Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ONE VOICE: 10,000 Reasons

The Song:
Have you noticed the best new worship songs tend to be ones that ring with familiarity?  Almost like you’ve sung those words before… I think that’s because there are threads of beautiful truths that have spanned the years of God-worship from Moses’ song in the wilderness, to the Psalms of David, to the heavenly songs recorded in Revelation, to the songs of the Church since the apostles.  These same themes have been expressed in countless languages, melodies and styles. And the best new songs of today find fresh, creative ways of expressing the same timeless worship themes.

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman is that sort of song for me.  As I sing it, there are lines that remind me of old hymns like Amazing Grace and there are lines that take me back to the kinds of psalms King David liked to write. There’s a certain richness to it.  A richness that can only come from singing about 10,000 reasons that stretch back & forth for a 1,000 generations. I look forward to “blessing the Lord” again with you this week (what an incredible thought that we even can bless God!).

Find It:
CLICK HERE to download this song from iTunes.

Lifting my voice with yours, Pastor Neil

Friday, January 25, 2013

Week 3, Day 5

Hi friends,

Yesterday we talked about King David and how he went above and beyond giving what was required of him.  That is generosity.  Today we take a glance at the end of David's life.  Just a quick background to the story:  The Ark of the Covenant was a sacred box that the Israelites built on their way to the promised land from Egypt.  This box held the 10 Commandments and various other items.  When the Israelites would travel the Ark of the Covenant would lead the way.  When the Israelites would camp for the night, week, or month, they would set up a temporary shelter for the Ark called the Tabernacle.  It was said that God himself would dwell in the middle of that Tabernacle along with the Ark of the Covenant.  It was where God lived.  When David became King (and before his reign), he witnessed the vulnerability of the Ark being held in a temporary shelter.  It was stolen in battle several times.  So finally at the end of David's life he decides it is time for a more permanent home.  David decides to start collecting money to build what we know as the Temple.  This is where we pick up the story in 1 Chronicles 29:1-5:

Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord God. With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God—gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise,[a] stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble—all of these in large quantities. Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple: three thousand talents[b] of gold (gold of Ophir) and seven thousand talents[c] of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings, for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the craftsmen. Now, who is willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord today?”

You see, not only did David go about collecting funds from the National Treasury to build this temple, in verse three he tells us that he has opened up his personal treasury "over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple".  I believe there are times, when God's vision is set so clearly before us, that we will be compelled to personally open up and give abundantly from our own personal treasuries…above everything else we have already provided.

But what happens when we do not have any personal treasuries to give from?

Join us on Sunday Morning at 10:00am to find out.

This week…continue to be generous,

Pastor Jon

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Week 3, Day 4

I love the Old Testament!  Well most parts anyways.  It is full of the histories of God's people and the nation of Israel.  In this section of the Bible there are wars, love stories, famines, times of abundance, blind faith, miracles, people who obey, people who do not obey, and so much more.  
I'm speaking on Generosity this Sunday and I have come across some "bonus" material in the Old Testament that I would like to include Sunday but unfortunately, will not fit into my allotted time slot.  However, fortunately, God has blessed us with email/facebook/internet access and so, here is the bonus coverage.   

I love any story that is King David related.  This story is found in the book of 1st Chronicles.  David, as you may know, is revealed to us in Scriptures as "the man after God's own heart".  However, at this particular time in David's life, he has just committed a humungous sin.  He disobeyed God.  You can check out the entire story found in 1 Chronicles 21.  However for time sake, we will take a glance at the end of the story.  The part where David is seeking forgiveness.  We will pick up the story at verse 18:

18 Then the angel of the Lord told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him through Gad.20 Araunah, who was busy threshing wheat at the time, turned and saw the angel there. His four sons, who were with him, ran away and hid. 21 When Araunah saw David approaching, he left his threshing floor and bowed before David with his face to the ground.
22 David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.”
23 “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.”
24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” 25 So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold[b] in payment for the threshing floor.
26 David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the Lord answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. 27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath.
28 When David saw that the Lord had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah’s threshing floor. 

