Archives For Greed


Lesson #2 – Why should we even bother celebrating it?

INTRODUCTION

I am big on visual illustrations and movies and such so that is why I use a lot of videos.  I think you will enjoy this one.

ASK…

What were your reactions to the video?
How did it change your perception on how we should approach the holidays? 

BODY

ASK…

DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FOR CHRISTIANS TO CELEBRATE THIS TIME OF YEAR? 

SAY…

For some it is a waste of time to think about religious seasons like Advent, Lent and others.  They point to verses like Colossians 2:16-17 saying religious days should not be recognized.  Actually the verses point to religious days as being a REQUIREMENT for spiritual growth.  We shouldn’t require people to observe it but we should also not say that it is pagan or evil to observe the days.

ASK…

WHAT ARE SOME REASONS YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE CELEBRATE THIS SEASON?

SAY…

Below are some reasons I think we should celebrate Advent or Christmas (or the holidays if you can;t bring yourself to say those two).  [I am not going to expound much on these as I wanted to give you just a raw outline]

  1. Because everyone else is talking about it.  Good or bad people are talking about gifts, vacation and this is the one time many people will cross the threshold of a church auditorium.  To not talk about the birth of Jesus, the point of advent and the hope of mankind is, at best, awkward.  Imagine you never go to a church and you decide to pick the local church of Christ to attend Sunday morning Christmas worship.  You listen to the songs and they sing Blues Skies and Rainbows, The Old Rugged Cross, Each Day I’ll Do and you think, “What is going on here?”  Then you the preacher gets up and you think, “Well this will be better as he will talk about Jesus.”  But he delivers a sermon on premillenialism and never mentions Jesus.  Was that ok?  Sure.  Did they do things biblically?  Absolutely.  Dis they miss an opportunity?  You better believe it.  This is an opportunity to make sure the right story is told.  They hear stories of consumerism, selfishness, and gluttony why not correct that with the real story of Jesus?
  2. It allows us to see how God redeemed mankind, and how he will eventually redeem the church.  God created everything good (Gen. 1) but eventually mankind encountered the Fall (Gen. 3) but God established his covenant with his people (Gen. 9, 12; Exodus 20, et al) and assured the people that eventually the Messiah would come to redeem the people from their oppressive state.  Jesus came to save mankind from their fallen state and died on the cross for our sins.  To participate in the saving act of Christ we become disciples of the church through faith, grace and baptism.  God has promised (Rev. 21-22) a particular time where he will redeem the church and we will live with him forever.  The first coming was the birth of Jesus and the second coming will be his return.
  3. It places perspective on what our weaknesses truly are.  Last lesson we learned about what Christmas really has become: a consumerist buffet for getting things we really do not need.  We as an American people struggle immensely with greed which, ironically, was something Jesus did not come for.  He came to free the captives and proclaim the favorable year of the Lord (Isa. 61:1-2) yet we proclaim it the year of the iPad, the PS3, the cool outfit, or insert whatever you have desired.  Advent forces us to focus on THE reason for Christmas: Jesus Christ.  Not just Jesus in a Let’s-sing-sappy-songs-about-Jesus-and-feel-all-warm-and-fuzzy-inside kind of way but a Jesus is going to come again so you better be ready kind of way.  That’s perspective.
  4. It gives us an evangelistic (missional) thrust with a sense of urgency.  My good friend Rusty Pettus is doing a series of lessons called, “Telling Your Friends About Jesus” where he is taking advantage of the season to help his students talk to others about Jesus.  Great time to do this as it gives us a sense of preparation and urgency.  Right now!

CONCLUSION:

Again….another video.

 


I went into my room last night and saw a small cassette tape on the table.  We are long past the age of cassette tapes so I was curious about this and I picked up and noticed that it was a sermon I preached while I was an intern at Washington Avenue church of Christ in the summer of 2002.  I came to the church building this morning and searched for a cassette player and as I am typing this I am listening to my sermon entitled, “The Christian Soldier.”  It is a humbling task listening to the way I preached years ago because I thought I was a good preacher back then.  Some of the phrases I used and the theology I purported I think to myself, “How could I have been that naive?”  I even preached from the King James Version of Scripture!!!  I write this to you because it is not a bad thing to look at the skeletons in our closet. 

  • Looking at our past helps to shape us.
  • Looking at our past helps to comfort us and how far we have grown.
  • Looking at our past helps to center us if we have fallen. 

So what skeletons do you need to look at and get rid of in your closet?  What are those pet sins you have that keep you from a relationship with God?  So often we do not look at what’s deep in our hearts because we are scared at what we might find.  If we are scared to look at what’s inside then that should be a pause for concern.  A problem neglected is a spiritual life infected.  Think about that…I just made it up :).  A problem neglected is a spiritual life infected.  If I have a mold problem in my foundation neglecting it does not change it but actually the problem gets worse. 

So open your closet door, and get the skeletons out.  In honor of the KJV and my sermon…

“Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matt. 15:17-20). 

Greed – A Confession

January 5, 2010 — 2 Comments

Man with Stack of DonutsI am writing this as a semi-confession.  I want to admit that I am a greedy person.  I know that as a minister of the gospel (at-least a paid one) I am held to a higher standard than most people and that it is important that I set the bar higher than most people.  So that is exactly what I am doing.  I want to start 2010 off admitting what most ministers are afraid to do.  I am greedy. 

Of course, we are all greedy to a certain extent aren’t we?  I estimate that deep down in your heart as you are reading this there is probably a list somewhere that you have of things you either want and don’t have or have and don’t want.  Admit it!  I have been looking at some statistics and noticed that “according to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty.  And they ‘die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death'” (Source).  Yet, I am going to go home today to a house that has central heating and air and I am going to watch TV on a 37-inch flat screen and then maybe play on my Playstation 3 later at night when the kids go to bed.  To top that off there is something inside of me that wants a bigger house with more bedrooms and bathrooms. 

I think this is a good time to confess what is painfully obvious to God yet purposefully opaque to me: I am greedy.  Perhaps 2010 will be known for a lot of things.  One person will lose 40 lbs and another will run in a marathon.  A lot of people will quit smoking and some people will reunite with loved ones.  One person may vow to go home early to be with his kids and another will stop spending so much time traveling so that she can be with her husband more.  not for me.  2010 will be the year I consciously confess my greed and take the necessary steps to subdue, subvert and destroy it!  Like any commitment this takes time and is not done overnight.  But it will be done. 

A word from God:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matt. 6:25-34). 

So may you seek God as well and may you admit the idolatry of greed and realize God has given you, me and us everything we need.