Archives For Luke

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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I once read our excess money is given to us to share with others. This is something I’ve tried to incorporate into my own life because I feel there is good Biblical precedence for it. Early Christ followers shared all they had with each other (Acts 4:32-35). This seems to go even beyond simply giving away our excess. In the Old Testament, God gave laws commanding people to not harvest the edges of their fields so the poor could come and get some food for their families (Leviticus 23:22).

giving away our excess,wealth,hoarding,generosity,tithe,tithing,John 10:10,Luke 12:16-21,Proverbs 30:7-9

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Jesus told us not to hoard our wealth (Luke 12:16-21). The next question I generally get when discussing this is, “How do I determine how much is excess?” To me, this question is always the result of a scarcity mindset.

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That there is victory in surrender is one of the great mysteries of following Jesus. Almost everything about the life Jesus lived seems upside down and counterintuitive, but perhaps nothing more than this. Who wins by surrendering? History books are not written about those who waved the white flag, but about the conquering heroes and nations. We grow up daydreaming about being the champion, the victor, and the overcomer.

victory in surrender,A.W. Tozer,tozer,discipleship,commitment,surrender,upside down kingdom,Gregory A. Boyd,Gregory Boyd,Greg Boyd,Donald B, Kraybill,Luke 9:62,no one who puts his hand to the plow,Matthew 28:18-20,great commission,go ye therefore into all the world,make disciples of all nations,Luke 9:59-60,let the dead bury the dead,first let me bury my father

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No one dreams of being the one who grows up to surrender. But it is exactly to this Jesus calls us. In fact, He makes it pretty clear unless we are willing to surrender everything, He won’t be able to do much with our lives.

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One of the greatest dangers facing the modern Church is the prevalence of Christians thinking they can play it safe and still have a place in the Kingdom of God. If that seems controversial, let me be perfectly clear and a bit blunt: you cannot play it safe and please God. Those two ideas are diametrically opposed. The life of Jesus was filled with danger and discomfort.

play it safe,playing it safe,commitment,discipleship,mission,God's Kingdom,Kingdom of God,John 16:33,you will have trouble in this world,Matthew 10:16-25,brother will betray brother,Luke 9:57-58,foxes have holes,no place to lay his head,Hebrews 11:32-38,sawed in two,renegade,vince antonucci

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He warned his followers their lives would be the same if they chose to stick with Him ((John 16:33; Matthew 10:16-25; Luke 9:57-58). Fast forward a couple thousand years, and the propensity to play it safe has become the order of the day in many – if not most – churches.

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We all have triggers that prompt sinful behaviors. If we learn to recognize the triggers, we will begin to overcome the most problematic sins in our lives. Satan does two things really well. He lies, and he manipulates.  When it comes to his attacks on us, all of them can be traced back to one of those two strategies.

triggers,marshall goldsmith,Matthew 4:1-11,temptation of Christ,Jesus in the wilderness,Matthew 26:36-46,garden of Gethsemane,Luke 22:39-46,sweating blood,temptation,sin,prayer,kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,prayer

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Either he’s trying to get you to believe something untrue, or he’ll try and get you to do something against the will of God. Understanding the simplicity of the enemy’s attacks should help us formulate strategies to resist him. But unless we recognize the triggers in our own lives, we will struggle defeating the schemes of the devil.

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We live in a world obsessed with numbers. We count friends, likes, and shares of our posts and pictures on social media. We count the amount of money we have down to the last penny.  Perhaps the place we most fixate about numbers is at church; we boast about attendance, number of people baptized, and even the number of programs available to the attendees.

the only number Jesus cares about,just one,one thing,Gary Keller,apple of His eye,God's Kingdom,God's love,Jesus,Luke 15:4-7,parable of lost sheep,Luke 15:8-10,parable of lost coin,John 4:1-42,woman at the well,samaritan woman,Heaven rejoices,Luke 15:7,Luke 15:10

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It seems even more incredible to me when you read the Bible and realize the only number Jesus cares about is one. It’s because one represents you, the apple of His eye and the passion of His heart.

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I am a firm believer the key to leading people to Jesus is through building relationships with them so we might be able to demonstrate God’s love and character to them. At the same time, we must never lose the urgency caused by the reality of Hell.

hell is real,hell,heaven,Satan,eternity,afterlife,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and the goats,Luke 23:42-4,you will be with me in paradise,thief on the cross,Luke 16:20-26,lazarus the beggar,father Abraham,Matthew 7:21-23,depart from me,I never knew you,the gospel

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Despite the modern propensity to focus only on the more pleasant parts of Christ’s teaching – namely Heaven –we do a great disservice to the world if we don’t at least occasionally remind them Hell is real. It’s not popular, but it is necessary to talk about this. Otherwise we risk delivering only half the story and distorting the Gospel of Jesus.

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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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Freewill is central to my theology and in my mind is the linchpin to answering difficult questions about sin, disease, and evil in the world. After Jesus, I think freewill is probably the greatest gift God bestowed on His creation. After all, freewill is what enables us to love. It enables us to choose. Most importantly, it enables us to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.

death of freewill,Luke 10:25-28,love the Lord will all your,love your neighbor as yourself,Matthew 22:39-40,freewill,open theism,open theist,openness,greg boyd,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and the goats,Philippians 1:21,to live is Christ,to die is gain,foxes have holes,first let me bury my father,Luke 9:57-62,Galatians 2:19-20,I have been crucified with Christ,John Sanders,God of the possible,Philippians 1:21,good samaritan

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But here’s the irony for all disciples of Jesus: to accept Christ means the death of freewill in our lives. When we surrender ourselves to Christ, we surrender everything, including our freewill. Nothing is excluded. The very thing permitting us to accept Christ is what we must give up in exchange for His Lordship in our lives.

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A few years ago, Gary Keller wrote a book called, “The One Thing”. While it was not a “Christian” book by definition, I found it applicable to life as a disciple of Jesus. The book talks about finding the one thing that drives you. It encourages the reader to discover the one thing about which they are most passionate. Once discovered, the author compels us to pursue it with intense focus and determination.

One Thing,Gary Keller,Jay Pappas,absolute surrender,Andrew Murray,take up your cross,you cannot serve two masters,death to self,crucify self,total surrender,whoever is not for me is against me,Matthew 16:24-25,Luke 11:2,Matthew 6:24

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For years I have known what my “one thing” is. It is to instruct and encourage others to live lives wholly devoted to Christ. While it’s been some time since I read Mr. Keller’s excellent book, it left quite an impact on me. Then I recently read “Absolute Surrender , a book written by Andrew Murray over a century ago. In it, I came across the following statement: “Absolute surrender to God is the one thing.”
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