Posts Tagged "Pastor Matt"

My Work, or God’s Work? – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

My Work, or God’s Work? – Pastor Matt

What is the difference between someone who tries to earn their righteousness (person A) and someone who knows that righteousness can only be received by the work of Jesus Christ (person B)?

Person A works really hard at doing things that will prove they’re righteous.

Person B knows there is nothing they can do to earn righteousness.  It has to be received as a gift.

Person A asks, “doesn’t all my good work account for something?”

Person B says, “God doesn’t owe me anything, yet he loves me so much that he sent his son to die for me.”

Person A wants credit.

Person B wants Jesus.

Person A says, “God loves me, and the proof is all the good things I do.”

Person B says, “God loves me, and the proof is Jesus on the cross.”

Person A is resentful of other people’s blessings.

Person B celebrates when good happens to others.

Person A hides their sin that cannot be seen.

Person B confesses to others their sin that cannot be seen.

Person A defends their righteousness by comparing themselves to others.

Person B loves others because they are keenly aware of their personal need.

Person A puts themselves in the position to never be wrong.

Person B puts themselves in the position to receive God’s transforming grace.

Person A doesn’t actually need Jesus.  They have it all figured out.

Person B understands that every breath is a gift from Jesus.

Read More

Perspective – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Perspective – Cassi Piper

Some would say it had been a rough two weeks. It began on Thursday, when my four year old son contracted a fever. By Saturday he had a cough and by Tuesday I found my normally active son volunteering to take a nap on the couch. Wednesday, the doctor told me my little guy had pneumonia. That led to pharmacy trip number one.

On Friday, my youngest son who is only 10 weeks old began to cough. By Saturday night his nose was stuffed and his bark put Sparky the seal to shame. On Sunday I took him to the local urgent care center. A double ear infection and the beginnings of pneumonia were to blame. Cue trip to the pharmacy number two.

Early Monday morning my five year old daughter crawled into bed with me complaining of “popping ears”. Seriously? Sure enough, a trip to the family doctor a few hours later revealed that she too had a double ear infection. Yep, pharmacy trip number three!

By now I had a fridge full of antibiotics in varying colors and a house filled with wads of Kleenex and melodious coughing. However, things were starting to look up: my four year old had now been on his medication for five days and was feeling better, my daughter’s ears no longer hurt, and despite his ailments my newborn was being a champ of a sleeper. Okay, I thought, we can get through this.

Then came Monday afternoon. I was carrying a load of dirty clothes to the basement laundry room when something stopped me in my tracks. That thing was a lake of water standing between me and my washer and dryer. Dumbfounded, I put the basket of clothes down, rubbed my eyes and looked again. Nope, I wasn’t going crazy, our basement was beginning to flood.

The next several hours found me and my husband pumping and vacuuming water while assessing what we needed to move in case the water continued to rise. My guitar, the leaves to our dining room table and my husband’s table saw were some of the survivors. Not so lucky were some blueprints from my husband’s architecture days, two metal file cabinets and some miscellaneous housewares. Potential casualties were pretty much everything we had accumulated and stored over the past eleven years.

Unfortunately, we soon discovered that our small pump could not keep up with the inflow of water and by 10PM we had thrown in the towel and called it a night. Even as I write this the water continues to rise. And the forecast? Four more days of rain and even snow!

Yes, to some this was a rough couple of weeks. But for me they have also brought some great perspective. For starters, I realized that I had taken my family’s good health for granted and had not given God the thanks He deserves for the hedge of immunity He had provided. When diagnosed, I had also easily dismissed that we live in a country where things like ear infections and pneumonia are rarely life threatening. But probably the greatest insight came while we were deciding what was worth moving out of the basement to higher ground. After years of storing and accumulating, we took the time to save very little. It was a stark reminder of how insignificant things of this world really are.

This past Sunday, Pastor Matt contrasted those who walk away from God when encountering tough circumstances with those who choose to believe God when he says in His word that He is always at work for His glory. We have all had tough weeks and times when we have cried out to God, wondering where He is or what He is doing. It is my prayer this week that no matter what life throws our way we will allow God to bring His perspective into our lives. Only then can we begin to see life from God’s eternal vantage point, taking the focus off of ourselves and in all things glorifying Him.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:13 (NIV)

Read More

Easter’s Mortal Wound – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Easter’s Mortal Wound – Pastor Matt

The Easter celebration is filled with powerful images.  The crown of thorns shows us the sheer brutality and ironic sensibilities of Jesus’ executioners.  The Via Delorosa is marked by the stations of Jesus’ ascent to Golgotha.  And the cross is a vivid reminder of the pain caused by God turning away from Jesus.

