Use It Well

In this fourth part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we get practical. What does it actually look like to live with the simplicity and contentment found only in Christ in some specific situations that everyone faces? We start this week with a situation that is powerful tempting for just about everyone to seek their contentment somewhere other than Jesus. Keep reading to find out where.

Use It Well

By a show of hands, how many of you have heard of Benny Hinn? The televangelist is a longtime peddler of the Prosperity Gospel. The Prosperity Gospel is a uniquely American heresy (that we have unfortunately exported around the world) which holds that God rewards faithfulness with material blessings, that worldly success is an obvious sign of God’s favor. It holds that the contrary is true as well: Poor health and financial loss and the like are signs of faithlessness on our part. If we aren’t seeing the life outcomes we want to see, it is because we don’t believe strongly enough. Hinn’s specialty is healing. His services are filled with him waving a hand in someone’s direction and that person falling over backwards as she is “slain by the Spirit.” In practice it’s pretty wild stuff.

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Morning Musing: James 5:2-3

“Your wealth has rotted and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasure in the last days.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I still remember moving from seminary to my first church job in Church Road, VA. We had some good friends help us load a 26-foot Penske to capacity, along with both cars, and we headed east from Denver, CO. Nearly nine years later we did it again, this time to where we are still. Maybe you’ve experienced this. We knew we had accumulated more stuff in that nearly decade span, but we weren’t prepared for how much more.

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Digging in Deeper: James 5:1

“Come now, you rich people, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you remember the original House Hunters on HGTV? I do. It caught on because it’s format was unique. I’m certain there were shows about people buying houses before, but something about the visit-three-pick-one approach caught on. Big time. Like, 183 seasons and almost 1,800 episodes caught on. Not to mention more spin-offs than you can probably imagine. And while there’s nothing quite like the original, the most popular spin-offs are the ones that focus on rich people buying big houses. A recent version is even called “My Lottery Dream Home.” What is it about seeing wealthy people buy stuff the rest of us can’t afford that is so addictive to watch?

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 6:19

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,”
– ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:19‬‬ (ESV – Read the chapter)

The other day I was making small talk with an acquaintance. Given that we were only a couple of days past Christmas, we asked each other the obligatory, “How was your Christmas?” question. Both of us assured the other that it had been good and that, more importantly, the kids had had fun. We agreed that if the kids were happy, that was a key ingredient to a fun Christmas morning. Then he said something to which I could only respond politely because I didn’t agree. 

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Breaking Free

In this final part of our series, Gravity: Overcoming the Weight of Our Stuff, we talk about one last, powerful way to break free from the pull our stuff otherwise naturally has on our lives.  Along the way, I offer a three step process for how to begin building the practice of sacrificial generosity into our lives, an example of what generosity can do, and a chance to respond.  Thanks for reading and blessings as you make your plan to break free from the gravity of your stuff.

Breaking Free

Have you noticed that one of Disney’s goals lately seems to be to make live-action remakes of all their classic animated films?  We’ve so far seen Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, Maleficent, Pete’s Dragon, and Christopher Robin, with films like Dumbo, Mulan, the Lion King, and Aladdin on the near horizon.  A bit of research allowed me to discover that there are also tentative plans to redo other classic films such as Snow White, Robinhood, The Sword in the Stone, and Pinocchio. Read the rest…