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Blog: You Were Made To Be Known

You Were Made To Be Known.

 

This morning as I was spending time reading the Word, I allowed my thoughts to wander a bit. They landed thinking about Connect Groups, which led me back to this past Sunday when I made announcements about Connect Groups.

I was replaying the announcements in my mind, but it was different. It was changed. The words in my replay weren’t what came out of my mouth Sunday morning. It came out something like this,
“We all need to be in a Connect Group. We NEED each other, we were created to know others and to be known.  Every. Single. One. You are important to God and have a purpose, no one is hidden from God.”
 
As I finished speaking this announcement, I sensed that someone in the crowd thought, “Yeah, but YOU don’t know me.” Without missing a beat, I addressed the lying spirit that rested upon someone (who, I don’t know who it was, but I suspect it was more than one) and commanded it to leave. The feeling of isolation that can come during church is a lie and consequently turns into a choice we make.
 
It’s so subtle how those lies can come dressed up as our own thoughts.
We ARE made to be KNOWN. At Faith, that comes through our Connect Groups. We aren’t trying to grow a big Church, we are trying to GROW us, OUR faith.  But just as last Sunday’s message addressed, there is a choice between hearing and believing.

 

We grow and change through relationships… and you can CHOOSE to not put your faith in that OR you can believe that and actively pursue those around you to engage in deep meaningful relationships. These kinds of relationships remind me of when Peter, in his letter to the early Church, described the Church using vivid imagery. He said,
“…you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood…” (1 Peter 2:5)
 
 
I NEED everyone in the Church. I NEED others to know me. I NEED those around me.
A stone by itself out in a field is more often an obstacle to running, mowing, plowing, etc., depending on the use of the field. That stone becomes much more powerful and strong when it is among other stones creating a home, a defense, a shelter or any other numerous structures that are useful. You might not know every stone in that wall, but through contact and close proximity, you will certainly know those around you who are pressing into your lives.
 
I NEED everyone in the Church.
 
I NEED others to know me.
 
I NEED those around me.
 
There is freedom here. Be known. You ARE created for this! We are better TOGETHER!
 
— Written by Clayton Whitson —
 

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Video Blog: How I Do My Daily Devotions

How I Do My Daily Devotions

I truly believe everyone desires to have effective devotions on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many people feel like “they just aren’t good at it.”
 
Sometimes the best way to learn something is to (1) watch someone else and (2) just do it yourself. There are lots of ways people can spend time with God and I have experimented with many various ways over the years, myself.
 
So, in today’s video post, I want to show you how I do my daily devotions.
 

1) Prayer.

I say a quick prayer to surrender the time and silence my mind.
 

2) Read.

I read a little devotion to whatever YouVersion (bible.com) Reading plan we are doing as a Church and then read the scripture corresponding with the plan. (I often will read the full chapter instead of just the verse).
 

3) Meditate + Listen.

I go back over the verse(s) that caught my attention or noticed. As I re-read it, I’m asking God to show me something. Sometimes, I just pick a verse and meditate. No divine inspiration or whispers. I just pick one.
 

4) Write.

I write down the thoughts or promptings I get as I read. I write down the verse or word or phrase from the verse that caught my attention. I write the truths and practical insights I noticed as I meditate on the verse.
 

5) Prayer.

I’ll pray over my day as it starts and to seal the time with God.
 
Again, there are lots of ways you can spend time with God. I have this to be an effective way for me to hear God speak each and every day. 
 
One final thought. Make no mistake, this is not a magic formula. This is definitely more discipline than euphoria! I have found as I give myself to these disciplines, I create consistent space for God to speak to me.
 

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BLOG: Sunday, September 2

Faith Hears.

Faith comes to us by hearing and without faith, a relationship with God is not possible. The truth is, we all can hear God’s voice, we just need to learn what it sounds like.
 
Did you miss the sermon? Want to strengthen your faith and listen again?
 

Next Steps:

2) Find a Connect Group (groups start Sept. 9)

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VIDEO BLOG: Discipline to Delight

We all want to move in the right direction with our lives.  Sometimes we feel delayed in seeing the transformation we want. Proverbs tells us to have a “discerning heart.” When we begin to discern a direction we need to move towards, it normally takes discipline to get there. But there are two other components too. Watch the video to find out how to move from discipline to delight!
 
“The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
 
For more videos like this, be sure to subscribe to the Faith Church YouTube Channel and follow Pastor Matthew on Facebook.

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Team Night

You are invited out for our next TEAM NIGHT. Sunday, August 12 at 5 pm is our second ever TEAM NIGHT. We will worship, pray, fellowship, and Pastor Matthew will encourage us with vision for this next season.
 
 
Not on a Serve Team? No problem! Come out anyways and enjoy a refreshing time in God’s presence.
 
