Saturday, June 16, 2018

My Son the Blacksmith

For over a year now, my oldest son, Andrew, has been learning the nearly forgotten art of blacksmithing.

Armed with an apparently insatiable appetite for self-education, a few books, a plethora of instructional YouTube videos, and the generous support of family and friends, Drew has built himself a forge (out a brake-drum and hairdryer!), bought a couple anvils, sought out tools at auctions (and made a few of his own!), found a supplier for coal, and housed the whole enterprise in a wooden "smithy" with an extra tall chimney (designed and constructed in partnership with his grandfather).

And he's constantly making things, quite literally going at it hammer and tongs!  

(In case you can't tell, I'm a little proud of his work.)

Drew has also opened his own business. He is selling his hand-forged items both locally and online. He's just getting started, but he already has four standard items for sale in his Etsy Shop.

1. Wall Hanging Hook
2. Fire Poker
3. S-Hook
4. Simple Back Scratcher

Wall Hanging Hook

Fire Poker

S-Hook

Simple Back Scratcher

It's going to be neat to see where Drew goes with all of this. He's doing custom work as, well. Just this week neighbor asked him if he could forge some "log dogs" for a building he wants to construct. I didn't even know what a "log dog" was, but Drew caught on fast and even was already aware of a YouTuber that makes them. Drew forged the hanging brackets for this birdfeeder to the customer's specifications (photo to the right).

Drew calls his business "Anuron Ironworks" named after the elvish version of his first name from Tolkien's classic books.  [By the way, many of these excellent pictures are taken by Drew's friend Ben Schiefer who is a talented landscape and portrait photographer. Check out his work and hire him for your project today.]

Drew has created a website devoted to spreading the word about his blacksmithing. The photo gallery has shots of his workshop and some of his projects.

But the best way to really get what he's doing is to watch him work. On his Anuron Ironworks YouTube channel, Drew shows you how he makes the various items he sells and other projects he's working on.

(He also chronicles some of his other exploits, such as tall-tree climbing which makes his old dad gulp.)

Here are some videos from his channel and some pictures of his anvil, tools, workshop, and some of the things he has made:












Drew's newest anvil.
With the old one for comparison.
Blacksmith Leg Vice
Finished Wall Hooks
More Wall Hooks
Hand Forged Tomahawk

Hand Forged Draw Knife
Hand Forged Tongs

Drew's Own Hand Forged Tongs Holding a Railroad Spike
Handmade "Hardy Tools" for Use on the Anvil

Handmade "Hardy Tool" At Use on the Anvil
Hand Forged Knife in Progress

Final Product

Handmade Knife
The Anuron Ironworks "Touchmark." Kind of a like brand or logo that he chisels into his work.
The blacksmith in repose after work. Photo by Ben Schiefer.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

[Matt's Messages] "Twenty Years Together"

“Twenty Years Together”
Philippians 1:3-6
June 10, 2018

We’re going to take a short break from our study in the Gospel of Matthew and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount today to stop and celebrate a significant milestone.

I have to congratulate you this morning.

Because, as of this coming Wednesday, you have now put up with me as your pastor for 20 whole years!

Sunday June 14th, 1998 was my official start date as the Pastor of Lanse Evangelical Free Church, and it was the first Sunday that I preached from this pulpit as your pastor.

I had preached a candidating sermon on Habakkuk 3 back in April of 1998, and we had already worshipped with you the previous Sunday, June 7, 1998, after we moved into our little house in Bigler. But June 14, 1998 was my first official Sunday preaching as your pastor.

Raise your hand if you think you were here on that Sunday. Praise God!

This is the worship bulletin from that Sunday. I kept two copies.

The order of worship says that we had the Welcome and then the “Opportunities for Ministry” (what we now call the “Church Family News”) and then we sang, “Great Is the Lord” “Our God Is An Awesome God” (and the lyrics for that one are typed into the bulletin because we didn’t have this video projector way back then). And we sang, “Majesty.”

Then we had “Worship in Giving” and an offertory by a Choir, which I think was led by Blair Murray.

And then we sang, “Amazing Grazce” (Hymn #202), and we dismissed the kids for children’s church which Nesta Kephart was leading and Donna Weatherly was in the nursery.

And then I got up to preach from Isaiah chapter 40, a message entitled, “Incomparably Awesome God.”

And then we had communion together, and Blair Murray led us in, “Blest Be the Tie that Binds” and closed the service in prayer.

And we were off and running!

Twenty years ago this week, we began our ministry together.

This isn’t just my “work anniversary,” this is our anniversary of partnering in the gospel–church and pastor together.

Congratulations!

And thank you.

Thank you for–not just putting up with me, not just enduring me, but for loving me and caring for me and supporting me and paying me and appreciating me, and listening to me and following me and praying for me and forgiving me and for caring for my family.

It’s been a wonderful score of years together, and I am very grateful to the Lord for our partnership.

I feel like Paul did about the Philippian church.

See what he says here in his letter to them? Philippians chapter 1, verse 3.

This is how I feel about you.

“I thank my God every time I remember you, Lanse Free Church. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day (June 14, 1998) until now (June 10, 2018), being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:4-6, NIV84).

That word “partnership” in verse 5 is the Greek word “koinonia.”

Have you heard that word before?

“Koinonia” was the winning word in the national spelling bee this year.

A young fellow named Karthik Nemmani won the national spelling bee by spelling “koinonia.”

I could have done that one!

I probably couldn’t have done most of the ones leading up to it, but that’s one I know.

Koinonia is the word that we often translate “fellowship” because it means to have something in common. Joining people together by having something in common.

