Month: November 2008

The Joy of Sacrifice

Most people do not equate sacrifice with joy, but it is possible to combine the two. It is especially possible for followers of Jesus because our very redemption was made possible by the ultimate sacrifice at the cross.

 

For the past few weeks, I have been encouraging our church to give a sacrificial offering to help repair some vital parts of our campus. We are also taking 20% of the funds and investing in the poor and needy of our city. Because of the economy, many people will only be able to give a small amount and that will be a real sacrifice. Others can give large gifts and that will also be a sacrifice. The most important thing any of us can give God is our heart. That is the real miracle of sacrificial giving.

 

Pam and I have given sacrificially in the past and we now realize that a great deal  of our spiritual maturity and growth came during these times of giving what I call “painful offerings.” The last stronghold in most of our hearts is finances.  Mammon tells us we need more money and that more money could solve our problems. Of course, what all of us need is not more money, but more of God.

 

This weekend, I am most interested in the transformation of people’s hearts, not just the renovation of  a building.  We are eternal beings, buildings are temporary. Pam and I will pray, and ask God for an amount to give. Most likely, the amount will require a great deal of faith for us to actually give it. The joy comes when we obey and allow Him to change us from the inside out. 

Share this:

Looking Ahead

By this time next year, I believe at least 100 orphans from the Colorado foster system will be adopted into families at New Life Church. This will be the beginning of our church rediscovering God’s heart for the poor, the widows and the orphans. In fact, I believe that across America, the local church is about to rise up and take responsibility for the poor of our cities and communities. I can sense that a new awakening is happening in the hearts of believers. Our mission is about to become clearer and more defined than ever.

 

New Life is no different than many congregations. We have immediate needs for new staff and we need immediate repairs for many parts of our campus.  It is so easy, though, to focus so much on buildings and ministries that we forget the real reason for church in the first place. In Acts 2 and Acts 4, the recipe for church was simple – meet together, worship together, honor the sacraments of communion and baptism, teach scripture, pray fervently and bring offerings so that the needs of people could be met. I am not opposed to building buildings or repairing old ones. We just cannot lose our focus in the process.

 

In two weeks, we are receiving a special offering to renovate our campus. But, we are also setting aside 20% of everything we receive to renovate our community and to help the poor and needy. It helps us stay focused on the real mission. I am excited about this new awakening that is happening at New Life and around the country. The church is to be salt and light and I am convinced more than ever that many congregations, including New Life, are on the threshold of unprecedented influence. Let’s get back to the original recipe of local church and allow God’s glory to spread throughout the earth.

Share this:

What Happens When Your Guy Loses?

 

48% of Americans woke up this morning disappointed in last night’s election results. It is certainly ok to be disappointed, but I did notice that the sun rose right on schedule and will most likely show up tomorrow as well.  I was hoping for a different outcome on several elections and ballot issues, and I am disappointed. However, I am not in despair. Sitting in my office, I opened my bible and read the passage that Paul wrote to the church of Corinth. It is a good reminder to me this morning.

 

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT

Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And everything you do must be done with love.

 

Be on guard.

We must be on guard against anger, criticism and anything that could corrupt our hearts. There will be many voices in the next few days predicting gloom and despair. Proverbs 18:21 says there is life and death in the power of our tongues. As followers of Christ, we are called to speak life to our country. We are not called to predict its death. I say our country will be blessed and continue to be a beacon of light to the rest of the world. I believe our country will turn its heart to Christ and great numbers of people will discover God’s grace.

Stand true to what you believe.

I have principles that govern my life and my family. I decided long ago that I would not negotiate with anyone on these principles. The phrase “stand firm” is found eight times in the New Testament because first century believers knew firsthand the opposition and death they faced for believing in Jesus. I have finally concluded that not everyone will love or even respect me for what I believe. Still, I will stand true to what I believe. I believe that Jesus is the son of God who came to the earth and died for my sins and then was resurrected. I believe in the authority and truth of Scripture. I believe love is more powerful than hate and I believe God is stronger than my enemies. I believe the local church is the hope of the world and that my marriage to Pam is for a lifetime. None of these things are negotiable to me.

Be courageous.

Courage happens when faith replaces fear and hope replaces despair. I am not courageous because I believe so much in myself. I am courageous because of my dad in heaven. I remember as a little boy how protected and safe I felt when my dad was near me. The schoolyard bullies did not seem so intimidating and the night did seem so dark when he was around. Today, my God is near me and I feel safe. Therefore, I am courageous.

 

Be strong.

God does not have a problem with strong Christians. He actually prefers them. Weak and passive believers have rarely made a difference in the culture. Our world needs us to be strong. We should share our views in the public square. We should certainly take a stand on moral issues, especially to protect the unborn, to defend the widows and orphans and to help the poor. Of course, we are strongest when we give God control of our lives. When we are weak, then He is strong in us and through us.

 

Everything you do must be done with love.

 

God loves strong believers, but has zero tolerance for mean ones. “Everything” means “everything”. The world is watching us right now to see if we will attack. Instead, let’s choose to serve humanity, not curse them. Love wins every time. I am convinced that grace and kindness makes up the mortar that builds and sustains the Kingdom of God on the earth. Loving God and loving our neighbors is still the sum of all the law and the greatest of all commandments.

 

God bless our country and God bless our new president. I pray the Holy Spirit would guide and direct him every day as he tackles the issues that face our country.

Share this:

© 2017

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