5 Questions With Pastor Gregg Matte

Welcome to 5 Questions With.....

Today's guest is Pastor Gregg Matte.

Gregg Matte is the senior pastor of Houston's First Baptist Church and founder of Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University, one of the largest college Bible studies in the nation. He is also the author of Finding God's Will and I AM Changes Who I Am. He and his wife, Kelly, have a son and a daughter and live in Houston, Texas.

I just recently reviewed his book, Unstoppable Gospel and Pastor Matte took time to discuss his book with me in a phone interview today.  What follows is a transcript of that call.

OK, let's get started:

1. Why did you decide to write Unstoppable Gospel?

I wanted the people of the church to be encouraged and offer them some practical steps in how to make a difference. We live in a culture where everyone is dogging the church or dogging Christians and acting like the church and the Christians are the problem when it really is the answer. We want to be a part of making the difference. So by looking back at the book of Acts we get some practical steps in how to make a difference, we also are encouraged that we can make a difference. Lastly, in the beginning of Acts, they are hiding, afraid that they are going to be killed just like Jesus was. The last verse of Acts says, "Then the Gospel went out unhindered." (Acts 28:30-31) So you have a very big difference there and that is what I wanted the people of God, the people of the church to really get, that through God we can make a difference. 

2. You mention in your book that we should define ourselves spiritually rather than vocationally. Can you explain that a bit more?

We have to see our primary identity first. That is really our eternal identity, that we are Christians, and then see our roles and our other identitys second. What happens is then you get the order right and that is where Jesus says, "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) and C.S. Lewis says "put first things first and you'll get second things thrown, put second things first and you'll lose the both of them." So what I wanted people to do is to understand that the first thing that you are is a Christian. That is the number one thing that you are as a believer in Christ. Then fron that, that gives us the strength to then be a mom or a dad or a businessman or an engineer or whatever it is. We have to first see ourselves, with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and Him moving through us. Often times we get it mixed up, so if I see myself as a businessman first, then I may never share Christ with anyone at the office or really want to make a difference because that would risk me being a businessman. Instead of having my primary identity being first and the resource of Jesus being from which I do everything.

3. What do you see as the difference between conviction and condemnation?

Condemnation is very ambiguous. Conviction is very procise. The conviction of the Holy Spirit is going to have a prociseness to it that we are going to go, "You know I need to stop doing this or start doing that, or I was rude or God is working on my pride, He is working on my selfishness. Conviction is like a laserbeam flashlight. Condemnation is just this big wet blanket of "Oh woe is me I am terrible." What does that mean that you are terrible? What specifically is God trying to get your attention on? The devil loves to give us condemnation. He just wants to paralyze us with a wet blanket thrown over us. God wants to give us conviction in order to bring growth. Condemnation sends us backwards, conviction sends us forward. Condemnation takes us away from God, conviction actually draws us to God. So they are very different, though they may feel the same because they have a twinge of guilt with them. We have to get past that and say ok I want to grow from this. 

4. You mentioned the "ministry of interruptions" which really gave me pause as a pastor because I do not always look for that. Can you explain that phrase for our readers?

Yes, you know God has got you on a path and He is going to interrupt you throughout the day. What I mean by that is there are going to be people who come along that are either lost person in need of a Saviour or a saved person needing encouragement. When we see people spiritually that makes a difference. So then when the phone rings or someone crosses our path in need of help, we don't see it as an interruption, we see it as an opportunity. That is what they had in the book of Acts. You see Peter and John on the way to the temple and someone would interrupt them asking for money and they would say, "I want to give you Jesus." So they use it as a ministry opportunity. A lot of times we are focused, knocking it out and we have to see that God is going to bring some intersections into our path and those can sometimes be the greatest moments of our day. As opposed to just making it to the store and getting our grocery list checked. 

Let me add one other thing, as a leader, it doesn't mean everything that comes into your inbox is something that you ned to deal with at that moment. That is not what I am saying. I am not trying to call people to reactionary living, I am trying to be attuned with the Spirit to know when they need to turn aside and to take that time to encourage or help that person. There are a thousand things coming at you. You have to be strategic about that and have a listening ear to the Lord. 

5. How is your church, Houston First Baptist, sharing the unstoppable Gospel?

It has gotten a hold of us in a huge way. We're giving and we're going. We are a generous church and want to give financially and also of our time and be able to give and say lets let the Gospel go out, Acts1:8, to our city, nation, world. Also we want to be able to go. To be active in it.  We have people adopting children, we have folks teaching Sunday School, we have folks sharing Christ in their workplace. We want to be difference makers. 

Thank You Pastor Matte!

If you get the chance, check out Unstoppable Gospel


Delighting in God

The Mercy of God led to Calvary - A.W. Tozer

I love the writings of A.W. Tozer

I first discovered Tozer back in 1994.  I was in the midst of a YWAM Discipleshp Training School.  Assigned a book report, I scoured the shelves and came across The Pursuit of God.  That book changed my life.  It challnged me, encouraged me and left me thirsty for God!

Over the years I have picked up old Tozer books whenever I found them.  Over the last decade, many of Tozer's sermons and magazine writings have been turned into books.  The majority of those have been compiled and edited by James L. Snyder.

So I got excited when Bethany House published a new book of Tozer's writings called Delighting in God. I eagerly dove into this book. Like every Tozer book I have ever read, this one challenged me in new and exciting ways.  Snyder does a brilliant job of compiling Tozer's writings on the theme of delighting in God.  I found numerous passages that caused me to pause, reflect and pray.

For a man who passed away in 1963, Tozer's writings are a much needed breath of fresh air!  His words challenge still today.  At times his words are even prophetic. 

If you like old school preaching, having your faith challenged or find yourself craving more of God then Delighting in God  is the book for you.

"This book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review."