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Don’t Give Up On Doing Good For The Church

4 Ways To Fight Against The Temptation To Quit Serving The Church

by Garet Halbert

“Serving in the local church is the easiest thing to do,” said no one ever. Being a servant to the needs of the church is a delightful calling, but it can be a daunting one as well. When I talk with those who serve in the local church, I always seem to see a speck of burnout in their eyes. As I have contemplated the tragedy of burnout and the statistics of those who leave pastoral ministry prematurely, or stop serving as an usher or sound guy, or those who find their way out of nursery duty, I notice that they manifest some tell-tale signs prior to throwing in the towel. A lack in these four areas is a recipe for disaster. My prayer is that as you read this, you would be stirred up to press on in the calling God has upon your life. Rarely will anyone regret persevering; it’s quitting prematurely that haunts us. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

1) Be convinced of your calling to serve, then refuse to be convinced otherwise.
Often when the stress of serving comes, we begin to doubt if we were supposed to do this in the first place. It is so beneficial to seek God in prayer and be convinced that He wants us to join the Georges Philibert Charles Maroniez, The Ploughmannursery team, or serve as a children’s Sunday School teacher, or be a part of one of our outreach ministries before committing ourselves. Brothers and Sister, do not let the stress, the lack of recognition, or whatever else that might cause you to shy away from service or think about quitting, cloud out God’s calling for you to serve Him by serving His people. The world, the flesh, and the Devil delight in convincing people to quit things that they were once convinced of. Refuse to quit what you are convinced by God to do.

2) Remember your identity. You are a child of God before you are servant of God’s people.
Often when one serves in the church, they will struggle with their identity. What I mean by this is that in playing a significant role in a church ministry, one can mistakenly find their identity in that role rather than in Christ. I remember several years ago meeting a woman who served several roles in her church. Moreover, it was often said of her, that if she were to leave or pass away, there was nobody that could do all that she does. And while this is an example of an incredible servant’s heart, there was still a problem. She hardly talked about God and was not very Christ-like Monday-Saturday. She was the life of the party at church gatherings, but was not much for godliness outside of church. What might this indicate to us? She had an identity bound up in her roles in the church, rather than in Christ. We are to find our identity in the One who gave His life for us, that we might be forgiven of our many sins. And from the overflow of that identity of being a child of God, THEN we begin to extend ourselves out in service to our church. Even Jesus models for us the importance of seeing one’s self as a child of God before a specific role. He spent more time in His earthly ministry talking about being the Son of God than His role as Savior! I think we would benefit greatly from an identity check.

3) Always be a person of prayer IN your service to the church.
It is easy to get caught up in serving the church and forget to pray both for the ministry in which you Rembrandt, Saint James the Greaterserve and for the church body at large. But we must remember that prayer is one of the most important services to the church! When the Apostle Paul was guiding Timothy on how to lead the church at Ephesus, he wrote to Timothy, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1). For Paul, a great church is a praying church. It is so easy for us to get caught up in the activities that grow and aid the church, but forget Who truly builds the church (Matthew 16:18). And before we look at our last point, I want to add that prayer is the ultimate acknowledgment that we can do nothing apart from Christ. John Piper in his book, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, writes, “Prayer is the translation into a thousand different words of a single sentence: ‘Apart from me [Christ] you can do nothing’ (John 15:5).”

4) Don’t just serve.
Serving in a church ministry can be all work and no fellowship. Serve the church with the intention of fellowshipping as well. Most of the churches’ ministries consist of many people, so see your service as a way to fellowship with your team. Get to know one another and exchange prayer requests. Let those conversations become friendships outside of your specific ministry. One of the best ways to get connected with those in your church family is to start by connecting with those in the church ministry you serve with. As we labor together, we grow together.

Serving in a church ministry is exhausting; there is no way around it. We all have jobs, families, and the stress of life. Then on top of that, we have our responsibility to our church. These four practical tips will help us with most of the struggles we have in serving. Service to the church is exhausting, but it can be an exhilarating exhaustion. There is no better place to spend yourself for the Lord than His church. Let your exhaustion be a reminder that prior to Christ you spent yourself on things that had no heavenly reward, but now your exhaustion is not in vain, for one day you will be rewarded for your labor for our Lord. Let us, like the Apostle Paul, have the same desire as we serve the church, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Corinthians 12:15).

