I don’t usually do this, but I read a blog post today that I thought was particularly important to share, and I would strongly encourage you to read it.

Please take the time to read these thoughts on this current issue of assisted suicide.

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/10/dear-brittany-why-we-dont-have-to-be-so-afraid-of-dying-suffering-that-we-choose-suicide/

“The World” = “Everyone”

Posted: September 30, 2014 in gospels, new testament

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
– John 3:16-17

—–

The most famous verse in the entire Bible makes one thing abundantly clear.

God loves everyone.
Jesus died for the world.

Just look at the words used in John 3:16, and in the following verse of John 3:17.

“…God loved the world…”
“…everyone who believes…”
“…into the world…”
“…not to judge the world…”
“…save the world…”

This is not an exclusive offer.
This is not limited to specific customers only, and the rest of us are out of luck.

This is for everyone.
This is for the world.
This is for all of humanity.

Sometimes we make God’s love seem so conditional.

Like it’s only for the elite.
Like it’s only for those who can get their act together.

But God’s love is unconditionally offered to everyone.
Eternal life is available to the world.
(by the way, eternal life doesn’t just start when you get to heaven)

And so, while you may feel too messed up for God…
While you may feel too broken…
Too far gone…
Too sinful…
Too lost…

…the truth is that God came to save those who are messed up, broken, too far gone, sinful, and lost.

God came to save you.
God came to save me.
God came to save everyone.
God came to save the world.

Until I reflect on the fact that God loving the world means that He loves me,
Pastor Matt

Bigger Than Sin

Posted: September 18, 2014 in corinthians, new testament

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

- 1 Corinthians 15:54-57

—–

Jesus is bigger than your sin.
Jesus is stronger than your mistakes.
Jesus is more powerful than your failures.

Personally, when I sin, I typically feel farther away from God.
When I do the things I’m not supposed to do, I feel distant from Jesus.
When I don’t do the things I’m supposed to do, I feel separated from Jesus.

Because I promised Him I wouldn’t struggle like that again.
Because I’m supposed to know better than that.
Because I’m not worthy of being close to Him.
Because I’ve let Him down.

And so I put some space between God and I, until I can clean up my act.
Until I can work hard, do some good things, and get back into His good graces.

If you are like me…
If you have ever felt like this…
If you have ever behaved like this…
If you have ever done something like this…

…then you need to know that this is NOT what God wants.

Because Jesus is bigger than your sin.
Jesus is bigger than my sin.
Jesus is bigger than sin.

You’ve probably heard this common expression before:
“There’s nothing you could ever do, that would make God love you any more…
and there’s nothing you could ever do, that would make God love you any less.”

But sometimes, even if we believe that’s true for every other person in the world, we don’t think it applies to us.

Because I’ve done something too big.
I’ve struggled with this for too long.
I know how fallen and broken my own heart is.

But there is good news for those of us who feel this way.

Throughout the New Testament – like in the passage written above – we see that Jesus is bigger than sin.
He’s not scared away by our mistakes.
He’s not intimidated by our failures.

Jesus won’t give up on you.
Jesus doesn’t believe you are a lost cause.
Jesus loves you just as much as He ever has (even if you feel distant from Him).

And so:
The next time you sin…
The next time you fall…
The next time you fail…
The next time you make a mistake…

…do NOT believe the lie that you are separated from God.

But rather, draw close to God in that moment of vulnerability,
and allow Him to bring His love into your life in a new, fresh, and real way.

Because Jesus is stronger.
Jesus is more powerful.
Jesus is bigger than sin.

Until I draw close to God in my failure,
Pastor Matt

All You Need

Posted: September 9, 2014 in hebrews, new testament

may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

- Hebrews 13:21

—–

What do you need in order to succeed in life?
What would give you victory?
What would give you fulfillment?
What would give you satisfaction?

If you are someone who is living in relationship with Jesus,
then this closing prayer in the book of Hebrews is remarkably meaningful and powerful.

Because in it, the author writes that God Himself will equip you with all you need for doing His will.

Think about that for a minute.

God equips you so that you can do His will.
God helps you so that you can do what He’s calling you to do.
God gives you what you need so that you can live the life He created you to live.

Sometimes when we think of all the things that God commands of us,
we act as though we are on our own in completing them.

As if God tells us what we need to do, and then leaves us on our own.

That’s not the case.

God is with you.
God is helping you.
God is assisting you.

God has called you to something special, unique, and meaningful.
And God will be by your side, helping you accomplish it.

God will give you success.
God will give you victory.
God will give you fulfillment.
God will give you satisfaction.

God will give you all you need.

Until I rely on what God has given me, in order to do what He’s called me to do,
Pastor Matt

Sacrifices That Matter

Posted: September 2, 2014 in hebrews, new testament

And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
– Hebrews 13:16

—–

What sorts of sacrifices do you make on a regular basis?

