Month: May 2006

Stone by Stone

Stone by Stone

Frustrated with your life?

Start at the beginning. Think in your mind where you went wrong. What were the circumstances that brought you to that point? What could have been different? If you had the chance to do it again, how would you do it differently? Consider moving forward as if you DID do it the right way. Now what?

Living life is a joy! Take it one day at a time.

A movie made in 1972 titled, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” taught me that. It was a song recorded by Donovan titled, “Stone by Stone” in the movie that really points out that we need to live our lives at a slower pace than we often do.

“If you want your dream to be
Build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends
Heartfelt work grows purely.

If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly.
Do few things but do them well
Simple joys are holy.

Day by day, Stone by stone,
Build your secret slowly.
Day by day,You’ll grow too,
You’ll know heaven’s glory.”

"I Have No Other Plan" (The Great Commission)

"I Have No Other Plan" (The Great Commission)

There is an old legend that takes us back in time and recounts the time when Jesus slips back into heaven after He had died on the cross and rose from the dead. According to the legend, the angel Gabriel met him. Gabriel frowned when he saw the marks of Jesus’ scars of His tortuous years on earth, especially the scars of His crucifixion.

Gabriel said: “Master, you suffered terribly for those down on earth.”

“Yes, I did,” was Jesus’ reply.

Gabriel continued: “Do they all know now about your live and your forgiveness? Have they all heard about your death and resurrection?”

“No, not yet.” Said Jesus. “Right now only a handful knows. Only a handful of people in Palestine know about my death and resurrection.”

Gabriel looked perplexed. “Then,” he asked, “Euh… How will everyone find out about your wonderful life and your sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection?”

“I have asked Peter, James, John and a handful of friends and followers to tell other people about it. And when other people hear and believe, they in turn will tell others. And Gabriel, by and by, the planet earth will hear the message.”

Still frowning, the angel responded: “But, hmmm, you know how people are on earth. What if they… What if Peter, James and John get tired? What is they tell the story and then the next generation gets all involved in other pursuits? What if way down in the 18th or 21st century, people aren’t committed any longer to your commission? Have you made other plans?”

The Lamb of God looked directly at the angel of God and said: “I have no other plan. I am counting on them.”

As heard from Chuck Swindoll

Needs vs. Wants Analysis

Needs vs. Wants Analysis

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5-6 (NIV)

Think through what your typical expenditures are in a month and list those things that are needs and wants

Is this a need? Is it a want? Does your spouse agree?

Begin to listen to each other’s needs and come to a mutual decision as to what your plan of action will be.

Write on a sheet of paper a T-graph (a line at the top of the page with “Him” on one side and “Her” on the other.)

Write “Needs” and “Wants” underneath the “Him” and “Her.”

Both of you write what you consider are in each of these categories. Discuss and pray to work toward unity!

The Latte Factor

The Latte Factor

The Latte Factor(r) (created and developed by David Bach, author of The Automated Millionaire) is based on the simple idea that all you need to do to be a better manager of God’s resources is to look at the small things you spend your money on every day and see whether you could redirect that spending to Grace-giving, debt elimination or savings for the future. Putting aside as little as a few dollars a day for your future rather than spending it on little purchases such as lattes, fancy coffees, bottled water, fast food, cigarettes, magazines and so on, can really make a difference between being truly wealthy and living paycheck to paycheck.

We don’t even realize how much we’re actually spending on these little purchases. If we did think about it and change our habits just a little, we could actually change our destiny.
Still not convinced?

Consider this:
$5 per day (the average cost of a latte and a muffin) x 7 days = $35 per week

$35/week = $150/month

$150 per month invested at a rate of 10% annual return =
1 year = $1,885
2 years = $3,967
5 years = $11,616
10 years = $30,727
15 years = $62,171
30 years = $339,073

NEEDS VS. WANTS

NEEDS VS. WANTS

Are all WANTS inappropriate or outside of God’s will? NO! He wants us to use wisdom in this area of our lives! Allow me to show you some guidelines of how the way of wisdom works in determining what is a WANT.

WANTS: How Do I Determine Them?

  1. Does this item/service increase my debt?
  2. Does it increase my stress level?
  3. Does it contribute to my physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual well-being?
  4. Does it diminish my Grace-giving?
  5. Does this prevent/diminish my laying up treasures in heaven?

NEEDS: How Do I Determine Them?

Will the absence of this purchase/service/item result in physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual harm or deprivation?
– Is Food a NEED or a WANT?
– Is Shelter a NEED or a WANT?
– Is Clothing a NEED or a WANT?
– Do you see how determining a Need vs. Want is so closely related?

