What if the Prosperity Gospel is a lie

Time ProsperityIf the Prosperity Gospel is true…

  • Then why was Jesus without a home
  • Then why did Paul rejoice in his suffering
  • Then why did Paul say “When I am weak, then He is strong.”

Is the Prosperity Gospel a lie? No. God desires our lives to be prosperous. But God’s definition of prosperity is different from the world’s. God desires prosperity of righteousness, of love, of joy in Him. Earthly possessions are temporary and of little consequence to our lives eternal.

So why spend so much time praying and asking for God to bless you with temporary things? Ask for God to bless you with eternal things.

I got an iPhone 5 for FREE! …and how you can too!

I am writing this article on the absolutely beautiful 4″ screen of a new iPhone 5, that I have owned for a week, and didn’t pay a dime for. (Okay, so maybe I only typed the first sentence actually on the iPhone, just so I could write that sentence.)

[tentblogger-youtube xNsGNlDb6xY]

Did you catch that first part? I got the phone for FREE, and no, I didn’t sweet talk a salesman into giving me a better price–I’m terrible at that stuff. Actually, my bank–the good people at ING Direct–paid for the phone. It’s a pretty sweet deal, and they’re offering the same deal to anyone that receives a pay cheque. Continue reading “I got an iPhone 5 for FREE! …and how you can too!”

From resolutions, to goals, to priorities… in 2012

It’s already the end of February, and I’m only now getting a chance to write a post reflecting on 2011, and looking ahead to 2012. Yes folks–this is a New Year’s resolution post, brought to you by Valentine’s Day, Family Day, and all of the other important days that have already come and gone in 2012.

Reflecting upon 2011, if I were to rate how well the year went based on how many of my planned goals were achieved, I would have to conclude it was a complete and utter failure. Take a look at what I set my sights on more than 12 months ago…

  1. Date my wife, weekly (FAIL — at least not intentionally)
  2. Read through the Bible (FAIL — thank you Youversion for the tools, but it didn’t work)
  3. Run a 5K marathon (PASS — no marathon, but I did go to Bootcamp for 3 months, and continued with P90X afterwards)
  4. Blog weekly (EPIC FAIL — no time)
  5. Read at least one book each month (FAIL — no time)
  6. Continue to progress EIP (FAIL — see reason in 4 & 5)
  7. Choose 2 or 3 people to meet & mentor with (PASS — I did meet & mentor with 3 people, some more than others. But it was a healthy attempt.)
  8. Choose to Save a Life, approach new people (FAIL — I did sign up to be a church greeter, but withdrew after deciding I would need to let something else go to take on more.)
  9. Pay off my student loan (EPIC PASS!!)

Paying off my student loan… when I was praying through this list last year, this is one I fully believe God put on my heart, as it certainly didn’t come out of my own ideas–it was impossible to do. And Julie and I were already aggressively paying down our debt. But I wrote it down anyways, trusting that God would provide if that’s what he wanted us to do.

Do All You Can Do

I’m a strong believer however in the need for a believer to do all that they can to achieve their God-given goals, and God will do His part. We can’t just sit on the sidelines and wait for the miracle to come. In doing all we can, we still need to guard ourselves from taking credit for the end result.

So I figured I needed to get a second job. We had no kids yet, so this was the time to do it. Thankfully God provided me with side project work at my primary workplace, rather than me having to serve up coffee at my local Tim Horton’s. Out of that project has come other opportunities for additional work that was unexpected. So I thank God for how He is blessing me beyond just paying off my student loan.

To be clear, we did not actually pay off my student loan by the end of 2011. However, after our anticipated tax return this year, the loan should be paid off and Julie and I will be… debt… FREE! Woot! That day can’t come fast enough.

Use Your Time Wisely

The downside to this last goal on the list is that it impacted every other goal I had for the year. Really this list is a guide for how I want to use my time in a day, outside of what I’m already obligated to do. Because I was doing extra work in my personal time, suddenly I did not have the time to put into the things I had planned to focus on.

Do I regret doing it? Are you kidding? Who wouldn’t want to be debt free? And we thank God for His timing, as we’re now expecting a child in July. What better time to get out of debt than when you have new expenses coming your way?

2012 Goals

  1. Be a good husband to my pregnant wife and soon to be mother
  2. Be a great father

I suppose what I call goals are now simply priorities.

Question: How are you planning to spend your time this year?

Resolving NOT to resolve in 2011

How many of you have already eaten that piece of chocolate and declared you would not begin your New Year’s Resolution until Monday?

I get the impression many in general have given up on New Year’s resolutions as we are finally realizing how horrible we are at fulfilling them, and how ineffective they often can be. Some ask the question, what is the significance of having a resolution or “starting fresh” just because the calendar changed to a new picture of your favourite orange tabby cat. (You have one hanging, don’t lie!)

Myself, I’ve chosen over the past few years to take the time at the beginning of the year to set Continue reading “Resolving NOT to resolve in 2011”

Permissible vs. Beneficial

“Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.” Your future is found in I Corinthians 10:23. It reveals two options: permissible or beneficial. And your destiny will be determined by which option you choose. Who we become is determined by whether we settle for what is permissible or strive for what is beneficial. It’s so tempting to live down to what is required. It’s so tempting to live in our comfort zone. It’s so tempting to take the path of least resistance, but the path of least resistance never takes you where you really want to go! What am I getting at? Well, are you setting for what is permissible? Or are you striving for what is beneficial? Are you giving God leftovers? Or are you seeking first the kingdom of God? Where are you compromising? Where have you become comfortable with what is permissible? Don’t let short-term comfort short-circuit God’s long-terms plans for your life. Spiritual short-cuts always turn into detours! Take the hard way. Take the high road. Strive for what is beneficial.

Taken from Evotional.com. http://evotional.com/2009/11/permissible-vs-beneficial.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+evotional+%28Evotional%29

Fearlessness

According to psychologists we’re only born with two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. That means that every other fear is learned. Which means that every other fear can be unlearned. Here’s a definition of faith: the process of unlearning ungodly fears.

The enemy is a fear monger. He wants to scare the heaven out of you. But I John 4:18 says: “Perfect love casts out all fear.” In other words, as we grow in a love relationship with God we unlearn our fears until the only fear we have is the only healthy and holy fear: the fear of God. And when you fear God you don’t have to fear anything else! Perfect love results in fearlessness.

I think there are moments in life when we have to make major decisions that will determine our destiny. And we will spend the rest of our lives managing those major decisions. And if you let fear dictate your decision you’ll end up with a ton of inaction regrets at the end of your life. Fear is a great friend, but it makes a terrible master! Don’t let fear dictate your decisions. You have to face your fears. And what you’ll find is this: the thing that scares you to death is very often the thing that brings you to life.

Here’s another lesson learned: few things are as liberating as what you fear actually happening. You realize that God is still there and life goes on.

Taken from Evotional.com

http://evotional.com/2009/10/fearlessness.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+evotional+%28Evotional%29

When the Bicycle Threatened the Church

In 1896, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church condemned bicycling on Sunday for enticing parishioners away from church and violating the Fourth Commandment:

The Sabbath, the Lord’s Day of rest for the body, and of worship for the soul, is especially threatened by many unscriptural innovations…Sunday bicycle pleasure riding…

Hard to imagine in our modern world isn’t it? I can’t remember the last time I heard someone describe the bicycle as such an amazing innovation that it puts the Sabbath in jeopardy :)

But to me, this passage isn’t just an interesting bit of history. It speaks volumes about how the Church reacts to innovation at times. Instead of embracing it and looking for ways to leverage it, we feel threatened.

Can you think of examples where today’s Church is reacting in a similar way?
Taken from Lifechurch.tv http://swerve.lifechurch.tv/2009/10/19/when-the-bicycle-threatened-the-church/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lcswerve+%28LifeChurch.tv+%3A+swerve%29

[Below from Bronze Medalists]

I read a fascinating psychological study a few years that involved Olympic medalists. It found that bronze medalists are quantitatively happier than silver medalists.

On one level that doesn’t make sense because the silver medalists beat the bronze medalists. It seems like silver medalists ought to be happier. But the difference maker was focus. The silver medalists tended to focus on the fact that they could have won a gold medal and it produced feelings of disappointment. The bronze medalists tended to focus on the fact they almost didn’t win any medal and it produced feelings of gratitude.

Your focus determines your reality.

[Below from Twas the Day Before Thanksgiving]

The Battersons have a family value: your focus determines your reality. We repeat that all the time around our house. And it’s true. If you focus on things that are right and pure and good and just, Ala Philippians 4:8, you move towards righteousness, purity, goodness, and justice. It’s as simple as that. If you lose your focus you lose your faith.

The thing I love about Thanksgiving is that it gets you focused on the things you’re grateful for. It cultivates an attitude of gratitude. And I will make you this promise: if you spend an hour counting your blessings you’re feel blessed. And the truth is, you are blessed. I don’t even need to know your circumstances. If you know Jesus Christ, you are blessed beyond anything this world has to offer.

Ritual Series

We continue the ritual series this weekend. The heart of the series? Make sure sacred rituals don’t become empty rituals. We’ve talked about sabbath, communion, tithing, baptism, and confession. We continue this weekend with worship. (Idea from Mark Batterson)