


Unfortunately, we go so fast that it often takes a tragedy or a health condition to slow us down. If you don’t slow down to recognize the condition of your house, life may slow you down.


In Matthew 6:33, the Bibles tells us, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” So, the first step is putting God in the right place. This will direct the rest of your decisions. Take the first part of the day to acknowledge God and ask for direction. As you go through the day, prioritize. Ask yourself, “What are my priorities?” If you say God and family but consistently work hours of overtime, with no time for either, then you need to readjust. As you readjust, it may be wise to seek an accountability partner.


Take care of yourself and then take care of others. It’s like when you fly on an airplane. The flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on before helping others. At some point, we all have needed help be it emotional, spiritual or financial. It could also be needing help with running errands or doing chores. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and invite support from trusted family and friends. We don’t have to do everything by ourselves. If you need to be held up in prayer, ask. If you need help with errands and chores, ask.


It is important to know when you can help someone and when helping someone will pull you away from your call and purpose or drain you emotionally. Learn when to say, “No.” That is why it’s important to know your purpose. The more you align with your purpose, the more you know when it’s time to say, “No.” Whatever you do should be aligned with fulfilling it. If necessary, seek counseling. To supplement therapy, you can also read or listen to self-help books.


Getting your house together aligns with the previous subtheme of going back to basics. This could start with your family. Teach your children life skills to be independent and less reliant on you, especially as they get older. In addition to providing shelter and food, we need to give our children a sense of belonging, purpose and support as well as instill life skills. We encourage you to find balance. It could be putting the phone down at the dinner table to connect with family and friends.


Why are we getting our houses together? Getting yourself together gives you the ability to give back. When you are fully anchored, you can live out your purpose and live more intentionally.


Men of the Bible – Jeremiah

I wrote about Jeremiah for “Men of the Bible.” He’s is one of my favorites.

Name: Jeremiah

Meaning: Jehovah establishes, or the Lord is exalted

His Character: Although Jeremiah struggled with feelings of loneliness, insecurity and doubt (because he constantly faced opposition), he spoke God’s messages with honesty and conviction.

His Sorrow: The people did not heed his prophecies, and he knew what the cost of their disobedience would be. The people not listening caused him deep sorrow, and he suffered from depression. Under Jewish tradition, he was stoned to death by fellow Jews in Egypt.

His Triumph: Despite the personal costs, Jeremiah was a faithful and true messenger of God’s words. In the end, his prophecies did come to pass but that was no comfort to him because of the suffering the people went through.

Key Scriptures: Book of Jeremiah

Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah. Hilkiah was a priest from the tribe of Benjamin and from the city of Anathoth, which means “answered prayers.”


Jeremiah was a prophet of God, and he is the author of the book of Jeremiah, which is found in the Old Testament. The book of Lamentations is often credited to him. He is also believed to be the author of the two books of Kings. His 40-year ministry took place during the reigns of the last five kings of Judah. His messages primarily pertained to Judah, but he also received messages for other nations.


When God called Jeremiah into ministry through a vision, God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah’s response was that he was too young. He is believed to have been 12 or 13 at the time. God’s response was, “…Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak…behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.”


Jeremiah spoke during a time when society was deteriorating spiritually and politically after the death of King Josiah. For a time, King Josiah had brought Judah back into alignment with God. There were wars, and God’s words were not wanted or heeded. Jeremiah’s main message was that repentance would postpone the judgement that was coming to Judah at the hands of the Babylonians. Regardless of Jeremiah’s passionate and consistent prophecies, the people would not listen. Although he admonished them to act, they refused to do so.


Despite many attempts on his life, Jeremiah continued to act as God’s prophet. He was thrown into prison and into a cistern. He was taken to Egypt against his will. He was rejected by most: family, friends, neighbors, kings and audiences. Jeremiah often stood alone and struggled with isolation. Despite all of that, he pressed on with his messages of doom and wept over the fate of his country.


