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Archive for March, 2014

What can you get for one dollar? A squirt of gasoline, something of the dollar menu at a fast food joint, a can of soda , an apple. In general you don’t get very much for a dollar. On the other hand you can feed and educate a child for a day in many places around the globe.
What can you buy or do with a hundred dollars? More than what you can with just one dollar that’s for sure. You can fill your tank with gasoline and have some left over (depending on the size of your car), you can go out to eat, you can stock up on soda, and you can feed and educate a child for several months.
What about ten thousand dollars? Without a doubt that’s a lot more than a hundred bucks. You could buy a used car and zip all over the US, eat out a lot, go on a fabulous vacation, do some serious upgrading, or you could feed and educate almost thirty children for year.
What could you do with a million, one hundred million, or even a billion dollars? A heck of a lot and also not very much. You couldn’t buy an ounce of integrity, it wouldn’t be enough to purchase a squirt of genuine love, it would not be enough from keeping death from laughing at you, it would be insufficient to post bail in the court room of God, it would fall short on a down payment for even a day of eternal life, it could not purchase God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace, and it would only be a fraction of the worth of one human soul. Jesus put it plainly, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels” Mark 8:35-38 (NIV).
Can you start doing good with just one dollar? Absolutely. Can you ever earn enough money to acquire what is most important in life and what you need the most? Absolutely not. Will money elevate your status, influence, and power in this world? Yes it does. Will money impress God and earn you his favor? No it doesn’t. “We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it,” 1 Timothy 6:7 (NIV). That’s why it is important for us to listen when the word of God reminds us, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them,” Ephesians 2:8-10 (HCSB).
I am hoping that the dollars passing through your and my fingers will remind us:
• That the most important things of life money cannot buy.
• That every dollar entrusted to me has the potential to accomplish something good.
• That for the wellbeing of your and my soul we are completely dependent on God and Jesus Christ.
To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

 

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Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best (first) part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. Proverbs 3:9-10 (NLT, parenthesis mine)

Some of the great dangers of wealth are that it tempts us to declare our independence from God, that we are seduced by its power into crafting our own destinies, that we wallow in its comforts with little thought of accountability, and that we mistake it for security.

I met with Susie and my financial advisor this week. My reason for doing so was to make sure we have a financial plan as we are speeding towards retirement, to make sure we are applying the wisdom of the ant to the autumn and winter of our lives (Proverbs 6:6-8). We also want to live out Proverbs 13:22, “A good man/woman leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, …”  But the most important question, the most important goal in the management of our wealth (however little or much that might be) is whether or not we are honoring God with it.

When it comes to honoring God with our wealth there are two key components: 1. All of it. 2. The first/best of everything. If I want our financial plan and management to be blessed by God then the beginning point is making sure I honor God with all of my wealth and possessions and that God comes first in my use and distributions of wealth. There is no honor if God is an afterthought, if God comes in at the end of my paycheck, my profit, my bonus, my tax-refund, and any other income or increase that comes my way.

This of course is where many people begin to roll their eyes and say, “Told you so, those preachers are all alike, eventually they want your money.” And, you know what; sadly there have been too many who miss-use and miss-preach the Word of God for personal gain. But they are by far not the most, just like a few bad police officers are not a reflection of most law- enforcement officers who deserve our respect. There are also those who want engage in some hair-splitting debate over tithing (giving 10% to support your church and all it does, which you should – Malachi 3:8-10, 1 Corinthians 9:7-14).  If you want to be cynical go ahead, and if you want to split hairs, go head. You can do with your wealth anything you want to (Acts 5:4), but if you want the wisdom and blessing of God to be of first priority in your management of your wealth and income then you cannot let shysters and hairsplitters detract you of the clear advice and directive of God’s written word, “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best (first) part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine” Proverbs 3:9-10 (NLT, parenthesis mine).

Maybe it is time to revise or revamp your financial plan, to put God first in the management of your earnings, to think about honoring God with all of your wealth.

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What do you do with money you have, the wealth you have accumulated, the possessions you own? Do you primarily use them to do what you want to do, what you like do, to satisfy your desires and appetites? Have you ever considered that the primary functions of your money, your wealth, your possessions is to glorify God, be generous, and take care of your needs? The ultimate foolishness is to be rich and godless, to have means and not think of God, to indulge and bless yourself when you could bless others and cause them to give praise to God (Luke 12:13-21; 16:19-31).

So, could you be more generous? Does your generosity begin with what’s left over after you have indulged yourself, or are you purposely denying yourself so you can be more generous? Are you managing your money, your wealth, your possession with the goal of being as generous as you possibly can be? If you would have to stand before God tomorrow to give an account of the wealth and possessions he entrusted you with would you wish that you would have been more generous, more thoughtful about how you used your measure of wealth to glorify and please God? Would you wish that generosity would have ranked higher in your priorities than your hobbies, your social status, or your need for comfort? Would you wish you would have settled for less so you could have given more? So could you? Could you be more generous?

And should you be more generous? Yes, absolutely yes! The word of God, the Bible, continually warns against chasing after riches for all the wrong reasons (1 Timothy 6:9-10), it denounces greed as a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5), and it calls us to forsake a lifestyle of self-indulgence (1 John 2:15-17). But it gives the green light to generosity, encourages it, and stamps God’s approval all over it. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25 (NASB)

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (NIV)

So could you? Should you? Will you be more generous? So much so that your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father,” Matthew 5:16 (NLT).

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Fat Is Good

Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. Proverbs 10:4-5 (NIV)

There is profit in all hard work, but endless talk leads only to poverty.
Proverbs 14:23 (HCSB)

I went by the field of a slacker and by the vineyard of a man lacking sense.
Thistles had come up everywhere, weeds covered the ground, and the stone wall was ruined. I saw, and took it to heart; I looked, and received instruction: a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit.
Proverbs 24:30-34 (HCSB)

If you want to be lazy the Bible, God’s written word, is not the book for you, neither is following Jesus. You will find neither advocates sloth, laziness, or sluggarddom. If you want to be a bum, a moocher, and are afraid of working hard don’t look to heaven for support. You are more likely to get a kick in the rear from the Almighty than receive the slightest support for laziness.

Laziness is utterly self-centered, it leaves others holding the bag, others doing the hard work, others to take care of your responsibilities. Laziness is full of empty talk, full of wasted potential and opportunity, and full of frustration for those who are stuck with a lazy son, daughter, husband, wife, relative, worker or co-worker, or friend.

Laziness is not void of activity, although it does a lot of sitting around. You can be lazy and spent endless hours on the computer, or playing video games, or watching TV. You can be lazy and wear out your phone (that maybe someone else is paying for) doing the TTT (talking, texting, tweeting). You can be funny as heck, be the life of the party, and smooth as silk and be lazy to the core.

Are the people around you blessed by your work ethic, or do they have reason to complain? Do you love to your best or are you more prone to the minimum required to get others off your back? Are the folks who hired you glad that they did? Can your children use you as an example for working hard? Can your parents be proud of both your attitude regarding work and your work? Can people write you a recommendation without having to lie? If someone looks at your “vineyard,” your home, your apartment, your room, your work space, what do they see? And if God were to look for a hard worker, for any task of his, would he be looking for you?

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, But the soul of the diligent is made fat. Proverbs 13:4 (NASB)

Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)

Why are you sitting here staring at this pastor’s note? Get up and do something productive, would you! – please – now! Look at you go.

To God be all glory, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

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