Stephen Braunius

Sharing what I have seen and heard



This was originally written for the Fellowship Reformed Church eNews sent out on April 25, 2018

Halt is such a startling word. Just writing it makes me feel a tinge of worry and fear as images come into my brain of an angry person shouting at me because I have somehow gone where I was not supposed to be. I envision it being used by people who are in positions of authority who want me to immediately stop and listen.

HALT is also an acronym that is sometimes used as a reminder for people who are struggling with an addiction or unhealthy habit.

  • Hunger — physical, emotional, or spiritual
  • Anger
  • Lonely — from isolation, fear, or doubt, and can even happen around others
  • Tired — being too busy and not taking breaks

We can make poor decisions when we experience any of these feelings on their own or in combination. I’ve experienced all four at once. Sometimes on family trips we pack a day too full and don't plan our food well. We will walk far distances (tired), not eat anything (hungry), not see an end in sight (lonely), and become angry with each other. That’s when we just need to halt and seek a time to rest, refresh, regroup, and reconcile. Often, we can then laugh at ourselves and how we acted when we were “hangry."

This past Sunday, Pastor Lindsay shared a message based on Acts 4:32-35. In it we see a picture of the early church where the believers shared everything with one another and spent time together. It is a wonderful story that is quite a contrast to the way many of us live. This type of life can be an anecdote to experiencing HALT if we are willing to enter a Christian life of faithfulness filled with LoTS. What is LoTS? It is a life where we:

  • Love more — by seeing people first and, as Pastor Lindsay said, we are like-minded because we actually like the minds of others.
  • Truth more — by being honest with ourselves and others
  • Share more —by relying on others rather than being alone and independent

I love the idea of less HALTs and more LoTS in my life. How might you pause when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired and change direction to love more, truth more, and share more?

If you would like to learn more about HALT, check out this website. Learn more about LoTS from Pastor Lindsay’s sermon and reading Acts 4.

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Are you the tech support person for your family? Do they live far away? In looking for ways to help them using remote control and viewing of computer screens I found that with Windows 7, 8, or 10 the tools are built in. Read more about how to do that over at

If your are using computers other than Windows it looks like this would be a good free option (for personal use) from Team Viewer

Either way, this is better than trying to figure things out over the phone....

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This was first published in the Fellowship Church eNews on 2018-02-28.

In high school I was a trumpet player. Trumpet players have a brash and brazen reputation, like the sound of the instrument itself. There are, in fact, hundreds of jokes that highlight this stereotype. For example:

Q: How many lead trumpet players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Fifty. One to do it and the others to stand around and say, “I could do that better.

Not only was I a trumpet player, I was the first chair trumpet player. Being first chair means that you literally sit in the first chair of the section of instruments. You get this spot by being able to play the assigned music or scales better than the rest of the people in the section.

I discovered that by being just a bit better than the rest of the players in my section I could earn first chair. I did not need to be the best in the world, just a bit better than everyone around me. Over the past few years, I have reflected on how unhealthy this viewpoint was. Rather than seeking to be the best I could personally attain in order to help the band, inspire others, and grow my skills, I was limiting my development to the level of those around me. This was an act of pride as I sought recognition and status.

This past Sunday Pastor Lindsay preached a sermon based on John 13:1-17 where we see a way of being that is the opposite of pride. Jesus intentionally put himself as a servant to the disciples by washing their feet. He literally postures himself below his disciples. He then challenges them to do the same with one another. Pastor Lindsay highlighted that this act required the disciples to let Jesus serve them and demonstrated how to love and be loved.

I often feel like pride and shame get in the way of being able to selflessly love others or receive the love of others. I think of pride and shame as:

  • pride = look at me, I deserve it
  • shame = don’t look at me, I am worthless

For me the alternative to pride and shame is presence. Presence requires me to fully participate in the world by paying attention to God, others, and myself. It often forces me into uncomfortable situations where I have to respond rather than react, receive rather than control, and feel rather than shield.

What might it look like to not raise yourself above others or to hide from them and instead fully experience life abundantly in Christ by staying present, selflessly loving others, and humbly receiving love?

In the coming days read about this counter-cultural life in Romans 12 and think of how you might apply it to your life and relationships. Here are a few highlights:

  • (2) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
  • (9) Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.
  • (10) Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other
  • (16b) Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
  • (20) If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.

Read the rest of Romans 12 here

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These are some quick notes from our recent trip to Colorado.

Day 1, Saturday, October 21, 2017

We left home at midnight and...

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Our family was traveling back from Nashville recently and I saw the following billboard:

Imagine life without

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August 10, 2017

My 30 second summary:

  • We should be looking at people of all ages and speaking leadership into them as we see...

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This past Saturday, July 15, 2017, I completed the Holland 100 for the third year in a row. Strangely, I think this was the hard...

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No Agenda

This is an article I wrote recently for a weekly email mailing for Fellowship Reformed Church of Holland

I recently took a tr...

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Waiting can be so difficult. The days seem long, and the world seems dark. I’ve been a part of a men’s group that meets for...

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