Monthly Archives: October 2013

Throw It Out There Thursday!

10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Malachi 3:10

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Raise your hand if you grew up singing the hymn based off this verse?

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, 

All your money, talents, time and love; 

Consecrate them all upon the altar,

While your Savior from above speaks sweetly, 

(Everybody now!)

Trust Me, try Me, prove Me, saith the Lord of hosts, and see

If a blessing, unmeasured blessing, I will not pour out on thee.”

You betcha. . . Great song.

I love being able to bring the tithes into the church house.

But what happens – though – when I’m not AT the church house on a Sunday or two in a row?

Or, what if I keep on forgetting to bring my tithe to the house of the Lord?

Or, what if I know God has called me to tithe and it is a privilege and joy (supposed to be anyway!) – but I really need some accountability?

What if I could set my budget, lock in on the tithe, and have it paid for me every month/week without having to think about it?

I’m SO glad you asked. . .

I’m gonna Throw it Out There – Your local bank . . . are you ready? . . .  will allow you to Automatically Pay your tithe to the church without you ever having to think about it.

That’s right – just like any and all other ‘On-line’ bills you pay through your ‘On-line’ bank account – you can set up an automatic draft of your tithe from your computer right this very second.

But Pastor Matt – it is an act of worship for me to be able to place my money in the offering plate every Sunday when the collectors come around!!!!! What about that?

You’re right. I grew up with the same mentality. But let me Throw this Out There – What is God after – mainly – when it comes to us giving our tithes and offerings? Our hearts. And doesn’t He say somewhere not to let anyone – even our hands – know what we’re giving? And, by the way, I guarantee your $$ will get to the church house and be accounted for just like it is when you put it in the wooden plate.

One last thing – I’ll Throw this Out There too – Go back and read the last half of Malachi 3:10 again. . .

Now raise your hand if you want God to open the windows of heaven for you and pour out some blessing until you run out of need?

Yeah, me too. Go ahead. (Everybody now!) Take the plunge. Set it up.

While your Savior from above speaks sweetly.

 

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Wisdom for Your Wednesday

7 Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:7-9

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Balance.

Biblical Balance.

Oh how much wisdom is found here: “give me neither poverty nor riches”!

This man knew himself. This man knew that if he was struck with poverty – he would steal. If he was given riches – he would be too full to acknowledge a need for God. Therefore – in order to please the Father – he longed for balance.

Wisdom is seeking balance in order to most honor our Lord.

Doesn’t this help with questions like – “How much should a Christian give away?” or “How much money is too much?” or “Is it wrong to have a big house or two houses or  a nice car or three cars?” or “Should I give it all away to the poor?”

According to wisdom, would it not serve us better to pray: “Father, give me what I need to best honor, serve, love, and obey You” or “Father, keep me financially balanced, knowing my sinful tendencies, so I might never deny You in thought or deed”?

Wisdom doesn’t ask, “How much is too much?” or “How much should I give?”  No, no.

A wise person knows his/herself and seeks a balance between sinful extremes.

Where are you on the spectrum? Which extreme do you tend toward? Are you breaking commands because of your financial situation? Are you ignoring God due to your financial circumstances?

What financially wise and balanced thing can you do immediately to best honor the Lord?

Now THAT’s a Good Question!

What do you think about churches doing Judgment Houses?
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This is a great question asked of me recently by an FBC member via email. Below is my response:
I have attended numerous ‘judgment houses’ (basically, a baptized haunted house for churches – you can find a bit more about them here) in my day. They were very popular when I was a teenager and youth pastor. I even took my youth group to ’em every Fall.
I think they can be good – but overall, I am very skeptical about them. Though I believe God can and does use just about any means to communicate the Gospel to people – I don’t care for the tactic the majority of these kinds of things use to ‘scare’ people into heaven.
That’s what generally happens. Students (of all ages) usually walk through a dramatized version of someone dying in a car wreck (or something similar) and that person ends up going to hell. Sometimes several people die – some go to hell and others to heaven. The heaven and hell scenes are usually very graphic, intense, and frightening.
Again – I am NOT saying God cannot use them (I believe He has and perhaps still does). But I don’t think these things are His primary means of communicating the Gospel to lost people. To be really honest, usually alot of time, money, effort, and energy go into something like this and a there ends up being (in my opinion) a bunch of false conversions (people who make a decision, never to be seen or heard from again) along with a few genuine ones. Again, in my opinion, if you are going to put that much time, money, effort, and energy into something – why not use some of the means already spelled out for us in the Bible????
I do feel like I need to add at this point something the Apostle Paul said about a somewhat similar deal in Philippians 1. In response to those who ‘proclaim Christ’ in a wrong or insincere way, Paul said, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (See Philippians 1:15-18). Paul was happy the Gospel was being made known – regardless of the tactic.
Do I like the tactics used in the majority of Judgment Houses? No. I don’t. However, I know that many my own motives and methods haven’t always been stellar either. At the end of the day, if Jesus is made known to more people, in THAT I need to rejoice.
That’s what I think.
What about you, blog people?

