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Showing posts from 2017

Verse of the Week

My Aunt Kay Jean suggested I start sharing a verse of the day.  I liked her suggestion but decided instead of a verse of the day, I would share a verse of the week.  Be reminded of who God is from His Word.

3 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.”4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Mos…

Kid Book Friday

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Over the last several months, I have been sharing new books that I have received.  Starting today on Fridays, I will now be sharing some of my favorite kid's books.  Enjoy!

Gospel Playlist

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This is a new feature replacing "Playing on the Radio", but will be similar because it will include music.  I will be sharing songs from my "Gospel Playlist" on my phone.

The gospel is good news.  It reminds us what Christ has DONE for us.  As I share, I hope it will be an encouragement to you today. 

Song today is: Good, Good Father by Housefires

You Are Not Condemned

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1)

What does it mean to be "in Christ"?

For 2017, the phrase I am focusing on is "in Christ."  Each week, I will post 1 verse that includes the phrase "in Christ". I look forward to growing in understanding of what it means to be "in Christ."
5 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justifiedby the law; you have fallen away from grace.5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:1-6)

Names of God: Helper

We often forget.  We see throughout history the Israelites and the church forgetting. We need to be reminded often of who God is in Scripture, church history and in our lives and churches.
The names of God are important because these names are not just what God does, it is who He is.  I hope this will encourage you as you are reminded of how good, great, and awesome our God is.

Helper Jesus tells his disciples that He will ask the Father to send a "paraclete" which can be translated as a helper, counselor, comforter, or advocate.  Here is one of the definitions from Blue Letter Bible:  one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,to be with you forever, (John 14:16)
What it reminds me?  This name for the Holy Spirit reminds us that He is our helper or counselor or advocate.  When we are afraid and don't know what to do, we have the Paraclete on …

Happy Father's Day!

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Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.  I am thankful for the fathers in my life.

Bethany's dad (on the right) has been a great provider for their family.  If there is something broken (car, house, etc.), Steve can fix it.  He is a generous man who loves his family.

My dad (on the left) taught me about hard work.  Since he owned a business, he had to work long hours. He was a great athlete and loved to teach others about sports.  He has always supported me and provided for our family.

And I'm thankful to be these kids' dad. 

Have a great Father's Day!

Tweets and more tweets

Here are some of my favorite tweets from the last few weeks.  This is one of the blessings of social media where we can hear the gospel from people all over the world. If you like the tweet, go and follow the person on Twitter. 
From the way you talk about your faith, do people get the impression that Jesus is great, or that you are? @jaredcwilson  The only real comfort from and silencer of shame is what the King of Creation says about me. @ScottyWardSmith Jesus died for your sins...including your cold & distant heart towards Him. We need grace to bring us home, not law. Unconditional grace! @jonmoffitt What draws people to Christ aren't your multitudinous rules & straitlaced life but the 1 way love of Jesus who loves to save/welcome sinners @DrSteveWBrown None of our efforts at obedience or morality can make us more saved, holy, or fit for Heaven, or complete than we already are in Christ.-OW @thejesslou Sanctification is God's work. He changes us as we fix our eyes o…

Kid Book Friday

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Over the last several months, I have been sharing new books that I have received.  Starting today on Fridays, I will now be sharing some of my favorite kid's books.  Enjoy!

Verse of the Week

My Aunt Kay Jean suggested I start sharing a verse of the day.  I liked her suggestion but decided instead of a verse of the day, I would share a verse of the week.  Be reminded of who God is from His Word.
15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continuechildless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own sonshall be your heir.”5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:1-6)

Gospel Playlist

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This is a new feature replacing "Playing on the Radio", but will be similar because it will include music.  I will be sharing songs from my "Gospel Playlist" on my phone.

The gospel is good news.  It reminds us what Christ has DONE for us.  As I share, I hope it will be an encouragement to you today. 

Song today is: God With Us by All Sons and Daughters

Happy Anniversary, Bethany!

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Today is my 19th wedding anniversary.  I am so thankful that Bethany said yes two decades ago.  I love her more today than I did 19 years ago when I said, "I Do."  Since then we have lived in three cities and 6 different apartments/homes and have added 4 kids.  She truly is a blessing to me in so many ways!

Happy Anniversary, Beautiful! Now, enjoy some of my favorite photos of us!







