Devotions

God or Money #2 – Money, Money, Money

God or Money #2 – Money, Money, Money
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

Our world revolves around the all mighty dollar. Our culture is constructed in a way that to survive a person must make money and spend money. Every day we are inundated with advertisements trying to get us to spend our money on their products. It is impossible to even drive to work without seeing billboards or signs begging us to spend our money. When kids go to college, many times they are encouraged to pick a major that has the highest earning potential. At times, it can seem like every decision we make in our life ultimately revolves around money. With this being the world that we live in, it can be easy to lose focus of what is most important. Scripture warns us of the dangers of money.

1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.”

First, let us clear something up that money is not inherently evil! When we look throughout Scriptures, there are many examples of people who were blessed with immense wealth. The money is not the issue; it is the heart behind the money that needs to be kept in check. When we love money more than we love God, we are in serious trouble. Christ needs to always be our primary focus.  He needs to be the one that we are relying on for our needs. The question becomes, is our master God or money? It takes some serious reflection to figure out the answer to this question. For those of you who have been blessed financially, make sure you are using that blessing to honor God. I was very lucky to grow up in a family that was blessed financially, and my parents were always using what God had given them to bless other people. We constantly hosted church events in our home, and they were always looking for ways to use what God had given them to bless others. If God is truly our master and not money, we will use what God has given us to His glory. When we love money that is when sin and destruction can enter our lives. One of the simplest ways to show God that He is our master, and not money, is by tithing to the church. This simple act shows the Lord that we understand everything we have came from Him and already belongs to Him. Each and every day we need to rely on the Lord for our provision, with the understanding that EVERYTHING we have has been provided by God. Let us love Christ above all, and use the material possessions that He has given us for the glory of God 

God or Money #1 – U-Haul behind a Hearse

God or Money #1 – U-Haul behind a Hearse
Ken Perry | Assistant to the Reach Pastor

There is an old bumper sticker that says “He who dies with the most toys wins,” but have you ever seen a funeral procession followed by a trailer full of the deceased person’s stuff?  The culture we live in is, by and large, consumed by money and the accumulation of stuff. If one car is good, two must be better. The 50-inch plasma screen is no longer sufficient for the Xbox, Nintendo, or Wii, better get the 70-inch HD LED. Keeping up with the Jones’ has become a very costly endeavor. The facade of wealth lays just in front of the cracked veneer we have created and allowing it to crumble would cost us what… friendships, status, position?

One of the most misquoted verses in the Bible is 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. This verse is often quoted as “Money is the root of all evil.” While that may be popular, it is certainly wrong. The Bible never declares that money is evil; in fact, there are many verses that extol the benefits of money. Psalm 112:3 when speaking of the man who fears the Lord says that “wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.” Genesis 13:2 tells us that Abraham was “very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.” Even wise Solomon, who asked for wisdom instead of riches, was blessed by God with riches that “surpassed all the kings of the earth” (1 Kings 10:23).  God often blesses those who seek Him first. It shows Him what position He has in their lives. (Let me pause for a second to say that if you are struggling with finances, it does not mean you have placed God in an inferior position in your life. Please refer back to our devotion series on trials and what they are meant to produce in us.)

The real issue here is whether you have things; or rather do your things have you? Matthew 6:24 tells us, “No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Notice what the verse does not say.  It does not say if you are super spiritual, go to church three days a week, and memorize the Bible backward you might be able to serve both. In 25 versions of this passage, it is very clear; you CANNOT serve God and money.

Matthew 6 19-21 gives us a clear picture of what our motivation should be, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Quite simply, money is a tool. It is neither good nor bad. The same dollar can be used to buy illegal drugs, or it can be used to build an orphanage. It all depends on the heart of the user.

Let me refer to the top paragraph. I am not saying that if you have those things, you are doing something wrong. Remember we have a good Father in Heaven that loves to bless His children. I am saying, however, that if the motivation behind the money is to have more stuff, then we should really consider where our heart and treasure really are. Are you trying to serve two masters? Joshua said it best, “Choose this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” God is ultimately interested in the position of our heart, not in the thickness of our pocketbook.

Christ #7 – Three Words that Changed the World

Christ #7 – Three Words that Changed the World
Ken Perry | Assistant to the Reach Pastor

Extra, Extra, Read all about it! King of the Jews’ tomb is empty!!!

That would have been the shouted headline of the day if papyrus boys existed in the first century. The town would have been buzzing with the news of Jesus’ resurrection. The truth, though, is that the rulers did not want the news to get out. They knew what Jesus predicted His death, burial, and resurrection and in Matthew 27:62-64 we read of the religious rulers asking Pontius Pilate to have the tomb sealed to prevent that from happening. Silly boys, they did not know that death could not hold Him, and no grave could contain Him.

