Saturday, November 30, 2019

Proximity: Why Does it Matter?

Picture this: A small child, obviously malnourished, thirsty, hungry, dirty ... hopeless ... is standing at your front door. When you open the door to see who's knocked, you see the child looking up at you asking, "Will you please help me?" What would you do?

Rhetorical question, of course. Anyone with a heart would rush them inside, quickly feed them and give them some ice cold water, bath them, and show them love. Finding out who their parents are, etc. would be secondary. The imperative would be to help them immediately.

Now picture this: The same child is off your property, 3-4 houses down, standing on the corner. Would you help then? How about if the child was 1-2 miles away from your home?

Now, what if that child was on the opposite side of the globe, in some town you've never even heard of? Still malnourished. Still hungry and thirsty and dirty and without love. What would you do then?

Not such a rhetorical question anymore.

Why does proximity matter? Is the child less in need, less hungry, less thirsty, less in need of love ... because he/she is far away? Again, with the rhetorical questions. But, unfortunately, that is how we look at it. Me included. More appropriately, that is how we don't think about it.

There's a saying for that: "Out of sight, out of mind." We're not evil for not thinking of those in desperate need 24x7. But our lack of thinking about it does not make it magically go away either. Something must be done and someone must do that something. You guessed it - that someone is us ... you and me.

It comes down to a simple truth - We are obligated to help others less fortunate than us. If I have two pieces of bread, and someone else has none, I am obligated to give one. Not by law. Not by some judgmental overseer telling us we must, but because we know it's the right thing to do. Even if you're not a faithful person, each of us has this "conscience" that tells us what we must do. And I don't want to be harsh, but rather to get reality on the table for all of us to examine ... the fact that we don't see those who are so dramatically less fortunate is no excuse for any of us. They are there.

Who can tackle this? You alone? Me alone? No, and no. But you and me and our relatives, our friends, our circle of influence and their circle of influence, et al? Absolutely we can. We just need to start AND (more importantly) continue. Consistently give. That takes two things: (1) intent to do something, and discipline to execute upon that intent, and (2) something that helps us to automate our intent and discipline because it's easy to forget.

Want to learn more? Go to or for details >>

Monday, November 25, 2019

Is "Communism" Viable? Depends on What You Mean ...

Is there a way that Communism could ever succeed? Well, that depends on what you mean by "communism" and how you plan to execute the plan.

Here, now, run by broken, greedy, lazy, self-centered people? No. It just won't. That's been proven time and time and time ... and time ... again, throughout history.

But could it work? Did it ... somewhere and in some way in history?

Let's take a look at Acts 4:32 ...
"All the believers were in one heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had."
Then, in 2 Corinthians 8, Paul encourages the church of Corinth to be generous, so that "your plenty will supply what they need and their plenty will provide what you need."

Sounds an awful lot like communism. Unfortunately, though, many (more often than not, those who don't even believe the Bible) will use these verses to support a Communist governmental system. But - in doing so - they are leaving the 'main ingredient' out of the recipe:
The effect the Holy Spirit has on our hearts, changing them from hearts of stone filled with self-centeredness, to hearts of flesh filled with selflessness ... this must be for anything approaching "communism" to work. If God in Christ is not at the center, it will fail. In fact, it will turn dark.
Communism, in the historically-catastrophic, Atheist-led, depend-on-the-government-for-all-things (as 'god', in essence) way will never work. But communism (sharing of all things), in a biblical, it's-all-His-anyway, others-focused, working-hard-to-your-individual-ability-as-unto-the-Lord-in-order-to-provide-for-the-greater-family kind of way ... oh yeah. In fact, I believe that's how it's meant to be.

If only.

If only we would humble ourselves, let go our grip on the stuff we think is ours, look outward at the urgent need, and let go ... oh, what a better world it would be. Needs would be met, people would be drawn to the Light, they would be receptive to the Gospel, and Christ would be glorified.

If only.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

You Reap (More Than) What You Sow

You reap (more than) what you sow.
I know personally that this is true. The two years following my first true consistent tithe (10% of all income), my wife and I made more money and were blessed with more than in any other decade in our lives. I'll spare you the amount because that doesn't matter.