Garet Halbert is a member of FCC.

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Toxicodendron Radicans (Poison Ivy)

By Matt Greco

I can think of no earthly reason why God created Poison Ivy!  I am relatively sure that it was not in the Garden of Eden but came along after the ground was cursed, somewhere between the thorns and the thistles.  It has been a problem for me all my life and approximately 85% of all humans have allergic reactions to the oils from the plant.  When I was younger, I could get the rash if I went past the plant and a wind was blowing in my direction.  It is estimated that 2 people a year die from exposure to poison ivy, not many, but I bet that everyone who is allergic to it suffers from its effects.

I got it again this year.  Weed eating my neighbor’s back fence and not paying attention to what I was doing.  It was all up and down my arms and a little on my legs.  So I am lying in bed the other night trying not to scratch and praying to the Lord, no sorry…, complaining to the Lord about my plight and it hits me all of a sudden that in many ways poison ivy is like sin to the believer.  Let me explain.

Scripture teaches me that before I confessed and believed in Christ, that I was dead because of my sin.  (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2: 1 – 10)  But now, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, I have new life and sin no longer has the power to kill me spiritually. (Romans 8:  2; Corinthians 5: 17) But, sin is still around and as believers, we still battle against sin.  Enter my analogy about sin and poison ivy.

If we are careful, we can avoid stepping into or brushing up against it, however, if we are careless or overconfident, we can get into it. It is not usually fatal, but it can sure make our lives miserable for a while.  It is unsightly, it is annoying, it itches, and it can make it very difficult for us to participate in certain activities.  No one wants to hug who is covered in it, you are not supposed to go swimming if you have open sores from the rash, and if you have it and you sweat at all, it irritates the outbreak all the more.

Now I do not want to trivialize sin when I compare it to poison ivy!  Sin destroyed man’s relationship with God.  Sin separates us from God.  Sin causes judgment and death. Sin has had and is much more destructive and can have much more lasting consequences in your life.  However, sin is also unsightly, it is annoying, it itches, and it can make it difficult or impossible for us to participate in certain activities.  God’s answer to sin was and is Jesus Christ.  My life and your life can be transformed by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I can say I am grateful to the Lord that I was lying awake at three o’clock in the morning because of the burning and itching of poison ivy because as I turned to Him, He met me in my situation and gave me comfort and instruction.  He is there for all of us who will turn to Him.  Don’t wait until you are drowning in your sin or suffering from the consequences of bad decisions or scratching from Toxicodendron radicans.  (Deuteronomy 4:28 – 30)

Matt Greco is a member of FCC and the Headmaster of Faith ChristianAcademyy.

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From Dust to Dust

By Matt Greco

Genesis 2:7 – 9, “…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.  And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

I love this time of year!  During springtime it seems that everything has potential, everything gets a new start.  Cold and drab winter has no choice but to turn the season over to the warmth and freshness of spring.  What a blessing to live in a location where we can experience four different seasons!

I especially love that it is time to ready and plant the garden.  I feel a special connection to the soil (dust) that no doubt comes from my being raised on a farm in south central Kansas.  But Scripture tells us that Adam actually came from the soil and, since I am (we are) Adam’s descendant(s), we all have a connection.  I was sharing my love for the soil with one of our elders, Greg Dull, and he said that he has a couple of his children that really love the soil as well.  “They love it so much, they eat it!” he joked.

All joking aside, the soil / my garden has taught me many things and I wanted to share a couple of lessons I have learned through many years of gardening.

THE SOIL

I am not sure if the county was named after a person or after the soil, but there is plenty of clay in Clay County.  Where I grew up, the soil was red and had a lot of gypsum in it.  Where my wife Pam grew up, the soil was a dark, rich brown color.  Where we had our first garden, the soil was actually a river bottom.   And even though all these soils were different, things grew in them!  One soil might be better for growing beans, and another for growing tomatoes, but it is all useful for growing.

I did not make any of the dirt; it is a creation and miracle of God.  The ground always came with where I was living.  However, if I wanted to have a garden, I had to work with whatever kind of soil I had.  The garden would not just magically appear.  I have had to constantly weed, water, plant, fertilize, etc… to get the most out of my dirt.  In a similar way, I have to work with what God has given me to make the most out of my service to Him.

