Thursday, May 31, 2007

Why I Give

Here are some reasons why I practice Biblical tithing.

1. It makes me more like God. The Bible says that God was a giver ... "For God so loved that He gave." Every time I give it makes me a little bit more like my Heavenly Father.

2. It reminds me that everything I have comes from God. God doesn't need my money, time or talent. He asks me to regularly give them to Him so that I will never forget the source of everything I have in the first place - God.

3. It breaks the grip of greed in my life. It's hard to be a stingy, miser while you spend your life by giving your stuff away.

4. Giving helps me trust God for everything. When I give out of obedience to God's Word it forces me to trust God in every area of my life.

5. I don't want to rob God. When I don't give, the Bible says that I am robbing God. A good friend of mine just told me that he isn't going to rob God just because gas prices went up. That's good advice!

6. When I give, I make an eternal investment. God uses my financial gifts to help reach people. At the end of the day, the only thing you can take to heaven is people. Everything else, including my 401K and retirement nest egg will eventually rust and decay. But what is a human soul worth?

7. I give to get only to give again. The Bible says that a man reaps what he sows. I believe in that process. If I so seeds of faith and blessing, than I will reap those same resources. However, it never ends with me. I give so that I can be blessed and I desire God's blessing so that I can in return be a blessing to others.

How's your giving?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why I Study

As you may know, I recently graduated from seminary with a doctoral degree in leadership. Please don't misunderstand my telling you this as a prideful, self-promoting statement. My intention in sharing that with you is only to inform you of my deep commitment to personal growth.

So, here's why I spent the last 10 years of my life in higher education along with tens of thousands of dollars on education bills.

1. Leaders are life-long learners. The moment I stop learning as a leader is the moment I stop growing as a leader. I read over 100 books a year, attend conferences, listen to tons of leadership tapes and constantly hang around people that are much smart than me and ask them lots of questions. Learning is a lifetime sport.

2. Learning is fun. I enjoy studying, reading, researching and writing down my thoughts and ideas. Learning is a creative journey that captivates my heart and imagination.

3. Our church needs me to grow. A leaders organization will never grow beyond the leader.

4. It's a spiritual responsibility. The Bible speaks about the need for followers of Christ to show themselves approved and to be ready to give a response for why they believe what they believe. I have an obligation to give my best to understanding faith and Scripture.

5. Learning teaches me perseverence. If you are like me and not naturally gifted with a great intellecutal skills, studying can be present a difficult challenge. However, I have discovered that learning is more a matter of an iron will than a sharp mind. It teaches you that with a dogged determination, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

So, what are you studying today?

Questions - Why I Pray

Asking the right questions is one of keys to exponential growth. This week I want answer some BIG questions that will hopefully help you in your journey towards spiritual maturity.

People pray for a number of different reasons. Here are some of mine.

1. It connects me to God. My relationship with God is just like any other in that it's built on trust. Communication is the foundation upon which trust it built. Prayer helps me connect and communicate with my Heavenly Father, thus building lasting trust.

2. It makes me more like Jesus. Jesus spent a great deal of time praying to his Father. I can't be like Jesus if I don't pray.

3. It's a matter of obedience. The Bible doesn't suggest that we pray, it commands the beleiver to pray. Prayer is not optional for the follower of Jesus.

4. It keeps me humble. Prayer flies in the face of self-sufficiency. The very act of prayer is humbling. By it's very nature it is admitting that I can't do it on my own and that I need God's help.

5. It's how I get things from God. The Bible says "you have not because you ask not." Prayer is the primary Biblical means by which God provides our every need.

6. It relieves stress. There's a very practical side to prayer. For me, prayer is like a huge decompression chamber. I can go and "tell Jesus all about it" and it's like taking a huge weight off my shoulders.

7. It builds my faith. When I pray, especially in the Holy Spirit, it strengths my faith. It's hard to describe, but it's as if God comes near and gives me the power and courage I need to do what He has called me to do.

Hope to see you at prayer meeting tonight @ 7pm!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. I'm sure you've got plans to enjoy the outdoors, go camping, have a BBQ, or just celebrate your day off on Monday with friends and family.

While we spend time with those that we love, let's take time to remember those brave men and women who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today. Of course, that's what Memorial Day is all about. You would do well to take a few extra moments and pray for our soldiers in harms way today and to also thank those in your family or friends that have someone serving in the Armed Forces. Write them a card or email and encourage them this weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, we are wrapping up our series, "Unlikely Heroes." In similar fashion to our military heores that we pay homage to this weekend, these great heroes of the faith paved the way for the spiritual freedom we enjoy today that is found in Christ.

You don't want to miss this weekend as we look at the last hero, Paul in a message I've titled, "The Unashamed Hero." We're going to have a great service with a special surprise for all that attend.

Hope to see you all there. Thanks again to all you blog readers out there and your words of encouragement. Talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What's Up With Your Blog, Dave?

As you can see, I haven't blogged since Easter. Honestly, I just thought that it wasn't making much a difference. I guess I hadn't seen any feedback and thought that no one was really reading it. The pragmatist in me surmised that I'm not going to give time to something that isn't making an impact on someone's life.

That all changed last week when I read an email from a teenager in our church and asked me, "What's up with your blog, Dave?" He went on to tell me that he had been reading my blog daily and that it was really something he enjoyed and was helping him grow spiritually. Needless to say, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and decided to get back into the blogosphere.

This whole deal kind of makes me think a lot about ministry in general. You know, we serve God and one another and give of ourselves in the name of Jesus and sometimes we think that it's not making a difference. Often times when we think no one is looking, listening or reading or even appreciating what we are doing - there is someone there checking our every move from afar.

So, thanks to Ernest, I'm back in the game.