February 2023 Newsletter
Jesus’ love changes you
by Pastor Mike Novotny
Recently, a man I didn’t know so well reached out to me. Without saying too much, I can tell you that he had messed up spiritually and was feeling embarrassed and ashamed of his behavior. So ashamed, in fact, that when he needed to confess his sin, he didn’t choose the pastor who knew him best but the pastor who knew him least. That way he could get his sin off his chest and leave with his reputation of being a good guy still intact.
I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it. Even as Christians, we don’t want people to know the whole truth about us. Because if people knew how messy, complicated, and sinful we actually were, what would they say?
Can you relate?
Maybe you’re like Martha, so busy being the perfect hostess/friend/mother/church member that you fly through life stressed, overwhelmed, productive but snippy with everyone who doesn’t work as hard as you do (which is almost everyone, in your opinion).
You could be like Peter, the person who only thinks about his words on the car ride after the event, realizing that you likely stepped on all the toes in the room. And you can’t take your words back.
Or maybe you’re like that woman Jesus met at the well, with your dysfunctional relational history—divorce, breakup, divorce, cheated on him, was cheated on by him, trying again—and you don’t want anyone to know the details of what you’ve done.
The fact is that we all have something. Fifteen years of ministry have reminded me that no matter how nice someone looks from the outside, we all have something going on inside.
This is why I love learning about Jesus. In the gospels, Jesus picked the most unlikely people to hang out with. Stressed Martha. Proud Peter. Broken Mary. The gospels in general and the gospel of Luke in particular are long lists of people whom Jesus should have avoided. But he didn’t. Instead, he found those who were lost. He forgave those who were ashamed. He saved those who had sinned. And Jesus’ love changed them.
Jesus’ love will change you too. Take a long look at the people Jesus picked and how their stories changed. That will inspire you to step—with all your sins and scars—into the light of his forgiving and transforming love.
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”—Jesus (Mark 2:17).
Together we’re sharing God’s love for ALL people!
The world is full of men and women who feel unwanted, less than, and not good enough. But no matter how we feel or what our past looks like, God assures us of his love through Jesus and wants us in his family. That’s the message you help share with people everywhere through the resources of Time of Grace.
People like Adam, who says …
“I just wanted to write to share how much your ministry means to people like me, who can so easily feel like ‘black sheep’ have no place in the flock of God. Thank you for being a faithful witness to His mercy and grace!”
Thank you for helping change lives with the transforming love of Jesus.
Discover God’s place and purpose for you!
Ever felt unloved, unwanted, or unqualified?
Everyone has—and that’s why we want to encourage you with Pastor Mike Novotny’s NEW book, You Know God Loves You, Right?
This in-depth look at the unimpressive, unimportant, downright despicable characters Jesus loved, chose, and transformed shows you that despite your flaws there is one, undeniable truth about you …
God loves you, and he’s never going to stop!
Using Scripture, guided questions, and prayer prompts, this book invites you to discover your place and purpose as a cherished child of God.
Request your copy of You Know God Loves You, Right? as thanks for your donation on the enclosed reply form—and step into the life of freedom and confidence waiting for you in your Father’s love.
Click here to get You Know God Loves You, Right?
Visit our online store for your Bible study groups
Along with personal time in the Bible each day, getting together with a group of Christians to study, discuss, and apply God’s Word is also part of a healthy spiritual life.
If you’re looking for resources to use with your small group Bible study, go to timeofgrace.store for tools on a range of topics such as forgiveness, prayer, life’s hurts and troubles, sex, abuse, cultural issues, Bible studies, and more. Most resources have study questions that are great for small group discussion.
Coming up on Time of Grace
Starting the second week in March, Pastor Mike kicks off a new five-part series called Don’t Miss Moments on the Time of Grace television program. There are moments in all our lives that are essential to understanding who we are. That was true for Jesus too. His baptism, temptation, transfiguration, and resurrection are just a few of the moments that compel us to worship him as Savior and King. Watch on TV or online!
The first episode of Don’t Miss Moments is available to watch on March 5th with new episodes released each Sunday in March.
Click here to watch Don’t Miss Moments
Who am I to be doing this?
By Pastor Mike Novotny
Have you ever felt this way? I have.
I, Mike, am sinful, weak, frail, disappointing, and a million other negatives I would rather not admit.
This calling, this ministry, this sermon are all moments I am not worthy of. Who am I to tell anyone else how to live? Or what to believe?
But you and I are not called to follow Jesus because we are so worthy. We are called by grace. We are like cardboard boxes that contain antique treasures, which is God’s plan to keep others focused on Jesus and not on us.
So don’t give up. Don’t give in. God has good work for you and me to do.
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Hello from Pastor Mike
So much of the Christian life is mental. It has a lot less to do with our actual circumstances and more to do with what we think about those circumstances. The devil loves it when worries and what-ifs push God’s promises to the back of our minds. He’ll stop at nothing to knock you off pace in the race that God has called you to run.
No wonder Paul used such strong language to talk about our headspace: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Thoughts like, “God is done with you,” “You’re washed up,” and “Jesus would never want you” are all lies, mental tricks to keep you stuck in fear and shame and out of the race. Don’t let them.
The truth is that Jesus is lovingly saying to you, “Follow me.” So take those thoughts captive. Make your mind obedient to Jesus. Preach the truth at those stubborn accusations. Remember that Jesus chose and used imperfect people in the first century, a gracious habit he still continues in this century.
The enemy loves passive thinkers. Be active and demolish his lies as you fix your eyes on Jesus.