THE SEED

Along with the soil, there is another creation and miracle the seed. Here is a simple lesson that has a Biblical reference—what you plant is also what you will sow!  Galatians 6:7 teaches, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”  I have never planted tomatoes and from that same plant harvested watermelons.

So, what will your “garden” look like?  Have been working alongside the Lord to take care of the soil?  Have you been planting the types of seeds that you want to see come to a harvest?  If you are not sure what I am talking about and you want to know more, I would love to talk to you about the spiritual truths gardening can teach you.  Or I can have you come on over to my garden and give you some practical instruction as I introduce you to Mr. Garden Hoe and Mrs. Shovel!

Matt Greco is a member of FCC and the headmaster at FCA.

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PUSHING AGAINST A ROCK

By Matt Greco

Some years ago I heard a story about a man who prayed and prayed as he asked God to show him what He wanted the man to do.  The man was very specific in his prayer and he asked the Lord to be very specific in His answer.  The man wanted to be sure that he was doing God’s will.

Lo and behold the Lord answered the man.  The Lord told the man in answer to his prayers to go to this certain cabin on this certain mountain and out back of the cabin the man would find a very, very large rock.  God told the man to go push against that rock.

The man could barely contain himself as he thought what this might mean.  Maybe the Lord wanted him to push this rock and find a treasure under the rock.  Maybe he would push this rock over and it would roll down the mountain and cause some great and wonderful chain of events to happen.  Maybe he would push this rock and it would stop on a road and would keep a bus full of children from driving over a dangerous bridge.  Maybe this rock was meant to cut an important path down the mountain, or to scare off a dangerous bear, or…, or…, it seemed that the possibilities were endless.

The climb up the mountain was not easy, but he found the cabin and out back he saw the very, very large rock and he decided to start right away.  He walked up to the rock, set his feet, bent his knees, squared his shoulders, rolled up his sleeves and he pushed…hard!  Nothing happened!  He tried again; his feet set a little farther apart, his knees bent a little lower, his shoulders extra square and PPUUSSHH!  Nothing!  He tried different angles, different techniques, pushing long and hard, pushing in short bursts, but the rock did not move.

“I must be tired from the climb”, the man told himself.  “I will start again in the morning”.  The next morning dawned bright and beautiful and the man, with renewed vigor, set out to push this rock wherever he wanted it to go.  Only one problem; the rock would not budge.  No matter how hard or what angel he tried, the rock was immovable.  He spent hours trying to move this rock, but nothing.  After several hours he questioned the Lord, “This is what you want me to do?  This rock is not moving Lord.”  The answer was quick and clear, “Keep pushing.”

That day turned into a week, that week into weeks, and weeks turned in months.  The rock would not budge.  Daily the man would read from the Word and ask the Lord for direction.  He kept getting the same message, keep pushing!  Every day he pushed, as soon as the sun came out he was pushing.  It seemed that his whole life he had done nothing but push against this rock.

Finally, the man had had enough.  He had pushed on this rock for months with no result and he was ready to have a serious meeting with the Lord.  “Lord, I am done.  I have pushed, and pushed, and pushed against this rock, with no result and I am done, finished!  It hasn’t moved a single inch and I am done pushing!  I wonder if this is really what You wanted me to do at all!  You need to get someone else to move the rook.”

The Lord answered, “I did not ask you to move the rock, I asked you to push against it.  Look at your hands; they were soft, and not used to hard work.  They are now calloused and useful for the difficult labor I have for you. Look at your arms; they are now muscled and tan and able to perform the difficult labor I have for you.  Look at your legs, now strong and flexible; feel your back, your neck.  They are all ready for the difficult labor I have for you.  But more important than all the physical benefits, is the fact that you have been obedient.  You have learned to listen to My Word and because of that obedience, you are ready for the difficult labor I have for you.”

“Forgive me Lord”, the man said.  “You are my Lord and my God and no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.  I am Your servant and I ask that You use me as You desire.”

