If you are a follow of Jesus Christ know that no matter what situation you find yourself, God won’t let go.
Monthly Archives: June 2008
The real gospel doesn’t promise prosperity, but power. I hope you are challenged by this clip from John Piper.
For the past two weeks we have identified with Christ in salvation and in service. This week we identity with Christ in sharing. Probably the most famous Bible verse is John 3:16, which says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Clearly this verse teaches us that God loves us and that salvation comes by faith in Christ. There is another equally important truth revealed in this text that most people forget about. God shows that He is a giver. By God giving His Son, God sets a pattern for us to follow as givers. As followers of Christ, we are to identity with the giving nature of God.
Why Give: Old Testament
Giving is an act of worship in response to the giving of God. We don’t give because we are required to give, we give because we have received so much from the Lord.
1. Read Genesis 14:17-20: How much does Abram give and why does he give it?
2. Read Exodus 25:1-8 and Exodus 36:4-7. Describe what happens in this story?
A follower of God in the Old Testament worshipped God by giving their possessions, money, and food for feasts throughout the year. A follower of God in the Old Testament didn’t give God 10% of their wealth, but closer to 50%. It was God’s responsibility to bless the other 50% enough to care for their personal needs. Through giving people learned to trust and worship the Lord.
Why Give: New Testament
As a follower of Christ, our whole life belongs to Christ. You must realize that giving isn’t based on how much you have, but on how much you trust. There are no rules for giving, it’s a reflection of your relationship with God.
1. Read Mark 12:41-44. What was the widow’s concept of giving?
2. Read Acts 2:42-47. Describe what was taking place?
3. Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. How should you give?
It is clear that giving isn’t about how much you give, but about giving with a joyful heart. Giving is about realizing that it all belongs to Christ anyway. Giving is about realizing that Christ will take care of you so you can take care of others.
Road blocks to Giving:
Read Matthew 6:24-34. There are three road blocks listed. The first road block is being a slave to money or possessions. Think about this: can you name one possession that you have that won’t eventually end up in a trash heap or someone else’s garage sale?
The second road block is living on want and not need. God has promised to take care of all of your needs and he will bless you with some of your wants. The problem is that instead of living on our needs we live on our wants. Our wants are to be enjoyed and shared with others. The problem with living on our wants is that God never promised to supply all of them. If we live on our needs, we will stay out of debt and financial trouble. If we live on our wants, we won’t have anything to give. Which are you living on, wants or needs?
The final road block is trust. If you are trusting in what you have to provide you security for tomorrow you won’t give and share. Do you realize that real security only comes from God?
The way to overcome these road blocks is found in verse 33. What are you told to do and what is God’s promise?
Where does the Money Go?
When you give money to your local Southern Baptist Church, you are giving God’s money. Since you are giving God’s money, it is important that you understand what is being done with it once you put it into the plate. You will probably be surprised at how much God’s money does.
I. God’s money provides for the needs of the church:
A. Designated – Money that is given to an assigned purpose and can only be spent for that purpose. Ex. Building Fund
B. Undesignated – Money that is given and can be spent where it is needed. Ex. Sunday School Materials
II. The church tithes.
A. The local association – Each Baptist Church can be a member of a local association of Baptist Churches working together to reach their city. Normally a church will send the local association between 3-10% of the undesignated money they receive monthly. Ex. New church starts, Homeless Shelter
B. The state convention – Each Baptist Church can be a member of the State Baptist Convention. All member churches work together to try and reach their state. Normally a church will send 5-15% of the undersigned money they receive monthly. Ex. Boy’s Home, State Evangelism Conference, and planting churches.
III. The State Convention Tithes.
The Southern Baptist Convention – The Southern Baptist Convention is supported by the Cooperative Program. This is a program whereby each state convention sends between 30 – 50% of the money they receive. The Southern Baptist Convention takes the money given to the Cooperative Program and gives 50% to support foreign missions. It gives 25% to support missions in North America. Then it divides the remaining 25% in providing help in areas of destruction, in supporting six Baptist seminaries, and a host of other ministries.
In closing, when you give God’s money for God’s work it makes a huge difference.
It is easy to forget that life is about God and loving Him with all our hearts. I hope this song reminds you how awesome God is and you are encouraged to turn to Him. He is the source of every blessing.
“We need a Great Commission Resurgence” was the catch phrase at the Southern Baptist Convention this year. After a year that saw a drop in total membership and baptisms there is cause for concern. Personally, I am very thankful to hear our leaders talk about a renewed commitment to living out the Great Commission. Since then I have been surprise to read several Baptist pastors and seminary professors questioning the need for such a commitment. Before your jaw hits the floor, they believe this focus on the Great Commission could take away from our commitment to the inerrancy of scripture and could move us away from what it means to be a Southern Baptist. Even though they have valid concerns, my heart is burdened that some of our Southern Baptist leaders would criticize a movement to focus on the Great Commission. I have an even greater burden, no matter how you fell about the Great Commission Resurgence, I fell it is doomed to fail.
Many who support the Great Commission Resurgence are promoting it like the new Conservative Resurgence. This mindset seems good on the outside, but upon closer look there are several things to be concerned about. Let me say that I believe that the Bible is inerrant and that change was needed in 1979. Many of my friends and heroes were and are a part of the Conservative Resurgence, but the Great Commission Resurgence must be different. In the Conservative Resurgence the issue was about your beliefs about the Bible. The goal wasn’t to change a leader’s views of the Bible, but literally to remove men from positions of power that held opposing views. We labeled them liberals and blamed them for the decline in the Southern Baptist Convention. The Conservative Resurgence was a battle among brothers and we still see the scars. If the Great Commission Resurgence is a battle like the Conservative Resurgence then we only hurting ourselves.
The Great Commission Resurgence must be different if it is going to be effective. This movement is about what you practice as well as what you believe. It starts with a commitment to the authority of Jesus Christ. Jesus begins the Great Commission revealing that all authority belongs to Him. There is no other position for Christ to hold in our life except that of Lord if we are going to be committed to the Great Commission. This isn’t about battling our brother, but praying that God will ignite a fire within our hearts for the lost world so that they may acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In the Conservative Resurgence we sat at the doors of our churches guarding who got in, now we have to bust down those doors as we realize we are the church and proclaim Christ in our communities. The Great Commission doesn’t do away with inerrancy, but it puts feet to it. The Great Commission Resurgence must bring change in our hearts and inspire us to boldly spread the goodnews of Jesus Christ. In the Conservative Resurgence we as Southern Baptist were the defenders of God’s Word. If the Great Commission Resurgence is to succeed we must realize that we are dependent on God to bring the changes needed. If the Great Commission Resurgence becomes a style, a program, a battle ground, a measurement, or a source of pride then we will fail. I pray that God will allow us to experience a Great Commission Resurgence for His glory alone. As I finish this article my sense of doom is gone and my burden is lightened because with God all things are possible.
Is revival really needed in the church in America? Is God to blame for our problems because He hasn’t visited us with a new Great Awakening? I believe the answer to both of these questions is a big, “No”! There is nothing wrong with God sending revival or starting a Great Awakening in America, but our problem isn’t lack of revival, but lack of obedience. I believe our churches and our country would be experience a 180 turn if Christians would do what they say they believe. What would happen in your home, church, and job if you decided to obey Christ? So my challenge for you is to stop seeking revival and start walking in obedience to Christ.
The Cross of Christ matters. Live in the reality of His death and His resurrection.
I remember when God changed my thinking about church ministry. I looked at the church I was apart of as Lone Ranger Church. I thought my church was the only church doing what needed to be done. Then God opened my eyes and I realized that God is concerned about His Kingdom and each church will grow as they get involved in His work. The foundation of our unity isn’t our buildings, domination’s, nationalities, or languages. Our unity is in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the belief that He died for our sins and rose again bodily three days later. I hope you are challenged to be involved or to pray for those who are involved. Thanks Craig for your vision in this area.