Did you catch it?  Read verse 24 again.  David could have used his status as King to accept something that was free and then present it to the Lord.  This sacrifice then would have cost him nothing.  But he was asked to make a sacrifice to the Lord by an Angel so this would be more out of obligation then generosity right?  Yes, however, in verse 28 we see that David continues to sacrifice beyond the requirement.  I believe we have a tendency to become ritualistic.  We come to church every week, give the same "tithe" every week, and we lose something along the way.  We have a tendency to forget what we have been rescued from.  We forget what we have been forgiven of.  We forget that our offerings and tithes are not a requirement but a response to the goodness of God.

Tomorrow, we will find David at the end of his life and see if he remembers God's goodness.

This week…continue to be generous,

Pastor Jon

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Week 3, Day 3

Hi Friends,

Yesterday I wrote to you about how I thought God was messing with me.  On Monday, He interrupted my day so I could be reminded that generosity is more than just finances.  Yesterday, as I was beginning to write my thoughts, a missions organization rep and volunteer showed up at the church and knocked on the door.  They reminded me of the generosity of the Springfield churches.  How homes, churches, and businesses had been built in Nicaragua by some very generous people.  They even talked about how different churches from our city had been able to financially support students in Nicaragua so they could graduate from High School and then provided micro-loans to assist them in starting small businesses.  They were excited to hear about LifeQuest's involvement in organizations such as "Friends against Hunger", "Compassion International", and "Avant Ministries".  It is in moments like this where I am reminded that God's people were created to be generous.  If you look at the second chapter of ACTS you will see how the first Church displayed a generous heart by sharing everything they had with one another.  I believe God wanted to remind me (and this is me reminding you) that we are in this together.  There are other organizations and churches out there that have a generous heart.  Sometimes we get in a funk and think that we are all alone in this fight, but we are not.  God has some great troops stationed along with us in Springfield and all through out the world.

This week…be generous,

Pastor Jon

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Week 3, Day 2

It appears that God is messing with me. I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but it is happening to me right now. Yesterday, I challenged you to be generous. It is apparent that God is challenging me this week to be generous. We are in the middle of a series called "Honor$" here at LifeQuest Church. We have been challenged to; honor God with our finances, trust God with our finances, get out of debt, and this week we will be talking about being generous.

Yesterday, as soon as I finished sending you all an email about being generous, my phone in my office rang. It was a family that needed someone to be generous with their time and vehicle. It seems this always happens on a week when my to-do list is about sixty pages long. I know God wants me to trust Him in all areas of my life, even if it means being inconvenienced. I knew God wanted me to be generous with my time yesterday because there is a secret about pastors: God typically makes us practice what we preach. So I obeyed. Believe it or not, as I was getting ready to start this email there was a knock on my door. I'll fill you in on that conversation tomorrow.

This week…be generous,

Pastor Jon

Week 3, day 1

Hi Friends,

This week at LifeQuest Church we will be continuing our series on Honoring God with our Finances.  Our verse for the week is 2nd Corinthians 9:6-7.  It says "Remember this--a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop.  But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.  You must each decide in your heart how much to give.  And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. 'For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.'"  If you'd like to take an additional journey this week, I'm hoping to send out a few "primer" emails to get us warmed up for Sunday's message on generosity (notice I didn't say TITHING!!!)  That message comes later in the series.  Today if you have 4 extra minutes I'd like for you to watch this music video by Audio Adrenaline called "Kings and Queens".  I was listening to this song on the radio the other day and the bridge of this song caught my attention.  It says:

"If not us who will be like Jesus
To the least of these
If not us tell me who will be like Jesus
Like Jesus to the least of these"

I pray that God will soften your heart and my heart to bring hope to the least of these.  Please watch the video by clicking on the links on this page.

This week…be generous…

Pastor Jon