Friday, March 8, 2013

The Foundation of Ministry


For the month March, I am studying Jesus as seen through the eyes of Mark.  As a part of this study, I am also reading N.T. Wright’s book called Simply Jesus.

As I began reading in Mark, I was surprised to see how many different ways that Jesus ministered.  You see Jesus actively loving people in word and deed.  He confronts evil as it is manifested in people’s attitudes and in the demon world.  He engages those who are sick and heals them.  Jesus teaches with authority that captures people’s attention.   To say the least, He is involved in heavy duty ministry that can suck the life out of you.  In the midst of His ministry, you see Jesus retreat for solitude and prayer.  That time in prayer is the secret of powerful and effective ministry.  If our Lord needed that time, we definitely need to make time for prayer.   If we want powerful and effective ministry, it will begin on our knees.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

For Such a Time as This


I just finished studying the book of Esther in February.  Here are a few lessons I learned as I studied.

  • The name of God is not mentioned in the book of Esther.  However, you see God working throughout the book.  Just because God remains anonymous doesn’t mean He is not working.  Keep your eyes open because that coincidence may be God remaining anonymous.  
  • Mordecai’s conviction of not bowing to Haman got him in trouble.  Doing the right things is not easy, and it is not always rewarded.  In the end, Mordecai saw justice.  We must do the right thing even though it is not always rewarded here on earth.
  • The fate of the Jewish people rested on Esther.  It must have been rewarding for Mordecai to see his cousin that he raised rise to the occasion and bring deliverance for their people.  Are we laying a foundation in our children that will stand?
  • Esther took a stand and did the right thing even though it could have led to her death.  What she did is still remembered today in the Jewish celebration of Purim.  When you stand with God, you do something that will last.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Obeying God's Plan For Your Money - Part 2

Have a Plan for Your Money - A budget is a plan for your money.  It should be based on your income and not your desires.  If you are getting to the end of your money before the end of the month, it time to adjust your budget or to begin budgeting.  There are three important building blocks to every budget: 1) Your expenses must not exceed your income.  If your expenses are greater than your income, you must find a way to decrease your expenses or increase your income. 2) You need to have an emergency fund of at least $1,000 to help you deal with budget busters.  3) We must give back to God and honor Him with our money. 
Test God with Your Giving - In Malachi 3:8-12, God tells us to test Him by tithing or giving 10%.  This is part of being a good steward.  Remember, all we have is on loan from God.  If he asks for 10%, a good steward will give it back to Him.  There is a promise of blessing if we will obey and tithe.  The blessings

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Obeying God's Plan For Your Money - Part 1



A couple of weeks ago, I preached on obeying God’s plan for our money.  There was such a positive response on that sermon that I wanted to include some of the notes in my blog.  This will be done in two parts.
Be a Good Steward - It all begins with us realizing that we are stewards of what God has loaned us.  Our goal is to be like the good stewards in Matthew 25:14-30.  They multiplied what their master gave them.  God expects us to use what He has given us to grow His kingdom.  When we use what He has given us properly, He will say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Remember, a steward does what the master wants.  If we are going to be good stewards, we will need to study God’s Word to learn His desires for what He has loaned us.
Serve God and not Money - Jesus says, “You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)  Proverbs 22:7 tells us that the borrower will be a servant to the lender.  Through credit and debt, we are  in bondage for years and pay end up paying a huge fine through the interest.  We now have three classes of people - the haves, the have nots, and those who have not paid for what they have.  Many people are buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know or like.  The best place to begin eliminating debt is with high interest credit card debt. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Any Interest?

Dave Ramsey says we need to “act our wage.”  That is a powerful statement that we all need to learn.  Credit allows us not to act our wage.  We need to understand that credit keeps us from knowing how far past broke we are.  Credit is like having a gas gauge on your car that is stuck at half of a tank.  Even though the gauge says you have gas, you will be walking soon.  Think about all the good things the church could do if we had the money Christ-followers were paying in interest.  Instead of giving the money to banks, we could be feeding the hungry, helping the poor, and reaching those that need Jesus.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Focused



Are you focused on what you have or what you don’t have?  If you focus on your wants, you will never have enough.  If you focus on the needs of others, you will discover that you have more than enough to share.  If you focus on today, you will try to hang on to everything you have.  When you focus on eternity, the things of this world don’t seem important.  

My prayer is that through Cannonball each of us will have a proper focus.  
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:18

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Our Treasure and Our Heart


"Our use of money shows what we think of God."  
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21