Friday, September 30, 2016

Suicide Prevention Month (Part 2)

from the Senior Pastor
"Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in? "For my groaning comes at the sight of my food, and my cries pour out like water. "For what I fear comes upon me, And what I dread befalls me. "I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, And I am not at rest, but turmoil comes."  Job 3:23-26

Job’s cries are cries that may have come from many a person in turmoil.  In the midst of his extreme pain and loss, he sees nothing that brings him solace.  Job is a powerful man of faith for he actually believes when he has no hope.
What would you say to him if he decided he would go ahead and take his own life?  It is important to know the best way to respond to one who is suicidal.
Suicide prevention tip #1: Speak up if you’re worried
If you spot the warning signs of suicide in someone you care about, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to say anything. What if you’re wrong? What if the person gets angry? In such situations, it's natural to feel uncomfortable or afraid. But anyone who talks about suicide or shows other warning signs needs immediate help—the sooner the better.
Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult for anyone. But if you're unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to ask. You can't make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt. 
Listening is the best thing you can do for someone in emotional pain.
Ways to start a conversation about suicide:
  • I have been feeling concerned about you lately.
  • I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.
Questions you can ask:
  • When did you begin feeling like this?
  • Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?
  • How can I best support you right now?
  • Have you thought about getting help?
What you can say that helps:
  • You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.
  • You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.
  • I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.
  • When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage.
The following questions can help you assess the immediate risk for suicide:
  • Do you have a suicide plan? (PLAN)
  • Do you have what you need to carry out your plan (pills, gun, etc.)? (MEANS)
  • Do you know when you would do it? (TIME SET)
  • Do you intend to commit suicide? (INTENTION)
It’s so important that you be yourself when talking with someone in turmoil.   Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone and allow the suicidal person to unload despair, ventilate anger. This is not the time to argue or be judgmental or act shocked.  Even if you can’t understand allow them to share their feelings. 
Believe it or not, this is not the time to resolve their problem.  The issue is their emotional balance and that must be addressed first.  Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you and share your confidence that God will work all things out in their life.
If a suicide attempt seems imminent, call a local crisis center, dial 911, or take the person to an emergency room. Remove guns, drugs, knives, and other potentially lethal objects from the vicinity but do not, under any circumstances, leave a suicidal person alone.
While you may feel that this information has no place in a devotional series, please be aware that this may be lifesaving to some family.  Take some time and be prepared to be a true friend to someone who has lost hope.
For scriptures on hope all you have to do is Google the words, “Hope in God in the Bible” and you will be amazed at the wonderful promises you will find.
Scripture to Claim:

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  Psalm 42:5

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Suicide Prevention Month

(from the Senior Pastor)
Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor. Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See to that yourself!" And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.  Matthew 27:1-10 (NASB)

The story of Judas is one of the saddest in the Bible.  So close to forgiveness and grace yet he could not get past his hopelessness.  Unfortunately, over 40,000 Americans die each year by suicide.  It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
We are going to spend a couple of days taking a look at some important things to know about suicide.  Certainly it would be wonderful if you never needed this information.  But in a hopeless world it seems we have more and more seeking a way out.
Common misconceptions about suicide
  • FALSE: People who talk about suicide won't really do it.
    Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like "you'll be sorry when I'm dead," "I can't see any way out," — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
  • FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
    Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
  • FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
    Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
  • FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
    Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.
  • FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
    You don't give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true—bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Warning signs of suicide
Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions.  You may be the one who can help someone.  The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them.  If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved.

Suicide Warning Signs – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

If a person talks about:
  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Killing themselves
Specific behavior to look out for include:
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety

A subtler but equally dangerous warning sign of suicide is hopelessness. Studies have found that hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide. People who feel hopeless may talk about "unbearable" feelings, predict a bleak future, and state that they have nothing to look forward to.
We are those who carry a message of hope.  Seeing the signs, we next need to know what to do.  That will be our topic for tomorrow.
Scripture to Claim:

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.  Psalm 62:5-8

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


They all met together and were constantly UNITED in prayer. —Acts 1:14

Today is the Day!  See You At The Pole (SYATP) is my very favorite day of the year!
This is the day when kids from elementary through college gather at the flagpoles of their schools and pray.  I love that there is this band of Christian kids worldwide that are standing together in prayer on this special day at this special time. This year the theme is We Cry Out.  They are a generation seeking Him and they know that they are not alone.  They can connect with other students that they didn’t know were Christians before.  There is power in being united together in prayer. Often a group of adults/parents may be seen praying in support of the students nearby or at a church, city hall or their places of work.
With the events that have transpired in our country over the last few months and the upcoming election, our country, and our country’s youth, need prayer now more than ever.  They are the next generation of leaders in this country that seems to have desperately lost its way. 
The day ends with an awesome Worship Rally at churches across the Nation.  At North Side Baptist Church, we call the worship rally Pole Vault and it involves churches from all over Parker County.  This year there will be a great time of praise and worship led by Sam Perry followed by guest speaker, Wes Hamilton. There is nothing more exciting than to see kids involved in a movement like SYATP.  Seeing them band together as one around the flagpole, lifting each other and the issues of our world up to their Father in Heaven is an amazing experience. No one is embarrassed or ashamed.  They all have this one common bond around that pole – they love Jesus and are proud to declare it. Then to see so many come together in worship that evening is a great experience as well. 
Remember the kids this morning as they gather to pray and say a prayer for them.  Pray for their safety as they gather.  Pray that God will turn our Nation back towards Him and that eyes will be opened.  Pray for respect to return.  Pray that police officers will be safe so they can do their job and keep the world safe.  Pray for people to have enough of sin and repent.  Pray for these kids.  They are facing a hard world to be an adult Christian in. Praying around a flag pole is something that they have had the choice and privilege to participate in their whole lives.  I fear they may come a time in our lives when this freedom could be taken away.      
If you feel like having a great worship experience, then join us for the Pole Vault Worship Rally tomorrow night at 6:30 in the Worship Center here at North Side Baptist Church. Doors open at 6:00.  You will not be disappointed, but you will be blessed and encouraged. 

Scripture to Claim:
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20

Devotional Archive