"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." - 1 Timothy 6:6-10
 
As you know, it has never been the money itself that is the problem... Just like it has never been what you get your kids or what car you drive or what you house you live in that is the problem... It is, simply put, when those things try to take the place of God. I know, I know, you think this is another message about giving, but it is not. It is a message about the word contentment. This does not come easy as Paul told us it is something that has to be learned (Philippians 4:11) and something that has to be continually managed and updated. This week, I challenge you to find ways to learn contentment, whether that be in the way you look, the way you dress, the way you see your spouse, the way you see your children's achievements/grades, the way you see your neighbor's new car or house, or even in the way you see God's blessings. Seek out contentment as righteous children of God and you will be blown away at the great gain God bestows upon you. 
 
In Him,
Scott

"Simple"

I have heard so many people say that they want to return to a simpler time or that they are looking to simplify their lives in some way. I agree with that sentiment! I wish it was where we could simplify our lives and de-clutter our minds from all of the worries and stresses in our lives. But, beyond that, I believe there is an overwhelming need to simplify our spiritual mindset. In too many cases, things tend to squeeze their way into our "religion" and make it a skewed viewpoint. As you read these verses from​ 1 Corinthians 2 this morning, focus on the need to simplify -

- "And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

Simple speech

Simple wisdom

Simple message

Simple healing

Simple words

Simple demonstration

Simple faith

Overwhelming grace, power, and love from our Father who sent His Son into the world to simply save mankind. What a simple plan of redemption, yet so many try to make it complex! Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind, was raised on the third day, and ascended back to the right hand of God to be our defense before our Father the righteous judge. There is nothing complex in that story... so how do I simply become a Christian? a God-follower? a child of God?

Hear the words spoken by God in His word and really listen to them

Believe them in simple faith like the Ethiopian eunuch and so many others who understood "...without faith it is impossible to please Him..." (Heb. 11:6)

Repent of the things that have removed you from the simple plan of redemption - turn from them in an effort to totally rely on God

Confess that Jesus is not just someone from an interesting book, but rather that He is now the Lord (ruler) of your life

Be baptized for the remission of your sins and so that you may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit because, simply put, it "...now saves us..." (1 Peter 3:21)

Live a life worthy of your calling in simple obedience so that you may receive the crown of life promised in Revelation 2:10

Now isn't that simple? I totally agree with the sentiment surrounding so many these days... Let's all pursue a simpler way of life... Simply live for Jesus

If you would like to email me or text me with something I can pray for you about, please do. I am so glad to be working along side you all.

May God continue to bless you all this week,

- Scott 

A Battle For The Throne

Every kingdom has someone sitting on the throne… even the kingdom of our hearts.

For every man or woman, there are but two choices as to who sits on the throne: God or You.

1) Ruled By Me

              - The rule of my kingdom can be compromised by many things, some    of which are evil and wrong.

              - But it can even be compromised by things that are not wrong or evil themselves.

              - It WILL be compromised when the following things take my focus away from God:                            

                        A.) Family - (Mark 3:31-35 & Matthew 10:34-39)

                                           - Jesus in Mark 3 told His earthly family that those that do the will of His Father were His “real” family. My love for my family cannot overshadow my relationship with God, no matter how much that may sting.

                                           - Jesus in Matthew 10 bluntly stated that those who love their family more than Him are not worthy of Him. Jesus knew that a true disciple, a true follower would be forced to make some difficult choices, but He also knew that the reward was worth it.

                        B.) Possessions - (1 John 2:15-17 & Mark 10:17-31)

                                           - John wrote in 1 John 2 that the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride in possessions are all things of the world and not of God. Does that make ownership of things wrong? Absolutely not! But, if those desires and the pride in the things we own take the throne of our life, they are no different than sin as they separate us from God Almighty.

                                           - Mark relays to us the words of Jesus in Mark 10 where Jesus was faced with a follower, a believer whose possessions kept him from being able to have the confidence in his eternal destination. Yes, it is possible for someone to be a follower of Christ and still be in love with their stuff! Jesus did not tell him to sell everything because his possessions were evil, Jesus told him to sell everything because that was the one thing keeping him from having a true relationship with God!

                        C.) Stubborn Selfishness - (Romans 2:1-11, 2 Peter 2:22)

                                           - Paul wrote in Romans 2 that we are simply foolish to think that we will escape the judgment of God. In verse 5, he even states that because of our hard and impenitent heart, we will store up wrath for ourselves on the day of judgment. This indicates that not only can we sometimes be selfish, but there are times when we are shown the error of our ways and refuse to acknowledge it! When we are selfish, we do not obey the truth. (v. 8) The foolishness comes about when we have to suffer consequences for stubborn selfishness, yet instead of turning from our foolish ways we return back to them. God proclaims how He feels about those people through the words of Solomon and Peter’s quote of those words. (Proverbs 26:11 & 2 Peter 2:22)

2) Ruled By God

              - The removal of God from the throne can be deadly and can lead to eternal destruction.

