Thursday, February 16, 2017

Life Giving vs. Life Saving

We all have been told when talking about finances that saving is critically important. Yes, in the world's economy, we must save a certain percentage of our income for the future.  When it comes to Gods economy, we take this same mindset when considering our spiritual lives as well.  But nowhere does God tell us to save our lives. He tells us to give it away, Luke 6:38

Our natural tendacy is to save, protect and preserve our life.  So when God leads us to give our life away, we tend to avoid any risk so as not to experience rejection, failure or anything that might bring us physical or emotional pain.  Go on a mission trip overseas?  No way, it's too dangerous!  Share the Gospel with a neighbor? No, I'm afraid I might be thought of as a zealot. Get involved helping a friend whose son is on drugs and spinning out of control? No, I don't want to get involved in that drama. No telling what might happen. Spend a day working and sweating in an impoverished neighborhood?  Nope, I'd rather watch my favorite football team and rest up for church on Sunday. 

I love how Paul describes his life in his second letter to Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." He had spent his life serving God, enduring all manner of hardships, from beatings and stonings, to imprisonment to shipwreck.  There was no consideration to save his life. God had saved him so that he could spend his life on something much greater than himself. 

When I get to the finish line and come face to face with Jesus, I'm surely not going to talk about how I saved my life.  I'm not showing him my wonderful collection of rare coins I saved or my cool baseball card collection. No, I think Jesus will be much more impressed with the battle scars from sharing my faith, and the blood, sweat and tears shed from taking risks and obeying Christ when he was leading me to give my life away. Then I can say as Paul did, "I've fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith." 

I was created so that I may be spent.

Friday, February 3, 2017

When seeking a miracle from God; Pray. Believe. Pursue.

Ben Chapman's church plant is growing and flourishing. Luminous church located in San Antonio near the University of Texas at San Antonio caters to college students and young adults and meets in a movie theatre off of I10.
When the the two year contract for their use of the theatre was not renewed, Ben and his church faced a dilemma. They needed a church space large enough for 200+ people close to UTSA, because of their campus ministry. Available properties in this area are rare and expensive. Ben says that the theatre wasn't a good option anyway since they had upgraded their seating to the new high backed recliner chairs. He explained laughing, "they may be great while watching a movie but try preaching to a crowd of people practically lying on their backs. So we were contemplating moving when the theatre management informed us they would not be renewing our contract."

Ben Chapman encourages risk
So Ben and his congregation had no option but to move and prayed for a miracle. A church filled with college aged adults is not going to be able to afford the type of space they needed.  Yet, they believed God would come through some way, somehow and started the search. 

Ben was led to a property within the 15 mile radius of UTSA which they had set as their target. He explained to the owner their predicament and the owner replied, "yes I know, I'm a member of your church!  I just recently started attending." When he told Ben what he was asking to lease the property, Ben's spirit sank.  No way could they afford it.  He explained to the owner that the space was perfect and everything lined up except the price and left feeling as if that door which seemed like a miracle had been closed. 

A few days later the owner called back with a new offer, exactly the amount that the church had set as "affordable". Ben had not told the owner their price thinking it was too low. God however, using the faith and generosity of another believer, delivered the miracle. Luminous Church is moving in March and praising God for a miracle! A great reminder for us all when seeking a miracle; pray big, believe, and then pursue your dream! 

For more stories of God's miraculous movements go to Miracles on the Mission Field.

How to choose the right path

“This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and ...