Matt's Corner


Yes… we are going to try this blog thing…. I said TRY….
Maybe I will figure out how to do this via my phone because then I could post blogs via ACL procedures (well as long as Rod never reads this).

My beautiful wife and I just returned from our high school winter camp where we both have the privilege to serve as staff. I went eager to serve students, but God had much more in store for me as He tore down my pretense and addressed my heart.

I remember sitting in the second session and Kurt Gebhard was speaking on what it means to be a Christian. I was sitting there, intently focused, when I heard a phrase that left me frozen in my chair. The question struck something deep inside me and my mind kept replaying five words over and over; “DO YOU STRIVE AFTER CHRIST?!” I put an exclamation point there because Kurt was passionately pleading (ok yelling), with us to wholeheartedly serve Christ. It was as if time had stopped and I was alone with God and my thoughts; everyone else around me melted away. “Do I strive after Christ?” I asked myself. “Are my actions ones that indicate a person striving after Christ?” To “strive” is defined as:
1. To exert much effort or energy; endeavor.
2. To struggle or fight forcefully; contend
For the first time in a long time I grew incredibly uncomfortable in that chair… in that room… at that camp… on that mountain. “Striving”, is something I am no stranger to; being driven seems almost a part of my DNA. God made me a striver, someone passionate, who only knows two speeds: ON and OFF, 100% and 0%. I have never been, and most likely, will never be great at doing things 30%; that’s such an ugly number anyway. J I was uncomfortable because I realized that my relationship with Christ wasn’t something that I was consistently striving towards, and Kurt’s words brought that stinging realization to light. As God grabbed a hold of my attention I knew the uneasiness I felt was God’s way of saying, “You’re uncomfortable because I want you to be uncomfortable. I want you to hear and to listen and most importantly…. TO ACT!” (I guess this blog is a very miniscule part of that action) I love Jesus and I know that he loves me, and I desperately want my life to be one that is defined by striving after him. To struggle and fight forcefully for Him. Granted, there will be times where I stumble, times I fight the wrong battles and my energy is mis-directed; but I never want to be in that chair again, feeling the same uneasiness as there at camp. Below you will find something I wrote almost immediately after that message from Kurt. It was from the heart and was literally my thoughts and prayers put onto paper. Maybe you can identify with my struggles as my hope is to encourage you!

Coming Home

Our slavery was once to sin, yet God, in all His graciousness and mercy, saw fit to free us from all bonds that we once bore and welcome us into His divine and perfect family…. And it took the death of His only perfect Son to do it.
So why is it then, that though I am free from the shackles of this dark decaying and condemned world, daily I choose to walk back to the darkness and re-chain myself to the very bonds that Christ’s blood has sufficiently freed me from? Why is it that my tongue still lies, my body rots and my mind is a haze of blackness? Why is it that at my very best, in the moment when I think goodness is about me, and I actually do something that I believe is good enough, it is in fact worthless and futile? Why is it, that when I could have more than I could ever hope or dream, fulfill my purpose on this world and receive the full blessing of walking with Christ daily… I don’t?
The answer should shake everyone enough to question our eternal destiny and what, on that awesome or terrible day, our God will say to us. The answer is that I am in love with myself and this world and not with my savior, who bled and hung for me. Instead of loving the one true God who is the only one worthy of praise, who is the eternal, who is the one that can give my soul the peace that surpasses all understanding, a love that knows no bounds and a rest that lasts forever… I settle for the passing pleasures of this barren wasteland, painted and scented to entice all who pass through it.
I am unwilling to look into the sewers of my soul, and remember who I truly am. I think to highly of myself, and I don’t think enough of Jesus, yet (and I am so grateful and thankful and joyful, that there is indeed a yet!) in spite of everything I ought not to be… He still loves me. And with open loving arms He welcomes the prodigal son home again… and again… and again. Each time my head hangs lower and each time He runs faster and harder to throw his arms around me.


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