Message from Matt | June 15, 2018

Our greatest need??
 
Have you ever thought about what our greatest need is?  I know that some will state the obvious things like oxygen or beating hearts.  Others might say coffee in the morning!  Still others might say Oreos, but of course that wouldn’t be me.  Although we do need oxygen and beating hearts to live, this is not the need that I am thinking about.  I do believe that forgiveness is mankind’s greatest need, because without accepting God’s forgiveness and free gift of eternal life, this life would be hopeless.  But in the life of the believer, who has already received God’s forgiveness, I believe that a great need, maybe our greatest need, is to continually and constantly hear from God!

I know that I am stating the obvious, but life seems to be more peaceful and filled with purpose and direction when we hear from God…doesn’t it?  Throughout the Scriptures this is proven to be the case and is especially shown in the lives of Saul and David. 

Near the end of Saul’s life (1 Samuel 27-31) we see that Saul was in a desperate situation!  He was foiled in his attempts to kill David.  He was without the Prophet Samuel that would give him direction, and worst of all, God was displeased with Saul for his disobedience and God “departed” from him (see 1 Samuel 28:6, 15-20).  The Lord wasn’t listening to or speaking to Saul…and Saul was lost.  Being as desperate as he was, Saul sought out the advice of a godless woman, the witch at En-dor, and through her sorcery Saul received the word that he didn’t want to hear – Israel would be defeated in battle and he and his sons would die!  
 
Then there is David.  David and his men, who happened to be staying with the Philistines at the time, were sent home from a battle only to find that their town was burned and their families stolen (1 Samuel 30:8)! After a lot of finger pointing and threats on David’s life, David sought the Lord and the Lord heard him and told him what to do!  The results were that David and his men recovered everyone and everything that was stolen from them.  David went into battle knowing that they would have victory because he believed what God told him!  

For David, hearing from God was the difference between him and Saul and that is the same for us today!  If you are a child of God, know that He is on your side!  He is always with you!  He makes you more than a conqueror!  BUT, even with all of those blessings, are we doing the things needed to hear from Him on a daily basis?  I am convinced that hearing from God is my greatest need as your pastor, and when I do hear, it is always an amazing feeling.  When I don’t hear, it is always because I am not spending time with Him or I have unconfessed sin that is hindering my fellowship with God!  

So how can you hear from Him? 

  1. If you are not already, become one of His children! (Romans 10:9,10, 13)
  2. Be in the Word and obey it! (Psalm 119)
  3. Confess your sins to God and repent on a regular basis! 

You don’t have to be perfect to hear from God because David certainly wasn’t, but we do need to place ourselves in the position to hear from Him.  

If you are struggling right now with a life challenge, take a few moments to spend some time praying and reading some Scriptures.  Ask the Lord for direction and follow His leading.  

Remember to believe in Hebrews 13:5! 

 

P.S. 
We do have Sunday School for all ages this Sunday at 9:30 AM and our worship service at 10:30 AM.  Looking forward to worshipping the Lord with you!


Message From Matt| June 8, 2018

No Rewards Today…”

 I wasn’t planning on mentioning Panera two weeks in a row, but the cashier said something during my weekly visit that really caught my attention.  As I gave my order and swiped my rewards card, she saw my information on the screen and said, “looks like you don’t have any rewards today Matt” and continued on with the transaction.  Although I was “bummed” that I didn’t get a $1 off my drink, that phrase was worth much more than the discount.  It was worth more because it got me thinking that even though many things that we do during our daily routine seem unrewarding, we shouldn’t let that distract us from living godly, excellent lives! 

We live in an “instant gratification” culture, but as Christians, we are called to live above the negative aspects of this world (Romans 12:1-2) and press on (Philippians 3:13-14) day in and day out for the high calling of God whether we get rewarded now or not! For the believer, there will be rewards (or loss of rewards) at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:13-15, Romans 14:10-12) and the eternal inheritance of being with God for eternity (Revelation 21-22), but we can easily get distracted from this and only focus on being rewarded now, but that mindset comes with a cost. 
 
The cost of putting priority on rewards now is that this life doesn’t always go as you plan for it to go and we can feel empty because our expectations of rewards are not met!  
 
