Tag Archives: finances

Missions, Buildings, and Growth

Missions, Buildings, and Growth

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

Does our giving money to missions have a direct impact on the blessings of God on a local church?  Does our involvement in missions have a impression on our own church growth?  I would suggest they are probably very much connected.

As the Apostle Paul was commending the Philippian Christians for their faithful financial support the Lord tells him to add this truth: “I will supply your need.”  The church had support Paul for a long time and have given sacrificially.  In some instances, they were the only ones who were helping Paul on his mission trips.  Paul is thankful and says that “fruit has been added to their account.”  Because they gave to missions – God promised to supply all the needs they had.

God met the needs of the individuals, the families, and the church – because they trusted God and used their resources to propagate the Gospel into all the world through their missionary – Paul.

I recently read about one pastor who had challenged his church in missions giving and the promises made on the faith promise cards were the most ever received in that church.  The church was in a life stage of growth and was needing new land and was hoping to build a new building on the land.  But the pastor knew they could not stop going with the Gospel or stop sending missionaries.  It would be understandable to focus only on your church and the needs that you have.  He understood the church needed to remain committed to gospel missions.

The week after the promises came in, a deacon came to him and said, “I found the land.” After months searching for the right piece of land, they found 15 acres.

The pastor said, “I have asked for the people to give so much to missions, I can’t go ask them for more right now.”  Perhaps other preachers reading this have been there too.  I have.

Around Washington DC, the land is expensive.  It is probably expensive where you live too!  $3 million was needed for that land.  The deacon said, “I will buy the land and give it to the church.”  Incredible.

The pastor wrote that he believed that because the church was faithful to support missions that God, in turn, provided them their new place of worship.

We are blessed to partner with several missionaries and have committed to pray for and send finances to help them further the Gospel into their part of the world.

As we make “Faith Promises” to God about missions giving, please remember God’s promise to “Supply your every need.”  It will affect your life, and our church in a positive way.

I look forward to the day the Lord supplies our new building.  He already gave us the land!  Praise the Lord for that.  Let’s keep giving the Gospel here – and abroad thorough our missionaries.  Let’s see our faith increase during mission conference.

 

 

 

Story found in Bud Calvert’s book: “God’s Passion.”

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

3 Lessons From George Washington

Recently I have been reading about the life of George Washington.  His incredible story continues to motivate and shape the direction of many people today.  His famous speech delivered to The Continental Congress, once nominated to be the first Commander in Chief, is worth repeating today for its sincerity and humility.

He said in part:  “But, lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered, by every Gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the Command I am honored with.”

His speech echoes what Paul wrote in Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 

So what does the newly appointed general do as he sets out to create an army and organize a rag-tag group of farmers and family men into an army to fight England?  He does three things from which we can learn from today and apply to our spiritual lives.

  1. He orders new uniforms.  Since the British uniforms are red, he chooses blue for the American “patriots.”   Identifying what side you are on is good for battles and for the spiritual battle we are in as Christians.   What team are you on?  Jesus said in Luke 11:23, He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.  Is it clear to yourself and to those around you that you are a Christian?  I think of being baptized and then being faithful in the life of your church as a sort of uniform that everyone can see.  Have you followed the Lord in believer’s baptism after you received Jesus for salvation?  And is your participation in church life a definite mark that you are on “Team Jesus?”  Do you “gather” with Jesus or scatter?
  2. The second thing Washington does is write up a will.  He ensures that his wife and other relatives know what to do in the event that he does not come back from battle.  Certainly a will is good financial advice for us and we should have wills in place today.  In a more practical way, Washington revealed by planning a will that he was ready to give his life for his country.  Truly, our lives are also on the line because we love Jesus.  in Luke 9:23, Jesus is teaching and says, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  No matter the cost: job, finances, business, friendships, relationships, fame, athletics, art, etc. We should be willing to lay all that aside for Jesus.  Washington was “All In.”  Are you “All In” in your walk and worship of Jesus?
  3. General Washington also ordered copies of several military books.  Getting a uniform for the troops was not going to be enough to win against the British.  He needed to read about military tactics and disciplines for soldiers, etc.  He studied what he needed to know to be as successful as humanly possible in his undertaking of being the Commander in Chief.  I wonder if you and I read and study as much as we should to be successful in the Christian life?  Paul told Timothy to study the Word.  2 Timothy 2:15 commands, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

