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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Living in the Spirit Sermon Series

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

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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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Judas, the Betrayer – Pastor Shea Cutshaw

Posted by on Aug 31, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

The betrayer of Jesus. Could you imagine being that person? Judas is honestly one of the characters in the Bible that most intrigues me. I mean this guy was with Jesus in the heart of his ministry. He saw the miracles performed and was even called by Jesus to be a disciple. Yet, he is the one who betrays Jesus. Jesus knew this the moment he called him. Judas betrayal wasn’t this random event that caught Jesus by storm. It was planned, and it needed to happen.

This shouldn’t have caught anyone off guard though. Judas was never actually in tune with the mission of Jesus. John 12 gives us some insight into who Judas was. He was someone who had no heart for the poor at all, and he was thief. He stole money from God. He was someone who got to see Jesus face to face and yet continued to ignore his message. John 17 tells us that he is the “son of perdition” which means he is destined for destruction.

So, in Matthew 26, Jesus was not shocked by this nor should anyone else have been. David says this would happen in Psalm 41 and Jesus quotes that Psalm at the last Passover. Luke 22 gives us a lot more insight as well when it shows us that he was actually possessed by Satan. Even before all of that though, Judas was someone who loved and was given over to his sin. He didn’t want to be saved because he didn’t think he needed to be saved.

So, what in the world does this mean for us? It’s easy for us to say that we’re nothing like Judas. We’d say things like we wouldn’t betray Him but if we’re being honest that’s not true. We have no idea what we would do in that situation. Even Peter, who Jesus said he would build His church on, denied Christ three times that night.

I think there are two things we need to take away from the life of Judas, and why it is so important for us to study him. The first is that we can hear the truth, and see it lived out before us every day but if we do not engage with this truth and make it personal and rooted in our lives it will never catch. Just going to Church and listening to sermons will give us any standing before God. Judas has the best Bible teacher ever, and because he didn’t engage and press into the truth he eventually become a hardened man who hated the things of God. Keep confessing sins, keep praying to God, keep sharing the truth, and serve one another.

The last takeaway from the life of Judas is just because someone betrays you does not mean it is over. Even when it seemed hopeless for Jesus, he kept his eyes focused on the father. Jesus knew who Judas was going to be, yet he still ministered to Him. He still shared the truth with him, and He still loved Him. So maybe there is a Judas in your life, love them and share with them the truth. I leave you with Galatians 6:9.

“Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

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Matthew 24 – Pastor Shea Cutshaw

Posted by on Aug 21, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

This is honestly one of my favorite chapters in Matthew. I love studying things about the end times. In the realm of theology, theologians have called that branch of study “Eschatology.”

Matthew 24 is full of Eschatology and Jesus talking to his disciples about the end times.

That’s not what I want focus though. Look at Matthew 24 like a road to the return of Christ. Jesus gives us the guardrails, painted lines, and some street signs. This is about verses 1-41.  What follows though in 42-51 is how we are supposed to drive within that road. Is your life lining up with what we read in those following verses? In verse 42-44, Jesus tells His disciples to “…keep watch.” We see that concept of watching throughout the entire Bible. Paul is 1 Corinthians 16:13 tells us to keep us or as the NIV states it “Be on your guard…” So, what could this idea of keeping watch mean?

Active, not Passive

I love watching Sports and other TV shows, but I have this terrible habit of when I am watching them that I don’t hear or notice anything happening around me. My wife will ask me, to pause the show and look at her. My attention has to be shifted and I need to be fully aware so that I can understand what she is about to say.

We should be actively watching for the return of Christ. We should actively be on our guard. This brings the idea that we are to on fully aware and focused intently.

Devoted, not Careless

If we are actively watching for something at night, then we are devoted to the cause. If we are watching during the day, the light is there to expose things and it’s a little easier to notice your surroundings. At night it is completely different. We have to use more than just our eyes. We have to know our surroundings and what we are watching for. Jesus tells the disciples earlier in Matthew 24 that a lot of people will come and say that they are the messiah. If we are not devoted to knowing who we are watching for, then we might think we have found Jesus, but it is actually the wrong person. This devotion asks us to know more about Jesus, and as we know more about Jesus the more we will become like Him.

So, what does this mean for us today? We are to be active and we cannot slow down about this. We need to be actively pursuing this idea. The last idea is that we need to be completely devoted to this idea. We are giving our lives and time to watching and learning about this thief. How are you applying this to your life today? Is this a reality for you, or have you been passive in your watching?

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Flesh vs. Spirit – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Aug 1, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

I love coming back from vacation. In fact, coming home might be the best part. You can get back into your routine, you are energized and you are excited to see those you haven’t seen in a while.

While I was in Colorado I prayed a lot about what it means to live in the Spirit as opposed to living in the flesh. Paul says, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

What is the difference between living according to the Spirit and according to the flesh? Take food—you need to eat so you need food. God wants us to eat and it is good to eat. But here’s the problem with food…it’s temporary. It doesn’t last. Eating today won’t make you feel good tomorrow. You must keep eating and eating. And even if you eat well every single day for your entire life, you will still die. Food cannot save you. Food cannot give you eternal life. Food ultimately does not satisfy in a meaningful long-term way. Food is fleeting, but it sometimes feels like it’s the most important thing.

Satan used food against Jesus. He asked Jesus, “Why don’t you make these stones into bread?” Jesus retorted, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Satan knew that Jesus was hungry and if Jesus broke his fast, Jesus would be saying that food was more important than God’s word. That is the difference between living according to the flesh and according to the Spirit. The flesh says, “I’m hungry and the most important thing is food.” The Spirit says, “regardless of my hunger or pain, God’s word is the most important.”

Food is just one example of what we use to replace God’s word; it could also be relationships, money, alcohol or anything else. Unfortunately, I believe that many Christians today are more concerned with what they feel/think than what God’s word says. A way to challenge ourselves is to ask two questions. In what way(s) am I tempted to live in the flesh? What would it look like to live in the Spirit?

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