Monday, February 27, 2017

Here's a secret.  Some times we teach through a series that I like and other times we teach through a series that I love.  Touchy Subjects was a series that I loved.  I loved the fun we had with the giveaway.  I love the clear teaching from God's Word on topics that we all deal with.  I love seeing you say YES to living a God pleasing life.

While I loved the series, there are always a few things that I wish I said but didn't.

  • If we are always busy, when will God ever get our attention?
  • If we want to know God, then we must know what it means to be still.
  • If we don't sit still before the Lord, we won't exalt Him in our lives.
  • Addition to technology is the least acknowledged addiction in society today.
  • Even socially accepted addictions will wreck your life.
  • Will power and won't power isn't enough to deal with any addiction.  We must pray for self control and put systems in place to help us in our struggle for freedom.
  • As parents, we must set the example for our kids and help them develop systems and habits that result in a healthy balance between the digital and the real world.

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2017 by Mike Hurt

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Through Sunday's message, we were challenged to have a high view of marriage.  A high view of marriage is the belief that marriage is a good thing because marriage is a God thing.  A high view of marriage pulls us through the tough days and a high view of marriages adds joy to our best days. Hebrews 13:4-6 teaches that marriage should be honored by all.  Whether married or single, hold to and never release from a high view of marriage.  Don't settle for anything less.  

Think about these as you seek to honor marriage with purity:

  • Are you in a dating relationship that need to change to match up with God's designs and desire for holy living?  Repent of the sin and make changes.
  • Are you in a marriage that you need to keep working on an growing in so that you don't see marriage as a prison sentence?  Get help.  Talk to a friend.  Get in a group.  Go to a counselor to help you work on yourself and your relationship.
  • Are you single and looking for God's man or woman for you?  Live a Godly life today and be content with where you are.  Trust that God knows your needs and trust that God will provide a spouse in His timing.
  • Are you in a marriage that is happy and truly healthy?  Keep working on your relationship.  Encourage one another and invest your life in other couples who need to see that happy and healthy is possible.

Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Mike Hurt

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Monday, February 13, 2017

The response to yesterday's message reminds me why I love Parkway church so much.  Yesterday, my message was was an in your face, no holds barred, challenge to live a life of purity before God and with people.  When you swing as hard as I did with the message, sometimes people take offense with the truth and want to swing back.  This is not the case at Parkway.  Parkway is a church that welcomes frank talks with a clear challenge from Scripture.  Parkway is a church that doesn't pull back from even the touchiest of subjects and I am so thankful for this.  My prayer for the church today is that we would live the truth as quickly as we accept the truth.

Now, for somethings that I wish I said....

  • Purity is a relationship goal that can be chased by married and single adults alike.
  • The standard of purity isn't set by our wants and desires, but by the Word of God.
  • To be people of purity, we need the grace of God active in our lives.
  • The Holy Spirit of God will empower us to honor God with our lives.
  • Sin kept in secret will destroy us.  Freedom found when sin is brought into the light.
  • If you are struggling, you are not alone.
  • Don't stay in an unhealthy relationship out of fear of what others will say, think or do.  Remember the truth from Hebrews 13:  What can mere mortals do to you.  God is your helper!

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2017 by Mike Hurt

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Early Saturday morning, the Islamic Center of Victoria was destroyed by fire.  Talk of the center's destruction spread quickly through the Crossroads and it eventually hit national and international news.  As we were getting ready for church on Sunday, our feeds were full of posts regarding the fire and Good Morning America reported on it so we knew that we would need to talk with our kids.  We wanted to prepare them for conversations that they may have or overhear at church.  Kristi and I talked with the kids for about 5 minutes or so.  The big idea of the talk was simple:  when it comes to those who practice Islam, they aren't our enemies, but they also aren't our spiritual friends.

They aren't our enemies.   

Because they aren't our enemies, we don't wish for bad things to happen to them.  Because they aren't our enemies, we will be build relationships that are considerate, respectful and loving.  Because they aren't our enemies, if the fire was act of man, we will stand with them to ensure that their religious freedoms are protected in our community.

But they aren't our spiritual friends.

Though they are our friends and neighbors, those who practice Islam aren't our spiritual friends.  We don't worship the same God, study the same sacred text, or have the same assurance of life after death or hold to the same hope on Earth.

Blurred lines lead to confusing prayers.

On Sunday morning, a prayer service was held at the site of the fire.  It was in this prayer service that the lines of citizenship and spirituality were blurred.  Prayers were offered to Allah. Prayers were made to the "God of many names."  Prayers were made to the "God of Abraham, God of Moses and Jesus and Muhammad, God of every living, breathing person..."   The problem with these interfaith prayers is that:

They presented all faiths as equal.  

There was no distinction between Islam, Judaism, Christianity, or Atheism.  As believers, we must reject this unequivocally.  All faiths aren't equal.  There aren't many Gods.  There is one true God.  There aren't many paths to the same God.  There is one way and His name is Jesus Christ.