So “partnership” is also a good word for it.

What is it that Paul had in common with the Philippians? What does he say?

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

They had the gospel in common.

And so do we.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is what binds us together from the first day until now.

It’s our “main thing,” right?

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

And the main thing is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That’s our koinonia.

And it brings me great joy.

It’s a joy to be your pastor.

I was trying to think of what specifically to talk about this Sunday to mark our double decade anniversary.

Ten years ago, when we had finished our first decade together, I preached a three week series called, “Ten Things.” Anybody remember that?

The three messages were:

10 Things I Have Learned In the First 10 Years
10 Things I Have Been I’ve Been Teaching in the First 10 Years
10 Things I’m Hoping for in the Next 10 Years

I re-read those this week, and they filled my heart with all kinds of feelings.

Especially that first one because it looks back over the first decade on how the Lord brought us here and how I started to learn to be a pastor and how then He knit our hearts together.

And then the last one was what I was hoping would happen these last 10 years! So it was really interesting to read it again and try to look back and evaluate to see if those things I was desiring then came true. And to some degree, they did. I was encouraged. We definitely made some progress.

A lot sure has changed since then.

We still didn’t have this video projector. I put my notes up on a overhead transparency just a decade ago.

We hadn’t started the Good News Cruise yet.

We hadn’t sent short term teams to Serbia, Oaxaca, Pittsburgh, Louisiana.

We didn’t have MOPS.

The Forceys were still in Mexico.

We had the old pulpit. We had no family bathroom. The upstairs was a big junk drawer in the sky. The library didn’t look like it does.

Amy Jo hadn’t restarted the choir.

Ten years ago, I had not yet taken my first doctoral class much less dreamed of writing a book on resisting gossip!

And there was almost nobody on social media. Just a few college students and a few others were just getting into that new thing called Facebook.

And we didn’t know that Robin had Celiac Disease, that Heather had Fibromyalgia, or that I would have major surgery for diverticulitis and a perforated colon.

And we have lost a lot of people that we love in those last ten years.

When I posted the 10 Things message on my blog, a sweet woman named Linda Lundeen left a comment after she read it, “Thank you Matthew. I have been blessed. Your favorite Mother-in-law.” It’s still up there on my blog.

I’ve done around 50 funerals since then and hers was one of them.

Twenty years together.

What to talk about to sum up 20 years?

I joked in the third 10 Things message that in June of 2018 I would probably preach a 20 point message!

But I think I’ve learned a thing or two since then, and that’s just not a good idea!

Instead I have a 3 point message for you.

And it’s about what this partnership looks like on a day-in-day-out weekly basis.

Have you ever wondered what a pastor does?

Like what is my job description?

I have friends that tell me that I have a great job because I only work one day a week.

I say, “Yeah, and that’s just for the morning! I get the rest of Sundays off!”

Well, I think most people know that’s not true.

But what does a pastor do?

I almost titled this message with a nod to Richard Scarry, “What Do Pastors Do All Day?”

Well, twenty years ago when I was candidating as your pastor I taught a Sunday School class on that very topic. Right back there in the back of the auditorium.

And I had three points. From three different scripture verses that together sum up my basic philosophy of pastoral ministry.

And those three points are like my job description.

They are really the job description of any elder in a local church but especially that of a vocational elder in the local church, what we often call a “pastor.”

And every month, I put those three things, three commands from scripture, across the top of my monthly report that I give to the other elders. I think I’ve turn in about 240 monthly reports with these 3 points right across the top of each one.

And then every year when I do my annual report, I organize it around these 3 points. And I’ve done 20 of those.

So, this is what I perceive to be my job.

I probably do a bunch of other things, too, but these 3 things are the core of all that I do as your pastor.

And for each one of them, there is a corresponding response from the flock, from you.

So this is a description of our partnership over the last twenty years together.

Are you ready?

Here’s number one. I hope they are not a surprise!

#1. PREACH THE WORD.

Turn with me to 2 Timothy chapter 4.

We just looked at this passage back in February when Billy Graham graduated to glory. Paul is writing to Timothy who was serving as a kind of pastor in Ephesus.

Paul was pretty sure he himself was about to die, and so he left Timothy these instructions. 2 Timothy 4, verse 1.

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

Preach the Word.

That’s the first item on my job description.

Preach the Word.

I’m not supposed to preach anything else.

I’m not supposed to preach my opinions. I’m not supposed to go off on what I think.

I’m supposed to read, explain, and press home this book right here.

The Word of God.

When I feel like it and when I don’t.

When it’s convenient and when it’s not.

“In season and out of season,” I’m supposed to “correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.”

I hope I’ve done that.

Have you been corrected by my preaching? I hope so.
Have you been rebuked? I hope so.
Have you been encouraged? I sure hope so.

Because that’s my job.

I’m supposed to preach the Word.

I’ve been trying to preach the gospel because that’s the main thing.

And I’ve been trying to preach the whole counsel of God. Not just the parts I like the best.

That’s why we’ve gone over all kinds places in your Bible.

In twenty years, I’ve preached every single verse of: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, Hosea, Jonah, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (twice–that was my first book I preached all the way through with you, Philippians), Colossians, 1 Timothy, Titus, James, 1 Peter, 1 John. And lots of Psalms and Proverbs along the way!

And if the Lord gives me days, I hope to preach all of the parts I haven’t preached yet.

Starting with finishing the Gospel of Matthew!

It’s my job. My duty. My very high privilege to preach the Word of God.

Because this book is like no other book.

This book is God-breathed. It’s inspired.