Jeremiah was a man whose grief, sorrow and anguish ran deep, and he is known as the “weeping prophet.” He was brokenhearted because he knew, as God’s prophet, what lay ahead for the country of Judah and its capital, Jerusalem. Jeremiah wept because he knew God’s judgement would rain down and destruction would follow. He wept because the people had rejected God and their sinfulness would bring suffering and exile. His sadness ran so deep that he cursed the day that he was born.


As the Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”


We chose Jeremiah because he is an example of the toil our walks with God can sometimes have on our psyches. As Christians, we forget that we have examples of people who have walked closely with God who have dealt with sadness and loneliness. Yet despite the costs, they continued with their ministries and walks.


Your Money Matters: Seeking Help

Here is the “Your Money Matter” section of the latest PCC Scroll. I write about “Seeking Help” with your finances.

Juggling finances is not for the faint of heart. There are so many goals and priorities that compete for our limited resources. There is balancing basic month-to-month expenses such as housing, transportation, utilities, groceries, etc. There is managing debt like student loans, credit cards and car payments. There is building savings accounts and emergency funds. There is investing in 401s and IRAs. There is enjoying the fruit of your labor with things like vacations and eating out.


When it comes to managing finances, there is a wealth of information online. For example, Dave Ramsey and NerdWallet have websites centered around financial advice and information. Companies like J.P. Morgan and Charles Schwab have a wealth of information available online as well. With all of the information available, how do you know which information is true and can be trusted? Online information can lead to other questions as well at which point it could be necessary to seek professional advice.


How do you know when it’s time to seek a financial advisor? There could be various reasons. Some people don’t want to manage their financial portfolio. It could be because they lack the time to manage it or lack the knowledge on how to manage it. Others feel lost and overwhelmed when it comes to planning, so they need guidance. Others may just want a neutral third party when it comes to making financial decisions. Recently, my advisor gave me counsel that stopped me from making a decision based on a short-term gain by reminding me of my long-term goals. This advice not only saved me money; it will also grow my account over time. Needing financial advice could also be situational like nearing retirement, getting married or starting a business.


The right financial planner will help you make decisions that align with your long-term financial goals simply by reminding you of what they are. They will also listen to you and respect your risk comfort level. An advisor can help you with your finances in areas like investing, financial planning, retirement planning, etc. Dealing with stocks, estate management and retirement accounts can be complicated. An advisor can help you navigate these channels.


For me, the decision to hire a financial advisor came down to

self-discipline. History has taught me that I am not discipled in keeping track of the market and adjusting my portfolio as needed. So, for me, it’s worth investing in an advisor who is paying attention to Wall Street. In theory, the fee will pay for itself in the long run. In addition, there are times when I am prepared to pay for services in areas I am not good in. Financial planning is not my background, so I sought a professional in that area. This is along the same lines as me having a hairdresser, lawyer and mechanic. I know where I am gifted and where I am not. While I can create a monthly budget all day, any day, long-term planning remains a little foggy to me.


Tax season is also a good time when seeking professional help may be useful. As your taxes get more complicated, it could be good to seek help. If you do your own taxes, it may be a good idea to periodically have an expert do them, if only to make sure you are catching everything.


Of course, do it yourself is always an option. It could be because you want to do it yourself. It could be that your budget is tight as you pay off debt. Just make sure you are investing for your future and that you are disciplined enough to keep an eye on your investments. One statistic says that almost half of Americans are not planning for their financial futures. Do not be one of them!


When you seek financial help, it is because you are trying to make sound financial decisions and need guidance on how to do so. Be sure to do your due diligence when finding an advisor and be sure to understand their fee structure. Their guidance should lead to peace of mind that you are on the right track.


PCC Scroll: Your Money Matters

For this section of the PCC Scroll, we will talk about “Going back to basics.” In today’s world, what does that even mean when it comes to finances?