This is where spiritual and physical fathers, mothers, mentors and teachers are very important!  They are needed to encourage us to keep going during hard times!  They are needed to help keep us on track!   They are needed to pray for us to live excellent lives…no matter the benefits now!  This is what Paul was praying for the Church at Philippi in Philippians 1:9-11.  He prayed that their love would increase in knowledge and judgment.  That they would “approve” (do) things that were excellent.  That they would show the fruits of righteousness in their lives!  They were already doing good things in their church, but Paul wanted them to get better each day at displaying these things.

I feel like our church is similar to the church of Philippi!  We have love towards one another and work together for the common cause of  spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, but I pray that we continually get better (“abound”) in these things! 

Let us love one another better!

Let us serve one another more excellently!

Let us greet one another more sincerely!

Let us teach with more passion!

Let us show the fruits of righteousness more openly! 

This is my prayer for you today!  This is my encouragement and motivational speech for you today…keep on pressing on!  Keep on moving forward in your faith!  Keep on living an excellent life!  You are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ and you can be assured that He will never leave you or forsake you!  

If you do all of this and nobody seems to notice and you get no earthly rewards, don’t worry about it!   Just know that God sees and will reward you one day! 
 
Matt Roller


Message From Matt | June 1, 2018

Lessons learned at Panera…

If I am not studying at home, I am often at a local Panera to study for an upcoming message.  I like coming here for several reasons.  One, I love their almond milk hot chocolate!  Two, during certain times of the day it is a fairly quiet place to be.  Three, I oftentimes get inspiration for message illustrations or these email messages from the people that I observe.  Yes, I am one of those…a people watcher! 

I try not to be one of those “creepy” people watchers and feel that I have developed a stealth-like ability to do this without being noticed; at least I hope I am not noticed. If you are a people watcher as well, you’ll agree with me that we often feel like we can figure out what is going on in people’s lives by just observing them, but in reality we probably don’t have them figured out at all.  Yet, I still watch, I oftentimes make judgments, but always I am looking to learn.

For example, I learned by observing people at Panera that if you scream at your two year old because he is screaming, that the two year old will only scream  louder and you will look silly.  I learned that having the appropriate amount of clothing on is always a  good idea no matter what your body type is!  I learned that if you are a big burly guy with a big booming voice that you should learn to use your inside voice….especially if your table is next to mine.  I learned that if you are a young married couple that you should keep your PDA’s (public displays of affections) at normal levels.  But maybe the best thing that I learned is that there is beauty in learning from the older what love and sacrifice looks like.  

I learned this from an elderly couple that walked in a few minutes before I was going to leave.  They might have looked like a normal couple, but something caught my attention and I decided to stay around a little longer to observe.  The couple, who I assume were in their late eighties or early nineties, walked slowly together to a table close to me.  She was blind and completely dependent on him for guidance, protection and care.  With their food in front of them, he would cut hers in small portions and feed her.  If she needed a drink, he would bring the cup and straw close to her so she could drink.  If she made a mess, he would clean it up.  When it was time to leave, he would be there to help her up and walk her to the car.  This guy modeled service and as a couple you can tell that they loved and depended on each other!

Watching them gave me a good glimpse of what love is…it’s sacrifice!  It’s devotion!  It’s service!  It’s preferring someone more than yourself!  

Although I have learned these traits before,  it was good to see them modeled again!  From watching them, I was encouraged to sacrifice and serve my bride, family and friends in greater ways.  I was challenged to be a man that modeled Christlikeness!  

I realized once more how good it is that we see people doing what Christ established (see Ephesians 5:21-33) for the church.  It is good for us to learn from the older what is important in life and where our focus and attention should be.  When we are younger and full of energy we oftentimes think that we have things figured out, or at least can easily figure things out, but I have learned in my  life that I really don’t have things figured out.  I am still learning, still growing, and still in need of mentors!  I learned that I need the older people to share their life experiences…to do life with us that are younger.  
So with that being said,  I want to remind us all that we need each other!  As we are going through this life together, we will have times of great joys and great sorrows,  and we can learn from those who have “been there and done that” on how to process all that is happening (see Titus 2).  Look for ways to pour your lives into others, especially those that are younger in age and in faith.
 
Matt Roller