Forgiveness: Those who don't ask for it and those who don't deserve it.

In the past, I have been wronged by many people have never asked for forgiveness from me. As I think of my own story, I am reminded that everyone has been wronged, offended, and sinned against at some point. The question for you and I is different than the rest of the world because we are Christians. So we must ask; How are we as Christians to respond when such offenses occur? According to the Bible, we are to forgive all offenses. Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 proclaims, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

The key in both Scriptures is that we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us. So, what is the reason that we forgive? Why do we forgive if people don't care if we forgive anyway? I think there are two answers.

1. Because we have been forgiven!
Those who are not Christians, however, have not been forgiven by God and have neither the power nor the desire to forgive other people. Often times, it is simply the Holy Spirit that convicts us of our sin so without the Holy Spirit, a person my be totally blind to their wrongs.

2. Forgiving others frees us, not just them.
If we are honest, our lack of forgiveness towards others has us absolutely enslaved to the hurts that have been done to us. We can't stop thinking about what has been done to us, we demand that we get justice for the hurt people have caused us. We wish the worse against the people who hurt us. And, all of that thinking keeps us a slave to our hurts and keeps us in bondage to our past.

Forgiveness would be simple if we only had to grant it to those who come asking for it and have repented. The Bible tells us that we are to forgive, without condition, those who sin against us. That goes for those who want our forgiveness and those who don't care if we forgive them. Refusing to truly forgive a person demonstrates resentment, bitterness, and anger, none of which are the beautiful traits of a true Christian. Jesus teaches us that, we are to ask God to forgive us our sins, just as we forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12). Jesus also said in Matthew 6:14-15,“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” All this is saying that when you and I refuse to forgive others, it is a good eye opener that we are not aware of the depths of Gods forgiveness towards us.

When you and I can consider the extent to which God forgives all our sins, we realize that we do not have the right to withhold grace and forgiveness from others. We have sinned against God infinitely more than any person can sin against us. And I say that as one who has been been horribly sinned against by others. If God forgives us of so much, how can we refuse to forgive others of so little?

The big idea that I can't get away from is that in order to truly be free from our past hurts, we have to forgive others. God always commands us to do something because it is in our best interest to be obedient. God doesn't want us to forgive others for the sake of others. That may be a benefit, but not the main purpose. God simply wants us to forgive others because it is going to be most freeing for us. We are his children and he delights in freeing us from our bondage.

Jesus: Outrageous Claims

Of all the things that Jesus said during his 3 years of ministry on earth, nothing is as outrageous as his claims to deity. Here in John 5:1-24 we get our first glimpse of Jesus speaking as one who is equal with God. As a matter of fact, He was so persistent in his claims that the Jewish leaders went from persecuting him for his words to scheming on how to kill him. Beyond his claims to being one with God, he also claimed that whatever our view is of him, that is our view of God. In other words, unless we honor Jesus, we cannot honor God. This would be an outrageous claim if this were not true.

However, not only did Christ claim these things but he also proved it. He proved it through his power which he showed in his miracles. He proved it with his wisdom which showed his remarkable knowledge. And he showed it through his resurrection and assention which proved that he had power over life and death.

As outrageous as his claims were, they proved to be true. He is exactly who he claimed to be; God incarnate, the Messiah, the 2nd person in the trinity.

The Cycle of Belief

John 4:43-54

In the world that we live in, God has ordained certain laws and principles that exist regardless of our beliefs. The cycle principle simply says that in life there are series of events that come full circle and repeat itself. This is seen in depression; where depression will lead to fatigue which leads to isolation which turns into deeper depression. We also see this is addiction. When we are addicted to something we abuse it which leads to shame which leads to craving which leads to using again. Cycles can be a viscous thing and there are tons of them. Poverty leads to a lack of education which leads to limited job opportunities which leads back to poverty. Giving your body away sexually leads to feelings of guilt or shame which leads to the need to be loved which leads back to giving away your body as a way of attempting to feel loved. The cycle continues to go around until there is some sort of drastic event that stops it.

