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by Monty Watson on March 20th, 2014

I BELIEVE
Monty Watson
 
 
I believe in God
            the Creator of all that is
            the Sovereign Lord of the universe
I believe in God
            the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present one
            the good and merciful, holy and righteous God
I believe in Jesus
            God’s one and only Son
            conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary
I believe in Jesus
            the way, the truth, and the life
            who suffered and bled and died on the cross
I believe in Jesus
            who rose again and conquered sin and death
            and who offers eternal life to any who will believe
I believe in the Holy Spirit
            who washed me from sin
            who has given me new life
            and who empowers me to live a life that is pleasing to God
I believe in the church
            in the community of saints who believe
            in the virtues of love and forgiveness
            and in the mission of preaching the Gospel throughout the world
I believe in heaven
            a place Jesus called Paradise
            a place where there will be no more struggle and no more tears
            and that one day I will see Jesus face to face
            and will be with Him forever
 
This is what I believe.

by Monty Watson on July 10th, 2013


As Americans, we take pride in living in a land of freedom and opportunity. Our nation was founded upon “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Every person has a chance to pursuit their own version of the American dream.
 
Yet pursuing that dream is not easy. If we’re honest, most of us live crazy, frazzled lives. Our schedules are packed and we’re running faster than ever to keep up. We end most of our days stressed and worn out. As a result, our relationships suffer, our finances suffer, our families suffer, and our souls suffer. Plus, we live in a noisy, naughty world that distracts us from what is right and important.
 
Like is like a tug of war. We’re pulled in every direction by competing values and priorities. The Bible says one thing, the culture says another, and our own desires say something else. All too often, living the American dream hinders us from living God’s dream for our lives.
 
That’s why Romans 12:1-2 is helpful in shaping our approach to life as Christians. Paul said, “In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Our first priority is loyalty to Jesus. Paul also said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” Whatever that means specifically, it surely means that we’re supposed to be different. As Christians, we are to avoid chasing the American Dream in a way that hinders us from living God’s dream for our lives.
 
The goal of this series is to take an honest look at the way we’re living our lives, and allow the Bible to challenge and transform our lifestyles and priorities, to free us from the world’s way of living, and to stimulate a passionate desire to be conformed to the image of Christ and to live on mission for Christ.
 
So, how is living the American dream hindering you from living God’s dream for your life?
 
Monty

Posted on May 24th, 2013

“It all begins with a passionate love for God and feeling blessed to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.” That was opening remark by Chris Meroff at our recent men’s rally. Here are some other things Chris shared.
 
•          Some of us are naturally relational and love to talk to people like Chris, but many of us are not. But all of us are responsible to look for opportunities to tell people how much Jesus means to us.
•          Another key in influencing people with the gospel is to see people as God sees people. Chris admitted that people can annoy him. We all know what he means. When people don’t do what we want or act like we want them to act or especially don’t treat us the way we think we deserve to be treated, they annoy us. But … a mature Christian learns how to see people as God sees people.
•          So, we should not focus on a person’s looks or language or lifestyle. People are in bondage. We should not expect them act any other way. So, look beyond the exterior and lovingly take the time to introduce them to Jesus, the only one who can free them from bondage.
•          We’re all busy. That’s the universal problem. So Chris challenged us to be intentional. If we want to influence our non-believing friends, we have to create time to be with them, to do life with them, to get to know them, and to care about them. It takes time! Chris and some of the guys from his small group intentionally invite their friends to a sports bar to watch Monday Night Football. That’s time away from family, but it’s intentional time investing in guys who do not know Christ.
•          Chris gave us a great reminder when it comes to evangelism. “It’s not up to me.” We can’t save anyone. We can’t convince anyone. Only God can do that. But we are called by God to partner with Him. As Chris said, “Our part is to be available and faithful.”
 
Donnie Dixon, discipleship pastor, was facilitating the panel at our men’s rally. And Donnie made a great statement to end this section. “How many people (non-Christians) would call me a good friend?” His point was that influence starts with engagement. As Christian men, we must engage those around us who are not believers, develop relationships, and look for an opportunity to tell them how much Jesus means to us. That’s what spiritual leaders do.
 
Thanks Chris for having a heart for people far from God and thanks for your wisdom.
 
The picture with this blog is the Summer Challenge for men. Print this out and commit to taking one of the steps under each section as a way to step up your spiritual leadership.
 
Monty

Posted on May 23rd, 2013

That was the closing thought by Russ Zimmerman at our recent men’s rally. Russ works for Bridges International, a ministry of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) which focuses on sharing the gospel to international university students here in the US.
 
