Monthly Archives: February 2011

ABC’s of Giving

“Stewardship” means: using God given abilities to manage God given resources, to accomplish God ordained results.  Stewardship is about having the HEART OF STEWARDSHIP. In other words, good stewardship is a matter of ATTITUDE that stands behind your giving and your service.

It’s not what you give or what you do for God, it’s WHY you do it.
If you give money with a wrong attitude… you’re not being a good steward.
If you do ministry with a wrong attitude… you’re not being a good steward.

The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 is a parable about the attitude of stewardship. There are three attitudes on display here… and many people exhibit 1 of these 3:

1) What’s YOURS is MINE and I’m going to take it.

The thieves on the road in vs 30 who robbed and beat him. That’s not an attitude we’d approve of. In fact, even the world understands this is wrong.  Yet, how many times do we want what someone else has?

2) What’s MINE is MINE and I’m going to keep it. Who does Jesus say passed by this man in the ditch in vs 31-32? A Levite and a Pharisee, these were religious leaders. These were the volunteers in their church. They were trained to serve God – But they’re not going to do anything for the beaten man.

3) What’s MINE is YOURS – I’ll share it with you. This Samaritan was not “trained in ministry”, yet he enters the story in vs 33-37 and changed everything. The Samaritan was probably not any wealthier than the Levite or Pharisee. This Samaritan probably had other things to do in his life. And yet, he stopped where the others walked on by.

You know what a “steward” is? A steward is someone who takes care of something for someone else. If you’re a steward.. you don’t own what you have. So, if I’m going to be a “steward for God” I need to make up my mind that I don’t own…

  • My Time
  • My Money
  • My Possessions
  • My Relationships

Questions: What have I been holding on to that really belongs to God?

Advertisements

Package

Package   by Jason Exley

 

Recently I got a package notice from the post office. Because I was not expecting a package, I thought, “Oh no, it’s probably a package from some company that I will not want, so I will have to go to the trouble of sending it back …

Later that day a good friend mentioned to me that I should be getting something in the mail from him. Well, my attitude about the package waiting for me at the post office changed immediately because I now knew who had sent it! I was excited to see what it was, so I went expectantly to the post office as soon as I could.

Later that evening I had a thought … In life there are many unexpected packages. Some I like and others I don’t. I have come to realize that no matter what comes, God is in control.

Even in moments of despair in the past, when I would have loved to have written, “RETURN TO SENDER”, I have survived and even come to a point of anticipating the future because I chose to focus on the Sender, and on the knowledge that God does love me and really does know and care about my life’s circumstances. Sometimes I have doubted but in those moments I always come back to the cross as the ultimate proof of God’s love. Jesus died for me, he proved his love. The words of Romans 8:28 are profound: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”

Questions:

What are the packages you hold today? Can you trust that God does have a plan? What about writing Him a thank you note?

 

What’s Up With Worship Anyway?

Ever stopped and asked yourself why do we worship God?  What’s the deal with worship?  Psalm 100 gives us reasons for worshipping God.
WE SHOULD WORSHIP GOD BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS vs 3 – Know that the Lord, he is God! When I truly “know” something, I have a heart-felt conviction that I know it. If I know that the Lord is God, I am thoroughly convinced in my heart, and wouldn’t dare worship anyone or anything but Him. So I would ask you who is God to you?

WE SHOULD WORSHIP GOD BECAUSE OF WHAT HE HAS DONE vs 3 – It is he who made us, we are his; You wouldn’t be here if God hadn’t created you. Nothing would be here if God hadn’t created it. If we had no other reason to worship God, and there are many other reasons, we are obligated to worship Him, because we are creatures, we are creations, but HE IS CREATOR! Do you have some one else in mind that you would want to be your creator?

WE SHOULD WORSHIP GOD BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE vs 3 – we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.. Not everyone can worship God for these reasons. Everyone one can worship God as creator. Not everyone can worship God because they are His people and sheep. Our heart should overflow with thanksgiving and worship for the sacrifice God did to include us into his family.

WE SHOULD WORSHIP GOD BECAUSE OF WHAT WE ARE ABLE TO DO vs 4 – Enter his gates with thanksgiving; and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. We choose to enter His gates, His house, and His presence. We choose to give thanksgiving to Him. It may not be a natural reaction, but we actively choose to give Him praise. We choose to bless His name. We also can choose to do nothing.

WE SHOULD WORSHIP GOD BECAUSE OF WHAT HE IS LIKE vs 5 – For the Lord is good; You have life because the Lord is good. You have eternal life, if you know Jesus as Savior, because the Lord is good. Your every day needs are met because the Lord is good. You have answers to prayer because the Lord is good. You have the beauty of creation because the Lord is good. There is truth and righteousness because the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting; It began before the foundation of the world. It will continue throughout all eternity.

