We are just starting a series called “Confused”. It is all about money and possessions and how confused we really are about that whole issue. God knew this would be one of our biggest struggles in this world. Jesus talked and taught more about money and possessions than anything else in the Bible. Two thirds of all the parables relate to money and possessions.
There must be a reason for that. Money is such a big part of our lives that it can rule our lives. It’s the one thing that can get in the way of our relationship with God. It can cause problems in all of our relationships and keep us in bondage.
I saw a credit card commercial today that had the slogan “Freedom Now”. It should say, “Bondage Now”, because that is what debt does to us. If we can begin to view money and possessions the way God does it can transform our lives and we can experience real Freedom.
My wife and I have agreed to start tracking our expenditures over the next 30 days. I have done that in the past, but it has been a while. We want to make sure we are being good managers of what God has entrusted to us. Even in the little things we need to manage it well.
Finances are an important part of our lives and I don’t want to be confused in that area of my life. I want to view it the way God does, and not fall into the traps all around us that are competing for our dollars. One of the verses I love is in Proverbs; “Steady plodding brings prosperity, hasty speculation brings poverty.” I have tried to live by that over the past 10 years and it has been working quite well.
Start today by examining where you are at financially and where you would like to be. Then begin to put a plan together. If anyone would like help with that, we have a team of financial mentors that would be willing to meet with you and help put a plan together. Whether it is to get out of debt or simply to balance the budget, I encourage you to get some help. Another great step might be Financial Peace University. Another class will be starting in January at NewPointe Community Church. The point is to do something now instead of later.
I love playing basketball. I try to play a couple of times each week. Usually it is 3 on 3 over lunch. It is great exercise and helps build community.
This week I played twice in one day. I played over lunch on Tuesday and then again at the open gym on Tuesday night. This was the first time I came out on a Tuesday night to play.
I was surprised by how many guys came to play. We started with 20 at 6:00 and by 6:30 we had around 50. I was on a good team and we only lost one game. I even scored a couple of times.
I was reminded that I am getting older, because most of the guys were much younger, faster, quicker etc. By the end of the night I was cramping up a little and had to call it quits.
Many of the guys playing do not come to NewPointe , which is very cool. I didn’t know any of the guys on my team, but we had a blast. I am excited to see we are reaching these guys through basketball. This is a great first step in reaching guys interested in basketball.
I want to thank Dave McRobie and Jason Fabynick for leading this sports ministry. Way to go!
I love hearing stories about how people first came to NewPointe and what kept them coming back. I try to search out these stories as often as I can. I ask people to share their story with me when I meet with them about membership, baptism or simply when I am welcoming them to the church.
Here is a recent story I want to share. I have heard stories similar to this over and over again. It is exciting to see how God is working through the people at NewPointe to reach our communities. Everyone that serves in any way is helping make a difference every week. Here is the story:
“So once NewPointe opened my wife attended a few services and told me how nice it was. So one Sunday we came as a family and as soon as I walked through the doors and we were greeted by all of the smiling faces I knew that this place was special. During that Sunday morning service Dwight hit on so many things that were affecting us in our daily lives that it seemed like he was speaking directly to me. We have found ourselves wanting to come back every week to hear what God had placed on Dwight’s heart to preach to us about. There has YET to be a Sunday that we haven’t left there feeling like we have grown, even if in some small way in our walk with God. We are now finding ourselves wanting to grow more as a family and as a married couple in our relationship with God. My wife has much more of a Christian back ground than myself. I am sure that she can help me as I learn more about the ways of our God. NewPointe is a place that I am finding very comfortable to let my guard down and learn and grow spiritually. my family is looking forward to everything that NewPointe has to offer for us.”
This past Sunday we had 30 new families visiting. How cool is that! Each one has a unique story and represents a person that God loves. Thank you volunteers and staff for making a difference.
If you would like to share your experience of coming to NewPointe Community Church or how God has transformed your life, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In my job, I talk to people every week about different struggles and problems they are experiencing. We all have issues or difficult circumstances in our lives. No one is exempt from suffering and pain. So as I was thinking about some of my own issues and circumstances I have been asking myself this question: “Why do we do the things we do?”
I believe the answer to that question is, we do what is in our hearts. The principle of inescapable influence says “Whatever rules the heart will exercise inescapable influence over the person’s life and behavior.” I learned about this principle in a book called “Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands” by Paul David Tripp.
Tripp says “that if we fail to examine the heart and the areas where it needs to change, our ministry efforts will only result in people who are more committed and successful idolaters”. Anything that replaces or comes before God in our lives is an idol.
So, our daily behavior is our attempt to get what is most important to us in certain situations and relationships. What we do always reveals the true desires in our hearts. The book of James says “But people are tempted when their own evil desire leads them away and traps them. This desire leads to sin, and then the sin grows and brings death.” (James 1:14,15).
So this all comes down to an issue of worship. What we worship determines how we respond to our circumstances. If we are loving, worshipping and serving the wrong thing, we will do things that line up with what we are worshipping.
Here are 5 things that Tripp gives us for application in our personal growth:
1. Our hearts are always being ruled by someone or something.
2. The most important question to ask when examining the heart is, “What is functionally ruling my heart in this situation?”
3. Whatever controls my heart will control my responses to people and situations.
4. God changes us not just by teaching us to do different things, but by recapturing our hearts to serve Him alone.
5. The deepest issues of the human struggle are not issues of pain and suffering, but the issue of worship, because what rules our hearts will control the way we respond to both suffering and blessing.