*Childcare is not available.

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Blog: Realms of Kingdom Authority

During the sermon, “I Like The Way You Work It,” we had a panel of businessmen answer some practical questions. One of the participants, Gregg Motley, shared about the Realms of Kingdom Authority and it piqued many people’s interest.  We asked Greg to expound and this post is just that. You can listen to the sermon & panel here or on our app.
 

The word kingdom denotes a realm or territory where a king rules, which is why Jesus used the word to describe His activity, and that of the Holy Spirit on earth. Wherever Jesus reigns, His Kingdom is present, and that begins with our hearts yielded to Him.

 

To bring order to His Kingdom and move His Creation toward the New Jerusalem, Jesus delegated his authority to four realms, working through us as co-laborers:

Church – Ephesians 3: 10

Family – Ephesians 6: 1-3

Government – Romans 13: 1

Workplace – Colossians 3: 22

 

According to scripture, the Spirit works through these human institutions to bring us wisdom (church), wellbeing (family), order (government) and prosperity (workplace).  If we do not consider our responsibility to what the Spirit is doing in these realms, we open ourselves up to the natural consequences of this earth and the evil spiritual forces at work in it.  We leave ourselves vulnerable on a day to day basis and miss out on His blessings.
 
The typical American does not identify with the words “king” or “kingdom”.  Our country was established by rebellion and rejection of a monarchy and independence is an important social construct to us.  Naturally, we do not easily subject ourselves to authority.  That is why it is particularly important that we pay attention to what the scripture has to say on the subject.
 
Does Jesus always delegate His authority to the holiest and just men and women on earth?  Overwhelmingly, the answer appears to be “No”!  Incompetence and bad character appear to be more common among those in authority in Kingdom realms.  Why does Jesus want His people subjected to these poor leaders?  So that we can bring His truth to men and women in all places, all positions and all walks of life.  It is not about our comfort, rather it is about advancing His Kingdom.
 

When is it Biblically permissible to throw off unjust authority?  Clearly, when that authority requires one to violate their conscience.  In Acts 5: 27-28, the Jewish council (governing authority of the church) required the Apostles to quit speaking in the Name of Jesus.  The Apostle Peter’s response: “We must obey God rather than men.” 

In Judges 6, God calls Gideon to throw off all four realms of authority by tearing down an altar to Baal in his hometown and sacrificing his father’s bull on a new altar built for the Lord.  It is my belief that our Founding Fathers heard the voice of the Lord to throw off the yoke that was the English monarchy in response to their immoral behavior, but the Confederacy did not hear His voice when they incited the “War of the Rebellion”, as the Civil War was known at the time.  Their complaints were primarily economic, not moral.

So how does a Biblical believer relate to those is realms of Kingdom authority when it is not the best, but does not have Biblical grounds to rebel?

Some thoughts:

  • Take your complaint to the Throne, not the phone.  It is okay to have those with whom you are in accountability to talk through your struggles, but don’t automatically chime in with others who are discontent.
  • Ask the Spirit what He is doing in the situation and cooperate with Him.  He may be setting you up to be redemptive and healing.
  • Show those in authority that you are clearly on their side.  Tacit (or active) opposition only makes the leader insecure and more apt to misbehave.
  • Don’t jump from church to church, marriage to marriage or job to job.  You will not find peace by merely changing your scenery.  Dig in and be a part of the solution.
  • Don’t burn bridges.  Sometimes the Spirit requires us to make a change, but leave the door open to your past relationships so that the Lord can use you in the future.
  • Focus on the relationships.  Money and power have few roles in the Kingdom, but relationships are everything.  As far as it depends on you, invest in relationships as if they are eternal.
  • Maintain your level of respect for those in authority over you.  Sometimes, this is easier said than done, but it remains a choice.  Ask God to empower you to obey.
 
Love your Church, bless her with your words and give to her.  Honor your family members and stay connected and supportive in this unique role.  Get involved in your government and help make it better.  Do your work with excellence without complaining.  Cooperating with Jesus’ plan to bring His Kingdom through earthly authority will put you in a place to receive Kingdom blessing and all He has for you.  It will put you in a place to be a co-laborer with Him to usher in the New Jerusalem, for which we all long.
 
 
Written by Gregg Motley. 

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Blog: Your spouse is your two, not your kids.

Last night, we hosted the first of a four-week marriage event. We used a video teaching from Pastor Craig Groeschel at Life.Church and took a look at “The Vow of Priority,” realizing that God is our ONE, and our spouse is our TWO.

During our discussion time about priorities, the subject about kids and how easy it is to value your kids over your spouse. We often seem to celebrate our kids while merely tolerating our spouses. We pour so much energy into our kids, we often have nothing left for our spouses when the day ends.
 
Children indeed are a gift from God, but they are a temporary assignment. The first gift God gave us was our spouse.

