Wealth or Lifestyle

Wealth is a goal many people want to achieve, yet it is elusive to most. For some, wealth signals security. For others, wealth symbolizes status and success. For many, wealth signifies a break from the past, which may have been a hard financial path as children or young adults.

Whatever the reason, many people, despite making very solid money, never seem to build their wealth. Living a nice lifestyle if they make enough is common enough, but the actual goal of sizable wealth, let’s say liquid assets of $1,000,000 or more, eludes them.

Wealth accumulation takes discipline and, needless to say, hard work. However, following some pretty simple guidelines, combined with a solid career path, the goal of real wealth can be achieved by anyone who wants it badly enough.

A sweet inheritance can help. The baby boom generation, those born from 1946 to 1964, are believed to be inheriting $11.6 trillion dollars, according to a study commissioned by insurance company MetLife. However, when that number is broken down, the median amount per person is about $64,000. Nice, but hardly huge wealth.

The accumulation of wealth is not an evil desire or goal. It not only can help build a lifestyle you want, it helps you provide for people you care for who may not be as fortunate. Plus, it gives you the ability to leave a legacy of sorts to family or institutions you feel are important. At the end of the day, business, pleasure and life in its totality are defined by money and the use of it. Things are not paid for in animal pelts or beads and trinkets.

“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth…” [Deuteronomy 8:18]

The Power of Invitation

Most people love receiving invitations. To a party. A meal. A wedding. A celebration. A special event. It’s nice to be included  – to feel part of something. It’s good to know that you belong.

But many don’t feel like they belong. They feel lonely. In fact we live in a lonely society. That’s why Mother Theresa is right when she famously said: ‘The greatest disease today is not starvation but loneliness.’

People want to be included. They want to be invited. That’s because we’re made by God to live in community – in families, in homes, with a network of friends. That’s a massive part of what church is about. And that’s why all the evidence shows that most people today belong before they believe. They want to see what kind of community we are, before they commit to the head of the community, Jesus Christ.

I believe that personal invitation is where the future of the Lord’s church lies. As a method of contacting and influencing seekers, it is Number 1. The Institute for American Church Growth asked over 10,000 church-goers this question: What was responsible for your coming to Christ and this church? The report indicated that 79% said a friend or relative invited me. And how are they going to come to church unless someone invites them? You see, invitation is crucial. That’s the power of invitation.

This is a very important month for us here at IKLC. It marks our annual Family and Friends’ celebration. We will have special singing, dance, food and we will be honoring great achievers in our community. It should be great – as long as people come. But they will only come if they are invited. If they’re not invited, they won’t experience the warmth of the IKLC family or the wonder of the gospel of Jesus. They need to be invited. That’s the power of invitation.

In John chapter 1, Philip meets Jesus and decides to follow him. He then wants his friend, Nathaniel to meet Jesus too – maybe like you want your friend, or your family member, or your work colleague, to meet Jesus. So what does Philip do? He tells his friend that he’s found someone amazing – Jesus Christ. But Nathaniel isn’t sure and so Philip replies: ‘Come and see.’ He invites him. Simple as that. And Nathaniel agrees and meets Jesus and his life is transformed. But it wouldn’t have happened unless Philip had invited him. Remove the invitation and Nathaniel would not have met Jesus. That’s the power of invitation.

But how does God normally invite people? On occasions, he just intervenes and sovereignly does it himself. But normally he does it through his hands and his feet – his body. The church. That’s how he operates. Through you and me.

So, who are you inviting? Have you got your invitations? Are you giving them away? Are you praying for invitation opportunities this week? Because this is the time to invite. This is the time to maximize the power of invitation!

Understanding Passover

Passover was a very intimate meal—no less than ten and no more than twenty people could celebrate it together. It was a memorial that served as an annual reminder of how God protected the Israelites and delivered them from bondage in Egypt. The Lord used ten plagues to break the Egyptians’ grip on the Israelites. The final plague was the mass slaying of the firstborn in every family. [Exodus 12:30]

However, the Lord made a provision to spare the Israelites. They were able to avoid the angel of death by sacrificing a spotless lamb and spreading the blood of the lamb on the frame of their door [Exodus 12:1-13]. And when the angel saw the blood, he would pass over that house.

The Passover meal was symbolic of some aspect of the deliverance from Egypt. Just as lambs had been slaughtered that night in Egypt and their blood sprinkled on the door posts, so to the Passover lambs were slaughtered and their blood sprinkled on the altar.  After being slaughtered by the priest in the Temple court and having had some of its blood sprinkled on the altar, the lamb would then be taken home, roasted whole, and eaten in the special evening meal with the unleavened bread, bitter herbs, charoseth, and wine. Any of it that was not eaten before morning was to be burned. [Exodus 12:8-10].

The lesson of the Passover was that deliverance from the judgment of God requires the death of an innocent substitute. That’s what the entire sacrificial system of Israel communicated—deliverance was available, but it came at a price.

But it wasn’t the sacrifice of a spotless lamb that ultimately satisfied God’s wrath. Those sacrifices could not accomplish anything on their own. Instead, they pointed ahead to God’s ultimate provision, when He would supply the true Passover Lamb in the sacrifice of His Son.

A RARE Lady

It has been said that the reasons Proverbs 31:10-31 was written, no doubt, was to help guide men in finding the right kind of wife. Some see Proverbs 31:10-31 as a continuation of what King Lemuel’s mother taught him, concluding with this description of an ideal wife for her royal son.

The RARE Lady is far more valuable and worth far more than rubies. She is like a rare gem. Precious stones are precious and costly because they are so rare. The virtuous woman is a beautiful woman, not necessarily outwardly, but certainly inwardly. She is not only a rare gem but a beautiful gem. She is more valuable than a rare gem. She has an inner beauty and strength of character and a moral firmness.

One of her greatest assets is she was made a leader by God. Unfortunately, women have been restricted from exercising their gifts because some of Paul’s sayings have been applied to the church as universal instructions.

However, women took an active role in the religious life, certainly in the home but also in the community. Miriam, Moses’ sister, was more than a prophetess, she was a co-leader along with Moses and Aaron [Micah 6:4].

Paul described Phoebe as a “servant of the church” [Rom. 16:1]. The Greek word is diakono” (diakonos), the same as the masculine, which is usually translated “deacon.” It is clear that Paul allowed and encouraged women in all aspects of ministry including leadership roles.

It has been said that man’s greatest desires is to trust his wife enough to reveal his fallacies without retribution. However, there are many men today that cannot say that they trust their wives. Being able to fully trust your wife is one of the fundamental foundations of a strong God-honoring marriage. Martin Luther said of his wife, “The greatest gift of God is a pious amiable spouse, who fears God, loves his house, and with whom one can live in perfect confidence.”

There are at least two reasons why the heart of a husband can trust his virtuous wife. The first reason is so that he shall have no need of spoil, and second is she shall do him good and not evil. “No need” means not to be lacking. He shall have no need of gain because his wife is a tremendous benefit to the family, even financially. In other words, she is not a financial liability. She manages the home so well, and she is so industrious and productive, that her efforts result in great gain and even profit.

Her husband can safely trust in her because he does not need to worry about her being a financial liability and because he knows that she will do him only good, and not evil. The verb “will do” is of interest. It is not the common Hebrew verb for “do.” It means to deal out, to deal fully, or to deal bountifully. In 1 Samuel 24:17 David had just spared Saul’s life, even though he easily could have killed his persecutor. Saul’s response: “Thou art more righteous than I; for thou hast rewarded me good whereas I have rewarded thee evil.” Saul deserved evil, but David dealt with him in a good way. Put another way, Saul dished out evil to David, but David dished out good to Saul- who actually deserved evil.

The virtuous woman deals out to her husband that which is good. She dishes out to him, or serves him, that which is good and not evil. She wants only God’s highest and best for him. Her life and her deeds are a constant benefit and blessing to her husband.

In doing good to her husband, she is consistent. She doesn’t serve him that which is good one day, and that which is evil the next day. Her husband can count on her to do him good and to be a blessing to him. He can count on her to do this today, five days from now, one year from now, ten years from now, and all the days of her life. She is not up and down, hot and cold. Her godliness is marked with consistency. This is a “RARE Lady!”

Should I Be Influencing People or Organizing Things?

Temperament-Conscious Leadership Workshop

There is a close relationship between spirit, soul, and the heart of man. Evidence indicates an individual’s temperament overlaps both soul and the spirit and might well be the linking device between the two, known as the heart of man. It is clear in the scriptures that the soul of man is where his will and emotions resides. “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior” [Luke 1:46-47].

In addition, the scripture differentiates between the heart and the spirit of man. “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel” [Ezekiel 18:31]? Therefore, our temperament determines how we interact with our environment and how our environment interacts with us.

Our temperament and who we have become (through learned behavior) can be entirely different.  We need to find out who we really are, and find ways to become our true selves instead of the people we have learned to be (the masked self).

Understanding your temperament will allow you to determine if you are more productive at influencing people or organizing things. Excellence is not merely dependent on the temperament God gives us, but on our due diligence in the management of our temperament. Information does not bring transformation; only change does. According to James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.” Do what it says.

This Temperament-Conscious Leadership Workshop will not only reveal to you the value of every asset connected to your temperament, but also the elements needed to responsibly manage them.

 

 

What is Your Pleasure?

When God created mankind in His own likeness, He gave us a measure of His authority, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, and glory. All these blessings and gifts are entrusted to us and come from God. Therefore, God is worthy to receive them back from us in the form of thanksgiving, praise, and a committed lifestyle. We must always remember that we were created for His pleasure [Revelation 4:12].

The irony of life is that when we selfishly seek pleasure for ourselves, it is only for a sinful season [Hebrews 11:24-25]; but when we seek to bring pleasure to God, we experience pleasure in Him for eternity. This is related to what Jesus was saying in Matthew 16:25, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

When we invest in the King of Kings it is our opportunity to return to God a portion of what He has blessed us with so that we, in turn, may be a blessing to others. When you invest your time, energy, talents, and abilities in the King of Kings, we show our regard, esteem, value, respect, and prizing of him. In addition, we attest that He is our most valued treasure. Investing in the King of Kings shows that our hearts are set on Him and not on our money or belongings. This form of worship honors the King as supreme.

We must always remember that we were created for His pleasure [Revelation 4:12]. Jesus said, “My pleasure is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish HIS work” [John 4:34]. Today, my question to you is, what is your pleasure?

Beyond your Dreams!

Have you thought about what you have invested, or maybe gambled away, not realizing the value of your time, interest, attention, money or energy?

As a pastor, I often see people investing their time or finances into something with very little return. According to Luke 14:28, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost…” we must learn the value of weighing the cost of our invest against its return. I have made it my mission to try and give people the most information possible so that they can shun the consequences that come with trading something valuable for things that have no value. As a father, I want to see my children succeed beyond their dreams and come to a point where they truly understand their worth. Don’t gamble with your worth and or time; this risk can cause detrimental consequences that a kiss from Mama cannot fix.

People who gamble with their life risk receiving little return. I want to challenge you today to learn the value of your worth. Many people enter into relationships taking a gamble and hoping for the best, such as their spouse changing. Do not take a gamble on something as precious as your time. Unlike finances or reputation, which can be repaired, if you take a gamble with your time, you have wasted time that you will NEVER see again. Your time is a commodity too precious to waste. If you continue to invest time into a relationship and you see very little return, it is time to consider repositioning your investment into an undertaking that has the best rate of return for you. This attitude of return is found in Matthew 25:27 “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with interest.”

If you learn the value of your temperament, your talent and your time you will understand what a disservice you do yourself by trading them in. I challenge you to see yourself through the eyes of your heavenly Father. Do not shackle yourself to past pains or trauma, or a self-imposed life sentence for past mistakes.

The most dangerous thing for people to do is allow their growth to be stunted by their own thoughts. As I provide guidance to people, I help them by encouraging them to realize that the power to their freedom lies in their own hearts. Sometimes we, as a people, have a tendency to beat ourselves up over and over again about things that we had little control over, or things that are ancient history. I want to urge you to transcend the mistakes of the past, free yourself and move on from those things that held you down.

Life alone can be very difficult, and there can be a seemingly never- ending mountain of troubles, but do not make it more difficult by gambling your resources away. Live the life that God has predestined for you, live audaciously in the comfort that you have weighed all your options, made the best choices, and wait to reap the benefits. According to Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Live beyond your dreams!