Message From Scott | July 20, 2018

In one of his books, George Barna, a leading church growth consultant, tells about two men in their mid-thirties who find themselves one Sunday morning on a country club golf course. He describes them as “born-again Christians who have eliminated church life from their busy schedules.” Instead of attending church, they worship, as they put it, at the “Church on the Green.”
According to Barna, within the next several years more and more people will follow the lead of those Sunday-morning golfers and opt out of church attendance. A recent church periodical stated that “from high school graduation to age 25, there is a 42 percent drop in weekly church attendance.”

Whatever the reason, eliminating public worship from our lives will prove to be a great loss. All throughout history, whether at an altar, in a synagogue, in the temple, or in their own homes, God’s people gathered together to worship the Lord.

God himself calls us to worship. Our busy lives demand it. The church is called to provide opportunities for people to come together to praise God, be renewed, and be challenged to live out their faith in everyday living. Taking the time to worship benefits our marriages, strengthens our families, and empowers all our relationships.

Psalm 100                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Worship is not complicated. It’s not a list of things that we need to do or places we need to go. It’s as simple as turning our thoughts to God.   In Psalm 100, David is simply reciting facts about God and these facts lead to wonder. It should fill our hearts with joy! We are to make a joyful NOISE because of who God is! As a Christian we have many things to make a joyful noise about.  Take a moment today and think about God’s goodness to you. Think about Jesus hanging on the cross for you. Think about all the mighty things He has done in your life.  When you begin thinking about these things you won’t be able to contain it and you will begin worshipping God! Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with singing. Lift your praise to the one who is worthy of all praise. Make sure worship is on your agenda today!

Message From Matt | July 12, 2018

The Love of our Heavenly Father!

This past Sunday I read from Luke Chapter 15, Jesus’ parable about the prodigal son and his older brother.   I spoke about the brokenness in the lost son after he spent everything and realized that he needed to come back to the father.  We also read that the older son had a need for brokenness but couldn’t see it.  He was prideful and critical and not focusing on the bigger picture…his brother came home!   Instead of being happy he was angry with the father!  He always worked hard and did everything the father told him to do but never had a party thrown for him!  He never got the attention that he thought he deserved!   

This story is a great picture of two types of people that need to be broken.  The first type is the one that commits obvious sins!   The younger son couldn’t pretend that he was living right as his sin was blatant, rebellious, and disgusting.  However, I suggest that the older son’s sin was just as rebellious and blatant and disgusting!  The older son represents the second type of person that needs to be broken, the person that is blinded by their pride regarding how sinful they really are.  This type of person lives their life feeling like they have no problems and often times look down on others with arrogance.

Both of these boys had sin in their lives and both needed to be broken!  

Although the stories of the boy’s lives are often the ones that are focused on the most, I can’t help but think that it is the love of the Father that is the best part! 

Look at what the Father did for His boys:

  • He was patient! The younger son wanted his inheritance early.  The father didn’t have to give it to him, but he did.  The younger son ran off and the father could have tracked him down, but he didn’t.  Instead, the parable says that the father waited (verse 20) for the son to return!  He could have done several things to reach the son, but he was patient!  I think that this is how we as parents need to be as well, especially with our teenage and adult children…patient!  The reality is that I can discipline to change behavior but I can’t change hearts.  It is God alone doing His work that can bring about lasting change.  
  • He was proactive! I love how the father in this parable handled his two sons differently!  With the younger son he was patient but with the older son he was proactive.  When the older son would not come to the party, the father came to him (verse 28). The father treated the son’s sin differently and was perfect in his handling of them.  He could have waited for the older son to come in, but I believe that he knew this son’s pride would get in the way of that.  
  • He was forgiving!  The father had the right to make the younger son a slave or disown him completely.  He didn’t do either!  He could have been angry with the older son for being a “party pooper” but he wasn’t!  His love was marked by his forgiveness as he focused on what was most important in their lives.  He wanted to restore the younger son and teach the older son what forgiveness was.  Many times we can let our hurt feelings and unmet expectations ruin our relationships, but this father determined to forgive instead!
  • He was loving!  When you read this parable there is no doubt that the father loved his boys!  No matter what their actions were, or what they did, they did not lose the love of the father!  They were his boys and nothing was going to change that.  He loved them from birth and nothing was going to break that love!
This father’s actions are a picture of our Heavenly Father and we know that as His children we can never be separated from His love.  Paul wrote in Romans 8:37-39“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Because of the Father and sacrifice of the Son, we are more than conquerors and nothing (or nobody) can separate us from His love!  Once you are a child of God, you are always a child of God!  Do we deserve this love?  NO!  Should we be thankful every day for His love? YES!  To go along with thankfulness to God, we should also demonstrate His love to others!  If you have a child not living right…be patient!  If you have someone at work that you need to go to and show love to…be proactive!  If you have been offended…forgive!  If you get down, remember how God loves you and show that love towards others!  

