June 2021 - In This Issue:
The Spanish called it the Isle of the Pelicans, but few people know it by that name. Some nicknamed it, "The Rock." 
From 1933-1963, it served as the site of a nearly inescapable federal penitentiary. The guards were armed with machine guns and could not be bribed. Double locked doors enclosed each corridor and the cold waters of the ocean surrounded the island.
During those thirty years, thirty-four prisoners tried to escape in fourteen separate attempts; of those twenty-three were caught, six were shot and killed and five are missing and presumed drowned. Al Capone, "Machine Gun" Kelly, Robert "The Birdman" Stroud all served time on Alcatraz. Today, the island has become a tourist attraction but most people admit that it is not a very attractive place. 

But there is a prison that is far worse than Alcatraz; it is the prison of unforgiveness. Jesus talked about a prison that shackles the inner soul. When forgiveness is not offered it leads to that prison every time. You become incarcerated in a prison of unforgiveness and it fills your days with: bitterness, hatred, anger, resentment and hostility.

Bitterness will lock you up and throw away the key.
Bitterness has destroyed many churches!
Bitterness holds back the power of God.  

The church today is plagued with unforgiveness and bitterness. There are churches that can’t move forward because of "Bitter Brothers", "Sour Sisters" and "Caustic Christians". Bitter people sit on the pews with their arms folded singing, “I shall not be moved!”

Something has happened to a bitter person; life has not worked out as they thought that it would work out. Someone has hurt them; they may even blame God and they are bitter toward God. When someone is hurt and they don’t deal with it in the right way; bitterness will take root in their heart. They will begin to dwell on it and mull it over and over again; they feel absolutely justified in their bitterness.

Sometimes the hurt may have been intentional because there are some very mean people in the world and even in the church.

Sometimes, the hurt is unintentional; they didn’t mean to hurt you and may not even know that they hurt you.

Sometimes the hurt may be the chastisement of God; the writer of Hebrews says, “When chastisement comes, don’t be bitter." Don't allow your circumstances to change you from being a "Naomi", who is pleasant to a "Mara" who is bitter.

Everyone has experienced hurt at sometime in their lives but if forgiveness is not extended then bitterness will take root and lock the door to your prison. Hurt is usually followed by anger and then revenge. The grace of God comes upon a sanctified believer and they get over it; but a bitter person doesn’t get over it!

Bitterness and unforgiveness is always sin! If you spit in my face, you have sinned but if I become bitter about it, then I have sinned. If you injure me by false witness; you have sinned. But if I become bitter about it, then I have sinned. We can’t control what happens in life, but we can control how we respond and react to it!

A woman put an ad in the paper that read: “Wedding dress for sale or will trade for a 38 revolver!”
She had plans to deal with her hurt in the wrong way.

The right way to deal with hurt is FORGIVENESS! Forgiveness will keep you out of the worst prison!

“I gave my father $100 and said, ‘Buy yourself something that will make your life easier.’ So he went out and bought a present for my mother.”

—Rita Rudner

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant, I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

—Mark Twain

“A father carries pictures where his money used to be.”

— Steve Martin

Greeting cards are the number one gift item on Father’s Day, with most popular card being “Dad from Daughter”.
MCOG Teen Talent Winner Kalia Kelly will be singing on Sunday evening.

MCOG Sanctuary Choir will be singing Tuesday evening at 7:00.
We want share exciting news about how the Lord is leading us into the season ahead. Last June, we announced that we were planning to move overseas again to preach the Gospel, make disciples and advance the Lord's Kingdom there. 

However, in the following months Alison and I continued to pray for the Lord's guidance for our next assignment in missions. We reflected on how, over the years, He had placed a burden on our hearts for other countries as well. The Lord began to reveal to us His desire for Alison and I to have an international influence, training and equipping current and future Go To Nations missionaries, not just in a specific nation, but around the globe.

We kept praying and meeting virtually with our leaders to discuss what the Lord has been showing us. They shared with us that Go To Nations' executive leadership has been praying for someone to serve at World Headquarters to take on the vital role of training and developing our missionaries, helping them grow in their calling and capacity in leadership. After more prayer and discussion, we agreed that this is the door that He is opening for us to fulfill our vision. We are moving to Jacksonville, Florida and have accepted the role of Leadership Development Directors at Go To Nations World Headquarters! 

We want you to know that you are so loved and appreciated by our family, and we pray for the blessings and presence of God to reign in your lives, now and always!

Nathan & Alison Atwood

Mother's Day is always special and this year was no exception. Lighted Angel figurines were given to all the ladies present.

Three special ladies took home a special gift:

  • Abby Salsedo - "Most children present under 12".
  • Joyce Deason - "Mother that has lived in the same house the longest amount of time".
  • Jessica Dowling - "Mother who has a child that traveled the furthest to be with her in service today".
The dedication of Tiberius Froger
Luke 18:16

16 Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

We are looking for an associate minister, possibly someone retired and looking for a place to continue to use their gifts without the pressure of pastoring.
Or, maybe someone who is looking to the future to be groomed as a pastor and a place to serve.

We will be glad to discuss compensation.
Contact the pastor if interested: rdbrackett@matthewscog.org

“It used to be called the Lord's Day, now it is the weekend and if we group all holidays on weekends the devil will have scored another move against Sunday worship.”

― Vance Havner
The 1st Lady announced that this year's MCOG VBS will be unique in that we are having it only one day. (My kind of school, Jethro Bodine Style!)

"Concrete & Cranes" is this year's theme and it will be held on Saturday, July 17 from 9 am to 2 pm.

There will be a ton of fun and learning packed into these five hours. Mark your calendars now, it will be here before you know it!

There was a fellow who was about to jump from a bridge. An alert police officer slowly and methodically moved toward him, talking with him all the time. When the officer got within inches of the man he said, “Surely nothing could be bad enough for you to take your life. Tell me about it. Talk to me.” The would-be jumper told how his wife had left him, how his business had gone bankrupt, and how his friends had deserted him. Everything in life had lost meaning. For thirty minutes he told the sad story—then they both jumped.
Matthews Church of God
517 E John St.
Matthews, NC 28105