The average attendance for church goers where we live is right around two times per month. Hear me out, this note is not about improving the ol’ church stat-sheet. Instead, it is about increasing appreciation for gathering with the church, which I admit has a funny way of increasing church attendance. ;) We all need this! So, I wanted to remind us why gathering with the church is so very wonderful and so very important. First, let me remind us of our goal together, found most clearly in Ephesians 4…
I have never started a business, but I have watched nearly every episode of the hit ABC showShark Tank. Some of the most frequent criticism given to over-zealous entrepreneurs is to not get distracted by all the exciting potential applications the product could have or by diversifying the product line before the initial concept is proven. These are examples of what is called “mission-drift,”when business leaders lose focus of what is most crucial to accomplish their mission. Such distractions are understandable but can quickly compromise the success of an otherwise thriving company. This caution is not limited to business but pertains to any and every industry imaginable and has been the sad commentary of many who failed to keep the main thing the main thing.
The Q: “How much should I give to the church?” The A: “Give whatever you want!”
In a way, New Testament giving is really that simple. That said, Scripture has quite a bit to say about what and how we should want to give. It shamelessly appeals to the Christian’s love for fellow believers in need, their appreciation for the work of the church, and their gratitude for all God has done, namely in Christ. And Second Corinthians, chapters eight and nine are ground zero for the call to this freeing brand of happy generosity in local church giving. Here, we see ten distinct aspects of New Testament church giving, some very practical and all deeply spiritual.
To say Scripture is sufficient is to say the Bible is God’s final and complete disclosure regarding how to be saved and how to live. It is comprehensive, showing us all we need to know, believe, and do. All the Christian needs in reference to the will of God is in the pages of Scripture (Eph. 5:17, 1 Thess. 4:3, 1 Pt. 2:15). Just like its other attributes, the sufficiency of God’s Word is actually a result of its divine inspiration. Since “all Scripture is breathed out by God”(2 Tim. 3:16), it must then bear His authority, be free of error, and be requisite reading for the Christian. Finally, we would expect Him to not have left anything out. And this is precisely (and repeatedly) what the Bible teaches.
Does God care about our happiness?Yes, and Psalm 1 proves it.
Psalm 1 is not only a suitable introduction to the Psalter, but to the rest of the biblical genre of wisdom literature as a whole (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, even Job). This is because, packed within its potent 6 verses is a surprisingly balanced treatment of the life, the loves, and the fate of those who would walk according to the law of God. In summary, what this inaugural Psalm succinctly teaches us is that the way of God is the way, the only way, of true happiness and eternal life.
You’re probably familiar with the popular testimonial ministry of “I Am Second,” where Christians sit in white leather chairs and tell how they live for the Lord and no more for themselves. As I understand it, this is to say that they are no longer the lord of their own life, but that God has taken the throne. They’re no longer first; God is, and they are second.
While this is accurate theologically with regard to salvation, the Christian life is not that simple. Upon salvation, we are then instructed (by the new Lord of our life) how we are to live – not only in relationship to God, but in relationship to everyone else in our lives. The truth is, we are not second, but third. This Christian truth is seen in what Christ considers the two greatest commandments…
It is the key to Apple’s success and a good steak. There is something right about keeping the main thing the main thing, and not being distracted with complications. There is something beautiful about things that needs no supplementation or extras.
Simplicity is also the key to the Christian life. Simply-put, the Christian life is all about Christ. Some have gone even farther to say Christianity isChrist; all that it means to know God and to acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord is wrapped up in whoJesus is – His very nature.