There is however a beautiful cycle that God has put into place as a means of increasing our faith and belief in Jesus. In this John 4 we see this cycle taking place in the life of the official who's son was on the verge of dying. Jesus takes this man from a place of shallow belief, to simple obedience, which leads to a greater life which then leads to deeper belief. In other words there is a cycle of belief that says belief in Jesus that leads to obedience to Jesus, leads to a life full of Jesus which then increases our belief in Jesus. Then the cycle starts over again as our belief, obedience and joy continue to grow.

This is exactly the cycle that God uses in our sanctification. Belief leads to obedience which leads to greater life which leads to greater belief. That greater belief then leads to greater obedience which leads to even greater life which further increases our belief. Its a beautiful cycle. Jump on board....

So, you want to date my daughter?

Loved this so much, I had to re-post it on my blog.

By: Jared Wilson

So, You want to date my daughter???? OK, read below.....

1. You must love Jesus. I don't care if you're a "good Christian boy." I was one of those too. So I know the tricks. I'm going to ask you specific, heart-testing questions about your spiritual affections, your daily devotional life, your idols, your disciplines, and the like. I'll cut you a little bit of slack because you're young and hormonal and your pre-frontal lobe isn't fully developed yet, but I'll be watching you like a hawk. I know you. I was you. You will think you can fool me, and you likely have fooled many other dads who didn't pay much attention to their daughters' suitors, but I will be on you like Bourne on that guy whose neck he broke. Which guy was that? Every guy. So love Jesus more than my daughter or go home.

2. You will install X3Watch or Covenant Eyes on your computer and mobile devices and have your regular reports sent to me.

3. I will talk to your dad and tell him I will hold him responsible if you don't treat my daughter like a lady. If he thinks I'm a crazy person, you fail the test and won't get to date her. If he understands what I'm saying, that bodes well for you.

4. You will pay for everything. Oh, sure, every now and then my daughter can buy you a Coke or something and a gift on your birthday and at Christmas. But you pay for meals, movies, outings, whatever else. Don't have a job? I'm sorry, why I am talking to you again?

5. You will accept my Facebook friend request.

6. If it looks like you need a belt to hold your pants up, I will assume you don't have a job. See #4.

7. Young people dating are putting their best face forward, so if you appear impatient, ill-tempered, or ill-mannered, I know you will gradually become more so over time. I will have no jerks dating my daughters.

8. If I am not your pastor, I will talk to the man who is. If your pastor is a woman, why I am talking to you, again?

9. You don't love my daughter. You have no idea what love is. You like her and you might love her someday. That's an okay start with me, so put the seatbelt on the mushy gushy stuff. Don't profess your undying love, quote stupid love song lyrics to her, tell her you'd die for her, or feed her any other boneheaded lines that are way out of your depth as a horny little idiot. A lady's heart is a fragile thing. If you play with hers, I will show you yours.

10. If you ever find yourself alone with my daughter, don't panic. Just correct the situation immediately. If I ever catch you trying to get alone with my daughter, that would be the time to panic.

11. It may sound like I'm joking in threatening you harm, and while I might not physically hurt you if you offend my daughter or violate her honor, when I am addressing the issue with you, you will not be laughing.

12. You may think all this sounds very legalistic. That's fine. You can be one of the many antinomians not dating my daughter.

Why did Christ have to rise? (Easter)

Easter Sunday is the most exciting day in the Christian Faith. Of all the things that Jesus did; loving his neighbors, changing the course of our calendar, the miracles, etc...Nothing compares to His resurrection. His Resurrection is the crux of the entire Christian Faith. But why? Why did he have to rise? Wasn't his death enough? What did his death accomplish for us?

In the introduction to Peters first letter to Asia Minor, he records the answer to this question. 1 Peter 1:3-5 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

In these three verses we see that through faith in the resurrection of Jesus, He has opened up an opportunity for us to receive Mercy from God, New Birth From God and an Inheritance from God. This is great news. No longer do we have to strive for perfection in order to receive these things, but instead we simply trust in Christ's perfection which has been given to us through faith. This is grace, and grace is a gift that must be received. So today, receive God's grace by trusting in the resurrection of Jesus and make this Easter the best Easter you've ever had.

