Last week I spoke of the Syrophoenician woman and how she demonstrated faith in Jesus to heal her sick child, her faith caused her to act and Christ responded by healing her daughter! Yesterday I went to visit Matt Wood to say my goodbyes and while there I was reminded of the faith Matt has demonstrated not only in his battle with this terrible disease, but also when he went on a mission to find a solution to keep then New Summit Church alive. For those of you who are not familiar with the story, let me share a small portion.
In early 2015 like New Summit, Summit Springs Community Church was trying to figure out our future. We were trying to redefine our mission and purpose, so we started the process of making a few changes. One of those changes was name change, branding, etc. which included email changes. The person that took care of these matters set up a new email address for me and notified me of the change but I forgot and did not get it set up on my computer. Two weeks prior to meeting Matt, I spoke to the church and shared with them that I believed God was on the move and was going to do something special with our church but I had no idea what that would be, it was just something I felt in my spirit. Well, forward two weeks later, I finally asked Brian to set up my email and to my surprise there was an email that was sent two days prior from a gentleman named Matt Wood who wanted me to contact him. I contacted him and we met for lunch a couple of days later.
When we sat down he told me that New Summit was interested in looking at options for their church, one of which could be some type of merger, etc. If you know Matt, then you know Matt was 100% in control of our meeting and displayed a pretty good poker face. He must have asked me 100 questions. What stood out to me was that he listened to each answer. He was genuinely interested in who we were, what our mission was and, if we were willing to take risk. When we were wrapping up I remember him telling me that he needed to go back and pray and think about our conversation prior to going to the next step. A couple of days later he called and asked me to meet with him and Dave and the rest is history.
Matt was obedient to the Holy Spirit and stood in the gap to bridge the way for the two churches to become one, he had faith and he acted on that faith. Because of this I believe that Matt Wood is the Founder of New Springs Community, his action brought two churches together to build God’s Kingdom in and around our community. But his faith didn’t stop there, he continued to demonstrate his faith in us (the church) by getting involved with the change he searched for. He helped with our construction projects even as his health continued to deteriorate, he came out and painted, he came and broke down boards for the decor on the walls, he stopped by and brought the workers lunch. I NEVER asked Matt to get involved in any of the construction because I didn't know if he had the strength. He contacted me and said I’m here to help, and asked, “What can I do?” I’m told by Matt’s sister that Matt Wood loves our church. What I saw in action was a man on mission and willing to do whatever it took for the success of this church even if some things were not to his liking, I saw a man who demonstrated that it was never about him. I see a man who when he meets Jesus, will ask, “What can I do to help?”
I’m honored to have met Matt and Kacy, I’m honored to have witnessed his love and compassion for his family and his church family. I’m honored to have witnessed a man of faith and action that sometimes defied any and all expectation. I’m honored that Matt chose Summit Springs, I’m honored that the two churches merged to become New Springs Community, and I’m honored that Matt called me his Pastor.
As we prepare ourselves to celebrate the life of an extraordinary man of faith, my question to you is: Do you have enough faith to act? Are you willing to continue what Matt started? Are you willing to do whatever it takes? Do you love your church? Are you willing to ask, “What can I do to help?”
God Speed Matt, we love you brother!
"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25
Many of you may have read the above scripture and thought to yourself, “Whoever wrote that scripture does not have my schedule” or “That was meant for the early Christians and it was a different culture than we live in.” Some may think you can motivate, encourage one another and show acts of love and good works without having to show up for church. All true and relevant points but I think the writer of Hebrews understood the results of meeting together, how it strengthens our faith, how it reenergizes us for the week, how it deepens our love for one another and for God. The early Christians met every day, not just once a week for 90 minutes…think about it!
Each year on February 14, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine's Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia (source: History Channel).
Be honest, did you know Valentine’s Day has a Christian connection? Nope, I didn't either! I thought it was a made up holiday where men try to make up for all the wrong we’ve done throughout the year. What other day do we spend unbelievable amounts of money on flowers? What other day is okay to bring your sweetheart a huge box of chocolates and expect her to eat every bite? I don’t think the Bible relates cards, candy, gifts, and flowers to love. Sorry History Channel. The Bible in fact, describes love completely different.