Message From Matt – March 13

Wait on the Lord
Have you ever been so discouraged and distressed by what is going on around you that you just want to throw in the towel? The answer for most of will be, yes, definitely!  We live in a world that has a lot of ups and downs in it, but there are times when the downs seem overwhelming!  There are seasons in our lives when the worry gets immense or the pain of loss is too much to bear and we wonder why God has allowed these things to happen to us.  Maybe not everyone has experienced that, but we will all go through challenging times; the question is, what will sustain you when you are struggling?  Let me suggest the three things that David wrote about in Psalm 27:11-14 that will help….1) the goodness of God; 2) our heavenly hope;  and 3) our hearts being strengthened by waiting on God.  
Look what David says about this in these verses:  “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.  Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.  I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
What a great passage!  When we have troubles, or are in trouble, there are times where we can feel like fainting too!  It’s easy to throw in the towel but God’s goodness can sustain you!  It is God’s goodness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).  It is God’s goodness that will follow us all of our days (Psalm 23:6).  David also told us to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8)!  
But the goodness that David is talking about in Psalm 27 is something that he couldn’t see yet.  It was something that he had to wait for.  It was something that he had to look forward to!  
You might feel defeated today, but I want you to have some hope!  Jesus is coming!  He is preparing a place for you (John 14:1-3) and will come for you.  Until then, He has given us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to strengthen us when we are weak.  And since we have the Holy Spirit, we don’t have to live defeated!  We can wait on the Lord and have courage, knowing that He can sustain us!  
Believe that you will see the goodness of the Lord!
Wait on Him!
Be courageous!  

And God will give you strength!  Let’s not be defeated or depressed – believe in God’s goodness! 

Message From Matt – March 6

You don’t know what you have….
Recently, I heard once again that old phrase, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” and it got me thinking about the great things that we have as believers that we can easily take for granted.  As believers we have been given much, but if we’re not careful,  our relationship with God can become stale.  I think this can happen to anyone and usually it’s because of busyness and pressures of this life that it can feel that way.  Or maybe it’s because we just make other things a priority until  we get to the point that we forget what closeness with God feels like.  We also can’t overlook the affect of sin not dealt with in our life can cause this to happen.  
No matter the reason, when we get to the point that closeness with God seems a thing of the past, it’s good to reset our priorities and remember what is important.  
For example, Bekah sent me the video below with the thought, “I wish we all reacted this way to getting a Bible”.  When I saw this video I was immediately captivated by it.  The little girl received a Bible for a gift and it made her day…maybe her year!  She was moved to tears because of the Bible as it seems that she had to borrow a Bible before.
After watching it I agreed with Bekah’s statement…wouldn’t it be great if we all acted like that with the Bible that we have?  So excited to have one!  So excited to be in it!
I know that we are all busy, but being in the Word seems like it should be non-negotiable!  We should start (and maybe end) our day with it.
After watching this video,  I was reminded of another video that I showed a couple of years ago in a church service (see below).
All I can say is that these two videos are very convicting to me!  
I know that many in our church are in the Word on a regular basis, but I’m sure that we could all say that we could be in it more.  I want to encourage you to read the Bible today (and every day) and enjoy it!  Ask God to give you an excitement when you read it.  Ask God to give us something fresh from it every day!  I believe Psalm 37:4 states it well;  “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  I look at this and believe that if we delight in what God delights in, then we will want what He wants and it is then that we will get what our heart desires.  
But to get there we have to come to the place in our lives that we are wanting more and more of God each and every day! We want to hear from Him and live for Him!

I want to be in that place…hearing from God and following Him!  I want to be excited for the things that we have from God just as the people in these videos are for the Word of God!

Message From Matt – March 1

Why do we look to Jesus?
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  – Hebrews 12:2 
I’m doing a message series on Sundays  called “The Process,”  which is a culmination of truths that I have learned along the way that I have been applying to my life!  In context, the process is about my life (and your life) and specifically the things that are important for us to focus on and help us to grow.  The first thought that I shared was that we oftentimes get mixed up in life because we are trying to do things that only God can do.  Sure, we have responsibilities that God wants us to do, but it is God that controls the outcomes and is responsible for any good results in our lives.  Freedom comes from knowing what God’s work consists of and what our responsibility is!
The second thought is this; in the process, we have to keep our eyes on Christ if we are going to keep from sinking!  
Of course in this context, I think about the passage where Peter walked on the water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus.  When he began to look at the waves and fear, he sank!  It’s a great passage and still true for us today…If we are going to stay above water, we have to continually look to Jesus! But why should we look to Jesus?  
Of course any one would say we should look to Jesus because He is God!  Or because it’s commanded in the Word to look toward Him!  But let me give you a few other reasons…
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith!  He is the originator and completer of what we believe and why we believe it.  His work on the cross and the power of God to raise Him from the dead gives us the motivation to live for Him!
Jesus endured the cross!  I don’t think that He enjoyed it…how could He?  He was human and experienced pain like any of us do!  He was beaten beyond recognition (Isaiah 52:14) and tortured on the cross but He willingly obeyed the will of the Father.  Crucifixion was a horrible way to put someone to death.  The one being crucified was made to kill themselves.  The more that they slid down the cross, the more weight on their lungs there would be and less oxygen would be available. The person would eventually get too tired from constantly trying to keep themselves up and asphyxiation would take place. He endured horrific punishment…BUT, He still did it!
Jesus took the shame!  Not only was the perfect person made a curse on the cross (Galatians 3:13) but He had the embarrassment of being naked for all to see….BUT, He still did it!  
He is seated with the Father!  Now, we look to Him as the One that gives us hope through His resurrection!  He gives us comfort when we are discouraged!  He prays for us on a regular basis!  He is coming again for His church!
So, why do we look to Jesus?  Because He is always there for us to look to!  He is the only one that is completely unconditional in His love and availability!  
Today, you might be experiencing some troubles!  Let me encourage you to look toward Jesus and the Word for help.

Maybe your day is going great and you’re not thinking that you need too much of Jesus today!  Don’t lose focus on Christ even though everything is going well!  Keep your eyes on Him…you always need Him and He is always available.