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


Message From Matt | May 25, 2018

More than you Deserve?
 
A funny thing happened to me this morning that made me think about Sunday’s message topic and it had to do with my breakfast!  When I came to the kitchen, Bekah asked me “do you want oatmeal or eggs?”  I am not a huge fan of oatmeal unless it’s sweetened with some brown sugar, but since we are trying to eat healthier our substitute for the sugar is usually fruit or just having it plain…I chose the egg!  

She began to make it and I sat down at the dining room table to start to read.  In a couple of minutes,  Bekah brought the egg to me in a bowl with a napkin covering it!  I didn’t look into the bowl right away and just assumed that it was just an egg in the bowl.  I waited a couple of minutes to let it cool down before eating but once I took the napkin off, I was surprised to see that Bekah actually made more than an egg for me!  She included a couple sausage patties to go along with the egg!  The funny part of this is that I really was surprised and felt like I was in “sausage and egg heaven”!  Eggs are a good breakfast, but if eggs are the only thing on the menu, then I am not overly excited about it!  However, if you add sausage patties to it, then you have my attention!  

I know that it might seem a little silly to compare sausage and eggs to anything spiritual, but then again, maybe it’s not silly at all as God reveals truth to us in everyday ways if we are listening to Him.  It was after eating the breakfast that God gave me the thought that “He gives us better than what we deserve and oftentimes when we don’t expect it!”  After all, just getting up today is something that we don’t deserve but how often do we think of it that way?  Unfortunately, it is only at times when God gives us sausage to go with our eggs (more than we deserve) that we realize how blessed we are to have the God that we have! (see Ephesians 3:20)

Are you satisfied with God?

Even though God gives us more than we deserve, we oftentimes can be blinded to this truth and desire the things of this world more than godly things. If that is you right now, you are not alone!  There are many times all of us can be that way, but God is patient and instructs us in His way, to be satisfied with Him instead!  Hebrews 13:5 states, “Let your conversation be without covetousness: and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” 

The main point that I get out of this is that our way of life (conversation) should be one that is marked with satisfaction with God!  That He fulfills you!  That His Word fulfills you! That the Spirit fills you and you want more of Him! 

What happens when you desire more of Him?  You get more of Him!  

What happens when you have more of Him?  It changes everything in your life!

After reading the Hebrews passage, I could see that contentment/satisfaction in God really does affect everything and everyone around you:

  • It affects the church (Hebrews 13:1,7)
  • It affects strangers that you might meet (Hebrews 13:2)
  • It affects those in bad situations (Hebrews 13:3)
  • It affects your marriage (Hebrews 13:4)
  • It affects your faith (Hebrews 13:6)

Being satisfied with God really does affect every aspect of your life!  So the question is…are you satisfied with Him?  Is He your “all and all”?  If everyone is against you, but God is for you, is that enough?  

We learn contentment!

Paul says that we are to learn contentment…“ Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11).  How did Paul learn this?  By going through life with God always taking care of him.  He knew that no matter what situation would arise, that God would never leave him or forsake him!  Paul learned throughout His life that God is always with him!  It’s a promise and when Paul became weak, Christ was there to strengthen him (Philippians 4:13).
 
If you are not content today or if you are living in fear  – ask God to help you!  Remember all that He has done for you and have faith that He will see you through any problem in His time!  Your satisfaction in God really makes a difference in your daily walk – choose the abundant life that comes from Him!
 
Matt Roller


Message From Matt | May 18

The Real Dream Team!

During the 1992 summer Olympics, the world witnessed the greatest basketball team to ever set foot on a basketball court nicknamed the “Dream Team”!  This team was the first group of professionals allowed to play in the Olympics and our country sent our best to compete.  Our team consisted of  Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, 5 other top NBA players and 1 college player.  This team was UNSTOPPABLE!!!  They dominated every team with the average margin of victory in the 8 games that they played being 44 points.  The other teams were no match for this team and there are several stories about how the opposing players were in such awe of just being on the floor with these great players that winning wasn’t even in their plans.  One player, while trying to guard Magic Johnson, was actually caught waving to a teammate on the bench who had a camera ready to take a picture of the two together on the court.  

As a basketball fan I was “into” this team!  I watched the games! I bought the t-shirt!  I got motivated to play basketball better than I did before and I had great pride in the fact that my country had the greatest players in the world!  These guys were so good that they energized the basketball world.  They had great skills that were honed by thousands of hours of hard work to become some of the greatest individual players ever.  Their basketball greatness as a team was off the charts and they could shoot, dunk, pass and play better than any team…after all, they were the Dream Team!

The ability to score points made them the greatest basketball team ever, but there was a limit to their greatness!  While they did give us good entertainment for a few weeks in ‘92, they really didn’t do anything to make our lives better!  They didn’t pay our bills or fix our messes.  They didn’t give us hope in our hopeless situations!  They didn’t die for us because there was no other way of salvation!  They just played great basketball!  

To be fair, these guys couldn’t have done all these things for us even if they wanted to.  Besides, that was already taken care of a couple of thousand  years earlier.  The real Dream Team, as we all know, can be found throughout the Bible.  The Father, who loves us!  The Son, who died for us!  The Spirit, who dwells in us!  They have done everything for us and they really are the greatest!  

But this team is not resting on what they’ve already done but are still acting on our behalf.  Look what Romans 8:26 says about the Holy Spirit, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself taketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.”  Romans 8:34 says about Jesus, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” 
 
Did you catch that?  The Holy Spirt and Jesus Christ are talking to the Father on your behalf!!!  I guarantee that Bird, Johnson and Jordan are not speaking to God on your behalf, but the greatest to ever walk on the earth is – how cool is that??  It is because of What Christ did (on the cross) and what the Holy Spirit did (in the tomb) that we have any hope in this life!  For them to continue on with us and for us should “blow you away” with how good God is to you!  

Today, know that you are not alone in your daily life!  Know that you have a dream team, the real Dream Team, that is on your side!  Because of Christ, you are more than a conqueror!  Because of the Holy Spirit, you know that once you die you will be with the Lord!  Because God loved you first, you have reasons to live!  Don’t worry today – you have a team of intercessors working on your behalf!

See you Sunday
Matt Roller
 
P.S. Read Romans 8 if you get a chance between now and Sunday morning!


Message From Matt | May 11

Help you to live!
 
Around our house, Bekah has told our kids for years the following statement, “Your dad helps you laugh, but I help you live”.  What she is referring to is that every once in a while I can actually be funny and incite laughter…I know, hard to believe!  However, the last part of that statement is not so hard to believe.  If we didn’t have her taking care of us as well as she does, we would be in a mess!! If you know Bekah, you know that she is humble and says this statement jokingly, but the truth is that she’s right!  She does so much for me and the kids that we would be lost without her.  She cooks, cleans, mends, fixes, teaches, encourages, provides taxi service, promotes God’s Word daily, and loves…she is amazing and I am a better husband, father and Christian because of her influence! 
If the kids only had me to rely on to live, they would most likely be malnourished of good food and filled with junk food!  They would have holes in their clothing and not because it’s fashionable! They probably wouldn’t keep a good schedule and would be disorganized.  Their overall outlook on life would be distorted and they would turn out to be depressed kids…Ok, maybe I’m joking a bit, but the truth is that she really does help us live!! 

Isn’t that what moms do?  

God hard-wired men and women differently and both are extremely important, but the importance of a mother can’t be overstated.  Of course,  there are and have been moms out there that we could define as “bad moms” but that is not the norm.  Most moms are the nurturers and protectors that God has hard-wired them to be and their influence is so great!  How do you influence?  There are probably many ways, but two ways that come to mind are through your words and your actions!  Your words and actions can be life givers to your family.  Let’s  look at these three examples…

Wilma Rudolph’s mother, Blanche, gave birth to her in 1940. She was a sickly child that had double pneumonia, polio and had to wear a leg brace on her left leg at one time.  Wilma was the 20th of 22 kids that her dad had by 2 different women and the doctors told her mother at one point that she would never walk…they were wrong!  Wilma went on to win a bronze medal in the 1956 Olympics at the age of 16 and 3 gold medals in the 1960 Olympics.  Her famous quote about her mother is… “My doctor told me I would never walk again, my mother told me that I would.  I believed my mother.”  Wilma’s mother influenced her to greatness by her words!

Charles and John Wesley’s mother was Susanna Wesley, who was the youngest of 25 children and would give birth to 19 children of which 10 would die in infancy.  She said about her influence on her children,  “I look upon every soul under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust.  I am not a man nor a minister, but I spare every night to discourse with each child apart, strengthening their faith in God our Saviour.”   Susanna influenced her children to greatness by her actions!

 

Timothy’s mother and grandmother are mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:5 as the role models of his faith as his father was not a believer (Acts 16:1).  They taught Timothy to trust in God and follow His ways (2 Timothy 3:14-17).  Mom and grandma shaped the formation of Timothy’s life of faith!  They influenced Timothy to greatness by their teaching and life!
 
Moms,  you have great influence!  Your words and actions can change and influence a life! God has created and shaped you into the person that you are to promote greatness in your family, and He will be there with you to help you!  Moms, you help us live and we thank you for all that you do for us!  We praise and thank God for you!
 
 
Matt Roller


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



Message From Matt | April 13, 2018

When your past looks better than your present!  
It is a fact that there are people in this world that have had horrific things happen to them in their past!  Whether it was abuse of some kind or the death of  loved ones, the past is not

Read more…



Message From Matt | April 6, 2018

Vantage Point! 
The Tuesday morning drive this week was not fun!  There was so much rain, wind and lightning going on in Indy that the drive I was
on that normally takes 25 minutes one way