There are many good books that are Bible based to help with areas of life in which all of us need help!  Here are several examples to take to heart and consider:

  • Books for relationships; how to be a good friend, what to look for in a potential mate, what does the Bible teach about dating, etc.
  • Books for marriage; communication, commitment, intimacy, and more.
  • Books for parenting; developing your child in adolescence, spiritual formation, parenting with purpose, and gaining the heart of your teenager.
  • Books for teens; there are many good books I recommend you to have you tween and teenagers read as they begin to navigate choices, friendships, and the opposite gender!
  • Books for growth; so many good books have been written on prayer, Bible Study, and how to have  closer walk with the Lord.  Daily devotional books, Christian magazines, and other Christian books should be something that we utilize.
  • Books for finances; most people could have more money and do more good with money if they knew the best ways to manage it.  A person who is not disciplined enough to read a book about fiances is probably not going to be disciplined enough with his money to be considered by God a “good steward.”  Convicting thought.

Some people do not like to read.  Most of us fight the natural response to “study.”  Study is hard work.  Study does require reading.  If Washington took his role so serious that he ordered some books to improve his skills, certainly, we can follow his example to read a few books a year to further develop our Christianity, our home life, and the direction of our life.  After all, when you really think about it – we are in a battle too.  A Spiritual Battle.

Ultimately, the underdog Americans won against the superior forces of England because it was the will of God.  In incredible ways from the timing of travel to the delay of weather, to the involvement of other nations, and even the apathy of some of the British towards the Patriots, the Lord caused a nation to be born.  Many Americans were praying.  The leaders were seeking the Lord.  God did the impossible and He accomplished His will through George Washington and others who were willing to be in the right place at the right time.  God can use humble people.  God will continue use people who are willing to learn, grow, and take serious the Christian life – to perform His will even today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Financial Freedom PART 1

Finding Financial Freedom.  PART 1
Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. Psalm 62:10

“A father gave his little girl two dollars and said, “You can do anything you want with one of the dollars, but the other dollar belongs to God.” With joy she ran to the candy store. On the way she tripped and one dollar fell into the storm drain. She got up and said, “Well Lord, there goes Your dollar.” -Min127
Last time, we learned in 1 Peter about our inheritance and tremendous wealth we have in Jesus. Sadly, we can be so focused what we do not have (by way of material things) that we lose sight of how the Lord has blessed us.
Others are not good stewards of what God has entrusted. I would like to bring a message today to help you go beyond “scratching out” a living and living “pay check to pay check.”
These Bible principles when faithfully followed will change your financial situation and enable you to use your earthly money for heavenly good.

Making more money is not the issue…
“A very large number (78%) of former NFL players are broke or financially stressed after retirement, and 60% of former NBA players go broke five years after retiring, according to Sports Illustrated.”

They go on to say: “Broke athletes are practically an epidemic.”  The following data is quoted from: http://www.businesspundit.com/25-rich-athletes-who-went-broke/26/

Evander Holyfield
4-time Heavyweight Champion of the World

Estimated lifetime earnings: $250 million
He had a deal with Diet Coke, a video game, the “Real deal” record label, the “Real Deal” grill, and appeared in numerous TV appearances and 3 films. Then, there was the dancing thing. One wonders how Holyfied had time to lose money. The answer: Children. Holyfield fathered 11 of them.
“I’m not broke; I’m just not liquid,” 45-year-old Holyfield claimed when he narrowly avoided charges that he was around $9,000 behind in court-ordered child support payments. The banks foreclosed on his $10 million-dollar home. Even a landscaping firm says the former champ owes them $500k for yard work. Ever since Tyson bit his ear off, it seems everyone wants a piece of the Champ.

