Message From Matt | May 4, 2018

EVERYONE doing this TOGETHER!

Have you ever had something that you needed to do but as you tried to do it, it just seemed extremely hard and impossible to finish?  Well, that’s what writing this week’s message felt like…hard and the ideas were not coming!  After struggling for a while and feeling like I wanted to pull out whatever hair I had left on my head,  I decided to take a break and watch some of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers game.  The game was a good distraction from my frustration, and after a few minutes, I  found myself getting somewhat caught up in the action on the court.  It was the Celtics that caught my attention the most because they were down by 20+ points in the first half while playing on their home court.  Even though it was too early to tell if they would win or lose,  it definitely looked like they were heading for a blowout loss…then something happened that began to turn the game around! 

Their coach, Brad Stevens, called a timeout and got them all together.   He didn’t draw up any plays!  He didn’t cuss at them and tell them that they weren’t worth all the millions that they get paid!  He didn’t throw his clipboard and act like a mad man on the sideline!  According to the reporter, the coach simply told the guys that to get back into the game and have a shot at winning, they were going to have to play together!  The reporter went on to emphasize that Stephens said over and over the same word during his speech, the word “EVERYONE”!!!  He said to win, everyone had to do their part and work hard and success could happen!  To make a long story short, guess what happened? The Celtics won the game!!  The first half looked miserable for them but the end turned out far better because they listened and believed in what the coach was telling them and went out motivated!

The game got me thinking about our lives.  As individuals, we can have days that nothing is going right!  The days can seem long and hard and make us feel like we are down by 20 + and there is no chance for a comeback!  This can also happen in churches too!  We can go through some long, hard, and dry times and feel that we are not being collectively victorious!

If any of those defeated thoughts seem to be an accurate description of you right now. can I give you a pep talk?  You are not alone and you are part of a much larger family/team (Ephesians 2:19)!  Even though your past looked hopeless, your future is bright and filled with hope (Ephesians 2:11-18)! That together we can be united to serve a greater purpose than we can imagine on our own (Colossians 2:2).  Through Jesus Christ you are complete (Colossians 2:10)!!!  Look at this verse…”Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” – Philippians 1:6.  
That means that what God started in you will be propelled by Him to carry you through this life until Jesus returns…no matter what you are going through!
 
Matt Roller


Message From Matt | April 27, 2018

Togetherness!

About 30 years ago, I was part of a group of 7 teenage boys that went on a two week trip with our youth pastor, Terry Cooper, called the M.I.G.H.T. trip (Men in Godly Heritage Training).  The plan for the trip called for us to load up in a conversion van here in Indy, drive 1,400 miles one way to Sunsites, Arizona, have us “city boys” stay for a week in the Chiricahua Mountains, then drive back.  Sounds like an easy trip, right? Uh…no!

In fact, as you are reading this, you might be thinking that Terry had to be crazy to come up with the idea to take all of us out there on that long trip…and you would be right!  Think about it;  the smells coming from that van alone had to be unbearable and there were events that happened on that trip that left some of us with scars.  While on the trip we had a hospital visit, Brian Arms nearly fell to his death off a high cliff, our van just barely made it up the mountain, and our campsite was invaded by a band of skunks that drank our hot chocolate that was simmering over a camp fire.  There were some not-so-great moments on the trip; yet, that trip was one of the most memorable and positive events in my life!  

While on this trip, we not only camped out on top of the mountains and witnessed millions of stars in the sky, but one night camped out at a truck stop, with a few of us sleeping on the roof of the van for the night, thankfully not rolling off.  We also stayed overnight at a church  along the way and we wound up laughing with and at each other late into the night until we “busted a gut”.  We also visited the Grand Canyon, Old Tucson, and other sites.  I met my future brother–in-law, Chris Healey, on the trip and his brother Pat became one of my best friends a few years later.  There were so many things that happened on that trip that it  still seems fresh in my mind!

Looking back on this trip, there was such a strong sense of “togetherness” that I felt with those guys that today I still feel a bond with each guy when our paths cross.  