I believe our marriages are blessed because of the covenant we made with our spouse. Your kids are the fruit of that blessing, not the cause of the blessings. It’s vital that we realize that proper priorities in our marriages help us be God-honoring with our lives.

God’s design for the family is that we would love our spouse and train our kids. Too often we flip that around – we train our spouse and love our kids.
When we have our priorities in life wrong, good things begin to create unnecessary tension and things start to go wrong.

So the question is, “How can we reprioritize our marriage to take priority over our kids?”

Here are some thoughts on how to bring it back into the proper priority that honors God.

(1) Start with the heart.

Begin by asking God’s forgiveness and then repenting to your spouse. We cannot skip this step, because if our hearts are not in the right place, we will eventually revert back to old patterns.
 

(2) Pray.

The Bible says, we don’t have, because we don’t ask. Ask God to help your love and pursuits come into alignment with your priority. Make a daily confession that, “God is my one, my spouse is my two, not my kids. I love my spouse and lay down my life for them.”
 

(3) Dream and define it.

Take a walk with your spouse and ask them to describe, in their view, what the marriage looks like with proper priorities. As they talk, don’t criticise or belittle their ideas.
 
Ask questions like: Who get’s the first kiss when you arrive home? How often will you have a date night? What kind of tone do you use when speaking with each other? What will be your response when kids come to interrupt your conversation together? What needs to change? How can you communicate this value to your kids? These are just a few questions to help you begin to articulate what you envision it looking like. Find a way to meditate often and think about this picture of your reprioritized marriage.
 

(4) Calendar it.

Date nights, overnight trips without the kids, nightly couch time (the time when you take 10 minutes to catch up on your day, without interruptions from kids), devotions together, even the nights for sex during the week (yes, I said the week, not month). Put it on your calendar – all of it. Placing it on the schedule helps you to protect that time, plan for the time, and build anticipation toward that time.
 

(5) Evaluate it.

Once a month, ask your spouse for feedback. “How do you feel we are doing with our priorities – God, Marriage, then kids?” Listen to their response, without being defensive, and come up with creative ways to move forward toward your goal.

 

Pastor Craig says it like this, “Laziness makes an excuse, but love makes a way.” I believe that with some prayer and when we truly begin to put God in His proper priority spot in our lives, everything else gets a little easier to prioritize.
 

At the end of they, anything we have not first submitted or surrendered to God can become an idol. Whatever we idolize will interfere with our intimacy with God. Until we allow God to be our first priority, we will be unsatisfied in our lives.

 

What else would you add to this list?

 

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Sunday, July 29

We are taking our weekly church service poolside!

We figure Summertime is the perfect time to celebrate as a church family and strengthen friendships. So, we’ve planned an abbreviate worship service for Sunday, July 29 at the Fort Scott City Pool. We will worship as a family, read some scripture, and celebrate with those taking their next step in water baptism.
 
Come ready to swim and enjoy the morning with our Faith Church community. We’ve rented the city pool from 10 am until 11:45 am and will have free corn dogs and popsicles available at the end.
 

Interested in water baptism?

Click here to find out how you can take your next step!

 

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#ForYou

We live in a time of history where most people are keenly aware of their shortcoming. And if they start to forget it, there are often a line of people willing to fill-in and remind them. People live with shame and regret and are tired of trying to cover it up. I believe many are looking for a place they can belong while they figure out what hope in their life looks like.

It’s true, there is plenty of narcissism to go around, and many people live with an inflated sense of self-worth. I tend to think it’s a compensation for insecurities they don’t want to be seen. It’s merely pride, drenched in shame.

God invites us to bring faith into our lives. When we do, faith comes to life for others. As a church community, we want to be a life-giving source to everyone. There are many who grew up in church but swear they’ll never go back. Many more who never have thought about coming to church because they’re sure they’d be rejected if they ever did attend. So many people we live and work around who have yet to hear that God loves them.

That is why we started a #ForYou campaign. We want to live our lives in a way that tells people around us, “God is #ForYou, and so are we.”

 
Today, I want to share some practical ways you can bring faith to life, and help remind people that God is for them.
 

1. Be an Encourager.

I have never heard anyone say, “Please stop encouraging me, I am overflowing with encouragement.” If you look hard enough, you can always find something kind to say that is uplifting. Make it a habit of inserting a compliment in each conversation you have.
If you can’t find a compliment, at the end of the conversation add “By the way, God is #ForYou.”
 

2. Buy and wear (often) a #ForYou shirt

The t-shirts are not only fashionable and comfortable, it’s a great conversation starter. Whether people are curious to know what a hashtag (#) is or they’re trying to figure out what “FOR YOU” really means, it can create a friendly conversation where you can tell your story or invite them to church.

