At the Evolve Conference last week, Bil Cornelius had a great opening line in his breakout session. He said that when you get criticism for your preaching style, keep at it, it means you've found your unique voice. If you face push back on a theme it means you've found your prophetic voice.
As a side note, "prophecy" means to "speak the truth." It may have a connection with the future, but it's ultimately about proclaiming what it means to live by God's truth.
There are two things that burn on my heart - financial and sexual health. To express it negatively, I see two sins that are destroying God's people - debt and porn. Both of which are everywhere in our culture! We're constantly bombarded with the temptation to "buy now, pay later." And it's killing us.
I heard a sound bite from a conservative talk show host today declare (although I'll admit he enjoys making extreme comments) "Pornography is everywhere. It's our countries new 'apple pie.'" I'll admit, I'm a guy, I'm tempted to look at naked women, which makes pornography a constant temptation. Which is exactly why I have this software on my computer (a pastor friend in town has the same program and we're accountability partners). But I know that to 'deny' myself what the culture is constantly telling me to consume, will deepen my relationship with God and cause my love life with my sweet wife to sizzle.
This is why we've talked about pornography several times at our church, even hosting Porn Sunday last fall and mailing out thousands of invitations to the community. This is also why I keep promoting the men's accountability group lead by Areon Kelvington.
I've noticed, though that I don't get much push back from people when I speak on issues of sexuality. Part of it may be that we still don't want to talk much about our dirty little secret, to challenge me on this would be to admit our problem. And even if a person is deep into a porn addiction or infidelity, they will usually admit it's wrong.
Now, it's been a different story in regards to money! I've gotten some serious push back from a small but very vocal group when I talk about money. I've been told things like, "you're beating a dead horse" and "churches have no right to talk about money." But I really can't stop, because God has lit a fire in my heart, a burning passion to see us resist our consumerist culture and to become Christ-honoring, generous people!
I did talk about money some again on Sunday. The passage dictated that I had to discuss it. And I'm thinking that as I preach through Matthew this year, the subject will come up again. In fact, if I preached about money as often as Jesus did, I'd be be talking about it once a month! Whew, yet one more reason it's good to be the created and not the Creator.
After church, I heard a few comments (from a new person) along the lines of, "I'm ready to start giving of my money to God"! and "I'm going to give the child credit to TF Kidz." I can't tell you how that fires me up!!! It means a person is giving their lives to Jesus! We have not been fully converted until Jesus has sole check-writing privileges on our account!
Okay, so I feel called by God to take on the idols of debt (consumerism, etc.) and porn. Let me give you some tools for your own spiritual development.
xxxchurch x3watch pure online
Dave Ramsey child sponsorship Abundant Living
Help for Christians with a debt addiction
The best sermon I've ever heard on money! Link Look for "Worship the baby, resist the empire"
A great article by Joe Kumor! Joe, thanks for much for your honesty (both ways). Joe's post is what got me going today.
Pastor Perry Nobles insights on money, his top 7 financial mistakes part 1 and part 2
In a nutshell, here's what I believe about money.
1) It's not ours to begin with! Everything we have is a gift from God. The question isn't "how much do I give away?" but "how much should I keep?"
1) Scripture calls all Christians to give their first 10% to the local church to empower the church to be the body of Christ in the world. This is called the tithe.
2) We don't stop with the tithe! When we begin the discipline of tithing we begin to realize how many other ways we can give away our money.
3) We can all get there! Just like any other sin, there are consequences we need to work through (paying off debt, etc.) but we can begin honoring God with our money right now!
4) God's math is different that ours. I've seen this over and over and over in people's lives. When they give to God first, their money ends up going further. I don't know how to explain it and I don't mean God redeposits the money into our account. But I know 90% when we've put God first ends up going further than 100% with us in control. Some of that may be 'miraculous' but it's also the discipline of knowing where your money is going.
As we read in Sunday's passage, let's worship Jesus with ALL OUR LIVES!!!
Now, I need to get to ready to teach the FPU class this evening. I LOVE teaching this class!