That’s what Paul just told Timothy in chapter 3.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

My job is to give you this book.

What’s your job?

RECEIVE THE WORD.

Turn with me, if you will, to James chapter 1, verse 21.

If the pastors of the church are supposed to preach the Word, what does the church do? Verse 21.

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.”

Receive the Word. Accept it and then do it.

That’s what you’ve been doing for the last twenty years.

You’re a fantastic congregation for reading and heeding the Word of God.

I know that you haven’t just endured my preaching for 20 years, you’ve been taking it in and letting it grow. And not just looking in the mirror and then walking away, but making the changes the mirror tells you you need to make!

When we come together on Sunday, and we open the Word, it’s supposed to be a feast.

I’ve worked to prepare the meal, like a chef, and we all sit down and ingest it together and let it go to work on our insides.

Now, of course, it doesn’t have to be me. You all can preach the Word, too. We are all supposed to share it with others in the right contexts. And we all need to learn to feed ourselves, too.

But I have a special calling to preach the Word right here.

Increasingly, the world will not like this.

Paul said that a “time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

But I’m not allowed to do that.

You will make sure of that, right? You will be noble Bereans who ask the question, “Where Stands It Written?” And you will hold me accountable to doing my job.

That’s why one of the most beautiful sounds in the world to me is the sound of pages turning on Sunday mornings.

I know there’s less of it now because some of swipe to the passage in your Bibles. Maybe we need to get an app that makes the page turning sound when you’re swiping to the passage I’m preaching!

The point is to receive the Word.

How are you doing at that right now?

I know that I have room to grow as a preacher. When I listed the parts of the Bible that I have preached, I noticed that I have shied away from the prophets. Aside from Hosea and Jonah and from dipping in at times, I have not spent much time preaching the prophets to you. I need to work on that.

One downside of that is that I’ve probably missed opportunities to preach on biblical justice. Justice is one of the major themes of the prophets. Seeing people get what is  due them and going what is right. I need to work on that in my preaching.

What do you need to work on in your receiving?

Are you merely listening and not doing what the Bible says?

Is your heart the hard soil where the seed of the Word just bounces right out?

Or is your heart rich soil producing a crop “thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown?”

Here’s number two. Preach the Word.

#2. EQUIP THE SAINTS.

Turn with me to Ephesians chapter 4.

Paul is talking about how we’re supposed to live out the grace that God has given us. Look at verse 11.

He says, “It was he [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, [why?] to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (vv.11-13).

Do you get the picture?

Jesus gives these people as gifts to the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor/teachers (those are actually probably one thing together). And He gives them for a reason. What’s the reason?

“To prepare God’s people for works of service.”

The New American Standard Bible translates it, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service...”

To get the saints ready to serve.

That’s one big part of my job.

Now, when it says the “saints,” it’s talking about you. That’s why the NIV translate it’s “God’s people.” It means “holy ones” those whom God has made holy through the blood of Christ.

So, who is supposed to do the work of the ministry?

God’s people.

Us. Together. Not just me.

I’m supposed to be like a coach.

Does James Franklin run out on the field and throw the passes?

Does he receive the passes?

Does Coach Franklin give out the hits on the defensive line?

Does he take the hits on the offensive line?  (That’s the right way to say it, right?)

No, Coach Franklin gets the players ready to play the game. He might call some of the plays. And, I’m sure he does some of the work, but he doesn’t do all of the work. Not even close.

It’s a partnership, right?

What’s your side? To be equipped and to do the work of the ministry! V.12 again.

Pastors are given “...to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

That’s when we’re done. When we’ve hit that goal. Then I can stop equipping, and you can stop serving.

What a day that will be. V.14

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ [Not me! Jesus!]. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament [that’s each of us], grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

DO YOUR PART OF THE WORK.

Now, again, this is an awesome church for that.

We have a wonderful church family for people volunteering and doing their part.

Some churches have an “80/20 rule.”  Eighty percent of the work gets done by twenty percent of the people.

But this church has a much better percentage of people doing their part.

Last year, I preached a whole message on how good this church family is about everyone figuring out what your gifts are and using them in ministry.

We’ve got lots of room for improvement, but we’ve been doing this together for twenty years.

I know that I still take on too much for myself. Sometimes it’s just easier to do it myself.

And sometimes there doesn’t seem to be someone ready yet to take something on.

I need to grow in constantly giving away the ministry. I think I’ve gotten a lot better at it over the years. And love seeing all of the leaders that we’ve developed over the years.

That’s one of the things I said 10 years ago that we needed to work on. We needed younger leaders to be brought along and empowered throughout our church and ministries. And we’re seeing that.

But how about you in particular?

Are you doing your part of the work? Do you need to be equipped?

That’s what I’m here for you. To prepare God’s people for works of service.

Family Bible Week is coming in just over a month, and Misty needs people to serve. She just told us about what is need.

What are you going to do about it?

“Coach Mitchell” is calling you to get into the game.

Last one. And in many ways it sums it all up.

#3. SHEPHERD THE FLOCK.

Turn to 1 Peter chapter 5.

Peter, talking as one of us says, “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

Peter tells elders like me to shepherd God’s flock.

He makes it really clear that it is not my flock, but God’s flock.

I’m just an undershepherd. I am a steward, not an owner.

It’s God’s flock under my care. What a responsibility!

And I have to do it with the right motives. Not just out of duty, not in it for the money, not as a boss lording it over people. But out of willingness and eagerness and as an example to the flock.

I need to shepherd you.

Now, I think that includes the idea of leading. You see that word “overseer” in verse 2.

