Archives For Mark

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

image © soupstock via Fotolia

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.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

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

image © Inna via Fotolia

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.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

It occurs to me Jesus lived such a simple life because He knew by limiting distractions, He would maximize His focus on His Father. I think we often overlook the simple teachings of Christ because we are always looking for something deeper. Like everything else in His life, Jesus kept it simple. He didn’t complicate things. He confounded the wise so the simple could plainly understand what He was saying.

simple,Mark 3:21,take up your cross,surrender all,give it all to Jesus,Matthew 8:20,foxes have holes,Matthew 10:34-36,not peace but a sword

image © Sabinezia via Fotolia

The so-called learned and wise people (much like us) missed it because they were convinced it couldn’t be that easy. Certainly issues as large as salvation and eternal life could not be so simple. We continue to make this mistake today and suffer the same consequences of those in Jesus’ day.
Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

Everyone wants to make a difference. We all want to live a life of significance, to live a powerful life. Why then do so many lead lives of quiet desperation? Should Christ followers even aspire to any form of greatness or recognition? Nelson Mandela said there is no passion in playing small, in living a life less than you are capable of living.

Live a Powerful Life,quiet desperation,Nelson Mandela,Henry David Thoreau,be strong and courageous,Joshua 1:9,beattitudes,2 Timothy 1:7,1 Corinthians 16:13,Mark 16:15,1 John 4:18,Matthew 5:5,Philippians 4:13,humility,love,purpose,God's will,I can do all things through Christ

image © yuryimaging via Fotolia

I think Jesus would agree. He created you with a unique blend of skills and passions to do the work He designed for you to do. He created you for a reason. If Jesus is your Lord, the very Spirit of God resides within you. How then could you not live a powerful life?

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

Claire Cain Miller recently wrote an article for the New York Times titled, “Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family”. While not pointed out in the article, it reminded me how our relationship with God often falls victim to our stressed out, fatigued, and busy lifestyle. The life of a Christian in modern society looks ridiculously similar to that of a non-Christian.

left over's,leftovers,left overs,leftover,left over,priorities,God first,Jesus first,God's Kingdom,lukewarm,Cain and Abel,Genesis 4:3-7,Revelation 3:15-16,Revelation 3:16,Genesis 4:3,Mark 4:18-19,Mark 4:18,cares of this world

image © igor via Fotolia

We play the game of pursuing the American dream and keeping up with the Jones’s. None of which has anything to do with following Jesus, of course. But more often than not, we live our busy lives and give Jesus our left over’s. We give God whatever time and money is left over after pursuing our selfish desires.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

I was recently reading Calvin Miller’s excellent “The Disciplined Life” for a second time and came across a statement that exploded off the page. The author wrote, “To hold anything in our hearts that is contrary to the single-minded call is to split our attention between Jesus and whatever else is calling for first place in our allegiance.”
This is the heart of discipleship.

single-mindedness,focus,mission,Kingdom of God,discipleship,God's will,Calvin Miller,Disciplined Life,discipline,Mark 3:24,Luke 9:61-62,Luke 14:26-27,Matthew 8:20,Genesis 19:17,Genesis 19:26,Luke 9:62,Matthew 7:21-23,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and the goats,many will say to me Lord

image © ricardoferrando via Fotolia

There is no place in the life of a follower of Christ for anything other than Jesus. A divided kingdom will certainly fall (Mark 3:24), and a divided heart will never find lasting peace or victory. We either solely belong to Jesus or we do not belong to Him at all.
Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

Commenting on Aldous Huxley’s quote, “My kingdom go is the necessary corollary to Thy kingdom come”, A.W. Tozer said, “His kingdom can never be realized in my life until my own selfish kingdom is deposed. It is when I resign, when I am no longer king of my domain that Jesus Christ will become king of my life.” Before any kingdom can come to power, another kingdom must be kicked out.

my kingdom go,thy kingdom come,A.W. Tozer,aldous huxley,Mark 4:1-20,John 16:33,Luke 16:26,selflessness,selfishness,Kingdom of God

image © slonme via Fotolia

Two kingdoms can never coincide within the same boundaries of another. One is always in power, and all others are subject to it until such time as it is overthrown. The same is true in the soul of every individual. In order for the Kingdom of God to come into my life, first my kingdom must go.
Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

I can imagine few fates worse than being ignored by the devil. Disciples of Jesus make it their business to go about getting Satan’s attention.  Our goal should be to be so effective for the Kingdom that Satan cannot ignore us. I read a prayer once that said, “Lord, it’s not hard to see why Satan attacks. May I continue to be enough of a threat to him to merit his attention! Don’t ever let me become so anemic in my Christian walk that he doesn’t need to bother with me. Amen.”

getting satan's attention,gospels,Matthew,Mark,Luke,John,armor of God,Ephesians 6:10-18,2 Corinthians 4:17,these light afflictions,

image © breakermaximus via Fotolia

That should be our prayer as well. If we’re not getting Satan’s attention, then we are living lukewarm, weak, and ineffective lives.
Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

As I write this, it is mid-October. Most would think this a bit early to start thinking about goals for the next year, but I start the process every year around this time. If you’re kind, you may think me an over-achiever, but I’m guessing most will probably see me as somewhat neurotic and obsessive! Regardless, I’ll bet you’re wondering what any of this has to do with following Jesus.

Goals and Resolutions,Mark 8:36,Philippians 3:8,goals,resolutions,goal setting,God's Kingdom,building the Kingdom,humility,mission

image © Sondem via Fotolia

The truth is I had an epiphany as I began to think about my goals for the next year.  Every time I set goals, they are centered on what I want to accomplish. Yes, I do set spiritual goals, but traditionally those have been just one slice of the goals I set. It suddenly occurred to me the only goals that matter are the ones concerning Christ and not me.
Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

We live in an era where pastors have become celebrities. Several make more money on the speaking circuit and from writing books than any church could ever have afforded to pay them. I have nothing against these people earning more money, and certainly nothing against more people hearing the truth of Jesus. The problem I do have is our tendency to idolize these men and women.

celebrity culture,humility,pride,idols,idolize,marketplace pressure,Mark 8:29-30,Matthew 8:3-4,a.w. tozer

image © manaemedia via Fotolia

We’ve stolen the celebrity culture of Hollywood and applied it to ministry. I am guilty of feeding this machine. I love reading books and attending seminars, always looking for new insights by which I can draw nearer to God. Still, there’s a fine line between earnest student and borderline groupie.
Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…