WE SHOULD WORSHIP GOD BECAUSE of who He is, what he has done, who we are, what we are able to do and what he is like.

Father’s Day

1 Thessalonians 2:10-12: “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

Dads, I Thessalonians 2:10-12 gives us 10 ways we want to say thanks to you today:

1) Thanks for being a good example

2) Thanks for caring for your kids

3) Thanks for encouraging your kids

4) Thanks for comforting your kids

5) Thanks for urging your kids to go deep with God

6) Thanks for not exasperating your kids

7) Thanks for bringing your kids up to believe

8 ) Thanks for disciplining your kids

9) Thanks for teaching your children

10) Thanks for having a heart for your kids

I hope you can make an A+ looking at that list that Paul gives us.  If not, it’s a great list to start working on.

Generations – by Jason Exley

Judges 2:10 paints a picture that may be prophetic of the state of the church today: “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel.” These findings from Thom Ranier in his book The Bridger Generation, show the decline of evangelical Christianity among each successive generation. Here’s the percentage of born again believers in each generation:

* Builders (born 1927-1945) – 65% actively have a faith in God

* Boomers (born 1946-1964) – 35% actively have a faith in God

* Busters (born 1965-1976) – 16% actively have a faith in God

* Bridgers (born 1977-1994) – 4% actively have a faith in God

Here’s what strikes me about these numbers. If it’s true that many “Builders” and “Boomers” have a vibrant faith, then it’s imperative that the older generation look for ways to intentionally pass along their faith to “Busters” and “Bridgers.” Before passing on, make sure you pass it on by leaving a legacy.

The character of our children tomorrow depends on what we put in their hearts today. If we expect the younger generation to grow spiritually, those of us who are older must pass on what we possess.

We’re committed to how we can do a better job of connecting and equipping families by having a vision for the next 100 years whereby one generation tells the next which passes it on to the one not yet born.  Will you fall in love with God so much that you are an instrument to pass it on to the next generation?

 

Water Walking 101

WATER WALKING 101 by Jason Exley

Last week we started talking about Peter taking a RISK and stepping out of the boat and he walked on water.  As I reflect on that, I wonder what keeped the other 11 disciples from stepping out of the boat.  Perhaps it was because of fear, and maybe that’s where you are at.  Or maybe because they liked the safety and certainty of the floating boat as opposed to the uncertainty of the water.  The other 11 disciples were content with the safety of the boat, but look at what they were missing.  A chance to walk on the water with Jesus.

I read this week that, “you can live on bland food so as to avoid an ulcer; drink no tea or coffee or other stimulants, in the name of health; go to bed early and stay away from night life; avoid all controversial subjects so as never to give offense; mind your own business and avoid involvement in other people’s problems; spend money only on necessities and save all you can. You can still break your neck in the bathtub, and it will serve you right.”

Peter took a risk getting out of a boat, but it wasn’t a rash decision, it was a calculated risk. God doesn’t want us to take unnecessary risk, but steps of faith that is based on wisdom and understanding. Now I want you to notice a few things Peter did here. First, Peter sought the will of Christ first. Matt 14:28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

Peter didn’t just hop out of the boat; he sought Christ out first and said You tell me to do it.

He did not make a rash decision; it was a calculated step of faith.

Now the second thing that Peter did is that he wasn’t going out there alone. He said Jesus; tell me to come to You! He wanted to make sure Jesus was going to be right there with him. You know, risks are always easier to make when you have someone with you. It somehow helps us to know that we are not alone.

Question:

Will the chance to join Jesus where he is working ever be enough for you to step out of the boat and take a RISK?

Stewardship is Lordship

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.

Normally when we think of stewardship, we consider it merely as a matter of our giving of money to God through the church. While giving our tithes and offerings is an important aspect of stewardship – stewardship is more than just giving money.

Stewardship is the way I handle those things in my life that God has given me … the management of my God-given resources for His glory and for the good of others. Stewardship is a reflection of my relationship to God. As I observe the truths contained in Proverbs 3, I see a pattern for stewardship that shouts loud and clearly “Stewardship is Lordship!”

1) My Heart is His Heart – Trust in the Lord with all your heart

At the heart of every true act of stewardship, every work of ministry, every acceptable act of worship is the heart, a heart close to God.

2) My Mind is His Mind – Lean not on your own understanding

Stewardship involves God working through us.  Tozer said it this way, “To do his gracious work God must have the intelligent cooperation of his people.”

3) My Ways are His Ways – In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.

There is grace, peace and safety when you are living in the center of God’s will for yoru life.  Is the direction of your life consistent with the direction that God wants for your life?

Question: Is your heart, His heart? Is your mind, His mind? Are your ways, His ways?