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Matt's Monday Meditation

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Monday, April 6

Friends,

The rocks remain silent. We did the praising yesterday. Last night I thought of the old LaMarquis Jefferson lyric we used to sing in my youth pastor days: “Ain’t no rock, gonna cry in my place. Long as I’m alive, I’ll glorify his holy name.” Grace has taken that youthful defiance and hardened it into resolve. God is good and a shelter in times of trouble. Let us continue to praise him.

Palm Sunday is behind. Good Friday and Easter are ahead. We are in the midst of The Story that changes the story. Lesslie Newbigin once wrote, “A community of people that, in the midst of all the pain and sorrow and wickedness in the world is continually praising God is the first obvious result of living by another story than the one the world lives by.”

We have a unique role to play in the World. We are Christ’s servant community. We are to tend to the Lord’s needs by serving others. We are to witness to his aliveness by being church to one another. We are to worship him with our hearts, minds, and bodies. I pray that you find energizing ways to serve King Jesus this week. Listen to the Holy Spirit speak through scripture. Keep the Lord’s Supper. Sing. Connect. Tell the rocks to wait their turn!

Gratefully,

Matt

 

Monday, March 30

Friends,
 
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” 2 Corinthian 1:3–4 (NIV).

Our text for the week is Isaiah 61:1–3. We meet the Anointed One in this passage of scripture. The Anointed One preached Good News. The Anointed One announced God’s favor and invited life-transforming surrender. The Anointed One warned of just judgment.

Perhaps the most surprising and wonderful task fulfilled and being fulfilled by the Anointed One was and is the ministry of comfort. I am delighted that Jesus looked at Isaiah 61 and basically said, “That’s me.” We serve a comforting Christ.
He comforts us through the presence of the Holy Spirit. David prayed, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” The Lord is with us. Let’s find comfort and courage in that.

He comforts us through his promise. We ended worship this week with 2 Corinthians 4:16–18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” The Lord’s promises are kept. What a comfort!

I pray that we will lean on God’s comfort this week. This will prepare us to give as we have freely received. Hang in there y'all.

Gratefully,
 
Matt

Monday, March 23

Friends,

I thank God every time I think of you. I am thinking about you nearly all the time. Please pray for me as I continue to pray for you.

Your church staff is faithfully working to lead our church through an ever-changing challenge. They are godly, tough, and joyful men and women, and I am proud to call them my friends. We will continue to communicate with you through all the means available to us. Please continue to communicate with us.

We must lean on one another and on an unchanging God in swiftly changing circumstances. Our congregational text for this week is Isaiah 53. This chapter is a pinnacle biblical text. Fleming Rutledge said, “…it serves as a guide for the New Testament as a whole.” It is about God’s plan for our salvation.

Isaiah 53 calls us to behold God as redeemer, victor, and moral example. As you read and meditate on this biblical chapter, I ask you to:

  1. Thank God for your salvation. Recall how you came to know Christ and thank him for the hope this salvation gives.
  2. Imagine the future victory God has promised over sin, evil, and death. Read to the end of the Bible. It works out!
  3. Ask God to show you ways you can follow Christ during Waco’s Shelter in Place.
  4. Do not get bored. “Boredom is rage spread thin” (Paul Tillich).
  5. Call me if you hear of needs: 601-616-5413

Gratefully,

Matt

 

Monday, March 16

Devotion from Matt

“But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:7
          Yesterday was weird and wonderful. It was weird because our routine was blown to bits. It was wonderful because it was the Lord’s Day and we worshipped our living God. We will continue to so do!

          Many of you were able to participate through Facebook Live. Others of you will watch the same service this Sunday morning on KCEN. I am grateful for these platforms because they help gather us around a common Word.  As a preview/reminder, let’s consider a biblical passage together for a moment.

          Sunday’s sermon text was Isaiah 50:4-11. Isaiah gives us an anatomical sketch of the Lord’s Servant. His tongue, ear, back, and face reveal key aspects of following the Lord in trying times. The Servant’s tongue is a picture of compassionate ministry to the weary. His ear speaks to wisdom from God. His back is a metaphor for sacrifice. His flinty face is a portrait of resilience.

          We are called to follow The Servant of the Lord and serve through the strength He provides. Sunday’s sermon text was selected long ago, but I could not have chosen a more fitting one for this time. My prayer is that our common life and ministry during this season will be shaped by the values of the Servant:

  • Compassion
  • Wisdom
  • Sacrifice
  • Resilience
               Pray for the Holy Spirit to empower us to flesh out these values. We are God’s. He has a work for us.