Whenever I think about this story, I realize that I would have probably done a whole lot more complaining and a whole lot less pushing.  Sometimes it is hard for me to not be in control or at least feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the Lord’s will.  But, He is God, He is sovereign, and He does not require my approval of either His plans or His providence.

You may have found yourself pushing against a rock lately, or maybe you have been pushing against the rock for some time.  Perhaps the Lord is preparing you for something special.  Ask Him, read His Word, and in the meantime, keep on pushing!

Matt Greco is on the missions committee at FCC and serves as the headmaster of Fatih Christian Academy.

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MEN AND THE BOYS THEY TEACH

By Matt Greco

Article from the Jully 2012 FCC Newsletter

Rodney Dangerfield is credited with saying, “Last night I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” You can almost see him pulling at his tie and swiveling his head as he makes that remark. I have never been to a professional fight nor have I ever been to a hockey game of any type, but I get the joke. There are a lot of fights in hockey games.

Well, I went to a basketball game the other night and a “life lesson” broke out! I was not expecting a life lesson to be taught during a basketball game. What happened during the game, what I have been learning from it, and how I am going to apply it to my life is what this article will address.

My 13-year-old son, Gabe, played with the FCA Knights summer league basketball team. The summer league is more relaxed, there is only one practice and one game per week, the coaches know that players have vacations and summer jobs that sometimes conflict, etc… Still, it is a way for him to remain active and improve at a sport he likes.

The teams in this summer league are made up of players that have not graduated from High School. The game we played the other night was against a team that had mostly 11th and 12th graders and our team was mostly 8th – 10th grades. And this other team was GOOD! They had six players over 6’2” and a couple of their guys were 6’6” or 6’7”. They had a couple of guys who dunked during the game!

Our boys stayed with them the first three minutes, and then it was pretty much over. The other team led at halftime by 30 some points and in the second half, it got worse.

But our team never stopped fighting. Shakur Campbell, another 8th grader from FCA had a great game, scoring points, making steals, battling for rebounds, and blocking shots. Gabe blocked a couple of shots and scored several times. But our team got very tired as we only had 7 players and they had 11 players.

But, this article is not about trying no matter what the score or triumphing through adversity or giving 100% as long as there is still time left on the clock, etc…. This is about my righteous attitude, my judgment of another, and how we as men (and women) teach our children whether or not we believe there is lesson in progress.

With four minutes left in the game and the score 84 to 30, the other team’s coach put the starting 5 back in the game. The only plausible reason to do that was so their team could score 100 points. 54 points ahead, but that wasn’t enough for this coach!

Man did I ever get a righteous anger about me! What does this coach think he is doing? These are “Christians” playing! How DARE they run up the score!! Really? This is summer league basketball, it is the 12th graders versus the 8th and 9th graders, and do you really need to rub our boys’ faces in it? I envisioned a scene where I would accomplish my full revenge. It would be in that coach’s office as I quoted Scripture and he received my wrath face to face. A couple of verses came to mind:

  • Proverbs 8: 13 – Pride and arrogance and the way of evil (running up the score) and perverted speech I hate.
  • Proverbs 16: 18 – Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

I slept on it, and for some reason prayed about it, and the more I thought about how I was going to give this errant coach a Scriptural piece of my mind, a couple of other verses came to me:

  • Luke 6: 42 – Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
  • Romans 14: 4 –Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

In the end, the Lord used this game to teach me about my anger and His omnipotence.

I talked to Gabe about the kicking they received and I shared with him my anger and how the Lord was dealing with me and my anger. I talked with him about how he and Shakur and the rest of the guys never stopped battling and how that was a great lesson for me. We talked about how his coach, Steve Hendrick, kept his cool and kept encouraging the boys. If Steve was angry, he never showed it. I told Gabe that Coach Hendrick taught me something that evening.

So I guess, after all, the Lord is still working on me. He is in control even if the game you are playing in (I am playing in) is really lopsided. He is in control if other “Christians” act in an unchristian like manner. I am learning that very seldom is mine a righteous anger, but I can trust in the Lord no matter what the score of the game is.

So men, be ready to teach and to learn from your children, your wife, and your fellow believers. Some of life’s best lessons are taught and learned when you least expect it.

Sincerely and in Christ,

Matt Greco

Matt is the Headmaster at FCA and serves on the missions committee at FCC.

