Message from Matt | December 10th, 2017

John the Baptist was by all accounts an interesting man!  His birth, recorded in Luke 1, was miraculous, given the age of his parents (Luke 1:7) and was similar to the birth of Isaac (Genesis 17, 21).  He lived in the desert most of his life (Luke 1:80), dressed in leather and camel hair clothing and ate locusts and wild honey for his food (Matthew 3:3-4).  He was a fiery preacher that preached in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17) and preached repentance to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 3:2).  His bold stand for truth and righteousness did not win him fans with the rulers as he had his head cut off for calling out the sins of the king (Matthew 14:1-12).
 
However, John the Baptist was also a man with a clear direction for his life that was given by God (Luke 1:76-80) – His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus to come!  The arrival of John ended the time of the law and the prophets and he began to preach about the Kingdom of God (Luke 16:16) and he spent his life doing just that!  John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus who is the WAY!  In fact, Jesus said “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).  Salvation can only come through Christ!  The old way of salvation by works/law were ended and the new way of salvation by believing in Jesus Christ was now come and for this  we should be very grateful!  John the Baptist prepared the way from the old way of religion to the new way of faith in Christ, but it was Jesus who paid it all!  God sent His Son to earth (Luke 2) because He loves us (John 3:16), and Jesus went willingly to the cross for the payment of our sins! 
 
Today we are going to focus on Treasuring Christ because He is the Way!  He is the way of eternal life with Him!  He is the way of having peace on earth and good will towards men!  He is the way of having a purpose in this life!  He is the way that we can love our neighbors!  He is the way that we can have Joy!  I pray that this Christmas is the best that it can be as we celebrate and treasure Christ’s birth!

 



Message From Matt | December 7, 2017

 

Hey everyone I have a question for you… 

Have you ever been lost?  For example, have you ever been driving along and then realize that you’re lost and not sure where to go?  Or have you ever been hiking in the woods and gotten confused on how to get back out?  Or forgotten where you parked your car at the mall on the busiest day of the year and can’t find it?  Maybe you are directionally challenged?  If you are or have ever been lost, I think that you will agree that it’s not a great feeling!  After all, no one wants to be lost!   In fact, most people want to know where they’re going and how to get there.  

A couple of thousand years ago there were some Jewish people that I believed felt lost.  They were oppressed, poor and the hope of a bright future seemed impossible.  They were God’s chosen people but they couldn’t have felt blessed!  As a dad myself, I wonder how the Jewish dads had to feel to not be able to provide for their  family as well as they would have liked or to feel like they  gave their  children the very best chance of success in their lives.  I wonder if these dads felt lost?  I wonder if they felt like there was no hope? I wonder about the Jewish moms.  I wonder what they felt like when they couldn’t put enough food on the table, or able to see their children live in true freedom.  I wonder if these moms felt lost?  I wonder if they felt like there was no hope? What about the children?  Were they ever really happy? 

But then something happened…

Luke 2:8-14 states…

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” 
 
Christ’s birth was not  like any other!  It was miraculous given the fact that His mother was a virgin!  It was glorious because God Himself came down as a little baby to be the Saviour of the world!  It was marvelous because now the world had hope and light amidst its darkness!  It was great because it gave a “breath of fresh air” to a people without hope or direction in their lives.  These people, although still under oppression, had something good finally happening in their lives.  What the angel said sums it up best, “…Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
 
Jesus coming to earth is marvelous, glorious, miraculous and great!  His presence brings light into a dark world and hope to a people who are hopeless.  Upon hearing about the birth of Christ, Simeon said this about the baby Jesus, “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Luke 2:32).  In fact…
  • Jesus is the LIGHT (John 8:12) to enlighten the way to the Father!
  • Jesus is the WAY (John 14:6) to the Father!
  • Jesus is the DOOR (John 10:9) to the Father!
  • and so much more!

Jesus’ birth (and his death and resurrection) gives us HOPE!  The Holy Spirit and Word of God gives us DIRECTION and PEACE so we don’t have to feel lost!  We don’t have to feel like there is no hope!  I know that things can get tough and the world can be a cruel place to live at times, but we can rise above all of this because we have Jesus!  Jesus is the WAY!  Jesus is the TRUTH!  Jesus is the LIFE!  Let’s praise God today for giving us Jesus!  A good question today is, what would we do without Jesus?

On Sunday we will be talking about Treasuring Christ, because He is the WAY – I’ll see you there! 

Matt  | John 10:10



Message from Matt | November 5th, 2017

 

I am sure that all of you remember the old phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” I remember saying that as a little kid to someone as a way of showing them that no matter what they said, it wouldn’t affect me Even though I said that line, the truth is that I would be hurt by the words that were said and I just used that phrase as a way to cover my emotions and anger! Looking back, at times, I would have rather had the sticks or stones!

The truth is that we can do a lot of damage with our mouths, but we can also do a lot of good! Today, we will read again what Paul said to the church in Ephesus about renewing the mind and changing our words/mouth (Ephesians 4). I believe that Paul is telling the church that when they renew their minds, it becomes easier to “speak the truth in love” (15), to put away lying and speak the truth (25), to be angry and sin not (26), and to not have any corrupt communication come out of their mouths (29). These all apply to us and are all very good things, but what is the purpose? In context with this chapter, the purpose is to edify one another and minister grace to those you are speaking to (29)! Are our words, or have our words, been used to edify (build up) others or been used to tear others down? Have we ministered grace to others by our words? What does it even mean to “minister grace”? I hope that after today’s message, we will all have a fresh understanding of how to use our words for good and for God’s purposes!