Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Your Money . . . is it following Jesus?

If you're going to follow Jesus, your money has to follow Him, too.

"No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money." (Matt. 6:24)

Is yours . . . is your money following Jesus?

Monday, February 8, 2016

SCHEDULE IT: Steps To Becoming Part Of The Serving Revolution

The heat was out in the gym yesterday morning and it was cold. Big deal, right? It's Sunday morning. Who needs the gym on Sunday morning? Well, we do. We're remodeling our worship center and have converted half the gym into a temporary worship center. So, no heat meant we had to move. Well, we have a wonderful fellowship hall right next to the gym, and we already had extra seating in the fellowship hall for our first ever church-wide Sunday School breakfast. All we had to do was move some instruments and speakers, set up extra chairs, and we were good to go.

It was great. It was crazy, but everyone made it work. Our cooks cooked and served, our music team adapted, and we all pitched in and got everything moved in and out. Our cholesterol was deliciously increased, our fellowship was strengthened, our worship was offered up, and we served one another.

It was great, but it was tight. It was personal. As I stood to preach Matthew's account of the conversation between Salome, James and John and their desire to be seated at His right and left hand in His kingdom, I was two times closer to every person in the room than I usually am. As I exhorted us all to make the commitment, "I will serve," I was face-to-face with dozens of people I know well and who know me well. We have all seen one another serve and not serve. We have seen one another's lives play out as we have worked to follow Christ.

I was already struggling with my own busy-ness even as I preached. The moment I made the commitment to serve, my busy-ness confronted my commitment. I feel certain every person in the room faced the same dilemma. We are all busy, we are already serving at church, we have all committed to serve, and we are all still busy.

How do we serve when we are so busy? Do we get off of Facebook, switch to a dumb phone, cancel satellite TV, cancel the cruise, stop eating out, quit our hobbies, quit the second job, sell the house and adopt a simpler lifestyle?  Well, maybe, but that would all take some doing. There is something we can do immediately that will yield immediate results.

Don't label my suggestion na├»ve. It works. "I will serve," is a God-honoring, joy-producing commitment, but it's also vague. Vague commitments become another thing we never get around to doing. Here's what a scheduled commitment looks like, "I will visit shut-ins every Thursday at noon." That is concrete, specific, measurable, and scheduled.

Once your commitment is scheduled, your busy-ness has to work it's way around your commitment. Someone asks, "Want to go to lunch Thursday?" Your answer is, "No, want to join me as I visit shut-ins?" If you don't schedule it, your commitment will have to weasel its way into your busy-ness and what are the chances that will happen? 

Someone once said, "If it isn't scheduled, it won't happen." They were right.

(Thanks Thom Rainer for your book, "I Will."