"God be merciful to us & bless us, & cause His face to shine upon us.
That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad & sing for joy!"
Lord God, to whom all things belong, and from whom all good things come, in
whom there is no variation or shadow of change; by the enriching presence and
power of your Spirit, open our eyes to the riches of your grace, and in the
renewal of our lives, make known your heavenly glory; that your Son may be
I hate talking about
money. I grew up fairly poor and, for example, am used to wearing everything
until it falls off in threads and patches. And I especially dislike talking
about money and church. For one reason I can’t stand the accusation (that is
sometimes true of certain ministries) that all those people talk about is
money. I don’t want that ever said about me or us. On the other hand, the two
items (church and money), when connected, give me the willies. Every time the
deacons and elders get together and review the budget I want the floor to open
up and swallow me. So if I come across as antsy during the sermon, those are
some reasons why.
Last week….one sermon,
two parts: Moving Revival and Reformation forward. Keep the Faith (chapter 28)
and Contribute Freely (chapter 29).
leads the way: 29.2, 3 (2xs), 17. David is out front leading the way. Generous
and willing. A good leader leads from the front (Civil War movies vs some of my
military experiences). The Good Shepherd also leads from the front (Hebrews
9, 17-19. “Israel after the exile was faced with the same sort of challenge to
commitment as the Israel of the early monarchy had been. And it is still to be
met in the same practical way: the giving of oneself, expressed by the giving
of one’s wealth” (Michael Wilcox, “The Message of Chronicles,”113). 2 Corinthians
8 and 9, “…their extreme poverty have
overflowed in a wealth of generosity…they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will
of God to us…For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich,
yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich…The point is this: whoever sows
sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap
bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly
or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make
all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all
times, you may abound in every good work.” And David prays for their future generosity (29.17-18).
It’s God Kingdom, God’s Church, God’s wealth, and God’s lavish gift (10b-13);
therefore we’re able to give joyfully and lavishly because God has given to us
(14b and 16b). God gives lavishly first so that we can give in the same lavish way!
and Festival again (21-22a).
Conclusion to 1 Chronicles (22b-30). Everything is in place and Good order
looks to be ensuing. Revival and Reformation is being moved forward to the next
Bearing – For
those coming out of exile, drawing near to God in the gracious way he has
opened should result in an unstingy, ungrudging, unsparing response. The same
to us – now – especially after God’s costly, generous gift of his Son: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you
by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8.9).
these two chapters together we see that the way of moving revival and
reformation forward is by keeping the faith and contributing freely.
O Lord our God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and
David – the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – keep forever such
purposes and thoughts as we have learned here in our hearts and perpetually
direct our hearts toward you; for yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens
and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as
head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In
your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give
strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
When I was 20 years old, I was stationed in a Muslim country for two years. During that time I read the Quran (in an English translation from Oxford), interacted with Muslim acquaintances, and saw Islam lived out in it's communal context. Therefore I was excited when my mother gave me a copy of "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus". With bazillions of reviews already plastered on the various sites and venues, mine will be short and succinct.
Nabeel Qureshi has woven together a very personal and personable volume written to give "an insider's perspective into a Muslim heart," as well as equip readers "with facts and knowledge, showing the strength of the case for the gospel contrasted with the case for Islam," while chronicling his own inner struggles, sacrifices and doubts when grappling with the Christian faith. The style of writing is autobi…
"When evil looms and darkness falls And tragedy is breaking When all that's good seems overturned By God I'm not forsaken For though I fall or wander far I'm not too far for saving And when my Shepherd seeks and finds How can I keep from singing" (229)?
So cantillates Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, mother, wife, writer, musician and abuse survivor, in her new 240 page hardback "Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse". This volume is the tale of her terrors and troubles at the hands of an abusive father, and it is far, far more. It is truly a story of life after abuse, abundant life found only in the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. An easy to read book, it is ideally suited for those who have been traumatized and those who long to help the trampled! "I am not my abuser. I have a choice. I aspire to heal and grow by God's grace" (82).
Just like taking an abnormal psych class in college, a reader will likely see their reflection on many pages in the 200-page hardback "When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse". This newly released dossier, written by Chuck DeGroat, professor of pastoral care and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, and senior fellow at Newbigin House of Studies in San Francisco, is a velvet covered brick. It is easily readable, and reasonably attainable. DeGroat exposes the varied ways narcissism shows up in a parish, whether in the leadership, families, or congregational culture; and how it can show up in the corporate culture of an ecclesiastical denomination, association or network. It arises from the "lack of capacity for self-awareness and self-evaluation, shunning humility for defensive self-protection" (15). Further, according to the author, a deep, underlying shame is the driving forc…