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Message From Matt | December 21, 2017

 

I was flipping through channels the other night and ended up watching the tail end of the kids movie “Polar Express”.  I’m sure many of you have seen the movie, but if not, the premise is centered around a little boy who takes an unexpected ride on the Polar Express that is headed to see Santa Claus.  This boy, because of hard things that have taken place in his life, has chosen not to believe in Santa or anything good coming out of the Christmas season.  To sum up the movie, after a long, harrowing but magical ride with the other kids on the train, the boy meets Santa and has his joy renewed!  More than that, he believes again!  At the end, the conductor, played by Tom Hanks, validates the boy’s ticket by spelling the word “BELIEVE” on it!  The moral of the movie is to not let anything get in the way of believing. For the boy, believing was what he needed to have hope again!  Believing was what he needed to have joy again!  Believing is what he needed to enjoy life again!
 
The point of believing in this movie has an interesting truth to it!  BELIEVING is important!  Of course, believing in Santa Claus is not important but believing in the source of hope, joy and life are and we all know where this source comes from – it comes from JESUS!
 
Peter says in 1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  Paul says in Titus 2:13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” So we know that we can have hope because of Jesus!
 
In the Gospel of Luke (1:14) he tells us “And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth (Jesus) .” and then John says in John 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my (Jesus) joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” – John 15:11.  So we know that we can have joy because of Jesus!

 

Then in the Book of John, there is also another theme that is very prevalent!  Believe on Jesus to have life! 
  • For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
  • Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death unto life.” – John 5:24
  • “For the bread of life is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” – John 6:33

The greatest gift that anyone can have is new life in Christ!  How do we get it?  BELIEVE!  Believe in Jesus – He is the source of our hope and joy!  Believe in Jesus – He is the source of our life!  

This Christmas season, I hope that we all will treasure Jesus, because He truly is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE!  I hope that if there is anyone that is struggling this Christmas in believing in hope, joy and a fulfilled life that they will believe again!  That we will look to Jesus this Christmas as the source of all things good!  Turn your struggles over to Jesus; after all, He cares for you very much!!  

Merry Christmas everyone and I will see you on Sunday!  BELIEVE in CHRIST!!

Matt



Message From Matt | December 14, 2017

 

I know that I told this story at least once in a service and another time in a Bible study, but I would like to share it again and probably at the disproval of my son Brandon :)!  When Brandon was little he went through a time that he was very stubborn and would be a challenge to discipline!  Can any parents relate to to us on this?  One particular time that he was being difficult around age 4 or 5 was when he lied about doing something that he shouldn’t have.  When we found out the truth and confronted him on the lie, he stated that it was just a “little lie” and he didn’t think he should be punished.  That is when God gave me a good thought.  It was dinner time and I asked him about the carrot that I had in my hand.  I asked, “
what is this?”  He responded, “a carrot!”  Then I took a bite out of the carrot and asked him again “what is this?” and he again answered “a carrot!” Then I repeated that process until I had just a little piece of the carrot left and Brandon’s answer didn’t change.  No mater the size of the carrot, it was still a carrot!  Then I told him that no matter how little the lie was it was still a lie!  I reminded him that telling the truth is always so much easier and better.  I think that he learned something that day that I hope he will keep with him the rest of his life.   That telling the truth and living in the truth is the best way to live!  
 
However, not everyone lives this way!  Many do live their lives in dishonesty!  Our American culture seems to be rampant with people who don’t have truth as a part of their fabric.  Many don’t trust public leaders, church leaders, supervisors, spouses, kids, etc… because there have been too many times that they have “burned”!  We also hear people say that they don’t come to church because there are too many hypocrites in church.  They assume that most in church are those who talk about godly things but don’t live it out.  There are definitely people that have or do those things.  I have in the past and I hope not to ever do again.  
 
So where is truth? Consistent, unfailing truth?  Let me give you a one word answer – JESUS!
 
Jesus said in John 14:6, “…I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 1:17 states, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
John 1:14 states, “…the Word (Jesus)…is full of grace and truth.”
And there are many more verses that speak to Jesus as the truth!
 
The point is that there lies all around us we might not know what to believe, but please don’t ever lose sight of Jesus being the truth!  Of the Word of God being truth!  
 
This is yet another reason that we can rejoice this Christmas season!  Jesus came into the world to save us, but also to be truth!  He is the way to Heaven – that is the truth!  He is life – that is truth!  He is the way – that is truth!  He is the Light  – that is the truth!  He is love – that is truth!  He is the Creator – that is truth!  He was born of a virgin – that is truth!  He lived a sinless life – that is truth!  He died on a cross and rose again – that is truth!  He is coming again – that is truth!  
 
This coming week as we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us also celebrate that He is the TRUTH!  Believe in HIM!
 
Matt


Message from Matt | December 10th, 2017

John the Baptist was by all accounts an interesting man!  His birth, recorded in Luke 1, was miraculous, given the age of his parents (Luke 1:7) and was similar to the birth of Isaac (Genesis 17, 21).  He lived in the desert most of his life (Luke 1:80), dressed in leather and camel hair clothing and ate locusts and wild honey for his food (Matthew 3:3-4).  He was a fiery preacher that preached in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17) and preached repentance to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 3:2).  His bold stand for truth and righteousness did not win him fans with the rulers as he had his head cut off for calling out the sins of the king (Matthew 14:1-12).
 
However, John the Baptist was also a man with a clear direction for his life that was given by God (Luke 1:76-80) – His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus to come!  The arrival of John ended the time of the law and the prophets and he began to preach about the Kingdom of God (Luke 16:16) and he spent his life doing just that!  John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus who is the WAY!  In fact, Jesus said “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).  Salvation can only come through Christ!  The old way of salvation by works/law were ended and the new way of salvation by believing in Jesus Christ was now come and for this  we should be very grateful!  John the Baptist prepared the way from the old way of religion to the new way of faith in Christ, but it was Jesus who paid it all!  God sent His Son to earth (Luke 2) because He loves us (John 3:16), and Jesus went willingly to the cross for the payment of our sins! 
 
Today we are going to focus on Treasuring Christ because He is the Way!  He is the way of eternal life with Him!  He is the way of having peace on earth and good will towards men!  He is the way of having a purpose in this life!  He is the way that we can love our neighbors!  He is the way that we can have Joy!  I pray that this Christmas is the best that it can be as we celebrate and treasure Christ’s birth!