Someone’s Knocking at the Door

The Bible uses the example of dark and light to symbolize the ways of God (light) and the ways of evil (dark). Darkness contributes to our lost-ness, and confusion. Light allows us to see things: clearly, distinctly, openly, truthfully, and eternally.
Jesus said John 8:12; ” I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.”
When my kids were little we always made sure we had “night lights” on so they wouldn’t stumble if they awoke in the dark. If we are Christ followers we can always have His light reflected in us. It can keep us and others from falling.
The way, truth, and light is how Jesus describes Himself on the night of betrayal. This gives all of humanity clear directions on the way to God. He is truth. The Light that comes from Him illuminates and clarifies how we can be in the right relation with God. Jesus said in John 10:9, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” We are given the opportunity to enter through this gate into the kingdom of God!

The Christian faith is much easier to understand than any other religion. We all have sinned and separated ourselves from the Lord, but God loves us enough that we can be forgiven.
Jesus, the Way, provides the only entry door to Heaven. We just have to open it. He’s knocking.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Bringing Jesus

Every Lord’s day should be a Back to Church Sunday! Everyone is encouraged to invite the unchurched and “haven’t seen you in a while” to come. Our hero, Andrew would be all about inviting everyone he knows and meets. John 1:40-42 shows us his passion; Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

If he was with us today I think these might be some of his closing words of encouragement:

1. Look for Jesus throughout the day. Christ sightings are all around us – have an open heart, mind, and eyes to His presence.
2. Look for opportunities to introduce others to Jesus. Friends or strangers – everyone needs Jesus!
3. Look for ways to show Jesus’ power to the world. Greater is He that is in you, believer, than anything this world can do.
Who do you need to invite to church next week?
I’m excited to see who God will lead you to today. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Let Them Know

Most of us have heard of Jesus’ disciple Peter, but if it wasn’t for his brother they might not have met. You see this week’s hero is Andrew who brought Peter to Jesus. The God theme of his life might be to “Go out and eagerly share the good news about Jesus Christ”.
Look at some of Andrew’s encounters with Jesus:
First to follow Jesus. (John 1:35-40) (Told his brother, Peter, could this be the Christ?)

Called to be a fisher of men. (Matthew 4:19)

Sent out on a mission to the Jews to preach “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. (Matthew 10:5-8)

Informed Jesus that several Greeks wanted to see him. (John 12:20-22)

Told Jesus of the boy with five loaves of bread and two fish. (John 6:8, 9)

Was present when Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection. (John 20:19-25)

Was present for the Great Commission when Jesus sent his disciples to all nations. (Matthew 28:16-20)

Witnessed Jesus being taken up into heaven. (Acts 1:8, 9)

Andrew believed in Christ and wanted everyone else to know Him too. May we have that same kind of enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Gone Fishing

Over time as you study God’s Word you will discover that there is a deeper meaning to almost everything Jesus says. As He called His disciples He was specific in His choices and clear about His expectations. In Mark 1:17 Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men”. Many of us were taught the Jesus used this language because many of His students were previously fishermen (of fish) and now they would catch people with the life saving truth of Jesus. This is a good explanation but it goes much deeper than that.
You see people of that time would have known the qualities of a great fisherman. Jesus did to and knew these same qualities would be needed in sharing the Gospel. I was recently reading an article by O S Hawkins who said that following Jesus means you’ll be expected to fish! Those same “fishing traits” are what God looks for in His followers today.

Four traits of a real fisherman (and follower of Christ):
1. They are positive. Every day is a good day to catch a fish (or witness).
2. They are persistent. They will never give up until they catch a fish (or share the Gospel).
3. They are patient. They (both) will try different methods to reach the goal, and wait as long as necessary.
4. They are passionate. They (both) hate to lose one! Fishing, (following, evangelizing) is their life.

Jesus still uses ordinary people to do things extraordinary for His kingdom and glory. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Coming Home

Today is a great day – It’s Sunday and we get to go to church! I hope you are planning to be in church, and also invited someone to come.

