Archives For Acts

I was recently intrigued by a thought passing through my brain: “The excess I have belongs to those in need.” It’s not the most comfortable thought to consider. I like a little excess. I appreciate the peace and comfort it affords. Yet how can I hold onto more than I need when there are those in the world suffering in abject poverty? One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 30:8 which says, “Give me just enough for today.”

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The author states if he has too much, he will take it all for granted and forget God’s provision in his life. If he has too little, he may be tempted to steal to acquire what he needs. The sweet spot is having just enough for today. Any excess should be shared with others.

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Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” Our entire lives as followers of Christ is based on this hope. The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope there is something beyond this life. Indeed, Paul said if our hope is only in this life, then we should be pitied beyond all men (1 Corinthians 15:19).

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Our hope is not things will get better for us here and now, but all things will be restored to perfection in the future. God created a perfect world and designed everything in it to worship and glorify Him. Our great hope is a return to this state, to live in complete harmony with God and nature. When we have this hope, life becomes worth living.

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Most Christ-followers are familiar with the Biblical command to tithe the first ten percent of their income. We can debate the various nuances of the tithe – and we will in an upcoming post – but today I want to discuss giving beyond the tithe. Some struggle with the concept of even giving ten percent back to God, so talking about giving even more may be uncomfortable.

Beyond the tithe,tithing,tithe,ten percent,Acts 2:44-45,shared all that they had,uke 21:1-4,rich young ruler,Mark 10:17-22,widows mite,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and the goats

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If you are in that camp, please don’t tune out yet. These articles aren’t long, and I believe it will be worth five minutes of your time to take away something to chew on. Giving beyond the tithe isn’t mandated in Scripture, but there are enough examples to make it something we should consider.

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Perhaps more than anyone else, I believe it is incumbent upon disciples of Jesus to lead by example. Christ told us to be His witnesses throughout the earth (Acts 1:8). In other words, wherever we go, we are the representatives of Jesus and His Kingdom. No pressure there, right? But in truth there should be no pressure. If our lives are fully devoted to Christ, it will be natural to walk in His footsteps.

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The problem is the majority of Christians I’ve observed have not taken their commitment to Christ seriously. They said the prayer and have moved on. That’s not going to get it done, and it dishonors the name and character of God to live in such a manner.

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Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Many will never reach the Kingdom of Heaven for they have fixed their eyes on wealth. They are sick for the things of the world. They live proudly through luxury. But those who are serious about salvation must settle this beforehand in their mind. All we possess is given to us to use for sufficiency, which one may acquire by merely a few things.” For those of us in the West, this should be especially convicting. We live proudly in our luxury.

a few things,Clement of Alexandria,Matthew 16:24-26,take up your cross,persecution,comfort,luxury,indulgence,John 16:33,in this world you will have trials,Acts 4:32-35,generosity,all things in common,Luke 12:16-21,build barns,Isaiah 58:6-7,take care of your family,1 Timothy 5:8

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We take more for granted than half the world can even imagine possessing. All this extravagance will count for nothing when we stand before God and give an account of our lives. He will ask what we did with what He entrusted to us, and we will only be able to hang our heads and admit we hoarded it for ourselves (Luke 12:16-21).

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How’s this for a terrifying thought? The measure of your love for God is equal to your love for the people with whom we interact daily. There are some people, my wife for example, whom I love very much and would be comfortable with God measuring my love for Him by how much I love her.

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Then there are my friends; while I have a certain degree of love for them, I definitely want to believe I love God more.  But then there are my coworkers and the people I encounter in the store or in traffic. Now the comparison of how much I love God begins to get more than a little uncomfortable.
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I have always been drawn to the story of the rich young ruler found in three of the four gospels (Matthew 19:16-22, Mark 10:17-22, Luke 18:18-23). I love the black and white of it (or so it would seem). I love the way it lays down the gauntlet and demands everything from us in exchange for Jesus.

rich young ruler,Matthew 5:40,Matthew 8:20,Luke 18:18-23,Matthew 19:16-22,Mark 10:17-22,Acts 2:44-47,Acts 16:14-15,Matthew 27:57,Philippians 3:7-9,commitment

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So much has been written about this story already. Yet still I keep coming back to it. What does it mean to you and me and the lives we lead on a daily basis? How does it apply to those who profess to follow Christ 2,000 years after He walked on this very earth?
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fiscal responsibility,church buildings,building campaign,unity,church budget

I’ve heard many preachers talk about building the church. It sounds like such a noble thing to say, but it depends on the context. I’ve seen far more churches concerned with building the structure that houses the Church, rather than building up the people who actually comprise the church. Most of the time, I hear the need for a larger building justified by saying that it is required to reach more people for Christ. Really? Jesus told us to go out into all the nations to tell others about Him (Matthew 28:19-20). He never said to build a large facility so that the people of the world would come to us.

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not of thsi world,prosperity gospel,christians and technology

It is virtually impossible to be a disciple of Jesus Christ without living a life of self-discipline. Following Jesus means our focus shifts from being self-focused to others-focused. While this sounds noble and good, it is ridiculously difficult to implement. Our culture has so indoctrinated us with the pursuit of things we “need” and “deserve” that it becomes extremely easy to rationalize spending our time and money on things of earth rather than Heaven. Even within the church there are those that preach that following Jesus leads to prosperity and good fortune. This is contrary to what the Bible teaches (2 Timothy 3:12; Luke 9:58); serving God is all about thinking less of ourselves and more of others.

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Bored Apathetic Christians

I was studying the book of Revelation recently, and was reading the passage that contains the letter dictated to the church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6). As I read, I could not help but see the parallels between them and the current American church. I encourage you to take a moment to read the short passage above to provide context to this post.

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