Abundant Life

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

Abundant life! What does that mean? Well, abundant life is a life that is not in need. It doesn’t mean you have millions of dollars. It means you don’t need to find food, because you have food. You don’t need to find water, because you have water. You don’t need to find a place to live, because you live somewhere. You don’t need to find a job, because you have a job. If you have enough, and you have extra, then you live in abundance.

If you could go around the world and ask people, “What does abundance mean to you,” a lot of them will tell you, “You know when I have abundance? It’s when I’ve got a home. I don’t care if it’s a 600 square foot home. It’s a home. Even in a small home, my family doesn’t have to live on the streets. Abundance is when we’ve got a well to get fresh water, so my kids aren’t dying of dysentery. Abundance is when I’ve got a job so that my kids are going to school and we’ve got food on the table. That’s abundance. I know what it’s like not to have those things. When I have them? And my family’s safe? That’s abundance.”

Sometimes Americans have trouble grasping just how much we have. We’re so accustomed to abundance that we don’t recognize it! Instead we define abundance by how much we can buy. But consumerism can actually kill people. We can get caught up in buying more stuff, and people that need our help can die.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have anything. It comes down to what you have in your heart. We have to have it in our hearts to help those in need. I’m not saying that you should never buy anything for yourself. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that if our drive, our heart, our focus, is simply to make sure we have what we need, then we have the wrong heart. If we’re always saying, “I want this and I want that, and I know I could live without it but I’m going to get it and I’m going to get that too,” and we don’t have a thought for anybody else, then we have the wrong mindset.

An abundant lifestyle is so much more than having a lot of consumer goods. We think “abundance” and we see dollar signs. I think that’s America. But abundance can mean something really different in other parts of the world. Let’s learn to think about abundance in a new way. Let’s say that abundance is having enough, plus some for somebody else.

Jesus said He came so that we may have life and life abundantly. He gave us the message, He gave us the example, and He gave us that quality of life when He was on earth. These things didn’t leave with Him when He left! He gave them so that we’d live by them. As Christians, we’re ambassadors for Christ! It’s our awesome calling to represent Him.

How do you know when you have enough? This is where reverential fear can help you. More on this next time. See you Thursday.

Sharing Abundance

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

Abundant life! What does that mean? Well, abundant life is a life that is not in need. You don’t need to find food, you have it. You don’t need to find water, you have it. You don’t need to find a place to live, you live somewhere. You don’t need to find a job, you have a job.

It doesn’t mean you have millions of dollars. I think abundance is having enough, plus some for somebody else. And if you have enough, and you have extra, then you live in abundance. Continue reading

Prosperity, Contentment, and Hope

I don’t look at someone who makes $30,000 a year and think that they’re a charity case. They’re not! But a lot of wealthy people do think that way. They’ll look at someone in that income bracket and say things like, “Oh, man, you need help,” or, “Good thing I didn’t make choices like that.”

Can you believe that? I know that’s the wrong view. Continue reading

Eye of the Needle

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” Mark 10:21-26

I remember sitting there in the bullpen in Colorado, reading this passage. And I said, “God, I don’t necessarily think I’m dependent on money, but I know what money does for the Kingdom. If you’re telling me to give it all up, sell everything, and give to the poor, then you know what? I think I could do it. But I don’t think you’re telling me to do that. Or are you telling me to do that? What do you mean?”

Whenever you read this passage, you always stop and say, “Wait a minute, are you telling me to go give away everything?” Am I right? It’s a very challenging passage. Continue reading

Am I That Rich Young Man?

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”

And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Mark 10:17-22

I read that passage in the bullpen at Coors Field in Colorado. It’s a good place to sit and think. So I read that passage, and then I sat quietly and asked Jesus about it. Am I that rich young man? Continue reading

Whatever You Request: Say a Prayer for Prosperity

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.” John 14:11-14

Sometimes when we read this passage in traditional translations, we only hear Jesus say, “Whatever you request, I’ll do it.”

That can produce a lot of skepticism! You hear people say, “Oh really, so if I want a Mercedes Benz, all I have to do is ask Jesus, and I’ll get one?”  Or, “I can pray to win the lottery, and if I really believe I’m going to win, then I will?” Continue reading

Grace At Work – Part 2

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to GOD! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life! Proverbs 3:5-8

There’s a difference between going to work with a grace-based mentality, and going to work with a legalistic mentality. A person living in grace will say, “God will show me how to work to become successful.” But legalism says, “I will work hard, so that God will see how hard I work and make me successful.” Continue reading

From Prison to Palace: Joseph’s Life in Grace

I’ve been writing so much about grace in family life, but God gives us grace in our work too. Make yourself available to hear His wisdom, and He’ll show you where to focus your efforts. The next thing you know, you’ll succeed in everything you do.

Just look at what the story of Joseph can teach us. It’s such a good story! But it’s more than that. There is so much wisdom in it. There is so much to Joseph.

The story goes like this: Joseph’s brothers are jealous of him, so they sell him to some traders who take him to Egypt. In Egypt, Joseph is sold into the household of Potiphar, who managed the Pharaoh’s household. Continue reading

Live in Grace

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14

If you live a Spirit-led life, you will naturally do the right thing, and you will enjoy the fulfillment that comes with that. You won’t have to live by the law. You won’t have to live by dos and don’ts. You’ll never say, “I won’t steal, because the Ten Commandments tell me not to.” Instead, the Spirit of God, living in you, is going to speak to you and say, “Don’t steal, because that is not right. Not in a pure life with me.”

This is one of the foremost themes in Paul’s epistles. His letters are genius! In both Romans and Galatians, he tells the churches, “If you’re going to live by the law, you need to obey the law. Good luck with that!” Continue reading

How to Catch More Fish

Welcome back! Thank you for all your support for my first book! I’m looking forward to doing more writing, starting right now.

I’ve been learning to look at everything through the dialectic of law and grace. It’s amazing to me how the whole Bible just opens up and begins to live, once I look at it this way.

The story in John 21:1-14 serves as a great example. That’s the story where the resurrected Jesus miraculously fills the disciples’ net with fish, right? So what happens?

The disciples fish all night and don’t catch anything. When morning comes, Jesus is already on shore. He has built a fire, and He’s already cooking His own fish. You can imagine the conversation. The disciples say, “Hey, you caught fish!” And Jesus replies, “Yeah, where’s your fish?” The disciples tell him, “We’ve been working all night, and we don’t have any fish!” So Jesus says, “Well, why don’t you throw your nets over there?” And they say, “Jesus, have you not heard us? We labored all night and have not caught anything.” Continue reading