Hello Friends,

goldI thought I’d come up with a title that is sure to get some reaction .. “can God make me rich”?

First, let me start out by saying a few of things:

1.  I realize that “wealth” and “prosperity” are extremely controversial.
2.  I realize that there is extreme poverty all around the world, including here in America, and that it falls on the righteous and the unrighteous.
3.  I realize that “riches and wealth” are subjective.  To some folks, we are quite rich.  To others, we’re poor.
4.  I realize that if you do find yourself with wealth or an abundance of money and possessions, you have a responsibility to be generous and help others.
5.  I realize that being “rich” can include (and does include) much more than money or material things.

Now that I’ve had my disclaimer I’m hoping readers won’t think I have my head stuck in the sand of a warped prosperity gospel that is taken out of context and abused.  I just want to journal my thoughts on some verses I’ve been reading.

Which brings me to the real question I’d like to pose in this blog:

“How would my finances be impacted if I searched for wisdom and discretion and made my financial choices based on the leading of God”?

Clearly, that title wouldn’t attract many readers.  But that’s the real question here.

This morning I read Proverbs 8.  The subtitle of this proverb is “The Blessings of Wisdom”.  Throughout this proverb, Wisdom is personified as a person.  Wisdom even claims to have been present at the time of creation, and before.  This suggests to me that Wisdom is the Holy Spirit.  So when you read “Wisdom” change that to “the Holy Spirit” or “the Spirit of God”.   This Spirit is available to all Christians – we receive the Spirit of God at our salvation.  The Holy Spirit is often referred to as the “spirit of wisdom”.  [side note:  all my "quotes" are for the appreciation of my friend Travis]

Take a look at Proverbs 8:17-18:

17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

18 Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.

In studying about the blessings of God (please don’t get me started on that ridiculous bunch of nonsense that circulated the internet a few months ago about how Christians shouldn’t use that word) I have been very careful to dig deeper into the meanings of words like “riches” and “wealth”.  I can tell you that in many cases it’s not necessarily referring to money.  However, as I dug into these words for this verse in the Hebrew, it’s referring to literal riches – wealth, possessions, more-than-enough.  (for my friends who prefer “sick and poor” over “health and wealth” and are getting anxious, go back to my disclaimer #4).

The Bible says we shouldn’t worry about trying to get rich – there’s a lot of trouble with that.  But we also see a lot of Scripture that would suggest that He is able and willing to bless us financially, for a number of reasons.  Some people are even given a special “gift of generosity” which can’t be used without having resources to be generous with.

In the context of this passage, Wisdom is saying that riches and wealth are with him.  I quoted verse 17 before because it suggests that wisdom isn’t found without seeking it diligently.

So back to my original question … “can God make me rich”?

People will debate God’s plan for wealth until He returns, but I believe that if a Christian searches for wisdom and prayerfully, carefully makes decisions about their jobs, careers, investments, giving, spending, and saving … they would see a significant impact on their revenue.

That’s where I am!

For the Kingdom,
Fred

(image from “Riches in Christ – God, Money, & Me“)

 

 

Hey Gang,

all-sons-and-daughtersOne of my favorite bands right now is “All Sons & Daughters“.  I absolutely love their music, arrangements, and thought-provoking, heart-stirring lyrics.

One of their songs is called “Brokenness Aside”. As a Worship Pastor, I’ve been torn about whether i should use this song in corporate (or personal) worship because of one paramount lyric that is the hook of the chorus.  That lyric simply says:

“I Am A Sinner”

If you’re a Christian, how do you feel about that phrase? The song is beautiful, and in context, it still ministers to me.    I know that by definition, if you sin, you are a sinner.  However, there is the difference between being a sinner (one who sins, as we all have sinned, and will sin – [Rom 3:23]), and declaring that about yourself as an identity.

As Christians, I believe our identity is not that of a sinner, but as one redeemed by Christ.  (Paul says that while we WERE sinners, Jesus died for us in Rom 5:8) He sees us as saints (1 Cor 1:2) … even when we don’t behave that way.

Would you be comfortable leading a song that says “I am a sinner”?  I think it would at least take some context and explaining from a theological background.  Are you using the word by it’s simple definition or are you claiming that as an identity?  If we get that musical hook in our hearts and constantly repeat to ourselves “I am a sinner”, do we begin to contradict what the Word of God says about us?

Is Sabbath for Today?

Fred McKinnon —  January 16, 2014 — 4 Comments

Sabbath:

This is not a word that we throw around a lot in western culture.  Take a trip overseas to Israel; however, and you will see many signs of the observation of the Sabbath.

Simply put, sabbath means a time of rest.

REST

This is something that is also out of the norm for our western culture.  The busier we are, the more important we seem.  In an effort to keep up with everyone else, we immerse ourselves in so much work and extracurricular activities that we live on the edge of burnout.

Although I realize there are arguments about Jesus Christ fulfilling the law in the New Covenant, I can’t get myself away from the commandment that God gave us to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy”.

I’m reading in Exodus 31 and I can’t help but recognize how seriously God takes sabbath:

“You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.  You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you.  Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death.  Whoever does any work on it, that should shall be cut off from among his people.  Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord.  Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.”  (Exodus 31: 13-15, ESV)

And of course, we know that keeping the Sabbath was one of the original Ten Commandments given by God:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God…” (Exodus 20, 8-10a, ESV)

I’ve been convicted about my lack of sabbath for a couple of years.  It’s something we are discussing frequently in our discipleship culture here at SSCC.  I believe that it’s a Godly principle and that God never intended us to abandon it.   I’m not suggesting that a sabbath become as legalistic as some religious cultures would suggest … meaning, you’re unable to walk up stairs, etc.  However, I do believe that God intends us to WORK from our REST.   This means I need to set aside a day, once per week, to remove myself from my work.

For me, my “work” consists of two primary jobs:
1.  the role of a Worship Pastor at SSCC, meaning, I wouldn’t be scheduling musicians, making phone calls, emails, and hashing through setlists on my sabbath.
2.  the role of the owner of HPP Enterprises, meaning, I can’t spend Sabbath days working on my business.

Sabbath would be a true removal of those … forcing myself to rest and spend quality time abiding with God and family.

I’m wrestling with what that looks like for myself and my family.  Since I “work” on Sunday at church, I imagine this would probably be a Saturday. I would like to be more focused on the not working and more focused on the abiding.  I also don’t feel that “rest” means I have to lay in bed all day.  If we have soccer games, I can make that a time of abiding with my family.   I can enjoy an unhurried morning with my kids.  We can spend time together as a family that afternoon, or invite friends to join us for dinner, rest, and encouragement.

I’m far from having this figured out, but adding a consistent rhythm of sabbath rest in my weekly schedule seems to be God’s desire for me.

How about you?  Do you feel that we are still supposed to keep this Commandment, literally?  What does it look like for you?