The Secret to Abundant Living

This past Sunday we picked back up our series, Live Big. In this journey we are talking about how we can live with the abundance God has for us in Christ. And the particular lens we are using to understand that is our finances. The first thing we need to understand if we are going to live big with respect to our finances is how God thinks about them. This and the implications of His thinking are what this message is all about. Thanks for reading and sharing.

The Secret to Abundant Living

Preachers–especially Baptist preachers–have a stereotype when it comes to their preaching. Most notably, when they preach, they only ever talk about two things: Hell and money. Well, today I’m going to play to a stereotype, and we’re not talking about anyone’s eternal destination. Cards on the table out of the gate here: We’re going to talk about money. Specifically, we are going to talk about giving. I’m not really sorry about it either. I mean, it had to happen at some point, right? The Scriptures talk about giving, so we were bound to come across the topic eventually. We’ve talked about it before—although it’s been a little while. We might as well do it today. After all, I told you two weeks ago when we were virtual that we were going to start talking about our finances as part of our new teaching series, Live Big. And if you’re going to talk about giving at all in a sermon series, you might as well put it right at the beginning to get the uncomfortable stuff out of the way right out of the gate. 

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Morning Musing: Proverbs 17:28

“Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent – discerning, when he seals his lips.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Most mornings when I sit down to write, I have a pretty good idea of what I will be writing about. I make it a point to be in the Scriptures every day, and as I read and study, when something catches my eye, I write a little blurb that gives me enough to go on later. Those blurbs get saved in the notes section of my Bible app (the YouVersion Bible App whose website is here) and become the kernels of ideas that get fleshed out into blogs later. Sometimes what you are seeing on here is an idea I first had two or three weeks prior. Fridays, though, have become days to reflect more intentionally on where the Scriptures intersect with culture, usually in the form of a review of a recent TV series or movie I’ve watched. This morning I’m going to shake things up. While I am still planning on writing up a review of the latest Spider-Man movie, and had initially planned on that being today, this morning, I’m hopefully excited about NFL Playoff Football this weekend. Here are a few fun thoughts I’ve had this week with all of that in mind.

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Morning Musing: Acts 17:26-27

“From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever felt like you were searching for God? Maybe that’s too on the nose right out of the gate, especially if you’re not really much of a Jesus person. Have you ever felt like you were searching for something in life? Perhaps you were simply looking for more out of life. All people everywhere and in all times have a built-in awareness that there is more to life than our normal get-up-go-to-work-go-home-to-bed-and-do-it-again-the-next-day routine. But we don’t always have a clear sense of what this more should be. This morning, with the help of Paul’s attempt to teach a group of Greek intellectuals this same idea, let’s talk about what this more might be for you.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 12:2

“…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Think for a minute about the last time you had to do something you really didn’t want to do. How was that experience for you? Enjoyable? Boring? Unbearably awful? How did it leave you feeling afterwards? Were you glad you did it? Were you grateful it was over? Did you regret you had to give any of your precious time to it? Sometimes in life we have to do things that aren’t our first choice. Occasionally they are our last choice. And then there are times we face the prospect of doing that and God is the one leading us to do it. Not wanting to do something God has called us to do may bring guilt – especially in light of what we see in this verse – but let’s take a look at it this morning because there’s something here we don’t want to miss.

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Morning Musing: Philippians 1:12-14

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do you do when things aren’t going like you planned? Maybe you’re the kind of person who is able to fairly well roll with it. But I suspect you are at least a little disappointed in that moment. Perhaps, though, “a little disappointed” doesn’t really cover it for you. Rolling with it isn’t a resource in your repertoire. This may be especially true when your plans were to help someone else or do something good. In that moment, you’re ready to simply throw up your hands and give up. Paul, here, though, offers us another approach to consider.

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