Message From Matt | January 18, 2018

 

In a rut?
 
I was taking the kids to school this past Monday, on a day that I was wondering why they had school to begin with, when I had an observation about the ruts made in the snow.  As I’m sure that you are all aware of, the roads were pretty slick due to the snow and the travel was very slow going.  Thankfully, we didn’t have any incidents on the roads and as long as I stayed in the ruts made by other cars before me,  we didn’t slip and slide too much.  However, when I moved out of those ruts to change lanes or get off at my exit, that’s when the driving became more treacherous.  After all, those ruts kept me in the lane and were more stable that driving in the mounds of snow.  I realized once again that there was a feeling of safety when I was in the ruts and for that drive to school and back I was thankful for those ruts!

Somewhere in that trip to school and dealing with the snow covered roads, I got to thinking about those ruts. I realized that ruts made in the snow might be the only ruts that I have anything positive to say about.  I started thinking about the other ruts that we can experience in life… 

  • Married couples can have ruts in their marriage and it seems bland and boring!
  • Employees can have ruts at their job and feel like they are stuck!  
  • Business owners can feel like they’re in a rut and that their business is faltering!  
  • We can be in ruts with our health, money, life goals, and the list could go on….  

There is nothing good about these ruts and these situations can lead us to feeling burned out, lonely and lost!  

The same thing can be said about our prayer life!  It is easy to get into a rut in our prayers to God. Sometimes we are in a rut because our prayers are just a routine that we follow.  In other cases, our prayer life could just be just ritualistic, where we say the same prayers at dinner time and bedtime.  The reality is that our prayer life can easily become mundane and monotonous and the results are more destructive than we realize.  Why destructive?  I think it is because we get lulled into a complacency, believing that the same old prayer that we always say is just what God wants to hear, but in reality I think that we miss an intimacy with God that requires more than just the standard prayers. God is wanting more than the routine and rituals in our prayer life!  

What is He wanting in our prayer lives?  We have already discussed a few of these things, but let me remind you:

  • He is looking for people that pray fervently (passionately) to Him!  – “...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – James 5:16
  • He wants us to pray boldly (confidently) – “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16
  • Pray believing (have faith) – “In whom (Jesus) we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” – Ephesians 3:12

He also wants us to consistently  have Him on our minds!

In one of the shortest verses in the Bible, Paul tells the Thessalonians that they are to…” Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and that is the same way it should be for us.  We shouldn’t just pray before each meal and that is the extent of our conversation with God.  Neither should we get stuck in the rut of just praying the same prayers for different occasions and feel good about that.  In reality, we should have God in our thoughts and on our minds throughout the day.  No one can be on their knees before the Lord 24/7, but we can ponder on and speak to Him throughout the day.  Having Him constantly in our thoughts really can help us!  When we are tempted to sin, our thoughts need to turn to Him and His Word…and it helps us!  When we have a struggle, He can help us!  When we are overwhelmed, He can help us!  Thinking on and praying to God throughout the day is a great way that we can experience His presence and helps us not to feel burned out, lonely or lost!  

So let’s focus on God throughout our day and avoid the rut of a normal prayer life!

Want to take part in a powerful group prayer time?  Our boiler room prayer time is every Sunday morning from 8:15-9:15 AM in the conference room.  Please come and pray with us!
 
Matt Roller


Message From Matt | January 11, 2018

 

My earliest memory of doing something bold was when I was around 7 years old with the kid across the street named Billy.  Billy thought he was the king of the block and one day he and a few of his friends came across the street to show me how tough he was and I assume how weak I was.  Being that this was nearly 40 years ago, I don’t remember all of the details, but what I remember is that he and his posse came across the street, said a few words and then he proceeded to shove me to the ground.  What did I do? Here is where the boldness comes in….I immediately jumped up from the ground and punched him in the gut!  He doubled over and then made his way back across the street in a type of  “walk of shame.”

In that moment, I wasn’t thinking about what if he and his friends ganged up on me after the punch, as I’m sure that I wouldn’t fare well.  I wasn’t thinking that my parents would be my back up if the whole “punch in the gut” thing didn’t work out, because they probably didn’t even  know what was taking place.  Of all the scenarios that could have taken place from that interaction, I just instinctively stood up to the bully…and thankfully it worked out!  Funny thing, and in typical boy fashion, Billy and I became great friends after that exchange, and until the time that he moved away,  we rode bikes around the neighborhood, played ball in the parkway and hung out together.   

