Month: June 2012

Money and Intentions

“Our hope is that local community groups will attempt great things for the

glory of God and the good of the city as we seek to serve like Jesus.” ~ Reality L.A.

(on why they set aside $20K for community groups to use to touch their community)

Jesus’ Focus On Money
As I’ve been reading through the gospel of Luke, one of the things that strikes me is how focused Jesus is on money. Over and over again this topic of money shows up in the ministry of Jesus. In fact, I find these statistics to be interesting:

  • Jesus talked more about money than anything else except the Kingdom of God
  • Jesus talked more about money than He did about Heaven and Hell combined
  • Of the 39 parables Jesus told, 11 of them deal with the issue of money
  • In the gospel of Luke, 1 out of every 7 verses talk about money (that is staggering to me!)

How we handle money is not a side issue to Jesus, it is a central issue! How we handle money is not separate from our spiritual life, it shows our spiritual life.

“I can see more about the spirituality of a man by reading through his checkbook than I can by reading through his prayer book.” ~ D. L. Moody

How Should I Think About Money?
I find verses like these help to me to think properly about money:

“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1Ti 6:8-10)

Words like “Fall”, “temptation”, “snare”, “senseless” and “harmful” are ones I generally try to avoid in life; and words like “evil” and “pierced themselves” and “many pangs” are words I run from at all cost.

What About The Church?
As the church plant in Claremont is becoming more of a reality, practical issues are becoming more real. One of those issue is the church and money and the philosophy of the “church’s money”. I don’t have all the answers in this area, but I do know this: there is no penny that the church has or ever will have that is not under the sovereign control of Jesus, who owns the church. And because of that, there is not a single dollar that is reserved except for the cause of the gospel and the glory of His name. My heart is to see us be a church that is fiscally conservative but missionally agressive, and where those two collide, then with wisdom and humility, I pray the Lord will lead us to lean on being missionally aggressive, regardless of the cost.

Like an individual person’s life, I take it that the life of the church, if it falls in love with money, will live out these words:  “fall”, “temptation”, “snare”, “senseless” and “harmful”. And when those words loom, soon will come the words that followed in Pauls admonition to Timothy : “evil” and “pierced themselves” and “many pangs”.

Lord, protect us as a church from God dishonoring wasteful spending and sovereignly keep us from suicidal hope in money!

Let’s Buy Friends!

Jesus said it:  “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9)

It means we care more about people than money. Let’s live it out. Here is a church that is doing that!!

Missional Grant
This summer, Reality LA has set aside $20,000 for our new Missional Grant program. This program is intended to encourage and equip RLA community groups to reach out on mission to their local communities. We want to financially equip groups to plan projects beyond what their own resources could normally afford.

In making the grant available, we want to communicate to the value of your partnership in the ministry of the Gospel. Whether it’s renovating a local care facility, assisting local families, or getting equipment for a local school, we encourage you to be creative in meeting your neighborhood’s needs. Our hope is that local community groups will attempt great things for the glory of God and the good of the city as we seek to serve like Jesus.

Missional grant proposals require a sponsoring community group. Please speak with your CG leader before submitting an application. If you’ve spoken to your leader, you can fill out the applicationhere.

(  http://realityla.onthecity.org/plaza/topics/ca884558209ab75470489d3e049f33b96ad466ac  )

Women’s Ministry in the Local Church – Chapter 1

“We ought to have an intentional, deliberate approach to female discipleship because men and women are different, and these differences need to be recognized, taken into account, and addressed in the course of Christian discipleship.”

I am working my way through the book Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by, J. Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt.  The book was written to answer the question: “Why should a church have a women’s ministry?”

I am trying to devour this book quickly in my quest to learn and gain a philosophy of ministry in regards to women.  I will highlight some topics discussed in the book that resonate with what I believe God is leading us to in ministry and discipleship of women.

CHAPTER 1

WOMANHOOD EMBRACED
The need for a biblical apologetic for womanhood is the foundation of this book and the ministry of it’s authors.  Women need to have an understanding of what their specific God created role is in the church and home. The book is founded on a series of books on womanhood and on this document:
THE DANVERS STATEMENT ON BIBLICAL MANHOOD AND WOMANHOOD

DISCIPLESHIP FOCUSED
The intention and goal of women’s ministry is to teach, support and equip women to carry out their God given call in the church and their homes.

MENTORSHIP FOCUSED
Women’s ministry is to be life on life, passing the torch from one generation of women to the other. Young women should grow up in women’s ministry being mentored and guided by older women in the call of womanhood.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
(Titus 2:3-5 ESV)

ELDER INVESTED
The pastors should equip the women’s ministry leadership in theology and doctrine that falls in line with the vision and belief of the church leadership of elders.

ELDER SUBMITTED
The women’s ministry should conduct itself in submission to the leadership of the elder board.  The goal of the women’s ministry leadership should be to carry out the vision of the elders for the church as a whole, with the emphasis being how that vision pertains to godly womanhood.

KINGDOM ORIENTED
The heart of women’s ministry should not be self focused, but kingdom focused.  Activities, studies, events and the mission of the ministry revolve around this kingdom orientation.

“How can we invest in women in a way that equips them as disciples, for their own spiritual maturation, for the good of the marriages and families of the church, for the betterment of the total ministry of the church, for their life in the world?”

Some Must Stay

“The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.”
(Luk 8:38-39)

This passage struck me the other day as I was reading it, especially in light of the church plant in Claremont and those that are praying about joining. I pray these thoughts will free you to love the call the go and love the CALL TO STAY.

IT MAKES SENSE TO GO

This demon healed man requested something of Jesus that made absolute sense: LET ME GO WITH YOU. It makes all the sense to me that he would ask this, as Luke 8 starts off describing how Jesus was going from town to town doing ministry and there were a group of disciples and a group of women following Him. This man wanted to join that group and it made great sense – (1) It was an expression of his gratitude (2) Which of the disciples had a testimony like this man?  (3) I think this man must have thought “How can I stay. I don’t fit here.” Luke tells us he used to run around naked in the tombs and the people would shackle him up in chains and he would break free from that. Try living with that history and overcoming the suspicions and whispers even after you are healed.

So it makes sense to me that this man wanted to go.

JESUS COMMANDS HIM TO STAY

This man wanted to go with Jesus, but the only place Jesus wanted this man to go was to go home. In other words, stay where you are at. If he went he would be proclaiming the works of God. If he stayed, he was to proclaim the works of God. Same work, different location, and only one person determines where the work is to be done – Jesus.

THE MAN THRIVES IN THE FREEDOM TO STAY

Jesus said go home (Greek word: oy’-kos, meaning dwelling, implying family). Go to your family and proclaim.  Stay. And in that command and empowering this man was free NOT TO GO and instead stayed where he was at. And in staying and in obeying, this man not only proclaimed to his family, Luke tells us he proclaimed “to the whole city”.

The call to go and start new is not greater than the call to stay and push on.

My deep prayer for each of you that reads this and are still asking to “go” is that you simply hear the voice of Jesus and live in the freedom of obedience to do His will with JOY!