Even when Christians blur the lines between faith groups in the name of unity, we must stand on the truth of the Gospel.   As we stand on truth, we also must share the truth of God's love and Jesus' sacrifice for every man, woman, and child.  That's why we build loving, respectful, considerate relationships with all of our neighbors.

So, the next time that something like this happens, and it will happen.  Before you click Donate Now, on Go Fund Me or before you bundle up the kids to go to an interfaith community prayer gathering, think about theses things:

  • How can I pray for those who have been affected by loss or tragedy?
  • What can I do to stand out as a believer in Jesus so that others see Christ in me through my faith, my words, my life, my service, and my love?
  • Who am I build relationships with so that I can share the hope of Christ when opportunity arises?
  • What do I need to learn about my faith so that I can share it with others?
  • How can I help my kids process and think through the issues of the day?

Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2017 by Mike Hurt


Monday, January 30, 2017

Yesterday, we wrapped up the series Building Relationships That Build Disciples. I have to be honest. The impact of this series shocked me. I have been flooded with people thanking me for the series and letting me know how it has impacted their lives. Why is this a shock? It's because the series was a very challenging series. It was a series with a clear call to action every week. It was a series that I thought would motivate the core, but it may have done much more. Thanks be to God for His work over the last few weeks in our church family! If you are a pastor or a small group leader, never forget the power of God's Word to transform and build lives. It's not our creativity. It's not our communication skills. It's not our ability to connect with others. It's God's Word working within us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Never forget it!

Now, for some things I wish I said....

  • We do good in the world around us not just to do good, but to do good for the name and fame of Jesus! 
  • We all have been gifted and empowered by God to serve Him to strengthen the church and to reach people for Christ. Serving Jesus and people isn't always easy, but it is always worth it.
  • We all start somewhere when it comes to making a difference. Start here. Start now. Some good things we do in the world will last. Others will fade away. Make sure that you are investing your life, your talent, and your money in the kingdom of God that lasts eternally. 
  • It is fun and fruitful to partner together with other believers to do good in the name of Jesus. 

Here's a closing thought: doing good in the name of Jesus is key to grow as disciples. It's by doing good in the name of Jesus that we get to share Christ with others. It's by doing good in the name of Jesus that we get to see lives changed like our lives have been changed. It's by doing good in the name of Jesus that we stand out from the crowd. The church with a capital C must be about doing good in the name of Jesus.

Posted on Monday, January 30, 2017 by Mike Hurt

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017 this is becoming a habit - posting on Tuesday thoughts I had on Monday.  Sunday's message centered on Titus 2. The big picture view of Titus 2 is the need to connect in relationships that help us grow toward maturity and holy living.  Specific instructions are given to each generation.  My take from this was no matter or age or life-stage, we all have something to learn and we all have something to share.

With that, here are some of the things that I wish I said:

  • Everybody's got a reason that they don't join a group.  It's time to drop the excuses and get connected.
  • We need people in our lives because we don't know when life will hit and we need people.
  • Nobody wants to be classified as old especially those of us who used to be young.  :-)
  • Multi-generational churches are a good thing.  Churches are at their best when truth is passed down from generation to generation.
  • Chris and Ember's connection story was so good, but it's not even half of their story and all that God has done in them over the last few years.
  • Our church will never outgrow our small groups.
  • GroupLink is Wednesday at 6:30.  (Oops, I think I said that.)

If you missed the message, check it out here.

My Relationships Make My Life Rich from Parkway Church on Vimeo.

Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 by Mike Hurt

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Yesterday, the kids were out of school so we spent the day together.  As a part of our day, we went to see Hidden Figures.  It was a really good movie and a great reminder of how far we have come as a country and a challenge because we still have much work to do when it comes to equally valuing all people.  This has absolutely nothing to do with my message from Sunday, but I wanted to share so that you might go see the film, too.

So, my message from Sunday was 3 of the best messages that I've preached in quite some time.  That's preacher speak for my talk had too much content.  I could have preached for a month on Titus 1:5-16.  With that, here are some things that I wish I said:

  • The church must be about discipleship.
  • The first step of discipleship is believing in Jesus for life.
  • Becoming a disciple (a follower of Jesus) is a decision that every believer must make.
  • Discipleship is a life-long journey.
  • If we are going to grow as disciples, we must check the sources that are feeding our spiritual life.

5 Questions That You Should Ask About Sermons, Books, Blogs and Other Content

  • What is the promise of salvation?
  • What is the purpose of Scripture?
  • Is Scripture being changed or re-explained in a way that bypasses it's original meaning?
  • Does the teacher offer secret teaching that no one else knows?
  • Is the pastor/teacher offering a "new word" or teaching the age old Word of God?
  • How are you challenged to change or grow to be like Jesus?

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 by Mike Hurt

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