Tornadoes in Joplin, and a Loving God

I have friends in Joplin, Missouri, but I’m one of the lucky ones. My friends survived. Two of them lost their home. Another was at his church on Sunday night, and the church was close to the path of the EF5 twister which ravaged a city of 50,000, but it missed them by a few blocks.  Unfortunately, one friend of mine did lose her grandfather in the storm, and some friends of friends were killed as well.  One died while heroically trying to save someone else.  Stories and memories that will live on with us.

Facebook helped many of us keep tabs on each other and when cell phones occasionally worked, we contacted each other that way, too. It’s not my first experience with feeling close to an EF5. I received my last tetanus shot on the sidewalk in Greensburg, Kansas courtesy of a friendly lady from the Red Cross. I believe Greensburg was the last EF5 to hit before this year although I might be wrong. I’ve read that generally those monsters develop and touch down about once every four years. With four EF5 tornadoes this year alone, we’re definitely above the average. The crazy weather combined with all the other disasters and unrest around the world has people talking about Bible Prophecy, but sometimes the questions are more personal.

Why would God allow a high school senior returning from a graduation ceremony to get sucked out of the sunroof of his SUV where he was riding with his father? Why didn’t God miraculously keep him from being hurt like God kept others safe? Why didn’t God at least let the family find him after it happened?  It took days to discover his body in a pond.  Another 15-month old was found at a morgue.  Many other bodies took weeks to identify and families had to wait those weeks to officially discover a loved one’s fate.  Quite often, the happy miraculous ending we would hope for, didn’t happen.
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Sermon on Tithing/Giving

Mar 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mar 10:22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
-Mark 10:23

It’s amazing how little solid teaching is done on the idea of giving and tithing. When I speak of solid teaching, I mean teaching that includes all the principles of the entire Bible, not just part of it. At fault seems to be a focus on me, myself and I. What am I going to get out of it?

Well, what are you going to get if you tithe? Some would say more than you give. In fact, if you give 10%, the Lord will repay you 20% or more… If you sow sparingly, you reap sparingly, and if you sow generously, you will reap generously. So says I Corinthians 9:6, and it’s even better in the book of Malachi. There the Bible says,

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” – Malachi 3:10

How can you argue with that? Continue reading

Life180

Life180Life180 is a ministry we have just started, where we ask people to take 180 minutes of a Saturday, and give people in our community some help. Obviously, it’s also about helping people turn a 180 and begin to follow Christ. So we help out and we share our faith. It might be cleaning up a yard, washing a house, doing almost any sort of work for them. We don’t provide money, just a helping hand for anyone in the community who needs it -the elderly, the poor, people in bad health, anyone. We “officially” set these work Saturdays aside in the church calendar, although occasionally an emergency might arise which causes us to move the day up, or have an impromptu Life180 project.

I’m not trying to brag, I just want you to get a glimpse of what Church is supposed to be about and hopefully one of our ideas might be useful to you in your church. Continue reading