Because of our busy schedules, we often opt to pay a premium for convenience. We can have groceries and food from restaurants delivered to our homes and jobs. We can buy meat, fruits and vegetables pre-cut. While it may save time, the costs associated with the conveniences quickly add up. It is important that we focus on what we are spending our money on and limit spending where we can.


I have long since thought that we have somehow managed to blur what we need vs. what we want. For example, while I may want wi-fi at my house or a data plan for my cellphone, are they really things I need? They are convenient, but are they life and death needs? For me, the answer is no. Though some could argue that both are necessary for the running of their household. So not only is want vs. need debatable, in some cases, they could be different. If you work from home, wi-fi is crucial for your day-to-day work. And according to financial advisors, in some cases, want vs. need could be less financial and more psychological.


So, what do we need? We need housing (shelter), transportation (car, gas or bus/train fare), insurance (health, car, etc.), groceries (food and toiletries), clothing, childcare, debt repayments (credit cards, student loans, etc.) and utilities (gas and electricity). What are some popular wants? Travel, entertainment (movies, cable, Netflix, etc.), designer clothing, coffee (not made at home) and gym membership.


Now, let’s break that down further. Even items in the need category can be blurred with a little want. You need a house, but a family of four may not need a six-bedroom house. In the same vein, while you need a car, you might not need a luxury car (Though if your job requires a lot of travel in your car, you may opt for comfort). While you need clothes, you don’t need to have designer clothes. While you need food, going out for lunch five days a week could add up very quickly and organic fruits and vegetables, though healthier in some cases (do a search for “clean” fruits and vegetables), add up.


As always, these are just guidelines. Based on your individual circumstances, what you consider a need may differ. We are meant to enjoy the fruit of our labor as much as we can. By rule, don’t go into debt for travel, food, clothes, electronics and other “stuff.” At the end of the day, the goal is to get to the place financially where you not only cover all your needs, but you also have money left over for some of those wants. My main vice is travel, but in order to take it, I have to save for it.


If you need help budgeting, the 50/30/20 rule is a popular approach. You spend 50% on needs, 30% on wants and 20% on savings and paying off debt.


Begin by tracking your monthly expenses: every expenditure from your mortgage to coffee to bubble gum. Place those items into broad categories like housing, utilities, insurance, food, etc. Divide these items into wants and needs. Insurance and phone would be a need but coffee and eating out is a want. If your needs are over 50% of your income, take the percentage out of your wants.


There is software (and even basic Excel) that can help you create a budget. When you create your initial budget, be flexible with it and yourself. Adjust your budget as you go until you have a solid budget and then keep it. Then as your income and circumstances change, revise your budget. And remember, leave a little room for fun. Otherwise you probably won’t stick to it.


PCC Scroll: Men of the Bible – Jesus

Name: Jesus (Christ)

Meaning: To deliver, to rescue; Anointed one; Yahweh is salvation

His Character: He was fully God and fully man, but He never sinned.

His Sorrow: He took upon the sins of the world, and He died for them.

His Triumph: He completed His earthly mission – to die for the sins of the world.

Key Scriptures: The Gospels

Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of a savior-deliverer who would come from the line of Judah and King David. The book of Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage to Abraham. The book of Luke traces Jesus’ lineage to Adam, the son of God. The book of John traces Jesus to the beginning as the Word (which became flesh and dwelt amongst people). Although the people wanted an earthly king, that is not why He came. His purpose was to sacrifice Himself and take away the sins of the world and save us from death through His life, death and resurrection.


The four Gospels talk about His miracle birth and then fast forward 12 years to His first Passover feast in Jerusalem. Jesus stayed behind and amazed everyone with His wisdom and understanding at such an early age. Then fast forward 18 years with His baptism by His cousin, John the Baptist. Jesus started His ministry with His first public miracle of turning water into wine. He spent three years traveling throughout cities with His disciples proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven and performing miracles. His ministry ended with His ascension into Heaven after spending time with His followers after His resurrection.


