Series: Followership over Spectatorship
Title: Follow Me: The Conditions
Review of MBC’s vision for 2020: Pursuing followership over spectatorship by growing as disciples who make disciples.
- Implementation of a global & local mission team.
- Equip 75% of MBC partners share the gospel.
- Start 4 new LIFE Groups with 4 new leaders.
- All LIFE groups learn basic subjects of discipleship.
- Pray at 1:11 pm
- 1 to share the Gospel with in 2020.
- 1 to come to faith in Christ in 2020.
- 1 to personally disciple in 2021.
Passage: Mark 8:27-38
- The Confession, v 27-30
- “Who do people say that I am?”
- “But who do you say that I am?”
- The Correction, v 31-33
- The Son of Man must suffer (John 3:16)
- Peter’s rebuke
- “You’re shooting baskets for the wrong team.”
- The Conditions, v 34
- Deny himself
- Take up his cross
- Follow Me
- The Rationale, v 35-38
I have to ask… Was anyone able to guess the song when Pastor Matt started “Name That Tune” humming on Sunday morning??? I sure wasn’t! (My advice–Stick to preaching, Matt, and leave the music to Ryan and Zeke!) However, once Matt said it was the song My Life by Billy Joel, I knew exactly the song he meant! I’ve even sung the lyrics myself along with the radio, “Go ahead with your own life! Leave me alone!” That song was a great reminder of what the first condition of following Christ– Deny Yourself–does NOT look like!
Matt then mentioned, the second condition for following Christ–“Take up your cross” would have been a terribly gruesome metaphor to Jesus’ audience. Crosses were the ultimate symbol of shame, pain, and disgrace—not pretty trinkets or artwork on t-shirts. Jesus was asking members of his audience to volunteer to take up the horrible object and its implied suffering in order to follow Him. And as Matt pointed out, this isn’t like how we use it to sometimes refer to a “cross we have to bear.” Taking up your cross refers to the hardships that directly accompany the cost of following Christ.
Matt shared an example of a student who didn’t get into medical school because he revealed during his interview that he wouldn’t perform an abortion because he was a Christian. I’ve also had several instances where I was challenged to “take up my cross” in the workplace. At one high school where I taught, a student asked me to start a Bible study. However, when I went to submit a request to meet along with some other paperwork, I was told by an administrator that the school would be unable to offer an activity like that to the student body because it could be construed as favoring a religious organization. (Irony alert!!! The administrator was a evangelical Christian and former missionary!)
You would think this kind of thing wouldn’t happen in Texas! I knew the law, and I knew that there was nothing in it to support this decision. My guess is that the administrator didn’t want any unnecessary controversy or attention, so the easiest option was to deny us the option of meeting. I considered letting the matter drop. I was a relatively new teacher at the school, and I knew this might start me out on the wrong foot with the administration. However, I was reminded of the story of Esther. Maybe I was called to that school for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). I also remembered Job’s message to his friends, “Though He slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15). I went ahead and requested a meeting with the administrator over student clubs and activities knowing that my message might not be well-received.
I went to school a nervous wreck that day, but after school, I presented my case and offered a defense as to why such a gathering would be well within the laws governing separation of church and state. I looked at my administrator and said, “And you need to know that if you deny us the right to meet, I will do everything in my power to see this through–including taking legal action.” God was gracious that time, and we were allowed to meet, albeit with certain stipulations. I didn’t end up suffering personal loss that time, but I realize it could have gone differently. “Taking up our cross” can be costly, but it’s required for those who want to follow Christ.
Finally, true followers of Christ need to be willing to submit to the third condition. We need to be willing to follow Him–even if that means following Him into suffering. I was talking to a friend today, and we were joking about how it’s not really submission if it’s something you would have done anyway. True submission comes when we must bend our will to honor someone else in authority—especially if we have, what I like to call, “better ideas.” Following Christ means submitting to Him and His authority in our lives. We may think we have a better idea or a better way of doing things, but ultimately God has our best in mind. Romans 8:28 is clear that for those who love Him, He is working out everything for good. Following Christ is trusting that God isn’t lying to us in this promise.
MBC at large:
- Unfortunately, with the forecast of bad weather again for this weekend, the Saturday evening service has been cancelled.
- Please join us for a live stream of the service on Sunday morning on our YouTube Channel at the normal time of 10:30am. We are working toward a reopening of the building on June 7th—just in time to celebrate our recent graduates with a rescheduling of our Senior Sunday. Please remain flexible and give us time to communicate procedures and instructions with you for this reopening. We have some creative ideas, and we’re looking forward to sharing them!
- Movie Night is today, May 22 @ 7:00pm. They will be watching Disney’s Tangled. The plan is for students to meet at the church, under the covered drive, and watch the movie outside, weather-permitting. However, know that if they need to move the students inside because of rain, they already have a plan that will allow them to follow the social distancing guidelines. Students may also participate in the movie night via Zoom. Also, the Student Ministries Team is looking for homes to host small groups for their Wednesday night meetings over the summer. If you’re interested in hosting a small group or if you have any questions about the MBC Student Ministry, please contact Zeke, Corbin Wadkins, or Leah Austin (click here).
- Just a reminder and invitation for you to join us for Fitness & Fellowship, Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9am in the main gym. Bring a yoga mat and blocks on Tuesdays. Bring a yoga mat and hand-weights on Thursdays. Contact the church office for more information by clicking here.
- The Women’s Summer morning Bible study begins this Wednesday, May 27th and will be held on Zoom from 9:30-11am. They will be studying The Gift of Knowing Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by David Benner (available on Amazon for $10). The “Expanded Edition” includes discussion questions. Peggy Arendsee, the group leader, mentioned that this study would be a nice follow-on for ladies coming out of Re:Gen. Contact her by clicking here for more information.
MBC LIFE groups:
Join Mike Hogue for a study of Amos this Sunday at 6pm on Zoom!
Scott BeVier’s Sunday school class is studying 1st & 2nd Timothy via Zoom on Sunday mornings at 9am.
Scott Taillon’s class will be beginning a study of Paul soon. The guide they are using was written by Jack Kuhatschek and can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.
Pam Curry’s Sunday morning Zoom group will be starting Jen Wilkin’s study God of the Covenant on Sunday, May 31st.
There are other groups meeting, too, including Ed Fricke’s class, the Ambassador class, the Reynolds’ LIFE group, the Keener’s LIFE group, YAM(Young Adult Ministry)s, and more!