Five @ Free Flow Friday!

Today’s Five @ Free Flow Friday is brought to you by the word BRAIN.

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That’s right, peeps. This weekend, in between miniature Snickers and 3 Musketeers, have yourself a read at the articles posted below. While your stomach may not like it, your brain will be so glad you did!

Have a GREAT weekend!

#1. 7 Unconventional Reasons Why You Absolutely Should be Reading Books by Laura Schocker 

Stressed out? Pick up a paperback. Research conducted in 2009 at Mindlab International at the University of Sussex showed that reading was the most effective way to overcome stress, beating out old favorites such as listening to music, enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and even taking a walk, The Telegraph reported when the findings were released. It took the study participants just six minutes to relax (which was measured by evaluating heart rate and muscle tension) once they started turning pages.

I’ve been telling you – READ MORE BOOKS!

#2. Hijacking Back Your Brain from Porn by John Piper

God wove together physical nerves and supra-physical spiritual affections — desire, fear, joy, anger, pity, admiration, trust, cherishing, love. Instead of letting this connection discourage you, take it by the horns and make it serve your holiness. This is what the Bible calls you to do.

Don’t think the Bible is silent on this all-important question of mind and body — thinking and brains, affections and chemicals. God made these connections between physical and supra-physical, and God has wisdom for living in them.”

We are to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, MINDS, and strength.

#3. What Multi-Tasking Does to Your Brain by Drake Baer

When we multitask all day, those scattered habits literally change the pathways in our brains. The consequence, according to Nass’s research, is that sustaining your attention becomes impossible.

‘If we [multitask] all the time–brains are remarkably plastic, remarkably adaptable,’ he says, referencing neuroplasticity, the way the structures of your brain literally re-form to the patterns of your thought. ‘We train our brains to a new way of thinking. And then when we try to revert our brains back, our brains are plastic but they’re not elastic. They don’t just snap back into shape.’

Yikes. 

#4. How to Avoid the Power of the Drift by Michael Hyatt

Wake up. Where are you in relation to where you know you should be? Don’t beat yourself up. Simply acknowledge your current reality. You can’t go somewhere else until you acknowledge where you are right now.”

Anybody out there wanting to live more intentionally? 

#5. Two Lists I Make Every Morning by Donald Miller

“IF I COULD LIVE TODAY OVER AGAIN I’D”

&

“THINGS I GET TO ENJOY TODAY”

Simply liberating. Want intentionality? Get to know Michael Hyatt and Donald Miller.

Throw It Out There Thursday!

Alrighty. images

Here goes.

This Saturday, FBC is hosting its first ever outside, Saturday afternoon “FunFest.”      I’m going to throw something out there that EVERY FBC member needs to know BEFORE you arrive on the scene Saturday at 3 PM:

FUNFEST AIN’T FOR YOU.

Nope. It ain’t.

And. . . (gasp). . .

FUNFEST AIN’T FOR YOUR KID.

It is for the mommies and daddies and kiddos who don’t go to FBC, or any other church.

FBC is putting this thing on FOR THEM. We will be there serving THEM.

Everything is F-R-E-E. Why? Not so you can work on your waste line. It’s so we can offer a small taste of the Gospel to the unchurched on our campus (how much did the Gospel cost you to get?).