You Are New

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Let's Get To The Root

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This post originally appeared at www.1corinthians13parenting.com/blog on November 5, 2014. As I watch the news and listen to people’s opinions about what is wrong in the world, I can become discouraged. Part of my discouragement comes when I see us dealing with symptoms rather than the root.
What do I mean? An example is bullying. This is a real problem. However, will bringing awareness, making posters, role playing, wearing a specific color, or banners on Facebook bring an end to bullying? Maybe. I think we are focusing on the symptom rather than the root.
How can parents help our kids get to the root?
At Hesston MB where I am a pastor, we have a banner that describes the process of discipleship. This process we discovered by reading DiscipleShift by Jim Putman & Bobby William Harrington1. They write, “We see that a disciple is a person who 1. Is following Christ (head), 2. Is being changed by Christ (heart), 3. Is committed to the mission of Christ (hands).”
How does this defini…

Kid Book Friday (a day late)

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Over the last several months, I have been sharing new books that I have received.  Starting today on Fridays, I will now be sharing some of my favorite kid's books.  Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Megan!

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Today is my favorite redheads birthday.  She is 14 today.  If you see her around, wish her a "Happy Birthday!"

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the birthday girl.






Names of God: Friend of Sinners

We often forget.  We see throughout history the Israelites and the church forgetting. We need to be reminded often of who God is in Scripture, church history and in our lives and churches.
The names of God are important because these names are not just what God does, it is who He is.  I hope this will encourage you as you are reminded of how good, great, and awesome our God is.
Friend of Sinners Jesus was accused of being a friend of sinners.  It was intended as an insult. 
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ (Luke 7:34)
What it reminds me?  Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  This includes you and me.  Jesus being a friend of sinners is not just good news for the unsaved but also for the saved.  I'm thankful Jesus who was fully God and fully man has chosen to be in relationship with us even though we sin.  Our sins have been forgiven through Jesus' death on the cross so Jesus is both …

Tweets and more tweets

Here are some of my favorite tweets from the last few weeks.  This is one of the blessings of social media where we can hear the gospel from people all over the world. If you like the tweet, go and follow the person on Twitter. 
In parables, you are looking for the thing that does not belong. Parables are not principles for life. @ByronYawn via @theocast_org From the way you talk about your faith, do people get the impression that Jesus is great, or that you are? @jaredcwilson The only real comfort from and silencer of shame is what the King of Creation says about me. @ScottyWardSmith Sin causes all of us to shrink our worlds down to the claustrophobic confines of our wants, our needs, our feelings.  @PaulTripp "Because the gospel is endlessly rich, it can handle the burden of being the one 'main thing' of a church." - Tim Keller via @jaredcwilson

Verse of the Week

My Aunt Kay Jean suggested I start sharing a verse of the day.  I liked her suggestion but decided instead of a verse of the day, I would share a verse of the week.  Be reminded of who God is from His Word.

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Gospel Playlist

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This is a new feature replacing "Playing on the Radio", but will be similar because it will include music.  I will be sharing songs from my "Gospel Playlist" on my phone.

The gospel is good news.  It reminds us what Christ has DONE for us.  As I share, I hope it will be an encouragement to you today. 

Song today is: God Is Able by Hillsong Worship



You Are A Masterpiece

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

What does it mean to be "in Christ"?

For 2017, the phrase I am focusing on is "in Christ."  Each week, I will post 1 verse that includes the phrase "in Christ". I look forward to growing in understanding of what it means to be "in Christ."

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spiritthrough faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)

Kid Book Friday

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Over the last several months, I have been sharing new books that I have received.  Starting today on Fridays, I will now be sharing some of my favorite kid's books.  Enjoy!

Names of God: Lord

We often forget.  We see throughout history the Israelites and the church forgetting. We need to be reminded often of who God is in Scripture, church history and in our lives and churches.
The names of God are important because these names are not just what God does, it is who He is.  I hope this will encourage you as you are reminded of how good, great, and awesome our God is.
Lord Lord means master or is a title of respect and reverence.
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inChrist Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

What it reminds me?  God is God and I am not.  He is my master and He knows best.  Jesus came as one who served others and we have the privilege of being servants for and with Christ.  When we understand Christ as Lord, we realize He is in control even when life is spinning out of control.

