Message From Matt | December 7, 2018

“The other disciples therefore said unto him (Thomas), We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” – John 20:25-27

 

Ever wonder what those eight days were like for Thomas from the time that he said he would not believe unless he put his hands into Jesus’ wounds until the very moment that he did?  That’s the thought that has been running through my mind but I know that  I won’t know the answer…so I am left to wonder and speculate. I have wondered why he didn’t believe until he saw it.  I have wondered what experiences he had witnessed or influences that he had had that led to his unbelief.  Here are the thoughts that come to my mind…

 

Staying in his stubbornness…

Thomas had to be stubborn!  Since he said he wouldn’t believe, then he was going to stick by it!  The other disciples that saw Jesus had to keep trying to convince him, but Thomas wasn’t going to have any of it.  He saw Jesus die on the cross and be buried and for some reason he decided not to believe that it was possible that Jesus rose again!  Did he forget that Jesus told them that he was going to die and rise again (

Matthew 16:21

)?  Did he think that the other disciples were a bunch of liars?  Or was he just prideful and didn’t want to give in to the hysteria? Whatever the reason is, he was determined not to believe unless he saw and felt for himself!  

 

Wondering “what if”…

Then I think that he had to have sometime in those eight days when he wondered “

what if”?  “What if Jesus really was alive?”  “What if the other guys weren’t lying or crazy?”  “What if I have really blown it for not believing?”  “What if I don’t get the chance to redeem myself to Jesus and the guys?”  

Maybe, just maybe, he wondered “what if” he was wrong?  

 

Then there’s the  moment he saw Jesus…

“What have I done?”  “Why didn’t I believe?”  “Why did I wait 8 days to believe?”  “Why did Jesus wait 8 days to show Himself to me?”  I think that he had to be thinking something like this when Thomas saw Jesus.  He had to have regret and guilt as he was looking in the face of Jesus.  He had to wish that he had chosen to believe rather than to be stubborn!  Can you imagine what it had to be like for Thomas to look Jesus in the face, knowing that he should have believed?  I know that I would hate to be defined by one sinful act or bad decision but maybe that is what Thomas needed to fuel his faith!  He did move from a disciple to a doubter, then being devoted and finally dying for Christ.  

The effect on Thomas seeing Jesus was that he would never doubt in Jesus again!  He took what we believe was the worst eight days of his life and used that to propel his faith moving forward!

 

What about you?

What’s your faith like?  Do you believe what God’s Word says or are you struggling with doubt and worry?  Maybe you have heard all your life about how God is good but lately you haven’t been believing it?  Maybe you have fear about what lies ahead of you for your future and struggle to believe that God is with you or will help you?  Maybe you are just being stubborn or maybe you have been hurt so much that you just don’t know what to believe anymore? If any of those thoughts fit you, let me encourage you with these truths:

  1. God’s Word is true! (Psalm 119:160, John 17:17)
  2. God’s love is real! (John 3:16, 1 John 4:18)
  3. God’s goodness is towards you! (Exodus 34:6-7)
  4. God’s presence is forever! (Hebrews 13:5)
  5. God’s faithfulness is great! (Lamentations 3:23)
  6. God’s power is limitless!  (Ephesians 3:20-21 – “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.”)

Let’s not have the regret of the “what if’s” in our life!  Let’s choose to believe in God, get in His Word and let our faith grow!  A large part of growing a healthy church is growing faith in God!  It’s my hope that IBT’s faith will continue to grow stronger – let’s commit to that! 

 

See you Sunday!



Message From Matt | November 30, 2018

The 3 T’s 
 
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
 
When I worked for Wheeler Mission, I had the great opportunity to speak twice a year to Professor Charles William’s class at Butler University about homelessness, addictions and mental health and what we were doing to help individuals that were living in those situations.  The talks were interactive and it was always something that I looked forward to.  At the end of each talk Professor Williams would conclude the class with his plea for the students to use their “Three T’s” (3T’s).  My first visit to the class was the first time that I heard about these and since then it has always stuck with me. The 3T’s are simple: it’s your Time, Talent and Treasury!  
 
