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Spare Change - July 2022

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Spark Studios VBS has come and gone for another year.  I must say that I really love VBS.  Even with all the craziness of the event, it is still one of the best things we do all year.  This year we had about 150 children each night.  We also did VBS with about 50 kids at the Summer Day Camp.  This means we were able to minister to over 200 kids that week.

VBS or Vacation Bible School is such an amazing program.  For one week we all come together to put on this program full of Bible lessons, games, crafts, snacks, music and more.  The kids love it!  It takes a ton of volunteers to make it all happen.  We had an average of 80 volunteers each night.  The only thing I can say to our volunteers is THANK YOU!  I know it is a sacrifice for everyone serving in VBS.  I hope you know your sacrifice is worth it.  When we serve the Lord in any capacity, we honor Him.  VBS is special because we get to connect with children and families, but we also get to share the life-changing truth of the gospel.  That is why VBS is so important.  That is why I am so grateful to all the volunteers that made it happen. 

We had 22 kids respond to the invitation.  We are currently following up with these children and their parents.  We pray that their decision was real, and they will follow in
baptism soon.

I just wanted to drop a quick word of thanks and an encouragement for all that tirelessly serve in the church in any capacity.  The Bible says in Matthew 5:14-16,

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

This verse comes very early on in the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus wants to make sure His followers understand they are like a light.  We learn from 1 John 1:5 that God is light, meaning that He is pure, righteous, and holy. There is no darkness or stain of sin in God.  Believers are given the righteousness of Christ in place of our sin; we are transformed from beings of darkness to beings of light.  Simply by living the Christian life in a way that glorifies God we are displaying God’s light.

Jesus makes the logical argument that no one would light a lamp and put it under a basket.  That would be crazy.  If you take the time to turn on a light it is because you need to see, it is because the surrounding area is dark.  God has set His people ablaze in the darkness of the world.  I am sure no one will argue that the world is very dark.  The sin that runs rampant in the hearts of people knows no end.  The only hope to combat the darkness is the light of the gospel of Jesus.

Jesus calls us the light of the world.  Meaning that we are to stand in this world displaying God’s light by serving in the name of Jesus and sharing the gospel.  Jesus says that people will see what we are doing and how we are living, and they will give glory to God.  The light cannot help but shine bright, it cannot help but illuminate the darkness.  It should be the same for Christians. 

It should be impossible for us to hide our faith.  It should be impossible for us to stop telling people about Jesus.  It should be impossible for us to stop serving others.

I say all of this as an encouragement to all those that serve in the church and in the community.  You are bringing glory to God’s name.  According to Hebrews 6:10, God sees your works.  He knows that you love Him, and you are working for His name.  Keep up the good work!

If you are not serving somewhere and you identify as a Christian, then you need to get going!  Find a place to serve.  God has given you gifts and abilities to use for His kingdom.  Don’t hide your light, let it shine so everyone can see!

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

Spare Change - June 2022

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What is the scariest passage of scripture in the Bible?  R.C. Sproul said it is Matthew 7:21-23 in a sermon called "Build on the Rock".  Read this passage and see if you agree.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  Matthew 7:21-23 ESV

This passage tells us that not everyone that claims to know Jesus is a believer.  This is certainly a scary passage.  Just claiming allegiance to Jesus is not enough.  Just knowing His name and who He is not enough.  Even doing works in the name of Jesus is not enough.  This strikes deep at the concept of assurance.  It begs the question, “How do I know that I am saved?”

Jesus is addressing false Christians in Matthew 7:15-27.  From this text we can learn what a true believer is and what it is not.  From this passage we can ask ourselves four
questions and know for certain if we are saved.

1. Is my faith rooted in the gospel?
The implication in this passage is that false Christians are not rooted in the true gospel.  They know some things about Christianity and even do things that make them look like Christians; however, in this passage they are called workers of lawlessness which means they never really believed in the true gospel.  If you believe in Jesus like it says in Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 10:9-10,13 then you have nothing to fear.

2. Do I bear good fruit?
In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus says that you will recognize the false prophets by their fruit. They may look like all the other believers at first but if the product of their faith is rotten fruit, then you can know for sure they are not true believers.  Those of us that are true believers, while not perfect, will reflect the good fruits of the faith like evangelism, discipleship, obedience to Christ, spiritual disciplines, walking in the spirit, etc.

3. Is my life built on the Word of God?
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus shows us another way to know if we are a true believer.  True believers will hear God’s Word and build their life on it.  This means they learn it and apply it to their lives.  It becomes their foundation for living.  When we do this, we can face any storm or trial of life and survive.  False believers will not be able to stand when hardships come because their life was not truly built on God’s Word.  

4. Does Jesus know me?
Finally, in Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus keys in on something very important.  He says the defining factor of a true believer is not whether we claim to know Jesus, rather it is whether Jesus knows us.  The gospel draws us into a relationship with Jesus.  Yes, He is our Lord, but the relationship goes even deeper.  He is our everything!  It truly is a relationship built on the gospel.  The outworking of that relationship is love.  Jesus loves us and we love Him. This love is displayed in how we learn, obey, and follow Him.  If we truly have a relationship with Him then He knows us and we have no need to fear.

Matthew 7:21-23 can be the scariest passage in the Bible, it serves as a warning for all those that call themselves believers.  Those of us that have trusted in the gospel of Jesus for salvation have nothing to fear. Keep following Jesus and doing the things He has commanded us to do.  For those that might be thinking, “I might be a false believer”, it is not too late. Turn to Jesus today for salvation.  Cry out to Him, He will hear you, and save you today.  Then this passage will not be so scary but rather a constant reminder of the grace and mercy of God.

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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