Please contact the church office (click here) if you do not belong to a LIFE group and we’ll do out best to get you connected.
Finally, remember the vision we have at MBC for 2020: Pursuing follower-ship over spectator-ship by growing as disciples who make disciples. Jesus made clear the conditions. May God give us all the strength to follow Him and the grace to forgive ourselves and others when we fall short.
In service Him and you!
Series: Followership over Spectatorship
Title: My Mom Taught Me to Love My Neighbor
Passage: Luke 10: 25-37 The Good Samaritan
Examine: What is your reason not to stop [and help]?
- busyness, fear, prejudice, lack of grace, compassion, sin, spiritual apathy…?
Questions for application:
- Are you asking, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
- Or have you been living as if you must do something to inherit eternal life?
- Are you being a good neighbor?
- Are you seeking to love those who are near and in need?
How do I get started on loving my neighbor?
- Start with one.
- Rely on the Spirit
- Love your neighbor out of the overflow of loving communion with Christ. Lk. 10:38-42
- Tell people about the Savior, Jesus Christ
Have you ever asked a question when you already knew the answer? When Mike was an instructor pilot and a middle school teacher, he would often ask students questions he knew the answer to, so they would recognize they were about to make a mistake. It got to be known around his squadron as a “Hogue Trap.” I hate being on the receiving end of one. Sometimes, it’s as innocent as Mike asking me, ““So how are you planning to get your computer to do….x,y, or z?” and ends with him asking, “Would you like me just to do it for you?”
We don’t know the motivation of the lawyer when he asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Was it a “Hogue Trap”? Did he know the answer already and was he just trying to make himself look good? Was it a trap to get Jesus to give an answer that would be unpopular with his followers? Whatever the motive, I don’t think anyone would argue that it backfired when Jesus fired the question back, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
Maybe then the lawyer stood up a little taller since he could demonstrate his knowledge of the Law. Or maybe he stumbled, not expecting to have the tables turned on him. I wish we had more insight into the tone of his response, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” At this point, he might have thought “Phew! I dodged a bullet on that one.” Or he might have felt proud of myself for such a “spiritual response”—a “Nailed it!” -type of moment. Jesus’ response, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live,” even feels like He was ready to let the lawyer off the hook.
However, the lawyer wanted or needed something more. Was it validation? Was it an attempt to save face? Luke writes that the lawyer pressed on “desiring to justify himself.” I hear buzzers going off here! Warning! WARNING!!! Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Get out of there!
Then out of the lawyer’s mouth come the words, “And who is my neighbor?” This resulted in one of the most famous parables of all time.
So who is our neighbor? Jesus’ answer came in the form of a story. This kind of answer is sneaky—like medicine wrapped in something sweet and delicious. The answer Jesus gave is that our neighbor is the most unattractive and unwelcome person we can picture. To the lawyer, it was a Samaritan. To us, it could be anyone who fits your favorite go-to poor behavior choice, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. The Samaritan became our role model. He showed the traveler mercy. He had authentic love for his neighbor.
What does authentic love look like? It gives sacrificially. It backs down so another can be built up. It gets out of its comfort zone. It speaks up against injustice—sometimes loudly. Other times, it stays quiet when wronged and forgives. It writes notes. It picks up Starbucks. It doesn’t demand credit or the gratitude of others. It doesn’t grumble. It doesn’t do anything for show.
Hearing this message on the Good Samaritan from Pastor Matt on Sunday challenged me to look for more ways to demonstrate authentic love to my “neighbors.”
You may have heard, but we hired a new Pastor of Students Ministries, Zeke Garcia! You can find out more about him by watching a short YouTube video we made to introduce him on our YouTube channel. Click here to watch! If you have questions we didn’t answer, or if you’d like to touch base with Zeke himself, feel free to drop him an email by clicking here (email@example.com). You can also call him by dialing directly 940-293-0544. We look forward to the day when we can introduce Zeke and his family to you all in person!
If you have a middle or high school student, be sure to tune in to Zoom on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights for more interaction with Zeke and the awesome group of individuals who are part of the MBC Student Ministry. Contact Leah Austin (click here) for more information or if you didn’t receive the Zoom links!
Pam Curry’s study of James starts this Sunday over Zoom! Click here to email Pam for more information.
Peggy Arendsee’s Summer Study of the book Surrender to Love by David Benner begins May 27th. Click here for more information.
Fitness and Fellowship is off and running! (No pun intended!) Come join us for stretching and conditioning on Tuesdays and Cardio/Step on Thursdays from 9-10am in the main sanctuary. Bring a yoga mat and hand weights if you have them! Click here for more info.
With the predictions of inclement weather for Saturday evening, we have rescheduled the “Outdoor Evening Service” for May 23rd at 7pm. However, this is also subject to change so please stay tuned and we will keep you updated!
Hosea Study –
Join Pastor Mike for a lesson on Hosea as he continues the Zoom study of the minor prophets on Sunday evenings from 6-7pm. Click here to email Mike for the Zoom link and/or for more information.
Finally, as we seek to be true followers of Christ and not just spectators, ask God to show you who your “neighbor” this week and go out and love them! And know that if I ask you how it’s going, I promise it won’t be a Hogue Trap.
In service to Him and to you,
May 3, 2020 Sermon Recap:
Series: Followership over Spectatorship: Growing as Disciples Who Make Disciples
Title: Follow Me: Love One Another
Passage: John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love for fellow believers as well as our unbelieving neighbors should be:
- Committed and forgiving
This means we need the Holy Spirit!
Only then will we be able to “bear the logo” of Christ –like certain clothing “bears the logo” of Michael Jordan–to fellow believers and to our unbelieving neighbors.
A sermon on love. This should be the easiest sermon recap to write! There are so many ways to practically demonstrate love for others. Like the note on the MBC Kids’ Ice Cream flier lists, we can walk dogs, paint rocks, and draw chalk pictures. We can also write notes, make calls, bring dinners, and on and on. Let me be clear. These are all nice things. Loving things. They’re all great actions that can show love to our neighbors.
Here’s my question though… Why does it sometimes seem easier to show love to complete strangers than the ones we love the most–our own family? I’ve been known to make a three course dinner for a family at church and then pick up McDonald’s for my own family (Don’t judge me, though. This was before the book Chew on This and the movie Supersize Me came out). When I was teaching, it seemed I had almost unlimited patience with my students. I could calmly ask a student to try again with a different answer ad infinitum. I even made it a personal challenge to try to connect with the most difficult kids to be the “teacher who cared.”
However, when I would get home to Mike and my own kids, I often was short and impatient. I spoke angry words out of frustration in a tone I never would even consider using with students or coworkers. Why? I’ve heard it asked, “Why do we tend to treat the ones we love the most…the worst?” Chaucer’s line from the Canterbury Tales, “Familiarity breeds contempt” is often too close to the truth.
While I don’t have a background in psychology, I do know enough to say that for me, this is just one more piece of evidence which shows us we can’t walk the Christian life in our own strength. We need the Holy Spirit. We need His help to love the unlovable, and we need His help to love those who are most precious to us. Don’t assume they just “know” you love them. They need to see love in action, too.
If you thought that while the church was closed these last few weeks for the Shelter-in-Place Order nothing was going on, you couldn’t be further from the truth! Here are some highlights from the last two weeks!
- You saw the MBC Kids and Student ministries loving on each other during the video last Sunday. This week, a team of volunteers delivered “Carnival in a Bag” kits to kids who participated in the Wednesday night CrossKids program this year! Lydia Weldy, Stephanie Vest, Edna Vara and a team of volunteers didn’t want the kids to miss out on their end-of-year celebration event, so they brought the “carnival experience” to the kids by providing them with items such as red noses, cotton candy, and shaving cream for a “Pie in the Face” challenge. Check out their Facebook page, “Midlothian Bible Church Kids Ministry,” to see all the smiling faces!
- There is BIG news on the MBC Student front! As Matt announced on Sunday, we have hired Zeke Garcia as our new Student Ministries Pastor! Zeke comes to us from Arkansas where he was a former worship leader and youth pastor. Zeke and his wife, Karlee, have three young children and another on the way due in November! We hope to have a video introducing Zeke and his family to you soon!
- Also on the MBC Student front, there will be a movie night tomorrow at 7pm. They will be watching “Spiderman: Homecoming” on Zoom. The Meeting ID is: 893 8438 3756 and the Password is: 147771. I know they are planning to deliver snacks to participating students Friday afternoon before the movie, so make sure Leah, Corbin, and the team know if your student plans to attend.
- Finally, the Student Ministry team is postponing the service recognizing graduating high school seniors until May 31st. If you have a graduating senior, please refer to an earlier email from Leah Austin and submit your student’s pictures ASAP! More details will follow, so look for another email from Leah soon.
- Our MBC Women had their May “Coffee & Conversation” event last Sunday evening. It was a virtual lesson on painting with watercolors. Stephanie Vest led everyone in creating a picture of flowers and succulents, and the resulting pictures weren’t half-bad, if I do say so myself! It was great to connect with other women over Zoom for this fun activity.
- Fitness & Fellowship classes have resumed on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9-10am! Join us for strength and stretching on Tuesdays and Cardio/Step on Thursdays! We’re also considering offering a Monday evening class. Email the church office by clicking here for more information. We’d love to have you join us!
MBC LIFE Groups/Sunday School Classes
- Zoom has also enabled our LIFE group and Sunday school classes to continue going strong. Here are some of their current offerings:
- Pam Curry and the women’s class—The book of James
- Mike Hogue and his Sunday night group—A study of the minor prophets
- The Taillon’s group meets on Zoom twice a week! Once for prayer requests and fellowship, and once for their study of Encountering Jesus by Douglas Connelly
- Scott BeVier and the Scripture by the Inch class is studying 1 & 2 Timothy
- I know Ed Fricke’s class, The Ambassador class, the Keener’s LIFE group, and the Reynold’s LIFE group are also meeting by Zoom, as well. Don’t let this virus keep you from feeling connected to the body here at MBC! Contact any of the leaders listed or email the church office, and we’ll help you find the perfect group for you and your family.
We’ve had over 80 households respond to the survey link we put out in Realm last week, and the information we received back has already been extremely helpful as we plan to reopen MBC. If someone in your family hasn’t completed the survey yet, please click here or copy and paste the following link into your browser and answer a few short questions for us: https://tinyurl.com/y8cnpc3d
Finally, weather-permitting, we’re planning an outdoor worship service on Saturday evening, May 16th from 7-8:30 pm. Look for another email with more details next week.
In closing, I would encourage you spend some time in the word this week and ask the Holy Spirit to help you find ways not only to love your unbelieving neighbor, but also ways to show love to the ones you love the most. By this all people will know that you are His disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).
In service to Him and to you,
Important Information Regarding the Reopening of MBC
|MBC Church Family,
I am excitedly looking forward to fellowshipping and worshiping with you all in person again soon. Therefore, it was encouraging to hear Governor Abbott’s phased plan to open Texas. As you may know, this plan allows churches to open worship services on a limited basis. (See attached document.) Yesterday, I had meetings with staff and elder leadership to discern how to do this wisely and with measured steps for the overall welfare of the church family. The consensus from these meetings was to continue live-streaming worship services for the next two Sundays with the hope of resuming in-person services by the weekend of May 17th. These steps will allow church leadership to observe what happens as businesses in Texas begin to reopen. It will also let church staff and ministry teams creatively plan and set up meeting areas for corporate worship that follow the governor’s guidelines. Currently, we are assessing the use of multiple services, prescribed groups, various meeting venues, reservations, and cleaning procedures between services. We are also considering the possibility of a special outdoor lawn-chair worship service on the church’s front green space. The youth ministry team is planning to resume their Wednesday night and weekend gatherings sooner. Youth attending these gatherings will be sectioned off into smaller groups, and all who participate will be asked to utilize appropriate social distancing during meetings. If you would like to volunteer to help set up our future services and assist us in meeting the prescribed guidelines, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Set-up Help” in the subject line. Please also continue to pray for church leaders to have wisdom and discernment in these matters as we go forward. As we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic, I would encourage you all to walk by faith in God, and seek first His Kingdom. Look for ways you can love your neighbor and put the gospel of Jesus Christ on display.
By His grace, Matt Reynolds for the Elder Team
Hey, MBC Family!
