Thursday, October 25, 2007


For those who are into this nightmare called Facebook...

Too funny not to watch....

BTW...did you know that all pictures that you post on Facebook is now their property?

Friday, October 19, 2007


So, after reading many of the responses regarding the post called 'Controversy,' I thought that I would add some thoughts regarding giving to the church. I haven’t talked much on money, but let’s face it…generates discussion. I have been enjoying the last few sessions and the comments that have been posted, and I do apologize for having to moderate your comments, but for the most part almost all comments have been allowed through and I will continue to do my part in allowing even those that seems silly...but add a sense of fun to this blog.

So, on this post I want to throw some ideas out there and would love to hear your thoughts on the matter of giving to the church.

Randy Alcorn in his book the Treasure Principle says:
“You can't take it with you – but you can send it on ahead.”

With that in mind, here are four guidelines that someone has shared with me regarding giving to the church.

First, we need to Pay God (I could talk about tithing here but for the sake of arguing needlessly, I will leave it open).

2 Corinthians 8:7
But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

Then we need to Pay Yourself

Proverbs 6:6-8
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

Thirdly, Pay Your Debts

Romans 13:8
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

Finally, Live Within a Budget

Luke 14:28
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?

With all those in mind there are some things that we can take for granted or that are underlying assumptions when it comes to money. They are:

GOD owns everything, and I am His money manager. In other words we are the managers of the assets GOD has entrusted, not given, to us.

My hearts always goes where I put GOD’s money. Watch what happens when you reallocate your money from temporal things to eternal things.

Giving is the only antidote to materialism. Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. It dethrones me and exalts GOD.

GOD prospers me not to raise my stand of living, but to raise my standard of giving. In other words GOD gives us more money that we need so we can give generously.

Some ideas, some thoughts?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee

Guess what I have noticed??? Starbucks is popping up all over the city.

(This post is about an observation and not a plug for a company. Remember that when you comment.)

For some, Starbucks is all about the experience, I like to think it is about the coffee, either way it is still a relaxing place over a good beverage. Starbucks has a huge vision. It started with about 100 stores some 15 years ago to an institution that finds itself in over 37 countries with thousands of stores. The company now opens more than 2,000 coffeehouses per year, an average of six new stores a day. Starbucks goal is to have 40,000 stores worldwide. WOW.

I hang with some people who have a problem with big churches, and big business and what I find is that these same people complain about and try to discredit the ministry of churches and business’ that are approaching huge numbers. Why?

With Starbucks they are trying to sell more coffee, creating more experiences. So is the church thinking too small? Don’t get me wrong, I like small but I also like big…is there a problem with that? Can’t we have both? Can we not continually grow smaller? It has a double ring to it….(not a double/double :) )

Do you know that Starbucks carefully determines where each store is located as a matter of fact every detail is calculated. So, Starbucks is very deliberate in its ‘evangelism’ while the church appears to be passive or scared in our approach to spreading the Gospel. Why? Is it possible that the church is trying to put GOD in a box by limiting how he chooses to reach people? Or is it because we are afraid of taking a hit from others who think that they know the only expression of the church is small? How is the church doing at creating an atmosphere?

Even the concept of a “third place” is becoming a big topic of discussion with some of my friends. The alternative to a church, yet, in some respects, still a church. This ‘third place’ is popular even for Starbucks, but it uses the coffee product as glue that draws people. Starbucks is a community…they even know my name…and they feel free to suggest different drinks for me.
What about the church…why is it that many are so focused on arguing about issues as opposed to being in individual’s lives talking and walking and listening and suggesting a good cup of coffee? GOD uses a variety of different approaches to get people's attention and transform lives. I don't think GOD's done with us yet and, I don't think he's done redeeming people's lives, but are we limiting GOD in what he can do? Is a coffee store doing a better job than the church?

And for those who are not into Starbucks…check out this site….

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


The following is a piece that was sent to me from someone in our community....
Read it and tell me what you think!
Over the past 20 centuries, the church has made many changes in terms of what is acceptable practice and what is not. This is not new. Imagine families living in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. It is Saturday morning, the Sabbath, and they are getting ready to go to the Synagogue. They choose the closest Synagogue – any further than ½ km, and the walk would violate the law of how far they can walk on the Sabbath. They arrive and the men sit in the front, while the women and children sit in the back, behind a veil. This is the “law” you see. When they arrive home, they will have the cold lunch that was prepared the day before. They are not allowed to work on the Sabbath so cooking is out of the question. In fact, they are not even allowed to clean up the lunch dishes – they will have to wait until tomorrow. .

Jesus stepped into such a time and basically said to the teachers of the law “you people are so stupid”. “Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man (Luke 2:27).” God had given a simple command so that the people would enjoy the gift of the Sabbath and use it to focus their hearts on him. The leaders decided to “clarify” God’s commandment, because of course, they could say it much clearer than God, and so added several dozen regulations for the Sabbath. These regulations turned the Sabbath into a burden rather than a gift.

By the time Jesus was crucified, he had broken almost every “taboo” imposed by the religious establishment. He spoke to women, he ate with sinners, he worked on the Sabbath.

Imagine two of these families, two years later. The Jones’ are now gathering with a group of new believers called Christians. They have just had a baby boy and pass the Smiths who are on their way home from Synagogue. They invite the Smiths to the dedication. When Mrs. Smith gets home, this is what she says to her husband.

“Can you believe it? She is in the market, shopping on the Sabbath!! I can’t believe they have the gall to think they can just up and change the Sabbath day. The Torah clearly states that the seventh day is to be holy, not the first! They are in conflict with the word of God. Not only that, they are not circumcising their boy – they claim it is no longer necessary! AND, they have invited Gentiles into their home for the ceremony and to top it all off – she’s serving ham!! I don’t know what has gotten into that family, but they are not obeying the scriptures.”

Throughout time, change has come hard for the church. Learning to let go of legalism and yet remain holy is not a simple task. There are always those who will find a verse or two of scripture to bolster their list of do’s and don’ts. Jesus, however, summed it all up in two simple phrases: love God and love people.

Two generations ago, had you walked into a typical Mennonite church, there would have been no instruments during worship. They felt that the music would draw the listeners’ attention away from the lyrics and from worshipping God. When the organ first made its debut, many people were adamant that this was the downfall of the church. With each generation of musical change, we have gone through this transition all over again.

Only one generation ago, the church taught from the pulpit that pool halls, bowling alleys and movie houses were sinful. Today, we have youth events in the pool hall, Bingo Bowls for the adults, and we bring clips of the movies into our Sunday morning gatherings as a tool to reach the people. What is happening? Is the church really getting farther and farther away from God? Or are we untying the bonds of legalism and getting to the heart of the matter? Paul states “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (1Cor 9:22)

There are those in the church today who believe that to hold a raffle is a sin because it’s gambling. Interestingly, the word “gamble” never appears in Scripture. While some are quick to quote Matthew or Mark where Jesus drives out the money changers in the temple at the Passover, this passage has nothing to do with gambling. Jesus is judging people’s hearts and motives far more than their actions. The people were supposed to bring the unblemished firstborns from their own herds, not purchase whatever happened to be available at the market. The people selling in the temple were just as guilty as the buyers – in essence, they were selling and buying a lie, and bringing their second best to God.

Why is gambling a problem? True gambling is about far more than a simple raffle. Gambling is a mindset, and a way of life. You don’t need to buy a ticket to gamble – you can bet on the football game, on the date the neighbor’s baby will be born, or on what the weather will be like tomorrow. You could even wager money on how many people this blog will offend. The real problem is when gambling places your hope and reliance on chance instead of on God. It is taking the money you need to pay your bills and feed your family and throwing it away for no purpose whatsoever, except for the slight chance to win it back with interest. It says “if I could just win the lottery, all my problems would be solved”, or “if I stay in the game just a bit longer, I might win back all I’ve lost”. It is a similar scenario to alcohol. A drink with dinner is not a sin, but if alcohol takes over your life and you rely on it instead of God, you are indeed sinning.

A simple raffle ticket asks people to give from their excess, it does not ask them to give large sums of money with the hope that they will get a large windfall to solve their problems. When selling a raffle ticket, the first question asked by over 90% of individuals is “Who are you raising money for?” People would not buy a ticket if I said I was raising money to go to Hawaii for Christmas. When the cause is good, people donate the money, and are not concerned whether or not they actually win the prize. Why not just simply ask for the money then? Unfortunately, while selling a ticket is acceptable to the public, when the church asks for money outright, it perpetuates a very negative stereotype. Our raffle highlighted Soul Sanctuary to many in the community who did not know we existed. I expect to see growth from these contacts.

Galatians 5:1-15 talks about the freedom we have in Christ. There may be those of you who can understand in your minds that opposing a raffle is legalistic, but in your heart, you still feel checked by the Holy Spirit. I can respect that. If the Spirit says to your conscience that drinking is wrong, then for you, it is wrong. Perhaps God knows that you have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism and He has a very good reason why he doesn’t want you to drink. If the Holy Spirit checks you about buying a raffle ticket, then you shouldn’t purchase one – He has His reasons; however, if others can purchase the same ticket with a clear conscience and an attitude of giving freely, then they should also be allowed to do so without being condemned.