I’m Writing a BOOK!

Big News… I’m writing a book!  It’s one of the many reasons I’ve not posted any new content in a while.

It’s called “GIFTED: Unleash the Strength Within.”  It’s a resource book about Spiritual Gifts and how we can begin to live with purpose by understanding our GIFTEDNESS.

Writing a book has been more difficult than I imagined. I still have several chapters to finish before my deadline of Oct 31st.  However, I’m excited about the possibilities of the end result. Our church will be launching a series called “GIFTED” in January. This book is meant to be a resource for them.

I’m not really an author. I am a creator of content and love helping people understand that God has equipped them to live an AWESOME LIFE through the Power of Christ! However, this is my first attempt to do so in a “book” format.

I would appreciate your prayers and would love your help when the book is ready to launch. My goal is to have it available as a “pre-launch” purchase before Christmas and to release before Dec 31st.

I’ll be sure to post again soon.

Out of Context | “If they refuse to listen…Excommunicate them” Matthew 18:17

“Out of Context” is a series dedicated to verses of scripture, often used in today’s conversations, that have little to do with the context by which it was written.

Context | (1) the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed; (2) the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.

Today’s Verse

Matthew 18:17 “If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”

This is a signature verse used by many churches to enforce “church discipline” on people that have public sin in their lives, have been confronted by the “church,” and have been excommunicated (cast out) because of their lack of repentance. However, that’s NOT what the context of this verse implies – after all, these are Jesus’ words written by a “tax collector.” Anytime you want to know what Jesus meant by what He said, you simply need to look at the way He lived.

NOTE: I do support the doctrine of church discipline, and there are many great scriptures written in the New Testament to support biblical leadership and the call for Christians to confront other Christians on clear violations of sin in their lives. Paul makes this case very clear in his 1st letter to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 5). However, Paul is very specific about who to judge and how to judge. I don’t believe Matthew should be included in the case of church discipline.

First, we need to go back and see the context of what Matthew is recording when it comes to Jesus’ teaching. Chapter 17 tells us they are in Capernum, and Chapter 18 begins with “about that time” they asked Jesus a question. This question started a time of teaching from Jesus to his disciples and others gathered.

Out of Context | “Ask me for anything you want…You will get it!” John 15:7

“Out of Context” is a series dedicated to verses of scripture, often used in today’s conversations, that have little to do with the context by which it was written.

Context | (1) the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed; (2) the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.

Today’s Verse

John 15:7 But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!

When people often make this statement “Jesus said to ask Him for anything and it will be ours,” there are actually several places that these words show up. They’re not alway’s referencing John 15:7 – however it’s just one of the many that will help me break down why this verse is used out of context so often.

On the surface, every time Jesus makes this statement we assume it’s like a BLANK CHECK! Sure, there might be some conditions to it (like “remain in Me”) but other than that…He said it! Ask Me for whatever you want…it’s yours!

We might not ask for a NEW CAR (right away) but we do have desires. We have needs, and we have circumstances in our lives that need solutions. Often, when we try to engage this verse out of context, we think that adding “in Jesus name” to our request gives it some special magical touch that turns it into a HOLY REQUEST. Even when those requests are not for us, ex.”Heal my mom!” or “Help my son who is wandering away from You!,” we still think that by asking in His name it has some sort of special merit.

A Family Belief… OR… A Personal Conviction

I’m not necessarily in this place personally, but I’m just around the corner with my 12 /2 year old and my 10 year old following right behind.

I’m speaking to the tension that exists between our families’ beliefs and our own personal convictions.  

The longer we wait to allow our kids to substantiate their own personal beliefs and require them to hold to a family belief, the less of a foundation that they will trust in when they leave your home.

Example.
My kids are starting to watch movies where they can hear some choice words that “we don’t say.”  They understand through school, friends, and environments that they are in that they cannot control what other people say.  I want my kids to understand the value of choosing better words to describe or identify something rather than slang, cussing, or cursing. 
The FAMILY BELIEF brings rules that have consequences for using that kind of language in my home. However, that’s not enough to cause my kids to hold these beliefs as a personal choice, especially when they are not in our home!

This applies to all areas of life & faith – our kids HAVE to take steps to make their faith and beliefs their own! It might look different for every family in what areas and ages you want to take these steps, but here are 3 steps I believe can help the next generation go from Family Belief to Personal Belief. 

1. Explain WHY.

Our youth need to know WHY we believe what we believe (I certainly hope YOU know why you believe what you believe). It’s simply not enough to say “because the Bible says so.”  They have to know WHY the Bible is an absolute truth they can trust as a foundation of their lives.  They have to know WHY agreeing with Jesus is not only the BEST option, but often times the one that will cause the most tension in their lives.  When they get to a certain age, WHY becomes more important than the behavior or rule itself.

What’s “Your” Church?

Where does your heart and passion come alive?

For those that don’t know me, I’m not a country music fan.  However, when I let Amazon Prime Music play random selections, about 1 out of every 4 songs is a popular country song.  I heard this one the other morning that got my mind turning. It’s called “My Church” by Maren Morris.  Here are the lyrics to the chorus:

“Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church”

It’s not really a song about church (the way I understand it), but it does shine a light on something interesting. It might not actually have any theological foundation about “washing my sins” away… but in terms of how most people view church, it’s an honest assessment of where this person’s heart is and what stirs them.

