The Sin of Greed; The Blessing of Generosity

6 11 2017

Were you aware of the fact that greed is sin? Not sure if I ever heard a sermon on that subject, but it is. Jesus once told the Pharisees that the inside of their cup was full of greed and self-indulgence. Yikes! Greed was even in a list of sins that Jesus mentioned in Mark chapter seven. And in Luke He told us to be on guard from all kinds of greed.

The Apostle Paul in Ephesians described greed as a “continual lust for more.” Then he went on to say that among us there should not even be a hint of greed. In Colossians it was called an “earthly desire.”

No matter how you look at it, greed in the Bible was not a good thing. But, I’ll tell you what is…generosity. You might say being generous is the opposite of greed. I wasn’t raised to be generous or greedy, but I have discovered that one is far more productive, satisfying and pleasure-filled than the other. That tight grip of greed is self-centered and perhaps that’s why Jesus was so verbal about it. The ones steeped in a religious spirit were greedy and self-consuming. It represented everything He was not.

It was with generosity that God sent His only Son. It was with generosity that collections were taken in the early church for the churches that were in need. It was a generous spirit that caught the eye of our Lord when He saw the widow placing her few copper coins in the offering plate. We can be generous with a lot of money or very little money; rarely is it the amount. We can be generous with our possessions and our time. We can possess a generous heart, just like our Father.

How generous are you with that guy holding the sign on the street corner, your restaurant server, the paper or mail delivery person, your garbage hauler, your local church, missionaries, your children, your spouse or your neighbor? A generous lifestyle is a prosperous lifestyle.

 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

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What Happens When The Church Affirms Sin?

23 10 2017

Sin. That is not an often-used word today. Very few desire to be reminded of their sin or have their sin pointed out to them. Have we become soft on sin to the point of straying from the use of the word? Certainly it’s a biblical word – one found in the Old Testament and the New Testament, including the gospels. (Numbers 32: 23; I Kings 8: 46; Romans 3: 23; John 8: 34)

As a professing Christian, is it right to mention this word to others? Is it right to discuss sin issues in public and in sermons or small groups? Has the current generation so shied away from this word that it has, at the same time, caused or created an affirmation of sin? Is sin still sin or is there a nicer, more politically correct and acceptable word to use? (I John 1: 8; 3: 4, 6-8)

I prayed to give my life to Christ in 1971 and sin was pretty black and white back then. Preachers preached on it and friends were bold enough to point it out, taking me to the word of God and speaking to me forthrightly about the need for repentance. I embraced it, even appreciated it. I did not grow up in a religious home and I was not equipped with very many moral guidelines. (I Cor. 5: 12; Gal. 6: 1; James 5: 19-20)

If the church becomes lax on sin, then moral guidelines become more and more difficult to determine. From Genesis chapter three, the evil one has determined to make right wrong and wrong right.   If we can no longer identify the right, we’ll never know the wrong and vice versa. The overall purpose of the law, the Ten Commandments, was to point out sin, boundaries (exposing our sin). God was determined that for society to function together in a normal, healthy way there needed to be rules – guidelines of wrong and right. Why? Because He hated mankind? No, the exact opposite; He loved mankind and wanted us to live a long and prosperous life free of sin and disease. (Psalm 119: 11, 133; Matthew 5: 17-20; Romans 8: 3-8; Gal. 3: 23-25; Hebrews 12: 1-10)

There is a deviation in the church today. It seems we’re fearful of calling sin, sin…afraid to offend. We’re afraid that we’ll hurt someone’s feelings or tramp on someone’s toes. We fear backlash from the younger generation who might be quite ignorant of the word of God and what sin actually is. And we can fear persecution from the world that actively walks in sin and does not want to be reminded of their wrongdoing. We live in a culture that defends its sin and calls it “personal rights” or “my business” that ‘hurts no one.’ Really? Alcoholism hurts no one? Adultery that breaks up a family hurts no one? Selfishness in pursuing pornography hurts no one? (I Cor. 2: 25, 27-28)

If someone stole all the money in your savings account, money you worked a lifetime to gain, would that be sin? Would you confront that person of their sin? Would you desire them to be arrested for their sin of thievery? Why wouldn’t it be correct to acknowledge sinfulness as hurting many?

