Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Molded


Jeremiah 18:2-6
“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

I love the analogy that we see in this scripture. I don’t know about you but sometimes I look at my life and it looks ‘spoiled.’ When I look at the talents and abilities that I have there is an overwhelming sense of inadequacy.  

When I look at the mistakes and the wrong decisions that I have made in life I can feel pretty down. 

But I am thankful that I have a God that takes me in His hands and reworks me into the man that he wants me to be. I’m thankful that if I allow God to mold me; He will do so. 

Maybe you have gotten off track a little bit… Let God mold you today; open your heart to be transformed by the Power of Jesus Christ.


Chasing What is Cheap


Image result for value
1 Timothy 6:6-10 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

When we are not buying lottery tickets or watching big winnings on game shows, one of our favorite national pastimes is wandering through shopping malls just to see what else we can want.

Our shop-till-you-drop society has produced the Home Shopping Network and all its spinoffs, displaying products on television to be purchased just by making a phone call. And even more so on our day is online shopping; you don’t even have to get off the couch to buy anything you could possibly desire. Amazon and Ebay are among the most visited websites on the internet. Our culture has a materialistic obsession.

What is the result of the riches that we so desperately desire?

Dr. Aaron Beck did a ten-year study of patients who are hospitalized with suicidal tendencies. What he said was, "risk of suicide increases, with resources." The more stuff you that the more likely you are to kill yourself. Poor people rarely do it.

Another medical study proved, and I quote, "Subtract two years from your life if your family income is over $40,000 a year."

Another study showed the moral decline and family devastation of this obsession with money, "Among both men and women the incidents of marital infidelity rises in conjunction with an increase in income. Of the married men earning $20,000, only 31 percent conducted extramarital love affairs. Of the men earning more than $60,000, 70 percent did.

Money is the number one motive for committing a crime.

We are paying dearly for chasing what is cheap. As Christians we must not fall into the trap of loving money. The riches of this world can in no way compare to the riches of the Kingdom of God.
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Notice it does not say that ‘money is the root of all evil’; it says ‘the “love” of money.’ As Christians we must be very careful not to fall into the trap of loving money. 


Money, Money, Money


1 Timothy 6:6-10 “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.”
In their book, The Day America Told the Truth, authors James Patterson and Peter Kim revealed some shocking statistics on how far people in this country would be willing to go for money. When asked what they’d do for $10 million dollars:
 (25%) Would abandon their entire family
(23%) Would become prostitutes for a week or more
(16%) Would give up their American citizenship
(16%) Would leave their spouses
(10%) Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free
(7%) Would kill a stranger
(3%) Would put their children up for adoption
Perhaps the most telling statement in all of Scripture related to money are the words of our Lord, "Where your treasure is there your heart will be also."
To put that into common language, "Show me where your money is and I'll show you where your affections lie." To make it even more mundane, "Go through your checkbook and find out what you really care about."
Your spiritual life can be measured probably better by what you do with your money than any other single thing.
Experts tell us that the average person thinks about money 50 percent of his or her waking time.
How to get it, how to keep it, how to save it, how to spend it, how to find it, whatever it might be, we're tremendously occupied with the matter of money.
Jesus in saying where your treasure is there your heart is also tells us that what we do with our money is the measure of our hearts.
The Questions is: What is your attitude towards money?



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Connect...



Were you to ever venture just north of San Francisco into Muir Woods, you would find an incredible forest of Sequoia trees. Sequoias are sometimes referred to as the largest living things on earth, reaching almost 250 feet in the air and standing for as many as fifteen hundred years.

You would probably assume that deep roots would be the fundamental reasons the sequoias could date back a few decades from the collapse of the Roman Empire. That is not the case at all, because each tree’s roots grow only about four feet deep in the ground, while going deeper helps many trees remain upright, the Sequoia has not overcome the difficulties of life because of its depth.

If you looked around, you would notice that Sequoia trees grow only in groves. While their roots go only about four feet deep into the ground, their roots intermingle with the other Sequoias next to them. One tree has other trees surrounding it, supporting it and keeping it strong. Each tree stands strong through the centuries because each tree depends on others.

No believer is transformed alone. Sunday School, and small groups are so important, because it is during this time that we gain a sense of community, friendship, accountability, and comfort.

Does it really matter if you are involved in a small group or not? Take a moment and look at the results of a recent study that found the practical life differences between someone who just attends worship and someone who is involved in a small group:
(Highlight the below boxes and you can read text)

Question
Did not attend a group?
Attended a group 4+ times a month
I intentionally spend time with other believers in order to help them grow in their faith.
22%
63%
I have developed significant relationships with people at my church.
57%
89%
I am intentionally putting my spiritual gift(s) to use serving God and others.
42%
73%
Throughout the day I find myself thinking about Biblical truths.
45%
74%

Spiritual Discipline
Did not attend a group
Attended a group 4+ times a month.
Read the Bible
27%
67%
Pray for my church and/or church leaders
30%
64%
Pray for fellow Christians I know
54%
82%
Pray for the spiritual status of people I know who are not professing Christians
35%
60%
Confess my sins and wrongdoings to God and ask for forgiveness.
54%
79%


Behavior that is characteristic of a growing disciple
Did not attend a group
Attended a group 4+ times a month.
About what percentage of your total annual income (before taxes) do you contribute to your local church?
6.07%
10.34%
Are you currently involved in ministries or projects that serve people in the community that are not affiliated with your church?
26%
47%
Do you currently have regular responsibilities at your church (for example: greeter, teacher, musician, etc.)?
25%
63%


 What is holding you back from getting involved? I want to invite you, I want to encourage you in every-way that I know how… find a Sunday School group and begin to grow. 

*see Transformational Groups