Month: July 2016

Giving is Much More Than Money

–written by Jean Daniel Many years ago upon getting her weekly allowance, a little girl asked her father, “Daddy, how do you tithe a nickel?” She had been taught to tithe her money, but later learned it also meant giving of her time, money and personality. How does that apply to you? Personality: Does your Christian spirit come across through your smile, your words, your actions to your family or to strangers?  When my children were young, I accidentally recorded our conversation while preparing dinner. Later when playing it back, I was appalled at the manner in which I spoke to my kids. What would God’s recording of your comments and behavior toward others reveal? Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5, NIV Money: You know that you are supposed to tithe your money, but is it given with a tight fist or an open heart? Teach your children while they are young to tithe their money and they will give with eagerness and serve as an …

Are You Living in the Best Neighborhood?

Paul was a stud and he had every reason to be. He was a social elite, an intellectual genius, and the cherry on top of the creme when it came to Jewish standards. Every parent wanted their kid to be like Paul. Wives would say to their husbands, “Why can’t you be more like Paul?” It would have been easy for Paul to rely on his own “righteousness.” How many of us have been caught driving in that neighborhood? Forget driving, how many of us have bought a house in the neighborhood of credentials, titles, and worth built by human hands? In Philippians 3, Paul gives his own introduction speech, listing all his accolades.  It’s not because he is obsessed with himself, but to demonstrate he is qualified to speak into the lives of the Jews. No one had the credentials this dude was carrying, and in an instant, all that had meaning and clout among a nation that worshipped the Mosaic Law, Paul wrote off.   I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the …

This Week For Sunday

Peace. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that word? War? Hippies? A dove? A tranquil place? Rest? Quiet? There are so many things that the word peace can bring to mind. Because of this, it can be hard to understand what the Bible means when it talks about the peace of God. Paul writes: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 My family is going through some pretty big changes right now. There are a lot of details that need to happen in order for everything to work out. In all of this, it is really easy for me to worry about every little detail and how it is all going to work out. However, I have found that being anxious has never helped in any way. If …

It’s Elementary, My Dear Christ-Follower

 -written by Kyndel Pirkle I’m an elementary school teacher. My job as an educator is to instill basic concepts and foundations of mathematics to my students. This means teaching and reminding students the same principles over and over and over again. I have to master all of the elementary teachings that I drill into my students’ heads. And yet I still sometimes forget the elementary teachings of Christ. For me, the principle I often “forget” is how much my Father loves me, even when I sin. I was reminded in my life group while doing a study on the Holy Spirit that “God doesn’t want a good slave who tries really hard. He wants me to know how good of a father He is.” (Forgotten God, Francis Chan). Translation: God is the perfect father who loves me with an unconditional love that far exceeds what any human has seen. This is especially true in my imperfect and sinful nature. We learn at a young age that God creates and loves us so much, but at times I need …

4 Simple Challenges Direct From Philippians 2

Have you ever opened up the Bible, began reading and felt completely lost? The Bible is full of historical events, unusual commands, and lists of names that can intimidate the reader. While some books in the Bible might confuse the reader, Philippians has only four chapters and is full of encouraging wisdom. Here are 4 simple challenges direct from Philippians 2 that Paul challenges the church to become. 1. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others (vs 3).  If applied, these eight words could change every school, home, and workplace in America. How many times do we get ourselves in trouble by putting our wants before the needs of others? How often do we find ourselves caught up in lies because we are trying to impress others? With these words, Paul challenges the church to have the same attitude of Christ. 2. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves (vs 3).  If you step back and look at the consequence for sin, you will see that pride destroys. Pride says, “I deserve this” and …

This Week For Sunday

-written by Emily Greene Have you ever heard of the story in the Bible where God destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? If you haven’t, you should read Genesis 18:16-19:29 to get the whole story. To sum it up, these two cities were so unrighteous that God demolished the two places. Beforehand, he sent angels to rescue Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and his family. God told them to run away and not turn back. As they were escaping, Lot’s wife turned to look at the cities. As a result of her disobedience, she became a pillar of salt. How often do we look back at our old unrighteous life instead of running with our eyes focused on what is ahead? In Philippians, Paul shares how he strives to live his life: “But I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13b-14) We know …

Give Grace As You Have Received It

Have you ever studied the book of Leviticus? Yeah, me neither. At least, not until a few months ago. I have to admit I wasn’t too excited when I realized that was the next book in the reading plan I’ve been following. I even found it funny that the study guide introduced Leviticus with the fun fact that it is one of the least read books in the Bible. It covers an array of topics including personal health, sexual relationships, childbirth, diseases, skin rashes, mold infestations, and even baldness. Sounds riveting, doesn’t it? I remember thinking as I started the study, “How can this possibly relate to my life right now?”  The entire book is literally word after word, page after page of instructions to the Israelites concerning the rules and regulations that God required for a life of holiness. And some of it is just plain gross… blood, guts, discharges… TMI for sure! But seriously, when I look back on studying that overlooked book in the Old Testament, I become overwhelmed thinking about what …

Feeling Stuck? You Can Advance the Gospel.

You need two things if you want to be happy in God’s work overseas: a good sense of humor and no sense of smell. – said to Charles Swindoll by a veteran missionary, (Griffith, Leonard. This Is Living, p. 33) I think this is pretty good advice for all of us: learn to laugh because life at times just plain stinks. You may think I am being too flippant about tough times—especially if you are presently slogging through one of those rotten seasons. I understand. I have been there and done that too. We all know about those times: some of us are in one, some of us are about to go into one, and some of us are coming out of one. Does God have anything to say about the things that happen to us? You better believe it! In fact, God speaks directly to it through Paul in the letter he wrote to the Philippian Christians—probably the most joyful and most personal of Paul’s letters to a church. In the midst of this letter full …

This Week For Sunday

Over 4th of July weekend, my family had a pleasant discussion about Heaven and meeting Jesus face to face. I love talking about our eternal life with Christ! There was a time that I was scared of death. In my immature way of thinking, I wanted to experience what this life had to offer before dying. I wanted to experience things like driving, college, graduating, living on my own, getting married, the fun of making kids, and having kids. In Philippians 1:21-23 Paul writes: For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. I’ve experienced all of those things and while I am greatly enjoying them all, none of those things have fulfilled the deepest part of my soul like I thought it would. I’ve learned that only when I’m face-to-face with my …

Responding like Christ on Social Media

Often times, I have this strong fleshly desire to post on Facebook or Twitter regarding personal feelings that I have toward social and political issues, especially in the current climate as we gear up for the 2016 Presidential election. Everything from political speeches, to what is and isn’t politically correct anymore, I want so badly to jump in with my opinions and remarks, hoping to sting those that I don’t like or disagree with. Where is my platform to tell everyone how I feel? Is it Facebook, Twitter, or Wednesday nights to a bunch of teenagers who are more concerned with Instagram likes than Donald Trump’s misquote of 2nd Corinthians? I don’t know that it’s any of these… Our culture has become inundated with heavily opinionated broadcasters abusing the character of people and, in someway, trying to promote their own agendas. Christians are so desperate to have a voice that often times we post feelings and emotions, disregarding and forgetting the effect that the Gospel ought to have in our lives. We respond to people and issues the opposite …