If you work alongside someone who works harder at getting out of work rather than actually working, does their slothful attitude hurt anyone other than themselves? Guessing you’re getting the point. Sin does hurt others; it does have a direct effect upon others in our life. Sin, according to God’s word, is wrong and it is what Jesus died for. Our wrongdoing affects our relationship with our heavenly Father and the price that His Son paid. The Holy Spirit is grieved by our sin because it separates us from God. (Romans 6: 23)

If we profess faith in Jesus, then we must deal with the sin in our life and not whitewash it. It doesn’t matter what we feel about it or if we think it hurts no one else. Sin separates us from our Savior and it can do so eternally. (II Peter 2: 4-10) So, yes, sex outside of marriage is still sin. Drunkenness is sin. Gluttony is sin. Gossip is sin. Stealing is still sin. Coveting what others possess is sin and profaning the name of the Lord is sin. Paul wrote to “flee” from sin because as believers our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and we were bought with a price. (Romans 1: 18-23; I Cor. 5: 9-11; 6: 9-11; 6: 18-20)

If we’re not serious about this thing the scripture calls sin, then we’re not serious about truly following Jesus. Never do we desire to hear one day that Jesus did not know us, even if we claim to know Him. (Matthew 7: 21-23)

Here’s the good news, Jesus gave His life for our sin, not to keep on sinning, but to receive His redemption and His forgiveness. We need to receive His truth today and begin to deal with the sin in our life, allowing His love to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. (II Cor. 5: 21)





Chasing Leaders

10 04 2017

There are plenty of differences in relational styles. Some of us are more verbal and others more auditory and the like. Some are slow responders and others are really quick on their feet. Relational styles even differ on how they like to receive information or requests, e.g., phone calls, text messages, email, Facebook messaging, etc. But when we are leading a group of people and those persons cannot obtain a timely response from us through any of the various means of communication mentioned, then we are requiring those same persons to chase us.

Chasing leaders is not fun. In fact, sometimes it’s downright frustrating and futile. If you’re a leader who needs to be chased, then please, for the sake of the team and the sanity of others, listen up.

No one, I repeat, no one enjoys chasing their leader in order to get things done or make a decision. In fact, if you’re a leader that has to be continually chased, then you’re a leader who does not care as deeply as you should for those whom you lead. If your subordinate or even your supervisor has to call you, text you, email you or send smoke signals repeatedly for a response, then you are in effect dishonoring them by sending the message that your time is more valuable than their time. It conveys that you are too caught up in your world to respond in a timely fashion. Making it difficult to get a response from you slows down efficiency, inhibits order, frustrates relationships and spreads an, “I don’t care attitude” around the workplace.

If you’re this person, here are some suggested changes for you:

  • If providing an accurate response is going to take some extra time, then begin by sending a brief message in return like, “I’ve gotten your request and I will get back to you by the end of the week.” Then, follow through on your word.
  • If you have an administrator type person, ask them to get back to the request to discuss a time to connect.
  • If people are reminding you that they are calling once again, pick up on that, you might have already begun to frustrate them.
  • Maybe you’re the forgetful type. Write down or place a message on your phone to remind yourself to return the call within a certain time frame.
  • Apologize for responding too slowly and make a commitment to the person to respond in a more timely fashion in the future.

Finally, if this speaks to you, confess that you deal with this issue and be accountable to change for the better, because those whom you oversee and those who oversee you are counting on it and integrity in leadership requires it.





Teaching Your Children to Steal

20 02 2017

imagesSome years ago I was meeting with a young married man for various counseling issues. I really cannot remember what they were, but I do remember one thing from that time. He inadvertently mentioned that he enjoyed “breaking and entering.” I said, “You what?” He shared that for years he and his friends would break into garages and sheds and steal small items simply for, “The thrill of it.”   I shared, “You do know that stealing is against the law, not to mention one of the Ten Commandments, right?”   He assured me that he did, but added that no one has been hurt by his actions and that he enjoyed the dare and the challenge. “Further,” he said, “I find nothing wrong with it.” I added, “But I thought you told me you were a Christian.” He assured me he was.images-4