 

Johnny Unitas
Hall of Fame quarterback, 3-time MVP, Superbowl champion, 10-time Pro Bowl selection

Estimated lifetime earnings: $4 million

Widely considered one the best pro football QBs of all time, Johnny Unitas set several records that may never be beaten on the football field, like 47 games with a touchdown pass in a row.
He starred in professional football before salaries were measured in millions. His yearly contracts ranged from $7,000, his first in 1956 with the Colts, to $250,000 plus a $175,000 bonus in his last one with the San Diego Chargers in 1973.
After his playing days, he made some money as a TV commentator for CBS. He also invested in tanked business ventures, including a chain of bowling establishments, a prime-rib restaurant, an air-freight company, and Florida real estate investment. He and his wife, Sandra Unitas, filed for personal bankruptcy protection in 1991 after investing in a failed Reisterstown circuit-board manufacturer. He died 11 years later with a lawsuit from his estate hanging over all of his businesses.

Scottie Pippen
All Star, 6 NBA championships

Estimated lifetime earnings: $120 Million
Pippen unsuccessfully sued his former law firm for losing $27 million of his money through poor investments. (He had earned about $110 million in salary alone over a 17-year career.) In February 2007—around the same time as Pippen’s failed NBA comeback attempt—the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that the player owed U.S. Bank more than $5 million in principal, interest and attorneys’ fees from a dispute regarding a Grumman Gulfstream II corporate jet that he had purchased in 2001.

Latrell Spreewell
Four-time NBA All Star; last played for the Timberwolves

Estimated lifetime earnings: $50 million
This 13-year NBA veteran turned down the Timberwolves’ $21 million offer to extend his contract for three years because the sum was too low. A mere three years later, federal agents repossessed Sprewell’s yacht, on which he still owed $1.3 million. That was just the beginning. In early 2008, Sprewell defaulted on a $1.5 million mortgage, lost his home to foreclosure, stopped paying his motorsports’ company’s bills, and then defaulted on another home loan, this one worth $10 million.

Michael Vick
#1 overall pick NFL Draft, 3x Pro Bowl QB for the Atlanta Falcons

Estimated lifetime earnings: More than $130 million

Mike Tyson
Undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world, youngest man to ever win the WBC, WBA and IBF Heavyweight Titles. First man to win 12 of his first 19 fights in the first round by KO.

Estimated lifetime earnings: $300-400 million
At one point, Tyson was worth less that $700 dollars. But his situation has improved. He appears to be doing well in recovery for drug and alcohol problems.

(Data quoted from: http://www.businesspundit.com/25-rich-athletes-who-went-broke/26/)

Financial discipline is needed, no matter how much money you make.

Come back next week for the next article…

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Desire for Missions

With our annual missions conference starting Saturday, I thought I would search out several Scriptures that indicate God’s Desire for Missions.  God’s heartbeat should be the heart beat of His church.  The most important indicator of any churches vital signs (indicating good or poor health) is it’s pulse for missions and Gospel witness.

Psalm 67:2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

Psalm 96:3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

Isaiah 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

These 10 Scriptures give us a glimpse of the will of God for the Gospel to go into all the world.  The Lord uses His people to take His Word and Gospel message to other people.  If you are saved, the Lord used a person to either talk to you, preach to you, hand you a tract or Bible, or you found a Bible or Gospel tract that a person printed.

God can use you to give the Gospel in your local community.  The Lord can use you in global missions too.  Prayer for and giving to missionaries through your church will honor the Lord, help Gospel preachers, and will plant the Seed of the Word into the hearts of men and women, boys and girls, all around the world.

