Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Do You Have Character or Are You A Character?


I have met and known some great people in my life. People of great
character. By character, I mean positive personality qualities that
they possessed in great measure that were obvious to everyone around
them. I have also known people that were characters. They just simply
played a part in life. They were actors of great personality traits.
They didn't really possess them.

There really is only two types of character. Either you have it, or
you are one. People of character possess personality traits that are
positive to others. Characters act like they have personality traits
that are desirable to others for their personal gain. It does not take
long. The true character of a person eventually will be come evident.

I often wonder of the people who don't have character if they know if
they don't have it. If their acting like having character has
convinced them that they have it, or if they are simply lying to
themselves for their benefit. It is sad really, since the character of
who you are determines who you are, and how people will interact with

The truth is, if you do not have any character, people know it. They
are just allowing you to be the dirtbag you are.

So if you do not have character how do you possess it? You do the
right things. You don't just love people to get something from them,
you actually love them. You don't steal because its wrong, not because
you're afraid of getting caught. You don't talk bad about people
because its hurtful, not because you don't want relational
repercussions. You try to do the right thing in every situation
because it is the right thing to do. Not because you want something
from people.

That builds character.

What is the point? Take a moment today to inventory your actions. Look
at them and think if the things you say and do in public and private
are actions that could be considered as having character. If
not,perhaps you are just being a character.

Don't be a character. Have character. Remember this- 1 Corinthians
15:33 “Bad company corrupts good character.”

be blessed
pastor matt

Posted via email from Faith and Victory Church Blog

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'm Going Through #Facebook Withdrawals


I started my 21 day break from Facebook on the 1st of January. Prior
to that, I was a daily/all day facebooker. I've got the app on my
phone, so it was pretty easy to scroll through a few dozen status
updates on my phone at any given time.

Having spent a week off (I've still got two to go), I've got a few
observations that I have noticed about facebook:

1. It has become the conversation. No one calls. No one texts. No one
stops by. Everyone Facebooks. It has become the primary means of
communication. Often times meeting people around (my own mother and
brother included), they reference "did you see my post about...".
People don't personally share news anymore. They broadcast it on
Facebook. People put a post and expect you to read it.

2. Most people are sharing day to day stuff. I'm missing hearing about
the new first steps for the toddler. The day to day updates about the
cancer progression. The job search. The job frustrations. The day to
day challenges.

3. It provides a means of connection. Some nay sayers quip that
facebook ruins relationships because people don't interact as much.
The truth is that my life is so busy that I often don't have time for
multiple 15 minute conversations everyday with people from every stage
of my life. I do on the other hand have time to read 15 updates in 3
minutes while standing in line at the bank. I like the connection.

4. There is far too much drama. One bad point, which honestly has
caused me to re-think my long-term facebooking style. The sad part is,
facebook has become a way for disgruntled people to broadcast their
frustrations to a wide audience, usually to theirs and others
detriment. The "facebook post heard around the world" reaches past the
web, and into the lives of those who are not on facebook. The constant
bickering, slandering, and veiled put-downs of people, politicians and
persuasions is vicious. It used to be you could just distance yourself
from these people. Now you must hide them or unfriend them.

Whats this all mean? If you're a facebooker like me, let me assure
you. Life goes on without facebook. I'm getting along just fine. I
know that if I completely removed myself from facebook I would live.
The challenge for me, as a Christian and member of this global society
is, what role does facebook play in my world? Its a difficult question
to answer, but here's what I got.

This morning I was reading my bible (Acts 9) I was thinking, the whole
bible is status updates. Long, well written cosmically influencing
status updates, but updates none the less. As a Christian I base my
faith on written words. I read them and they inspire me. They comfort
me. They influence me. The connection I made this morning (albeit in a
self-loathing facebook withdrawal) is that while people may have
negative things to say about facebook, it is somewhat like the Bible
in that it is a written text that provides connection.

The largest difference is that one is inspired by the Holy Spirit, the
other, for the most part is not.

I encourage you to take a facebook break sometime. Its refreshing. I
think it provides perspective on what really matters in our lives.

Be blessed.
pastor matt

Posted via email from Faith and Victory Church Blog

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My #Labrador Spoke To Me In The Night


My dog was snoring last night. 

It was pretty annoying. I'm a light sleeper as it is, but last night, that dog was 'sawing logs' so to speak. He's a big dog, about 90lbs and typically is not a snorer, but last night he was going at it. Maybe its all the stress from Christmas or something. 

He sleeps on the floor at the foot of our bed, so as he was snoring, I had a few options. One of them was to get up and pet him and rouse him and tell him to stop snoring. The other option was to call him to the side of the bed and wake him up, so I could get back to sleep. 

I chose option two. Since Crystal was asleep, I didn't want to be too loud, so I whispered "Ranger" and made a little kissing sound, and he got up and came to the side of the bed. 

As he was standing there in the dark, leaning up against the side of my bed, and I was giving him some good loving on his ears and neck I was amazed at how obedient that dog is. In the middle of the night, with no clear hope for a walk, treat, or trip outside, he came to where he was called. 

Total and complete obedience to his masters command. No questions. No hesitation. No agenda. That dog exists to do my bidding. He lives to please me and always comes when I call him.   He lives for me. He is my dog. 