The elders, especially the vocational elders, according to Paul are supposed to “direct the affairs of the church” (1 Timothy 5:17). They do serve as leaders.

But it’s more than just leading. It’s shepherding.

It’s caring for the flock. Feeding the flock. Tending to the flock and, especially, their spiritual needs.

This is the category that I put all of my people-ministry into.

Visiting folks at the hospital, at your home, at the nursing home.

Phone calls. Emails. Text messages. Meeting with someone in my office.

Praying for you. Praying with you.

Counseling. Listening. Discerning. Challenging where needed.

A shepherd is in the lives of his flock and trying gently but firmly to move them towards where they need to go.

This is where our lives intersect.

It’s not my job to just preach at you or put you to work in ministry.

It’s my job to walk alongside you. To know you. And to try to provide care for you.

To comfort you when you are hurting.
To confront you when you are sinning.

And, again, I can’t do all of that. We all need to do that for each other.

And we have a whole team of elders to do it, too.

Peter says this to the elders, not just to one elder.

But I am a vocational elder called and set aside to give my full time to this kind of shepherding.

And I consider it a great privilege.

This week, I sat beside a hospital bed of a hurting sheep.
I sat beside a bed at a nursing home of a lost sheep.
I sat in my office in a counseling appointment with a sheep who was looking for some direction in solving a conflict.
Heather and I did pre-marital coaching with Sheila and her fiancé Ben who are getting married next month.

By the way, I can’t believe Sheila is old enough to get married! She was like 1 year old in 1998 when we came! And here she is getting married.

And it’s my privilege to shepherd that couple to the altar.

I know that I’ve made many mistakes in the shepherding arena over the last twenty years.

I’ve hurt people’s feelings.
I’ve misinterpreted things.
I’ve disappointed folks.
I’ve given bad advice.
I’ve said hurtful words.
I’ve dropped the ball at times.
I’ve forgotten people. They dropped off my radar.

Most of my regrets over the last two decades are missed opportunities to shepherd people well.

Especially when I didn’t confront them with their sin when I should have.

I like people to like me.

But a shepherd should be more concerned for the well-being of the sheep than if they sheep is happy with them.

And I need to grow in that area. I know it.

Thank you for forgiving me and being patient with me.

And for teaching me.

Many of you have shown me how to pastor by shepherding others and shepherding me.

Blair Murray was one of my pastors.

What’s your job?

SUBMIT TO SHEPHERDING.

The book of Hebrews says in chapter 13, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.”

That’s your side of it.

To submit to shepherding. Not to slavishly do whatever the elders say. That’s ridiculous.

But to listen to them, to consider what they have to say, to pray about it and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and then where appropriate follow them.

It is my job to keep watch over you as someone who must give an account.

You see the Great Shepherd is coming back.

And I’m going to have to tell Him what I did with you. What I did with HIS flock.

That’s a big responsibility.

So pray for me. Not just submit to shepherding but pray for the shepherd!

Because I want to be found faithful.

I don’t know if I’ll still be the pastor here in two more decades.

Perhaps the Lord will return, or He’ll move me on, or He’ll take me to Himself before then.

But if I’m here, I want to be found faithful.

I want to have “a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.”

And (v.4), “when the Chief Shepherd appears,” I want to, “receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

And I believe that, regardless of whether I go or remain, you will also will receive a glorious reward (1 Peter 1:7-9).

Because like Paul to the church at Philippi, “I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Because He is the Good Shepherd of the Sheep!

Sunday, June 03, 2018

[Matt's Messages] "Seek First His Kingdom"

“Seek First His Kingdom”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
June 3, 2018 :: Matthew 6:25-34 

It is a sweet gift from the Lord that this particular passage is the one that we are going to study together on Graduation Sunday. We just sang the key verse in our last song (v.33), one of the most famous verses in the Gospel of Matthew, and our brand new Hide the Word verse for this Summer.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

What a perfect passage to give as a gift to our grads!

Grads, I hope this message speaks especially to you as you launch into this new exciting season of your life.

But of course Jesus didn’t just give that verse to the grads. He gave it to all of His disciples and to all of us here.

And He didn’t just give it as a verse all by itself. I mean you can tell just by the word it starts with, “but.” There’s an argument going on here. And it references “all these things” but doesn’t say what all these things are.

We have to study this verse in its context to really get its message.

So let’s do that.

The context is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

The first of five major blocks of teaching from our Lord in the Gospel of Matthew.

Jesus has gone up on a mountainside and has begun to teach authoritatively.

He is teaching as the King, the Messiah Who was to come.

The fulfillment of all of the Promises of the Old Testament.

And the fulfiller of all of the Law of the Old Testament, too.

In His Sermon on the Mount, King Jesus is telling His disciples how to live as citizens of His kingdom which has come and is to come.

And we’ve said that this kingdom is an upside-down and an inside-out kingdom.

That is, everything in this kingdom seems upside-down. But it’s really us.

So we need to change to fit in.

We need to repent because the kingdom is near.

And we need to change from the heart.

It’s not good enough to look good on the outside; Jesus wants us to change from the inside-out.

To have a righteousness that is whole, complete, perfect...from the heart out to our behavior.

Not like the scribes and the Pharisees! They were just outside-guys. Our righteousness needs to be greater than their’s. Our needs to be whole-hearted, from the inside-out.

And where we left off last week, Jesus was saying that our hearts need to be wholly His when it comes to money and possessions.

Jesus warned us to choose wisely between two paths, between two masters.

In verse 24, he said, “"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

And then He immediately teaches our passage for today. It flows right out of that statement about God versus Mammon. In fact, says, “Therefore.”

