Posts filed under All In

All In: Giving

“Send to me a $213 seed offering before September 30th, and God will give you double-portion blessing in your finances.” These were the words of a televangelist on my TV screen last week. It was hard to watch! I think church planters and pastors get a little gun-shy about talking about wealth in church because they don’t want to be associated with nutjobs like this televangelist who drives a black Cadillac Escalade with reverse spinning chrome rims. But, Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God and money more than any other subjects. I needed to apologize to our church for not talking more about money than I have!

Here’s a factual true statement that almost all statistics support: the more money we (North) American’s make, the less we give! The side effects of being wealthy are denial and discontentment. We don’t think WE are rich (of course we know others who are)! But the truth is, the more we have, the more we want!

Wealth is either surrendered to God, or it becomes a god. Timothy Keller in his book “Counterfeit God” says, “Money flows effortlessly to that which is its god.” It’s so true. We have money to spend for the things we really want, and then claim we have no money to give! Part of our blindness is due to the fact that materialism and greed get a free pass in our culture. When is the last time someone accused their neighbor of having too many big screen TV’s? What we’re more likely to say (or think) is, “Dude! That’s an awesome TV! You have 4? Awesome!”

If you earn, as a household, $40K/year, you are in the top 7% of wage earners in the world! If you earn $50K a year, you are in the top 5% wage earners! The truth is, WE ARE RICH! That’s the good news! The bad news is that WE ARE RICH!

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

So, the question is: are we good at being rich, or, are we bad at being rich?

Next week I’ll share more about these verses in 1 Timothy and how much one should give, to whom or what you should give, and why. Hope you’ll join us!

Posted on September 30, 2013 and filed under All In.

All In: Serving

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…

2 Timothy 1:8-10

“You don’t have to serve, you get to serve.” We say that often at NorthCreek! Practically speaking, of course you have the personal right to choose if, where, and when you serve. But Biblically speaking, serving is a non-negotiable, non-voluntary, absolute necessity for every Christian. If one of our goals as Christians is to be more like Christ, then, serving is what Jesus did, and serving is what we do because we are more like Him when we serve.

When Jesus saved us (from sin, control, our autonomy apart from God), he called us for a purpose. That word “called” means to be summoned and appointed. God saved you and summoned and appointed you for a reason. I remember being called into the principal’s office when I was a kid. Not many fun things happened there. While the whole class was present, I was “summoned” on the class intercom (with “oooohhhs” from the peanut gallery) to come to the principal’s office. Walking down that long hallway to the office was like a 5 mile walk in slow motion. God also “purposed” us. Not only does God saves us and summons us, He appoints us to a task. He would give us the task of serving like he served, loving like he loved, and giving like he gave for the purpose of revealing God. Jesus said he came to show us what God is like. That purpose hasn’t changed. Finally, God graced us with Jesus to show us how to be like God.

God uses what’s in our hand to give expression of what God has done in our hearts! That is called “serving”. Often times we want to do great and amazing things for God (what’s in our heart), and those intentions, dreams, and desires are good. But, God asked Moses, “What is in your hand.” Of course it was a shepherd’s staff. And God used Moses’ staff in incredible ways. Bible describes that the staff was used to produce water from a rock, was transformed into a snake and back, and was used at the parting of the Red Sea. God has already equipped us with what so obvious and what we already have in our hands!

So, as we serve, know that there is a sequence to our serving. Serving begins in our homes, then, moves to our church, then to our communities, then to the world at large. Serving begins and ends with the cause of Christ…he came down to reveal what God was like.

As I think about NorthCreek, over 80% of our people who call Northcreek “home” serve! That’s awesome! If you don’t currently serve, I invite you to serve at NorthCreek and/or your local church. The church is a home, not hotel. If everybody contributes, it makes for a great place to live!

Posted on September 28, 2013 and filed under All In.

All In: Loving (Community)

There was an era of missionary zeal around the turn of the 20th century that bred a group who became known as “one-way” missionaries. When they departed for the mission field they packed all of their belongings into a coffin and bought one-way tickets because they knew they’d never return home.

A.W. Milne was one of those missionaries. He felt called to a tribe of headhunters in the New Hebrides.

All the other missionaries to this tribe had been martyred, but Milne didn’t shrink back into safe Christianity. He lived among the tribe for 35 years, found favor, and never returned home. The tribe buried him and wrote the following words on his tombstone, “When he came there was no light. When he left there was no darkness.”

There is something so inviting, so attractive about being an ALL IN person!

A lot of people invite Jesus come and be with them. But Jesus said, “Come and follow me.” Jesus was going somewhere. He had a plan. A design. A mission. He had a map of where he and his followers were to go and he invited his followers to follow him.

We’ve started a new series called “ALL IN” and we’re destroying the idea that you can live a “half-committed” life to God and church and be all that God wants you to be. Jesus led his followers in at least four profound ways: LOVING, SERVING, GIVING, AND GROWING.

100% “ALL IN” LOVING means that we are committed to God-honoring relationships with other Christians. We’ll meet, pray, and encourage each other on a consistent basis.

Before two people joined hands, exchanged vows, and gave rings in a marriage commitment ceremony, they were passionate FIRST, then became committed. But those of us who are married know that it’s the other way around if you want to stay married! Your commitment fuels your passion! If you wait to become passionate about relationships in your church, but remain uncommitted to developing strong relationships, then your interest will wane. But, if you’re 100% committed to your relationships, you’ll become passionate about keeping those relationships strong.

Jesus was devoted to the 12 disciples. He had a special devotion to Peter, James, and John. He had a special devotion to John. Even Jesus saw the value of godly friendships. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another (John 13:34).

The early church, in Acts 2, “devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

NorthCreek….imagine what a group of “ALL IN” LOVING people could do? Imagine the impact that we could make! Our inner life would flourish because we’d buy in to being sold out for Christ! Imagine a group of people who are so devoted to one another that the world around us would want some of that! Imagine a group of people that laughed when you laughed. Cried when you cried. Rejoiced when you rejoiced!

NorthCreek is about COMMUNITY, MEANING, AND MISSION. Being devoted to community is just the beginning! There’s more in store…but it’s the place we start. Life is about relationships. May we become all that God has in store for us!

Posted on September 17, 2013 and filed under All In.