What does the life and ministry of Jesus tell us about “Going back to basics?” Jesus cared for the needs of the people before He ministered the Gospel. This is evident in the fish and loaves scripture where He fed people before He ministered to them.


In His ministry, He cared for people. He developed relationships with a wide range of people. Look at His relationships with Lazarus, Mary, Martha and His disciples. He interacted with people many thought He should not – from a tax collector, to criminals, a widow, a woman caught in adultery, a blind beggar, sick people, etc. He was drawn to the marginalized.


While teaching, Jesus used analogies and parables that people could understand to teach spiritual ideas. He did not talk down or above the people like the Pharisees and Sadducees. He used real-life examples that the people could understand and relate to. He taught moral issues and spoke about our relationship with God by illustrating spiritual truths with narratives.


In addition to being an understandable teacher, Jesus also performed miracles such as giving sight to the blind, speech to the mute, hearing to the deaf and movement to the paralyzed. He cured diseases and raised the dead. These miracles were meant to prove Jesus’ divinity. Although we may not have the power to do any of that, we do have the power to be a miracle in someone’s life.


Do you want to go back to basics in your ministry? Jesus gave us our greatest commandment, which is to love. Love God and love people. It will make us all live better, forgive more readily and be better lights for the world just as Jesus was. As the Bible says, “And above all things have fervent charity (love) among yourselves: for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.”


Jesus is a wonderful example of a person fulfilling and living out purpose. He came as a servant who was full of compassion and experienced sorrow on our behalf. He was drawn to the poor, despised, hurt and those in sin. He helped people by fulfilling their basic needs, ministering to them and healing them. Jesus served, and He loved God and others. He is the ultimate example to live by.


PCC Scroll: Word of the Quarter

With this issue of the PCC Scroll, we begin a new editorial calendar year and a new overarching theme. When the editing team met to develop the new calendar, one word that surfaced was anchored, and it became the overarching theme for the next four issues. The word anchor can be described as, “something that serves to hold an object firmly” or “a reliable or principal support.” We thought the first step toward being anchored was “Returning to the source” with a sub-theme of “Going back to basics.” Our source, of course, is God.


During our retreat, we talked about the importance of being firmly anchored to our source in the current chaotic environment. We must seek and maintain stability of mind. With all that is happening in the world, it is important to maintain spiritual, mental, emotional and relational health. We talked about the importance of spiritual discipline, being in a solid community and nurturing our soul.


So, what are the basics in spiritual discipline that can keep us anchored to the source? They are things like prayer, Bible study and praise and worship. Prayer is how we communicate with God. This communication goes two ways. We talk to God, and God talks to us. It is our one-on-one time with God where we can share our cares, petition our needs/wants and listen for instructions. Bible study is how we know what God says about us and wants for us. It is the blueprint on how to conduct our lives. The Bible is full of instructions and examples. We were created for praise and worship and to surrender to God. In praise and worship, we hand over our cares to God, thank Him for what He has done and magnify His holiness. All three are key instruments in our war chest.


Being in safe, loving and nurturing communities is a critical part of our walk. We all have different communities: church, work, family and friends. In all of our communities, each of us bring different strengths, talents and passions, and we are connected to one another. Collectively, we can accomplish quite a bit. As humans, we are wired for community. We have a need to love and serve one another, and having community gives us a safe place to go when we need help. In terms of community, it is important to recognize the importance of personal accountability when dealing with one another.


Nurturing our soul can be done in many ways and involves making time for ourselves. It can be taking a walk in nature, volunteering, exercising, trying something new, traveling, journaling or whatever gives you joy and satisfaction. Take the time to laugh and enjoy your life. Spend time with your family and friends and be sure to pursue your passions and hobbies. It is all part of the self-care that is important for us to be healthy and balanced.


John 3:16 is one of the most popular scriptures in the world. It says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


As we go back to basics, it is important that we simply love and give. We love God, and we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We give our resources, time and gifts/talents.