What I love about the Bible is how everything is interrelated.  One of the most obvious interrelations is the unity between the Garden of Eden and the place Jesus died.  I have heard it said that Genesis 3 gives the very first prophecy concerning Jesus.  After Satan successfully leads Adam and Eve into sin, God says this, “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heal.”  That he is a man born of a woman.  That he will not succumb to temptation, live a perfect life and crush the head of Satan.

The he is Jesus.  Satan strikes Jesus with the pounding of a pike through his feet on the cross.  And Jesus deals a mortal wound to Satan’s head by overcoming Satan’s most powerful weapon…death.  Therefore, the death of Jesus sets off a chain of events that cannot be reversed and the doom of Satan is secured.

It is certainly true that the work of Christ on the cross (the Atonement) is marked by a number of important effects.  One effect is imputing our sin upon Jesus and simultaneously imputing his righteousness upon us.  But another effect is the ultimate destruction of that vile snake that has hounded the righteous since the first rays of the sun.

Since the children have flesh and blood (us), he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil…  Hebrews 2:14

This Easter season, let’s remember not only our undeserved salvation, but also the deathblow dealt to him that would take away our salvation.

Read More

Amnesic Hiking – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Amnesic Hiking – Pastor Matt

Imagine you had a really terrible memory—I mean really really terrible.  So terrible, you forget everything every 30 minutes.  Simple things would become difficult and potentially dangerous.  For example, let’s say you hike a mountain.  You get to the top: you look around and love the view.   Seeing as you cannot stay at the top forever, you consider your descent.  But you don’t remember how you first ascended the mountain.  Your memory is so bad that you are not concerned with the dangerous position you find yourself in, and you start walking down the path that you find most preferable.

The “most preferable” is not necessarily the right way to get back home.   The “most preferable” is simply the way you choose based upon whatever criteria you want.  Since there are any number of ways to get off any mountain, you are probably in serious trouble.

Revelation 3:2-3 says, “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent.  But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”

In other words, we tend to have memory problems.  How quick do we forget what God has done in the past?  How often to we pray that God leads us forward when we forget how He led us here?  How often do we negotiate descending a mountain without considering how we arrived at the top?

As we progress in our faith, sometimes we fail to see the connection between where God has led us and where God is leading us.  It’s almost like every prayer request starts at square one—devoid of any connection to the work God has done in your life.

I’m convinced when God works in our lives (miracles or an answered prayer or the salvation of a close friend), he wants us to listen.  He doesn’t simply work so that we can get back to “business as usual”.  He works so that we might change.  He works so that we specifically don’t go back to “business as usual”.   When God acts, we are supposed to listen and not forget.

How has God lead you to where you are?  How does that affect where you are going?   What is “business as usual” to you?  Is God fine with your “business as usual”?

Read More

Christian Hall-Monitor – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Christian Hall-Monitor – Pastor Matt

I have a confession.  I take entirely too much time worrying about what others believe and what others do.  Translation: I worry that others do not know they are wrong and I am right.    And when they are wrong, my beliefs—and lo, my very self—are being invalidated.

There are a few problems with worrying so much about others.  1) Often our worry sifts focus away from our own issues.  2) We want to impose our will in a situation of which we have no control.  3) We begin to see problems everywhere we look.  4) Our knowledge becomes the plum line by which all else is measured.  5) We graduate and become the ultimate Christian hall-monitor knowing exactly what is wrong.  In other words, we can quickly spiral into a mindset that everything and every one needs constant correction.

At one point Jesus says the entire Old Testament (law and prophets) can be summed up in two commands. 1) Love God. 2) Love your neighbor.

I wonder how much time we waste in mentally correcting others, while forgetting the 2 most important commands.

Where does your mind go when it is free to think?  Honestly, I regularly have to fight thoughts that are sour, resentful and jealous.

There is, however, a benefit to worrying about others.  When someone comes into your mind, it’s a great opportunity to pray over them—especially if you harbor negative feelings towards them.  Pray and love those with whom you struggle.

When we worry about others, do we worry about them for our own sake (which makes us defensive and resentful)?  Or, are we worrying about them for their own sake (which is what Jesus means by “love your neighbor”)?

Here is a challenge for you: the next time “that person” pops into your head, consider that it’s the Holy Spirit telling you to pray for them.  So instead of doing the normal make-yourself-feel-better-by-thinking-negative-things-about-them, pray over them.  Ask God to shower blessings and honor upon them.

Read More