FunFest is on a Saturday. Why? So you can meet and relate to someone you don’t know and invite them to meet you back there the next morning for worship.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE come with an attitude of serving others in the name of Jesus, rather than “you better give me my ButterFinger or you’re ’bout to go meet Jesus.”

Do I hope your children have fun and get some candy? Yes. I know mine will be all over the place seeing how much they can throw down before their mommy catches them. But if you are just in it for that, go to Brookshire’s, buy a bag of candy, stay home and play a game outside in your own backyard, and give each other candy.

The purpose of FunFest ain’t for FBC. No, no. It’s for FBC to serve non-FBCers in the hopes that ultimately they would taste and see how good Jesus is.

My good friend Danny Franks asked these questions in a very thought provoking post about this very thing: “What if we got crazy intentional this year about hosting church events that unchurched people might actually show up for? What if we built new relationships outside rather than simply maintaining relationships inside?”

Again, just throwing this out there, but isn’t the purpose of an outreach event to reach OUT?

Who’s with me?

Who will commit to meet and relate to someone you don’t know this Saturday?

Wisdom for Your Wednesday

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Hear, my son, and be wise,
    and direct your heart in the way.
Be not among drunkards
    or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
    and slumber will clothe them with rags.

Proverbs 23:19-21

Read the first two lines (verse 19) carefully.

This is a father – speaking to his son – pleading with him to direct his heart in wisdom. I can’t think of a father who doesn’t want this for his boy. A son who goes from knowing what it means to ‘be wise’ to one who ‘is being wise.’

How can a father actively play a part in ‘directing the heart’ of his son?

Read lines 3 and 4 (verse 20) carefully.

What are drunkards and gluttons ultimately guilty of? Zero self control. They don’t know how to stop. Constant self indulgence.

Why would a father not want his son to be around a glutton or a drunkard? We get the drunkard part . . . but a glutton?

A father who raises a wise son, a son who has directed his heart, understands self control. A father who raises a son who knows how to practice self control has raised a son who knows how to direct (and guard) his heart.

Think about it: If you can’t say no to the 4th trip to the buffet on Sunday lunch, do you think you are going to say no to the ‘risky’ image that pops up on the computer screen when no one is around? If you can’t walk away from eating the 8th Reese’s Cup in a 30 minute span, do you think you will be able to control your temper when your spouse makes you angry?

Do you see what this father is doing? He is letting his son know that if he can learn self control with eating and drinking, he will be in a much better position of controlling himself (directing his heart) when ‘deeper’ temptations arise. If a child learns self control with the ‘small’ things, it will serve him much better with the ‘big’ things later in life. A wise father doesn’t want his son to be around gluttons and drunkards, but instead men who practice diligent self control. Notice it’s not because these things are sinful. They certainly are, but that’s not why the father is saying ‘be not among’ these guys. It’s because he wants to train his son how to direct his heart. He doesn’t want his son to end up in poverty, sleeping all the time.

How can we apply this? We need to look both inward and outward.

Inward: How am I doing at controlling myself with food and drink? 

A child will watch us first.

Outward: Am I exposing my children to men and women who obviously practice self-control in these areas?

Good company enforces good morals.

Are your actions with food and drink reinforcing with your children the truth they are getting from the Word?

Now THAT’s a Good Question!

How do you know when it’s God speaking?

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Confession: I am borrowing the question and answer for today’s post.

A few weeks ago, I officiated a funeral service for a lady who is now with the Lord. I found this question and a list of 10 answers on a piece of paper in her Bible. I don’t know where she got this material – but it is GOLD.

All believers – from time to time – want to know if God is speaking to us and/or leading us to do something. There are times when we feel led of God to do/stop doing something, but can’t find a clear directive in the Bible.

So, how can you know if it is God speaking – or you just ate some bad Mexican food? 

Here are 10 ways to know it’s of God:

1. It will be consistent with His Word.

2. It may conflict with human reason.

3. It will probably clash with our fleshly nature.

4. It may challenge our faith.

5. It may call for courage.

6. It will require consideration of others.

7. It may require patience.

8. It will require consideration of consequences.

9. It will ultimately produce spiritual growth.

10. It will ultimately yield peace that passes all human understanding.

Told you so – GOLD. Great counsel here. Wondering if what you are hearing or being led to do is of God? Use the checklist here. You’ll be glad you did.