Do you have the same heart beat of God?  Are you doing your part to see the Gospel propagated throughout the world?

The “Value Equation”

The “VALUE EQUATION” 

He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. Ecclesiastes 5:10

More money and more stuff that money can buy will not satisfy the deepest needs of your heart.  Because we tend to overvalue money and stuff, we can get caught into bad spending habits.  Today, please consider the God given stewardship He has entrusted to you.

How much is money worth to you?  How much are the items you buy worth to you?  What value do you place on the new TV, Phone, Car, etc.???

We can work the math to determine our money and materialistic values.  The “Value Equation” takes into account how much money you make per hour and then divides the total cost of the item you hope to purchase to then tell you how many hours you need to work to buy that item.  For example:

Suppose you make $15 per hour and work 40 hours per week.

Let’s say a new TV will cost $640. You make: $15 an hour.  (Divide cost of item by hourly wage.)

How many hours does it take you to buy the TV?  42.6 hours of work or nearly a full week of work.  That is how you determine value.  Is the TV worth it?  Should you save up a little longer?  Should you wait for the TV to go on sale or consider a different model?  Are discount codes and coupons worth looking for and using this purchase?

Have you ever said “It is only $5?”  That is about 20 minutes of work (at $15/hour).  Looking at money and value this way will help you make better fiscal decisions.

A new iPhone is $800.  800/15 = 53.3.  It will take a person 53.3 hours of work to be able to buy an iPhone.  Factor in all the other real needs you have and the iPhone may not be worth 6 long days of work to.

Remodeling a room in your house? Let’s say a new remodel is $3000.  That is 200 hours of work or 5 weeks of work (at $15/hour and 40 hours per week). Again, the power, gas, and water bill must be paid and you still must eat each day and feed your family.  Consider the insurance bill comes every 6 months and the house payment is a big portion of your budget.  It may be a good idea to save up a little longer to do the remodel.

IF Christians understood the value of money, while learning not to love money, we would become better stewards of the money God has entrusted to us.  “How much is it?” is not the best question to ask.  “How much do I value it?” is better. Greater still, “Is this what God would have me to purchase?” Ask the Lord to help you become better disciplined with His finances.

 

 

 

The Gift of God (Part 1)

The Gift of God (Part 1)

What is the best gift you have ever been given?  Perhaps there are one or two very special gifts that someone has given to you.  We normally think of large monetary or material things.  Our family has been blessed to have received the gifts of a car and van on several occasions.  Thank the Lord for loving people who have cared for us with such helpful and generous gifts.  A real need was met with a gift.

What about gifts that are non-tangible?  A good name and reputation?  A good work ethic?  An education? A Christian upbringing?

Eight times in the Bible the phrase “Gift of God” is used.  Let’s exam these “gifts of God” and make a personal application to our life.  Here they are:

  • The Gift of Work: Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.”

One person wrote about Princess Anne and said: “She is getting married this Saturday…. Her new fiancée could be a real embarrassment to the royal family—Turns out he has a job and works for a living.”  Work is honorable!  Even in retirement, we can find work to do and be productive.

While not everyone can work or accomplish the same production, quality, or have the same skills as another person, everyone has some skill they can excel at.  Work and the ability to work is rewarding.  It is a gift from the Lord.  It could be work for a living, or work to help others, either way – we honor the Lord in our work.

Do the best work you can while you are able.  At the same time realize, once a day is over, we still need to rest, and prepare for worshipping the Lord in other spiritual ways.

Some people “play at their work and work at their play” while neglecting their worship.

  • The Gift of Wealth: Ecclesiastes 5:19 informs, “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”

Working hard and working smarter, not harder are both good qualities to have.  Again, the ability to work is a gift of God.

While finances and big wallets or bank accounts are not the goal of the Christian, a side benefit of the hard and smart worker is that he will gain in tangible ways.  Most people that have a job should be able to have money in the bank and live better than merely pay check to pay check.