You also could do something kind for someone. Bring your neighbor some cookies or assist with their yard work. Buy the person’s food in line behind you. Even if you wear it around town with a genuine smile on your face, you can brighten someone’s day and it’s a good representation of Faith Church.
 

3. Social Media Posts

Anytime you post a scripture, say something positive, share your story or a lesson you’ve learned from reading the Bible, say something about our church, or even check-in on Facebook on Sunday – add the phrase “God is #ForYou and so are we!” to the end of the post.

Along those same lines, a great way to be a positive influence online is to post your sermon notes, scriptures, or your experience from a Sunday gathering. Maybe it’s a line to a song, a picture you took during the service, the podcast or a statement within the message, you can share that on social media and include the #ForYou hashtag. When you post about the life-giving things you are experiencing, you give people a sneak-peak into Faith. Sometimes that is all someone needs to feel comfortable enough to “come and see.”

4. Give a coffee mug or t-shirt as a gift

Do you have a person or two you’ve been praying would come to church or would receive salvation? This is a great way to invite someone to church. It also can become a visual reminder to them that you care about them, are praying for them, and they belong!
 
I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Thessalonica –
“The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message!” (1 Thessalonians 1:8 MSG)

 

This is more than a social media slogan. This is a message we want our community to hear from our lives – “God is #ForYou, and so are we!”
 
 

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Blog: Double or Nothing – A Sermon Remix

“Double or Nothing.”  That was a statement often uttered following a failed trick shot on the basketball court when I was a teen. Something within us was confident (some might say, too confident) the outcome would change with another attempt.

We often live like this. Entirely convinced our next effort will be the winning one. However, most of the time we don’t adjust our approach, we just blindly choose to add more grit and energy, convinced that will suffice.

The Bible has a lot to say about living this way.
Proverbs 29:23 (MSG)
Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors.
 
Proverbs 26:12 (NIV)
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for them.
 

Proverbs 16:18 (NIV) Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

 
Why are “pride and a “haughty spirit” so detrimental to us? Allow me to share a few thoughts.
 

1. Pride Blinds Us.

We can’t walk through life while blinded by pride. We will trip all along the way.

Pride lies to you about you, leaving you blind to the truth. We resist change and assume we are all set. When we don’t allow honest feedback into our lives, we find ourselves living by grit rather than grace. Pride has a way of burning up the grace we need to live life well.

Grace is like oil for a car engine. It reduces friction as life “heats up” around us. We need God’s grace to keep the friction low, so we don’t ruin relationships and opportunities.

There have been seasons in my life where I noticed certain relationships or responsibilities started to create more friction than usual. A few times it was God beginning to remove a grace in my life for a particular duty, and a transition was coming. However, most often my pride was the reason for the friction. Pride punctures us, causing the oil of God’s grace to leak out. Most of the time, it’s such a slow leak that we don’t see it until pride has caused some damage.

Pride will also blind you from seeing what you need to learn. When was the last time you received feedback without getting defensive? It’s not easy to receive instruction, but if we can be humble and teachable, God can take us to our destiny. In short, we need to pursue honesty in our life. Honesty points us toward humility.
 

2. A Haughty Spirit blurs your vision.

Where pride was all about a blinded perspective of ourselves, a haughty spirit is about how we look at others. A haughty spirit blurs our opinion of others. It’s what motivates us to push people aside for our own agenda. We elevate ourselves by belittling them. You can tell if someone is haughty by the fact they cannot celebrate with others when they succeed, and they often criticize others.

A haughty spirit is more than just thinking you are better than everyone. It believes you deserve to be treated better. Not better than someone else; simply better. Before you start dismissing this idea of a haughty spirit as being limited to the wealthy or high-society folks, you need to ask yourself a question – “How did I act the last time I got poor service at a restaurant?”

You see, I think that a haughty spirit is at the core of a consumeristic mindset. It leads us to believe, somehow, we are the central figure of our life. We develop a mindset slanted toward selfishness and self-centeredness.

God tells us to be good stewards not to be consumers. God wants to fill us with His grace so we can live as servants of His Kingdom.

The bottom line is this, we either humble ourselves, or we will be humbled. Honesty and stewardship link us to humility. Proverbs 16:5 says, “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”

It’s time to stop gambling with our purpose. I say we go double or nothing on humility! We either double-down on humility, or we will end up with nothing – nothing but heartache, bitterness, betrayal, enemies, loneliness, and an empty life.

Here what I’d ask you to do: take two minutes and examine your heart, asking God to reveal where you’ve been blinded by pride and have blurred priorities because of a haughty spirit.
 
I pray we exchange pride and a haughty spirit for a humble heart, which God loves!
 
I truly hope our #SummerOfWisdom series is impacting your life! I pray it draws you closer to God this Summer and enriches your faith as we read through the book of Proverbs together.

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