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Taking Time to Think Through Tim Tebow

1 Timothy 4: 12 – Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

In my 40 some years as a sports fan, I have never heard, seen, or read as much, in such a short amount of time, as I have about Tim Tebow.  For those of you who may not know, Tim Tebow is a 2nd year quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) with the Denver Broncos.  I have been thinking through all that I have heard, seen, and read about this young man and I wanted to share a few insights that seem appropriate in this venue.

LOVE TO HATE HIM – It seems to me that a majority of those who have the floor, so to speak, hate Tim Tebow.  I have never heard sportscasters spew such vitriol towards such a seemingly harmless guy.  They hate it when he wins, they hate it when he loses, they hate it that he gets publicity, they hate it that he makes a difference because, “he is not that good,” and they hate it that his teammates and coaches think he is great!big-game-party-church-website-banner

And it is not only the sportscasters.  I recently read an article about Tebow that had 155 readers’ comments.  Out of those 155 comments, 10 were neutral, 20 were positive, and 125 or 80% were negative.  Many of them mocked Tebow personally and many mocked his faith.  This is only one sampling, but it seems that 8 out of 10 are not in favor of Tim.

Tebow’s response to all this; he is humble and gracious win or lose, he says he has a lot to learn about playing in the pros, and he gives the credit to the Lord, his teammates, and his coaches.  SO, what is the big deal and why should I care?  Here are three things to think about.

  1. HE IS FAVORED BY GOD – What if God really favors Tim Tebow? It wouldn’t be the first time that God favored someone. We read in Scripture how God favored Noah, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Jacob, Joseph, Ruth, David, Solomon, Mary, the apostles, etc…  Think about the battles won against overwhelming odds, the miracles performed for individuals and nations, and the blessings beyond belief or measure.  God definitely favors those He chooses to favor.

But, does God really favor anyone today?  Yes, look in the mirror!  If you were born and live in the USA you have been favored and blessed in many ways.  If you are a believer, you are favored by God in ways that are beyond belief, amazing, and are both present and future in nature.  From what I can tell, Tim Tebow has been favored by God, and I think that really, really irritates some people.

  1. HE SEEMS TO PRACTICE WHAT HE “PREACHES” – Some years back an NFL player was given publicity about his fine moral character, his Christianity, his example to his teammates and his city. The next week he was caught soliciting a prostitute while in a different city. His team lost the next game and he faded from the limelight.  For the past several years, Tebow has acted like he is Christian, both on and off the field.  He says he never asks God to win a game, only to do his best.

He does not use God as a “good luck charm” and would discourage anyone to do so.  Over and over again his life and what he says match up.  He is humble and gracious whether he wins or loses.  And he has had his share of winning.  While in college he quarterbacked two teams that won the national championships.  He won one Heisman award and came in second twice.  This year he took a team that was 1 – 4 and won 7 of the next 11 games on route to putting Denver in the playoffs.  They won their 1st playoff game in dramatic fashion and got crushed in the 2nd game.

When asked how he felt about the crushing loss to New England, he said that he likes to win more than lose, but that he learned a lot and he looked forward to getting better.  He thanked the Lord for the abilities he had, he talked about making the playoffs when no one thought they would, he said he would be working hard during the off-season, and he mentioned how happy he was to be on the team.

NO WONDER THEY HATE HIM, CAN HE REALLY BE THIS NICE???

Then he talked about how he visited a young football player who had been paralyzed and how they shared some time together before the game.  He shared how this young man told Tim that it the best day of his life because they shared time together!  Tebow then said that it was hard to be upset when you have made somebody’s best day of their life.

  1. WHAT WE CAN DO AS FELLOW BELIEVERS – I believe the Lord has each one of His children placed where He wants them. You and I have a responsibility as believers to glorify and honor God no matter what we do. (Colossian 3: 17, 23) God has a job for each of us to do and it just so happens that some jobs are higher profile than others.  Whether a doctor, lawyer, teacher, butcher, baker, or candle stick maker we all should do EVERYTHING to God’s glory!  Tim Tebow is an example for us to follow!

