Radical Giving – Francis Chan’s Example

I respect Francis Chan a great deal. My wife and I spent countless hours watching his sermons during the first years of coming to Christ. While I respect his gift of teaching, I even more respect the fact that he truly lives out the instruction of Scripture, especially regarding finances. In a time where we see pastors arrive to church in Bentleys and wear $10,000 dollar suits meanwhile their congregation struggles with paying rent and having food on their tables, Francis stands out as a man that considers the eternal riches in heaven above anything he could earn here on earth. This quote sums up his approach to finances…

“Chan gives away about 90 percent of his income, doesn’t take a salary from his church, and has donated most of his book royalties, which have totaled about $2,000,000, to various charities.”

Talk about radical giving! Everyone is not called to this level of giving, but everyone is called to have their eyes so fixated on Jesus that the passing treasures of this world mean very little to them. I just want to encourage others based on Francis’ example. Let’s set our minds on things above and selflessly serve others with compassion as Christ did. Amen!

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Distorted View of Salvation

A large portion of the world has a distorted view of salvation. There are those that say they believe in Jesus but live a life like they don’t. Not only do they have an incorrect view of grace, but they contribute to skeptics’ unwillingness to believe in God. Why would someone want to believe in Jesus when all they see is bitter, hypocritical Christians? To the skeptic, God loves you. I apologize for all Christians (including myself) that depict an inaccurate picture of God. But do not take it out on Him. Please look past our imperfections and see His righteousness and goodness. To the professed believer, examine your ways. Grace is not a license to sin, but should be the reason you decide not to. Understand that it is possible to profess belief in Jesus and still endure eternal punishment. If you don’t believe me, take a second from only reading John 3:16 in isolation and read the entire NT and see what I mean (see Matthew 7 and Revelation 3 for examples). In closing, God’s supreme love for humanity is intended to drive us to living a restored life with faith in Jesus by the help of His Spirit, leading to the eventual inheritance of eternal life. Please don’t let this truth be distorted any longer.

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

The Gospel Transforms!

There is TRANSFORMATIVE power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When the Bible discusses dying to your old self and walking in newness of life, it is not figurative, it is an absolutely one hundred percent perfectly true reality!

I have told thousands of lies, I have been high off drugs numerous times, I have been belligerently drunk numerous times, I have been arrested, I have had premarital sex, I have cheated in relationships, I have had depression, I have had anxiety attacks, I have contemplated suicide, I have driven recklessly, I have cheated on exams, I have been immersed in pointless popular culture, I have wasted countless dollars on the latest fashionable items, I have stolen money, I have offended God in every conceivable way…..

…But He still loved me and gave His life for me…

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)

God loved me even though every single day I spit in His face, “proclaiming” that I was Christian but living a life that looked absolutely nothing like Christ’s. But when I finally understood the Gospel it wrecked me; it changed everything in my life…It was a complete paradigm shift nothing was the same anymore. I can openly admit everything I have done because Christ has freed me from myself and what others think about me. I could care less! My approval is from God, not man. And God is offering that same FREEDOM to you! I am no longer the man I was years ago because God has made me new, He has changed my desires to be in accord with His. And He has granted me the FREE GIFT of salvation which I humbly receive. I implore you, be reconciled to God. Let Him scour you from the inside out and let Jesus live inside you that He may transform you into who you were always created to be: a vessel to bring God glory.

If this encourages you in any way and you don’t know what to do… reach out to me. I know good and well that people need someone to talk to, pray with, and help them in this journey. I’m here for you!

Amen!

Spiritual Malnutrition

If you profess Christianity and have access to a Bible but do not think that consistently reading it is important (as evidenced by you not reading it) then I might question the sincerity behind your Christian profession….

I know that might sound a bit harsh and before you flood this post saying, “God knows my heart…God knows my heart” (side note: He does know it but you might be surprised by how He sees its compared to what you think – see Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:21-23, and read this blog post), please hear me out…You would not dare miss an opportunity to feed yourself (physically) once hungry, right? Then why do you starve yourself (spiritually) everyday? The Bible tells us that “man does not live by bread alone but every word that proceeds out the mouth of God” and that God’s Word is “our life.” If a “Christian” is not putting in the appropriate time in with God’s Word then, in essence, they are starving themselves of their spiritual nourishment. This is why I would question someone’s Christian profession if they do not read their Word….The Bible makes it clear….you can’t (spiritually) survive without God’s life sustaining Word.

The reason people are getting swept away by all this modern heresy is because they do not have a strong root based on understanding of God’s Word. Many are willfully spiritually malnourished. Brothers and sisters, I implore you….please read your Bibles.

“………that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
(Deuteronomy 8:3)

“For it is no empty word for you, but your very life…..”
(Deuteronomy 32:47)

Gambling with Life

So many of us wake up every morning and live our empty, vain, temporary lives without a true care in the world, preparing and working toward a “future” (that is not promised), not realizing that the only sure thing is that one day we will not wake up again. I know that sounds dark, but if you stop and take a moment to think about it, that is the perfect depiction of the entirety of our existence here on earth. So what is one to do? “Seek the Creator while He still may be found…”

God is our only hope. He has literally fashioned our existence to be in such a way that those who humble themselves and understand how transient life is would come to Him looking for eternal fulfillment. I promise you, this life will not fulfill you. You can work hard and get that 6 or 7 figure salary you want so bad and still end up as depressed as any other person. Things from this temporary life do not bring joy, only Jesus Christ can do that. I encourage all of us to seriously consider trying to grow with God.

Pulling pieces from Pascal’s wager (a seventeenth century philosopher, mathematician, and physicist), we all bet with our lives that God either exists or He doesn’t. Given the eternal implications and the probability that God may exist a rational person would seek to believe and know God. If God does not exist, this person would only incur finite loses like pleasure and luxury, but if He does they stand to receive infinite gains (eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell). The alternative is receiving finite gains, giving up infinite gains, and incurring infinite losses. Let me ask two related questions, would you gamble with your (temporary) life by playing with fire? ….then why do you gamble with (eternal) Life by playing with fire?

Nature Proclaims God’s Existence

Just came back in from walking my dog. As I was outside, I spent a good amount of time considering nature. For example, I was looking at trees and realizing our human race lives in harmony with them as they absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale and we breath in the oxygen they release. Beautiful. Or how our earth is at the perfect location in the solar system to sustain life. Beautiful.

It just makes me think when considering all of these things, how can one come to the conclusion that there is no God? How can we be so quick to think all of this came to be by chance? When considering the literal perfection of our existence it is crazy to not believe there is a God, or live in the middle like there may or may not be. Even worse is understanding there is a God and then not living a life of reverence to that God……I know, I know……You may be saying how can you believe in an invisible God? Well, you believe in wind, right? Is that not invisible? You believe in gravity, right? Tell me the last time you “saw” gravity. You see, we believe in those things because we comprehend the manifestation of their functions. Where you live, where you abide, is the manifestation of God’s creative hand.

“When I look at a building, how do I know that there is a builder? I can’t see him, hear him, touch, taste, or smell him. Of course, the building is proof that there was a builder. In fact, I couldn’t want better evidence that there was a builder than to have the building in front of me. I don’t need ‘faith’ to know that there was a builder. All I need are eyes that can see and a brain that works. Likewise, when I look at a painting, how can I know there was a painter? Again, the painting is proof positive that their was a painter. I don’t need ‘faith’ to believe in a painter because to can see the clear evidence. The same principle applies with the existence of God. When I look at creation, how can I know that there was a Creator? I can’t see Him, hear Him, touch Him, taste Him, or smell Him. How can I know that He exists? Why, creation shows me that there is a Creator. I couldn’t want better proof that a Creator exists than to have the ‘fact’ of creation in front of me. I don’t need faith to believe in a Creator; all I need are eyes that can see and a brain that works.” – Ray Comfort

I think a lot of us get lost in the speed of every day life. Piled over with seemingly unlimited tasks on our to-do lists. We get numb to the fact that our existence as humans in and of itself is an extraordinary thing! This busy-busy-busy perspective on life blinds and inhibits us from looking up (and around) and marveling at the almost perfect oasis called earth that we inhabit. When I look up, I’m humbled. Spending just a few moments looking up reminds me that there is no way possible that there is not “something (Someone)” higher than me. Creation itself bares witness to a Creator. When you get a chance, put your busy life on pause for a few short moments, I promise that text message, that email, that social media message is not going anywhere, and just look up and let your spirit (that was given to you by your Creator) hungrily pull you toward the understanding that there is a God, one true God, that loves your so dearly that He would empty himself and come to earth and live the life you could never live and die the death that you deserve.

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20)

Relationship with God > All Other Relationships

Let’s not continue to skip over the “hard things” in the Bible. In God’s eyes, true purpose in life is not derived from having a happy family. That’s certainly a plus, but by no means is that a promise. True purpose comes from intimate relationship with God that fuels the advancement of his Kingdom. In the below Scriptures, Christ maintains that families will be at odds. The context implies that true devotion to God comes before family, even to the point that it may bring separation and division in one’s own house if the other members are not on the same page. Clearly, the true child of God must consider their relationship with the Creator of more value than their relationships here on earth.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)