I only have two simple points to make this morning to try to capture the application of this passage.

Neither one should surprise you, they are right there in the text.

But both of them are BIG, no matter how simple they are.

Here’s number one.

#1. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR LIFE.

Easier said than done, huh?

I don’t know about you, but I need this one badly.

Left to my own devices, I am a worrier. It’s one of my besetting temptations.

My wife tells me that she remembers copying out this particular passage of Scripture and giving it to me on a piece of paper in the first year that we knew each other.

Long before we were married. Long before we were engaged.

When we were about your age, Grads. When we were just barely dating, Heather could already see that I had a major problem with worrying.

And she said, “Here. Read this. You need this.” Matthew chapter 6, verses 25-34.

Look at the first verse.

“‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”

Three times in this passage, Jesus tells His disciples to not worry.

Verse 25, verse 31, and verse 34. You think He means it?

The first one probably has the sense of “Stop your worrying.”

Cut it out.

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear....”

Now, Jesus is not saying that we shouldn’t think ahead or plan for the future.

The graduates are right to be making plans for what’s next for them.

We saw last week that the Proverbs commend the prudent who look into the future and make appropriate preparations.

But! “Do not worry about your life...”

I also don’t think that Jesus is prohibiting us from being concerned about things. We are called to care about certain things and deeply. To care how they turn out. To care about others and their futures.

The Apostle Paul talks about his concern for the churches. And how perplexed he was at times for them. He talked about it being like giving birth!

It’s right to be concerned and even heavily perplexed at times about things.

But! “Do not worry about your life...”

Do not get carried away with worry.

Do not give in to anxiousness about your life and your future.

And that extends down to the basic details of life.

“[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. [Why?] Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”

Jesus uses questions to prod our hearts.

What’s the answer to that one?

Is life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

Yes, of course.

I think the point is that God has given us life and that’s a big thing. Don’t you think that He can do the small thing of giving you food?

If God has given you a body, that’s a big thing. Don’t you think that He can provide something to keep you warm and modest?

The point is that God cares.

Jesus asks another question to show it. Verse 26

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

What’s the answer to that one?

Are you more valuable than a bird?

Some animal rights activists might say differently, but Jesus says, “Yes. My disciples are worth more than birds.”

And “your heavenly Father feeds them.”

Don’t miss those words “your heavenly Father.”

We are so used to those words, but they are mindblowing!

Your. Heavenly. Father.

Those words change everything, don’t they?

If God is your Father, then what?

What do you have to worry about?

Now, notice that Jesus is not saying that we shouldn’t work.

Do birds work? Of course they do. They spend all day looking for food.

This is a not a call to laziness.

Grads, don’t go home and say, “Pastor Matt said I don’t have to go get a job.”

No. Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life.”

Because you are more valuable than the birds.

Listen to this question. Verse 27.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

What’s the answer to that one?

Well, I totally act like I can!

I’ve often called “worrying” my “super power.”

If I just worry, then at least I’m...what?...doing something.

But Jesus says that worry is worthless.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

You just about might be able to do the opposite. Take some hours off your life by worrying.

But worrying does not accomplish anything.

Now, that’s one of the ways you can tell if you are caught in sinful worry.

Sinful worry is not productive. Being properly concerned and engaged can be productive. Worry is counterproductive.

Worry is foolish. There is no point to it.

Here’s another question from Jesus. Verse 28.

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

What’s the answer to that one?

Yes, of course, He will.

Because God is your Heavenly Father.

My wife loves flowers. She would spend all day every day in a flower garden if she could.

And she’s seen some beautiful ones. Last year, she got to go to Monet’s Garden in France.

There is so much beauty in God’s world.

If God does that just for nature that is here today and then gone tomorrow, what will He do for His children?

Do you see what Jesus called us?

“O you of little faith.”

The Greek word is “oligopistoi.”

And Jesus calls His disciples that 4 times in the Gospel of Matthew.

It’s one of His favorite names for us!

It’s a gentle rebuke name.

Oligopistoi.”

“Come on, guys. Don’t you trust me? Don’t you trust your Heavenly Father?”

My wife has a similar term of endearment for me and my three sons.

She calls us, “You dummies.”

When we’re just not thinking.

When we’ve forgotten what we know.

She never says it in anger. She says it to give us a gentle shove back to where we belong.

That’s what Jesus is doing. He’s giving us a gentle shove to remind us to not give in to worry.

The opposite of worry is trust.

The opposite of anxiousness is faith.

And the reasons we can have faith, the reason we can trust is because God is our Father. V.31

“So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' [Where’s it going to come from?] For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

Do you see the rebuke?

The pagans do that. They “run after” all of this stuff.

But they don’t have God.

Yes, the pagans get consumed by stuff. By money and possessions.

They store it up stuff in the first of bank of Earth.

Because that’s the only bank they know!

That’s the only bank they can see.

That’s the only bank they believe in.

But we know about the First Bank of Heaven.

And we know God the Father!

And God the Father knows what we need.

They have no god. What’s your excuse?

Yes, it’s a rebuke. But it’s also a reassurance.

Don’t just hear the rebuke. Hear the reassurance.

“So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things [they seek them, strenuously], and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” v.33.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

#2. SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM.

That’s the antidote to worry.

To put the kingdom first.

And amazingly, “all these things” will be gifted to you, too.

“All these things” must be the food and drink and clothes that the disciples need.

The daily bread.
The sustenance.
The provision.

They come almost as an afterthought for what’s really important.

The kingdom of God.

“Seek first His kingdom.”

The word “seek” is the same root word as the “run after” in verse 32.

