Be Careful Little Hands What You Do...  

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"Look at me! Do you notice how much time I spend volunteering and how much I give to charities?"

Giving for the sake of attention is what Jesus was addressing in Matthew 6:1 when He warned about one's acts of righteousness (or alms giving) being done in the wrong manner. Nothing wrong with giving or not, but giving for the sake of attention is always wrong.

Why does it seem that people who do have places named for them - arenas, buildings, other venues - are given such utmost recognition? Are they not people too? Just because they (or their company) donate millions of dollars, shouldn't they be treated like the rest of the patrons when they enter in to the facility?

Some people are really blessed financially and can do a lot to help others' out with their money. They can do great things to benefit others. Recently, in our town, a family gave $25,000 toward a project and challenged the community to match another $25,000. I thought to myself (and shared with others) it would be nice to give $50,000 toward a project and not miss it!

As we examine what and why we do things, when it comes to giving of ourselves or our money, here are some applications to choose from to use this week...
  • Examine Yourself ~ Look at the reason why you are giving - is it for the cause, for your reputation, for your tax write-off, etc.? Also, how are you giving? There is nothing wrong with being given recognition, but seeking recognition is what I see Jesus saying is a "no-no."
  • Giving for Giving-Sake ~ Wherever you are and wherever you've been in life, you have probably known of things that "get done" that you do not have a clue how. The person or people that do this task just do it "because." Even if you did know who they were, they probably didn't want recognition for it. May we give of ourselves (in whatever means that is) to a situation simply because we want to.
  • Reflect Him (not you) ~ As a Christian, all actions will reflect Jesus. Our job is to reflect Him in a positive and attractive light. When we give, may it be to reflect Him and what He has brought to our lives, not our own abilities or us at all.

Jesus challenges the ego in all of us by telling us that we should be careful what we do and how we go about doing it. Let us not be showy but reflective of where the money or abilities originated.

Be careful little hands what you do...
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How Much Can You See?  

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How far can you see?

If you were to look out into an open field, how far could you see? If you were to look at the same field with binoculars, how far could you see? If you could look out with a telescope, how far could you see?

These instruments do allow us to see farther, and in some ways more. However, our sight is really dependent on us allowing ourselves to see what we see.

When I want my son to look at me when I am trying to explain something, he occasionally will close his eyes. Why? Because he doesn't want to see. If I were to put binoculars up to his eyes at that particular moment when he closes his eyes it would not help him see any more. He has chosen to keep the eyes closed. His vision is impaired due to his own choosing and it will not improve with any type of vision "enhancer" like binoculars or a telescope. That idea brings us to this week's quote...

Your vision is only as powerful as your commitment to pursue it! ~ Unknown

To see what you want in life is your choice. Some may throw the idea of “circumstances” into the equation, but even with circumstances, what you see is up to you.

Maybe you want to be a doctor, but you are in a situation where you cannot make it in to medical school. What can you see, regardless, that helps you get closer to that vision?

Most will stop at the dead end. However, see something else in the situation. The wall is only in front of you. What opportunities are you not seeing that is to the left, right, around the corner, or over the top?

The wall is like an eyelid that comes down to reduce the vision. If you were to look at that wall with binoculars, you wouldn’t see much. However, think about what you can still can see and pursue that.

May we go beyond what we can see and still pursue our vision! Share/Bookmark

Purpose: Even as a Brick  

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A few years ago a book came out called "Purpose Driven Life" that swept the nation. It may still be very popular among people. I have read the book and taught the material a couple of times. It is a good book.

Part of the point of the book lies in the title - purpose. Trying to find a purpose in your life. Being a person without purpose is like a ship without a rudder. You really have no steering mechanism to take you to a particular spot. You go on with life but that is really all you're doing...just going.

Sunday, we looked at this idea of purpose. Not from the book I previously mentioned, but just thinking about our, individual purposes. Even within that, it wasn't nailed down what your purpose was versus the person sitting near you, but just the fact that you have purpose.

We focused on a brick. Some feel a brick, by itself, would not hold much of a purpose, but we focused on togetherness and working together for a greater purpose. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week...

    Being Involved ~ I just saw a portion of one of my kids' cartoons the other day where one of the characters wanted to complete a task by themselves. They were allowed, but part way into the project, the character came into some trouble. They needed help. Much like you and I, we need others to help us get through life and any "trouble" we may fall in. Being involved will help us get to know people and them us, so we can be a great force for Him.
    Reduce the Load ~ As Jesus tells us to "go out" to the ends of the earth, when we are committed to the cause and each other it will reduce the weight of the responsibility and allow us to be more productive in the meantime.
    What a Structure ~ When you look at a pile of bricks, they aren't that impressive. But when you look at a structure - building, road, wall - it can be very humbling. When you work together with your fellow believers, it can create something that is really awesome! Work together and see what awesome structure you can create!
    Teamwork ~ Most of you have heard the phrase "there's no "I" in team." We must keep in mind that we work together as an individual to make the team that much stronger. There is power in every person that is involved.