I love the point Russ was making. Fathers have to say “no” to good activities in order to say “yes” to the best activities, the things that produce the greater spiritual fruit. Here are some other things Russ had to share.
 
•          Dads are the primary plan for the discipleship of children. The church can help, but fathers have the responsibility to introduce their children to Jesus and to teach them how to love and follow Him.
•          Russ got to the point when he said, “Dads, don’t screw it up.” It’s too critical. And what’s more precious and important to us than our children.
•          A child’s view of God is largely shaped by how they see dad live his life, talk about God, and respond to life’s circumstances.
•          Russ read Deuteronomy 6:5, 7. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might … You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” I love what Russ said. We never have “time off” as dads. As spiritual leaders of our children, we are always on. We must take advantage of every moment of every day if we want our children to love and follow God too.
•          Russ leads his family in family devotions every morning after breakfast and before school. He admitted that he wasn’t good at coming up with material on his own, so he encouraged us to purchase a devotional guide like the one he uses with his family.
•          Russ and his family have also committed to one of the slots in our church’s Unceasing Prayer initiative. One night a month for 30 minutes, Russ and his family pray for our church and for our city. Imagine how that shapes the hearts of his children.
•          Russ said that he wants his children to understand that “God is not a Sunday thing. He is everything.”
•          And then Russ ended with a challenge to fathers by asking, “Do you have a vision and a dream for your children? Sure, we all want our children to make good grades, get into a good college, married a good mate, and give us good grandchildren. But surely Jesus died for more than that. My dream is that, in 20 years, my children would love Jesus more than I do today. For that to happen, fathers must say “no” to good things in order to say “yes” to the best things.”
 
Thanks Russ for your wisdom and example to all of us as dads.
 
The picture with this blog is the Summer Challenge for men. Print this out and commit to taking one of the steps under each section as a way to step up your spiritual leadership.
 
Monty
 

by Monty Watson on May 22nd, 2013

Well, that’s not exactly what Mark Perkins, the chairman of elder board, said at our recent men’s rally, but it was close. Mark talked about how a husband can be a spiritual leader in his marriage. A lot of what Mark shared he humbly admitted was what he had learned from his mistakes after 27 years of marriage.
 
•          Mark pointed us to that famous verse in Ephesians 5:25. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” What a short sentence, but what a profound statement. Jesus is a husband’s standard. We are love our wives sacrificially just as Christ sacrificed his life for the church. Husbands, let that soak in for a moment. Ask yourself what that really means. Ask yourself how you can practically love your wife like that.
•          Mark also referred to Genesis 1:22. “The Lord fashioned the woman from the rib He had taken from the man’s side, and brought her to the man.” Apart from the miracle of that act is the beauty of it. God made the woman just for the man. She was a precious gift, and was to be treated special. Mark challenged husbands not to take our wives for granted and not to expect our wives to serve us. The Bible says the just the opposite for spiritual leaders. Husbands are to serve their wives, and sacrificially so. Husbands are to treat their wives as a precious gift given by God.
•          Mark challenged us about our priorities. He said that most men are bold and courageous as businessmen or in sports, yet when it comes to spiritual leadership in our marriage, we often withdraw in passivity.
•          Mark reminded us that we can’t lead our wives any further than we are willing to go. The point is that a leader must be out front.
•          To do that, a man must abide in Christ. To be a spiritual leader a man must understand and live out John 15, where Jesus said, “Abide in Me … for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
•          Mark admitted that early on in his marriage he did not like praying with his wife. He did not want to be vulnerable and he did not want to admit his mistakes. Today, however, Mark and his wife pray together every morning. And Mark’s wife says it is easy to follow Him when she knows he is following God.
•          Mark also said that when your wife asks, “How did your day go? she does not want to know your calendar, she wants to know how your day went emotionally. She wants to know how you feel. She wants to know about your successes and stresses.
•          Mark ended with talking about love notes. Yes, love notes. His point was to surprise your wife, to date your wife, to be romantic toward your wife. Again, to be a spiritual leader a husband cannot come home from work tired from the day, crash on the sofa, expect his wife to serve his whining, or sit back passively. A man must lead, and that leading includes loving your wife and treating as the precious gift she is given to you from God.
 
Thanks Mark for sharing such great thoughts about being a spiritual leader in one’s marriage.
 
And the picture with this blog is the Summer Challenge for men. Print this out and commit to taking one of the steps under each section as a way to step up your spiritual leadership.
 
Monty





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