This is what's important:
We didn't start giving out of a desire to be rich.
We obeyed out of a heart to acknowledge God,
to please and glorify Him, and to be used by Him.

God knows our heart. All he wants is obedience and trust in His promises. And with that obedience and trust comes blessing. This is what His Word clearly states, and I have personally experienced this Truth, many times over now. But that's me and my family, because we choose to serve the Lord.

However ...

Only about 3% of proclaimed "Christians" tithe regularly. Three percent. Imagine if even 25% of proclaimed Christians tithed regularly! What would that amount be, and what would God do with that? Imagine if 50% tithed ... or 100%! Just think about that!

I'm not even talking about more than 10%. I'm just saying the minimum of 10% (where we keep 90%!) to show God that we know it all (100%) came from Him.

And what if we all gained confidence through that first step of trust and obedience and started giving 15% the next year, then 20% the following, then 25% the year after, and so on?

Just imagine.

You reap (more than) what you sow. This is a promise and a challenge. Will you trust Him at His word? I did, and I can testify to His faithfulness.

"God set it up this way because he wants you to become like him. God is a giver. The only way that you're ever going to become like him is to learn to be generous. When you're stingy, you're like the devil.  When you're generous, you're like God. When you give it away, God multiplies it." 
-- Rick Warren

Saturday, November 23, 2019

God Doesn't Need Your Stuff

God does not need your works, your time, your prayer, your anything ...

He does not need it. He is fully self-sufficient. Infinitely so.

That said, He does want your obedience, which shows that you trust Him and appreciate what He has done for you.

Time to put things in perspective ...
FYI, it's not your stuff. It's His.
God is infinite. He is complete in and of Himself. Your works aren't even atomic particles dropped into his ocean of completeness. So don't think for a second that you're doing Him a favor or that He needs you.

But He does want you.
He wants to know that you know who He is and what He's done for you. He created you and the time and place you live in. He suffered and died to pay a debt you owed. He wants to know that you appreciate and trust Him. He wants you to obey, not because He needs your obedience, but to show that you realize that HE is all-knowing, all wise, and all-powerful ... an infinite being who simply knows exponentially better than you.

He is your ultimate Father. He wants your love and respect, just like we want love and respect in the relationships we have with others. Again, He doesn't need it. It doesn't make him more complete, because how do you become more than infinitely complete?

Trust Him in His promises, and show that you realize becoming more like his Son is what's best for you. That's obedience. And that humble heart is what pleases Him.

Friday, November 22, 2019

History's Greatest Investment

[Written originally on March 28, 2017]

Today, my family will receive a sizeable influx of money: tax return, sales bonus, commission check, then my standard bi-monthly salary. What my family will do with that blessing from God is different from what the world would do, generally speaking. In fact, they may find our actions strange. 

The world will buy something nice, like a new car, or they'll put it in a strong investment fund with a nice yield. Will I do any different? Well, ultimately no ... but where specifically will the money be invested?

We - as Christians- are called to give back to God from our "first fruits". We do this to simply acknowledge that it all came from Him, so we give 10-20% of the gross (not net, but gross, because we're giving of the first fruits, not of the after-tax amount) to our church, who is dedicated to a) sharing the Gospel, b) going on Mission, c) helping our community, and d) making the world a better place for the glory of God. We then find a brother or sister in need, and give a chunk to them. Then, we invest a portion. And with the balance, we may or may not buy something nice. Less nice by worldly standards, but nice nonetheless.

Why? Because we know it all came from Him. And even if we look at this from a secular standpoint, is it not the best approach to put our money (as well as time and talent) into the investment which promises the greatest yield? Of course. Well, that investment is in the Kingdom! Nothing even comes close to God's promised APR. And there is no risk involved in this investment. Our Treasure will, without any doubt, be stored up for us in heaven.

In short, as for me and my family, we will bank on God's promises.

He has the greatest financial and life advice in both history and non history. The Creator knows best... And besides, I've seen the returns personally, right here on Earth.

Lord thank you for your provision, and for making it so clear. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.