Thursday, July 25, 2013

Money Post (Pt 4)

What’s my point in writing all these posts about money?

My point is this: We don’t need as much of it as we think we do and we need to stop looking at what the perceivably rich people have and gorging ourselves over their apparent wealth and our apparent poverty. There’s a word for all this you know, “Coveting.”

Let’s just rebrand this whole “Inequality of Wealth” deal in America to either a) “We’re Babies and Want the Other Kid’s Legos” or b) “Selfish Coveters Who Are OK with Demanding to Have Your Stuff.” Take your pick. Folks the grass is always greener somewhere else (sound familiar? Like your mom said it when you were an incapable child?).

Take what you are given, what you earn (by the extravagant grace, mercy and love of God who let you live, allowed you a job, and set you in America) and use it wisely and shrewdly.

Remember that it is God who gives and takes away and that those enormously wealthy people will have a hard time coming to the fountain of grace because their money will hold them back. Remember that you too are one of the 1% of the world by living in America and that to those to whom much is given much will be expected. Remember to thank the Lord for his great provision in your life and give to him your tithes and offerings. Remember God is King and you; you are not. Remember that it’s free grace that saves our damnably wretched souls and it is free mercy that rains down in our heart to make us even notice God. Remember our biggest problem is our sinful rebellion against God NOT the lack of some odd little trinket that will lose its entire luster in a week.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Money Post (Pt 3)

There are some things we need, some things that are nice to have, and everything else are just wants. Food and water those are necessary, we need them to live. Shelter – a home – that’s nice to have, but not a necessity necessarily. Then there’s all the stuff to go in the house, all of that is socially dictated by the culture you’re in. Beds in India are floors sometimes. Kitchens in Egypt are sparse. Showers in Uganda are rivers.

Food – God will give us our daily bread. Water – there are people screaming out in hell for a drop on their ravaged tongues and it not only drizzles on us here in America, but it floods from the skies at times. Are you getting it? What you need has been provided in abundance here in America. The “Inequality of Wealth” we’re talking about is the ability or inability to get horribly made pieces of wood and ceramic at a store to stick on a wall and smile at once! We’re whining at the fact that someone’s grass is greener than ours! We’re discontented children screaming that their ice cream is bigger than ours.

“Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

A point here: Jesus didn’t instruct us to pray for tomorrow’s food and sins, he told us to pray for today’s. The troubles of today are enough in themselves, let tomorrow worry about its problems. If God gives us food for the week he has taken care of today’s bread issues and given more than we need. Anything you have beyond today is icing on the cake, cause only the Lord knows whether or not you’re even going to live to use that icing.

(Also, a thought, God dictates what we need and don't need. He gives life and he takes life away. If what you need is to experience the fullness of God without shadow or veil - he gracously gives you death. So to say water and food are necessary, God defines what is neceassry and what is lifegiving.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Money Post (Pt 2)

This “Standard of Living” stuff set out by our fancy magazines and malls the size of cities and our selfish hearts are telling us to buy the brand new X because that’s all we need to be happy. But then there’s Y and Z to go along with X to make X look more fancy. But 1, 2, and 3 sit so nicely beside X so they are necessary too, but don’t forget to buy the insurance for X, Y, Z and 1, 2, and 3 else they brake and can’t be replaced and hey, what do you know! Your paycheck’s gone.

Then we whip out that nifty slice of plastic and swipe it away. Debt. And that just keeps crawling up there at the speed of a supersonic rocket. Then we look at the people who live in fancy houses and think, “If only I could live there, I bet they’re happy in that house.” Just to realize they have the same problem we all have, namely selfish hearts and a society that tells us to make ourselves happy with more stuff.

My point is that the rich aren’t the problem, sure they may contribute to the problem, but they aren’t the problem itself. The problem with the inequality of wealth in America is our selfish little hearts buying up stuff we don’t even need and sometimes don’t even really want…

These kids have stuff made of trash and their doing just fine. And Aldis is always selling cheap food and Goodwill has shirts for $3.49 and you can buy boots that’ll last you a lifetime for 7 bucks, but someone else wore them once.

My goodness people we can’t help but fall on our faces and worship some new something with all our money. Then when we go to church and when they ask for tithe we feel offended and affronted that some guy, let alone some God, would ask for our hard earned cash – but no worries I’ll burn that cash up on cigarettes (or some fancy meal) after service rather than see it used by God for God’s purposes. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Money Post (Pt 1)

I want to take a couple posts to write about something I’ve never written about in any length on this blog. Something we all talk about, think about, and pray for more of. Something we all, “always need a little more of,” “Can’t get enough of,” and, “wish we could just keep around a little longer.” You know, that green stuff you keep tucked away in a chunk of leather you sit on (fellas) or loose in your purse (ladies). Uh huh, money.

Recently I watched a little thing about the “Wealth inequality in America” where some guy ranted about how some people are rich and have money while some people don’t. Noble, right? Kind of like Robin Hood, “Let’s take their money and give it to those who don’t have any.” And I’d agree, if for a few massive issues.