If your marriage is not perfect.

In the last year of marriage, Beth and I have learned more about marriage than we did in the first 8. Church planting has its ways of pressing a marriage on every side and exposing things in you that you never thought were there. Between the ridiculous hours, the pressures of success, the incredible relational demands, 4 kids and the exposing of our idols, by God's grace, Beth and I are building an incredible oneness. We have had unique opportunities to be counseled by some incredibly Godly people and also offer counseling to pre-maritals and some struggling relationships. Here is some that we have learned.

Marriage is be one of the most difficult challenges in a persons life. Beth and I have experienced some major challenges along the way in our relationship. Something that we learned is that marriage is a sacred covenant that joins two people together in one flesh (Matthew 19:5). It is not easy because it's very difficult for two sinners to live in peaceful harmony (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). If Beth and I aren't pursuing Jesus together, the inherent struggles of living under two different authorities quickly become apparent.

Often Christians in this situation will look for a way out of the marriage. At times we can even convince ourselves that this is the only way to truly be happy and even bring honor to God. You may be thinking "God wants me leave; or God wants me to be happy; or God would never want me to feel this way." His Word, however, says nothing like that. It is very important not only to be content in our marriage, (unless of extreme circumstances such physical sexual unfaithfulness or abuse) but also to look for ways to bring glory to Jesus out of our challenging circumstances (1 Corinthians 7:17). Unless you look to Jesus to be your source of satisfaction, you'll never experience the true joy of marriage. The problem with this is we too often look to our spouse to be our source of satisfaction and joy when they are a sinner by nature. And for some reason, even though you knew that when you said "I do"; you're surprised when you feel the effects of being married to a sinner.

My encouragement is that you would pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to enable you both humble yourself in submission to Christ (Ephesians 5:21) and live in the light of God's presence (1 John 1:7). Seek God's transforming power to change your hearts and produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

A Christian wife is obligated to have a submissive heart, even toward a man that is not perfect or even unbelieving (1 Peter 3:1), and you will need to remain close to God and rely on His grace to enable you to do so. A Christian husband is called to love his wife well, by taking his eyes off of his own desires and seek to love Jesus by serving his wife. I would argue that you, like Beth and I, struggle to do this. My encouragement to you is that you would stop looking at marriage as a covenant to bring YOU happiness and joy but rather as a covenant to serve each other and honor Jesus. In that, we will find our greatest Joy. I promise, because God promises.

Lastly, we are not meant to walk through marriage alone; we need to find support from outside sources like our church, Godly marriage counselors, Godly books on marriage, Godly teachings on marriage online, and and other Christians in our lives. Being in a struggling marriage does not alter the sacredness of the relationship, so it should be your priority to pray, asking Christ's light to shine brightly (Philippians 2:14).

Don't give up on your marriage. Fight for your marriage, Fight for each other and fight to honor Jesus. I am convinced that the strong will fight for this but the weak will roll over and quit. Be Strong!! Joshua 1:9 says "Be Strong and Courageous…God is with you."

To all who joined us for the Netcast Egg Hunt.

Thanks for joining us at the Netcast Easter Egg Hunt. I think we learned that next year we'll need about 10,000 eggs and probably lots more parking.

I want to send you a quick invite to our Easter Service at Briscoe Middle in Beverly, this Sunday at 10:30am. It will be a great time for the kids and I'm sure the adults will even enjoy themselves. If you are wondering who we are, you can watch our 120 second video at

If you have any pictures from the egg hunt, we would love to see them. Email any photos to Also, if you have any questions, comments or concerns for me, feel free to email me at

Have a great weekend.

Matt Chewning
Netcast Church

The type of Leader I strive to be.

Recently, I was asked to answer this question..."As the lead pastor of a growing church plant; what type of leader do you strive to be?" Below were my thoughts....