The Lord leads us to greater things if we will just follow Him. I heard a message recently by Louie Giglio about taking steps. He said there are three things to consider:

1. Life is short. There should be an urgency about our Christian lives.

2. God is big. He should be our only focus and drive.

3. Take the next steps. It’s the only way to get here to there, across the room, or to the top of the mountain.

I love this quote, “The man at the top of the mountain was not placed there.” We have to follow God in all we do.
Even if it means doing things differently.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Church Priority

Psalm 122 is a short psalm – take a couple of minutes and read it today. It is a great testimony by David on how important going to church should be in our lives. This may come as a shock but: Sunday was meant to be the best day of your week!

David gives six great reasons why he wanted to go to church.

1. He wanted to go to church because he liked being with God’s people (v. 4a). “That’s where my tribe goes.”
2. He wanted to honor God (v. 4c). “I want to go to church to praise the name of the Lord.”
3. He wanted to do what God asked him to do (v. 4d). “I want to go to church because the statutes given to Israel told us to do that.”
4. He wanted peace for those who love God (v. 6). He just wants good things for God’s people.
5. He wanted peace because God’s people were his family and friends (v. 8). “For the sake of my family and friends,” he says.
6. He committed himself to the prosperity of the house of God (v.9)

How to Make Sunday the Best Day of Your Week:

1. Decide to let Sunday be the best day of your week.
2. Invest in your Sundays.
3. Take your next step, whatever that is.

Make Sunday a priority – it is the best day of the week. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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God’s Business

Jesus has made everything we need to know available to us. He said in John 15:15,
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
So Jesus is saying we can and need to know and be about doing the Master’s Business. How do you learn God’s will and ways? Spend time with Him by watching, learning, reading His Word, and asking questions through prayer.
We need to stop making excuses and putting our own agendas first. Be a God’s way not my way person. Through the Holy Spirit you can know God’s business – Jesus promised. That’s good enough for me.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Godly Living

Today we will pick up the God story of Caleb 40 years later. We don’t hear much about him during this in between time outside of his faithfulness, God’s promise to him, and being the leader of his tribe. Things change though as Israel finally enters the Promise land, and we see now that 80 year old Caleb is still trusting his God.
Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.’
10 “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” 13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. – Joshua 14:6–14
We can learn a lot about faithfulness from this man. Caleb’s faith was based on the Lord’s promises, Godly living, and the secret of long life. May we learn from his example. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Eye On The Prize

There is a great passage in the Old Testament about Moses giving some of his final words of instructions to Israel. “In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” Deuteronomy 1:32-36

So God kept His promise to Caleb. Even Moses was not going to the Promise Land. There is much we can learn here. If Caleb were with us today these might be his closing words of encouragement:
1. Let your labor honor God! For forty years he labored in the desert, and kept faithful and obedient.
2. Join God’s army! Caleb didn’t follow the crowd. He kept his focus vertical.
3. Be an overcomer in the Lord! Only two people who left Egypt made it in to the Promise land, and Caleb was one. As Paul said much later, “Keep your eye on the prize, which is Jesus Christ.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Culture Counters

We first hear of this week’s hero, Caleb, in Numbers chapters 13 and 14. We really don’t hear much about him until 40 years later. After God’s people were freed from captivity in Egypt they sent spies in to the promise land. Caleb was chosen as his tribe’s representative. When they came back only Joshua and him had the faith and courage to go forward.

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Numbers 13:30

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes. Numbers 14:6

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Numbers 14:24

Caleb had enough faith in God to counter his culture. When everybody was saying we can’t, he and his Godly friend said we can’t but God can! A great lesson here in trusting God and having Godly friends.