              - God is in His rightful place when we are:

                        A.) Devoted - (1 Timothy 4:13-16, Romans 12:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)

                                           - In 1 Timothy 4:13-16, Paul explains to Timothy that a full devotion to the reading of the Scriptures could save not only the one reading, but those who hear it. The word of God in the honest heart cannot help but place God on the throne of that heart.

                                           - Romans 12:12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tell us that a devoted, constant prayer life allows God to seize full control of the kingdom of our lives. When we ignore this aspect of our lives, we open the door for our worldly life to re-assert itself as dominant in our lives.

                                           - Mark 10:43-45 explains that when we are devoted to service, we become like Christ and put Christ in His rightful position of power on the throne of our kingdom.     

                       B.) Distinctive - (2 Timothy 2:21, 1 Peter 1:13-16, & 1 Peter 2:9-10)

                                           - 2 Timothy 2:21 explains that we are to be honorable vessels for the Master’s use. To put God in the proper place, we must be set apart for His use. We are to be distinctive and set apart for good works, not just works that we want to do.

                                           - In 1 Peter 1:13-16, Peter explains that we must be prepared for action, focused, sober-minded, obedient, and ultimately, holy and set apart. He continues this thought in 1 Peter 2:9-10 by explaining that we are not just set apart from the world, but set apart with a purpose.

                       C.) Disciplined - (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Colossians 3:5-10)

                                           - In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul explains that no one is shocked or surprised that an athlete trains his/her body for competition, so why should followers of Christ be any different? To truly place God on the throne of our hearts, we must commit to be disciplined in our efforts. While many in our world (and even in the church) place an extremely high value on being physically fit, we must be even more committed to disciplining ourselves to be spiritually fit.

                                           - Colossians 3:5-10 takes us through a spiritual makeover. To truly be disciplined, we may need to rid ourselves of the things that seemingly block our path. (Hebrews 12:1-2) By doing these things, we become a new creature that is renewed in knowledge after the image of God, our Creator.

“In every Christian’s heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross he remains on the throne. Perhaps that is at the bottom of the backsliding and worldliness among gospel believers today. We want to be saved but we insist that Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying.” - A.W. Tozer -

The ultimate decision is ours… Will we take up our cross or chose to leave ourselves on the throne? (Luke 9:23-27)

- Scott

Vine groups will begin in January of 2018. We are
excited to have men stepping into leadership within
these Vines. Please pray for them, as they are
preparing themselves for this task, and seeking the
Lord’s help in what they do. Support these men in
what they are trying to do, as they have been
brought into this by the shepherd’s intentions to
bring this church body together.
 
We will be adding the intention of using Vines to
reach our young people. In order for us to do that,
we are going to need you to be on board with this
specific purpose. We see the need to strengthen the
interaction between our mature believers and get
more of them involved in the lives of our young
people. Our answer to this challenge is a deliberate
moved away from a “youth minister,” and creating a
new path where its’ life is in the lives of ALL of us.
 
We are calling on you to help. Our Vines will
continue working like we have been doing, but the
additional fruit is for Vines to produce intentional
influence on the faith of our young people by being
with them, and teaching them of the way of godly
living.
 
- Alex
"When there is no enemy within, the enemies
outside cannot hurt you." - African Proverb
 
By nature, humans are a people of blindness. We
turn a blind eye to the things that would make us
uncomfortable; for example, we see the commercials
of those in severe poverty all over our world and
simply change the channel, we read newspaper
articles about veterans coming home and struggling
to make ends meet and we turn the page, or maybe
we even hear of those in our own communities that
are going through a severe loss and we utter
statements like "Bless their hearts" rather than
actually being a blessing to them. In some ways,
changing those things would be of tremendous
benefit, but I believe it to be a blindness towards our
personal issues that make it hard for us to truly see
our world as it is.
 
2 Corinthians 13:5 - "Examine yourselves, to see
whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do
you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus
Christ is in you? - unless you indeed you fail to meet
the test!"
 
Once we examine ourselves, and test ourselves, it
should provoke us to reach out to others in a way
that the world is not familiar with. A form of
outreach anchored in more than just words, articles,
and commercials... Outreach from a place of action,
truth, and love.
 
In 1 John 3:18, John writes, "Little children, let us
not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."