This sense of togetherness must be what the early church had to feel (at a greater level than I have known) as they were a new family of believers that did life together.  Luke writes in Acts 2:44-45, “And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” 

As the early church had a close bond of unity, I believe that today, as we get closer to Jesus’ return, we need to have a close bond of unity as well!  We are not at the point where I think we need to sell all of our belongings so we can give them to others, but we are most definitely at the place that we should be growing close to one another and do so by loving and helping each other.  

The apostle Paul spoke much on doing things together and for each other!  He said…

  • We should be perfectly joined together with the same mind – 1 Corinthians 1:10
  • We are laborers together with God – 1 Corinthians 3:9
  • That we shouldn’t be unequally yoked together – 2 Corinthians 6:14
  • That we are made alive together with Christ – Ephesians 2:5
  • We are fitly framed together as a family – Ephesians 2:21-22
  • That we are knitted together in love – Colossians 2:2, 19
  • That we will one day be caught up together to meet Jesus in the clouds – 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Paul was all about being together!  He was very relational and as we live in tough times, we too need to be together.  Paul wrote in Hebrews 10:25“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
As a body of believers let’s come together even more than what we are already!  If there is any hindrance to our fellowship, let’s seek to make things right so that we can have close fellowship.  Maybe we need to show more care for one another.  Maybe we need to pick up the phone to check on someone today.  Maybe this weekend, or sometime soon, we can help out one of our elderly church members and mow their yard or help clean their house.  Togetherness is a great thing – let’s work to make it happen. 
 
Matt Roller


Message From Matt | April 20, 2018

 
Blah…or Bright?
When I walked out of the church building one day this week, I saw this amazing view that had a clear blue sky on one side and a dark and cloudy sky on the other.  After a few seconds oflooking at the sky, thoughts starting filling my mind that this sky is a good picture of how people can view their present life – it’s dark and gloomy or it’s bright and sunny!  Of course everyone, whether they are naturally positive or negative people, will have days that they view as good or bad, but what is interesting is that we tend to often have a determined view of our future based on how well our current life is going.

Look at some of the ladies in the OT that I mentioned in last weeks message…

  • Naomi was devastated by the loss of her husband and sons and became bitter and appeared to have no hope for a bright future – Ruth 1
  • Hannah was taunted and teased by her husband’s other wife “year by year” because she couldn’t have children and became depressed by the fact that she would never be completely fulfilled – 1 Samuel 1
  • Esther was taken from her home to be paraded in front of a king to see if she was worthy to be his queen and her plans were changed – Esther 2

In each of these ladies’ lives, their outlook for the future looked very cloudy and dark!

It’s all about perspective! 

Looking at Esther…at first, her thought about standing in front of the king (
Esther 4) made her fearful!  But it was Mordecai who helped her get a better perspective when he said, “…who knows whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14
)  When Esther realized that it was God who had directed her path into the royal family and that it was for a purpose to save His people – she bravely stood before the king! 
What about you?  If you are currently going through some hard things, what is your view of the future?  Are you basing your view from God’s perspective or your own? Could it be that the hard things that are happening now, will be used to help you and others in the future?   Whatever our view is, remember what Paul wrote in 
Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  
The “all things” in this verse has to mean “anything”, whether it’s good or bad! 
  • If you are currently going through some hard relationship situations, know that God can work it out for good!
  • If you are currently going through some hard financial situations, know that God can work it out for good!
  • If you are currently going through some hard physical situations, know that God can work it out for good!
  • The list of problems could go on and on, but the ending is still the same – God can work it out for good!

Faith or Fear?

Whatever is going on in your life right now, know that God is “still large and in charge”!  
TRUST HIM!  Trust that He has the best thoughts for you (Jeremiah 29:11)!  Trust that He has a purpose even in your pain (John 9). Trust that He can make all things beautiful, even if now it looks really ugly (Ecclesiastes 3:11
).  Don’t let fear rule your thoughts on the future – have faith in the One that always has and always will be God!

Matt Roller