It means to really strive for something.

To find something, to search it out, to make it a priority.

Jesus wants us to run after the kingdom.

To make the kingdom our first priority.

So that every other priority seems really far down the list.

This is the opposite of what the world will tell you.

When my wife graduated from high school, the speaker at her graduation ceremony talked about the vital importance of making money.

Heather’s impression was that what he had to say was that Money was the most important thing in life.

And so making money was the most important thing for you to do with your life.

Money opens so many doors and does so much for you.

So seek out Money.

Now, most people are not that crass. They don’t come out and say it that way.

This guy was at least honest.

But isn’t that message of so many in this life?

Money, money, money.

That’s what’s important!

And for those who don’t, it’s something else.

It’s happiness. Or popularity. Or the absence of conflict. Or pleasure.

Or family.

Have you heard anyone say that “Family is what’s most important.”

I’m sure you have.

Jesus says, “Seek first his kingdom...”

Make that your number one priority. And all of the other priorities will fall into place.

Grads, “Seek first His kingdom!”

That’s the antidote to worry.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?”

Well, Jesus is saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and everything except the kingdom of God is the small stuff.”

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness...”

Don’t miss that phrase. Jesus has been talking about talking about righteousness for the whole Sermon on the Mount, hasn’t He?

He wants us to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and we’ll be filled.

He wants us to live out a greater righteousness than the scribes and the Pharisees. Then we’ll be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

He wants us to practice our righteousness in secret, for the approval of God alone, and then our Father who sees what is done in secret will rewards us.

He wants us to go whole hog after righteousness, and then we’ll get all these things as well.

He simply saying that He wants us to live the way He’s been laying out in the Sermon on the Mount and not worry about anything else.

Now, there will be times when Christians go without food or clothing.

There will be times when Christians are deprived of those things in the short run.

Our Lord Jesus was.

The Apostle Paul was at times.

This is not saying that food and clothes will miraculously drop out of the sky every single time you need them.

But those times when Christians are deprived are few and far between, and they will all be more than made up for when the kingdom comes in all of its fullness.

You have nothing to worry about.
You have nothing to worry about.
You have nothing to worry about.

Just worry about the kingdom.

Just seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

Whose?

Whose kingdom is Jesus talking about in verse 33?

What is the antecedent for “his” in verse 33?

It’s “your heavenly Father” from verse 32, isn’t it?

This kingdom belongs to your Dad!

You have nothing to worry about! V.34

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow [graduates!], for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I love that!

Jesus is so funny. “Tomorrow will worry about itself.”

Let the future worry about the future.

Most of the stuff you worry about never comes true.

Just deal with the problems you’ve got in front of you.

Don’t make any more for yourself.

I know that there is a line here that’s sometimes hard to discern.

What is worry and what is appropriate concern?

I don’t know about you though, but I never run that line.

I’m always over on the rumble strips.

I’m always over there worrying about my little kingdom.

And being, “Oligopistoi,” “O you of little faith.”

And Jesus is calling me, and I’m sure He’s calling you to cut it out.

To repent of sinful worry.

To turn away from building my little kingdom and serving Mammon.

To repent of run after all of these things.

And to put my trust in my Heavenly Father Who knows what I need.

Who feeds the birds and clothes the fields with flowers.

I have nothing to worry about.

I just need to seek His kingdom and the righteousness that He is calling me to.


***

Previous Messages in This Series:01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret

Sunday, May 27, 2018

[Matt's Messages] "Choose Wisely"

“Choose Wisely”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
May 27, 2018 :: Matthew 6:19-24 

King Jesus has gone up on a mountainside and begun teaching His followers how He wants us to live as citizens of His kingdom.

His kingdom has already come, because the King has come, and yet His kingdom is still to come because He hasn’t yet brought the kingdom in all of its fullness.

So the King is getting His subjects ready for that kingdom and has called us to live as citizens of that kingdom while wait for that kingdom...and while we pray for that kingdom to come.

That’s what Jesus’ sermon on the mount is all about.

And it makes us uncomfortable.

That’s on purpose.

King Jesus threatens our little kingdoms.

And He requires us to change.

He said that we need to change.

We need to repent, to turn around, because His kingdom is near.

We’ve said over and over again that the kingdom seems upside-down.

But it’s really right-side-up. It’s we who are upside-down.

And Jesus is calling us to turn right-side-up.

To flourish in His kingdom.

And to bring glory to the King.

So, first He called us to live the good life. A life of flourishing but not like we might expect.

He invited us to be needy, sad, lowly, unsatisfied, and even persecuted.

And if we did that for Jesus, we would flourish. We would be blessed.

And then He asked us to be salt and light, having an influence on the world even if it meant trouble for us.

And then He asked us to live out a greater righteousness than the scribes and the Pharisees. And that was a challenge!

The Messiah has come to fulfill the Law and to call all of His followers to live out a righteousness that surpasses that of the religious leaders of the day.

Really, to become perfect or whole.

The same on the inside as the outside.

Because the scribes and the Pharisees looked good on the outside, but they were a total mess on the inside.

And Jesus wants His kingdom to not just be a right-side-up kingdom but an inside-out kingdom. And both inside and outside kingdom. Where the two truly match.

And He gave many examples. Six of them were the “But I Tell You’s” of chapter 5. Where Jesus took statements from the Torah that had often been misunderstood and misapplied and showed how He wanted them to go right to the heart and to be lived out to the fullest.

And then in chapter 6, He gave us three examples of not living out our righteousness “to be seen by” others. Instead, to live out our greater righteousness “in secret,” that is, for the Lord’s approval alone.

