Message From Matt | November 16, 2018

It seems like it’s everywhere!  Tension over money!  Tension over politics!  Tension over religion!  Tension because of crime and the lack of safety!  It is as if we live in a society where you can hear the ticking of a time bomb that is ready to explode at any moment!  
However, tension and chaos seem to be something that our society thrives on. Sitting in the dentist chair waiting for the dentist to arrive, the TV happened to be tuned to the “Maury Show” and I got to see yet again, more chaos and tension.  This trashy show has people come on to air out all their dirty laundry (if it’s even real) and the crowd soaks it up!  The greater the scandal, chaos, and tension, the louder and rowdier the audience gets!  To me, it’s a disgusting show, but to many in our society, it’s entertainment!  That’s why it (and many shows like it) continue to be on the air – because people love chaos and tension!  
Unfortunately, one of the areas that we see the most tension is in relationships!  Just this week, I was walking into a gas station and found myself walking into a sea of tension.  One couple were yelling and cussing about some issue as they were walking out the door and another young couple with their small boys were inside having an argument.  It was during a small break in their tension that one of their young sons yelled loudly to the dad, “Daddy, Mommy said that you two were going to get a divorce” which precipitated another argument!  After paying my bill, I left the gas station with emotions of sadness for these couples (especially for the kids) even though I didn’t know them, because that type of tension (relationships) is disturbing.    
The reality is that the world will always have tension in it!  But, how do we break free from it?  Let the truth about Christ change every aspect of our life!
Paul wrote in Colossians 3:15-17, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”  
These words are following Paul’s admonition to PUT OFF the old man and PUT ON the new man!  When we decide that the “old man” way of life is not worth the effort, we will then start living freer from the tension of this world and our worldly decisions and start living in peace!  Peace is so much better than tension but God knows that we can’t achieve that on our own!  We need Him to help us!  So, He gave us His Spirit!  He gave us His Word!  He gave us His Son!  He gave us each other!  We have all that we need to live free from chaos, but are we using it?  
If you are struggling today with  the tension that this world’s chaos causes, start thinking about God’s Words and “dwell” on that!   If you’re struggling with depressive thoughts, start thinking about all the good that God has done for you and sing His praises…go on, sing out loud about it!!!  Be thankful and go all out for Him!  We can’t stop the chaos and tension around us, but we sure can stop the tension inside of us!  This is what God does for us – gives us peace in the storm!

See you Sunday!

Message From Matt | October 26, 2018

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  – Proverbs 3:5-6

I know that these verses get used often as a reminder and a source of hope, but I wonder if we really understand them.  At first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything hard to understand with these verses – 
just trust God, not yourself!  But be honest…how much do you really trust God?  How much do you rely on you to figure things out?  Sadly, in my life, even growing up in a Christian environment, there have been many times that I have to say that I relied on self more than God and maybe that’s you too!  I am sure that I am not alone.  I think that this is a universal struggle that we all have but why is this even a struggle?  Is it because we do not know how to balance trusting God with the biblical mandate to also be a good steward and hard worker?  After all, the Bible says that if you don’t work, you shouldn’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  It’s engrained in hard workers to do just that…work hard!  But shouldn’t it be engrained in God’s children to trust in Him?
Growing trust!
This is going to sound too simple because in writing it is simple…our trust in God grows by believing in God’s Word in the good times and the bad times!  Our trust in God grows by spending time with Him in prayer and reading His Word!  Our trust in God grows when we don’t leave our faith but stick it out to see what He does!  
He’s directing even when you don’t see it!
There’s another truth to consider – God is working in and on you even if you don’t see it!  How many times have you looked back on situations that you once struggled with in amazement at what God did for you to get you out of the struggle?  Maybe it only took a little time or maybe it was a long process, but no matter, God was working out His purpose for you! I have had many times like this in my adult life and I can say what David said, “
I have been young, and now am old (middle age for me); yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25) If you have lived long or not so long, you have had struggles, but He was working through your struggles, even when you didn’t see it!  
Why didn’t we see it?
Maybe we just need to clean our glasses!  
I just had dinner tonight with a friend and his young boys and one of the boy’s wears glasses.  The son came from the indoor playground to get a drink at our table and my friend noticed that his glasses were dirty, but his son didn’t think so!  To him, his glasses were fine.  But the dad cleaned them anyway, gave them back to his son and he went back to play!  The son then realized how dirty his glasses really were, he just didn’t know it!
The son with the dirty glasses is so much like me!  I can go through life looking though my own lenses and think I see clearly, but my vision gets clouded and hard to see what’s really around me!  I need to have my spiritual glasses cleaned!  I need to be washed by the water of the Word and get to know God in greater ways!  With clean spiritual glasses, I see my own sin more clearly and I am able to do something about it sooner.  With clean spiritual glasses, I see what God is doing in my life!  With clean spiritual glasses, I am able to be a better influence on those around me!  With clean spiritual glasses, I am able to trust in the Lord with all my heart and get to know Him in a deeper level than before!
Knowing God is more than knowing Bible facts!  Knowing God is spending time talking with Him!  It’s spending time thinking about Him and trusting in Him!  Let’s do everything that we can to get to know Him…in doing so we will trust Him!

Message From Matt | November 9, 2018

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9

This weekend is special to us at IBT because it is the weekend that we put a lot of energy into raising money for our missions program.  We raise money for missions for a very obvious reason…we want to continue to send men and women around the world to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ!  We do this because God’s Word commands us to (
Matthew 28:19-20!  We also do this because this world is dark and getting darker by the moment and people need to know about the Light!  Those in darkness need the Light! The good news is that God is long-suffering and doesn’t want anyone to die while in the darkness!  The good news is that God wants all to come to know Him as Savior (1 Timothy 2:4)!  The good news is that while we’re still living, we can do something about the darkness.  We can…
Be stirred up!
“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:” – 2 Peter 3:1
We need to be stirred up to remember what God’s Word promises us!
We need to be stirred up to remember what Christ has done for us! 
We need to be stirred up to tell others about the gospel of Christ!
We need to be stirred up to send missionaries out to where we can’t go!
Look up (“for”)!
“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” – 2 Peter 3:12 
While we are still here in the darkness, we should continue to be light!  We should continue to have hope and live in peace!  We should have love for the family of God and a desire to see those outside of the family to be saved!  To do this, we have to be focused! We can’t get caught up in the despair of this life, but we have to look forward to our future home!  Somehow, someway (by God’s help) we have to look past the now to look forward to what is to come!  If you are struggling today, know that you won’t always be struggling!   There will be a day, when there won’t be a struggle any longer!
Lay up! 
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” – Matthew 6:20
Since we should be stirred up to look up, we should work to lay up treasures in heaven (spiritual fruit, crowns and rewards).  We do that by following God’s command to deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Him!  We do this in a real, tangible way when we give sacrificially for the good of others!  When we go to our neighbors and friends to share the love of Christ!  When we bake a cake so that the money can be used to keep sending missionaries out! 
I know that I often talk about the negative in the world, but more importantly , I want to talk about what’s good in this world!  What is good is that God is still in the saving business!  What is good is that we can participate in God’s game-plan to spread the gospel to our city and around the world!  What is good is that even when we give a little (what we can) that God can use it to do great things!
I want to stir you up to look up and lay up for the gospel of Christ!  Let’s do this together and see what God does!
See you Sunday!