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Two Ears Walk into a Church | Classics Series

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The following blog is the newest installment in our Classics Serieswhere we revisit posts from days gone by. This blog was originally posted in September of 2018

They both went to Pierced Church, but over time they learned to listen differently to the sermon. One ear, trained on sitcoms and sound bytes, rarely ever got what the talking ear behind the pulpit was saying. He preferred brief, inspirational talks sprinkled
with good jokes. The other ear, however, knew that the message from God’s word was relevant to her. She knew that what she was listening to every Sunday was the most important message she heard all week--as if God himself were talking.

Christianity is a message-driven, communicative faith and the foundation for belief is built on words and ideas formed by a non-ignorable Author. Thus, it requires listening, a certain amount of literacy, and a response.

Christopher Ash has written a practical little guide to listen well to sermons called Listen Up! Ash serves up several ingredients for healthy sermon listening, and I follow with some commentary:

1) Expect God to speak | Prepare yourself on Saturday evening and Sunday morning in prayer and consider meditating on the sermon text if you know it ahead of time. 

2) Admit God knows better than you | This mindset of humility will make you tender to not only hear the Word but also do something with it.

3) Check what the preacher says with what the passage says | Does the main point of the preacher’s sermon reflect the main point of the biblical text? This kind of analytical listening starts with Bible open, head down and ears perked.

4) Participate in the church gathering week by week | Hear sermons with God’s people as opposed to replacing attendance with listening to podcasts or TV/radio preachers. Christianity is not a private affair that is between just you and the Lord. The local church is a learning community. So, go to lunch with friends and talk about how to apply the sermon to your lives this week. Pray with each other asking God to empower you to change.

5) Do what the Bible says today— and rejoice! The local church is also a ‘doing’ community. James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”


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Viewing our Money Christianly | Classics Series

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The following blog is the newest installment in our Classics Serieswhere we revisit posts from days gone by. This blog was originally posted in September of 2018

I caught myself thinking recently: “I wish I were rich so I could give most of it away.” Hopefully, this mindset is a response to the kind of generosity lavished upon me by God through his Son. The one flaw in my thought, however, was this: ‘who says you have to be rich to give your stuff away’? By global standards, we’re amongst the more wealthy in the world. Two Scriptural examples of generosity with money stunningly are poor people. Luke 21:1-4 is the first:

“[Jesus] looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. “I tell you the truth,” He said. “This poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 is the second example:
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God granted to the churches of Macedonia: During a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity. I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability, they begged us insistently for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints...”

God’s generosity in the gospel to me through Christ ought to motivate me to be generous with my resources. I just finished Randy Alcorn’s short book The Treasure Principle, and it has excited me about becoming a more generous giver to God’s work and the needy. Here are the six “Treasure Principle Keys” that Alcorn sets forth:

1)  God owns everything. I’m his money manager.
2)  My heart always goes where I put God’s money.
3)  Heaven, not earth, is my home.
4)  I should live not for the dot but for the line. From the dot—our present life on earth—extends a line that goes on forever, which is eternity in heaven.
5)  Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
6)  God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.
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