Maybe there are days that you feel like a "brick." Small, insignificant bricks will turn around in a brief second to make something incredible. What will you create or team up with someone else to demonstrate your purpose(s)?Share/Bookmark

Tell 'Em "Good Job!"  

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Teachers are usually one of the best at making kids feel important. That child-aimed praise is needed for kids in their development. For some unfortunate kids, they will not receive the needed praise at home - maybe even none.
In addition, peers can be very mean so an acknowledgment of praise is needed to counter the negative messages from the schoolyard. We have all been there to one extent or another.
Also, society can bring about negative messages, so we need to hear some positive, encouraging messages from time to time. That brings us to this week's quote...
No matter how small, acknowledge the achievement. ~ Greg Henry Quinn
One of my personal ministries has evolved into encouragement. I wouldn't have dreamed that I could have been one to have that desire if you asked me years before this, as a youth. I can remember, even as a young adult, having a difficult time saying "good job" to someone and it being genuine. That was all before ministry.
Ministry and becoming a minister changed a lot of perspectives. I saw how many people need encouragement and acknowledgment for their achievements. I learned how you cannot be "over encouraged."
The question is, whose achievement do you need to acknowledge? If you can't think of any, just keep it tucked away for the next time.
Thanks for all you do, in whatever capacity!
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Continue On  

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Graduation - such an exciting time of year! One has completed the necessary amount of requirements to receive the desired diploma!

As my family attended the ceremonies yesterday, I couldn't help but think about the time when my children will graduate. Bittersweet will be what I will pre-label it. Even when I was giving my graduation sermon yesterday, I couldn't help but think how hard it will be to preach the weekend my children graduate.

Sunday, we were given the charge to all remember to "continue on with what you've learned and been convinced of," from II Timothy 3:14-15. It was kind of a "mortaring" sermon, in that it is a sermon to just add a little to your foundation of faith. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week.

1. It is fascinating to think that scripture is "God-breathed." To think that all these words were told to these men by God. I envy their ability to be able to have that connection with God...don't you!? However, we forget that we have that a connection with God too, as the Holy Spirit is right here with us at all times. It is an amazing gift - the same Spirit who ascended like a dove, lives inside us! WOW! Praise God today for that gift!

2. I would guess that one universal thing that all receiving this can relate to is dieting. You know what it means to try to resist eating certain foods. Fleeing things that our "individual" flesh finds appealing can be difficult. However, Paul tells Timothy to flee the "youthful passions." Today and/or this week, keep in mind things that are appealing to your "individual" flesh, that is or has potential to be sinful - gossip, imagery, language, television, internet, etc. - and flee from them - followed by a prayer (either for forgiveness of being involved too long or thanksgiving for allowing for the escape).

3. When something is important to you, you will do all you can to make sure that it doesn't leave your possession (even if it is packed away). You may have many Bibles (I just counted 15 that I have in my office), though we have one or more, we must keep in mind the words that are in them and how they provide victory to our lives. Don't ever lose faith in the usefulness of the words in your Bible.

May the things that you learn, from both the spiritual and secular aspect, be building blocks to make you a better servant and disciple of His in the future...Continue On!
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Don't Be Another Member of Society  

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People are all around us. Most go about their daily lives simply “going.” They go to work, go home, go to activities, go to school, go to eat – just going.

We are a people that is on the go a lot. Even in my rural community, people seem to be on the go much of the time – kids events, meetings, etc.

Is any of that really getting you where you want to be for yourself? Sure, parents love to see their kids be involved and excel in events, but what about the parent? Should it be nearly 100% sacrifice because you have kids at home?

I think there is all kinds of talent and passion in society that is left to just fizzle out. That brings us to this week’s quote..

Don't be just another member of society, be a living example of your dreams and goals. ~ Author Unknown
Some people give up before they even try to do something with their life. They just remain being “members of society” all their life.

I can only imagine how communities can be changed through people putting to work their passions and talents. That is one thing I enjoy doing is being able to put in my talents, skills, and passions in societal opportunities. That helps me live out a portion of my dreams and goals!

May you be inspired to do the same!
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Need Encouragment...weekly?  

