Biblical Messages

How Do I Give?

In this worship gathering, we hear a message about how we give. It’s not a guilt trip or a plea for funds, but some helpful tools for managing money and the importance of giving as a sign of character. It’s based on 2 Corinthians 9. You can watch the entire worship gathering below, or just the message below that.

Encouragement From The Word

Rethinking dominion

In Genesis 1.27-28 (NLT), we read:

So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Over the course of time, there have been countless views opined on what constitutes the human mandate to “govern” the earth.  The older translations refer to this as our responsibility to “subdue” the earth.

There is no doubt that in the order of creation, humanity was given the mandate to steward the world, because, as the Psalmist says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24.1, NLT).  But to what degree can we “govern” or “subdue” the earth, while also being stewards?

The terrible flooding in British Columbia recently has raised this question in my mind.  The area most ravaged by these ‘atmospheric rivers’, around Abbotsford, was once a lake.  Sumas Lake, as it was called, was drained to create a fertile prairie for agriculture.  A process was begun around 1909 and completed in 1924 that created dikes and drainage systems that left the lake bone dry…most of the time.

The human creation of that fertile prairie has come at a cost:  there are records of periodic floods that have caused untold amounts of damage.

Perhaps our understanding of dominion over the earth needs some adjustment.  The earth is our gift from God, to be used for our sustenance and enjoyment.  But it is still his world, and we must take due care to ensure that we honour God in our enjoyment of his creation.Please join me in praying for the people of British Columbia who are affected by these floods. 

Encouragement From The Word

No pockets

A friend of mine relayed a story recently about Ray Stedman, a well-known American pastor from the 20th century.  He had flown to a speaking engagement (remember the good old days, when people actually flew places?), and the airline lost his luggage (we don’t miss that part!).  In that culture, preachers didn’t get up to speak without wearing a suit – and he didn’t have one, thanks to the airline.

Stedman asked his host what could be done, and the host pastor said he would arrange to get Stedman a suit in which to preach the next morning, making note of his measurements.

When the suit was delivered to the hotel, Stedman dressed, and tried to put his wallet in a pocket.  Much to his amazement, he realized the suit had no pockets in the jacket or even in the pants!

He mentioned this to his host pastor, who quickly admitted that the suit had been acquired from a local funeral home!

This was a suitable reminder for Stedman, as for us, that ‘you can’t take it with you.’

I’m often amazed at the stories I hear – and sometimes witness – about people wanting to be buried with some sort of treasure that mattered to them, whether money or things.  But they will do us no good in the afterlife. The only thing we can bring with us when we die, that will do any good, is faith.

As we are reminded when we sing the old hymn by Augustus Toplady, Rock of Ages, “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling!”

So rather than filling our proverbial barns and buying more when they are full, we can invest in opportunities that will enable more people to carry faith into the afterlife.  The dividends paid by that will last for eternity.

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6.19-21, NLT).

Encouragement From The Word

The gift of time

February 5 has always been a special day for me.  It’s the birthday of the woman who gave birth to me!  I wish I could be with her to celebrate the completion of her 82nd trip around the sun, but the stay-at-home order we’re experiencing here in Ontario prevents that from happening.  So if you know my mom, feel free to phone her or inbox her with your own greeting!

I’m finding as I age that birthdays seem to get closer and closer together:  time passes quickly.  That may or may not be everyone’s experience, but that reality, for me, is a reminder of the precious nature of time.

God understands this; he is, after all, the Author of time.

There is much in the Bible that speaks to how we best may steward the time allotted to us in this world, even as we prepare for the world to come.  Consider these:

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3.11, NLT).

Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring” (Proverbs 27.1, NLT).

And this one – this one really stands out:

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” (Psalm 90.12, NLT).

There are hundreds of others, but these give you the idea.  

How are you being a steward of the time God has given you?  With every breath, we acknowledge our Creator, whether we realize it or not.  Let’s choose to realize that, giving God praise with every breath we take.  Let’s choose to see time as a precious gift, enjoying the moments we have with those we love, and living in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection are what gain us eternity.

