...to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power...

Revelation 5:11-13

Life in the Spirit – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Sep 26, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Nicodemus—an upstanding religious man—went to visit Jesus. He was troubled in his spirit and needed answers to his burning questions. Nicodemus had an existential crisis. He followed God’s law, he took care of his family, and yet he felt he was missing something. The ground he once stood upon felt more like quick sand.

Maybe you feel that way about your faith. Perhaps at one point you were very close to God. But now that proximity feels distant. You might feel like Nicodemus, living like a Christians, but anxious about missing something important.

Jesus’ perception for Nicodemus is the same prescription for you. You must be born
again. Jesus doesn’t mean you are born again from your mother, but rather you are
born again from the Spirit of God. Just like a newborn, the Spirit of God starts us all
over. We don’t depend on what we think we know about the world. But we learn all
things new as we worship, pray and pour over the Word of God.

Being born of the Spirit is a life do-over of the most literal kind. Born again in the
Spirit changes how we see, interact and love the world. And more importantly, being
born again changes how we see, interact and love God.

Rebirth in the Spirit changes our desires and our fundamental reason for existing.

We were once born for ourselves, but in the Spirit we are born for God.

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3rd Base Coach – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Sep 26, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

When I was learning to play baseball we would practice running the bases. I remember our coaches telling us the same thing again and again: “When you run around 1st base keep your eyes on the 3rd base coach.” When you hit the ball and start running around the bases, it becomes clear that you can’t do two things at once: you can’t run hard and watch the ball at the same time. Both things are necessary, but not possible to accomplish alone. That’s why the 3rd base coach is important. He, unlike the runner, can see everything that is happening at any given time. And if you keep your eyes on him, he will tell you to keep running or to stop. The practical upshot is, as a runner, you can run as hard as you can without having to look over your shoulder to decide if it’s safe to keep running.

This is as true in baseball as it is in our faith. Jesus is a lot like the 3rd base coach.
Jesus can see everything that’s going on, and our job is not just to run but also to
keep watching Jesus. There will be times in our lives when we feel as though we
need to take our eyes off of Jesus to see what else might be going on. This is a
mistake. When we take our eyes off of Jesus we slow down and mistakes are made.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

The practical upshot of fixing our eyes on Jesus is that he has everything under
control and he can see clearly what we cannot. This allows us to live in freedom and
without fear because we are doing our one job, while Jesus is doing his. Even when
things get difficult or confusing or scary, our job doesn’t change—run hard and fix
our eyes on Jesus.

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