Sep 28, 2012

Musings of $100 Bill: Uses of money and The Benjamin Challenge


Last we spoke I shared my frustrations about being crammed into a sock for safekeeping.  You can catch up here.  I can understand their concern; the humans have good reason to worry about the safety of their money.  I have been the object of two murders.  I have been stolen 42 times from individuals; some of those were pretty brutal robberies.  I’ve been stolen 16 times from gas stations and restaurants.  I have even been snagged out of an offering plate at church.  I have been lost and won in every type of gambling establishment you can imagine.  I have funded abortions and prostitution and I have been used to buy illegal drugs 515 times.  I have watched 16 marriages end with arguments focused around me or the purchases I’ve been a part of.  I’m not bragging.  These were some of the worst moments in my recollection.  

It’s not all bad though.  I have been used to buy some pretty nice Christmas gifts.  I have been to Hawaii and back which was a nice perk after an 18 month stay in a fireproof safe.
I mentioned that people hold on tighter when you are a Benjamin.  That is true in most cases.  Some of my strangest memories are when folks didn’t hold on tight but decided to give me away.  Somehow these folks seem different.  They didn’t clench me as tight.  

On one such occasion a businessman took me on a trip and instead of putting me in his smelly sock, he put me right in his front shirt pocket.  As he walked down the street he removed me from the pocket and crammed me inside of a Styrofoam cup held by a homeless man.  I have been spent by homeless folks on alcohol in the past but this was different.  That homeless man thanked the businessman so profusely.  He rushed to the post office and crammed me in an envelope with a note.  Three days later I showed up in a small home with a woman and three children.  As she opened the letter she greeted me and the note with tears and prayers of thanksgiving.  As soon as I met her she spent me on groceries for those precious children.

I have helped to fund soup kitchens.  I have helped to build churches.  I was one of the first Benjamins donated to build the 9/11 memorial.  I have fed the hungry and clothed the homeless.  Once I was left inside of a Gideon’s Bible in what had to be the worst hotel in Denver, Colorado.  As the pages fell upon me I could see a story about a rich young ruler.  As the book closed and darkness fell I could still remember the image and read the words.  I read about a rich young ruler who was asked to give up his possessions to find real life.  He refused and hung his head as he walked away.  This was so ironic.  As a Benjamin, I decided I represented those possessions.  I could understand through all of the transactions I’ve been a part of, the death grip people have had on me, that I was a part of the problem.  Was I made for evil?  Was I printed for evil?  I spent a few months inside that book in the nightstand and I had quite a bit of time to think.   I thought about my existence and the different ways the people react to money.  

I have lived a life unlike most bills.  I have been in circulation twice as long as most.  I have learned from some pretty rough currency and I have seen life happen for the humans.  I have come to the conclusion that there are really three types of attitudes that people have when they put me in their pocket.   

Some folks truly love me.  They love to stack hundreds up and look at them or roll in them.  They love to save them up.  The ones that love me are greedy.  They hold on tighter than anyone.  These are the folks I mentioned above who would steel me if they had the chance.  

The ones who use me worry less about piling up bills and fret less about spending them.  These folks simply enjoy the things they buy.  It’s harder to flaunt a Benjamin than it is to flaunt a big house or a fancy new car or a diamond necklace.  They get rid of me as fast as they can to buy stuff that they can enjoy until that thing gets old and falls apart.  They then rush around gathering more money in order to buy a new thing.  

The last attitude is one even I can’t figure out.  This comes from the folks who give me away.  They are different than the others – happier.  They get this sort of strange smile as they hand me off or throw me in the offering plate. They find some joy in investing me, not for their benefit, but using me to build a facility to benefit others.  Instead of loving me or loving themselves, they love others and they use me to do it.  They aren’t always the richest folks.  Just like the homeless man who sent me off to the family.  The joy in his eyes as he licked the envelope and sent me off was more real than any joy I’ve ever seen.  

Maybe one in every hundred transactions leads to someone giving me, but these memories are my favorite.  I felt some ownership of the good deed being done.  Although I was just the bill and I had no choice, it felt good.  I felt good.  I’m being taken out of circulation and newer fancier hundreds are being added.  More than that, currency is dying altogether.  The old Gold and Silver standard boys are gone and just like them, I am on my way out.  Just like the currency from long ago, my days are numbered.  The plastic cards that never leave the wallet have different stories to tell.  They act differently and people act differently with them.  They don’t hold on as tight because unlike giving a Benjamin away, they don’t feel like they are giving anything away at all.  Even the plastic cards are worried about extinction.  Now folks are paying with their phones and online.  They youngsters hardly carry me anymore and soon won’t even know what a Benjamin is.  

I realized something while I was stuck in that hotel Bible.  When I am gone I want you to remember this.  Of all the people I interacted with and the experience I have had, good bad and ugly, the folks who learned to give me away had the richest lives.  They may have been out a $100 bill, but they gained a sort of life that wasn’t apparent to the rest.  

This old Benjamin has a challenge for you.  It’s similar to the challenge to that rich ruler in the hotel Bible.  Take a Benjamin, think of me, and give it away in the most impactful way you can. 
If your reaction is like the rest of these givers, and I know it will be, you will come alive as you use me for good.

Stewardship of a Nation: Commentary from a CPA, John MacArthur and You



A CPA friend of mine was kind enough to forward this video over. The Chairman of the AICPA shares some accounting wisdom on our nation’s stewardship situation. I think I can sum it up in a few words. We are broke.

Our nation’s budget is similar to a family budget. We have overspent for too many years and now we have such a massive amount of debt that it seems overwhelming to repay it. A family only has a few options to fix the problem. Make more money or spend less. We will read more in the media this fall about “The Fiscal Cliff” and sequestration which will begin to lower debt and raise income. It will take years of hard decisions from the folks in Washington to fix our dire situation. In order to survive our nation will have to choose to raise tax revenue, cut expenses or both.

I enjoyed lunch today with the CPA that forwarded this video. We spent the first half of our lunch complaining about the problems and placing blame. About half way in we realized how cynical we sounded and we started to dream about solutions and to imagine where our country will be in the coming years. We dreamt about how to fix the problem, including divvying up the national debt and letting individuals choose to pay off their portion. We dreamed about the best case scenario and imagined what the worst case could look like. We talked about how to advise clients based on this situation and how we could work with others to make a difference in our community.

We have been a nation for 236 years. That is longer than most nations in history have existed. I listened to an excellent sermon on Daniel by John MacArthur on just this topic. I can’t recommend it highly enough. John talks about the fall of Babylon and Daniel’s faithfulness. He then relates it back to our nation’s situation.
John MacArthur - Divine Graffiti: The End of an Empire

Well, I enjoyed the lunch but I can't say we solved all of the world's problems.  So I'll put a few questions to you.

Imagine worst case. What if our nation went the way of Babylon, what would it look like to live a faithful life in the midst of an unfaithful and failing nation?

What would it take for our nation to heal and what part do you think God would have for you in making that happen?

How can you engage others in positive and proactive conversation that leads to Godly obedience in the stewardship of your community and our nation?

Sep 25, 2012

Soccer Balls, Post Cards and Alchemist Generosity



The folks at Generous Giving shared this video today in their email newsletter.  The video was put together and originally posted on www.ILikeGiving.com.  Their goal is to inspire generous living by sharing stories from folks who give in big or small ways.  They ask folks to complete this sentence.

I Like _____________.

It's a good exercise and I think it can help to push us along in impactful generosity.  To explain how, I'll answer the question.

I Like Old Postcards.

Over the years I have been collecting old postcards of Colorado.  Many of the postcards have old hotels, restaurants or landscapes from here in the state.  Years ago, when I started collecting them, I planned to use the cards to teach my boys how to make a buck.  I thought it would be fun to buy frames and locate the business on the postcard.  I figured the boys and I would sell them to the current owner of the establishment, thus raising my boys as business tycoons from an early age.  Well, the postcards collected dust and my grand money-making scheme never came to fruition.  

Finally my wife talked some sense into me.  She suggested that I give them away instead of selling them.  The first postcard I shared was an image of a historic hotel here in Colorado.  I pass this hotel all the time and I had heard of the family that owns it.  

I stopped in and instead of trying to make a buck, I gave them the old postcard.  At first they thought I was a salesman or had some pitch.  I told them I just thought it would mean more to them than it did to me.  They looked at each other and smiled and then debated back and forth which year it would have been printed based on their renovations over the years.  They thanked me profusely and they soon hung the card in the lobby.

I couldn’t have paid more than 10 cents for the thing, but in the right hands, that little card meant something.  It was fun to take something that was worthless to most folks, and cheap, and to turn it into a meaningful gift to just the right person.  
It makes me think of the word alchemy:  


I am certainly no alchemist, but without a catalyst, the postcards would never move from worthless to priceless.  Old postcards aren’t really that exciting, but I can see other parts of my giving coming alive as I pair my passions with my giving.  I bet you have passions that are far more exciting as well.

You can become an alchemist. You can engage in giving that is far more meaningful and here’s how.  
1. Find something you enjoy and know quite a bit about…your passion.
2. Find a way to bless somebody else using that passion.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Here are the benefits of this Alchemist Generosity:  
1. You will come alive in your giving—By pairing your unique passion with your generosity you will be able to make a unique difference in the world, and enjoy doing it.

2. Others will be thankful—A postcard, worth a dime, can lead to a smile, a story, and a conversation.  If being generous with a silly hobby can make a difference, imagine how lives could be changed if you were to unleash your real passions.

3. You will build friendships—Folks are waiting for the sales pitch--they don't expect generosity.  You will come alive as you give through your passions, but perhaps even more importantly, your eyes will be open to the needs of others.  You will look at what you have and look for folks that need that.  In the process you will build meaningful friendships as you truly care for your neighbors.

4. You will raise generous kids—You may have heard the common phrase about educating children, that “attitudes are not taught, they are caught.”  It is hard for our children to see the value of giving or tithing or generosity when we cram a check into an envelope and send it off or throw it in the offering plate.  When you come alive in your giving, your children are sure to notice.  Instead of teaching my boys how to find value and turn it into a profit, I have the perfect chance to teach them about Alchemist Generosity.  Hopefully they will catch the bug.

Your turn:  What are you passionate about?  How can you give it away?  How can you turn your giving and your passion into Alchemist Generosity?

I Like _____________________?

Read more stories of generosity at www.ilikegiving.com

Sep 19, 2012

Wednesday in the Word: Contentment Changes Everything!


For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

                                                            Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

                                                            1 Timothy 6: 6-10 (NIV)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
                                                            Hebrews 13: 5-6 (NIV)
Contentment.  I will admit I’m bad at contentment.  I have written in the past about my enthusiasm for fine sporting goods.  I’m not alone, as a nation we are discontent.  You can see it in our spending habits.  The amount of consumer debt per household is astounding.  We borrow to afford the things we want today but can’t afford.  We try to fill the God shaped hole in our heart with the stuff we like and we call it retail therapy.  

This behavior—this discontent—leads to a bigger and more expensive lifestyle.  That leads to more debt, more stress and more stuff to take care of.  Instead of us owning our stuff and enjoying our lifestyle, our lifestyle and our stuff own us.  This ultimately impacts our financial plan.  A big lifestyle usually equals big debt and a need for big retirement accounts.  A little lifestyle is cheaper.  

Once we recognize the problem we go out and use the credit card to buy books by Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman in order to learn how to undo our debt problems.  (No criticism intended, these books do a great side bringing us back into a view of healthy stewardship.)  We spend the first half of our lives acquiring stuff and the second half being owned by that stuff.  Yikes!

What would it look like for the average American family to embrace contentment?
What would happen to their monthly budget?
What would happen to our financial plan and our need for retirement savings?
As Americans are we living out these verses on contentment?
How do these choices as individuals and families affect our church, our community and our country?
Could a spirit of godliness and contentment change our nation?

I’m preaching to the choir here.  Have you embraced contentment, and if so, how has it changed your life?

Sep 14, 2012

Musings of $100 Bill - My first night in a cash drawer.

I last told you about the day I was printed and my journey to the first cash drawer I had ever been in. If you missed that, you can catch up here.  

I was the only Benjamin in the drawer.  At first the other bills were quiet. I didn’t realize it then, but they were intimidated by my presence.  You see, since 1969 when the fed did away with the larger currency bills, the $500, $1,000, $5k and $10k bills, I have been at the top of the food chain.  My crisp nature didn’t tip the other bills off.  Most Benjamins stay crisp longer than smaller currency bills.  One’s and Five’s get the most hazing in a drawer when they are hot off the press.  Even 20s and 50s aren’t exempt from it when brand new, but most hundreds come in crisp and stay straight longer.  I had a crease from the start which made me seem more circulated.  

I think that first night in a drawer shaped me more than ever.  The other bills talked about the system, about how all the other hundreds wouldn’t associate with them.  A hundred is rarely even seen associating with a 50.  The Benjamin’s acted like they were a class above and refused to associate with the other bills.  I didn’t have much to say, being new, so I just listened and asked questions.  I heard tales from the other bills about our purpose and existence.  I learned what currency was.  Oh the stories they shared over those three days.