Biblical Messages

Sharing is caring

The story of Ananias and Sapphira often shakes us to our core because of its bluntness.  Two people conspired to lie to the apostles (thus to the Holy Spirit), and fell down dead as a result.  Sometimes we forget the earlier example, a better one, of Barnabas, who sold a field and gave the entire proceeds to the church.  What can these examples teach us as followers of Jesus today?  Based on Acts 4.32-5.11, you can listen to the message here, or watch the Facebook video (with or without an account) at the link below that.


Biblical Messages

Encouraging Presbyopia

Jesus is in the business of the impossible!  Today’s message focused on Christian stewardship (hopefully without a guilt trip!), trusting God as we look to the future.  It’s based on 1 Corinthians 1.18-31 and Matthew 6.19-34.  Have a listen!

Here’s the” target=”_blank”>link to watch the video of this message on Facebook.

Here’s the link to the video that was shown near the end of the message.

Biblical Messages

“Not Me!”

Sometimes, the Family Circus ghosts show up in church, don’t they?  This week, we learned about the importance of all of image1God’s people participating in the stewardship of resources.  We can’t say “Not me!”

Stewardship is tough to preach, and sometimes, tough to hear.  But I was encouraged by those who heard a word from the Lord through it.

Listen for yourself! It’s based on Luke 10.25-37.

Near the end of the message, we saw this video.

Encouragement From The Word

Don’t hold back!

One of my favourite stories in the Bible is the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. If you don’t know it, click the link and read it.

Did you read it? I know what you might be thinking. That’s twisted!

Do you think so? Let’s think about it for a minute.

One of the key characteristics of the early church is that it cared for people. Modelled after the Jewish community from which the church arose, the early church was committed to looking after the needy, and the overall work of making disciples. And that didn’t happen in a vacuum. It wasn’t “somebody else” who undertook this. There was no government safety net available from Rome. Followers of Jesus and they alone tended to the needs of the church.

Those who belonged to that early Christian community were committed to funding the mandate of the church. People were selling their goods, and pooling what they had in common. Ananias and Sapphira were among them.

This couple, though, conspired to hold back some of what they said they were giving to the Lord’s work. The problem was that they said it was the whole amount of the proceeds of the property they sold. But it wasn’t. They were lying.

Getting zapped – ‘falling to the floor and dying’ is the rather more dignified way that Luke, the writer of Acts, puts it – seems an extreme punishment for fibbing. But think of what was at stake there.

What was at stake was the whole ministry and mandate of the Kingdom of God. To think about it in an extreme way, because Ananias and Sapphira held back some of the proceeds from the sale of property but said it was the entire amount, they were depriving others of hearing the gospel. They were depriving others who were in need of being fed. They were depriving others of getting what God wanted them to have.

A tough question, but it needs to be asked: are you depriving others of their God-given needs because you are holding something back?

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” (Malachi 3.10, NLT).

Biblical Messages

Sowing and Reaping

First, a confession:  If you listen to these messages regularly, you may think you have heard some of this one before.  You have.

I preached most of this message as part of a series in 2013, inspired by Craig Groeschel.  Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher of London, England, once said that a sermon worth preaching once is worth preaching twice.  There are parts that are different, and I added a video clip (which is only available through membership in RightNowMedia; I hope you can at least hear the testimony given by the couple through the audio recording.  Stewardship is an important part of the Christian life, and learning (or re-learning) the principles behind it helps us become more well-rounded disciples of Jesus; thus the message bears repeating!

Based on 2 Corinthians 9, you can listen to “Sowing and Reaping” here:

Biblical Messages

The Buck Starts Here

Normally, we think of the phrase, ‘The buck stops here’, as uttered by Harry Truman when he was President of the United States.  But for Christians as stewards, the buck starts here.  We are called to make priorities in our spending.  Our biblical example comes from the lowly ant!  Look at Proverbs 6.6-11, and listen here: