God & His Church, Uncategorized

#metoo & God’s Church

Image result for #metoo

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the #metoo movement (have you been living under a rock?), let me briefly explain it to you. In the United States 1 in 4 girls are sexually assaulted; 1 – 6 boys are also sexually assaulted because evil does not discriminate against gender. Unfortunately, I know at least 3 women who are close to me who have been sexually assaulted.

The #metoo movement began as a way for fellow sexual abuse victims to support their sisters and brothers by coming out with their own horror stories. In additional to support, the frequency of the #metoo hashtag was intended to show just how vast this problem truly is!

Now, Sandals Church is asking the question that others everywhere are asking: where is God in this situation?

To further explain, Pastor Matt Brown, his wife Tammy and close friend Christina took the stage to help the Church understand God’s Heart for the abused.

This Sunday sermon was quite different from what you might expect from church. Pastor Matt sat on an armchair while his wife and close friend sat on a couch on the stage. Matt explained that this sermon would be different because of the subject. Both Tammy and Christina had been sexually abused and both were there to share their stories, but more importantly to share how God helped heal them.

Through their conversations, Pastor Matt laid out the basic outline for how God expects the Church to react to sexually abuse:

God wants us (the Church)

  • To Acknowledge the Problem
    • We cannot pretend that this is not a problem, it is, and it is something that we have to address and confront.
  • To Create a Safe Place for Healing by…
    • Listening 
      • So many times, those who have been sexually abused just need someone who will listen without judging, without pretending to understand, without offering “Christian blibs” – (God never gives your more than you can handle). Just listen.
    • Reporting
      • “Love . . . does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.” – I Corinthians 13:6
    • Offering Support
      • Instead of offering advice, ask questions like “How can I help you?”
      • “Brothers and sisters… Encourage those who are timid. Take care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.” – I Thessalonians 5:14
  • To Bring them to Jesus
    • The abused don’t just need dealing they need the Healer.
    • “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” – Revelations 21:4-5
  • Warn the Guilty & Protect the Innocent
    • One of the most powerful things Pastor Matt did during this sermon came at the end when he touched on this bullet point. He admits that in a church as large as Sandals there are bound to be evil people and sexual abusers.
    • Pastor Matt issues his warning to sexual predators:
      • “This week I watched a father in tears in a court in the U.S.A. lunge at the molester of his daughters, a doctor whom he trusted, he lunged at them and he was stopped by police officers and if you listen very carefully, you can hear the police officers trying to calm him down by saying “We understand.” And the father is writhing and here is why: because no matter how long they lock that predator up there is no justice on this earth. But I want you to know, if you’ve been abused, you have a father in Heaven, and when he pounces, there is NO ONE who can hold him back. NO ONE. And Jesus Christ’s harshest words are these: If you hurt one of these little ones you are better off drowning yourself. . . . . . . 
      • If you want mercy from God, you must throw yourself to the mercy of the courts!
    • Pastor Matt’s encouragement for the church:
      • We are to be safe/ be a safe place for the abused.

Have you been abused? Have you been hurt? I am so sorry for your pain. I am sorry for what has happened. I know that there is very little that I can do to take away your pain, but there are people who want to help. Please seek help either from friends or family, your church or even from Sandals church at: move.sc/help to connect with Soul Care.

Watch the whole sermon here!

 

 

Blogs / Life, God & His Church

Three Ways Jesus Responds to Hard Times

Life is not perfect, and the thing is, we were never guaranteed that life would be. Life is hard and often times we go through struggles, we go through hard times, and we go through pain. For those of you who are going through hard times, I am sorry. I do not/cannot understand your pain but I do know that you do not have to go through your pain alone.

Lately my Pastor preached on how God acts and responds to our tough times. I found it enlightening and comforting, I hope that you do as well.

When someone has gone through/or is going through tough times, watch what you say. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that “God never gives you more than you can handle.” YOU cannot handle life, let alone hard times, without God’s help. So instead of offering immediate advice, just shut up and listen, have compassion for others.                                    – Pastor Matt

John 9, “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.

“Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents sins?” 

“It was not because of his sins or his parent’s sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go was yourself in the pool of Siloam.” So the man went and washed and came back seeing.”

Did you know that the pool of Siloam was hidden for years? Because scholars could not locate the pool, they dismissed this event as only a fabricated story. However, in 2004, the actual pool was located in Jerusalem when utility pipes needed repairing. These stories within the Bible are not just stories, they are true events.

Now, what does this have to do with me and my own hard times?