Title: Choosing Faith Over Fear–Trusting the King & Seeking the Kingdom
Passage: Matthew 6:25-34
Context: Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)
Definition of anxious: to be drawn in two different directions, to be distracted, divided
Command #1: Do not be anxious
- Does not mean we don’t plan
- Does not mean we don’t have healthy concern
Reasons to “Stop it!”—to stop being anxious
- Your anxiety is inconsistent with the character of our God
- You are valuable to your Heavenly Father
- Anxiety is futile
- Anxiety diminishes faith & forgets eternal life
- Anxiety ruins our witness
Command #2: Seek first His kingdom
First of all, let me say how encouraging it always is to see you all log in to view the livestream of the worship service on Sunday mornings. However, if you tuned in this past week, you might have noticed that we had technical difficulties at the end of Pastor Matt’s message. The feed for Matt’s message cut off–with a very unflattering screen shot of Matt, unfortunately–around an hour and 18 minutes into the message, and you missed Matt’s closing remarks which included a moving video, That’s My King. The video puts visual images to an excerpt from a sermon given by Dr. S.M. Lockridge in 1976. I encourage you to visit our YouTube channel (click here) and watch the end of the message again because Jordan Clark was able to “uncorrupt” the original video and attach this video clip! Thanks, Jordan!
Matt included the video in his message because, as he mentioned, just trying to stop worrying is difficult! It can even feel downright impossible. However, by seeking first God’s kingdom and remembering who He is, we can have the faith and confidence in our heavenly Father to overcome the anxiety that can so easily entangle us.
Here is just a taste of the video and Lockridge’s message:
I wonder, do you know Him? David said, “The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love. No far-seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply. No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings.
- He’s enduringly strong.
- He’s entirely sincere.
- He’s eternally steadfast.
- He’s immortally graceful.
- He’s imperially powerful.
- He’s impartially merciful.
You’ll have to watch the video to see the rest. It’s great stuff! (Btw-Did you know you can even use the “Jump To Section” feature in the comments section of the YouTube video to go right to a certain point in the service? Click on “Show more” under the video in the comments section, and then click on the blue “1:13:40” that appears after the words “Video Clip—‘That’s My King’.” It will take you right to the video!)
On a personal note, I have also struggled with anxiety. My anxiety was never more severe than the month before and the four months Mike was deployed to Iraq. One thing that really helped me when I would start to have panicky thoughts—especially when I was in bed alone at night—was to think of a scripture verse for every letter of the alphabet. I found that Satan doesn’t like when we meditate on Scripture, and I would often fall asleep after my first or second round of going through the alphabet. Click on the image below for my “first round” of scriptures for each letter of the alphabet to this update.
Most I memorized with our kids because they were set to Christine Wyrtzen’s (yes, she’s related to Dave!) cassette for children, Critter County, circa 1984. After I go through this list once, I start again from the top and try and think of new verses for each letter of the alphabet.
If we’re honest, it is truly hard to just “Stop it!” when it comes to anxiety. Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle. However, I would challenge you not to roll over every time anxious thoughts come into your mind and succumb to your worry. Scripture is clear that we must destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. We must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). This is war!!!
But don’t try be a “lone wolf” and do this in your own flesh, either—you’ll just end up frustrated and disappointed. Like the old children’s song says, we’re “In the Lord’s ARMY!” Ask fellow believers to help hold you accountable not to worry. Then let your commander-in-chief, the Lord Himself, do the hard work. When you focus on who He is and mediate on His word, He will help you find rest and relief from your anxiety.
- MBC Students will also be having another movie night this Friday at 7pm. Be sure to vote on your choice of movie by clicking here. They also have some great snacks planned, but only for those who RSVP. Make sure to let Corbin (click here) know you plan to participate to get in on that action! In addition, if you’re the parent of a high school senior, check your email for an important message about Senior Recognition Sunday. Please make sure to read it and respond with your senior’s information. Again, if you did not receive the email, please contact the student ministries office.
- Did you know that many other LIFE groups and classes are continuing to meet virtually each week? See below for a list of groups and contact the leader if you would like to join any of these meetings:
- Scripture BY the Inch–meets via Zoom on Sunday mornings at 9am. Contact Scott Bevier.
- Ambassadors’ LIFE group (mostly for those over 65, but they do make exceptions!). Contact Anne Rodgers or Becky Sentz.
- Taillon’s LIFE group meets via Zoom on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. Contact Scott Taillon.
- Keener’s LIFE group meets via Zoom on Sunday evenings @6:30pm. Contact Lori Keener.
- Reynolds’ LIFE group meets via Zoom every other Sunday evening. Contact Elizabeth Reynolds.
- YAMS (Young Adult Ministry) meets Sunday evenings via Zoom @6pm. Contact Corbin Wadkins.
- Ladies’ Bible Study meets Wednesday mornings via Zoom @9:30. Contact Peggy Arendsee.
- Revelation Family Bible study (about to switch to a study of the minor prophets) meets Sunday evenings @6pm. Contact Mike Hogue.
- Please do not hesitate to contact the church office (click here) if you need anything and leave a message—I will return your call. People in the congregation have continued to give to our benevolence fund, so we have the resources to help you if you are struggling with overwhelming financial burdens. Please don’t be too embarrassed to ask for help. Likewise, make sure to check on other members of MBC. If you sense they are struggling, you can apply for benevolence help for them. Again, just contact the church office for more information.
Finally, Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing except pandemics!” Wait. It doesn’t say that? How about, “Be anxious for nothing except the crashing of the economy.” Not that either? As Mike is always quick to remind me, it says, “Be anxious for NOTHING.” It’s a hard ask, but we serve an amazing God. Let Him bring His power to help you overcome anxiety today.
In service to Him and to you,
Hey, MBC Family!
Choosing Faith Over Fear: Rejoice! Because He lives, you also will live!
Key Passage: John 14
Setting: The Last Supper
Reasons not to fear? Jesus’ promises!
- To prepare a place for them in heaven (v2)
- He will return from heaven one day (v3)
- He alone is the way God (v6)
- He still has great works for them to do (v12)
- A Helper, God the Holy Spirit, will dwell in them (v16-17)
The promise of Resurrection
- Resurrection of Life (John 5:25–29)
- Resurrection of Judgment (Revelation 20:12-15)
The most memorable illustration for me from Pastor Matt’s sermon on Sunday was about the bee in the car. If you don’t remember, Matt told a story about a father and his young son who were out for a drive. A bee entered the car which caused the son to scream and cry with fright—worried that the bee would sting him. The father grabbed the bee in his hand, shook his hand violently, and then let the bee go. The son started crying again, worried that the danger had returned. The dad turned and told the son, “You don’t have to worry anymore, son. The bee can only make noise now. He can’t sting you. See here! He left his stinger in my hand.”