Looking back, I remember that being a scary moment but more so being a glorious moment!  It wasn’t glorious because I won.  It was glorious because I had boldness to stand up to a bully! 

Do you know that God wants you to have boldness in your life, especially in your prayer life?  According to Paul in

Hebrews 4:16,  God wants you to come boldly to the “throne of grace”! The word, “boldly”, according to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, means “to act courageously, without timidity and fear, and with confidence”  and that definition gives me a clear understanding of how God wants us to pray.  God wants us to pray with confidence!  Our boldness/confidence in Christ should never be arrogant and centered around ourselves, but it should be about knowing that God is listening to us (Isaiah 59:1); that He won’t leave us (Hebrews 13:5); and that He has the best thoughts towards us (Jeremiah 29:11).  We should have confidence that the Holy Spirit in us “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).  We should have confidence/boldness in our Heavenly Father because He is able and has given us the Holy Spirit to help us!

How do we get this boldness/confidence?  The answer is simple… Have Faith in God!  Look at these verses written by Paul and inspired by God:
  •  “For through him (Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father”. – Ephesians 2:18  
  • In whom (Jesus) we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.” – Ephesians 3:12
  •  “By whom (Jesus) also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2

I believe in God and I have confidence that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that I ask or think!  I believe that God is with me!  I believe that God wants me to talk to Him!  I believe that He wants me to come boldly and confidently to Him because His Word says so.  Do you believe this?  I hope so!  

The Father is listening!  Let us come before Him confidently!

Matt Roller



Message From Matt | January 4, 2018

 

One of my favorite passages in the OT is found in 2 Chronicles 20.  This chapter gives the account of 3 different armies that threatened to wipe out King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah!  I’m not sure how many  were on the side of the enemy, but I do know that it was enough to cause fear for King Jehoshaphat and his people.   Look what the following verses have to say about the size of the armies:
  • Verse 2 – “there cometh a great multitude
  • Verse 12 – “against this great company
  • Verse 15 – “this great multitude

How many does the word “great” represent? We’re not told  the exact number but I do know it’s  A LOT!!!  A Whole Bunch!!  The Whole Enchilada!!  “Great Gobs!!  Heaps!! (I think that you get the picture!) 

In fact,  there were so many people that came to destroy Jehoshaphat and God’s people that it is no wonder what happened next…”And Jehoshaphat feared,” (20:3)  Who could blame Jehoshaphat and the rest of the people?  Not many of us have ever felt the type of fear that they had to have knowing that people were trying to kill them and that there was enough of them to complete the job.  I think that we would have been afraid too! 

However, the great part of this account is that Jehoshaphat didn’t go run into a cave and hide because of his fear.  He didn’t try to compromise to become slaves to the enemies so that their lives would be spared.  He didn’t even try to come up with a military plan to beat the enemy.  He didn’t live in that fear!  What he and the people did (found in verses 3 and 4) was this:

  1. He “set himself to seek the Lord
  2. He proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah
  3. They asked God for Help
  4. All Judah came to seek the Lord
Look at what the people said in verse 12, “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” 
 
Please read God’s response to their prayer in verses 14-17 and the results that took place in verses 18-30 on your own, but let me give you the end of this account…GOD GAVE A GREAT VICTORY!  
 
But when did the victory happen?  When the people believed on God and praised Him even before the victory was won (see verses 19-22)!  After I read this passage once again, I had to evaluate my prayers yet again.  Am I praying with belief that God can/will answer my prayers?  Am I praying with a song in my heart/mouth?  Am I even seeking the Lord with desperation rather than the comfortable little prayers that are easy to say?  I am reminded by this passage that God wants to give us victory over the battles in our lives, but He wants us to seek Him first!  He wants us to believe in Him!  He wants us to believe in Him to the point that we will even sing His praises before the victory is won!  
 
Have a BIG battle that you’re facing?  Seek God!  Believe in God!  Sing Praises to God! See a victory in your life that God will give you!  After all,  the battle is not really yours to begin with (verse 15)!  
 
Looking forward to a great and victorious Sunday with you!
9:30 AM – Traditional Service
11:00 AM – Contemporary Service and Life Dynamics
6:00 PM – Sunday Evening Service 

Matt Roller