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Don't Be Another Member of Society  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

People are all around us. Most go about their daily lives simply “going.” They go to work, go home, go to activities, go to school, go to eat – just going.
We are a people that is on the go a lot. Even in my rural community, people seem to be on the go much of the time – kids events, meetings, etc.
Is any of that really getting you where you want to be for yourself? Sure, parents love to see their kids be involved and excel in events, but what about the parent? Should it be nearly 100% sacrifice because you have kids at home?
I think there is all kinds of talent and passion in society that is left to just fizzle out. That brings us to this week’s quote..
Don't be just another member of society, be a living example of your dreams and goals. ~ Author Unknown
Some people give up before they even try to do something with their life. They just remain being “members of society” all their life.
I can only imagine how communities can be changed through people putting to work their passions and talents. That is one thing I enjoy doing is being able to put in my talents, skills, and passions in societal opportunities. That helps me live out a portion of my dreams and goals!
May you be inspired to do the same!
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A Mom's Worth  

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What is your mom worth to you? Depending on your age and gender will determine your thoughts. I speak from a personal view that I have gone through stages in life and being a male, where I viewed my mom as a worth that was less than deserved.

In my lesson I put together some figures that a mom was worth over $155,000 per year, for a stay-at-home mom. For a working mom, the figures were an additional $90,000 over what they make working outside the home.

Sunday, we looked at Proverbs 31 and focused on verse 31 that reads, “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (ESV). The woman described in these twenty-two verses is a magnificent woman and it ends by letting the reader knows she deserves her worth. Here are some applications to choose to use this week…

  • Appreciate ~ If you are having a difficult time coming up with what you appreciate about your mom, just sit down and think for a bit. It probably won’t take you too long to think of a few.

  • Extend the Day ~ I was looking for card for my wife the other day and I noticed some other cards that I wished I would have come across to send to my mom. The challenge is to take advantage of those times, whether they are “Mother’s Day” cards or not, and send/give additional cards in the future.

  • Feeling Special ~ Take times to let mom know you love her, care about her, and she is worth everything you could give her.

Mother’s Day…a great day to let mom know how much she’s worth! Let her know regardless of the day on the calendar!Share/Bookmark

Turn Your Head  

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It is easy to focus on issues that are negative. They sometimes seem like they loom, when they may really be a brief part of our lives. 

Take for instance, losing sleep when you have a newborn. A mom (and sometimes a father) can become exhausted when there are several nights that a child doesn’t sleep well or maybe the child has a condition in which the parents “cannot sleep” due to anxiousness.

That is just one of millions of possibilities in which a person may have a difficult time seeing the bright side or blessed side of life because they are focused on the dark side of life. That brings us to this week’s quote…

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.  ~ Maori proverb
A couple of weekends ago, I was mentally struggling with something and I was concerned it would affect my delivery. I was fortunate to not only give this to God in a prayer, but I didn’t hold on to it secretively – like we all have probably done before with our problems.

It was such a relief! It caused me to concentrate on what I needed to concentrate on and enjoy it, rather than be a bit miserable by thinking about something I really couldn’t control.
This situation was a recent example in which I enjoyed turning my face toward the sun and letting the shadow(s) remain behind me!Share/Bookmark

Mayday, Mayday!  

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It has been nearly ten years since the 9/11 attacks. The attacks used airplanes loaded with innocent people as “living missiles.” People were probably doing a lot of screaming as planes were headed downward or into one of the buildings, or as they were impacted by the planes hitting different buildings.

“Mayday” comes from a French word m’aider, which means “come help me.” Whether it was 9/11, the Titanic, earthquakes, tsunamis, or countless other emergency situations, people are needing help.

One of the cool mysteries of the Bible is the lineage or genealogy of Jesus. From Adam and Eve, clear through Joseph and Mary, Jesus’ lineage has been filled with some interesting characters. Also intertwined in this lineage are situations that, to you and me, almost caused Jesus to not happen, but God prevails through any situation.

Sunday, we looked at this “emergency” side of the lineage of Jesus – times when Jesus was in trouble, in one form or another. However, though it all, God prevailed. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week… (to review the texts/subjects covered, click here to listen/watch the recap)

  • Out of Control Life, In Control God ~ Within the texts, we see situations like Cain killing Abel or Hezekiah getting sick or Jesus so hungry He needs bread. There are situations in our life that makes it seem like things are just totally out of control. However, even in the midst of any chaos, God is always in control – not only in the lives of “Bible” people, but in ours as well.
  • Tempted? Resist! ~ I cannot imagine what hunger Jesus must have felt after being in the desert for 40 days! It would have been real tempting to fall into that first temptation. I think we all have been in a situation where you feel you can eat about anything due to hunger. Jesus was probably there. He resisted, so can we…let’s do it – even if it seems life is going down in a hurry.
  • Do Something With Your Salvation ~ If there was no Jesus (Click here to watch Acappella’s song on YouTube of “If There Were No God”) then we’d be without a future, without hope, without eternal joy…just plain WITHOUT! Since there is a God and His Son, let’s do something with our salvation by bringing a light to someone’s day. Use your talents to make someone see your faith!

Can you hear it??? People hollering out as their life is going down…Mayday, Mayday! aka come help me!!!  Let’s go and help them!!!

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