...for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:6

Worry – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

If there is one common characteristic that we all share it’s our ability to worry. Granted, there are various stages of worry. Some individuals struggle with an acute burden of worry, and some only worry from time to time. But we all worry. That is what humans do. We worry about our jobs, children, 401ks, friendships, vacations, health, food, entertainment and clothing. We even worry about our worry. “Am I too worried? Am I not worried enough?”

One of the things I love about the Bible is that it is so practical. This is especially true when it comes to worry. Jesus doesn’t amp up our worry. He doesn’t say the thing many of us fear, “YOU’RE NOT WORRIED ENOUGH!” At the same time, he knows that worry happens. He doesn’t condemn us when we worry, but like a loving father he guides us to understand what worry is and what it is not.

So what is worry? Worry, according to Jesus in Matthew 6, is adding undo anxiety to your life in places in which you really have no control. Jesus says, why worry about tomorrow when today’s worries are plenty.   Why not focus on the things you can control, and put tomorrow’s worries where they need to be—tomorrow?

So what is worry not? Worry is not a problem solver; and yet, we live as though it is. It makes us stressed and anxious. Jesus says, “Who by worrying can add a single hour to their life?” Good question. The answer is no one.

So how do we fight worry? We pray. The worried heart says, “I’m in control and I need to fix this.” The prayerful heart says, “God’s in control and he is the only one who can fix this.” Worry put the pressure on us. Prayer puts the pressure on God. Worry robs us of rest. Prayer gives us rest. Worry is transferable to others and makes you unhealthy. Prayer heals, grows, and is the best thing for the people you love.

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As a Child – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Jesus says, “Anyone who does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Jesus is saying that there are child-like characteristics that adults need. The need it so bad, in-fact, that adults will not enter into the Kingdom of God without it. So what is it? Faith. Children have an uncanny ability trust. If we are going to trust like children, what can we do?

We learn to pray like children in four ways.

First: children are bold. They make no apologies about their needs. They know what they want and they make their wants known.  I’m always surprised that my children can ask for a cookie immediately after they eat a donut. They are not afraid to ask.  As adults, we tend to worry whether our requests are legitimate and worthy of God’s time.  We become timid in our requests.  The apostle James teaches, “you do not have because you do not ask.”  The point isn’t so much that we ask for the right things.  The point is we bring our requests to God—all of them.

Second: children are persistent.  I have four children under 10.  The younger they are the more they are in need.  They can’t do much.  If they need something—say milk—they move toward mom or dad and they ask.  They don’t meekly ask once and shy away.  They ask over and over and over and over.  Parents can say, “wait just a minute,” but that’s not good enough for a child.  Their need is now and they are unafraid to keep asking.  That is how we are to be.  When we pray, we don’t ask once and then throw our hands up and say “it’s up to God now.”  No!  We come back, day after day asking, seeking, and requesting that God would move.  Does God get irritated the way we get irritated with our children?  No! He is always patient.  He is always kind.  The point of praying like a child is to be persistent, because persistence means you believe that God is going to answer.

Third: children are dependent.  Adults make the common mistake of believing they are responsible for everything that needs to get done.  Children don’t make that mistake.  There is very little they can do about their circumstances.  They can’t get food or clothes or anything really.  Children are totally dependent upon their parents.  When you grow older you don’t really lose your dependency, but you can forget it.  The attitude of dependence is the right one, otherwise why would prayer be necessary at all?

Forth: children are in the father’s presence.  When my children ask for something, they do not make a request and leave me alone to make my decision.  They get in my personal space—my bubble—and they make their request known.  They do not call me on a phone.  They do not write me a letter.  They grab ahold of my leg, look directly into my eyes and ask.  They are with me.  That is what prayer should be like.  It’s us grabbing onto God’s leg not just because we have a need, but because we don’t want to be anywhere else.  Children might have a need, but what they really want is their parent.  I might have a need, but what I really want and need is my Father in heaven.

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