I’d agree that distributing wealth would be great, if people worked hard and still didn’t have enough. I’d agree if every person on the poor end of his scale was diligent and honest, but still couldn’t get by, then it would be fair to have the wealthy give to help out the average Joe who is still broke after a long hard day of difficult work. At least that’s the real story of Robin Hood, right - stealing from the dishonest wealthy to help the honestly diligent poor? (But let’s face it neither the poor nor the rich are all honest.)

But then there’s this reality of folks that sit around and take in what the government gives them and are still part of the “poor.” There’s a whole bunch of folks working their tails off for long hours at 2 or 3 jobs to get their kids some food, then there is the ones sitting on the couch with their brand new video game, iPhone5 and a bag of Cheetoes and fat-kid fingers – all of which were paid for from the Social Security withholdings of the diligent worker…

Yet, that’s not even the problem. The video would have you believe the problem is that some people have too much money, that they're the reason you're miserable and in debt and can’t scrape by every month – let me break it to easy, thy're not your problem, you’re your problem.

You see there’s the “Standard of Living” stuff we’re trying to live up to. There’s that ideal of what we want our lives to be like set out by magazines and movie stars and whoevers telling you to buy the flat screen plasma TV and the super sexy purse made of moon dust and sunbeams (or whatever) and that’ll make your “Standard of Living” better because, “You deserve better/more.”

Nah, you don’t deserve or even need more or better – to be biblical you don’t even deserve life or air or water.

Money has been in my thoughts a ton recently because of being married and needing to pay our bills and eat. A few nifty little tid-bits are coming from these thoughts too, something’s I’d like to share here on the blog. So for the next few posts help me think through – or out loud – the matters of money.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Death of Death

There is a place only he can go; there is a place where only love can lead; and there is a spot where we were bought.

It’s on the top of the Skull at the bottom of the pit, the bottom of the cup, which last draught he drank. That detestable liquid that sloshes around in the cup of pain, each drop mingled with eternity and temporary, each sip as unquenchable fire and every taste death.

Death, death, death his laugh is haughty and his smile grim, he sees the victim coming to his jaws, coming to his bite. His hunger is unquenchable and his desire is to rip and slash and tear his victim limb from limb and gorge himself on his blood. He plans it with pleasure and designs the whole affair to be one of maximum suffering, of complete and utter agony, of excruciating torment.

But lo, that victim he is consuming comes crawling back through the throat of that dastardly devil, he breaks out the teeth his enemy with sheer strength, he cracks and breaks the jaw of Death and puts his mutilated head under his bruised foot crushing his head in finality.

The death toll Death typical rung sounded out but with a new tenor, and a melody sprung forth. The sound of death had changed, for he had not rung the toll, no, there was another who began the new song. The one who death could not contain has sounded the first note in the chorus of his victory. The orchestra has been sent to play the tune of salvation; the band sings on and on and on the glory of salvation. The one who took down death and committed Death to his grave and paid the price in full, the price we could not pay.

On high he reins flashing forth the glory of his fame.
Calling men and angels to proclaim the glories of his name.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” they cry out, “our hope our trust our everything;
Our hope our peace our offering!
Once dead but alive, once abused and refused now victorious and glorious.
The theme of heaven and of earth, the song we sing of our new birth;
That Christ has come and killed Death, and the chains of our sin don’t bind us;
No, we are free to live and live and see that Christ has saved us."

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Have you ever felt like God was tangibly around you? Like if you were to reach out and grasp the air something invisible would be there to grip your hand back? Or what about knowing for certain the purpose for your being was to do a certain thing? Like if the calling or essence or epitome of your life was to _________. Have you ever felt either of those feelings, rather knowings?

I know these are big abstractions about the Christian life; one’s calling and feeling the closeness of God. I know many folks don’t “feel” God move or even think to terribly much about him, and that when they do think of him it’s a him who looks more like them than Him.

But truth has always moved through the ages. There have always been those who take up the banner of divine revelation and say with their blood, sweat and very lives,“Let good and kindred go, this mortal life also, the body they may kill, but God’s truth abides still!” That death meant life and life meant Christ; that hope shattered chains and set prisoners free; that grace burned through hatred and love prevailed in darkness.

There are those in this time, in this generation who stand strong rooted in the Scriptures that God’s truth still lives, breathes and will fell the deviations of the devil. Yes, they will loose their friends and their family. Yes, they will walk away from all to follow the call. Yes, they will feel the tangible nature of the Almighty and the hold of the Comforter and the embrace of nail scared hands. Yes, they will walk as sheep among wolves. Yes, they will shut the mouths of lions and put foreign armies to flight and be sawn in two and live destitute of whom the world is not worthy. And yes, yes, it will be worth it all.

It will be worth it all to hear the saints and angels sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God almighty who was and is and is to come.” It will be worth it to hear the proclamation over all eternity, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Yet, we must stand firm and be watchful and believe with all of every breath of God-gifted life the gospel of Jesus, that he has become our sin and we have become, by divine decree, his prefect righteousness. Indeed we are the recipients of grace upon grace upon grace.

But beware for, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matt 7:21-23)

Be sure of your belief. Be more than sure of the gospel. And be absolutely sure that Jesus is your God-give hope, that Jesus is your Surety.