Today I have the privilege to Honor our Senior Pastors. The only way I can explain it best is – Because of your obedience, you sacrifice, and being submissive to the true gospel of Jesus Christ- My life has been transformed, my wife’s, my kids and our future. Not to mention some of the people we meet along the way.
All because you two answered the call and said, “Send me, here I am”
See, back in 2010 when Eva and I were seeking direction- part time Christian ( a.k.a lukewarm Christians), trying to figure out where to go and God lead us to Faith and Victory, we didn’t know that our lives would be transformed.
The process started and – He removed the heart of stone and put in me a new heart.
I can’t lie, yo invaded our space in a very uncomfortable way. The hugs and I love you’s – were weird at first.
You would call and check on us if we missed church. The church was so loving. People were just super nice. You were just too loving- we wondered what this people wanted with us.
As we continue to cautiously come to church its then that we realized that this was how Christ love felt. – this how to love your neighbor as yourself.
That you two loved God with all your heart and you just couldn’t contain that love. So you had to project it to other. And through Gods guidance you created a place where other can experience the same.
Then Pastor Matt preached – He said’ I am not perfect- I am broken, and I struggle with stuff- BUT!! I love Christ and if you are willing, come along side me and we read the bible, do what it say and seek God together for directions.
Pastor Crystal Spoke and she said “I have a past and I am forgiven and loved by my father and now I have purpose.
This was not my past experience with other Pastors. – I could relate man!
I saw humility, I felt genuine hearts that loved God and were willing to do whatever it took to honor Him. It was then I knew that I could respect, honor, submit and follow my Pastors.
7 years later, Eva and I consider you our Pastors and friends. It hasn’t been easy, it did require us to allow God work through me.
I didn’t Amen every sermon you guy preached coz some of it cut deep, but on that day, we committed to be part of Faith and Victory church, we committed to honor you and part of the that honor is to be submissive 100% to you as God appointed spiritual leaders in our lives
We allowed God to use you to reach our lives.
In those few years under your teaching:
- Relationship with God. Intimate relationship. Loving on us and pruning us as well.
- I learnt how to be a good husband
- I saw Eva’s life transform to a girl after God’s heart – All started with her coming to Tue bible study
- The list is endless, …we are no longer the same.
Thank you for being obedient to the call and for pushing us to have a personal relationship with God.
The bible say’s in Luke 12:48 “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more”
I know that this calling is not an easy one – when I think about the work that has been trusted to you Pastor Matt and Pastor Crystal. I am reminded of a guy in the bible who much was required from him.
Noah – We all have heard the story of Noah, and for most of us- we only know the Sunday School version- The cute version. Well, let’s dig a little deeper today.
God asked Noah to build a boat because He was fixing to destroy the earth and all that was in it.
The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. 7 And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” 8 But Noah found favor with the Lord.
11. Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. 13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!
Build a large boat[c] from cypress wood[d] and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior.15 Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.[e] 16 Leave an 18-inch opening[f] below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.
17 “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. 18 But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 19 Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. 20 Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. 21 And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”
22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
The world is corrupt and just getting to a point where God is done
There is a man Noah, that found favor in God’s eyes.
God could have just destroyed everything and saved Noah – However, even though he was faithful, He tested him. For 120 years – The bible says that Noah did Everything Exactly as commanded.
The other part was that God gave the people the opportunity to learn from Noah obedience and also a time for them to repent and be saved. 120 years in the making.
People had the opportunity to help and come along side Noah, maybe the building would have take less time. – Remember if the world was sinful before Noah started building- how much more was it toward the end. What if people would have come along side him – finish in 60 years, would it have saved the next generation?
I think about the people who heard Noah, they saw him do what God was asking and were scared of what other people are going to say. How about those who wanted to do it without other people seeing – it was a desert – Hard to hide.
What about those who thought that maybe at some point they would just delay for a little bit, finish what they were doing in life and then join in the building and in the boat later.
How about those who had dismissed him completely saying that it had never rained before. Before the rain, water always came up from the wells.
I always think about that moment of “what if” just as the rain started pouring and the door had been shut.
Its easy to think about that story and think that I would have totally been on board no matter what.
The truth is back then, with no evidence of a book (bible) that told them about past stories and the Holy Spirit it would have been next to impossible to trust an old guy building a boat in the middle of a desert.
I give you that, but how about today? What is your excuse. Can you say that you “Don’t know?
Well let me remind you, so that by the end of today you will say “Now I know!!
The bible says that the world was corrupt and getting worse – Sounds familiar?
God sought a man who found favor in Gods eyes – A man and his family that talks the truth, doesn’t compromise to what they world is doing.
Leaders that does everything exactly as commanded. Leaders that do not alter the word to fit a certain group of people.
Leaders that challenges you to die to self every day and to take up the cross and walk the narrow path.
Our Pastors have to endure the same things that Noah had to endure. People are the same, then and now. They have to hear from people who think that they are too serious with this whole God thing.
They have to give up their lives to build this church and provide a passage to the arch – Heaven.
Just like Noah they had and have a choice to make daily. As the world keeps getting darker and people coming against Christians. Do we still continue to build?
120 years is a long time to wait for something to happen. So is 2000 years plus when Jesus said I am coming back.
Just like Noah, our Pastors have been for as long as you have been coming to this church, sounded the horn- Prepare yourselves, Jesus is coming back.
Matthew 24:37 – As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
What group of people are you going to be today?
