Oct 24, 2012

"Generosity Begets Generosity."


I Like Car from ILikeGiving.com on Vimeo.


Jesus spoke to us in parables and stories. It is important to share our stories. We have so much capacity in our stories, in our good times and our bad times. The folks at www.ILikeGiving.com are so good at sharing stories. I hope you enjoy it.

My favorite line from this video:
“Generosity begets generosity.”


What good stories should you share?

Has anyone been generous to you?

Where have you made a difference?

Wednesday in the Word: Leaning on My Shovel & Praying For a Hole


“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

Acts 20:22-24 & 32-37 (NIV)

As Paul says farewell to the elders in Ephesus he exhorts them to continue working hard to help the weak. He wraps up his final statements with these words of Christ: 

“IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.”

Why this? Why not a message about grace or sanctification or repentance? Paul also talks about the hardship he has already seen and the difficulty that he anticipates in Jerusalem or beyond. Even in the midst of this hardship he is willing to go.

Too often, I am guilty of leaning on my shovel and praying for a hole.

On that note, I just stumbled across a wonderful blogpost by Justin Zoradi entitled, Stop Waiting For God To Tell You What To Do With Your Life. He encourages us to walk in faith and take those first steps in obedience. We read as Paul takes steps that he knows will be difficult. He is obedient and he doesn’t dance around the fact that obedience is hard work, but it is work worth doing.  

Where can you step out in obedience today? 

Does it scare you that the work will be hard?

What can you do right now to move forward in God’s plans for you as you lean into the difficulty? 

TODAY I WILL STOP LEANING ON MY SHOVEL AND PRAYING FOR A HOLE.
I WILL DIG IN.

Oct 18, 2012

Chick-fil-A is ruining my sleep... In a good way!


CFA LC 2012 Opening Video from GiANT Impact on Vimeo.


Chick-fil-A Leadercast 2012 Opening Video. I am addicted to the 12 piece chicken nugget combo with those perfectly salty waffle fries and fresh squeezed lemonade. The closest Chick-fil-A is about 65 miles from my house. Is that too far to drive for fast food?

Not only are they good at fries, Chick-fil-A is an industry leader. Better yet, they are reinvesting into leaders with an annual simulcast on leadership. You can check out all of the details here: www.chick-fil-aleadercast.com. You can even sign up to host a simulcast in your community. Could somebody please host one here? Could you please open up a Chick-Fil-A while you’re at it?

The video couldn’t have started in a better way:

“Your alarm clock is more than just a clock, it’s a starting line. A green light. A sounding of the gun. The starting of a new day. Or the repetition of the one before. You are faced with choices, some mundane, some significant. But every decision sets you on a path towards somewhere.”

I can only think of one thing that would have made the video better, eating a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich while watching it. And some fries…

I have never really thought of my alarm clock as a starting line, I treat it like a nemesis who has evil plans to stop my dreaming in its tracks. I look at the snooze button as my ally, helping to fend off the effects of that evil alarm clock. I have read the articles by leaders from the Chick-fil-A conference, like Michael Hyatt, who tell me not to snooze. They are reasonable and compelling articles. But that extra 15 minutes seems so wonderful. I’m not necessarily lazy and I don’t hate my job, I just like snoozing with my wife.

I don’t know that I’ll stop using the snooze button, but there are other areas of life, other choices that I make, where I could have more impact.

What if I treated every choice like this video suggests? Could I really be the leader that they talk about?

I am going to pick up some Chick-fil-A and ponder that. In the mean time, would someone choose to host a simulcast in Western Colorado?

In what area of life will you choose to be a stronger leader today? Your home? Your finances? Your work? Your church or community? What decisions could you steward a bit better?

Oct 16, 2012

Wednesday in the Word: Bob Coy & Moses - Tickled Tither or Generous Giver

 

So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”

Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”

Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

                    -Exodus 36: 1-7

This passage comes right out of the desert.  Israel just left everything they were accustomed to in Egypt.  The passage starts out by saying that Israel sets out, “to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”

The people bring freewill offerings each day. 

And the very best part, the workers have to stop what they are doing to inform Moses that, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”

In working with non-profits and ministries, I can tell you that I haven’t seen this sort of thing happen very often.

So where is the breakdown?  

I can tell you where I get hung up.  More often than not, I am too busy doing what I think is best to listen for clear direction from the Lord.  The Israelites were doing just as the Lord commanded.  A steward is led by the Lord.  

The Israelites backed up their beliefs with freewill offerings.  They believed in the cause.  They were reliant on God and wanted to honor him with the possessions they had.  They didn’t get hung up on percentages or hoard their wealth for themselves.  They gave generously to the work of the Lord.  Too often I get hung up on that 10% number.  I am, as Bob Coy would call it, a Tickled Tither.  A steward believes and acts like God owns it all.  

The challenge:

Step 1 - Ask the Lord, “Where would you have me make a difference?”

Step 2 - Listen…

Step 3 - Give abundantly.

Lord, may we live in faith, listening to your calling and your plan for our work, for our family, for our community and our country.  May we give in faith, knowing that we don’t own these things.  May we trust You, the God of abundance, the God who owns it all.  In our obedience, bless our work, our families and our communities, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Amen

Oct 8, 2012

Money Conversations with Your Spouse: A Wall Street Journal Primer


I enjoyed a recent article from the Wall Street Journal entitled And Now a Word From My VeryFrugal Husband By Demetria Gallegos.  The article contains a bit of open conversation as a reporter interviews her spouse on their individual spending habits.  She shares her thoughts about her husband’s thriftiness in an interesting way.  Readers get to enter into a very personal money discussion.  I enjoyed reading this quote from the frugal husband: 

"I do not need gewgaws.  I don't need frivolous things in my life.  I don't mind going to the theater or to a movie, but I don't need it.  I'm not much of a gift person, there's nothing I need to receive.  People who need a lot of stuff, you have to wonder if they're psychologically damaged.  Making stuff important is a mistake.  It's a mistake to foster the materialism of our children." 
Quite frankly the comment made me feel “psychologically damaged.”  I feel like the spender in me is constantly at war with the saver.  When I am in Cabela’s, I feel like I need things.  If I can just stay away from those stores that I like, I am able to keep that spender reigned in.  I appreciated his comments on the importance of guarding our children in this area. 
Through the conversation you can tell that Demetria and her husband have different perspectives on money and spending; don’t we all.  Demetria’s husband wraps up the conversation with this quote: 
"The money is not the most important thing.  Obviously, people are more important. That's why I don't want to argue with you about money.”

Here is the challenge:

Engage in this sort of conversation with your spouse.  Although the discussion is focused on money, don’t make it the most important thing.  Honor your spouse as you engage in a healthy money dialogue.  Once you have read the article together, you can use these questions to get you started:

Are you a spender or a saver?  How would you describe me?

Where did you learn to be that way?

Do we ever act like money is more important than relationships?

What did you learn about money from your mother and father?

What should our kids learn from us?
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