Tweets and more tweets

Here are some of my favorite tweets from the last few weeks.  This is one of the blessings of social media where we can hear the gospel from people all over the world. If you like the tweet, go and follow the person on Twitter. 
Too many of us try to live our Christian faith by focusing on the don'ts. Instead of focusing on the don'ts, focus on the dos. @noeljesse The Holy Spirit begins empowering us to want to love, giving us the ability to love, & causing us to know the love of God. @JustinHolcomb When we try and use fear or pride to stop from sinning, we are forgetting that we sin because of either fear or pride. @timkellernyc via @WhiteHorseInn Moms, be free from performance-based motherhood. Jesus is your righteousness, not your kids' choices, grades, manners, careers, or faith @ScottyWardSmith Corporate worship is meant to remind us that the One who sits on the throne is the definition of power, glory, holiness, wisdom and love. @PaulTripp

Stop and Smell the Roses

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This post originally appeared at 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting.


I don’t know who originally coined the phrase above. But I like it.

The picture attached to this blog post is my youngest daughter, Molly, and me. When she was younger (she is almost 10 now), every time we came near flowers in our yard or at our local arboretum, we would stop to smell the flowers.

Why all the talk about flowers? 

As individuals, spouses, parents, grandparents, we all need perspective. So often we are so busy living our lives that we lose perspective. I discovered that I asked a lot of questions while on sabbatical that I don’t know that I would have asked if I would not have had the break.
It reminds me of Isaiah 55:8-9 which says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God knows what is best for us and can always see the big picture. 

We nee…

Gospel Playlist

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This is a new feature replacing "Playing on the Radio", but will be similar because it will include music.  I will be sharing songs from my "Gospel Playlist" on my phone.

The gospel is good news.  It reminds us what Christ has DONE for us.  As I share, I hope it will be an encouragement to you today. 

Song today is: Forever by Brian Johnson

You Are Loved

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved usand sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

What does it mean to be "in Christ"?

For 2017, the phrase I am focusing on is "in Christ."  Each week, I will post 1 verse that includes the phrase "in Christ". I look forward to growing in understanding of what it means to be "in Christ."
15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;16 yet we know that a person is not justifiedby works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:15-16)

Kid Book Friday

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Over the last several months, I have been sharing new books that I have received.  Starting today on Fridays, I will now be sharing some of my favorite kid's books.  Enjoy!

Names of God: Savior

We often forget.  We see throughout history the Israelites and the church forgetting. We need to be reminded often of who God is in Scripture, church history and in our lives and churches.
The names of God are important because these names are not just what God does, it is who He is.  I hope this will encourage you as you are reminded of how good, great, and awesome our God is.
Savior Savior means one who saves.  It can also be translated deliverer.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:11)

14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (1 John 4:14)
What it reminds me?  Ever since sin entered the world in Genesis, people have been looking for a savior or deliverer.  For many, they saw this person as one who would deliver or save them from the oppressive or corrupt leaders of conquering nations.  However, God had a plan from Genesis 3:15 to send One who would save and deliver his pe…

Tweets and more tweets

Here are some of my favorite tweets from the last few weeks.  This is one of the blessings of social media where we can hear the gospel from people all over the world. If you like the tweet, go and follow the person on Twitter. 
You can't overcome condemnation with sanctification. That's what justification is for. Terry Virgo via @noeljesse “The love of God does not find but creates that which is lovely to it.” ~ Martin Luther via @MichaelHorton_ Jesus is the Suffering Servant who died so that those who trust in Him would be forgiven. #thegospelprojectkids It is the Holy Spirit who moves us beyond mere imitation of Christ into union with Christ. @WhiteHorseInn "But God" Among the most important phrases in the English language and human history. Ephesians 2:1-7 @AlsoACarpenter The prodigal parable isn't about the rebellion of the younger or the rule following of the older but the father's relentless love for both. @MattPopovits

Be A Real Man, Man Up?

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This post originally appeared at 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting.

Man Up!?