Part of the reward of work is the power to but his own food, and buy his own portion, or place to live.  Other lessons could be learned then about proper stewardship.  When we apply Bible principled stewardship to the finances God has entrusted to us, we will have more than we need and accomplish more for the Gospel than we can even imagine.

Don’t be a miser with the money God gives you to manage.  Do you know what a miser is?  “A miser: one who experiences a dollar’s worth of frustration when he loses a dime.” Be sure that you do not love money, nor are pre-occupied with the things that money can buy.

  • The Gift of Water: John 4:10 relates, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

Jesus is answering the questions of the “Woman at the Well.”  Jesus revealed to her every sin she ever committed.  When this woman was seeking physical water, the Lord Jesus offered her spiritual water.

She was thirsty and Jesus was able to give to her something that no water, Gatorade, or other drink could ever satisfy: peace with God and the knowledge of forgiveness of sins.

Jesus is the “water of life.”   While many people try “Religion” and “good works” to gain salvation, Jesus offers salvation freely to all who will come unto Him.

You can repent of sin, ask for forgiveness, and receive the gift of eternal life that Jesus made possible when He shed His blood, died on the cross, and then rose to live again.

  • The Gift of Wages: Romans 6:23 teaches, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In the same vein as the “Gift of Water” The Lord gives eternal life – only through Jesus.  As humans, we earn a wage for our sinful actions – death.  Death is what we truly deserve.  Jesus however does not want us to die.  We will die physically, but more important than that is spiritual life and death.

Jesus rose again so we could live forever with God.  It takes being born again.  Jesus completed the work on the Cross.  He paid the wages of our sin.  HE had no wrong and no sin of His own.  He took my sin and paid the price – death with what I earned in wages.

When a person repents of sin and receives the gift of God (Salvation) then he trades his personal wages (death) with Jesus for eternal life.  It is an amazingly good deal for us – because we do not deserve life.

  • The Gift of Workmanship: Ephesians 2:8-10 speaks plainly and directly, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

The hand of God (grace) reaches to us and we take our hand (Faith) and place it in the hand of God.  Grace and faith are how a person is saved.  God’s grace is extended and we reach up in faith.   We cannot do enough god to earn maintain or keep our eternal salvation.  Salvation is a gift.  Good works, being baptized, and joining a church can be good things, but they are not good enough for salvation.  No human work could ever earn the person perfection so they could enter Heaven.  It is the work of God that He performed on the Cross.  By God’s grace, we accept through our own volition of faith to receive His gift of eternal life.  Have you been born again? Saved by Jesus?

When a person gives you a birthday gift- you reach out and take it.  The giver presents it to you and you can either accept the gift or say “no thank-you” to the giver of the gift.  The choice is all yours.

Once a person becomes a Christian (When they repent of sin and place faith in the Gospel) the Lord begins a new work in them.  They are now a “Christian” which means = “little Christ-like ones.”  We are to look more like Jesus.

Why does a Christian do good works if good works cannot save him?  Why should a believer in Jesus do Christian service and be a good person if it cannot gain eternal life?  The answer lies in verse 10.  We are God’s Workmanship.

The Lord has called all believers to “walk in good works.”  We do not work for our faith, but “we have a faith that works.”  The Bible, the Christian life, the Holy Spirit, and the church services we participate in all assist us in becoming more like Jesus.  Our thoughts, words, and actions begin to reflect His love, compassion, purpose, and effectiveness.

The following antidote from the life of Mark Twain can help: “A businessman well known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, ‘Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top.’

‘I have a better idea,’ replied Twain. ‘You could stay in Boston and keep them.’”

By God’s grace, live the Christian life to the glory of God so others will see Jesus in you and will then place their faith in Him for their salvation.

 

Lord willing, the next post will continue our study of the phrase “The Gift of God.”  Thank you for reading the pages on this site.  Please feel free to add a comment or tell others about it.