Jesus will respond to my/your situation in one of three ways:

 1. Jesus will change my/your situation

  • This is what most of us pray for during hard times. We pray for a change, we pray that what is wrong will get better. And sometimes, that is the answer to prayer.
  • “Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray.” – James 5:13

2. Jesus will change my/your understanding

  • God always answer prayer, even if that is not a yes. Sometimes the answer is no or not yet. God is not a genie to grant wishes, and sometimes that means that we do not get the answer we want. When we don’t get that answer, God is often trying to change our hearts.
  • “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • Therefore, we must expect difficulty and prepare for tough times. Life is not easy and not everything that hurts is evil and not everything that feels good is godly. Sometimes our suffering is used to bring us to God, to show God’s power, or to teach us how to have compassion for others.

3. Jesus will change my/your direction

  • God allows us to hurt physically and emotionally to direct us spiritually.
  • “So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” I Peter 4:19

 

I believe that God is there for each and every one of us. If you ever want to talk about God, please feel free to ask me questions. I am not an expert, but I am a follower who enjoys talking about my Savior.

Blogmas 2017, Blogs / Life

Blogmas: More Than a Manger

Starting the month of December, Sandals church is going back to the beginning, not only back to the beginning of Christmas, but to the beginning of all time.

I am not a certified pastor, but I am a follower of Christ and would love to share with you some of the amazing things that I heard in the last message.

Matthew 2:1-3, “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem.” 

Around the holidays, there is inevitable controversy about one thing or another: starbucks cups, santa claus, Jesus Christ, the actual date of Jesus’s birth, etc., etc., etc. This is nothing new.

Christmas has always been controversial. – Pastor Matthew Brown

One of the greatest controversies perhaps is concerning Jesus Christ himself. Jesus Christ is more than just a baby in a manger, in fact, his life did not start in that manger. Long before that manger, Jesus existed as the Word.

I John 1:1-5, “In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him (Jesus). The Word (Jesus) gave life to everything that was created, and his life (Jesus’s life) brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” 

Indeed, Jesus did not come into existence, instead He existed with God in the very beginning of God. Jesus is the guiding force behind all creation.

  • The book of Matthew starts the story by tracing Jesus’s lineage back to Abraham (the father of Judaism)
  • The book of Luke starts the story of Jesus by tracing his lineage to Adam (the father of mankind)
  • The book of John starts the story of Jesus by going back to the Beginning – Jesus has always existed

“In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed.” John 1:1.

700 years previously, the prophet Micah shared God’s words, “But as for you, Bethlehem . . . Too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2

Jesus, having always existed, humbled himself and reduced himself to a human baby born in an unknown town. Christmas may cost you money, it may cost you time, but for God, it cost him everything to send his son to live among us and to share his good news.

To Watch this Excellent Message for Yourself, please click here

You can attend online like me!

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Just included this song because I love it

“. . . Now I’m not one to second guess
What angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the
World

To think of how it could have been
If Jesus had come as He deserved
There would have been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth . . .”

 

 

Blogs / Life

What’s your dream? Sandals is celebrating 20 years of living out their dream.

CURRENT NEWS:

On October 22, 2017, Sandals Church celebrated their 20th anniversary in the Inland Empire.

In 1997, Pastor Matthew Brown and his wife, Tammy Brown, began a new church named Sandals with a little girl on the way. They had decided to leave their church down by the beach in order to start a new church in the Inland Empire because they believed that was were God called them to go.

They had little support from the surrounding churches and Tammy worked full time as a teacher in order to support her husband who was fully invested in planning and preaching sermons. Their first church meeting took place in the living room of their home with only a handful of friends present.

However, both Matt and Tammy felt that this was what God was telling them to do and so they held on to their faith and over time, their congregation grew. Pastor Greg Laurie was one of the first pastors to congratulate Matt and Tammy once their congregation reached 100 people.

Over the years, Sandals church as gone from meeting in the small living room of a home, to renting out spaces at other churches or colleges, to finally being able to purchase their own building a few years back which houses 4,000.  Today, Pastor Matt and Tammy celebrated 20 years of hard work and wonderful results with the church. Sandals has grown to encompass five different locations within the Inland Empire.

After service, members were encouraged to leave behind a note in response to the following question:

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Many did.

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On this anniversary, Pastor Matt Brown talked about “How to Make Your Dreams Come True”

“The key to any dream is not just seeing where you want to go, but being honest about where you are. The bigger the dream the bigger the team.” – Pastor Matt Brown

  • Make sure the dream comes from God
  • God’s dream for your life takes honesty with yourself
  • God Dreams take teams
  • Never Give up on God’s Dream for your life

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

“Don’t copy the behavior and the customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2  NLT

Pastor Matt’s dream for Sandals church has been realized with God’s help and the church’s faith.

 

 

What is your dream for your life?