One bill had traveled around the world and shared stories of other coins and bills from other countries.  Another had been washed and reprinted with a higher value by the Mafia.  The roughest $1 bill in the drawer told us about how in the same day he was used as drug money, was traded in for a 29 cent hamburger, stolen by the cashier, and won and lost in a poker game.  He said he ended that same day under a pillow as tooth fairy money.

The next few weeks I got to meet hundreds of crisp Benjamin’s in drawer after drawer and wallet after wallet.  They were stuffy and rude and I committed very early on to living a different life.  I was one of the few big bills that wanted to be around the little guys.

The life of a one dollar bill is shorter, busier and more dramatic.  I can see where the vain attitude can come in when you are a Benjamin.  Folks hold you differently, they treat you with respect.  You don’t just get to know other bills. Y ou get to see people and how they act around you.  You see them at their best and at their worst.  When they have to cough up a $100 bill they grip it a little tighter instead of just letting go.  Emotions are emphasized when folks use a $100.  More fighting and tears and pain seem to move around with big bills.

The humans don’t even think about it, but they hold all of the bills, both big and small, in a sacred way.  There is always a place to put us and usually it’s nice.  A gold plated money clip, a fine leather wallet, a $600 purse.  They constantly check in on you to make sure you are still around, safe and sound.

When people are on the street at night they will guard you with their lives, constantly worried that someone else wants to spend you worse than they do.  I hate it when they take you out of the wallet and cram you into a sock when they travel.  It’s just disgusting.  Money belts, and hidden compartments, and safes, and banks--industries have been created just to keep me in the right spot for the night before spending me in the morning.

Sep 13, 2012

Guest Blogger: Benjamin Franklin - Money Musings of a $100 Bill

Hey readers, we are going to try something new.  I'm going to be sharing some posts by a Guest Blogger, our friend Ben.  We'll get to take a look at money from the perspective of a $100 bill.  Don't hesitate to share ideas or thoughts.  Also, feel free to chime in, argue a little or ask questions of old Ben.  He's an inanimate object and you can't hurt his feelings.  Here it goes...


It has been a wild ride.  I was born in the year 1996.  It’s funny how different I am than these humans that carry me around.  My date is printed right on my face.  Humans get so wrapped up in appearance.  They would never display their birth date.  In fact I have been spent on cosmetics 653 times, but that is a side note.  

Back to my story, I was one of the first bills of my kind, totally redesigned for 1996.  I am practically a relic at this point.  The average life expectancy of a Benjamin is 7.5 years.  Today is my 16th birthday.  The first memory I have is of a press cutting me away from friends and then sending me through some sort of roller coaster that left me stacked up.  I actually thought I was Benjamin Franklin back then.  It was an honest mistake and I’ll explain why.  I was cut from a sheet of bills that look identical to me but I had no knowledge of this situation.  After seeing nothing but bright lights I was placed directly next to an identical bill.  As you know, my face has a rendering of Benjamin Franklin and on my reverse is an image of Independence Hall.  As I was stacked with nearly identical bills all I could see was Independence Hall.  After seeing the bright lights and remembering nothing of my present situation I assumed that I was headed into the building to continue debate over the content of our country’s constitution.  It felt like a dream as I could never quite get closer to the building.

I realized the error of my thinking when some time later I left the Federal Reserve vault and was  officially placed into circulation.  I wound up at a bank in Tulsa and was given as change to an auto mechanic.  Although I couldn’t recount every person I’ve met and every wallet or purse in which I have resided, I remember that mechanic because he was the first to leave a fingerprint on my new surface.  I was torn from my lofty existence as Ben Franklin and thrown into the cold hard reality as cash.  My host crammed me into his wallet and I wound up with my first crease.  The man passed me along that very afternoon.  His wife yelled at him all the way from the bank to the electric company. She was furious that he had forgotten to pay the power bill.  She blamed him for embarrassing her in front of her friends when they shut the power down during her Tupperware party.  I have been the center of plenty of brutal arguments and I’ve been the focus of a few knock-down, drag out fights, but I’ve never heard someone scream as loud as that woman.  The man and I both breathed a sigh of relief when we left the car and had peace and quiet between the vehicle and the teller at the power company.  I was slipped into a drawer full of dirty, wrinkled bills and there I remained for three days learning the ways of the world.  More on that later . . .