Modern day Christian congregations around the globe repeat these three words every Easter Sunday…HE IS RISEN!  Which is followed by the familiar retort of “He is risen indeed.” As if saying these words is a secret password whispered to each other in passing.  The simple fact is that no three words have ever changed the world like these have, and we should be shouting them from the hilltops every day.

Central to our Christian faith is Jesus dying on a cross and being buried in a borrowed tomb, yet crucial to our faith is the belief in His resurrection three days later. If Christ did not rise from the grave, then our faith is in vain. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 (NLT), “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.”

Hebrews 12:2b (NLT) says that we are the joy for which Christ went to the cross and that He is NOW seated at the right hand of God. Notice the present tense. He is still there ever interceding on our behalf.  We have the hope of Heaven because of the resurrection. We have the hope that we will see our believing loved ones again because Jesus rose from the dead. We live a life, according to Scripture, to the best of our ability because we know there is a God in heaven who loves us and we cannot wait to see Him. All of this and more were made possible by the Father sending His Son to earth to pay the penalty for our sin. He gave everything to a people that can give nothing in return. The words of Elvina Hall echo in my ear. She wrote, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

Oh Christian, won’t you take time this day and think of the “all” that Jesus paid for you. Think of the immense price of God’s only Son when contrasted by the nothing we have to offer in return. It should bring us to our knees in sorrow, but to our feet in joy for that which awaits us in Heaven because of the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you, Jesus!

Christ #6 – Right in Front of Us

Christ #6 – Right in Front of Us
Noble Baird | Guest Services Director

I love learning, reading, and watching anything that involves history, specifically the Middle Ages and the World Wars. In 1065 AD, we have the beginning of the Crusades. Shortly after this war, we have the beginning of the Knights Templar in 1119. It was a time of “Holy War” in which the Knights Templar carried out the mission that they believed they were called to do, defend the Holy Land. During this time, it was honestly a mess just as any war is. However, one story about the Templars that has always caught my attention is that of the Holy Grail. For centuries, people have made up stories, and some have even taken trips in search of this supposed chalice, which held the blood of Jesus. Now, I do not believe that such a chalice exists, nor do I believe that it holds any sort of mystical power; however, the idea of people being in search of something so desperately that they would dedicate their lives to finding it, and at times even give their lives in search of it, amazes me. Likewise, for hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people were studying and dedicating their lives searching for the Christ, the Messiah that was to come.

Over these past seven weeks, we have been discussing and taking a look at who Jesus is. We began with Him as King and Judge, and then all the way to Him being our Substitute and the Son of God. This week, we are taking a look at Him as Christ. In John 4:25-26, John writes, “The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” I love this passage of Scripture because it is the first recording where Jesus calls Himself Christ. This woman at the well was hurting, searching, and in need. Jesus saw that hurt and gave her hope, and at that moment, the hope which she had been searching for was right in front of her. In the same way, the Jewish rabbis and teachers of the law were waiting and searching for the Messiah. They knew He was promised to come and were looking everywhere for Him. Once He finally came and was right in front of them, they still did not see Him!

As we celebrate this Easter season, do not miss the hope that is right in front of you…Christ the risen Messiah.

Christ #5 – The Back Row

Christ #5 – The Back Row
Pat Macdermaid | Clothing Closet

Matthew 16:15-16
“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”

In the Bible, there are endless verses referring to the name Christ.  The name Christ means “The Anointed One,” “Son of God” and The Messiah.”

This morning as I sat waiting for worship to start, I was looking around at the people taking their seats and still coming in.  It struck me what a group we are, all so different yet so alike.  We are all in need of Christ, the Son of the Living God.

I sit in the back row.  I am a people watcher.  There are people who always come early.  They scan the room looking for the best seat.  There are young families, moms carrying their babies, and dads with little ones by the hand.  I say a prayer for them that all is well.  I notice that some people who come in are walking a little slower these days and look like they are in pain.  I wish I could make it go away.  I see teenage girls giggling together, and I wonder what their world is like for them, so different from the world I grew up in.  I watch as the worship begins, some people bounce to the music as they sing, others raise their hands in surrender to “Christ the King,” and some stand quietly waiting for the singing to end.

As I watch the people, such a feeling of love for every one of them came over me.  I think to myself, “If I can feel love for this room full of people young and old alike and I am just a sinner loving a room full of sinners, how must Christ our Savior love us?”  He let Himself be nailed to a cross so we could become blood-bought children of God.

I can almost see Him sitting in the chair next to mine, checking out His family from the back row.  He can see all of us; we cannot hide anything from Him.  He knows everything there is to know about us.  Maybe as His children, we should try to know everything about Him.



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