What great hope that should be for us! We don’t have to be afraid of death any longer. Jesus removed its painful stinger with His own suffering and death on the cross. It allows us to say, “O Death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55) But even better–He didn’t stay dead! His resurrection is a demonstration of God’s amazing power.
In light of the festivities that surround Easter, we may sometimes forget the significance of the resurrection. I know that I tend to favor Christmas as my favorite holiday. But really for believers, Easter should be the preeminent holiday. Our faith is based upon the resurrection. If the resurrection didn’t happen, Paul says, “We are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:19). As we sang on Sunday, death was arrested by Christ’s resurrection. Death could not hold our Savior. And Christ promised to go on ahead and prepare a place for us. A place with no more death or suffering of any kind. The resurrection is like earnest money. The resurrection proves God has the power to do what He says.
And what exactly does He say? For those who are weak and weary, God promises to give you strength (Isaiah 40:31). To those who are worried about our financial future (many of us), God promises to provide for you (Matthew 6:24-34). To those who are anxious (most of us), God promises to give you peace which surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:6-9). For those who can’t overcome feeling guilty about mistakes you’ve made in your past, God promises that He has forgiven you and cleansed you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He also promises that He has removed our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). We can have confidence when we read in Romans that He will cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). The resurrection is the power behind the rainbow in Genesis 9.
If you follow our MBC Facebook page or Instagram account, you probably wondered what in the world we were doing with that weird apparatus in the sanctuary this week. That wasn’t a springy go-cart, it was a special lift. Someone donated funding to get new lighting (presumably to help keep Matt from looking like he has a halo when he brings the Word to us via video on Sunday mornings), and Kevin Martin was helping to adjust the beams of light. May I thank those of you who see needs and look for ways to help meet them here at MBC! We are so grateful for you!
On a similar note, I have to give a “shout-out” to our MBC Kids and Students ministries!!! Last Sunday, the MBC Kids Ministry undertook the task of “egging” homes of our children with candy, treats, and tokens representing the resurrection message. It was an enormous undertaking, and they pulled it off with finesse! Check out the Midlothian Bible Church Kids Ministry Facebook page to see pictures of children celebrating Easter even while being under quarantine. You’ll be encouraged, for sure! In addition, MBC Students pulled off its first ever communal “Movie Night!” last Friday evening! Kudos to the volunteers that delivered snack bags to the doorsteps of homes of students in 6-12th grade, and then wrangled up them all up to watch the same movie at the same time. It has been inspiring to see the creativity of these workers as they strive to keep children, teens, and young adults feeling connected to the body here at MBC.
To Sum Up—
The resurrection is what gives us hope. It is the power that takes the sting out of death and anything else that might be causing us to fear right now. And it is also the power that is constantly at work in us (Ephesians 1:19-20). Everything else is just noise.
In service to Him and to you,
SUBJECT: MBC Good Friday Service Info. & Guidance for Communion Participation
Midlothian Bible Church Family,
In this challenging and unique time our world is facing, the calling of the church has not changed. We are still called to glorify God, proclaim the Gospel, and make disciples of Jesus Christ. As a church, we state our mission this way:
Midlothian Bible Church seeks to glorify God and make disciples by bringing people together through the Gospel and building up mature followers of Christ.
As we approach this Easter weekend, there are several opportunities to continue working toward this mission.
GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE PLANS & ENCOURAGEMENT
First, you can join us virtually on Good Friday. We will post a brief, reflective service on our YouTube channel at 4pm on April 10th. Since it will be pre-recorded, you will be able watch at the time of your convenience thereafter. I want to encourage you as a family or individually to join in this service. Follow along as I lead you through communion. If you are at home by yourself, I would encourage you after the service to use a video chat service to share in communion with a friend or family member. Another option is to contact the church office at email@example.com in order to arrange for a church leader to lead you through communion sometime over the Easter weekend.
PURPOSE OF COMMUNION
On Friday, I will be sharing a message from Luke 22:14-20. This is when Jesus instituted the ordinance of Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper, during the celebration of Passover on the eve of His Crucifixion. Christ brought the ultimate significance to this Passover meal by associating the sacrificing of His blood and body for the atonement of mankind with the symbolic use of the bread and wine. The eating of the bread reminds believers of Christ’s bodily substitution for us and the benefits we gain from this substitutionary death (Matt. 26:26; Lk. 22:19; Jn. 6:53-57; 1 Cor. 11:24; 1 Pt. 2:24). The wine of the cup reminds believers of the all-sufficient, perfect blood sacrifice Christ provided on our behalf which provides redemption and forgiveness from sins once and for all (Matt. 26:27-28; Lk. 22:20; Jn. 6:53-57; 1 Cor. 11:25; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 10:1-22).
But the Lord’s Supper is more than just a reminder of what Christ has accomplished in His death. It is encouragement to believers that Christ now abides in us (Jn. 6:53-57). It is an opportunity to proclaim Christ’s saving work (1 Cor. 11:26). It is a chance to celebrate the unity believers have together in Christ as He resides in each believer (1 Cor. 10:27; Matt. 18:20). In light of this unity, the fellowship of the communion meal is not to be taken lightly. Believers should examine their lives and make sure they are in right relationship with fellow believers (1 Cor. 11:27-29). As a united family of believers, we can also look forward to the reunion and future meal with the Savior who made salvation possible (Matt. 26:29; 1 Cor. 11:26; Rev. 19:1-10).
PREPARATION & SIMPLE GUIDE FOR COMMUNION AT HOME
Preparation for the Good Friday Service & Communion
- Have the Communion elements ready: unleavened bread (for Christ’s body) and juice (for Christ’s blood). If you are unable to get these elements, use something close to it. What is most important is your heart’s response to Jesus Christ and His work on the cross for you.
- Take time to examine your heart. (1 Cor. 11:27-29) See the article “What does it mean to examine yourself (1 Corinthians 11:28)?” by clicking here (https://www.gotquestions.org/examine-yourself.html )
- Remember that this is a spiritual heart “checkup.” It is not meant to imply that perfection is necessary to take communion. Instead we should ask, “Do I understand what the Lord Supper means and am I taking it for the right reasons? Am I seeking to follow Christ or are there areas of my life I am not letting Him lead?” Confess what comes to mind when asking those questions and ask Him to empower you to repent and pursue Him.
