Minding Your Means

As we continue in our series, Live Big, this week we are talking about how to live our lives in such a way that we can be generous and save wisely and thus use the resources God has given us in a way that is consistent with His own plans for them. Doing this will unlock the abundance He desires for us to enjoy. And how is it that we must live? Within our means. But you already knew that. What we are talking about here will take us to the heart of that challenge so that we can understand what has to be in place first if we are to do it at all. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Minding Your Means

Have you ever met the Joneses? That’s not really a terribly common name around these parts, so you may not have. I grew up with some Jonases (not the brothers), but I haven’t known many Joneses over the years. But they must be doing pretty well because a lot of people live their lives trying to keep up with them. Or, at least, that’s what we’re told. We hear often about keeping up with the Joneses. The Joneses always seem to have just a little bit more than you do. You have a big screen TV. Theirs is bigger. You have a new house. Theirs is newer. They bought their boat just before you did. They showed off their new golf cart to the neighborhood a few weeks before yours arrived. Their kids do more activities than yours do and they’re better at them too. Of course, that’s because they can afford the extra private coaching sessions with the local former-pro. You try to do some exercise occasionally so you can maintain roughly the same shape as your current wardrobe. They run marathons four times a year. You aim to eat and feed your kids somewhere in the region of healthy at least a couple of meals during the week. All you ever hear about from them is how they are enjoying whatever the latest health food craze happens to be for dinner each night. And to top it all off, their kids eat all their vegetables without an argument. The Joneses are just hard to keep up with.

And yet…

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Distracted

This past Sunday was a special one for us to celebrate our great men and the work they are doing to advance God’s kingdom. With this in mind, here is a special reflection on how we can stay focused on the mission God has given us to accomplish. This reflection comes from the life of Nehemiah. Enjoy.

Distracted

I want to try something with you this morning. I want for us to do a little prayer exercise together. It’s going to require that we all be really quiet and focus our attention entirely in one direction for a few moments. Think we can do it? It’s at least worth a try, right? Okay, let’s see if we can do this for one minute. I’ll keep tabs on the time for us. For one minute I want all of us to pray together, and seek what God has to share with us this morning. Are you ready? Let’s go. 

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All Fired Up

This week we kick off a brand-new teaching series called, A Heavy Load. So often, as we go through this life, we seek to do it on our own. We try and solve our own problems. We overcome our own challenges. We bear our own burdens. And at least in this culture, we’re taught to do just that. If you can’t manage your own stuff, what good are you anyway? But doing life on our own gets heavy after all. The weight of it all can begin to drag on our lives in all kinds of ways that add up and have an impact over time. The better approach is to quit trying to do life on our own and start doing it with Jesus. Over the next five weeks we are going to look at four specific loads we try and bear on our own, why that doesn’t work, and why doing life with Jesus is better. Then, in the final part, we’ll explore just why exactly life is so much better with Jesus. You won’t want to miss a single part of this conversation. Thanks for reading and sharing.

All Fired Up

I want you to do some remembering with me for just a minute this morning. I want you to think back to the last time you were genuinely angry about something that did not impact you directly and over which you had no control. If that seems oddly specific, there’s a reason for it which we’ll get to in a little bit. I’m not thinking about that time you saw something that was mildly irritating on one social media platform or another. I’m talking about the time you were angry – really and truly angry – but the object of your ire was not something that was having any sort of a direct impact on your life, and you weren’t really able to meaningfully do anything about it anyway. 

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A Note on Being the Church

We’ve talked about connecting and we’ve talked about growing in Christ. But those two cannot be the end of our journey as followers of Jesus. They certainly weren’t the end of His. And they aren’t the end of who we were created to be as a church. This week we talked about one last, but critically important, part of our God-given identity: Reaching. Why do we reach out and what can that look like here? Read on to find out.

A Note on Being the Church

Have you ever played capture the flag? When we had P.E. in grade school, that was always one of my favorite games. We consistently played it in the gym. The P.E. teacher, Mr. Wilson, put a line of cones down the middle of the floor and split the class into two teams. On each side there was a zone of cones that was the jail and a zone that was where the flag stayed. The goal, of course, was to get the other team’s flag and make it back across the line to your side without getting tagged. The slowest people in the class always got stuck guarding the jail and the flag itself. The fastest group was tasked with getting the other team’s flag. We would line up along the halfway line in various places, trying to spread the other team’s defense as thinly as we could. Some of the group would be sent as decoys – guys we knew were going to get caught in order to distract the flag watchers and jail keepers which in turn created an opening around the flag. Once you made it into the flag box you were safe for the moment. The next trick was figuring out how to escape back to your side. I don’t know that we ever put that much strategy into things. We just ran around until the game was over. 

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Live Like It’s True

Have you ever had someone be really unkind to you and then expect you to listen to what they had to say? I suspect you weren’t quite as interested at that point as they wanted you to be. There’s a lesson here when it comes to sharing our faith. As we continue in our series, Tell Someone, instead of turning to tips and tricks for effective evangelism, we’re taking a pause to talk about something we have to have in place before we start doing it (and I’m not talking about prayer). What is this thing? Read on to find out.

Live Like It’s True

In a headline that grabbed not a little attention a couple of weeks ago, the Gallup polling organization released a survey on religious participation in the United States. They found that for the first time since the organization began tracking this particular bit of data in 1937, church membership had fallen below 50% of the population. In other words, for the first time…perhaps in our entire history…less than half of the country reports being a member of a church. The problem runs deeper than just that, though. These folks who are leaving behind their church membership are overwhelmingly not just leaving that behind, they are abandoning the Christian faith entirely.

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