“I believe God will meet all my needs. But, I’m not sure he’ll meet all my needs. That’s my fear.”
My wife, Susan, and I recently attended a weekend retreat sponsored by Generous Giving, a ministry that encourages thoughtful, biblical generosity. So, here we were sitting around a huge stone fireplace in a Christian camp lodge, with seven Christian couples, most of whom were strangers, talking about stewardship.
My first observation is that it’s often easier to talk to strangers about this topic than our friends. With strangers, we can read what the Bible says and nod our heads in agreement – safe, knowing full well, they don’t have a clue as to how we really live – what we’re really like.
But, thanks to our moderator, the minute that statement made at the beginning of this blog was thrown out, everyone nodded silently. We had found common ground! There are people who truly lack food and shelter, the basic needs of life, but not this group! All our needs have been met. But, in that statement we immediately recognized that our hearts have slowly morphed so that many of our “wants” have now become our “needs”!
Why is that? Why have we let our wants so shape our happiness? I John 2:15-16 lays it out. “Do not love the world or anything in the world.If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world.” I John 2:15-16
John knew what we all know; most of us are content with what we have, until we see something nicer. Then mysteriously, what we have, instantly feels dated and second rate.
Here’s a truth you can take to the bank; “You can’t become content by getting what you want, you’ll just want more.” Discontentment is an addiction than can only be broken, like other addictions, by an intentional effort to understand the problem, and asking the Holy Spirit for the will to stop! (more…)
(The Grand Story) of the Bible
The Bible is far more than a compilation of true stories about people and nations existing long ago. The Bible itself is one amazing story. It’s the story God is telling about himself and the people and world he created. It’s not only a story of history, it’s a story about what he’s doing today and what he expects of every person on earth, in general, and all those who call themselves Christians, in particular. Without understanding this larger story of his incredible love for the world and his plans to bring peace on earth once again, the small stories don’t always make much sense. The Bible, made up of 66 books written by men but inspired by God, can be overwhelming to people investigating Christianity. To get a better feel for this grand story, or the meta-narrative of the Bible, I’ve summarized the Bible in less than 2,000 words — a kind of Cliff’s Notes of the Bible. Even though I had to leave out massive portions of this incredible book, I hope you’ll get a feel for the heart of God and the love of God for humans who he uniquely created in his image. Finally, I hope you’ll see yourself in this story. Whether you’re searching for God or trying to find your way back to him, God desperately wants you to be part of his story and his life — forever. Please just sit back and enjoy the story of God. (more…)
Have you ever noticed that almost all the great stories follow the same story line?
Once upon a time, things were good and then something awful happens when someone, or something evil, destroys the good life people once had. A hero then rises up, risks or sacrifices his or her own life, destroys the villain, rescues the situation, sets things right again, good triumphing over evil and they all live happily ever after. Think about it! From childhood fairy tales, like The Big, Bad Wolf, to The Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart, LeMiserables, Titanic, Star Wars, Gladiator and Lord of the Rings, this story line holds. Why do you think this is?
It’s because all these stories borrow their power from the Grand Story woven into the fabric of our being. It’s part of our spiritual DNA! We were created in the image of God and every person no matter how far they’ve wandered from God knows that something is terribly wrong with this world. We’re frightened and we long for someone or something to rescue us and make things right again. We even dream of being heroes ourselves, rescuing others from injustice and evil.
This is the story line which runs through the Bible from beginning to end and it’s the story line of a biblical worldview. I’m thankful to John Eldridge in his wonderful book, The Epic, for introducing me to these illustrations of how to think of, the story of God in scripture. It’s a great way to introduce those you’re mentoring or your own children or grandchildren to the story of God. (more…)
For years when asked about books I recommend on marriage, I referred to two that have most impacted Susan and me, Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerich and The Five Love Languages, by Chapman. I now have a third book, the Meaning of Marriage, by Tim Keller. My wife, Susan, suggested I read Keller’s book while we were on vacation awhile back, and like most husbands, I groaned inwardly. I just wanted to veg, not read another marriage book and then have to talk about it on vacation!
But, I read it and loved it! It’s not your typical “how to” book. It’s an honest book about why marriage can be so difficult and at the same time the most rewarding of all human relationships. So, rather than talk about the book further, I’m offering you a few of my favorite quotes in the hopes you’ll get a copy of your own. Enjoy! (more…)