Category Archives: Uncategorized

End of World-What Do We Believe

Harold Camping has stirred up a great deal of activity with his predictions of the enced of the world today.

I for one am convinced he is totally wrong. However, I am more than a little concerned about the reaction in the church.

First there has been a lot of scoffing at Mr Camping. It doesn’t seem to be a response based on love. I don’t know if he is believer or not, I actually feel sorry for him.

Another critical issue in the response of believers has been the scoffing and talk of rapture parties and even laying clothes out in the yard like they had been raptured as some kind of a joke.

2 Peter 3:3-4 (English Standard Version)

3knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Is the scoffing at the date setting – or is it about something deeper, a lack of belief that Jesus really will return. I’ve had a sense in the spirit over the last few days that this indeed is what is happening in the church.

I pray before we say anymore about this, that we examine our hearts.

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God Is Good -Even When It Feels Like He’s Indifferent

Malachi 3

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.
11 “ And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the LORD of hosts;
12 And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

 

Right now I’m battling some disappointments.  Financially, I’ve had some substantial outlays lately for repairs and replacements of things.  I’ve been involved in internet marketing but the results are slow to come in.  Christmas is around the corner.   I’ve given more into the Kingdom of God than ever before – a very substantial amount of my paycheck…

So right now I’m looking at my bank account.  I don’t have any debt, but I don’t have a large buffer either.   I had to think about God’s promise that if we don’t rob him of tithes and offerings he’ll rebuke the devourer for our sake.  I don’t really feel like that’s been so great.  Maybe he’s rebuked things I didn’t know about -so I should keep that in mind.

The truth of the matter, I feel like those that aren’t following Christ and use all their resources for themselves are the ones getting blessed.  They get the bonuses at work – even though my customers love me.  My internet business is not going the way I wanted at this stage of the game.  Heck I’m stuck on the late shift at work and I’ll bet several will get to leave early, but I won’t.

I’m trying to remain thankful – that I have a job.  That I have all of my needs taken care of.  So I know that God is good.  But I sure am not experiencing the windows of heaven being opened up and blessings being poured out that there isn’t room to contain.

OK enough of the pity party. Time to go to work.

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Missional Small Groups bring Mission and Community to Church

In the video (see link above) from the Leadership Network program, THE SHOW, Pastor Matt Carter of the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin Texas discusses their failure at developing community through small groups…and what they did about it.  He discusses how they had very little mission and very little community when their groups were focused on fellowship (eating) and bible study.  But after a lot of sou searching,  they changed the focus to being missional, and things began to change

Key point: When we focused on community, we got neither community or mission. When we focused on mission we got both community and mission.

Austin Stone Community Church

The Show

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Church Members Giving Could Help the Global Poor

Giving“Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.”  As of 2006, the average church member gave approximately 2.58 percent of their income.   In the old testament the standard for the Jewish people was a tenth or ten percent of their income called a tithe.  Many believers don’t believe tithing is for today.  I agree with this perception, but I don’t think that God’s requirement of the church is less than it was of the Jewish people.    It appears that most people  who call themselves believers really don’t have a heart for the Kingdom of God

(photo at right by creative common license  Noah Wesley)

 First of all we are to be conformed to the image of Christ and he gave everything.  The early church in Jerusalem had all things in common.  There is no valid biblical argument for people giving less than ten percent.  However, there is substantial biblical support for more than ten percent.

 Empty Tomb Inc.  shows what could be done if church members gave an average of ten percent above and beyond current church spending.

First of all,  if church members gave ten percent there would be an additional 168 billion dollars given to the church.  If sixty percent were made available to expand overseas missions activity that would mean there would be an additional 100.6 billion available for overseas missions.

 According to one source:

  • $70-80 billion would impact the worst of world poverty
  • $5 billion could end most of the 11 million under-5 annual deaths
  • $7 billion would be sufficient for lobal primary education for all children
  • $1 billion more could be used for global evangelization

In addition there would still be another 33.5 billion available for domestic outreach above what churches are currently doing.

 For those believers specifically concerned about global poverty issues within the church,  there should be no excuse for not being able to give at least ten percent.  If you don’t believe that your church would use it effectively for helping the poor, you could give specifically to missions agencies and others that will.

 This should be a motivation for simplifying our lives with regards to possessions, and finances.  Every believer should be in a position to give at least ten percent of their income for the Kingdom of God.

 Churches meanwhile need to take a serious look at the way they spend money.  Many people have been turned off of giving to the church because they don’t like the way it’s being spent.  Money spent on big buildings, programs and staffs is turning off an increasing number of younger members.  They are not interested in church that is self-indulgent. 

 As believers, it’s time for all of us to examine our financial affairs.  If we say the the Kingdom of God is a priority. Does our budget reflect that?  Are we making significant contributions to the Kingdom of God or is our giving simply a token. 

 Scripture clearly tells us where our treasure is, there your heart is also.  Where are our hearts.  For the American church at large, it obviously is not the Kingdom of God.   But if we repent, and turn, I believe we will see God greatly multiply the Kingdom and I also believe he will increase blessings to us as well.  So let’s work to be faithful to Jesus and his Kingdom.

Resources: 

Gospel Poverty.com

Gospel Poverty lens

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