Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Shopping List Life Strategy

Proverbs PictureA wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisors. Proverbs 24:5-6

My husband laughs at how I plot out my grocery shopping trips. First, I take inventory of what we have on hand. This includes going through every cabinet and freezer and marking down how many of something I have. Second, I plot our dinner meals for the month, based on what we have and then on what I’d like to have. Third, I go through my list and mark down how many of each item to buy. Fourth, I highlight the things we need in two different colors, one for each store I go to. Third, we go shop. If the kids are with me, we take two carts, one for cold stuff and one for regular stuff. This makes it easier to pack into the car, rather than having it mixed up. When we shop, I don’t mess around. Why? Well, my inventory list is by aisle so I know exactly what order and what aisle to go down. It’s my very own paper app! Once I sent my husband to the big store for stuff with this list. He looked at my list and says, “You know which aisle stuff is in?” Yup. He came home and told me everything was right where I said it would be. Easy.

This strategy helps me to know what we have and to not buy too much of something I have on hand or double up on something I don’t really need to double up on. It saves me time and money. Kids might cry for donuts, but I tell them, it’s not on the list. Well, sometimes I give in! What would happen if I used this detailed a strategy in other areas?

The Proverb says: A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisors. This is talking about actual war of course. It’s telling you, you need a strategy to win and you need to be wise. Some of you are battling wars in your own life. This Proverb can help you. You need to get knowledge and increase your strength. You need to find people who can guide and mentor you. You need people in your corner!

Folks, you need to know you have a personal cheerleader in your corner already. God! He is wise, strong, a great counselor, advisor, and the only teammate you need on your side if you are battling something bigger than you can handle. This is good news! Trust me that no matter if your faith is still young, wavering, or indecisive God is on your side. He will put people in your path that can help you. He will help you make tough decisions if you ask Him. He loves you. Reach out to Him. Pray to Him. Call on His name. He is always there, but He is waiting for you to ask Him to be on your team forever.

Make your shopping list for the battle you are waging. Take inventory, see what you need, highlight important stuff, and find some helpers. Most importantly, ask for God’s help, send out the battle cry. He is the greatest advisor and can help you through.

A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisors. Proverbs 24:5-6

Forgetting the Future Hope

Proverbs Picture

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:17-18

When we moved to a new area to start a church plant, we left behind the cutest house, with a nice yard. There was room for the kids to run and a huge tree with a great swing. The neighbors were nice and you could walk around the looping streets or the kids could ride their bikes. When we moved, it was hard to find a house big enough for our family. Three bedroom houses were not plentiful. But, we were driving around and saw a sign and it said open today. So, we stopped and ended up getting this semi-detached house, on a main road, with a tiny yard, very close to the neighbor’s houses. The good part was, it was big enough for us, the rent was just what we needed, and it was just finished being rehabbed, so it was like it was new.

We thought this house would be temporary. Well, we’ve lived here over two years and there is hardly a day goes by that I don’t look at houses for sale. I’m wishing, coveting what I don’t have. Everything else looks more attractive than what I have. I am envious. Other things look more attractive in this material world, when really all my needs are met right where I am. Have you been there?

Constantly, I need to remind myself to fear the Lord. To know and take comfort in the fact that he’s got my life all under control. That He has me right where I need to be, with what I need, and who I need. I fall into the trap of the gimmies. Gimmie more of this, better that, all based on earthly desires.

What I, what we, really need to do is keep our eyes on “…a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off”. We need to praise God for the blessings he has given us now. Most importantly, we need to give thanks for the fact that He has brought someone into our lives who shared the Gospel with us and we have placed our faith in Jesus. That future is a future where we live forever in heaven with Him. And that, my friends, will be better than anything here on earth, no matter how good it looks. It will even be better than that nice four bedroom, two bath house on a third of an acre I’ve got my eye on. I pray we all can focus on that future hope.

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:17-18

Money Won’t Go With You

Proverbs Picture

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Proverbs 23: 4-5

Every once in a while the big jackpot lottery comes around and our family likes to dream. If you had $445 million dollars, what would you buy with it? Buy a house, new car, pay off debt, or get a lot of Legos? It’s fun to do. Sometimes we buy a ticket or two just for that chance to dream. But then the reality sinks in when we check the numbers. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten one number. Oh well, back to work we go, right?

