Message From Matt | September 7, 2018

It’s a Wonderful Life! 

 

In our fallen world that is often filled with frustration and pain, the idea of having a wonderful life seems to be a far-fetched notion to many people…even Christians.  Sure, there are people that are “living the dream”, but there are far too many people whose lives are much less positive than that!  You probably know that the usual suspects that take the wind out of our sails in regards to living the good life end with the word “problems”: Health problems, marriage problems, money problems, job problems, etc…  We oftentimes talk about the problems in our lives like they are chained to us and we will never break free from their grip!  It is through these “

problems” of life that we are pushed to believe that there is no hope in these situations and we are encouraged to live defeated lives.  NO HOPE ALWAYS LEADS TO DEFEAT!  HOPE LEADS TO VICTORY!

 

Living defeated has never been mistaken for a wonderful life!  But, you know what I am going to say next…God didn’t send Jesus for us to live defeated lives!  Actually, Jesus came so that we can have an abundant life (John 10:10

)!  If Jesus came to do that for us, why is it that we can often feel  that this life isn’t wonderful at all?  Maybe there are a lot of reasons for this, and of course, not every believer is living defeated, but I think this problem is widespread enough throughout all of the family of God for it to be a concern.  

 

The Abundant life 

 

Although it might escape some of us on a daily basis, the abundant life isn’t impossible to have!  The abundant life is directly given by Christ and is available to all believers, but what exactly is it and how do we apply it?  Let’s start with what it is not:

 

  1. It’s not having a spiritual “To Do” list and checking off each box as if we are completing a chore and then waiting for God to bless us.  Have you heard anyone say, ”I have done my part, now it’s God’s turn to do His part!”?  (wrong motive)
  2. It’s not having an abundance of stuff! (wrong desire)
  3. It’s not having a problem free life (wrong thinking)

 

The Abundant life (the wonderful life) is:

 

  1. A deeper personal knowledge of Christ(Philippians 3:8) that leads to living in the confidence of Christ’s work in me (Philippians 1:6) which assures me that my future eternity is set in heaven (John 14:1-6) and that I can face life’s problems because I am more than a conquerer through Christ (Romans 8)!  

 

Today, no matter what battle you are facing, you can have the abundant life!  You might not have the greatest health or the amount of money in your bank account that you want, but those things can’t stop you from having the abundant life!  Those things can influence your thinking but if we focus on the right things (

Philippians 4

) they can not stop you from having the abundant life God has given you! 

 

Commit today to grow your knowledge of Christ and in doing so you will experience the abundant life!

 

See you Sunday!



Message From Matt | August 31, 2018

“That’s Life!”

When I was a kid I remember hearing about something called Murphy’s Law and I specifically remember having a calendar in our home that had different sayings to explain it.  If you are too young to know what Murphy’s Law is, it’s a common phrase used to express the thought that if anything can go wrong, then it will definitely go wrong!   For example, one of these laws states, “Anything that you try to fix will take you longer and cost you more than you thought.”   
I remember laughing at these sayings when I was younger and thinking that Mr. Murphy definitely had a negative outlook on life and viewed everything as “glass half empty” rather than “glass half full”!  

As I have gotten a little older, and wiser I hope, I have come to realize that many of these laws that Murphy gets credit for have some measure of truth to them.  Thinking about any household project that I have ever attempted, I can say for a certainty that the projects always took longer than I wanted them to take and cost me more than I wanted to pay!  Is that Murphy’s Law?  No, not really!  That’s just life!  

I don’t know why this comes as a surprise to so many, but this life isn’t fair!  This life isn’t always easy either and things happen that sometimes we don’t understand why it takes place and you might never know how to explain it, other than saying, “That’s just life!”

The Bible states many things about life that are not fair.  It states…

  • Life is short (like a vapor) – James 4:14
  • You will have troubles – John 16:33
  • People might not like you – Matthew 5:44 
  • There will be pain and tears in this life – Psalm 30:5

At this point can I get an “Amen” on the truth of these verses??!!

While all of this is true about the struggles of this life, there is a way for us to have a joy-filled abundant life here and not just waiting for it in the Kingdom or Heaven!  In the same Bible that talks about all the struggles that are in this world, there are many verses that say that we can still have a victorious life even in the midst of all the problems!  