- If there is unresolved conflict in your life, ask the Lord if reconciliation is possible and how He would have you seek it (Matthew 5:23). See the Four G’s of Peacemaking https://rw360.org/the-four-gs/ or the Peace Making Pamphlet https://rw360.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Peacemaking-Principles-Pamphlet.pdf
- Reflect on all Jesus did and went through to pay the penalty for your sin. Reading through Matthew 26 -27 will help you reflect.
- Participate in the Good Friday service. Sing along and take communion when instructed.
Guidance for taking Communion via video chat with a friend, family, or small group
- Read through one of the following passages: Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:23-26; Luke 22:7-23.
- Then read though one of the following passages: Matthew 27:15-61; Mark 15:1-47; Luke 23:1-56; John 19:1-42
- Ask one person to pray for the bread and lead in this first part of communion. Here’s an example:
Person holds the bread up as a symbol of Jesus’ body and says, “Jesus asked us to eat this bread to remember that He gave His body for us. Let’s pray.
‘God, thank You for sending Jesus who not only lived for us, but died for us. The Son of God, who came in the body of a man, gave Himself up so we could live! Thank You that His body was raised back to life. Thank You that because of the grace of Jesus we have real life, and we can live forever in You. Amen.’
Okay, go ahead and eat the bread.”
excerpt from – https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/coronavirus/the-power-of-receiving-communion-at-home-during-quarantine.html
- Next, have someone pray for the cup and lead in this second part of communion. Here’s an example:
Person holds the cup as a symbol of Jesus’ blood and says, “Jesus asked us to drink this cup to remember that our sins are washed away by the powerful new covenant Jesus made possible between us and God. Let’s pray.
‘God, what an incredible picture this is of Your love for us. You allowed Your only Son to literally be poured out so that we could be in a fully restored relationship with You. Thank You, Jesus, for giving your blood. Amen.’
Go ahead and drink the cup.”
- Encourage group members to offer prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Helpful articles for questions about communion:
- What is the importance of the Lord’s supper/Christian Communion? https://www.gotquestions.org/communion-Christian.html INCLUDES ANIMATED VIDEO FOR CHILDREN TO WATCH.
- What is the meaning and importance of the Last Supper? https://www.gotquestions.org/Last-Supper.html
- When should children be baptized and/or allowed to take the Lord’s Supper? https://www.gotquestions.org/children-baptism-communion.html
- What did Jesus mean when He said, “This is my body, broken for you”? https://www.gotquestions.org/this-is-my-body-broken-for-you.html
- Is it acceptable to have communion outside of the church? https://www.gotquestions.org/communion-outside-church.html
I pray that the above information will be a help in strengthening your faith and equipping you to help others pursue Jesus Christ. May we all continue to encourage each other in our walk with Jesus and sharing of the Gospel with others.
By His grace,
Pastor, Midlothian Bible Church
Hey, MBC Family!
Choosing Faith Over Fear: Utilize Your Helper
Key Passage: John 14: 15-17
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. John 12:27
Utilize your Helper, the Holy Spirit
Trust in Christ your Savior
Set your minds on things of the Spirit
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
Walk by the Spirit
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
A story came to mind when I listened to Pastor Matt’s sermon again. It was from when I was about thirteen years old. That year, I got a guitar for Christmas. This was before Google and YouTube, so I went to the used bookstore and got a book on how to teach myself how to play guitar.
According to the book, the first step in learning to play the guitar was learning how to tune the guitar. I remember sitting on my bed with the guitar in my hands. I plucked a string and then tried to match that sound when I plucked another string. However, a strange thing kept happening. When I turned the tuning peg to tighten the string and raise its pitch, the sound got lower. I couldn’t figure it out, so I checked the book again. Yes. The book said, “Tighten the string to raise the pitch.” So I kept tightening and tightening the tuning peg, but the sound coming from the string got lower and lower.
At the exact moment I realized I was tightening the wrong tuning peg, the string snapped and recoiled into my face not even a centimeter from my eye. It left a painful, spiral-shaped welt on my cheek for several days. The string’s pitch wasn’t getting lower and lower. I was tightening the wrong peg.
I think this was the point when I decided the guitar wasn’t the instrument for me (I ended up taking up the bass). I needed help. I needed someone or something to help me make the music I wanted to play sound good. At a minimum–I needed an electronic tuner. Electronic tuners have a display. Some special tuners for beginners even show a picture of the neck of the guitar and the peg that needs adjustment to achieve the correct pitch (if the guitar starts out mostly in tune).
This example came to mind because it reminded me of what Matt described as “walking in the flesh” instead of utilizing our Helper and walking in the Spirit.
Tuning the guitar like I was trying to do with no knowledge of what to do and without an electronic tuner can be like when I try and live in my own strength–when I walk in the flesh. I work harder and harder to do more or to be better. That’s when the string that is my life gets tighter and tighter. I feel like I’m going to snap. And sometimes I even do snap—just like that guitar string. I apply too much tension and pressure to the wrong place—on the wrong string, as it were.
Using an electronic tuner takes the pressure away. It helps diagnose the problem more efficiently and correctly. It shows exactly what I need to do to make the guitar sound good, and it even gives me guidance on how to achieve the right sound. This is like what happens when I rely on the Helper Jesus said was available to me. I need to remember to walk by the Spirit by getting into and meditating on God’s word. Then my life–like a guitar–will get into tune. It will sound better overall. And most importantly, He’ll keep me from snapping.
This Friday, April 10th, we will be posting a Good Friday devotional from Pastor Matt at 4pm to our YouTube channel. (click here) Please join in and watch with your family. Pastor Matt will also be encouraging you to take communion as part of his message, so you might want to have some juice and bread handy to use in your own houses.
On Sunday morning, April 12th, we will be posting a pre-recorded Easter message on our YouTube channel. Make sure you have subscribed or our channel, so you receive notifications as soon as we post this and any other content.
We so appreciate those of you who have continued to give during this time—both to the general fund and to the benevolence ministry. If you have questions about how to send in your tithes and offerings, please email the church office (click here).
We also appreciate hearing your praises and prayer requests! Please keep sending them in to your small group leaders or directly to us by clicking here
Finally, many of our ministries have continued to connect with people despite the Shelter-in-Place order. For example, MBC Kids has its own Facebook page where they stream lessons and post activities. Our MBC Student and Young Adult ministries, along with several Sunday School and LIFE groups, have found their groove using Zoom to meet virtually. Please email the church office (click here) if you are having trouble using any of these applications or if you are starting to feel disconnected. We are here for you and would love to help you get plugged into a group to help you find encouragement in these difficult times.
