Posts Tagged "power"

I Lack Nothing – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I Lack Nothing – Pastor Matt

This past week I was privileged to lead a group of teenagers on a mission trip to Vermont.  One of our goals for this trip was for our students to be challenged in new ways.  The importance of being challenged is simple: in our weaknesses the power of God is revealed.  In other words, if we are never taken outside our zones of comfort, we can never experience the life changing effect of God’s power.

For our group this played out a number of different ways.  While many of us were looking forward to a summer of couch potatoing, we built mountain-biking trails in the Green Mountains.  While most of us limit our relationships to friends and family, we were pushed to have meaningful conversations with the elderly (many of whom suffered from sever dementia).   While most of us like the comfort of mom and dad within earshot, we left home to love a place that we had never known.  Within all these challenges, we found God pushing us deeper.

What is really fun is when you are in my position and get to see our students get it.  I was able to see hearts softened, love given and spiritual growth.

But don’t think this trip was just for the students, it was also for me.  Through out our time in Rutland, God impressed upon me once again how much I depend upon other things rather than God.  To put it bluntly, I depend on security.  I want the future of my family to be as secure as the rising sun.  The problem is of course, there is no such thing as security apart from my relationship with God.

Psalms 23:1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”

When was the last time you felt as though you lacked something?  Five minutes ago? Yesterday?  All the time?  This is the problem with the human heart.  We sense we are missing something and yet we have accesses to the only thing that really matters…God.

I dare you to thoughtfully consider what it is that you “need” to live a contented life.  Seriously, what things or people or activities do you “need”?  Write those things down and reread Psalm 23.

Friends, what can we possibly lack?

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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.

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Perfect Gospel, Imperfect People – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Perfect Gospel, Imperfect People – Cassi Piper

Several weeks ago our church hosted a missionary family who shared about their ministry in Indonesia. It was wonderful to hear how God is using everyday people to further His kingdom in other parts of the world.

The part that struck me most was their honesty about their hesitance to verbally share the Gospel with the people they encountered overseas. At first their approach to leading others to Christ was very passive, hoping that building relationships and meeting the needs of the people they met would bridge the gap between them not knowing Jesus and their coming to see Him as their Savior. As the days and weeks and years passed however they came to realize that for people to fully understand the Gospel, our actions only go so far. People need to hear the Word of God and how the death and resurrection and ultimate grace of Jesus has transformed our own lives.

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Power – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Power – Pastor Matt

Imagine what it would have been like if you were a fisherman during the time of Jesus.  It’s hard work; yet, sometimes the hard work doesn’t pay off.   Then along comes a stranger and he tells you to try one more time.  You don’t put up much of a fuss and you cast your nets again.  This time your nets are over flowing with fish.

Jesus—the stranger—preforms this miracle for his disciples.  I have often wondered why this miracle?  Jesus could have done the Elijah thing and called down fire from heaven.  Jesus could have done the Moses thing and parted the Lake of Gennesaret and let the fish fall onto dry ground.  But he didn’t.

Jesus took something the disciples were attempting to do on their own (catch fish), and he does it for them.  Not only does he provide the fish, but he provides more than their expectations—or nets—could contain.

This miracle functions as a prophecy: as the disciples are powerfully given fish, they also will be given people.  That’s what Jesus means when he says they will fish for people.

Isn’t that like Jesus?  He takes something we care about, and shows us his immense power.  Jesus could have given them a few fish, or a moderate amount of fish: both of which would have been considered a miracle.  But rather, he overwhelms them in the midst of their own work.

Friends, we serve a God who is not in the business of “reasonable” or “moderate” miracles.  We serve a God who shows miracles beyond our expectations.  But sometimes we expect that God doesn’t want to show his power.  We pray as though God has a limited amount of power, and we don’t want to ask for too much because that would make us sound needy.  The reality is, we are needy (we couldn’t be in more need).  We might as well pray like it.  We need Jesus in every part of our lives and if we cannot see that, than we will not see the power of Jesus.

Jesus shows here that the only way to catch fish (or people) is through his power.  And if we really believe that, than we need to hold on and cast our nets, because we are going to see serious power.

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I’m serious – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Nov 14, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

I’m serious – Pastor Matt

I have a friend that talks big.  I remember times when he would talk about someone or a situation in anger.  He would say things like, “I was a second away from picking up a chair and throwing it through the window.”  Or “I was literally going to punch (such and such) in the neck.”  I’m sure we all have some character in our lives like my friend.

Now I know what he was trying to do.  He was trying to relay how angry and potentially violent he was.  But there was one little problem.  He was generally a very calm and nice person.  He only spoke about being violent; and, no one ever saw him do anything remotely violent.  So whenever he went on his verbal tirades, I tended to roll my eyes and not take him seriously.  So his “big talk” eventually had the opposite desired effect.  It became a joke.

1 Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.”

This passage really hits home for me, because all too often church, ministry, charity and love get boiled down to having an opinion.  Here’s what I mean: we tend to value our ideas about things like church, ministry, charity and love more than we value doingthese things.

Today we vote on the Presidency, but a vote is not 100% synonymous with personal action.  Yes, a vote is an opinion on values that you hold, but just because you have an opinion of values, does not mean you live your values.   Having an opinion of values is infinitely less valuable than living your values.  It’s the difference between someone who loves to talk about sports, and someone who plays sports.

I certainly have been guilty of “big talk” about church, ministry, charity and love, but I am reminded in 1 Corinthians that talk often amounts to just more talk—action amounts to God’s power.

How do you take action in God’s kingdom?

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