In the middle of the night I thought, we should be that obedient with God. When he tells us to do something, or asks us to come to him, we should comply. Like my dog, we often don't know what it is that he wants from us, or where He is leading us, but that doesn't matter. What matters is obedience. Obedience to his voice and prompting of the Spirit. 

Are you obedient to God? Do you do what he asks you and follow His lead? I pray that in the middle of the night, with a whisper, if he calls your name, you'll get up and come to his voice and do what he asks you to do. 

If my dog can be obedient, I think we can be. 

Be blessed
pastor matt

ps. this is a pic of ranger on my fence going for squirrel. 

Posted via email from Faith and Victory Church Blog

Thursday, December 22, 2011

5 Ways To Have The Best #Christmas This Year


Christmas is this Sunday! I know, you probably didn't realize it, did you? Of Course you did! Everyone knows when Christmas is! I'm not sure how it happened, but some how, Christmas became a day that people seem to place a lot of importance on. The common theme I see around is that a perfect Christmas has snow, lots of presents, a lot of family, a lot of food, and sleigh bells in the snow. 

For most people this isn't the case. Christmas is a weird time of year. Lots of emotion. Lots of stuff going on. So, today I am going to share with you a few sure-fire ways to have a great Christmas this year. 

1. Remind yourself what Christmas is really about. About 2000 years ago, there was a miraculous event in the middle east where a young child was born. This child (Jesus) was born from a woman who was a virgin (she had never had sex before). This 25th of December, however historically inaccurate the day may be, is a day that we set aside to remember and celebrate that day. Take a few moments and remind yourself that that is the original point of Christmas- to celebrate the Mass (church service), of the Christ (baby Jesus). His arrival announced a completely different direction of the entire planet in regards to our relationship with God. It was a pretty big deal. 

2. Go to a church service. This year its kind of different how the day falls on the calendar, but make a decision and go to a church service on Sunday. Christmas on a Sunday doesn't happen that often, so take advantage of it this year and experience Christmas with a group of people who live for this Christ of Christmas. Its hard to explain, but bellowing out Christmas tunes with other tone deaf people seems to have an impact. Trust me on this. Go to church on Sunday. 

3. Expect nothing. That's right, expect that you'll get no gifts for Christmas and be OK with it. Seeing how that is not what the day is truly about anyway, having this mindset will do a few things- you'll have lower expectations, and if you do get a gift or two- it will mean even more. Setting yourself up to be showered with presents is a sure way to be let down. If you are blessed with a present, it will mean even more, because you weren't expecting anything. 

4. Savor the moment. No matter where you find yourself this weekend, savor the moments. If you're with friends, sit back and soak in the reality of their presence. Watch for a laugh or a meaningful touch. If you're alone, get around other people. You don't have to even know them, you can sit in a restaurant or public venue, and watch other people enjoying life and have joy in their joy. Trust me. Seeing people being happy makes people happy, if you savor it. 

5. Love people. The greatest gift you can give people is your love and attention. Tell those around you how much you care about them. Share a specific example of what they mean to you. Look them in the eye and give them a hug. Invite someone over that you know would appreciate it. 

I know its a short list, but just a few thoughts for you to ponder as you head into the weekend. Trust me. Try a few and you'll have a better Christmas than you expected. 

pastor matt

Posted via email from Faith and Victory Church Blog

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Note For All The #Christians on #Facebook

I struggled on whether or not I should write this post, seeing how the act of writing seems to negate the point I'm trying to make. Indulge me for a moment. I think you may see my point. 

I am a facebook guy. I spend a lot of time on there. I see the value of social media as a means for putting forth ideas, connecting with friends, fostering relationships. Its a great tool for interaction. At the same time, I think there are some very detrimental things that can happen from it. One I notice a lot is people who claim to be Christ followers throwing stones at other Christ followers. 

Let me explain- often times a post will include such things as attacking other churches, or pastors or schools of theological thought. I assume that these posters are well meaning in that they probably take to heart the call to "contend for the faith" and proclaim "sound doctrine" to those who are following their posts. More than likely they see it as a time to make sure that someone isn't being led astray by some whack job. 

Here's the issue- everyone who is my friend does not share my beliefs. Because they are my friends, I am aware that even before getting into the Calvin-Arminius debate or the Gifts-cessastionist debate that they don't even believe the beginning of the story- Adam or Jesus. That being said, any time I spend proclaiming doctrine or theology 'clouds the waters' so to speak and portrays our faith as divisive and contentious not unified and loving. 

Brothers and sisters this should not be so. 

Here's what I propose- if you have a theological difference that you would like to discuss- start a private group or send a private message. Don't put a post that attempts to put some doctrine down or prove some theological point. No one is being influenced or brought to your way of thinking by doing this. You are confusing those who do not believe and making following Christ more about getting the doctrine right and not the heart right. 

There is a scripture that changed my heart a few years ago- it comes from Philippians chapter one- the Apostle Paul was setting straight some people who were concerned about some other people who were preaching a Gospel they thought was false- this is what he said to them- 

"  It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice."

He follows up by saying- "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ".

What is my point? Spreading the Gospel is not hurling stones at someone else's persuasion. Obviously they are fully persuaded in what they believe or they wouldn't be believing it. Spend more time spreading the love of God and His truth in a way that directs people towards the Cross and not towards the way that you think or the theology you believe. 

There. I said it. 

be blessed
pastor matt

Posted via email from Faith and Victory Church Blog