To Sum Up—
I know it’s hard to keep track of which day is what in our “new normal,” but during this week, try to take time to reflect on why Easter is so meaningful. Jesus died, but He didn’t stay dead! God demonstrated His power when defeated death and brought His Son back to life. He confirmed His Word to be true and thereby showed we can put our faith in Him. As we remember Good Friday and then celebrate Easter Sunday, may we be thankful for the Helper He has provided us. You don’t need to “tune your guitar alone.” Utilize the Holy Spirit so God can make His beautiful music happen through you.
In service to Him and to you,
Hey, MBC Family!
I really connected with two of the illustrations Matt used in his sermon, Choosing Faith over Fear, Anxiety, and Worry: Listen to Wisdom, Learn to Trust God.
First, I identified with Matt’s visual aid of the backpack. As he packed it full of books, we could all see it get heavier and heavier. It was easy to picture how that could weigh a person down (Prov 12:25). A heavy backpack is even worse when you try and carry it by only one strap. Matt and I are about the same age, so I can verify that the “cool” way to carry a backpack when we were in high school was to wear it over only one shoulder. I even had to go see a doctor for back pain in high school because I routinely carried such a heavy backpack on just one shoulder. The doctor ordered me to lighten up and use both straps.
That illustration reminded me a little of my life right now. I need to lighten up my backpack. And I need to put on both straps. I need to take out some of the “books” that are causing me stress right now—“books” like how stay healthy during a pandemic, “books” like how to make it through a financial crisis, “books” like how to take care of elderly parents, and others. Are your titles similar to mine? If so, let’s put them down together. We don’t need to be carrying around that weight right now. We only need One Book. Also, we need to put on both straps!!! Proverbs 3:5-6 says that when we trust God (strap 1) and lean on Him rather than our own understanding (strap 2), He will make our way straight. He’s got a journey ahead of us, and we can trust that He’ll direct us in the way to go and provide what we need to make it all the way to the end!
Second, I connected with Matt’s description of worry as a leash that can choke. When Matt described their new puppy, Ruby, wrapped around the pole in his backyard, it reminded me of when Mike and I were first married. Instead of having kids right away, we adopted two very large dogs—a German Shepherd and a Chow/Shepherd/Rottweiler mix (140 lbs). We enjoyed them (mostly), and I think they enjoyed being our pets except for when we went to visit Mike’s parents. No matter how cold or wet it was, our dogs had to stay outside at their house. And Mike’s parents’ yard wasn’t fenced. So that meant that our dogs spent their time tied up to a tree in their front yard. Once, Mike’s dad even forgot (at least he says he forgot) to turn off their automatic sprinkler system. We woke up early that morning to the frantic crying of two wet and shivering dogs, crazy out of their minds, and nose-to-nose with each other because they were completely wound up around the tree.
Too often, I’m like that. I start off okay, and I leave plenty of room for my mind to just “roam.” But if I let my mind wander into “worry territory,” I get more and more frantic. Before I know it, whatever issue I was struggling with suddenly is bigger and more frightening, and I’m wrapped in a leash of worry around my own tree of despair, barely able to breathe. A verse that helps me when I find myself in this position is 2 Cor 10:5. It says, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Take that worry! I use that exhortation to help me cut the leash of worry from my thoughts! It takes work and concentration, but it’ worth it. The freedom from worry that follows is glorious.
Finally, a part of Matt’s sermon which made me laugh (besides several of the closed captions) was when he described how he hid the “lunch notes of encouragement” his mom wrote him when he was younger. I can picture Jacqueline Reynolds penning Proverbs 3:5-6 in beautiful handwriting to encourage her son when he sat down to eat his lunch. And I can picture him trying to keep his friends from reading those notes. It reminded me of how I used to draw bugs flying airplanes on Mike’s brown paper lunch bags to let him know I loved him when he was in pilot training. (It’s a stretch, I know…) I can only imagine now how embarrassed he must have been pulling those out in front of his classmates! However, just like Matt’s mom used an “unconventional method” to encourage her son, we need to use all the tools in our creative arsenal to help the ones we love to stand firm in the Lord against attacks of fear, anxiety, and worry.
- The MBC Prayer Team needs YOU! If you are interested in joining our staff in praying for the requests of the body each week, please reply to this email by clicking here.
- Doug Arendsee’s class “Engaging Mind and Culture” will be starting up again via Zoom THIS WEEK, on THURSDAY nights at 7pm to give more people the opportunity to attend. This will also hopefully help free up bandwidth in your homes since ReGen and our MBC Student ministry programs are still meeting remotely on Wednesday evenings! Please email him by clicking here if you’re interested., and he will send you a link to the Zoom meeting!
- Mike Hogue would also love to have you “Zoom” in for his Sunday night Revelation Bible Study! Please email him (click here) if you’re interested in joining his 6pm meeting!
- Don’t forget to visit the MBC YouTube channel (click here) to view past sermon streams, “Songs to Encourage,” help for homeschooling your kids, and entertaining Bible stories. We try and add content almost everyday. Over the last two weeks, our content has been viewed over 1700 times by over 600 unique viewers! Next up! A 14 day fitness challenge for ladies! If you have ideas for new material, let me know by clicking here. Be sure to check it out!
- Thank you for continuing to watch the live streams of our service and for continuing to send in your gifts! We have heard your feedback, and while the closed captions were a good idea in theory, we will be removing them from the stream this week. Let us know if you have any other suggestions to improve the digital delivery of the service!
On that note, let’s be sensitive to those around us this week. Just like Matt’s mom and her “lunch notes of encouragement,” we need to get creative and help reassure the people in our lives that no matter how bad this gets, with Christ, we don’t need to be filled with fear, anxiety, or worry. We just need to have faith and trust in our Heavenly Father.
He’s got this. And He’s got us, too.
service to Him and to you,
Hey, MBC Family!
The theme of Matt’s message this past Sunday was replacing fear with prayerful dependence on God. I loved that. However, in appropriate amounts, fear can be a gift from God. It heightens our senses and makes us more aware of our surroundings. It is essential for survival. So where is the balance between fear and prayerful dependence? Can we embrace a sharpening of our senses while still maintaining a sense of peace and calm? As I talked with Mike about intersection of healthy fear and faith, I came up with an example which might help explain how we can have both—a little bit of fear overcome by a whole lot of faith and dependence on our Heavenly Father.
