How can I lay my own fears, desires and ego at the feet of Christ so that I can completely embrace what God wants to do in and through my life?
I know that I risk, with this post, the destruction of all that is good about the internet. I accept that but feel I need to set something straight.
I love bacon. I know this is no surprise to, well, anyone. I have somehow become the “bacon guy.” I have people emailing me pictures of things they cook that have bacon in them. Every time it makes me laugh at the insanity that is the internet. And I’m honored to be the bacon guy. Really, I am. But I don’t just want to be a pretender to the bacon guy throne. So I feel I have to be honest.
I actually like cheese better than bacon.
Ok. If you can read this part, I guess the world has not imploded. Which also means I’m less important in the grand scheme of things than I had hoped, but I’ll address that later. So yeah, there it is. I love cheese. Not just any cheese, mind you. I like most, but I really love a good gouda. This doesn’t in any way diminish my love of bacon. It’s just that when faced with that age-old “if you could only have one thing on a desert island” question, I’d have to go cheese. Of course, types of cheese and crispiness of bacon have to be taken into account, but still, it’s probably going to be cheese.
Sorry if this wrecks your Friday. Feel free to now think of me as both your bacon and cheese guy. Hope that helps.
It proves that if you have the creative mindset, it extends to every aspect of your business. My favorite part was not just comparing the aesthetics of the sites, but also the urls. Tell me Apple doesn’t think these things through better than the rest of the industry. I think it’s part of the reason behind their astounding growth. They think through even the little things.
It started at six this morning.
Got a phone call and decided I might not enjoy the wedding business as much as I thought.
Tried to finish the day without yelling at my kids. Failed.
Sat down to write on the blog and realized I was too tired to really put coherent words down in an interesting way.
Just a long, long day.
I see more and more churches with the slogan “no perfect people allowed.” But I have to ask, if that is the slogan, why do we still show up to church and pretend to be perfect?
Seeing that today has no major deadlines, I decided to come up with a plan to have a great and productive day.
7:00AM – Wake up
7:30AM – Go walking with Audrey
8:30AM – Eat breakfast and take a shower
9:00AM – Begin a very productive work day
7:00AM – Alarm goes off
7:01AM – Turn alarm off
7:30AM – Zzzzzzzzzz
8:30AM – Zzzzzzzzzz
9:30AM – “Crap, I slept in.”
10:00AM – Begin a somewhat less productive work day
Two weekends ago we spent a few days with my parents at the lake. For my two younger ones it was really the first time they have been able to go fishing.
They were more patient and excited about fishing than by brother and I ever were. We fished for about five hours and it wasn’t until the very end that Cody began to get tired and impatient. They won’t stop asking me when we are going back.
Out of that five hours, I probably spent about two of it fishing myself. The rest was pulling fish off hooks, putting worms on hooks, tying on new hooks and generally doing everything except fishing. I have a new respect for my dad and what he had to go through when we were kids on the lake.
I’m not sure what the best part of the weekend was. It might have been watching my children beam with pride and joy as they pulled those perch out of the water. But it just might have been working along side my dad to enable all that joy to take place.
And yes, that tiny little fish in Cody’s picture was one he caught, not the bait. Watching him reel that in was so much fun.
God plans that there be a long history of redemption and a long battle in every individual’s life, because in that battle certain elements of his glory, patience, wisdom, love, kindness, wrath, and justice are displayed in ways they would not be displayed if he redeemed things instantaneously. — John Piper
I’ve been asked before, “If God is really sovereign over all and controls everything, why put us through all this? Why not just stop sin from ever happening and let us all be happy in Heaven?” I think the quote above is a good answer for that.
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” — Hebrews 13:20-21
Verse 21 above is a great look at what God equips us to do in the Christian life. The one thing that really jumped out at me was what wasn’t in there. It said absolutely nothing about our circumstances. We are equipped to do God’s will no matter our circumstances. Rich, poor, healthy, sick, stressed, calm, worried, happy. None of that figures into the equation. It’s entirely about doing His will for His glory. And in that we will find the joy and peace we seek but don’t find anywhere else.
Irony is feeling inspired all week to write about giving Biblically then receiving my six-month giving statement only to find out I’ve given a fraction this year of what I gave last year. Knowing how things should work and living them out are two very different things.
Also I think it proves God has a great sense of humor. “Hey Chad, write about giving for a week, oh and, by the way, look at this!”
I promised yesterday was my last post on giving for the week, but I was wrong. Through this week, I’ve been looking at the places I have given or want to give. As I assembled this list, I realized all of my giving is in some way related to the church. And there are thousands of great organizations out there doing amazing work for God by giving directly to impoverished nations. I’m thinking of organizations who’s entire goal is to go to Africa and dig clean water wells.
But none of those appear on my list. I think we are all called differently and my heart just beats for the church. Ideally, churches will partner with these organizations to do some amazing good around the world. And so far in my life I’ve given to church-based organizations who do amazing work that I feel the need to support. Everyone’s list looks very different. These are mine.
As my home church, I feel called to give. This is where we live, work and serve. This is our community. Most of our giving ends up here.
Desiring God provides a mind-boggling amount of resources for people and churches. I listen to and watch unreal amounts of their content every month. I’m happy to give so they can continue to spread God’s word.
The Village Church
If we lived in or near the DFW area, this would be our church. God has used The Village’s pastor, Matt Chandler, to impact my walk with God more than anyone else in my life ever has. And he’s done every bit of that through just listening to their online sermons every week. This is just a personal calling I feel to give to this church and God’s work there.
Acts 29 Network
The Acts 29 Network is a church-planting organization that is hard at work raising up a huge number of new church plants. They are striving to reach folks who have never been reached by existing churches and I think that’s a work worthy of supporting.
So all this talk of giving this week leads me to one final point. How do I typically mess up the idea of giving? I know I do it and I think, if we’re honest, a lot of other people do too.
I focus on the giving and what I’m doing with it and whether I can afford it or not. But, like many, I have taken what the Bible says about giving and made it entirely about checking an item off a list. I’ve fallen into a works-based system that has nothing to do with what Jesus is trying to accomplish through the gospel.
The truth is he’s after my heart, not my money. Instead of seeing that, I check off my giving 10% and then assume I can do whatever I want with the other 90%. Living life for him means everything. Instead of seeking the heart and glory of God, I try to make sure the checklist is complete so I can do what I want. In that line of thinking, I’m missing the point and stealing glory from God, which, in my experience, is not the best thing to do.
I asked a question on Twitter about what motivates everyone’s giving to the church and how do they do it? A friend replied, “Why do we tithe to the ‘church?’ It mostly goes to the building. Why not give your money to people that really need it?”
Honestly that’s a great question. I think there is something the church can learn from this and something we, as givers, can learn.
First, the church. Pastors, when people look at your church do they see God moving? Do they see God creating people that are focused on loving him for his mercy and grace? People that do that will help change the world around them. So if people look and don’t find this to be the case, why would they give? It’s a hard question to answer if we are honest. We should search God’s face and beg him to be merciful to us that people would see his mighty work in our church. Money drives a lot in this world, but there is no reason we cannot be raising up theologically rich lovers of God even with very few funds.
Now to the giver. I’ve been on the ministry side of things for the better part of 15 years. If mighty things aren’t happening in the church, it could be the leadership. Or, just as easily, it could be the people. No ministry hopes that God won’t do mighty things. In fact, most ministries struggle monetarily because their people refuse to let God lead their lives in every way. If you don’t feel your church is worthy to receive part of what God has given to you, why is that? Is there anything you can do to help fix that. As a part of a church, it is just as much the member’s job to work and fix things as it is the leadership’s. I believe in helping the poor on an individual basis, apart from the church. The problem is if we never give to the church, it’s very easy to become a congregation of consumers. If we don’t give either time or money to the church, it’s very easy to just walk in to the church every week and say “ok, what do you have for me now?” That attitude is what is wrong with most of the Evangelical world right now in my opinion. If every dime of the offering is going to the building, is it because the church is in a building they can’t really afford or because the people aren’t giving to enable the church to do things outside of just pay rent? Where is your place in God’s plan for your church? Is it to just come and consume week after week without giving anything?
Ideally a Christian will give to the church and God will use that to multiply the church, to save people and to spread his word. The church is referred to as the “Bride of Christ” in the scriptures. There is love for the church on God’s part and it is his appointed tool to help spread the Gospel on Earth. Apart from that, the Christian will also be obedient and helping everyone God tells them to. The relationship between a Christian and the church should be a partnership. We should work together as God calls us to reach the world. If it truly is all God’s money anyway, we should freely give anywhere God calls us. In my own giving I’ve just never hit a place where I felt like God wanted me to avoid giving to a church. I try to do both, give to churches and individuals, as best I can.
I enjoy giving and doing for others. That never seems to burn in me deeper than when I don’t really have anything to give. When money is tight and giving isn’t possible I want to give. Well, let’s be honest here, the giving is possible but it requires more faith than I seem to be able to walk in.
But then when a blessing comes and we have extra money, rarely does my mind turn to giving. When we are blessed, my mind turns to two things which prevent me from giving.
The first is fear. I don’t know the future, so I focus on the fact that I don’t have a enough money to live out my life comfortably and I never know when the next blessing will come along. I’m not saying give everything away blindly. It is still smart to save and put away for the future. But, on the other side of that coin, if God calls you to give to something or someone, do it. Be obedient. We need to do everything with an eye towards what God wants, both in our saving and our giving.
The second thing my mind turns to that prevents me from giving is things I want. This is absolute lunacy considering all the things I’ve acquired up to this point have provided me with no peace and no lasting joy. What makes me think that the next man-made product to be produced will provide those things for me? It’s the definition of insanity.
In the end, what I give to others is entirely about my relationship with God. It is about his chasing after me and my chasing after him. And I hope in the future I can listen more closely to him instead of focusing on things I fear and things I want.
So I’m 30 now. As of Monday, I guess it’s official. Honestly it feels a lot like 29.
Leading up to 30, I’ve had a lot of anxiety. It’s not because I, in any way, fear being older. In fact I relish the idea. My anxiety stemmed from my fear that by not accomplishing any of my big goals by 30, I’m walking in a lot of failure. My focus on those failures, some of which are real and some of which are probably just in my head, was really just a point of self reflection. Where am I at? Where am I going? I think it’s good to examine those things and birthdays just happen to be a good place to do it.
So now I’m 30 and my triumphs and failures look exactly like they did last year. I still wake up and try to do the best I can. I still screw up a lot. Through the grace of God, I sometimes get it right.