  • You can have the abundant life – John 10:10
  • You can have peace in this life – Philippians 4
  • You can have joy in this life – Psalm 30:5
  • You can have purpose in this life – 1 Peter 2:9
  • and there is so much more that you can have!!!

If you’re struggling right now you are most assuredly not alone!  BUT, you can have victory!  How do we do it?  How can we have victory?  Come or tune in on Sunday as we begin a September series on LIFE that will show us from God’s Word how to have victory now as well as a look at eternal life after this life!  

See you on Sunday!



Message From Matt | August 17, 2018

Consumer Based Religion! 

I think that there is a problem in many religious circles that goes undiagnosed and untreated!  It is the problem of doing spiritual duties (i.e. going to church, giving your money, and even reading the Bible) to be served (“get blessed”) as opposed to doing those things as a reflection of our love and obedience to God.  The rationale of those that think this way is that if they go to church, give their tithe, and read their Bible, then God will bless them with more money, more health, and more blessings.  Although there is truth in the fact that God does command us to go to church (Hebrews 10:25), give our money cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7), and follow the Bible (Psalm 119, Hebrews 4:12), we should NEVER do those things with the primary purpose of getting things (i.e. “Blessings”) in return.  This mindset is what many refer to as “consumer based religion” or in my vernacular, this person is a “taker”!  Doing spiritual things to “get” rather than to “give”!

What’s the problem with consumer based religion? There are many but I will only focus on a few:

  • Motives are important! Sure, God can see past motives and still work good in people’s lives but every time that happens, that is an act of God’s mercy and grace that shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Our motives should be based around obedience to God’s Word and His leading, as well as love towards Him for His saving grace! Motives are the picture of your heart…what is your motive for serving the Lord?
  • Checking the box! So many think that if they check off the box of their spiritual activities like they are checking off chores on their “to do list “ that they will be blessed by God.  The problem with this is that legalism sets in rather than a vibrant relationship with Christ!  Again, spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible reading should be done, but doing these in robotic fashion just so you can check it off your to do list for the day is not God’s intention.  God doesn’t want a robot – He wants a person whose heart is intone with His!  

You will have problems in this life!  The big problem with doing things just so that God will bless you is that when hard times do come, the person with this mindset is left bewildered as to why these things took place.  The questions to God begin to form in our mind, such as, “God, I am doing everything that you want me to, why is this hard thing happening?  Why aren’t you blessing me?”  Although I completely understand why we would ask such  questions, I believe that many times we get to that mindset because we think just because we are doing certain spiritual acts that everything should be rosy…however, that is not the case!  In fact, Jesus said in John 16:33 that we would have tribulation in this world, so we should expect problems to take place!  

Abiding in Christ is the opposite of consumer based religion!

To abide in Christ is far different than checking off your spiritual to do list.  It is constantly being present with the Lord.  Meaning…He will never leave us, so we should also stay close to him as well.  Abiding is drawing close to God!  Abiding is trusting in God no matter what situation is going on in your life!  Abiding is persevering even in troubling seasons.  The only reason that we can have hope through troubles is because of Christ!  His resurrection!  His interceding on our behalf!  His promise of returning for us!  All of these things give us hope!   Abide!  Trust!  

Abiding in Christ leads to producing fruit!  Jesus is the source of this fruit!  

The natural byproduct of abiding with Christ is fruit, not a completed checklist!  The fruit of the Spirit grows in us!  The fruit of obedience grows in us!  The fruit of trusting in God grows in us!  The fruit of justice grows in us.  In fact, it is impossible not to grow fruit in our life as we abide with Christ but don’t ever forget where that fruit comes from!  It comes from Jesus.  Look at what Jesus said in John 15:4-5, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” The question that has to be asked is, “Are you bearing fruit in your life?”  

If you are bearing fruit, remember that anything good in your life doesn’t come from you!  It comes from Jesus!  Since it comes from Him, then we should abide in Him!  We should love and obey Him because of what He has done for us!  We should serve Him not to just check off a box, but because He has done everything for us!  As we abide in Him, He changes everything for us!