Loving God With Our Money

At CrossWay on Sunday we began a three-week series about money, called The Almighty’s Dollar.  Everyone’s favorite topic to hear about in church, right?

Actually, money does have great spiritual significance.  Jesus talked about it a lot.  The gist of His teaching about it is that what you do with your money reveals where your heart is.

We show people we love them by spending money on things that are important to them.  When I was still in college and working part-time as a pizza delivery guy, I bought Carolyn an engagement ring that cost more money than my car.  Why?  To show her that I love her!  (On a side note, a hint to the guys: The same principle works with spending time as well as money.)

The same principle applies with God.  Our money gives us an opportunity to show God that we love Him.  We can express our love for God by spending our money on things that are important to Him, things that have eternal significance.  In Matthew 6:20, Jesus refers to this as storing up treasures in heaven.

How do we do this?  It’s easy because the possibilities are limitless: the most obvious way is to give financially to support the work of the local church, but you can also support a myriad of ministries that help people around the globe in the name of Christ, help someone you know personally that has a need, or simply bless someone by giving them something you know they would enjoy.  Anything you can do with your money that puts a smile on God’s face is a practical way to use your dough to show God you love Him.

To read more of Jesus’ teaching about money, read Matthew 6:19-34.

Next week we’re talking about trusting God with our dinero.

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Published in: on April 14, 2010 at 5:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Where the Wild Things Are

Last night Carolyn and I watched Where the Wild Things Are, a movie based on the popular children’s book.

I enjoyed watching it, but only after it was over did I realize how much I like it.  The kid who plays Max, the main character, did an incredible job.  Much of his acting is done without dialogue, using mostly facial expressions.  This is especially well done at the end of the movie.

Whereas most movies go for the happily-ever-after ending, this one goes more for a reality-ever-after ending, which made me appreciate it that much more.  One of the “wild things” in the movie says something like, “Being in a family is hard.”  That seems to be the main theme–something that is barely hinted at it in the book, but is richly explored in the movie.  The film never gives the impression that being part of a family ever gets easier, only that it’s worth it to stick together no matter what, hard as it may be.

The ending is one of my favorite parts.  After having a huge blowout with his mother and then going on a crazy adventure, Max is reunited with his mom.  No words are spoken.  They look at each other, share in a meaningful silence, and simply continue being a family.

While the characters, costumes, and general story line come straight from the book, a good portion of the movie seems to take place between a couple pages in the book.  It’s almost like commentary to help us understand the book.  The land that Max goes to operates on the level of a kid’s thinking.  Since it’s easy for me to instantly transport myself back to the way I thought when I was eight (as I think most men probably can!), I really found myself relating to the society of the wild things.

The more I think about it, the more I like this movie.  The subtlety is one of its greatest strengths.  Definitely worth a second viewing.

After watching the movie, Carolyn and I read the book.  It was then that I was really struck by how accurate the costumes (and CGI/animatronics) in the film are.

Published in: on April 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm  Comments (2)  

Update On SonRise East

Exciting times!  A new satellite church location is opening up near CrossWaySonRise Church in Berlin is launching a campus just a little up the road from us, toward Ocean City.  Pastor Kyle, who is leading the new site, posted on his blog some of the needs they still have.

Please check out the list here and see what you can contribute.  Thanks!

Published in: on April 12, 2010 at 2:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

And On That Farm He Had A Daughter, E-I-E-I-O

Today in Carolyn’s class of three-year-olds, they had three special visitors.

First a bunny came and visited.  The kids enjoyed petting the bunny.

Then a little puppy came and visited.  The kids enjoyed petting the puppy.

Then Laura Marie came and visited.  One of the little boys asked me, “Can I pet your daughter?”  And sure enough, he started patting her on the head!

Published in: on April 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm  Comments (2)  

Jesus Broke My Schedule

“How many loaves do you have?”

That’s what Jesus asked His disciples when they wanted to know how they were supposed to follow up on His suggestion that they feed 4,000 families.  (See Mark 8:1-10.)

Obviously they didn’t have enough food to feed what amounted to a small city.  They must have felt a little awkward as they looked at the huge crowd, did a quick inventory of their bread supply, and answered Jesus: “Seven.”  Seven loaves of bread (which, by the way, were much smaller than what we get at Panera Bread or Food Lion) were entirely insufficient to feed so many people.  At least, they were insufficient until they were placed in the hands of Jesus.

One of the struggles that’s been very stressful for me the past few months is time.  There never seems to be anywhere near enough of it!  Yesterday when I was reading this passage, it struck me that my time is like the disciples’ loaves.  I can hear Jesus asking, “How many hours do you have?”  In my control it will never be enough.  But if I turn it all over to Jesus, without trying to be sneaky and shove a few hours in my pocket, then it will be more than enough.  After all, the disciples started out with seven loaves, gave it all to Jesus, fed thousands of people, and still had seven basketfuls left over!

By the way, notice that after the disciples gave the bread to Jesus, He broke it and gave it back to them.  So I’m giving Him my schedule, letting Him break it, and receiving it back from Him to do His work.

What’s this look like in real time (literally)?  I prayerfully revamped my schedule.  I wrote down what I believe are God’s priorities for me and what He has called me to do.  Then I blocked off time for each one.  On paper, it’s still not nearly enough.  But it’s in His hands, and everything we place in His hands to be broken and blessed always proves to be more than enough.

Published in: on April 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Our Upright Baby

Laura Marie walked today!  That’s how she celebrated turning 10 months old.

Published in: on April 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Resurrection Sunday

I don’t understand why we call it “Easter” after the name of a pagan god, when it’s to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Therefore the title of this post.  A few years ago when I was on staff at another church, I brought this up.  Our lead pastor responded, “Yeah, why don’t you head that up?”  So I’m heading it up.  Let’s call it Resurrection Sunday!

So at CrossWay Church on Resurrection Sunday we talked about, of course, the resurrection of Jesus.

Hmm… that about sums it up!  Hopefully the podcast will be up soon.

Next Sunday we begin a three-week series called The Almighty’s Dollar.

Published in: on April 7, 2010 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment