Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stealing From Family

Suppose there was a young man by the name of John who was born the son of very wealthy parents. John had every need met his entire life. Not only was his needs met but there was seldom a time in his life where he was told no. He had every luxury in life from the biggest televisions to the latest video games. When he turned sixteen, he had the choice of any vehicle he wanted. He settled for the black Hummer because they could not find the yellow one he wanted with the right option package. The credit card he carried had little restrictions. It would not be unusual to find John at the mall buying designer jeans or at the ATV store buying expensive upgrades for his 4-wheeler. John had tons of friends and was seldom alone. He did not have a girl friend because he enjoyed the freedom to date a different girl on the weekend depending on the circumstance of his elaborate plans. John’s parents tried to bring discipline into his life, but he always found a way around it and constantly pushed them aside.

John left home after graduation to attend the state university. Freedom was not anything new but having friends with similar freedom was. He was instantly as popular on the large campus as he ever had been in high school. The fraternity he chose was the grand party house of campus and he loved every minute of the lifestyle. The alcohol and women of the frat parties eventually turned to an experiment and eventual dependence on illegal drugs.

John’s parents soon realized the lifestyle that their son found himself. They begged him to return home. They begged him to find help. They eventually cancelled his credit cards and took away his vehicle. It was not long before John found himself hopeless. Lying on the table in his room was his keys, absent from a car key. It then hit him; I still have a house key. He waited for his parents to take one of their long vacations. He entered their home and took everything he could find of value. He took guns, jewelry and cash. He took precious family heirlooms. He began to sale them one at a time to finance an addiction that controlled his body.

What drives a person to steal from their family? What drives Christians to steal from their heavenly father? He has taken care of every need that we have. He has blessed us beyond measure. Yet we steal that which he requires from us.

Malachi 3:8-10
8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Love of Action

I have been reading a book that Tara recommended to me called The Fred Factor. It is a short leadership book about a mail carrier who goes above and beyond to not only deliver mail, but to serve the people on his route. This man truly cared about the people and made several sacrifices, even on his day off, to help them. Jesus told a similar story. He told of a Samaritan man who came across a Jewish man left on the side of the road beaten and robbed. The religious leaders who had come down the path before him did not stop and did everything they could to avoid him. The Samaritan did just the opposite. He stopped and helped the man. He then found him a place to stay and paid for it himself. He did all of it without expecting anything in return.

Jesus told this story while he was teaching on what it meant to love. He was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” This illustrates that we should love everyone we encounter every day. It does not matter if they are our race or religion. It does not matter if they like us or not. It does not matter if it is an inconvenience or gets in the way of our busy schedule. We are told that we are to love them through our action. Keep your eyes open this week to those around you that need to experience love. When you see them, make the sacrifices that are necessary to serve them completely. In addition, do not expect anything in return.

Great Start!

What a great start to our outreach for Engage Bartlesville.  Our first of six outreach events leading up to our kickoff is complete. Thank ...