Not from the outside to get applause from people.
But from the heart to be rewarded by our Father in heaven.

Three times he said to practice your righteousness quietly and “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Verse 4, verse 15, and verse 18.

So today’s passage flows right out of that. There is no break big break between verse 18 and verse 19. In fact, our passage for today forms a perfect conclusion to what Jesus has been saying and then a perfect bridge into what comes after it.

All of that talk about “rewards.”

And now, Jesus changes the wording just a little bit and talks about “treasures.”

And He calls His followers to make some big decisions about their treasures.

Decisions that He’s still asking us to make today.

Here’s our title for today.

“Choose Wisely”

Because in verses 19 through 24, King Jesus lays out some kingdom priorities for what He calls our “treasures.”  And He asks us to make some wise choices about what our priorities will be.

Last weekend, my sons and I were at the Father/Son Retreat at Miracle Mountain Ranch. We had a great time with those folks up there.

They asked me to teach on digging for wisdom in the Proverbs. The very same thing I’m planning to do here at our Family Bible Week this Summer.

In the Wisdom Literature of the Bible, there are often two pathways that are laid out before us. The way of the wise and the way of the fool.

And these two paths are presented as the only two options.

The smart and right way to go, the way of the wise.
And the foolish and wrong way to go, the way of the fool.

And the choice is set before the undecided to choose which path they will take.

Well, I believe that Jesus is being a Wisdom Teacher here in this section of the Sermon the Mount. He sets up three major contrasts in verses 19 through 24 and lays before his listeners their two choices.

The smart and right way to go, the way of the wise.
And the foolish and wrong way to go, the way of the fool.

And He calls them (and us) to choose.

Which one will it be?

I almost titled this message, “Which one will it be?”

Because the question is hanging in the air there.

But I didn’t because, at the same time, Jesus makes it very clear which path He is calling us to take.

“Choose Wisely.”

I see three major choices here to make wisely.

#1. CHOOSE YOUR VAULT.

And by that, I mean your storehouse. The place where you put your possessions.

Your treasure chest.

Jesus says (v.19,) "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Choose your vault.

Choose where you will place your treasures.

He’s obviously speaking metaphorically.

You can’t literally send your treasures to heaven.

UPS does not deliver there.

FEDEX doesn’t go that far.

And don’t even think about asking the Post Office!

But I think we all know what He’s talking about.

He’s talking about our priorities.

He’s talking about our decisions, our choices.

Especially of what we do with our treasures.

And in the context, that must include our money and possessions.

It’s probably more than that. It’s anything we tend to treasure. But it’s not less than that.

So it probably includes our time and our relationships and other things that we tend to hold dear. But it certainly also includes our money and our stuff.

Jesus says “Don’t store that up on earth.”

Now, He’s not saying that we can’t have a bank account. He’s not saying that we can’t have a retirement account. He’s not saying that we cannot own a barn.

The Bible is clear that saving money for the future is a wise and prudent thing to do.

Proverbs 6:6. Solomon says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

Productive and saving ants are smarter than human sluggards!

But Jesus is calling us to make wise choices about this stuff.

He’s asking us what that money and stuff is doing.

And what kingdom is it serving?

Because our tendency is to hoard. To get greedy. To build bigger and bigger barns and to put our faith and trust in our money and our possessions.

To spend it all on us.

And to skimp on the Kingdom.

Jesus says, “Choose wisely what vault you store those treasures in.”

Where is your money going?

Do you feel the contrast He’s setting up?

There is First Bank of Earth and First Bank of Heaven.

Where should we be making our deposits?

Heaven. Why?

Well, Jesus points out how temporary First Bank of Earth is.

Moths will eat up your cloths.
Rust will eat up your metals.

The word for “rust” there in the NIV is literally, “eating.” The “eating” will destroy your treasures.

That includes rats getting in your grain.

And then the other kind of rats, thieves, stealing your stuff. “Where thieves break in and steal.”

It’s pretty foolish to be investing all of your resources in something to transient, something shaky.

Jesus says, “No, no, no.” “[S]tore up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

That’s what we call a “safe investment!”

The stock exchange of heaven will never go down.

You will never “lose your shirt” if you invest in the Kingdom.

Now is this how it seems?

No. It seems like the here and now is very real and here to stay. And heaven seems so far away and unreal.

But it’s actually the opposite.

This life is so short and so flimsy.

Think about this.

If you had a million dollars and you invested it in yourself and your little kingdom.

How are you going to feel about that million dollars 15 minutes after you die?

How are you going to feel about it?

How are you going to feel about it 15 million years after you die?

Jesus is saying that His kingdom is forever.

“And He shall reign for ever and ever!”

Which kingdom do you want to invest in?

Because get this: verse 21.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Where do you want your heart to be?

Here on earth or there in heaven?

I think Jesus means more than just what treasure is what you set your heart on. That’s just obvious.

I think that Jesus means that our hearts, our spirits, the worshipping center of our souls will be where we put our treasure.

So this applies to what we saw last time about fasting and prayer.

If you make a big deal about your fasting and your praying so that people will see you do it and think you’re so great, then you are investing in the First Bank of Earth.

You’re investing in your kingdom. And that’s all that fasting and prayer will accomplish.

And the same thing is also true of giving your money.

Are you spending and saving it and hoarding and building up your pile for your kingdom?

Even giving it strategically to get the applause of others?

That’s as far as it goes. You’ve got your reward.

Or are you giving it for the kingdom?

To the church, to missions, to those in need, to the poor?

For the kingdom!

Jesus is calling us to live with eternity’s values in view.