May we always seek God’s way and be blessed by faithful friends. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Love Hate Relations

If you are ridiculed for what you believe know you are in good company.
Jesus said in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” This word “hate” is thrown around a lot these days. Here is the dictionary definition: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury. No surprises here, but let’s look deeper.
Hate isn’t a dislike or a preference. It is a personal choice to have intense hostility towards someone or something. In christianese we say things like, Hate the sin, love the sinner. But if we unpack that statement we shouldn’t be surprise that sinners would hate us. So once again Jesus isn’t surprised and warned us a long time ago.
Instead of getting in debates over wordly things let’s follow the Great Commandment that says LOVE God with all we have and treat the world as we would want to be treated. Hate is easy – love takes courage. Be brave today!
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Problem Solving

We all have problems. King David, a man after God’s heart had plenty of them. Some were self imposed, but others were cast upon him. It was during one of these times that he wrote in Psalm 34:1-9:
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. – David

This is a great model for all of us. Even when we are facing a crisis or even death we should:
1. Tell of His greatness
2. Give Him praise and glory
3. Encourage others
4. Rely and trust in God
5. Know where your true salvation comes from
6. Fear God not man (or the things of this world)
7. Experience God in new ways (even in your pain and sorrow)
8. Accept his protection and provision
9. Be strong and courageous
10. Do not be afraid Christ is always with you

Accept God’s promise and apply them to your life every day. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Pray Today

Today is See You at the Pole; This global day of student prayer began as a grass roots movement with ten students praying at their school. Twenty-nine years later, millions pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday in September. See You at the Pole is a prayer rally where students meet at the school flagpole before school to lift up their friends, families, teachers, school, and nation to God. See You at the Pole; is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event.
In 1990 when youth ministers in Texas first challenged young people to meet on a common day to launch their school year in prayer, one of the concerns what how to help those who wanted to pray together find each other. It was noted that virtually every school has a flagpole, and the flagpole provided an easy-to-identify place to gather. Also, one issue that the teenagers were praying about was the spiritual health of their country and their leaders, in obedience to 1 Timothy 2:1–2. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Even if you can’t meet at “the pole” today remember to pray. Our schools, communities, and country needs it.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Changes Happen

It is true that God never changes, but God is also a God of new ideas, of innovation. God is a God who uses change. We must pray for new visions. We cannot be content with what is. We must crave what can be. That which holds our attention will determine our actions!
If you want to be distressed – look within. If you want to be defeated – look back.
If you want to be distracted – look around. If you want to be dismayed – look ahead.
If you want to be delivered – look up! When we focus our attention upon the Lord:
Setbacks will become springboards! Obstacles will turn into opportunities! Barriers will turn into blessings! Cowards will become courageous!

We can learn from Moses. Hebrews 11:27 tells us: ” By faith he left Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.” Those last words are words which should instruct us. Moses’ eyes were on God and he was able to endure. The Living Bible says: he ” kept right on going!” Moffatt’s translation says, ” He never flinched.”

Moses had staying power – even with all the changes that challenged him. That power is available to all of us.

Moses kept his eyes on God, not the obstacles. He endured in his eighties, in his nineties, and on into his hundreds. He endured despite the contempt of Pharaoh, the stubbornness of the Hebrews who grumbled, maligned him, complained, and rebelled. He endured amidst the criticism of those closest to him. He fixed his eyes on the Lord, and never looked back.

You and I can do the same! We can endure by fixing our eyes on our Lord, and allowing His changes to happen in our lives. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Renewed

God is calling His church to have a renewed vision. We must have a passionate and clear vision of what God has called us to do and of what we need to be. Too often we have taken our feet off the pedal and looked too long in the rear view mirror at past glories.

Someone has said: “When we have more memories than dreams, life is over.” When we have greater memories than dreams we will never make a difference in changing our world for God. We must know where we are going and what we are going to do! We must dream great dreams! The challenge before us is to aim high. Low aim is a crime – it’s a sin!

God told Isaiah in Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
You and I can do the same! We can endure by fixing our eyes on our Lord. God calls us to be courageous:
Even when the evil seem to prosper
Even when the wicked seem to be winning
Even when the pressure seems to be unbearable
Even when the critics won’t shut up
Even when big people act contemptibly small.
Even when we feel as though we’re all alone
Even when a lie is called truth, and the truth is called a lie.

As you stand on the edge of a new change, a new challenge, a new commitment — look at Christ! Whatever it is you are facing – look at Christ! With our eyes on Christ we can go forward fearlessly, and know that the things which are shaken will only reveal the Eternal and Unmovable God! Bring on the changes — world do your worst!

God uses ordinary people totally committed to Him to make a difference in a changing world. One person can make a difference!