For Example: Shoes. I can buy a $20 pair of shoes or I can go buy a $120 pair of shoes. I am NOT saying we all should ONLY buy $20 pair of shoes, but I AM saying that if buying a $120 pair of shoes is going to diminish my Grace-giving or bring me harm in some way such as debt, then I need to buy the cheaper pair.

Oneness in Our Finances

Oneness in Our Finances

In 2002, 6% of born again adults gave to their local church. This represents an 8% decline from 2001 (14% of born again adults gave) and a 6% decline from 2000, (12% of all born again adults). (2003)
– Barna Group

33% of born again Christians say it is impossible for them to get ahead in life because of the financial debt they have incurred. (1997)
– Barna Group

“85-90% percent of couples who divorce say the number one problem they were having was finances.” – Larry Burkett on FamilyLife Today.

How can we move toward unity in the area of our finances?
Both Spouses Need to Be In Submission to God’s Word

LADIES: What if my husband is not taking the lead in our finances or in submission to God’s word concerning finances, what do you do? READ Liberated Through Submission pg 127-128.

MEN: What if my wife is not in submission to the Scriptures concerning finances? Here’s the answer: YOU show integrity and CONSISTENCY in this area! You’re not going to “win her over” by beating her up verbally!

The Bible: God’s Very Words

The Bible: God’s Very Words

Introduction
Jesus the Messiah of Israel, whom we call our “Lord” and “Master,” quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to Satan when He was being tempted to eat physical food during a 40-day fast: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Therefore, He promoted the scope of importance of the Old Testament Scriptures over and above even the importance of eating physical food!

The following is a short paper on what I believe the Bible to be, and its importance for family life and for ministry in the local church.

Knowing God Through Revelation
How can one know God? There are two main ways people can do that as wonderful, good, partial, insufficient and incomplete as they are: Reason, which is a tool to reflect and synthesize to arrive at an understanding of revelation. Reason doesn’t make knowledge; it reflects upon knowledge. The second is experience. Most people’s experiences are the same, but we can’t come to conclusions based on mass-experiences. Therefore, it is necessary for God to reveal Himself to humans. God has revealed Himself to humanity throughout the history of time in two ways: General Revelation and Special Revelation.

General Revelation. By generally revealing Himself to all humanity, I mean that God has revealed Himself in a broad way to all people through creation (Ps 19:1-2; Rom 1:19-20), history (Prov 14:34; Rom 9:17) and human conscience (Rom 2:14-16). By this revelation, all people can somehow perceive God’s existence, nature, power and glory and even a limited knowledge of the difference between good and evil.

Special Revelation. By Special Revelation, I mean that God narrowed His focus to revealing Himself to designated individuals (people who are believers in Christ) in a unique way through various means as found in the Scriptures: such as appearances of God, visions and dreams, Apostles, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Scriptures and the Church.

The Scriptures
The Scriptures (the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament) originated by God who superintended (2 Tim 3:16) the human authors (1 Pet 1:21) so that using their thinking, talents, life circumstances, individual personalities and styles; they composed and recorded without error His revelation to humanity in the words of the original inscriptions. I embrace the verbal-plenary view of inspiration stating that God inspired every word of the Scriptures. Scripture ought to be held in very high esteem and the reader changed as a result of encountering it, as it has a life of its own (Heb 4:12).

Interpretive Hermeneutic. I believe the Bible is totally without error, and that it must be interpreted in its historical, grammatical, cultural, theological and literary context to discover the author’s original intent and meaning.

Practicality of the Scriptures. The Bible is our Field Manual and guide for life (Ps 119:105); it is our final authority for our understanding of and dependence on God: Himself, His ways and His purposes (John 5:19), as well as for our daily faith and behavior (Ps 119:9-11), and lastly, for our practices within the Church (Phil 4:9). It is how God decided to communicate specifically to human beings, and we need to know His words so that we are better able to know its Author and obey Him in everything we are, think and do (John 14:21).

Summary
How this affects my relationship with Jesus, my family leadership, disciple making, teaching, and preaching is that I desire to teach people what God’s intent was through the original authors to the original audience of the Bible. This inevitably leads to the application of scripture to contemporary life today, as we seek to obey God (John 14:23). I want to teach people the Bible: not fads, gimmicks, or the latest church growth or business principles, all of which are “man’s wisdom” (1 Cor 2:12-13).

I want to train ministers and leaders how to teach the Bible without the use of curriculum. I believe the use of good curriculum is helpful as a supplement, but like with physical food, I can’t live on chips and salsa alone. I need the balanced and proper nutrition of whole foods, vegetables and fruit, grains, meat and potatoes. In order for people to grow spiritually, they need the substance that will foster healthy spiritual growth; that substance is the objective and very words of God found in the 66 books of the Bible.

“Sola Scriptura”
Scripture Alone