I don’t want to brag, but sometimes…
…I sacrifice time I could spend reading a book, so that I can watch tv.
…I sacrifice eating delicious vegetables, so that I can eat more dessert.
…I sacrifice going to the gym, so that I can sleep in.

However, some people make sacrifice that are more serious.

They sacrifice an evening out so that they can finish preparing for the upcoming exam.
They sacrifice their vacation time so that they can get closer to that promotion they want.
They sacrifice time at home so that they can work an extra shift to help pay the bills.

Whether they are major or minor, we all make sacrifices.

And here in Hebrews, the author writes about the kinds of sacrifices that please God.
Doing good.
Sharing with those in need.

In this single verse, we can see that the most important sacrifices that we can make,
are ones that we make for other people.

The times when we give our money to help someone in need.
The times when we give our time to be with someone who needs a friend.
The times when we give ourselves to make a difference in someone’s life.

These are the sacrifices that God wants us to make.

So today, as you read this, ask yourself:
What can I sacrifice for someone else today?
How can I do good?
How can I share with those in need?

Don’t wait until you’ve got everything together for yourself first.
Don’t wait until you’ve done everything that you wanted to do first.
Don’t wait until it’s more convenient to make a sacrifice.

Today, make a sacrifice to help someone else.
Make a difference in someone’s life.

Do good.
Share with those in need.

Because those are the kinds of sacrifices that matter.

Until I make a sacrifice that matters,
Pastor Matt

Allegiant To God

Posted: August 27, 2014 in hebrews, new testament

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.
– Hebrews 13:15

—–

What are you allegiant to?

Your family and friends?
Your country?
Yourself?
The third book in the Divergent trilogy (see what I did there)?

To be allegiant to something means that you are devoted to it.
You are loyal.

In this verse from Hebrews, the author tells us that through our continuous praise,
we should be declaring our allegiance to God.

As we sing, we tell God that we are devoted to Him.
As we pray, we tell God that we are loyal to Him.
As we live, we demonstrate that we are allegiant to Him.

If you are allegiant to someone, then that means that they can rely on you.

If you are allegiant to your parents, then they will be able to trust you.
If you are allegiant to your friends, then they will be able to count on you.

And, while it is important for us to be the kind of person that other people can trust,
it is even more important for us to be dependable in our relationship with God.

If we are truly allegiant to God…
…then our faith will not regularly fade when life gets busy.
…then our relationship with God will not come and go in spurts of passion.
…then we will not only pray when we want God to give us something.
…then we will not only go to church when we have nothing better to do.
…then we will not only worship Him when we “feel like it”.

And so, as you think about your relationship with God, does the word “allegiant” describe your relationship with Him?

Are you devoted?
Are you loyal?

If not, consider spending some time in prayer – perhaps even right now – and ask Him to continually transform your heart, so that you will be able to love Him more, follow Him more closely, and be more allegiant to His name.

Until my allegiance for God grows deeper,
Pastor Matt

This World Is Not Our Home

Posted: August 14, 2014 in hebrews, new testament

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
– Hebrews 13:14

—–

Where would you call “home”?

Is it where you grew up?
Is it where your parents live?
Is it where you are currently living?

Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to stop focusing on the physical world around us.
We are encouraged to focus instead on eternity – on eternal life with God.

If this life is all that there is, if the physical world around us is the only home we will ever have,
then it would be right to spend all of our time, money, and resources on making this life as awesome as possible.

But if there’s something more, if there is something that lasts immeasurably longer,
then the only smart decision would be to prepare for that home.

And so believing in Jesus changes the way we live.
The priorities we have are different.
The interests we have are different.
The purpose and meaning we find in life is different.

Because it doesn’t matter if we work as hard and as long as we can, in order to have more money.
It doesn’t matter if we spend all we have, in order to have all of the newest and coolest technology.

Because, after this life is over, all of our money and possessions will be given away.
Some of it will be saved.
Some of it will be kept as heirlooms.
Some of it will be discarded as trash.

But, if we spend all that we have, and give all that we are, preparing for the life to come,
then we will truly find ourselves preparing to go home.

Not home to a building where the foundation will crack and the walls will break.
Not home to a big screen TV that will be outdated by this time next year.
Not home to a savings account that generates enough interest to keep us in stylish clothes.

But we will go home to our Father.
We will go home to our Saviour.
We will go home to our Lord.

And so, if we are able to keep our eyes on our true home, then no matter what happens to us,
we know that good things are in store for us.

We are able to face any struggle…
We are able to persevere throughout persecution…
We are able to hold on to our faith…

…because this world is not our home.

Until I further prepare for my eternal home,
Pastor Matt