Here’s a quick, powerful lesson on the purpose of financially supporting ministries. At this time of the year, many ministries are asking for your year-end gift. Once you’ve discerned which ministries to support (which I hope includes your church!), you need to make sure you have the right attitude when giving.
Philippians 4:17 says, ““Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.”
Paul made this statement after acknowledging the Philippians’ financial support to his ministry. Here’s the lesson: We give because we want to see fruitful ministry. It’s not about the money we give; our motivation should be the ministry fruit that will be produced.
A perspective for ministries:
Be good stewards. Don’t just seek the gift to say look at what we got, but set your hearts on how to use that money for the most ministry effectiveness.
A perspective for givers:
Don’t boast in your gift (the amount or the fact that you gave). Boast in what the Lord does (the fruit) with the gifts of the faithful.
Let’s be generous and see more ministry fruit!
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By Ryan Strother — 2 years ago
Go to BlessEveryHome.com and sign up to receive a daily email with the names and addresses of five of your neighbors so you can pray by name for them. This ministry is incredible! Here are 5 reasons you need to use Bless Every Home:
You are praying by name for people.
This prayer ministry guides you to pray specifically. Imagine what the Lord would do if his people are praying for their neighbors by name. Real people. Real close to you. You might not know them or their needs but you can pray for their salvation, family, or whatever else comes to mind. When you sign up, you receive an email every day (or on whatever days you choose) with five names of families near you.
You are conscious of opportunities to pray, care, and share.
When you log in to your account, you will see 5 main metrics on your dashboard: households adopted, households prayed for, households cared for, households shared with, households discipled.
You can click on the map option of your account and view the locations of your neighbors. When you click on a neighbor’s icon, you can record notes, or click on an icon to show that you prayed, cared, shared (the gospel), or are discipling that neighbor. Just having a system like this reminds you that your neighbors are there and that we need to love our neighbors (Matt. 22:39).
You can see others in your neighborhood who are praying.
Called “Lights in Neighborhood,” you can see who else is praying (they must be sign up for this ministry obviously). Imagine the power of the Holy Spirit you are inviting by connecting with others in your neighborhood and praying together for your neighbors!
Go sign up! What do you like about Bless Every Home?Post Views: 913
By Ryan Strother — 1 year ago
“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.”
― Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam
“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
― Philippians 2:3-4
Pride is a topic in secular and Christian literature, but we find that the Bible is full of examples of pride and instructs us best in how to combat pride. Pride is at the root of any sin you will commit because ultimately you are acting on what you want more than what God desires and commanded.
We will use Judges 9 to identify key characteristics of pride in the life of Abimelech, one of Gideon’s sons. Hopefully it will serve as a litmus test for your life and help you search your own heart to rid it of pride.
Today we will examine one characteristic of pride from Abimelech’s life: Pride Connives and Manipulates. Next week, we will see that pride disregards other people.
Abimelech was unique among all of Gideon’s sons because only he was born to a concubine who was from Shechem. The rest of Gideon’s 70 sons were born to wives who were from Ophrah.
Shechem was a city in the land of Israel, right on the border of the the land alloted to Ephraim and Manasseh, and chapter 9 records Abimelech’s wicked plan to become the king of Shechem.
His conniving begins by going to his mother’s relatives in Shechem. He manipulated them by creating a power struggle that might not have really existed between himself and his brothers. He told his relatives to tell the leaders of Shechem that Abimelech should be their leader, and he even adds what is so common in manipulation: guilt. The guilt trip comes through these words: “remember I am your bone and your flesh” (Judges 9:2).
The relatives were convinced and participated in Abimelech’s corruption by giving him money from the house of Baal-berith, a place of idol worship! The amount they gave (70 pieces of silver) seems to indicate that the leaders of Shechem knew what Abimelech was going to do. They basically gave him one piece of silver per brother, whom Abimelech planned on exterminating.
Abimelech then hires “worthless and reckless fellows” (v.4) to follow him. I imagine if you are worthless and reckless that you’ll follow anyone to do anything. This was basically a hit squad who went with Abimelech to Ophrah to kill his brothers–seventy men on one stone.
His selfishness throughout this plan reminds me of something I read about Ronald Reagan. When he was governor of California, Reagan made a speech in Mexico City. About that occasion, Reagan said, “After I had finished speaking, I sat down to rather unenthusiastic applause, and I was a little embarrassed. The speaker who followed me spoke in Spanish — which I didn’t understand — and he was being applauded about every paragraph. To hide my embarrassment, I started clapping before everyone else and longer than anyone else until our ambassador leaned over and said, ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you. He’s interpreting your speech.‘”
Sometimes we applaud ourselves the quickest and longest. Abimelech was an arrogant man with a wicked plan. He manipulated the leaders of the town to equip him to carry out that plan, and then those leaders made him king.
My kingdom come, my will be done was Abimelech’s attitude, and he didn’t care what it took to accomplish his plan. Pride connives and manipulates, and next week we’ll see how pride disregards other people.Post Views: 800
By Ryan Strother — 1 year ago
When you are seeking, look in the right direction.
We were playing hide and seek as a family once a couple years ago and everyone had been found except four-year-old Sydney. All six of us were looking for her and after a while, we got a little panicked. Did she run off, did somebody grab her when no one was looking?
We looked in the backyard, the neighbor’s yards, and the pond that was across the street until we finally found her–underneath a blanket in the garage, sleeping! We were across the street and she’s asleep in the garage!
When you are seeking, look in the right direction.
David shows us in Psalm 63 that we worship what we think will satisfy us. So when you are seeking satisfaction, make sure you look in the right direction. Or in other words, look in the direction of our Creator God; worship Him and you will find satisfaction for your soul, the innermost part of your being.
David paints a clear picture of his condition and desire for worship in Psalm 63:1: I seek you earnestly; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Get the picture? A desolate condition of searching for what will satisfy the innate longing in his soul.
What do you do when your soul has that kind of desire in a world that is full of earthly deserts? Verse two gives the answer: Thus, I have seen you in the sanctuary, to see your power and your glory. This is a declaration of worship, and we will only find satisfaction in our souls when we are in the proper place of worship (sanctuary) and the presence of God (power and glory).
Regarding the place of worship, however, there is a difference between David and us. In David’s day, the sanctuary would have been the Tabernacle and later the Temple.
But in John 4:21-24, Jesus states that the time is at hand where we will worship in Spirit and Truth. God is spirit.
Today, worship is not assigned only to a certain space but is always possible because of God’s presence in you through His Holy Spirit.
You can have the Holy Spirit in you by repenting of your sin and believing in Him.
You do have the Holy Spirit in you, then, when you are saved.
When you are seeking, look in the right direction. The natural desire in your soul will lead you to worship. We were created to worship. Make sure you look in the right direction, and then find satisfaction for your soul.Post Views: 776