Archives: Perspectives

SUNSHINE!

SUNSHINE!

FromMyOffice_July2013

THE SUN IS SHINING…

It’s rained a lot recently.

In a community that often experiences drought during the summer months, it’s been a unique to watch our folks process this season. We cannot make it rain, and we cannot make it stop raining. In our modern world, the weather remains to be one thing that we do not have control over… and that means it’s another beautiful opportunity to trust Jesus.

I’ve noticed this recently: if it’s raining, the sun isn’t shining. (duh, right?)

So on the drive into work this morning I noticed the sunshine. I was excited to see it.

Darkness is subtle like that. It creeps like twilight from bright to dim. Often we miss the subtle nuances between the shades and focus more on the immediate of the rain.

But when the sunshines in a season of darkness… it really shines.

I’m reminded of Jesus’ words from Matthew 5:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.    Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.    In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:14-16

So let the light of a life reborn and remade by the Gospel of Jesus shine through you today, because we live in a dark world that is ever absent of that light.

Oh… and enjoy the sunshine too.

Givers and Takers: What's Inside Matters

Givers and Takers: What's Inside Matters

GiversAndTakers

Our church is in the middle of a series of talks I’ve entitled “No More Tombs”. We’re basically reflecting on the resurrection of Jesus to recognize that when Jesus walked out of the tomb, He invited us to walk of the tomb with Him.
We still live in tombs, though.
We let our relationships, our time, our past, and our finances become tombs. Even though Jesus invites us to life, we too often choose death.
One of the subtlest, but most significant, tombs that we choose to live in is in the area of personal finances. God has a plan to bring life to our finances, but we create our own plan and our own plan will always lead to death (Romans 6:23) .
God’s plan is quite simple: that we be givers, not takers.
I thought I’d take a few days and share some of the important differences between givers and takers, because it’s so important that we understand God’s heart in this.
God wants something for you, not from you. And so do I.

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The first significant difference between a giver and a taker is what’s happening on the inside.
Everything we do happens before we do it (Luke 6:45, Matthew 12:34, and James 1:15).
We choose, we believe, then we act… it’s really that simple.
You’ll often hear me say this: you do what you believe. We don’t have a behavior problem, we most often have a belief problem.
You can spend a lot of time analyzing the behavior, but if you don’t spend time understanding it’s motivation all you’re doing is treating a symptom without treating the disease.
So… Where does a giver start? Where does a taker start?
A taker starts with one simple decision: I’m first.
I’m first, so my needs come before anyone else. I’m first, so I deserve that before anyone else. I’m first, so I should have that position before anyone.
I’m first.
Takers are sinfully self-centered. Their needs matter more than anyone else. Their progress is more important than anyone else. Their happiness is more important than anyone else. They are the center of their own universe.
Givers understand on simple truth: we make a bad center.
Whatever is at the center of your life is functionally your god, and let’s just be honest… we make a poor god. Sure, you might be happy (for a while), but nobody else is if you’re your own center. As a matter of fact, they’ll start to resent you, even hate you, if you try to make yourself their center.
Givers start with this simple decision: I cannot be first.
If others are first, you’ll give… naturally. You’ll give because you care about their needs. You’ll give because you want them to be happy. You’ll give because you simply recognize them as being valuable.
That’s simply not enough, though. If others are you center, you’ll live to please them and you’ll live empty because you cannot please them. You’ll never be able to give enough to satisfy the needs of others.
So… where should a giver start?
A giver should start with the recognition that Jesus is first.
When place Jesus at the center of everything in our lives, He takes the lead in our finances just like everything else.
With Jesus as our center we give out of obedience. We don’t assume ownership over the time, talent, and treasure that God has so richly blessed us with. We recognize that Jesus is the owner, and he has invited us to be stewards of His blessings in our life. We don’t follow our own plan, but in turn, follow His.
A giver gladly, joyfully gives because their greatest delight is found in following Jesus.
It all starts on the inside.
So… what’s happening inside you?
What’s leading you to be a giver or a taker?
And… most importantly, what needs to change if you’re going to follow God’s plan to be a giver?
 

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