Feeding the Hungry and Figuring It Out

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. Acts 5:39

In the Book of Acts we read about numerous efforts to kill the Christians off. In Chapter 5, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who the Bible tells us was an honored teacher, advised the Sanhedrin not to kill the Apostles. He said, “Hey, if this is not of God it’s going to go away. Things not of God will die. They will perish. They don’t work. But if it is of God, then you cannot stop it. You can do whatever you want, but you will not stop it.”

I think that’s what our young people are saying too. I think it’s what they said by working so hard to package meals last Saturday. They are saying, “We love our neighbors like Jesus did, and you’re not going to stop us.” And there’s no reason they should be stopped. What they are doing is a fulfillment of true love. It’s unconditional.

Unconditional love.

Unconditional love.

Those kids did not know one person that would be fed through their hard work. And yet they loved them enough to put meal kits together for them. That’s unconditional love. And when you love someone just to love them, there’s no greater love than that. That’s the love of Jesus. That’s why it’s so important.

Some kids told me, “If we could do this for a living, we would.” It took my breath away! That is just an amazing, amazing deal.

We’re not trying to get these kids to commit to doing this for a living. Our message is, “Do what you’re gifted to do for a living, so that you can do these things as well.” To put it another way, we want to encourage these kids to become successful by using their God-given gifts. That way, they can use that success to serve the least among us. We tell them, “Become successful so you can continue to help build orphanages. Become successful so you can help dig water wells. Become successful so you can help rescue kids from trafficking. Become successful so you can sponsor these meals to help people who are hurting.”

And I guarantee they lay in bed Saturday night and said, “I feel good about myself.” I guarantee you some kids who came on Saturday said, “For the first time in my life, I feel good about myself and what I did. I can sleep soundly tonight and know that I didn’t cause any pain and frustration. I didn’t mess up.” I’m sure some of those kids get told all the time how much they mess up. Well that day, they didn’t mess up. That day, they were fulfilling the dreams of other people. That day, they thought about people who feel like they mess up, and took care of them.

These kids have figured it out. Whether they believe in Jesus or not, they’ve figured it out. Their souls are satisfied.

Teaching My Sons About Money

I don’t want to make all this money and die knowing that I did nothing with it.

And I really don’t want my sons to grow up thinking that life is all about money.

I don’t want to raise them to think that success is something we achieve only for our own sakes. I just don’t want them thinking that way. 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

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

The Holiness of Success

Sometimes people wonder what keeps me focused on social justice. They ask me, “What makes you do all this for other people?” Well, I do it because I care about other people. I love them, and I love the God that created them. It’s the same God that created me. He saved my life! So I want to help save others.

I’m focused on success for the same reason. I focus on success because I want to achieve something, not only for myself, but for those who do not have. I’m talking about those who do not have food, or clean water, or a mom and dad to love them, or even basic freedom.

I’d love to see that same approach to success take root in the world on a global scale. Continue reading

Turning Failure into Freedom

How often have you felt like a failure? Sometimes we say, “Man, I’m failing as a Christian. I’m just not a very happy Christian. I should be, but I’m miserable.”

If I heard you say that, I would ask you to take a step back and look at how many times you’re living a legalistic life. You feel that you are not succeeding as a Christian, but how do you measure success? According to whose standards? Your standards? If you’re trying to succeed according to your standards, you’re right! You will feel like a failure. Continue reading

Love on the Journey

And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:
“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
“Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
“The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
“The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 28:2-8

If you live in legalism, you eliminate God. Maybe you don’t tell lies, and that is consistent with a righteous life, but the only reason you don’t lie is because the Bible says, “Don’t tell lies.” You aren’t depending on God, you’re depending on rules. And what happens when you depend on rules? Things fall apart. 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