-The ones that think that our Pastors are a little too serious,
-The ones that talk behind the Pastors,
-The ones that only support because of what they get from them,
– Or the ones that trust their vision and help prepare the way of Christ coming?
Just like Noahs time, this is a time to know that we need to come along side our Pastors and help them build a strong church that will be a passage for many – or we can just dismiss this as – man its been a long time, it not going to happen.
See, no one has ever seen hell. The fire and the woos of it. And so, it was that no one had seen rain.
Numbers 23:19 – God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
He said it would rain, and it did….
He said He is coming back and that everyone would be judged – you guessed it right- He will.
I pretty sure that Noah was human. That there were days that he wanted to quit. When he had really bad days and just felt that it was all for nothing.
I can’t speak specifics but I know that our Pastors have had moments like those. When the pressure of doing the right thing to a generation that is all about selfies is too much.
You have to understand on thing about our leaders – Before they can come out here and preach to us- They have to empty themselves first and allow God to search them through and through so that they can be used by God.
Noah was in a dessert for 120 years building a boat. He had to allow God to cancel all the noise that was surrounding him.
Our Pastors have to be a good pipe – Example
When they speak in your life, its not them, its God talking directly to you. That is why you are commanded to honor your spiritual leaders.
1 Thessalonians 5:12 – Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.
The greatest honor we can give them is to do what they are teaching you to do. Listen to them and know that what they speak is the will of God in your life.
Don’t get this twisted though, please acknowledge them. Bring them a thank you card, take them out for coffee and not just so that you can dump all your issues on them- Just to love on them and encourage them. Buy them something nice and let their heart be full with appreciation.
Feed this man- Pastor Matt and buy him some fresh socks
Give Pastor Crystal a gift card to some of the cool shoes places.
Don’t forget their kids – Gabe and Faith – They sacrifice as well. Much more that we can imagine.
Hear me on this- When Noah closed that door and the rain started to come down. I bet his heart was full of sadness because even if people may have brought him food or helped him a little before giving up, His joy would have been to see people been saved. There in the boat with him.
Stuff is good and please continue to do it, but it benefits the Pastor is no way if you don’t heed the warning and leave your own desires and follow God.
When the rain started, no one could have said that they didn’t know. They had seen Noah building – it was in an open dessert – You can’t miss that boat. They couldn’t say that they didn’t know.
They knew but choose to be disobedient
You as well, you have heard that Jesus is coming soon, change your life. Our Pastors have been diligent and relentlessly reached your heart. Every preaching, every blog, every one on one meeting, every church group, every Facebook post …they have been asking you to come on the boat.
You cannot say you don’t know!
Let me remind you of a few just in case you forgot:
- Pastor Matt preached on:
- What are you going to say to the girl at the door – (Peter is asked by the girl at the door- aren’t you one of the disciples) – There will always be a decision point- What are you going to say?
- Grow in the wilderness – Jesus is in the wilderness for 40 days -He used his wilderness experience to prepare him for the next progression in his ministry- he spent the time praying and fasting and fighting Satan
- That which cost nothing – Are you giving God your best or your left overs. Lack of cost shows lack of faith
- The most powerful word in the world – IF is a condition of salvation, of getting to heaven, of receiving blessings, of staying away from curses, of being forgiven of SIN
- God hates Divorce – Not many Pastors will preach a whole sermon on divorce and even fewer would do it with the kind of love and grace that Matt portrayed.
- Pastor Crystal Preached on:
- Moses is dead – Joshua had to move on after Moses died- God doesn’t want you to to be stuck in your proverbial desert of you mind mourning your past.
- Which Voice – Knowing the Holy Spirit and to pick it out among so many competing voices and how to live. She willingly shared the examples in her own life she would rather avoid but couldn’t leave out for the sake of Truth.
- Speechless with Sorrow. That Jesus speaks (hard) truth to the deepest places in our hearts. That He loves us so much, He wants to reveal difficult things to us. I really want to be the kind of person that is totally open and honest with myself about all areas of my life. The kind of person that is willing to let the Holy Spirit and mature Christian friends speak uncomfortable truths into my life and that I can respond appropriately.
- Binding the strong man – God’s true church will rise up in faith, authority and the power of the Holy Spirit to righteously assault Satan’s kingdom and domain of darkness by delivering people from sin, disease, bondage and oppression.
- Cover your Crack -We need to be ready& prepared. Things will come upon is suddenly and we will miss it. – the enemy is looking for a way in – cover your crack.
These are just a few reminders. Can you say you don’t know?
Can you say that you didn’t hear the hammering, the cutting and the loud construction of the boat in the middle of the desert?
Can you say that you didn’t hear the word?
Acts 20:26 – I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault,[a]27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
Paul is telling them, I have done what has been charged of me. And you are equipped with the truth. Now you know- Now you have a choice to make.
I can confidently say that this is the heart of our Pastors. Matt and Crystal – They have and will continue to be faithful, they have no and will not shrink from declaring all that God wants you to Know.
**This is for our pastors to be encourage and for the congregation to know that – for those who choose, lives are being changed daily and yours can be as well**
There are so many things I appreciate about Matt and Crystal, but I think one of the biggest things is their willingness to stand firm in preaching the full Word of God. They don’t water it down and they don’t skip over things that might offend people or make them uncomfortable. At the same time, they are full of grace and compassion so preaching the truth doesn’t come from a place of condemnation or with a “holier than thou” attitude. As my close friend Kevin Mugi would say – they are “good people” and I love having them as my Pastors
Now You know!!!