Message From Matt – July 17

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who you Know!
As many of you know, we headed to Oaxaca, Mexico this week for our annual missions trip to encourage our church plants and see the great work that they are doing!  Since this is my third trip to Oaxaca, I feel that I have good insight on what to expect from start to finish, including the “pain” that getting through security at the airport can be.  I know that the word “pain” seems a little dramatic, but if you fly, you know what I mean…the TSA lines can be a drag.  I expected the security lines to be long!  I expected the process of taking belts and shoes off, emptying my pockets, getting everything on the conveyor belt to be scanned to be a little too much!   Then being scanned myself would be at the very least, slightly annoying!  But this is what you expect when you take a flight…right?
Yes, unless you know someone!
I didn’t know a TSA supervisor or a “high up” at the airport…I just know Wanda Britt!
If you don’t know Wanda, she is a lady that has played a vital role in our church for many years and has an amazing testimony of dedication and service to God/IBT!  But that isn’t the reason that I am writing about her.  I am writing because of what she had…a pass for her and a friend to go through the pre-check line and bypass the long lines through the regular check points.  If you remember my post about the Fast Pass at Disney several works ago, this was similar as we got through the line in a few moments and didn’t have to wait long.  
As we were going through the short line, I was reminded of what I tell my kids often, “it’s not what you know as much as who you know” that will help open doors for you in your life!  Wanda was Fast Pass through security!
Of course you know that I am going to get biblical on you…but knowing Jesus Christ is the greatest thing that we can do to have a fulfilled life because He is the greatest!
Just a few reminders to know about Jesus:
  • He is the greatest of all time (John 1:27)
  • He is the door to salvation (John 10:9)
  • He is the way, truth and life (John 14:6)
  • He gives abundant life (John 10:10)

And the list could go on and on!  
We are thankful for these great truths, but the greatest truth is that Jesus Christ died for you (1 Timothy 1:15) and that He currently is making intercession for you (Romans 8:34)!
So if Jesus died for me and is always thinking and praying for me…why should I ever be overcome with fear or stress?  Even though those things will come upon me from time to time, I do not have to give in to them because of who I know! 
What about you?  Are you overcome right now?  If you are a believer in Jesus, remember who you know!  Remember who is in your corner!  Remember who you are!

Message From Matt – July 10

If you like watching TV shows,  you know that sometimes your favorite show will end an episode with an unanswered question called a “cliffhanger”.  This is where a climatic part of the show cuts off just before letting you know what happens next, making you wait another week before you get the answer.  It makes for intriguing TV but honestly I always hated how those shows ended!  I wanted to know what happened right then and there and not wait!
The Book of Jonah ends this same way…like a cliffhanger (see Jonah 4:11)!  Being transparent here, I don’t like how the book ends.  It ends without us knowing what Jonah’s response is to God’s question. God asked Jonah if he had a  right to be angry about his shade withering away and at the same time not caring about the thousands of innocent children that would be killed if Jonah got what he wanted.  We don’t know what Jonah’s reply was!  It doesn’t show if Jonah had a change of heart!  It doesn’t show if God had any further punishment on Jonah for his attitude! It doesn’t tell us anything else but leaves us with unanswered questions!  
You already know this but let me say it anyway…unanswered questions are very frustrating! 
We often have seasons in our lives that we are looking for answers to questions only to have those answers put on hold!  Each time this happens, it is like we are waiting for the answer but it rarely comes when we want it.  What is intriguing of the make believe TV show is replaced with impatience, frustration and doubt in our real lives! Since one day is as a 1,000 years to God (2 Peter 3:8), waiting is not an issue for Him! But since waiting one day seems like a 1,000 years to us…it’s a big deal!!
If this is you right now and you are waiting for an answer from God on something, I want you to take heart!  God is still working while you are waiting.  
In fact, the Bible is very clear about His work in the waiting periods…
  • He will renew your strength while you wait – Isaiah 40:31
  • He has great thoughts toward you – Jeremiah 29:11
  • While we wait we can have hope in His Word – Psalm 130:5
  • That those who wait on the Lord will inherit the earth – Psalm 37:9 

There is enough biblical proof that God is working His purpose in and through you while you are waiting that we should have plenty to rejoice about! 
If you’re frustrated today, don’t give up!  Don’t throw in the towel and think that God has forsaken you (Hebrews 13:5). Don’t surrender to the enemies’ mind games while you wait!  But believe that God is working all things for His glory and your good!
Although we don’t read what Jonah’s initial response was to God’s final question, we do know that God used Jonah, even with his sinful behavior, to see an entire nation turn to God!  Maybe in your wait, God is going to use you and this experience to impact someone with the truth of His Word!

Message From Matt – July 3

Alarmed, but distracted!
As I was leaving the church building this morning to drive to the gas station across the street, I decided not to buckle my seatbelt because of the short trip. It only took a few seconds for my car to tell me that this was not a good idea…you know, that annoying alarm that comes on telling you to put your seatbelt on!
Even though I heard the alarm going off and was annoyed by its sound, I decided to do nothing about it because the trip was just a short distance.  Writing about it now, it all seems a little silly on my part, because if I wanted to stop hearing the alarm all I had to do is take a few seconds to buckle up.  Instead I was distracted by my thoughts and decided not to do anything about it!  
This got me thinking about other alarms that might be going off that we are too distracted to hear or do anything about:
  • There are alarms with our health!  If you’re not feeling good, you need to do something about it
  • There’s the alarms in our marriage! If there is little to no peace in your home, you need to do something about it
  • There are alarms with our children and grandchildren!  If they are going the wrong way, you need to do something about it even if prayer is the only thing to do
  • There are alarms in our community regarding poverty and crime!  What can we do about it?

I think there are alarms going off all around us but we can easily get distracted and ignore them. It is like the tornado alarm that sounds every Friday in Indianapolis at 11 AM…we have heard it for so long knowing that it doesn’t mean a real emergency that we ignore its intended purpose.  I think this is the way it is in our spiritual life too.
The Holy Spirit sounds alarms when we aren’t going the way that we should (called conviction) but I wonder if we aren’t too distracted (or spiritually lazy) to do anything about it?  
Then there’s the Biblical alarm that Jesus will return again!  There are alarms going off in all areas of our planet that what the Bible said was going to happen, is in fact happening!  There are wars, tensions, perversions, and all types of wickedness that is taking place.  There are national alignments that are shaping up like the Bible predicted and just about everyone hates Israel.  The end times are upon us and God’s alarms are going off!
So what are we to do?

  1. When the Spirit convicts (sounds the alarm)…repent!
  2. Be in the Word of God and in prayer!
  3. Watch for Jesus’ return and look for ways to share the gospel of Christ!
  4. Do these things every day!

I think the time that we have is relatively short…let’s listen to God’s alarms and not be distracted!