Whether you believe it or not,  here is the truth about the 3T’s….we all have them!  Even if you have a crazy schedule, you still have some time to give!  You might be one of those people who say you don’t have talent, but every single person has at least one talent!  You might have a little money or a lot of money, but we all can give!  Maybe you don’t have a lot of these three things to give, but let me encourage you with this truth….you don’t have to have a great amount of any of the 3T’s to make an impact!  Remember the Bible account of the poor widow who gave all that she had (Luke 21:1-4)?  She probably didn’t have much of the 3T’s either but it didn’t matter, she gave all that she had and is great proof that even the small things that we do can make a big impact!  She lived out 2 Corinthians 9“if you sow bountifully you shall also reap bountifully!” 
 
It’s a Heart thing!
What you purpose in your heart to do, that’s what you will do!  If you purpose that you can’t give much of your 3T’s, then you won’t give.  If you dopurpose to give, then you will; It’s all a matter of the heart!  When I determine to give and then do it, God has always shown me that He will take care of me (Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 37:25-26).  When He takes care of me, then it builds my faith and makes me want to continue the process!  However, if we don’t want to give of any of the 3T’s, then it shows a poor heart condition!  God wants us to give because we want to!  He wants us to give cheerfully and not begrudgingly!  He doesn’t want you to feel like you have to give…He wants you to desire to give!  He wants us with joy to give just a fraction of what He has given us!  He wants us to sacrifice just a fraction of what He sacrificed!  He wants our hearts more than He wants our money!  He knows that if our heart is right, then giving of the 3T’s will be done  right! 
 
God will take care of you!
Let me repeat this, God will always take care of you!  He has the amazing ability to take what you have, even if you think it’s a little, and make something big happen with it!  Some think that It’s easy to give when your money situation is good, but what if your money situation won’t be good until you give?  What if you won’t reach your full potential of talent until you start using the talent that you have?  What if you will never have enough time unless you start using your time for Him?  
 
We can easily misuse our money, time and talent! I have done that a lot in my life but God has given us instruction on how to spend our money…You Obey/Work/Give/Save = Your Needs are taken Care of = You have Greater faith!!
 
Let me end with this oldie but goodie, you can never out give God!  
 
Look for ways to give your 3T’s every day!
 

See you Sunday!


Message From Matt | November 23, 2018

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”  Hebrews 13:15-16
 
What pleases God?
 
According to this passage, the things that please God are to 1) Do Good, and 2Communicate Good Continually!  Let’s not overthink what this means because it’s simple…we should “do good” to others and for God!  It pleases Him when His children obey His Word and Spirit…this is doing good!  It pleases Him when we sacrifice of ourselves for the good of others…this is doing good!  It pleases Him when we let go of pride and ask forgiveness of someone that we have offended…this is doing good!  There are many ways that we can “do good” and we should always be looking for ways to do this!  But, the verse says that we should also communicate good things as well!  
 
Our words are important and they are powerful tools that can be used for destruction or edification!  They can be used to complain or they can be used to show the gratitude in our heart no matter what happens.  Life doesn’t always go the way that we want it to and there are times when the stresses of it can overwhelm us.  It could be finances, relationships, kids going down the wrong path, or feeling like we don’t have much good going on that  causes us to not want to  praise Him but we have to resist that temptation and commit to thank Him!   This might be you right now!  If so, maybe you think, “praising God is a sacrifice!”  Maybe you are in a place that you haven’t been praising God at all!  I think that there are several  reasons for this, here are a few examples:

 
  1. We get caught up in everyday life and forget!
  2. Things aren’t going our way and we don’t feel joyful!
  3. We have loss and wonder why God allowed it to happen! 
  4. Maybe your Thanksgiving day wasn’t anything to be thankful for and family strife was at an all-time high?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 
If any of these are happening now to you then do yourself a favor and just breathe!  Then start thinking about all the good things that God has done for you and I will guarantee you that your reasons to be thankful are greater than the things that drag you down!  Our problem many times is that we focus on what we don’t have (or what is going wrong) and don’t stop to think about all the good that we do have! 
 
Will you take a moment right now and write down 5 things on paper that God has done for you?

 
  1. ______________________________________________________

 
       2.  ______________________________________________________
 
       3.  ______________________________________________________
 
       4.  ______________________________________________________
 
       5.  ______________________________________________________
 
The last thought for today is that a complaining attitude about the problems in our life is a sign that we might not trust God!  A grateful attitude shows that we trust Him!  God does not like a critical and complaining attitude!  No matter what is happening in your life today, choose to be thankful!  Choose to trust Him!  As Dave Ramsey says, “We have better than what we deserve!” 
 

God bless you all today!  Bekah and I are grateful to call you friends!