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Message From Matt | September 10, 2017

 

Are you risen with Christ? 

I ask that after reading Colossians Chapter 3 this morning in which the first 3 verses state, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”   
 
Of course, as a believer, we are risen with Christ through our faith in Him, but we must also never forget to continually “set our affection” on Him.  To do this, we are going to have to die to ourselves (3:5) on a regular basis.  Dying to ourselves is a process that consists of “putting off” fleshly characteristics and “putting on” godly characteristics.  Remember, in Christ you are a  “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and Paul reiterates this in Colossians 3:9-10 where he says we have put off the old man and have
 put on the new man.  The reality is that you are a new man (or woman) through your faith in Christ!  However, we are still in this world and not in our heavenly home yet and have enemies constantly trying to destroy us!  To combat this we must put off the bad and put on the good.  Put off the works of the flesh and put on the work of the Spirit.  
 
For example, Paul says in Colossians 3:8 to put off anger, wrath, blasphemy and filthy communication out of our mouth.  That makes sense, right?  Obviously those “put off” things are not of God and should not be part of the Christian’s life!  But they will be if we don’t fight against them, with help from God. This is where the “put on’s” come into play.  In Colossians 3:12-14
 Paul says that we are to put on “bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearance, forgiveness, etc…” with charity being the greatest of these things.  In this passage,  I find it interesting that the first thing to put off is anger and the first thing to put on is mercy.  The two are complete opposites, which is exactly the point.  

Do you find it easy to get angry at someone but hard to show them mercy? If so, why? Showing mercy shouldn’t be hard if we realize that we have been given much mercy!  When we stop and think about it, do we deserve God’s mercy?  NO!  Do we deserve God’s grace?  NO!  Should we be thankful that God has given us both?  YES!! Should we show mercy to those that we don’t like or who have hurt us deeply? YES!  I have sometimes found it hard to show mercy to people that have hurt me, then I realize that God has been so merciful to me, why hold onto anger that is only hurting me, not helping me? 

Are you holding onto anger or bitterness?  If so,  let it go and show mercy and grace.  It will be a freeing experience for yourself and a blessing to those that receive it!  If you struggle with a particular person in this regard, please picture them as a teacher once suggested to me…with a sign on them that says “For whom Christ died for!”.  If we see that in every person,  it will definitely change our perspective.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday and we will talk about God’s mercy further!



Message From Matt | August 31, 2017

 

I receive email devotionals from numerous sources on a daily basis and sometimes there are ones that really impact my day.  Such is a devotional that I read from Dr. Jack Graham regarding the priorities in our lives.  He included in his thoughts a true story of a man from Russia coming for his first visit to the United States for business.  Some of the men that he was working with wanted to take him to a professional football game to show him some American culture and experience a football game.  He saw the large crowd, the massive stadium and passion of the fans.  After the game, one of his business associates put his arm around him and said, “ What did you think of the game?”  The man paused for a moment and said, 
“I have never seen such first rate enthusiasm wasted on a second rate cause.” 
 
If you know me, you know that the NFL season is my favorite of all the sports genres.  It always has been and probably always will be (by the way, the NFL season starts 
September 7th
).  I love watching the game and can easily get caught up in it and before i realize it, I have spent the last 3 hours on the couch.  Then, after that game is over, I can watch a couple of other games that night and 2 others throughout the week. In all, I could easily watch 15 + hours of football per week for the 16 weeks of the regular season without giving it much thought!    At this point you might be thinking that I am going to tell you to stop watching as much football (or any other sport) as you do!  Actually, that is not my intent. I am still going to watch football and probably be disappointed with the Colts this year, but I am still going to watch because I love it.  
 
