Pastor Mike Novotny
Pastor Mike Novotny has served God’s people in full-time ministry since 2007 in Madison and, most recently, at The CORE in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also serves as the lead speaker for Time of Grace, where he shares the good news about Jesus through television, print, and online platforms.
Roots and Fruit: Get a Group
When you personally know and are personally known in a spiritual community, you find your spiritual and physical needs being met.
Out of Context: “Plans to Prosper You”
God has great plans for his people, but they don’t always involve a quick fix to all earthly problems. In the same way, God’s plan to prosper your spiritual life might not be the path you prayed for.
Out of Context: “Do Not Judge”
Jesus was not against being judgmental. Yet he was very against the hypocrisy of many judgmental people who overlook their own flaws in a zealous attempt to point out the flaws of others. His words, clearly understood, encourage us to look in the mirror first and judge others in love afterward.
Flawed but Blessed: How Boldly Can I Pray?
In the strangest scene of Jacob’s story, God appears and wrestles with him for hours. Despite God’s superior strength, “Jake the Snake” refuses to loosen his python grip until God blesses him. After decades of grabbing on to sin, Jacob finally grabs on to God. In the same way, we grip God in prayer, holding on to his promises until he blesses us.
Flawed but Blessed: How Does Grace Change Me?
While karma is not a Christian teaching, a form of karma exists. The cycle of sin spins every time we give each other what we deserve. Jacob and Laban’s story is proof. Greed and lies spin back and forth, destroying a family. This same destructive cycle happens in our lives and points us to Jacob’s descendant who turned the other cheek on the cross, giving grace to sinners.
Flawed but Blessed: Is God Here?
After his lies, deceit, and dishonor, Jacob fled for his life and found . . . a forgiving God. Jacob’s dream teaches us a classic truth—there is a way for sinners to be with God. Jesus’ words prove that the same is true for “Jacobs” today. He is the true stairway to heaven!
Flawed but Blessed: Why Does God Love Liars?
Rebekah, the “godly” wife of Isaac, was willing to deceive her husband to steal a blessing for her favorite child. This story shows us that while parents are to be honored, they are not always to be imitated. We are invited to reflect on the spiritual climate of our homes and remember Jesus, who was willing to disobey the mother who tried to stop his messianic ministry.
Flawed but Blessed: Why Does God Love Me?
Despite God’s promise to bless Jacob, he hustled his brother. What seemed small started a pattern of behavior that ruined Jacob’s family and nearly destroyed his life. This account warns us of the “small” sins that become a pattern of something greater. Finally, it serves as a contrast with Jesus, who chose to give up his birthright of blessing to sinners like us.
That’s Messed Up: God’s Cleaning Solution
The ending of Bible book of Judges requires an adult I.D. to read. A woman chopped into pieces and mailed throughout Israel? That’s really messed up! But the Spirit inspired this story to prove two points. First, that life falls apart when everyone does what he or she thinks is right. Second, that God does not give up on people after the most disgusting sins.
That’s Messed Up: Press on in Faith
Gideon seemed so good. The humble farmer who became a Sunday school hero. But the fame went to his head, and good ol’ Gideon died as a spiritual adulterer and snare for his people. That’s messed up! But the story reminds us to fight the good fight through the final round, run the race until the last step, and worship God until our final breaths.
Get Over Yourself
The teachers of the law knew Jesus spoke his scathing parable of the tenants against them. Yet instead of repenting, they looked for a way to kill Jesus. They cared more about their embarrassment than their relationship with God. How about you? Will you cling to your image? Or will Jesus become marvelous in your eyes?
What if I Don’t Agree With Jesus?
Authority. Jesus’ enemies adored it. They refused to submit to Jesus’ teaching, even when caught in their own duplicity. They missed finding true life because they refused to die to having the last word. Modern Americans face the same dilemma. Will Jesus be the Lord who gets the last word? Or will we cling to our plastic gavels and tell Jesus what to do?