You see, money is nice. It allows us to buy things we need and sometimes want. It’s how you get food and pay for shelter. But if money is the all consuming need in your life, you need to take a step back. Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint means that if you are just lusting after money all the time, people will notice. Will they start to think that you are using them just to get ahead and not for friendship? At some point, the big companies, with the billion of dollars of profits are going to need to realize that regular people got them there. How about showing some restraint with your prices? Recently, the computer in our car broke and we had to replace it. The little box that was tucked into our car cost over $1,000. It makes me wonder how much it really cost to make. Plus, labor to install and that makes me glad we have emergency money saved up for unexpected things.

I just want to mention the second verse of the Proverb. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Basically, you can’t take it with you. All the money, stuff, nice car, and designer clothes stay here when you die. The people left here will probably get rid of it to sell, for money, and what you found so important will just be forgotten. You might be forgotten too, if all you cared about was getting rich. So, live your life well. Not with the focus of fame and fortune, but with the focus of how you can impact lives around you. If you do strike it rich, I’m sure you have worked hard for it and you have the right to spend it how you want. But remember, money won’t keep you warm at night and you can’t take it with you.

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Proverbs 23:4-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Church Planting: Say “Yes!” I Can Help

dandelion pictureIt seems in a lot of magazines, especially women’s magazines, there are always articles about time management and how you need to learn to say “no”. Today, if you are involved in any way with a church plant, from being the pastor to attender to supporter, I’m encouraging you to learn to say “yes”. Here are a few reasons why.

  1. Saying yes opens up new opportunities. Sometimes, people just want to talk. So, dig into your pockets and find some change for a coffee. This is a wonderful chance to really get to know someone outside of church time. Giving your time instead of saying, “No, I’m too busy” may just encourage someone in their faith which is growing. It may blossom into a new friendship which can be fresh and encouraging for you.
  2. Saying yes will help you find your spiritual gift. In a church plant, a few hands do many things. Why? Well, if you are truly starting from scratch, where it is just you and your family you know who does everything. As you grow though, you need to let things go and let your new attendees take over responsibility. People who are new to church may not know of the multitude of ways that their service is needed to keep a church running. Encourage people to try serving in all different areas. Are you shorthanded somewhere? Tell people you need a yes from them and that they can jump in. I think that by trial and error is a better way to find your spiritual gift than some paper test. Trust that God can help you.
  3. Saying yes will help others see you as a leader and want to say yes. Encourage your people to say yes. How can you do this? Well, by having been a yes man yourself. If you don’t lead by example are you then saying you are too good to do something you are asking them to do? I know it may not be your forte, but how about doing something together. This can show people that you try new things even if it is not your strength. Tell someone you believe that they have the necessary talents for the job and then work with them to build their confidence. It might bring you to a place you didn’t expect.

I think people want to say yes and be helpful in a church plant. But, based on the above three things, I think newcomers need encouragement. If you, as the leader or core group member, can kind of say yes with them and hold their hand for a bit, you will find more people saying yes as you have needs to fill. After all, what did Matthew do when Jesus said follow me? He got up, right then, and followed. He said “Yes!” Will you?

 

If You Borrow, You Are a Servant

Proverbs PictureThe rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

Money can be a touchy subject. How much do you make, how much did that car set you back? Really, it’s nobody’s business what or how you spend your money. The thing is, you need to be responsible with it. All too often, people who have a lot of money spend it outrageously and then find themselves in a credit hole. All too often, people who have just enough money spend it unnecessarily. All too often, people who don’t have enough money spend it unwisely.

Remember Proverbs 26:27 about the man digging a pit and falling into it? Well, it happens with money far too often. “The rich rule over the poor…” is basically true. How many poor people are in leadership positions or serve in Congress? They’re just trying to survive. “…and the borrower is servant to the lender” probably everyone can relate to this. Have a mortgage, student loans, or even owe Dad back for the money he loaned you to buy gas? Financially, unless you are completely debt free, you are a servant to the bank until you pay them pack. Remember learning about indentured servants in history class? They were servants until they paid back their passage and earned their freedom.

I think we can learn a couple practical things to use in everyday life. First off, if you are rich, don’t flaunt it or get on a power trip over other people. Money doesn’t make you important, it just gives you more opportunities. Second, if you are in any kind of debt, spend wisely. Work to pay down that debt, find a job, get off your butt and do something so that you are not a servant to the lender forever. Believe it or not, God has given you just the right amount of money you need. Your job is to take what he has blessed you with and do the best you can with it here on earth.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7