But beyond our personal responsibility to glorify God in everything we do, I believe we should pray for this young man of the Lord.  He is in a very, very high profile position and he has people attacking him, tempting him, and doing all they can to discredit him and Our Lord.  We should pray for him as he strives to be an example of what it is to be a child of God.  Praying for him does not take away from anyone else who is a true believer and it doesn’t mean that you are a Denver Broncos fan.  It is something small we can do as faithful servants to help another faithful servant.

Sincerely and in Christ,

Matt Greco

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COULD I WRITE ABOUT IT IN A COUNTRY AND WESTERN SONG?

By Matt Greco

Most of you know who Tim McGraw is but until I returned from Argentina, I was not sure who he was.  Tim McGraw is a MEGA SUPERSTAR in the entertainment world.  He dominates the Country & Western music scene (over 40,000,000 sold), has had several crossover musical successes, has had critical acclaim in the movies (he was the dad in both Friday Night Lights and The Blind Side), and has his star on the Hollywood walk of fame.  To use a sports example, he has hit over 500 home runs in pro baseball, he is a stand out for the special teams in pro football, and he has made the team in pro basketball!mcgraw

I had a chance to meet Mr. McGraw when he was in town giving a concert.  His tour manager is the sister of my wife’s best friend (no kidding), so we got backstage passes and free barbeque! My family and I had about three minutes with the guy.  I asked him how he managed to be a performer and a family man. He told me that he and his wife (superstar Faith Hill) never tour at the same time.  He said that way he can focus on work on the road and focus on the family at home.

Then he asks me what I did and I told him I worked for a Christian school and a church. For about 30 seconds he lost the aura of Country & Western / Hollywood superstar and he asks, “Do you have any advice for dealing with a 13-year-old daughter?”  I looked at him and said, “Prayer!” He smiled and nodded and it was about then he had to leave and go do his show.

In those moments I realized that Tim McGraw and I were exactly alike.  Well, he is younger, better looking, world famous, rich, can sing, and can act, but other than that we are alike.  He worries about things that money, fame, and a great singing voice can’t solve.  Both of us are concerned about how to raise our children, how to do our jobs, and how to lead our families.  If we had had more time we might have talked about other things.

Now I may never get another chance to talk to Tim McGraw or anybody else famous, but I will interact and talk to hundreds of people every year and so will you.  You can bet that they worry about their children, their marriages, their jobs, what happens when they die, etc…!  We can help them find the answer because we have a relationship with the answer and the answer is Jesus!

JOHN14: 6JESUS IS THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.   Jesus sets the standard when He said that He is the way, the truth, and the life.  There is no problem that Jesus cannot handle.  Whatever the circumstance, large or small, Jesus is the answer.  Do you know this?  Do you understand this?  Do you live this?  Could you explain it to someone who asked you?

1 PETER 3:15 – BE PREPARE TO GIVE AN ANSWER. As believers, we have a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus and through that relationship we have hope.  Peter instructs us to be prepared to give an answer to those who ask about the hope we have, but to answer in a respectful and gentle way.  Whether we are talking to the famous or the infamous, the rich or the poor or anyone in between, we can and should share the wonderful answer that Jesus Christ is for all who believe.

Matt Greco is a member of FCC and the headmaster of Faith Christian Academy.

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Jesus Gave His Two Cents About Money

By Matt Greco

Proverbs 23: 29 reminds us, “Do you see a man skilled in his work?  He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”  Scripture doesn’t qualify this statement and neither should we.  If you are skilled at whatever you do, you will stand, or you will have a place to stand, before kings.  We might not have the opportunity to actually stand in the presence of an earthly king, but someday we will all stand before THE KING. Scripture teaches us that the Lord is concerned with how well we do the work that He has given us to do.Jesus Gave His Two Cents

As I watch the World Cup, I’m impressed by the excellent condition of the pitches (the grass).  Pam and I visited South Africa in 2007 and saw the preparation the country was making to host the Cup in 2010. Those preparations are now stadiums with pitches that are among the most excellent in the entire world.  The best players from each country play on these fields and are watched by all manner of men and women, kings and queens included.

The guys that are responsible for the grass, whether it is the dirt man, the fertilizer man, the grass man, the mower man, etc… they are all standing in front of kings!  I am sure as they watch these matches they feel a pride in the job that they have done.  But, I believe, they were “skilled in their work” before they were called on to have a hand in making these fields so very beautiful.