Mike and I both love roller coasters. I went on my first roller coaster during a choir competition at Hershey Park (Pennsylvania) when I was in the 8th grade, and from that day on I was hooked. Mike, being a pilot, has always loved amusement park rides that go fast and high up in the air (Except those that spin. Mike hates spinning. In fact, spinning to any pilot is very bad. Go watch the movie Top Gun if you don’t believe me.) So when we have visited amusement parks, we like to “help” our children overcome their innate fear of these high-speed steel trains. Usually we “help” them by offering some sort of delayed gratification or reward for them to enjoy AFTER they ride (yes, purists might call that a bribe, but hear me out).
To motivate our first-born to ride the “Superman” roller coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, she only needed the promise of a $20 bill. Done. Our son, Josh, was even easier. He overcame his fear of the “Rockin’ Roller Coaster” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the promise of a frozen lemonade. Chloe rode Space Mountain and came home with a Stitch stuffed animal. Our second-born’s story had a similar beginning, but included a twist.
One trip to Disney World, Abby saw a tye-dyed, rainbow t-shirt at the “Rockin’ Roller Coaster” gift shop and her eyes shined with longing. It was the perfect incentive for us to use to help her overcome her fear. While she was just tall enough to meet the minimum height requirement for the ride, she was filled with the maximum amount of terror. This bore itself out as she cried quiet tears the entire time we snaked our way through queue. We finally got to the front of the line. Mike ducked out to ride in a car with our other daughter, and I was left as Abby’s “Ride Buddy.”
We strapped in and pulled down the safety bars. Abby was openly sobbing at this point, and I was starting to feel a blush of embarrassment as others looked at me in harsh judgment. I continued to console her and reminded her of the prize that waited for her at the end of the ride—the beautiful rainbow t-shirt. It didn’t help. By this time, even I was praying that we could just get the whole episode behind us. Then, one of the ride attendants looked at Abby, at me, back at Abby, and signaled for the ride operator to halt. The. Entire. Ride.
He approached the side of the car that Abby was on, and got down on his knees so he was eye-to-eye with Abby, and stated with no apology whatsoever, “Young lady, we are about creating magic here. If you don’t want to ride this ride, your mother cannot make you.” And with that he gave me an evil, condescending glare, as did everyone else standing in the line waiting to ride the next train. I was mortified and looked away while trying to shrink into the back of my seat. Mike pretended like he had never seen either of us before. “Now if you, and not your mother, really want to ride this ride, you need to give me a thumbs up. If you don’t, we’ll get you off right here and there’s nothing your mom can do about it. But only look at me. Not your mom. I need to see your thumb up.”
“So what will it be?”
All of us held our breath. I was almost afraid to look. But I had to know! What would she choose??? I caught a glimpse of her fist out of the corner of my eye. At first, it just looked as though she was getting ready to punch the seat back in front of her. However, her thumb creeped upward, and before I fully saw what happened, the ride attendant yelled out, “Okay then!” and we took off.
I couldn’t see much of her during the actual ride, but after the first loop, I did see that she managed to crack a tearful smile. By the end of the ride, she was beaming. Not only had she conquered her fear, she knew a prize was waiting for her in the gift shop. The rainbow t-shirt.
So how does all this relate to corona virus and Matt’s sermon on overcoming fear with prayerful dependence?
My point is this–Abby was able to overcome her fear because:
- She wanted the reward.
- She trusted us.
She knew that we would be faithful to our word. If she faced her fear, we would reward her in the end.
Break. Break. Life is hard. Life is also scary. Sometimes, it feels like a roller coaster. (Do you see where I am going with this?) However, our Heavenly Father has made a promise to us. Many promises, actually. Including, but not limited to:
- He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b-6).
- We can do all things through His strength (Phil 4:13).
- He will reward us when we remain steadfast under trial (James 1:12)
These rewards may not be on this earth, but they are coming. And according to Ephesians 3:20, they’re exceedingly, abundantly more than we could even ask or imagine.
Sometimes, we just need to grab onto our heavenly Father’s hand, suck in our breath, and get ready for the ride. It might feel too fast. Too steep. Too scary. But God’s got this. He designed the ride. He knows it isn’t going to fail. And He has promised us a special reward at the end. The fact that God raised Jesus from the dead shows that He is all-powerful. He can be trusted to do what He says. And, just like the rainbow on Abby’s desired t-shirt can remind us, God always keeps His promises.
- To be honest, we’re all kind of watching to see how the COVID-19 crisis will play out. Mike and I live in Tarrant County and as of midnight tonight, we are ordered to stay in our homes. We’ve heard that Ellis County has issued their own order. While we won’t be in the office, I know the entire staff wants to stay connected to all of you. Please continue to email us your prayer requests, questions, and feedback. (Click here) While there won’t be someone there answer your calls, PLEASE leave a voicemail! This goes straight to my inbox as an email. I WILL CALL YOU BACK!
- The building will now be closed, but we want to do everything we can to stay connected to you. In fact, we will be live streaming our Wednesday night youth worship and teaching time on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel. I will send out these links as they become available tomorrow. We are particularly excited to have people join us because the worship and teaching will both be led by Ezekiel Garcia, one of our youth pastor candidates! Youth will have the chance to join small group breakouts via zoom after the main session by clicking on one of the following links:
- I hope you’ve gone ahead and subscribed to our YouTube channel! Click here This is where we will be live streaming all of our sermons from in the future. In addition, we add new content almost everyday, and I have curated playlists for encouraging songs, Bible stories for kids, devotions for women, KETO recipes, movie reviews, and Bible study aids. Matt will also be launching his “Psalms to Calm the Soul” series there soon. And we’d love to put up even more of your content! So record yourself playing a favorite hymn on the guitar or piano. Talk about something the Lord has been teaching you. Share a way to get through a tough teaching day with your kids. And send me the link to the video. I’d love to include you in this online community.
- As I mentioned, the service this Sunday will be live-streamed again on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel. Please make an effort to pray for each other. Stay plugged in and connected to your LIFE groups. In fact, the Revelation study LIFE group will be “zooming” starting this Sunday. Don’t feel like you had to start from the beginning. Mike would love to have you join the study. Email me (click here) for more information if you are interested in joining this group.
So while you may feel like you’re riding an out-of-control roller coaster, know that the One sitting next to you has the whole world in His hands. He’s got you. And He’s got this. He’ll reward those who choose faith and prayerful dependence over fear.
service to Him and to you,