THRIVE! Live with Margin | Live on Mission

Thrive Slide-01

God wants us to experience the abundant life he’s promised to those who will follow him as disciple-makers.  Two specific pressures keep us from the reward of that kind of life:  time and money.

Our agendas are too full of fluff and our bank accounts are stretched too thin.  The result is anxiety, stress, worry, and busy-ness.  We have no room … no margin … in our agendas or accounts to experience the fullness God intends.  What’s worse, we get preoccupied with ourselves and can’t live God’s purpose in the world!

What are we to do?  God want’s us to “THRIVE” by living with margin … room in our agendas and accounts … to be free from worry so that we can live for him in our families, church, work, and world.  Our current sermon series is presenting some practical ways that you can begin to live with margin so that you can live on mission.

Live With Margin:  Goals

  • Simplify your spending through practical budgeting
  • Give first and save second and live off the rest
  • Automate the important:  giving and saving

Live With Margin:  Steps

  • Pray and Fast on Mondays
  • Pick up a simple “budget worksheet”
  • Commit to a “tithe” in Nov
  • Attend the 2 hour finance workshop 23. Nov
  • Ask for one-on-one financial counseling

Live On Mission:  Goals

  • Every family and small group go mission
  • Practice generosity as individuals/families and a church
  • Make 2014 a  Year of “2nds”—Service, Pastor, Church

Live On Mission:  Steps

  • Organize local and global “on mission” projects
  • Establish Thrive Project 2014 for generous giving
  • Introduce “Go On Mission” Class Fall 2014

 

Called to Be Loved: Peace vs. Understanding

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (ANIV) 

mental-health

We know it in our heads, but do we experience it in our hearts?  We say it, but do we mean it?

  • God is love!
  • God loves me unconditionally!
  • God loves me so much that I experience the peace of his presence in the face of circumstances I can’t understand!

But how do we get these phrases — these statements of truth — into our everyday experience?  How can we experience God’s peace even through life’s challenges?

I have to admit, sometimes life just not make sense.  We face problems, challenges, events, loss, hurt, pain, rejection…and there’s no way of explaining it away.  Many of life’s experiences defy understanding.  There’s no rational explanation…they are beyond reason.

I experienced this personally with the death of my father in 2006.  Our family was gathered for our traditional Thanksgiving holiday when my dad went to the doctor to find out the cause of a cough he couldn’t shake.  To our shock, he was notified within a few days that he was suffering from terminal cancer and the doctor told him he had less than a month to live.

Why?  Why my dad — a wonderful husband, father, pastor-missionary?  Why now?  There were no reasonable answers.  It didn’t make sense!  Why God?  Why?!

However, even in the last few weeks of my father’s life — he died about 3 weeks after his diagnosis — I experienced an inexplicable peace…a peace that doesn’t make sense.  It was a peace that began with my dad’s incredible faith and trust in God’s sovereign, loving care.  My dad reassured us of the hope he had in God’s faithful promises, and modeled the powerful peace that comes with God’s presence.  My dad faced his death full of faith, hope, love, and peace all of which came from the strength of God’s presence.

To this day, I can’t explain my dad’s death.  I have no answers to the “why” question, but this I know with certainty:  God’s peace — the peace of his sustaining presence — is a peace that defies all explanation, and it guards and protects our minds and our hearts as we go through life’s challenges.

What challenges, problems, or life experiences are you facing today?  Do they defy explanation?  You, too, can experience God’s peace by turning to him in faith, trusting that he loves you with a limitless love, holding on to the promise of his presence no matter what you’re going through.

That’s experiencing the truth:  God is love; his love is limitless.  He loves you enough to be with you, to strengthen you, and to give you his peace.

 

Called to Be Loved: Confident vs. Fearful

stretching_armsCertainly, all who are guided by God’s Spirit are God’s childrenYou haven’t received the spirit of slaves that leads you into fear again. Instead, you have received the spirit of God’s adopted children by which we call out, “Abba! Father!”” Romans 8:14-15 (GW) 

We know it in our heads, but do we experience it in our hearts?  We say it, but do we mean it?

  • God is love!
  • God loves me unconditionally!
  • God loves me so much that I can confidently bring my needs to God!

But how do we get these phrases — these statements of truth — into our everyday experience?  How can we experience the freedom from fear that allows us to run boldly into his presence with our needs?

Did you see the recent movie Lincoln?  As I watched the movie, I was taken by Lincoln’s legislative struggle to abolish slavery during the turmoil of the American Civil War.  I was inspired by Lincoln’s resolve to push the agenda forward against all odds.  But something else struck me that had no real purpose in the movie other than dramatizing what was true about Lincoln during his time as president of the United States.  Lincoln’s youngest son, Tad, had unlimited, open access to his father.

The same is true for those who are the children of God.  We are sons and daughters!  God is our loving Father!  Instead of being fearful, we have the confidence of children who are loved by their “Daddy” (“Abba”).  And we have unlimited, open access to our heavenly Father who loves and cares for us.  Consequently, we can come into his presence with confidence and ask for him to meet our needs.

You are a son of God…a daughter of God.  You’re loved unconditionally.  You can go to God and say, “Daddy, please, listen to me and my needs.”  And, guess what?  He does, and he responds in a gracious and loving way to meet the deepest needs of our lives.  This is his promise:

“So we can go confidently to the throne of God’s kindness to receive mercy and find kindness, which will help us at the right time”. Hebrews 4:16 (GW) 

So, instead of wondering whether God has time, or thinking that God is busy doing something more important, we can boldly come to God in prayer — any time about any need — and know that God is available, he is listening, and he is ready to care for our needs.