Servant: Paul tells those with the gift of leadership to lead with diligence (Rom. 12:8) Jesus tells us that the greatest among us shall be our servants. I believe that to be true. My job as the leader of Netcast is not to Lord my authority over our staff or congregation, but rather diligently serve our congregation. For me, Servant Leadership is about stewardship and not ownership. Netcast will be better off if I steward the direction of the church by leveraging other leaders within, rather than me Lording my leadership over others. By seeing my job as a servant, it frees me from trying to always get my way and having others within the church exist to serve me and my vision.

Bold Visionary: As a leader, one of my primary responsibilities is to guard the mission and vision of the church. Because of that, I spend a lot of time creating ways to re-itterate, cast and share the mission and vision of the church. In any organization, people will come in with their pre-concieved thoughts on how an organization should be run or the direction the organization would be heading in. For me as a Leader, it is vital that I keep the church headed in the direction that God has given me. This at times takes a lot of boldness and courage. Especially as a young leader, there are times when more seasoned people come along and would like to tweak some things within the church. It is in those moments where I need to humbly and boldly make sure Netcast does not move away from the direction that God has given us. Too many leaders move away from the original vision of the church in order to keep others happy. This can be destructive to an organization.

Humility: Let me clarify here. Humility for me is something I strive for and not something that I have obtained. Personally, I think that a pursuit of humility is key to the success of any organization. Humility for me simply means that I take time to recognize that I am not always going to be right, my heart at times can deceive me, and it is better to lead with people than always lead people. Although I am the leader at Netcast, I rarely make decisions on things without the counsel of others. This allows me to make sure that I have the most qualified people at the table helping us make decisions. I believe that a plurality of leadership is always the safest way for an organization to be lead. Now, I am not proposing that there is not a overall leader within an organization, but rather that the overall leader pursue humility and plurality for the sake of the organization.

6 Leadership Lessons I have learned in Church Planting

I was recently asked to share some of the leadership lessons that I have learned in my 14 months as the church planter of Netcast Church. I thought I would share them with you guys.

1. Authority is easy to give away and very hard to take back.
Take your time giving away authority to others because once you give it away, it could cause major disunity and problems if you have to take it back.

2. Building teams are vital. Most leaders neglect the importance of team building. Without other strong teams within an organization, the organization will never thrive.

3. Allow other leaders to lead. We want Netcast to be a place where God sends leaders to lead and not leaders to always be led. For the health and benefit of Netcast, it is important that I free people to lead out in their gifts. If there are people who are more gifted than I am in certain areas, than I have to encourage and free them to lead out in their giftedness.

4. Competence, Character, and Chemistry. For me as a leader, it is vital that the people on my team, have these three characteristics. I learned this from a leadership book I read about 5 years ago and it is so true. You can never allow someone with great abilities but little character to be a part of the leadership of a church. In the same way, if someone has great character but can't keep a commitment, than they are unqualified to lead. Lastly, if they have great character and are competent individuals, but lack chemistry with the other people within the organization, than we cannot allow that type of dis-unity. In order for a person to be a leader at Netcast, they have to have personal character, they must be competent and they myst have chemistry with other people in the organization.

5. Encourage diversity in giftedness. Anytime you have all of the same type of people on a team, than you will struggle to get better. Without diversity, you will rarely be able to see an organization with a critical eye. It is important that you have enough diversity among a team that we are continually getting different perspectives on any given issue. The only thing that you need to be careful about with this type of approach, is keeping unity. When people come to the table with different perspectives, it is vital that they all do so with great humility and honor towards others.

6. Wins go out, losses stay in. At Netcast, whenever we get a "win" (encouraging email, someone becomes a christian, etc…) we make sure that we spread that news throughout the entire church. Those are great ways for us to encourage the church. However, when we see a "loss" (discouraging email, harsh critic, etc…) we make sure that stays within the leadership of the church and we deal with it there. This is vital to keeping positive momentum within an organization.