Sep 12, 2012

Wednesday in the Word - God's Capacity in My Everyday Carry

www.Everyday-Carry.com
Signs for Moses - Exodus 4

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.

“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

Exodus 4: 1-17


I stumbled across this passage and was struck by what the Lord used to give Moses confidence.  Moses doubts his ability and God asks the question, "What is in your hand?"  Moses is a shepherd and he carries a staff.  God shows him how He can make great things happen, even with the things Moses carries every day.  

The conversation reminded me of a website called EverydayCarry.  You can check it out here.  Folks submit pictures of the items they carry everyday.  I have a feeling that the folks sharing photos are former Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as the focus is on a discipline and philosophy of preparedness.  Living and playing in the mountains of Colorado, I love this stuff.

Moses was prepared for his role as a shepherd, but God wanted to show him that He could use what Moses had right now to make a difference.  He then shows Moses that he can use even an empty hand.  Lastly God instructs Moses to rely not on what he has in his possession, but on his surroundings.

Even after these signs, Moses is full of excuses.

I am great at excuses.  Excuses are my forte.  I am excellent at walking past homeless people, not giving because I assume they’ll spend the money foolishly.  I am great at putting my frivolous wants above the needs of others.  I am really exceptional at ignoring that still small voice that says to give.  I offer God the same excuses as Moses.

The truth is, God has given us everything and he can do miraculous things with our everyday carry.  He can change lives if we’d just give him our hand.  I need to embrace the fact that God owns it all and is in complete control.  God could use the Nile river back then and he owns my surroundings now.  Through God and through His leading, we aren’t limited to our own possessions, but we have infinite capacity to make a difference and to glorify Him.

Is it possible to tweak your everyday carry, not only to be prepared for this life, but to prepare yourself to serve God?

What items could you keep handy to bless others and to point to Christ? 
- A Bible
- A copy of The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
- A gift card
- A tool kit to help with roadside repairs or to give away
- A $100 bill

What are you holding back from God? Is there anything that you are unwilling to give away or use to help others?

What excuses are holding you back from a life of stewardship and generosity?

How do you raise generous kids? - Great stuff from National Christian Foundaion

Continue reading at the National Christian Foundation blog here...

Sep 5, 2012

Wednesday in the Word - Before I Die I Want To Be Tried For Piracy!



Candy Chang from New Orleans shares her story of community engagement.  She turned a neglected space into a constructive one by covering an abandoned building with a giant chalkboard and asking folks to fill in the blank.

Before I die I want to ________________________.  

I snickered at the image of the New Orleans resident in full pirate attire writing, "Before I die I want to be tried for piracy."  I also particularly liked these responses: "Before I die I want to plant a tree." "Before I die I want to be someone’s cavalry." 


Candy says, “Two of the most valuable things we have are our time and our relationships with others.”  It reminded me of Paul’s words to the Philippians on relationships and on his time with them.

Philippians 2

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Paul -- Before I die I want to pour myself out for you!

We can hear throughout the chapter our calling to love others and to humble ourselves.  Paul uses the perfect example when he expresses Christ’s love as he made himself nothing in order to build a relationship with us.

Too often my life is in opposition to this passage.  I don’t steward my time well and I don’t steward my relationships well.  The worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth bring my focus away from God and others and to myself.  Instead of this high calling I can feel the effects of The Evil One trying to steal and kill and destroy.  He desires that we would make others nothing as we build ourselves up.  This is the way of the world.

It all brings me back to the humorous image of the pirate in this video.  In order to be effective, perhaps we really do need to be tried for some sort of piracy.  But instead of the traditional image of a pirate, we need to steal back our time and our relationships from this world.  We will be tried as we go against the grain in this world’s system.  We will be tried internally as well as externally as we commit to steward our time and relationships the way Christ did.  Christ modeled the humble approach and right relationships on earth and was tried as a pirate, dying a criminal’s death on the cross.  Paul died a similar death.  He was tried and persecuted because he answered this high calling.  You can hear his rejoicing at the end of the passage.  He can taste the joy of heaven as he stewards his life for Christ.

Before I die I want to humble myself!

Before I die I want to honor God with my time and relationships!

Before I die I want to pour myself out for you!

Before I die I want to be tried like a pirate!


Your turn! 
Before I die I want to__________________!
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