Message From Matt – July 24

Does your life need some watering?
A couple of weeks ago, Bekah, Brandon and Haley were at kids camp for a week which meant that Brett and I had to pick up the extra chores around the house.  One of the things that I needed to do was to make sure that the garden and the flowers were watered daily, especially since we were in a short drought. I knew that I should have watered in the morning and the evening each day, but I waited until the end the of the day and then just soaked it!  By the end of the week, I was proud of myself that I could tell Bekah that I watered the garden every day and that she could see how healthy the garden looked!  But then I realized my mistake!  I had watered the garden every night but I completely forgot about the flowers…and you could tell it! 
The flowers were wilting, the vines were brown instead of green, and they all were drooping rather than standing tall!  In less than a week, I managed to take Bekah’s healthy flowers and make them look like they were dying.
Why? Because I neglected to water them!
I think that this can be said about  our lives as well!  There are times in our lives that we seem spiritually dry and maybe even feel lifeless!  Is that how you are feeling today?  Most likely there have been times in your life that you have been at a spiritual high point but now you feel the opposite!  In fact, you might feel like the dying flowers at our house…lifeless and headed downward.  If that is the case, what is it that we need?  
We need to turn on the water of the Word so that we can be refreshed and start growing again!  
Isaiah 55:10-13 says this about the Word of God being refreshing to us…”For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” 
Once I realized my mistake in not watering the flowers,  I quickly started the watering process! Of course, I knew that if I didn’t do something fast, Bekah was not going to be happy…which meant that I wasn’t going to be happy!   I was amazed (and thankful) what some water did for those dying flowers!  It helped bring them to life again!  Within a couple of days those flowers looked healthy again!  Their colors were bright, the vines were green, and they were standing tall. 
If you want to be refreshed by God on a daily basis,  then you need to be in God’s Word on a daily basis! I believe that you will be amazed at how much you will feel new life and how much you will grow by doing so!
Many of you are aware of the brain surgery that Evangelist Randy Hogue underwent a few weeks ago.  Thankfully his recovery is heading in the right direction but is now in need of some financial assistance.  This Sunday,  we are going to take a special love offering for Randy so please come ready to give to this worthwhile cause.

Message From Matt – July 17

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who you Know!
As many of you know, we headed to Oaxaca, Mexico this week for our annual missions trip to encourage our church plants and see the great work that they are doing!  Since this is my third trip to Oaxaca, I feel that I have good insight on what to expect from start to finish, including the “pain” that getting through security at the airport can be.  I know that the word “pain” seems a little dramatic, but if you fly, you know what I mean…the TSA lines can be a drag.  I expected the security lines to be long!  I expected the process of taking belts and shoes off, emptying my pockets, getting everything on the conveyor belt to be scanned to be a little too much!   Then being scanned myself would be at the very least, slightly annoying!  But this is what you expect when you take a flight…right?
Yes, unless you know someone!
I didn’t know a TSA supervisor or a “high up” at the airport…I just know Wanda Britt!
If you don’t know Wanda, she is a lady that has played a vital role in our church for many years and has an amazing testimony of dedication and service to God/IBT!  But that isn’t the reason that I am writing about her.  I am writing because of what she had…a pass for her and a friend to go through the pre-check line and bypass the long lines through the regular check points.  If you remember my post about the Fast Pass at Disney several works ago, this was similar as we got through the line in a few moments and didn’t have to wait long.  
As we were going through the short line, I was reminded of what I tell my kids often, “it’s not what you know as much as who you know” that will help open doors for you in your life!  Wanda was Fast Pass through security!
Of course you know that I am going to get biblical on you…but knowing Jesus Christ is the greatest thing that we can do to have a fulfilled life because He is the greatest!
Just a few reminders to know about Jesus:
  • He is the greatest of all time (John 1:27)
  • He is the door to salvation (John 10:9)
  • He is the way, truth and life (John 14:6)
  • He gives abundant life (John 10:10)

And the list could go on and on!  
We are thankful for these great truths, but the greatest truth is that Jesus Christ died for you (1 Timothy 1:15) and that He currently is making intercession for you (Romans 8:34)!
So if Jesus died for me and is always thinking and praying for me…why should I ever be overcome with fear or stress?  Even though those things will come upon me from time to time, I do not have to give in to them because of who I know! 
What about you?  Are you overcome right now?  If you are a believer in Jesus, remember who you know!  Remember who is in your corner!  Remember who you are!

Message From Matt – July 10

If you like watching TV shows,  you know that sometimes your favorite show will end an episode with an unanswered question called a “cliffhanger”.  This is where a climatic part of the show cuts off just before letting you know what happens next, making you wait another week before you get the answer.  It makes for intriguing TV but honestly I always hated how those shows ended!  I wanted to know what happened right then and there and not wait!
The Book of Jonah ends this same way…like a cliffhanger (see Jonah 4:11)!  Being transparent here, I don’t like how the book ends.  It ends without us knowing what Jonah’s response is to God’s question. God asked Jonah if he had a  right to be angry about his shade withering away and at the same time not caring about the thousands of innocent children that would be killed if Jonah got what he wanted.  We don’t know what Jonah’s reply was!  It doesn’t show if Jonah had a change of heart!  It doesn’t show if God had any further punishment on Jonah for his attitude! It doesn’t tell us anything else but leaves us with unanswered questions!  
You already know this but let me say it anyway…unanswered questions are very frustrating! 
We often have seasons in our lives that we are looking for answers to questions only to have those answers put on hold!  Each time this happens, it is like we are waiting for the answer but it rarely comes when we want it.  What is intriguing of the make believe TV show is replaced with impatience, frustration and doubt in our real lives! Since one day is as a 1,000 years to God (2 Peter 3:8), waiting is not an issue for Him! But since waiting one day seems like a 1,000 years to us…it’s a big deal!!
If this is you right now and you are waiting for an answer from God on something, I want you to take heart!  God is still working while you are waiting.  
In fact, the Bible is very clear about His work in the waiting periods…
  • He will renew your strength while you wait – Isaiah 40:31
  • He has great thoughts toward you – Jeremiah 29:11
  • While we wait we can have hope in His Word – Psalm 130:5
  • That those who wait on the Lord will inherit the earth – Psalm 37:9 

There is enough biblical proof that God is working His purpose in and through you while you are waiting that we should have plenty to rejoice about! 
If you’re frustrated today, don’t give up!  Don’t throw in the towel and think that God has forsaken you (Hebrews 13:5). Don’t surrender to the enemies’ mind games while you wait!  But believe that God is working all things for His glory and your good!
Although we don’t read what Jonah’s initial response was to God’s final question, we do know that God used Jonah, even with his sinful behavior, to see an entire nation turn to God!  Maybe in your wait, God is going to use you and this experience to impact someone with the truth of His Word!