My real intent is to talk about the words from the Russian regarding the “first rate enthusiasm on a second rate cause” and what that implication means to me.  I am all for us having a enthusiasm for sports as it is completely biblical to have fun in this life!  I am all for us enjoying the abundant life that Christ gives us.  However, I am oftentimes frustrated with myself that I find more satisfaction with the things of this world rather than with the One who created this world.  I realize that I can easily give my first rate attention to second rate causes and over look the real reason that I am here for.  Are you like that?  If so, why do we do that?  There might be several reasons for this, but I want to give you one that I think is true in my life, maybe it fits yours as well. I that I can overlook how much better the “
taste of God’s goodness” is than anything that this life has to offer.  David wrote in Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the Lord is good:…
”  When we experience God’s goodness and can see it in our lives, it is one of the greatest feelings that you will ever have and you want more of it!  Nothing in this earth can compare to it!  The question is, are you putting too much emphasis on second rate causes or are you focused on the first rate cause of growing closer to the Lord?  
 
  • Football and other sports are not bad things!  Watch it and have fun!  
  • Your show, whatever that is, may or may not be a bad thing!  If it isn’t, watch it and have fun!
  • Being close to your friends and family is a great thing!  Continue to do that!
  • Tasting and seeing the goodness of God in your life is the best thing!  Do that and experience real joy and everything else is just icing on the cake.
 
So how do we taste and see that God is good?  I hope to answer that this Sunday, see you there! Read  
Psalm 34
 to see what I am going to preach out of.


Message From Matt | August 24, 2017

 

I have always been intrigued by the Book of Esther and the amazing account of how God used her to save His people.  I am sure that you remember the account of what took place, but let me set up the scene in your mind.  A king over a very large territory threw a party for his friends and at the same time his wife, the queen, threw a party for her friends.  After 7 days of partying the king wanted to show off his beautiful queen to his friends and commanded that she come to his party to be on display…she refused!  The king was very angry and removed the queen from her position and set out to search for the next queen.  In a similar fashion of our beauty pageants today, the king had young ladies from all the provinces of his kingdom audition to be the next queen, whether they wanted to or not.  Esther, a Jew, was picked!  Just because Esther was now the queen it didn’t mean that everything was going great!  Remember, she was pulled from her family and the life that she knew!  She only saw the king when he wanted to and had little to no relationship with him.  She was put in a position and place that she didn’t understand and on top of all that Haman, a top leader in the king’s cabinet, wanted to kill all of her people.  You probably remember the rest of the account but let me finish it anyway.  Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, saved the king from an assassination attack and the king eventually honored him at the disgust of Haman.  Esther revealed Haman’s plot to kill the Jews to the king and he had Haman hung on the same gallows that he created for the Jews.  The result, God’s people were saved! (please read the 10 chapters of Esther when you can for the full account)
 
You might remember the pivotal part of this account.  It was where Mordecai told Esther that she was going to have to go to the king and reveal the plot of Haman to destroy the Jews.  It was apparent that there was no other way that they would be saved, but there was a problem.  To go in front of the king without being called was an act punishable by death!  Sounds pretty intense doesn’t it!  Esther had a decision to make.  She had to decide if taking a chance with her life to save the lives of many was the thing to do.  In her fear and indecision, Mordecai said the famous words to her found in 
Esther 4:14“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy fathers house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
 
That thought, “…for such a time as this?” is what I think about our current national and international situations that we find ourselves in and how important it is that we equip ourselves to speak for Christ.  I think that it no accident that we are in the era of human history that we are in.  It is no accident of where we are working or living.  There are no accidents with God!  However, I do think that we often wonder why things happen like they do?  We can ask what’s the purpose of it all?  We can ask why? Why? Why? 
I can’t tell you the exact answer to the “why?” questions that we can have, but I can tell you that it is no accident.  I can tell you that God has allowed you to be Indy for such a time as this!  Remember, as believers, God has given us everything that we need to live a victorious Christian life!  He has given us salvation, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and a fellowship of believers that all work together to equip us.  
 
But what are we supposed to do with what God has given us?  We need to share it!  It is easy to take the gift that God has given us and never share it, in fact that is often what our insecurity wants us to do.  But let me remind you that you were put here for a purpose!  For such a time as this!  Don’t retreat!  Don’t give in!  Speak up!  Stand firm in your faith!  Continue to send missionaries to other countries to do the work of Christ that we can’t do! Love and lead your families!  Teach your kids the Word of God! Love as Christ has loved!  Sacrifice!
 
God has put you in this time and in this place for such a time as this – embrace it!!!