Message From Matt – July 3

Alarmed, but distracted!
As I was leaving the church building this morning to drive to the gas station across the street, I decided not to buckle my seatbelt because of the short trip. It only took a few seconds for my car to tell me that this was not a good idea…you know, that annoying alarm that comes on telling you to put your seatbelt on!
Even though I heard the alarm going off and was annoyed by its sound, I decided to do nothing about it because the trip was just a short distance.  Writing about it now, it all seems a little silly on my part, because if I wanted to stop hearing the alarm all I had to do is take a few seconds to buckle up.  Instead I was distracted by my thoughts and decided not to do anything about it!  
This got me thinking about other alarms that might be going off that we are too distracted to hear or do anything about:
  • There are alarms with our health!  If you’re not feeling good, you need to do something about it
  • There’s the alarms in our marriage! If there is little to no peace in your home, you need to do something about it
  • There are alarms with our children and grandchildren!  If they are going the wrong way, you need to do something about it even if prayer is the only thing to do
  • There are alarms in our community regarding poverty and crime!  What can we do about it?

I think there are alarms going off all around us but we can easily get distracted and ignore them. It is like the tornado alarm that sounds every Friday in Indianapolis at 11 AM…we have heard it for so long knowing that it doesn’t mean a real emergency that we ignore its intended purpose.  I think this is the way it is in our spiritual life too.
The Holy Spirit sounds alarms when we aren’t going the way that we should (called conviction) but I wonder if we aren’t too distracted (or spiritually lazy) to do anything about it?  
Then there’s the Biblical alarm that Jesus will return again!  There are alarms going off in all areas of our planet that what the Bible said was going to happen, is in fact happening!  There are wars, tensions, perversions, and all types of wickedness that is taking place.  There are national alignments that are shaping up like the Bible predicted and just about everyone hates Israel.  The end times are upon us and God’s alarms are going off!
So what are we to do?

  1. When the Spirit convicts (sounds the alarm)…repent!
  2. Be in the Word of God and in prayer!
  3. Watch for Jesus’ return and look for ways to share the gospel of Christ!
  4. Do these things every day!

I think the time that we have is relatively short…let’s listen to God’s alarms and not be distracted!

Message From Matt – June 26

Half way!
Have you ever seen a squirrel crossing the road, then when it sees an oncoming car, instead of going the rest of the way,  it will turn back and run to where it started from?  I have!  The incident that pops in my mind every time I see a squirrel do this happened many years ago when a squirrel was a few feet from the side of the road but chose to run back to the starting point when a car approached!  I wondered back then…why didn’t the squirrel keep on going?  Why did he go back to start instead of finishing his course?
Even though I didn’t understand it then, I believe that I understand it now.  As a disclaimer, I haven’t studied the instinctual habits of squirrels but I do think I have this figured out:
  • The squirrel has fear and would rather run backwards than running forwards and facing the unknown.

Um…that sounds like us sometimes too!
Oftentimes we will start moving in the right direction, keeping our eyes on the road ahead, BUT then something happens!  It’s a health scare, a financial struggle, a problem at work, or a criticism for standing up for Christ and we can find ourselves moving backward rather than keep moving forward.  Why?  Fear and the desire to be safe and comfortable rather than facing the unknown! 
Here’s a news flash…God doesn’t want you to go backward, only forward!  Here’s another one…God is with us all the time and gives you the strength to keep moving forward!  
The Bible is very clear, that with God we are more than conquerors and we are never separated from Him (Romans 8) and what that means for us is that we cannot ever escape the presence of God and He gives us the strength to keep moving forward!  
For example, some of the things that you might be trying to move forward on could be meeting your health goal, or that ministry that you have been wanting to start, or a new position at work;  you have the choice to make; are you going to let fear send you backward or are you going to believe in God and keep moving forward?
I am encouraging you today to not have the faith of a squirrel!  Don’t go backward when you need to go forward!  Don’t give up…you have the all-powerful God with you at all times! 

Message From Matt – June 19

Fast Pass 
On our vacation last week we went to Disney World Magic Kingdom for a day and yes, it is true, it’s the most magical (magical is code word for expensive) place on earth!  
Not only was it one of the most magical days ever, for me it was also filled with much frustration.  It took us two hours to get from the parking lot to actually walking into the park. I had to take out a second mortgage to pay for our meals and the crowds were so large it seemed like half of the population of Florida was there.  With that size of a crowd, the biggest frustration was that we had to wait in a long line to get to the ride…wait times sometimes upwards to 2 hours for a 5 minute ride. That is unless you had a Fast Pass!
This pass is something that you had to go to a kiosk and reserve a spot for a certain time period.  You could spread out your rides throughout the entire day and what the Fast Pass got you was bypassing the long wait times to get to the ride.  For example, the line for Splash Mountain had a 115 minute wait in the regular line, but we got through to the ride in 10 minutes with the Fast Pass!  When I was in the Fast Pass line I was so happy to be there, but when I was in the regular line on another ride, I was coveting those people’s Fast Pass!
I came to love the Fast Pass…really love it!
However, in life, I think people are looking for the Fast Pass in everything!  We want money, comfort, and security and we want it now!  It’s often said that young adults want all the things that they have grown accustomed to with their parents but not work for it like their parents had to.  I don’t blame them.  I find myself wanting things without putting the work into it!  For example, I dream about winning $7,000.00 a week for the rest of my life when I see the Publisher’s Clearinghouse commercials, but I always neglect the first step in that dream…actually going online and signing up for it!  I assume that it will be an endless trap of getting offers for magazines and other services that I don’t want and that my chance of actually winning is 1 in a trillion…so I don’t put the effort into it, I just dream about that check coming every week!  
Although God is able to work fast in your life, I think that most times  He chooses to work slowly!  When we want blessings fast,  it seems that God is oftentimes slow in moving on our behalf, but I have found that His timing is always perfect! 
Even today you might be wanting something to happen in your life right now, but God is saying “wait”!  Don’t get frustrated…have faith!   Have faith that God won’t leave you (Hebrews 13:5)!  That God has great thoughts toward you (Jeremiah 29:11)!  That your waiting is not in vain in that there are so many things that He wants to teach you in the waiting about Himself, others and yourself that you wouldn’t get if you got things fast!   
So, appreciate the wait!  Wait on God and know that He is working for you, not against you!  
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14