God loves us greatly…show that love to others!

See you Sunday!

Message From Matt | July 6, 2018

Staying Broken!
I did something this week that I’ve been needing to do for quite a long time…I cleaned and organized my garage!  I don’t mean that I just swept the floor and moved a few things around; no, I tossed out things that I didn’t want, then straightened, swept, and reorganized everything else.  After the job was done, I was hot and dirty, but I was happy!  In fact, I walked into the garage several times afterwards not to get something but just so I could look and admire how nice and neat the garage was!  It felt good to have everything in its place and to walk around the cars and not have bikes to dodge or basketballs to trip over.  On top of that, the floor was clean and the walls were organized with everything  in its proper place!  It’s amazing how a clean and organized garage can make me happy!  
It was in that moment of happiness that the thought came to me, “This looks good now, but the challenge will be to keep it looking this good!”  
That really is the challenge!  The sad truth is that deep cleaning and reorganizing the garage is something that I do at least once a year.  Although I enjoy the times when it’s clean, it can easily become dirty, dusty and disorganized and before I know it, the garage can be “out of control”…again!  I again asked myself, “Why don’t I just keep it clean and organized all the time”???

I think that this same thought can apply to many things in our lives.  Whether it’s our diet, our exercise program, or how we manage our money, I think that many of us can start off well but eventually stop having the same intensity and drive to keep it going.  Maybe that’s just life!  Maybe, it’s just a normal thing that we all go through due to our lack of perfection!  Or maybe we need to focus on being more disciplined in our lives to keep doing the things that we should do!

When it comes to brokenness I think that we can have similar struggles.  There are times in our lives that God can show us things that need to be broken in us and we respond to Him with complete surrender.  When those times do happen, the “sweetness” of the presence of God is so good!  God’s mercy and grace is realized more and our level of peace goes up!  When this happens, it feels great, but if we are not careful, this same sweetness can slip away and when that happens we ask ourselves, “ Why can’t I keep this going?

Actually, we can!  How?

I think the secret to success is not a secret at all…it’s staying close to God!  

Look at what David wrote in  Psalm 34:18“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”   James states in James 4:8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Our daily duty is to stay close to God!  We are not supposed to be double minded and have one foot in the world and one foot on God’s side.  We are supposed to be completely on His side and by His side.  He is constant and does not change.  When we feel like we are apart from Him it is because we change.  Because we stop coming close to Him.  We stop doing the things that helped us stay broken before!  
What about you?  Are you coming closer to God today or are you going farther away from Him?  If you are going farther away, then do some spiritual garage cleaning!  Throw out the junk that doesn’t need to be in there and put things in their right place.  God is here for you!  He is the one that said “…I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”(Joshua 1:5)  We are the ones that move away from Him!  If you want the sweetness of His presence and peace that a surrendered life brings, then always stay close to God.  Spend time with Him each day in prayer and reading the Word!  Ask God to show you what needs to be cleaned up in you and reorganized!  Ask Him what needs to be thrown out!  He will show you and you will be better for it!  

Let’s be broken to us and filled with Him…always!

When God takes us through a period of brokenness, it is never a fun feeling but it has great results.