Too many people attend a service simply going through the motions with very little passion or heart connection. The song is about listening to people that connect with the driver of the car – “When Hank (Williams) preaches the sermon, and Cash (Johnny) leads the choir” – the song says THESE ARE MY PEOPLE. This is MY CHURCH.

The Top 5 Takeaways From My Sabbatical

Blog post from blog.thejourneyonline.com on August 10th, 2016.


In case there are some people in our church who missed the memo over this past summer, I recently partook in an 9 week Sabbatical and spent my 10th week (transitional week) participating on our Journey GO trip to Peru!

As with most of my content, I struggle to be brief. I would love to have coffee and spend a few hours with each and every one of you to share what an amazing time this sabbatical has been for me (and for my family) but that’s just not possible.

However, at our Partner Night on Thursday August 18th, I will be sharing in more details some specifics from my time away and how I believe it has impacted my heart for the mission and ministry of Journey Church!

Here are the TOP 5 Takeaways from My Sabbatical:

1) I’m Overwhelmed with Gratitude in God’s Plan. Leading Journey Church was never something I had planned to do. The God ordained movements and opportunities that facilitated my leadership here were the last things I expected, but am overwhelmingly grateful for them. I’m so grateful to not only be a part of this Journey family, but to also lead our amazing leaders as we walk towards the future God has for us! I’m still shocked sometimes that He decides to use me and my leadership for His purposes – and I never want to take for granted the call He’s placed on my life.

Romans 8:28  “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

“SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!”

3 Ways to Navigate the Tension between Church and Money

showmethemoneyIt’s the end of the year, so why not talk about the thing that NO ONE enjoys talking about. Churches and Money! I love that part in Jerry Maguire when he’s so desperate – he gives into unabashedly yelling “Show Me The Money!!!”

There is often a considerable amount of TENSION that exists when it comes to this subject. Some feel it because they don’t understand WHY the church wants their money. Some feel it because they religiously give to their local church and struggle with those “free-loaders” who are enjoying the benefits that their local church offers, but are refusing to invest in it. Some just struggle personally with how much to give (before tax, after tax, what percentage, what fixed amount), and some simply struggle with HOW many churches try to manipulate people into giving more (and more, and more).

I understand this tension from a different perspective. I’m a pastor. I literally see people’s entire body clench up when I bring up the topic of money. It’s actually quite a sight to see.

I lead an amazing church. I manage a large budget that is 100% dependent on God using the obedience and generosity of folks within the church to fund that budget (staff, ministry, missions, etc). It’s a challenge. I LOVE talking about the blessing of stewardship… when the church is doing fine. I really struggle to talk about giving when the church is behind in it’s budget.

So the tension is real, no matter who you are in a church.

So let’s talk about it.

The Tension is Real Podcast Episode 9 – Tension of Faith and Science

There is Power in the Tension between Faith and Science

Welcome to The Tension is Real Podcast. A podcast dedicated to real discussion about the TENSION that exists between Life and Faith and how to embrace it so we can live with purpose and freedom.

Today’s Topic – The Tension of Faith and Science
1. Subscribe in iTunes (Search “The Tension is Real” or plug in this URL –http://mattdawsontv.libsyn.com/rss).
2. RATE and REVIEW the Podcast in iTunes to help us promote MattDawson.TV
3. Listen to Podcast on this page.
4. Download MP3

Secular or Spiritual? This Question is Stupid!

This a TENSION that doesn't need to exist!

I stated in an earlier blog post that there are NO stupid questions. I found one.

There is a tension that people (churched people) often feel when trying to decide whether something is “spiritual or secular”. Let me just start off this blog with the bottom line of my opinion. This question is stupid! There’s a MUCH better way to view our lives! This tension doesn’t have to exist!

For those that have no idea what I’m talking about – the main idea is that there are things in this life that matter to God, but other things that are more physical (or less spiritual) and these don’t matter to God all that much.

pray partyThis means that prayer, going to church, reading your bible, sharing your faith, teaching the bible to your family, and listening to Christian music in the car is all that matters to God. Which in turn says that God only cares about 10% of what you do in any given week. That work, socializing, social media, eating, and everything else you do 90% of your weeks matters to God little or is not honoring to him at all.

I was raised in a church culture that believed rock and roll was “secular.” Didn’t God CREATE music? It was modeled that working full time in ministry was more honorable to God than other jobs.  Are some jobs less honorable to God than others? (Maybe only a few that border on facilitating of immoral acts) Is engaging on social media something that is NEUTRAL to God – it doesn’t really HONOR Him so it’s “secular”.

New Podcast – The Tension is Real Episode 6 – The Messy Middle

The Tension of Grace vs Law Conversations

Welcome to The Tension is Real Podcast. A podcast dedicated to real discussion about the TENSION that exists between Life and Faith and how to embrace it so we can live with purpose and freedom.

Today’s Topic – The Messy Middle (Grace vs Law)
1. Subscribe in iTunes (Search “The Tension is Real” or plug in this URL –http://mattdawsontv.libsyn.com/rss).
2. RATE and REVIEW the Podcast in iTunes to help us promote MattDawson.TV.
3. Listen to Podcast on this page.
4. Download MP3