Dollar Cost Living

We are in a series of messages called, “How to BE Rich.”  The idea is simple – there are lots of people who are telling us how to GET rich but not many voices telling us how to BE rich once we get there.

In the New Testament, Paul gives really good advice to those who are rich.  And even though we don’t feel like it, most of us Americans ARE rich.  And we have unique temptations, like relying on our wealth for security rather than trusting in God. 
This week we are going to look at another unique problem with being rich – being generous with what we have.  I’m sure that none of us feel like we have “extra time” or “extra money” but this week Paul challenges us to rethink how we handle our time and money.  Instead of being spontaneous givers, Paul asks:  What would happen if we pre-determined where our time and money went? 

The Danger of Being Rich

Last Sunday we discovered that most of us ARE rich (compared to most people in the world) and that we really don’t need to worry much about GETTING rich but we need to think about how to BE rich. 
This Sunday we will be looking at the first instruction from Paul to those of us who are rich – “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”  (1 Timothy 6:17)
Money has a funny way of changing us.  One of the deceptive things about being rich is that we think that our wealth is a reflection of what is on the inside of us.  Some think that just because they have money, they are good people. 
Spiritually, the danger of being rich is that once a person gets more than they financially need, it is natural to lean in to one’s money for security rather than God. 
So this Sunday we are going to look at some of the dark sides of money and how to avoid the traps of being rich.

How to Be Rich

But there is a passage in the New Testament that addresses this very issue.  Paul wrote a letter to his friend Timothy and gave him some advice on how to deal with rich people.  He said: 

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.  Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.  By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. (1 Timothy 6:17-20; NLT)

Maybe you are thinking that this series has nothing to do with you.  But the problem is – nobody really knows where the line is between “rich” and “not rich.”  You will never come to a place in your life in which you “cross the line” and realize that you are now rich – it doesn’t happen at 3:00 PM on a Wednesday. 

So this week we are going to look at this elusive idea of “rich” and see if the words of Paul to Timothy might have something important to say to us.

Why Tammy's Death Made No Sense

Our brains are meaning machines.  We are wired in such a way that we have a desperate need to find meaning and make sense of life. Our minds will constantly try to bring meaning to things even when there is no meaning -- especially when we are hurt.  

When something happens to us that doesn’t make sense, it rocks our worlds, especially if it violates our beliefs about how life works.

The first time I can remember my world being rocked to the core was in June of 1985.  A friend of mine named Tammy died in a senseless car accident.  It was the first time that a close peer of mine died and her death pulled the bottom Jenga piece out of my Jenga pile.   
If your life is a story, you are somewhere in the middle of the book. There is a past and a future, but in the middle, it is often very confusing.  The author Margaret Atwood said it like this: 

"When you are in the middle of a story it isn't a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It's only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else."

In moments of hurt and pain, our minds try to complete the story in our head so that there is meaning to it.  Most likely, it is not a very accurate story. So what is the story?  What do we do when life makes no sense?  
We’ll be wrestling with these questions on Sunday as we continue our conversation “Jenga: Finding God When The Pieces of Life Are Crashing Down.”  

His Name Was "Steve" Not "The Church"

This Sunday at CrossPoint we are continuing our conversation that we are calling “Jenga.”  It’s a conversation about dealing with life when all the pieces seem to be crashing down. 

Everybody has a story of how they have been hurt by someone else.  And if you don't - just wait!  It's coming!  The question is not "will I be hurt?" but rather "how will I deal with hurt when it happens?"  Sunday I will tell you a story about a guy named Steve and one of the times in my life in which I had to go through the intentional steps of forgiveness.  I'm not going to lie - it was awful.  But it was also the right thing to do.  

Jenga, Part 2: How Susan Broke My Heart But Saved My Faith

Jenga, Part 2: How Susan Broke My Heart But Saved My Faith

The first serious girlfriend I ever had was named Susan.  We dated off and on throughout our adolescence.  She was a kind person but through a series of events, she broke my heart.  But it was in the wake of that season of my life that I began to see my faith more clearly.  I began to understand that God was much bigger than the small church I grew up in.  I learned that God can be found in many different ways – spiritual pathways. 

Jenga, Part 1: What Tim Taught Me about Life Together

Jenga, Part 1: What Tim Taught Me about Life Together

This Sunday began a conversation called “Jenga: Finding God When the Pieces of Life Come Crashing Down.”  It is a very personal conversation about some of the difficult times in my spiritual journey, what I learned from those situations, and how they may also help you.  

This first Sunday, I told the story of my friend Tim, how he died, and what I learned about life because of that traumatic event.  

Jonah: Who Matters to God?

we are wrapping up our conversation about Jonah. We have been hearing this children’s story from a fresh perspective trying to appreciate its humor, irony, and symbolism.  Last time, the reluctant prophet made his way across Nineveh with a sermon that was half-baked at best.  But in spite of Jonah’s lack of enthusiasm, Nineveh changes its ways and God relents his judgment on them.  
One would think that Jonah would be thrilled.  This is the greatest spiritual achievement of his ministry.  But in yet another odd twist, Jonah is furious with God.  And the reason he is angry might surprise you.  The book ends with a genius twist that the first readers would not have seen coming.  
We’ll see this Sunday that Jonah’s life is meant to be a mirror of our own self-righteousness and our own apathy about people at times.  I hope you can join us!