What is He calling you to do today?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Plan To Grow

Growing in your faith follows your salvation. When we give our life to Christ we give our lives to Him as well! Hebrews 10:22-23 Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Just do it! Grow in your faith with hope and confident belief in Christ. Show your love for Him by obedience to His Word, and living a holy life. Listen, read, study, memorize His Word. Know and trust in God’s promises to His children. He is faithful.

Are you growing in your faith?

Today think about ways God wants you grow. Put a plan together on what you need to do. It will be the journey of a lifetime.

Always be obedient it’s good for you and will help you grow. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Closed

Today I want to talk about three barriers that keep us from being where God wants us to be. In other words what keeps us from moving from Here to There.

Closed eyes – It’s not the root but the fruit that people see in our lives. Are your eyes open to the problems of others. In Ezekiel 22:30 it says, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”
Closed minds – After we see a need we mus have it in our hearts to walk towards it not act like it doesn’t exists. Nehemiah heard of a need and did something about. Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, Nehemiah 1:2-5 He spoke with the king and rebuilt the walls.

Closed hearts – We close our hearts out of fear many times, but fear is the absence of faith. Even when we feel we are powerless to move God can give us strength. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says, To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Strength found in weakness is only found with an open heart,

God desires us to be open and available to His call on our lives, and move us from our “here” to His “there”. Are you willing to take that first step? Each one will bring you that much closer to the goal. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Off the Sidelines

There’s a difference between observation and participation. I remember as I was growing up hearing my parents say to me on more than one occasion, “Just wait until you have kids of your own, then you’ll understand.” I don’t suppose that any of your parents ever said anything like that to you, but mine said it regularly. The thing that is so frustrating about that statement is that it turned out to be true. There is something inexplicable about parenthood, something that can never be understood by hearing about it, reading about it, or thinking about it. It has to be experienced.

Like parenthood Christianity is something that must be understood primarily by experience. Christianity is more than just a statement of faith, more than church membership. It is not merely a philosophical position. It is a faith experience. You can’t buy Christianity, and you don’t inherit it from your parents. You’re not on the team just because you sit in your arm chair and watch it on television, for that matter you’re not a player anymore than the home audience just because you sit in a Church pew. Christianity must be personally experienced!

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does. – James 1:22-25

Christianity is not a sideline experience. Genuine faith in Jesus requires personal involvement. It’s time to get in the game! Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Greater and Stronger Than

One song that encouraged my wife and I through her battle with cancer is Strong Enough by Matthew West. I don’t know of the circumstances in which he wrote the song, but surely it was inspired by what Paul wrote about his struggles. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:10

So whatever “thorn” you are dealing with today (cancer, loss, depression, heartache, brokenness) remember to accept God’s grace and strength. It is enough…
You must, You must think I’m strong,
To give me what I’m going through
Well, forgive me, Forgive me if I’m wrong,
But this looks like more than I can do On my own
I know I’m not strong enough to be
everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up, I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough, Strong enough
For the both of us
Well, maybe, Maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I’m finally, Finally at rock bottom
Well, that’s when I start looking up And reaching out
I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up, I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough, Strong enough
Cause I’m broken, Down to nothing
But I’m still holding on to the one thing
You are God and you are strong, When I am weak
I can do all things, Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be, Strong enough, Strong enough
I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be, I give up
I’m not strong enough, Hands of mercy won’t you cover me

Make this your prayer today – Lord right now I’m asking you to be, Strong enough, Strong enough

Greater and stronger is He that is in you! Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Done List

Enoch’s closing words of encouragement to us would certainly include:

Don’t only walk after God, walk with God. Keep in step with God. Anyplace other than by His side is too far away!

Always keep your focus vertical. Don’t look from side to side. Put a smile on His face through your obedience and faithfulness. Be bold- faith comes without fear, because fear is from the devil.

Remember our relationship with God is not based on a “Do List”. It is based on the “DONE” list – Jesus has done it all! Because of what Christ done on the cross we should be God’s way people.

Each of us should seek to emulate from the example Enoch’s walk, work, and witness, in order to receive God’s welcome. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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