A question I asked myself and will ask you is, “How well are you doing the job that the Lord has given you to do?”  No matter if you are a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, etc… we are to work according to Colossians 3: 17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”   As men, we were created to honor God in our work!

Matt Greco is the Headmaster of Faith Christian Academy.

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THE RIGHTEOUS TRAFFIC JUDGE

By Matt Greco

Do you ever read something in Scripture that makes you shake your head and say, “Did the Lord really mean to say that?”  I love most of God’s Word and I am trying, with His help, to love all of His Word, but sometimes I am startled by what I read.  When Jesus instructs me to “Love your enemies” and “pray for those who persecute you,” I balk and think perhaps the Lord doesn’t know my enemies and persecutors!Righteous Judge

My friend Rob and I are working through a book together and through our study I have been confronted with my lingering, sinful attitudes of JUDGEMENT!  My lovely wife gave me the moniker of “Righteous Traffic Judge” while we lived in Argentina.  I guess I had made one too many comments about how the Argentines drove and she asked, quite seriously, who made me the “Righteous Traffic Judge”? I thought that after sitting under Pastor Jack’s teaching on how to handle conflict Biblically, my righteous and biblically defendable judgment had been sanctified!  No such sanctification. Recently I read, again, these startling words of our Savior (Matthew 5):

 22“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  23“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  24leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

SO what you are saying, Lord, that even if I know my brother has something against me, it is up to me to make the first move toward reconciliation?  I have learned that this is impossible for me to do alone.  Even with the help of the Holy Spirit, I am and can be encouraged by other Christian men who will pray with me, encourage me, and who will hold me accountable.  That is part of what we want our Men’s Ministry to be about here at Faith Community Church.

What are your struggles?  Do you struggle with anger or with contentment or with consistency in your Christian walk or in your identity in Christ?  Come join us in the Men’s Ministry here at FCC and be a part of a group of men who will pray with you and encourage you and hold you accountable.

 

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Men of Faith and Obedience

By Matt Greco

There are many wonderful and amazing stories in the book of Joshua. One of my favorite stories comes chronologically after the two spies return from spying out Jericho and before Israel marches around her walls.  The story which I am mentioning is the crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  A few sentences in this newsletter cannot do this wonderful miracle justice, but let’s look at a few key elements and apply them to our situation here and now some 2800 years later.March31

River at flood stage – The Jordan River was at flood stage (3:15) and if you know anything about a flooding river, they move fast and furious and it is not something anyone would want to cross.  What are the floods that are moving fast and furious in your life?  Is there some situation that has overflowed the banks of your control and is now stopping you from moving forward? Growing up, I can remember watching the Medicine Lodge River when it was flooding and thinking how impossible it was to cross, knowing that even the day before I crossed it.  You may have guessed, but the Medicine Lodge River is smaller than the Jordan River!  Some experts have suggested that stopping the Jordan at its widest at flood stage was physically and geologically (scientifically) more difficult than parting the Red Sea at it shallowest.  But really, what is it that our God cannot do?!

Men taking faith steps – The priests who were carrying the ark were taking faith steps.  It would have been impossible to tell where the flood waters started and the river bank dropped off, but these men who were carrying the ark were instructed and obeyed the instruction to walk to the middle of this raging, rolling river.  They stepped out in faith and the nation of Israel followed.  What are the faith steps that you need to take in your life?  Are you being obedient to the Lord so that others may follow?  Men in our Men’s Ministry are encouraged to step out in faith as we study God’s Word and fellowship together.

Standing on a firm foundation – 3:17 Informs us, “All the priests who carried the ark… stood firm on dry ground…all Israel crossed on dry ground…”  Have you ever watched a river dry up?  It may take months for the water to dry up, but always after the water has dried up the river bottom is soggy.  ISRAEL CROSSED ON DRY GROUND!  No soggy bottoms here, boys, just dry ground.  Reminds me of walking in the fire and coming out without even the smell of smoke. Have you trusted the Lord to walk you across the trials of your life?  Are you standing firm on Jesus Christ as your foundation?

Matt Greco is the Headmaster of Faith Christian Academy.

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