To live and give for what is eternal and forever.

You choose.

But choose wisely.

Here’s number two.

#2. CHOOSE YOUR FOCUS. V.22

"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

Now, this is a tough one to interpret, but the contrast is very clear.

We don’t talk like this about our eyes or our bodies.

And we know that He’s really using them as metaphors for spiritual realities.

He starts by saying, “The eye is the lamp of the body.”

I think that means that your insides get light through your eyes so you know where to go.

It’s kind of like saying that they are windows. They are the source of the light for the inside of the house which is your body.

So it’s very important that your eyes are healthy.

If they aren’t healthy, then you will be blind and unable to find your way.

I think that’s what He means by, “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.”

But he’s not really talking about eyes and bodies, is He?

Just like He wasn’t talking about a beating heart in verse 21.

This is figurative language and word play.

And I think the key is to understand the word behind “good” in verse 22 or “healthy” if you have the 2011 NIV or the ESV.

It’s the word “haplous,” and it can be translated “good, healthy, generous, or whole.”

The King James Version has “single.” If your eye is “single.”

And we don’t talk like that today, but it has the kind of connotation of what we mean by “focused” or “undistracted.”

He means undivided loyalty.

If you have that kind of “spiritual eye,” and eye on focused on the kingdom, then your whole life will be full of spiritual light.

But, contrastly (v.23), if you are eyes are “bad” or “evil” or distracted, focused on the wrong things, then your whole life will be full of spiritual darkness.

That just makes sense right?

So, He’s saying, “Where’s your focus?”

What do you have your eye on?

Is it a new car?
Is it a new and bigger house?
Is it a new and bigger hard drive?
Is it a new and snazzier, whatever?

Or is it the Kingdom that has come and is coming?

Choose your focus.

I think that thinking of that word “single” or “whole” fits so well with the rest of the Sermon the Mount which is all about being “perfect” or “whole.”

Let your focus be centered on Jesus and His Kingdom.

That’s what He’s going to say in verse 33.

“Seek first the kingdom!”

That’s what He’s talking about.

Not whether or not you can read an eye-chart.

Do you feel how important this is?

If you don’t have this kind of spiritual sight, you will run off course.

“How great is that darkness!”

Choose wisely.

Last one. It’s really saying the very same thing.

#3. CHOOSE YOUR MASTER. V.24

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

Choose wisely.

Now, here He’s clearly talking about money.

He even kind of personifies money.

He calls it “Mamon.”

Which is just the Aramaic word for money or stuff. But Matthew doesn’t translate it into Greek like the rest of Jesus’ words, so he’s probably acting like Money has a mind of its own.

The 1984 NIV capitalizes it to bring that across.

Almost like Mamon is the name of a god. Which it certainly could be.

And it definitely acts like one at times for us.

Do you catch the contrast?

It’s “God vs. Money.” Step right up and see the fight!

And who should win?

Jesus says there is no middle way.

"No one can serve two masters.”

You can’t have two ultimate Bosses. You can’t have two ultimate owners.

Because at some point, and probably soon and often, they will conflict.

And only one of them can be the trust Master.

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

That’s the way it is.

You either love God or your love money.

Which is it going to be?

Remember, Jesus wants us to be whole.

He doesn’t want us to give lip service to loving God but really love our money.

He wants all of us.

And so He says, “Choose wisely.”

So, how are you doing at this?

Really, all three of these are different ways of saying the same thing, aren’t they?

Where is your treasure going?
Where is your focus?
Who really is your Master?

And how do we know?

By how we use our money and our stuff...

Just real quickly, do an audit.

If you were on trial for being a follower of Jesus Christ, a citizen of His kingdom.

What would your checkbook say?

Would it be evidence to convict you of being a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom or would it tell a different story?

I can’t tell you how much and what to give.

Or where to put your money.

But I can ask the question, where is your money going?

Earth or Heaven?

Where is your focus?

Are you generous and caring for others and it’s obvious from your bank account?

Or are you stingy and miserly and greedy and hoarding it all?

We can all think of someone who loves money.

But the question is, do we love money? Don’t look at anyone else. Look at you.

Where is your treasure and where is your heart going?

Some of you will feel convicted and you’re not supposed to. You just have tender consciences.

Some of you should feel convicted and you don’t.

Don’t explain this away. Don’t give yourself an easy out.

Think about the people Jesus was talking to.

They had so little compared to us!

And Jesus was saying this to them!

How are you doing in this area of your life?

Some of you are, I’m sure, amazing.

We have a very generous church here. Thank you to everyone who has given to the Challenge Group’s fundraising. That’s coming together very nicely, and as one of the parents and one of the chaperones and your pastor, I am very grateful.

Thank you for giving just to the church general fund week in and week out.

I get paid from that money, and I am incredibly grateful for you.

And thank you for giving to missions. To the spread of the gospel around the world!

And thank you for giving to the needy. People with needs.

But I’m guessing that some of us need to be asking ourselves if we are building our own kingdoms or Jesus’.

Here’s good diagnostic question for you to tell if you still have some work to do in this area of serving Money instead of God.

Are you worrying about money?

Because that’s where Jesus goes with it, doesn’t He?

In verse 25, He says, “You cannot serve both God and Money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry.”

That’s where we’re going to start next week.

Money says, “I am all important. You must serve me!”

And we say, “Okay. I’ll worry about that.”

But God says, “I am all important. You must serve me! Choose me!”

And we can say, “Okay. I’ll choose you. And I’ll trust you.”

And Jesus says, “Very wise choice indeed!”


***

Previous Messages in This Series:
01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret