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

Sacrifice

Do you see someone skilled in their work?
They will serve before kings. (Proverbs 22:29)

Sacrifice is an intimidating word, but I’m here to tell you that it is a major component of success. God wants you to give some of what you earn to help others. That’s your sacrifice. He wants you to give cheerfully, but that shouldn’t be hard. After all, He’s promised to give you what you need.

It’s amazing, when you think about it, the way God has made the world. He doesn’t need people to push the Gospel. He could do it however He wants to do it. But that’s the way He set things up. He wants people to bring the Gospel to the nations. He wants us to use our own resources to love our neighbor. This is genius! It’s how we learn to serve. Continue reading

Building to Serve, Part 2

After I built the gymnasium, I saw it from the outside and remarked to my wife, “It looks like a church!”

There are so many ways I can serve God with this gym, but initially I was feeling guilty. I don’t want to be showy or gaudy or look like I’m trying to build some big compound. I didn’t build the gym in order to say, “Oh, look at me and what I have.” That’s not in my heart and it’s not why I did it. Continue reading

Building to Serve, Part 1

Lately I’ve been reflecting on the power and place of money in a Christian’s life, and the challenge the rich young man presents to all of us. “What must I do to have eternal life?” the rich man asked the Lord. And Jesus told him, “Sell all you have, and come, follow me.” That is a challenge to each of us, to examine our hearts and to understand just how deeply and completely we depend on God.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 1:21

Everything I have comes from God, and so when I use what I have, I examine my heart. 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. It’s possible to live on $30,000 a year and have everything you need. And if you feel like you have everything you need, or if you feel like you have everything you can imagine needing, then you understand prosperity. You’re content! You know that it’s okay. 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?” Continue reading

A 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 during our recent road trip to Colorado, sitting in the bullpen at Coors Field. It’s a really awesome bullpen, so it’s kind of a cool place to sit and think. I read that passage, and then I literally just asked Jesus about it, because I honestly don’t know if that rich young man is me. Continue reading