Wednesday, November 6, 2013

10 Easy Ways To Be Generous Today

Jesus was the most generous man who ever lived. He gave up the most and received the least in return. Even though He was God, he gladly opened His hand and let go of his high station. He then humbled himself and took the world's most severe demotion, eventually allowing himself to be killed by His own creatures. All of this, He gave freely so that we might be made right with His Father.

God has given us so much and His expectation is that we open our hands and use those gifts to be generous. Here are some simple ways you can be more generous today:


1. Say something encouraging to someone you've never paid a compliment to before

2. Pay the tab for the car behind you in the drive-thru line

3. Send flowers to your wife for no reason (wives, send bacon to your husband)

4. Put a little extra in the offering plate at your church

5. Give a hefty tip to the cashier at the grocery store

6. Bring dessert to your neighbor

7. Make a micro-loan through Kiva

8. Send a handwritten note to a friend you haven't seen for a while

9. If you eat out, ask to see the manager and tell him/her how wonderful your server is

10. Smile and hand a $5 bill to a complete stranger

Don't Worry; Be Generous!


I just finished this graphic for Sunday and it made me smile, so I posted it here.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you." (Luke 12:22-31)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Your Focus Might Be on The Wrong Person

It's Christmas season...

As we approach this season when it is fairly easy to be focused on the work of Jesus for us, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that our lives should always be focused on Him and on what He is doing in our lives. Think about Philippians 2 which encourages us to focus on the needs of others before we focus on the needs of ourselves.

Do you remember those old, “You might be a redneck” jokes? At the end of each of these statements, insert the expression, “Your focus might be on the wrong person.”  And, if any of them apply, refocus yourself.


If you are wondering why no one else recognizes how valuable your work is…

If you are irate that someone didn’t pay enough attention to you…

If you are stressed out because of circumstances beyond your control…

If you are upset that you can’t get access to the important people…

If you are angry that you didn’t receive the proper thanks for something you did…

If you are certain that no one can replace you…

If you are frustrated that no one is listening to you…

If you are sure that your way is the only way…

If you are disappointed that someone else didn’t give you what you wanted…

...Your focus might be on the wrong person

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Yes, But...

Every so often I have a Sunday morning experience that I am quite certain is not unique to me. I call it the Yes But. Anyone who preaches on a regular basis has probably observed the Yes But at some point in their ministry.

The Yes But sounds something like this, "Pastor, I agree with what you said, BUT..."

Sound familiar?


Before you decide I'm being overly critical of the Yes But, though, let me finish. I have discovered that the Yes But can teach me a great deal about the words I just spoke.
Sometimes, when confronted by the Yes But, I find myself feeling defensive. I immediately begin planning my response. I look for ways to show the Yes Butter that they are clearly in the wrong.

You can be certain that this response clearly indicates that the words I just preached were not God's, they were my own.

The more defensive I am of the words I preach, the more likely it is that they reflect my ideas, not God's.

Sometimes, though, when confronted with the Yes But, I don't feel the least bit defensive. Sometimes I feel quite peaceful, and sometimes, I have found myself feeling a genuine concern for the spiritual journey of the person speaking to me. When I don't feel the need to defend my words, it is likely that they were really Gods words.

The beauty of speaking the word of God is that I never have to defend myself. As long as I can say, "I am simply preaching directly from the Word of God", I never have to worry about the Yes But. I can always say, "you don't have to agree with me, but please make sure you aren't disagreeing with God."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Does This Mean to You?



How did you first interpret the image above?




Did you read:

"You be for me."

or did you read:

"You before me"

I'm not suggesting that this is some subliminal test to determine whether or not you are a selfish or unselfish person. But I found it disturbing that even though I originally meant to create a graphic that said "you before me" (Philippians 2:4), I found myself reading it the selfish way... and I created it!

Perhaps I'm just a selfish person.

But maybe this is a good reminder that it is sometimes easy to view those around us as nothing more than a tool to get what we desire. This is not Christ-like thinking. In fact, it's the exact opposite.

You've already been given the mind of Christ (if you are "in Christ"). So start thinking like Him. He was actually God, yet didn't think that was something he should clench his fist around. So he willingly took a demotion and chose to be born as a mere mortal. And once on earth, he allowed himself to be abused and even subjected himself to death.

A proper view of others begins with a proper view of ourselves. Stop grasping and clutching to have the perfect image or to always get "the win". Instead, seek ways to put the interests of others ahead of your own.

You Before Me.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Truth About Opinion Polls

Do you remember when the evening news would report things that recently happened without citing statistics from the most recent poll regarding said events?

I can't watch "news networks" anymore without the anchors referring to one poll or another several times in each five minute segment. I feel a little like I am being told what to think, or whether my opinion is valid.

Should I feel bad that only 25% of Americans agree with me?

Should I have a sense of pride that my opinion is shard by 82% of surveyed homes?


This has been a long time coming. Decades ago we began this journey which has slowly eroded the idea of truth and morals in favor of opinion and majority. The actions of government officials are no longer judged by whether or not they are good for the country, but by how they impact the official's popularity rating. Legislation is no longer driven by the nation's best interest, but by impact it will have on re-election.

Let me suggest this:

If 90% of Americans believe the moon is made of cheese, it is still not made of cheese.
If only 10% of Americans believe Canada is our neighbor to the north, Canada is still our neighbor to the north.
If 75% of Americans believe that people should really only have one arm, will you cut one of yours off?

This is really just a lament. I'm not sure we can go back. I'm not sure we should.

But maybe next time you see numbers on a poll you can remind yourself, "Those numbers are not necessarily a reflection of what is true, what is best or what is right."