Every one of our hearts has a fount of competing desires. There is a battle going on in each of us for our hearts. God wants all of our heart, not just part of it. Our hearts direct our behavior, so if our hearts have dark corners or empty spaces we will continue to do things we don’t want to do. We will say things we don’t want to say. Things like anger, bitterness, lust, unforgiveness, jealousy and guilt will leak out of our hearts and into our behavior or words.
Our problems in our relationships and the wacky things we do are rooted in problems of worship. That is why we must start with God. I encourage you to go and read Galatians 5:13-26 for some powerful truth. This passage of Scripture is about what we do next. Will we live in self-imposed bondage to our emotions? Will we submit to our own sinful desires? Or will we grab a hold of the truth and transform our hearts?
It all starts on the inside, when that changes, the outside begins to change as well.
Two Sunday’s ago I had the privilege of leading three teenage girls to the Lord. Here is the story.
I received three communication cards that said they wanted to be baptized and then underneath that, they hand wrote that they also wanted to be saved.
I called the one teenager and asked a few questions. It turns out that two of them are sisters and one is a friend (age 19, 17 & 16). The one I spoke to said that they all wanted to do this together, so I invited them to meet me in the prayer room the next Sunday at 10:30.
I prayed all week that they would show up and that God would prepare the way. At 10:30 they all three showed up. They were very open to hearing the Gospel and each one wanted to be “saved”. I shared some Scriptures with them and explained what it means to be a Christian.
They listened intently and did not have any questions. I asked them if they were ready to make the commitment to Jesus Christ and they said yes. We prayed together and I gave them each a new Bible. I also talked with them about what baptism is and how that could be a greater next step for them. I was floating after that, there is nothing more fulfilling than leading someone to the Lord.
How exciting it is to see young people like these three girls coming to know Jesus. I am sure many seeds were planted with them along the way and I had the privilege of praying with them. That is why we are doing what we are doing!
We are reaching people and helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Every person that serves here at NewPointe played a small part in this story. Yeah God!
This past Saturday our Helping Hands ministry worked on Rosemary Haugh’s garage in Dover. The Helping Hands ministry is a group of volunteers that reaches out to the church and community through home improvement projects. This ministry takes on work projects for people in our church and community. Together we can make a difference by showing the love of Jesus Christ.
So far this year we have completed 7 projects with approximately 54 volunteers. We have three more projects pending. As this ministry grows more people will be impacted up close. After returning from several trips to the Gulf Coast for disaster relief, I felt we needed to continue that spirit of helping people in need locally.
It is a great feeling to see 18 men come together to serve and help on a project like this. A huge thank you goes out to Keim Lumber for allowing us the use of their Boom truck. Marvin Yoder operated the Boom and did a great job. Dave Marzilli brought his Bob Cat and Frank Myers let us use his dump truck. Other guys brought their own tools and we all worked together to get it done.
A special thanks goes out to Bob Barbee who has been the point person on most of these projects. He is using his gifts and talents to help people with home improvements. Butch Price has also been very involved. Thanks a bunch guys!
Here are some pictures from Saturday!
Today I spent time talking with four different men about marriage and relationship problems. All of these guys are struggling with their marriages. One just finalized his divorce, another has a divorce pending and the other two are trying to make it work.
Why is marriage so hard? I know there are many more out there that are having significant problems in their marriage. The statistics show that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. It really doesn’t make much difference if you are a Christian or not. The rate of divorce is just as high.
So what is going on and how can you divorce proof your marriage?
Here are a few free thoughts:
* Start with a good foundation. Couples that go through a pre-marital mentoring program reduce their risk of divorce by nearly 75%. A good mentoring program will help to bring to the surface issues that you have not talked about or that you are in disagreement over. It allows you to think about and talk about these differences before you get married. It helps you to understand what it takes to make a marriage work by spending time with a healthy married couple. It is life buying insurance for your marriage.
* If your already married and having some difficulties, invest in your marriage. We spend a lot of money on our homes, cars, clothes and other stuff. Why not spend some money on your marriage. Some ways to do that are going to a marriage retreat or seminar (Married Life Live is coming October 27th at NewPointe), you can buy a book on marriage and read it together, you can go see a Christian counselor, you can buy Cd’s or DVDs about marriage. My point is that you need to invest time and money, if you want your marriage to improve.
* Get involved in a small group. Life change happens best in a small group environment. Find a group of other couples that you can connect with, pray with and learn from. You could also do a women’s group or men’s group to build friendships and have some accountability. When we are struggling we often think we are the only ones and we tend to isolate ourselves. In a small group you soon find out that no one has it all together. You can encourage each other and care for each other.
* The most significant thing you can do to divorce proof your marriage is to pray together. The statics show that couples that pray together on a regular basis reduce their risk of divorce by over 90%. Wow, I learned that from a DVD training I have been studying and it really blew me away. Most Christain couples do not pray together. When you pray with each other it builds spiritual intimacy and helps you become one flesh.
How do you start praying together? One simple thing you can do is to hold hands and pray silently for each other or for whatever is going on in your lives and then squeeze each others hand when you are done. Simple, safe and a great way to strengthen your marriage.
* Another simple and effective way to improve your marriage is to read the book of Proverbs together. Read one chapter a day for 31 days and meet to talk about what you are reading either every day or at least every three days. If you do that diligently you will see a drastic improvement in your marriage.
If you work as hard on your marriage relationship as you do your work or hobbies you will see significant improvement in a short period of time.