images-3A counseling plan: During his history statement he shared that he and his wife had a young son who was five years old. I had a plan. I looked straight at him and with boldness said, “I recommend you take your five year-old son along with you and the gang the next time you decide to break into a place.” He said, “What?” “Yea,” I continued, “Take your son, he’s small and you can put him through a window and then he can unlock the door for you to enter.” With a wrinkled face he replied, “I thought you said you were a Christian counselor.” “I am,” I told him. “But here’s the thing…start your son out young and train him thoroughly in thievery so he can be just like his dad.” I went on to say, “In commonality the two of you can have some real father/son bonding time breaking into sheds and garages.” I went on to say, “You’ll be so proud when he becomes just like you!”

He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God…   (I Kings 15:3)





Redemptive Love – Changing a Life

30 01 2017

Redemption. It means to be repurchased, bought back, atoned for, rescued. It is what Jesus, our Redeemer, does. He came to earth to redeem; to change our lives one soul at a time. While salvation is not fully completed on this earth, it does initiate thatvalentine_day_art redemptive process from the inside out. To know God and to know His love is to live within this ongoing process. To not know Him is to live outside this process.

Four couples and four stories of redemption will be vulnerably shared on February 11th, 2017, at Newport Church in Elm, PA. When you and your spouse or as a single participate in this day, you will hear life-changing testimonies of couples who walked through pain-filled experiences with drugs and alcohol addiction, sexual addiction, financial ruin and the premature death of a spouse and child. You will be challenged by their stories and encouraged by their progressions of healing. And, you will have take-a-ways of redemptive ideas to bring into your relationships.

The day is free with a small charge for lunch and an offering will be taken. Please consider coming. I know you will be blessed. Call 717.627.1996 to register today. You can also view the event details at this link:

https://dcfi.org/resorces/seminars/redemptive-love-couples-day/

 

 

 

 

 





Forgiving One Another

6 09 2016

images-13I know of scarcely anything more difficult, more challenging and more humbling than expressing forgiveness. But at the same time, I know of scarcely anything more freeing than forgiveness. In the Holocaust documentary titled Shoah, a Warsaw ghetto victim states, “If you could lick my heart, it would poison you.” Nothing depicts a non-forgiving heart better than that picture. Author Gary Thomas once wrote, “We will be sinned against, and we will be hurt. When that happens, we will have a choice to make: We can give in to our hurt, resentment, and bitterness, or we can grow as a Christian and learn yet another important lesson on how to forgive.”

images-12Forgiving is not something we naturally love to do. Even though we have been forgiven of so much and have fully come short of God’s ideal, we love to withhold forgiveness simply because (we might tell ourselves) the person has not suffered sufficiently for what they did to us. The truth is, One already suffered so we could be forgiven; we must now make the choice to do likewise (See Colossians 3:13). To do anything less is to take a position of critical judgment, freely giving ourselves over to the use of the evil one in heady, heartless self-righteousness.





What Years of Ministry has Taught Me About Integrity

6 06 2016

imagesIntegrity is a condition we choose to walk in. If we choose not to walk in integrity, we will eventually need intervention in our lives.  The following are examples of life lessons in integrity.

  1. Integrity is God’s choice for me. (I Kings 9:4)

 

  1. Integrity is a choice that I must choose. (Job 27:5,6; Psalm 7:8)

 

  1. Integrity starts in my heart. (I Chronicles 29:17)

 

  1. It is easier to not be a man or woman of integrity. (Job 2:9)

 

  1. It is something that you grow in. (Psalm 103:13,14)

 

  1. Finding a model to emulate is helpful, as well as being that model. (Titus 2:7)

 

  1. It means humbling ourselves when we fail. (Romans 12:3)

 

  1. It means not being able to defend yourself before others at times. (Psalm 25:21; 41:12)

 

  1. Jesus maintained integrity before men who constantly judged him. ( Mark 12:14; Hebrimages-2ews 5: 8, 9; Proverbs 29:10)

 

  1. The closer we come to Jesus, the more integral we become. (Proverbs 2:21; 10:9 NLT; 11:3; 13:6)







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