Have you heard this phrase before? It is often used in conferences to get guys to “man up”. It is used as a catchy slogan for men’s ministry events. Pastors use it to motivate the guys in their congregations to grow up.
I hate it! Why? Because how we are told to “man up” is based on a particular understanding of what it means to be a man. This often includes eating a lot of meat, bashing cars, shooting things, etc. Also, the motivation is often focused on externals not the heart.
What is a man? Besides the physical characteristics, what qualities make up a man? For many it is strength. What if you are a skinny guy with pea-sized biceps? For others it is leadership. What if you did not have a father (either physically absent or emotionally absent) help you learn how to lead? For others it is doing guy things like eating lots of meat, drinking beer, shooting things, bashing cars, watching sports. Who decided these were…

Gospel Playlist

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This is a new feature replacing "Playing on the Radio", but will be similar because it will include music.  I will be sharing songs from my "Gospel Playlist" on my phone.

The gospel is good news.  It reminds us what Christ has DONE for us.  As I share, I hope it will be an encouragement to you today. 

Song today is: Exhale by Plumb

You Are Holy

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselveswith compassion, kindness, humility,gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

What does it mean to be "in Christ"?

For 2017, the phrase I am focusing on is "in Christ."  Each week, I will post 1 verse that includes the phrase "in Christ". I look forward to growing in understanding of what it means to be "in Christ."
4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (Galatians 2:4-5)

New Book Friday

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Names of God: Messiah

We often forget.  We see throughout history the Israelites and the church forgetting. We need to be reminded often of who God is in Scripture, church history and in our lives and churches.
The names of God are important because these names are not just what God does, it is who He is.  I hope this will encourage you as you are reminded of how good, great, and awesome our God is.

Messiah Messiah is also translated as Christ.  It means anointed one. 
41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). (John 1:41)

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
What it reminds me?  Jesus was sent to rescue His people.  He was set aside for a special purpose for us.  It was a name for Jesus to remind us why He came.

Tweets and more tweets

Here are some of my favorite tweets from the last few weeks.  This is one of the blessings of social media where we can hear the gospel from people all over the world. If you like the tweet, go and follow the person on Twitter. 
The good news is that while I see more & more of my own sinfulness each new day,I also see more & more of God's grace. @elysefitz Beholding his glory not only makes our souls happy, but it is the best and surest way to make our souls holy. @JMellinger "For it is God who works in you..." Philippians 2:12a. God is at work in you and me now. Today. @feastonChrist The Gospel is substitution. The false gospel is contribution. #galatians @pauldunk Grace is a pool where elephants can swim and children can play. Grace isn't just a doctrine; it's a 24-7 context for living. @DrSteveWBrown No matter what grade we'd give ourselves at the end of this day, in Christ, we're 100% beloved, forgiven, righteous, loved and His @ScottyWardSmit…

Gospel Playlist

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This is a new feature replacing "Playing on the Radio", but will be similar because it will include music.  I will be sharing songs from my "Gospel Playlist" on my phone.

The gospel is good news.  It reminds us what Christ has DONE for us.  As I share, I hope it will be an encouragement to you today. 

Song today is: Drops in the Ocean by Hawk Nelson

You are Gifted

We have different gifts,according to the grace given to each of us.” (Romans 12:6)

Happy Mother's Day!

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Today, we celebrate moms. I am thankful for the mothers in my life.  Hopefully, we say "thank you" appreciate, and celebrate moms throughout the year too.

I am thankful for my mother-in-law, Shirley.  She did a great job raising my wife and I have appreciated her through the years of knowing her.  She is generous, caring, and a wonderful "Grammie".


I am also thankful for my mother who taught me about hard work, supported me through the years, loves to give gifts to others, makes me laugh, plans fun trips for the family and is a great wife and grandmother too. 


And last but not least, I am thankful for the mother of my children, Bethany.  What a blessing she is to me!  She has been a great mother all of these years.  I remember hearing about her passion to be a stay-at-home mom in conversations during college.  She served long and exhausting days with our kids while she stayed home and then has also stepped into the role of working mom.  She is selfless, loving, co…

What does it mean to be "in Christ"?

For 2017, the phrase I am focusing on is "in Christ."  Each week, I will post 1 verse that includes the phrase "in Christ". I look forward to growing in understanding of what it means to be "in Christ."
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. (2 Corinthians 12:19)

New Book Friday

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Names of God: I AM the life

We often forget.  We see throughout history the Israelites and the church forgetting. We need to be reminded often of who God is in Scripture, church history and in our lives and churches.
The names of God are important because these names are not just what God does, it is who He is.  I hope this will encourage you as you are reminded of how good, great, and awesome our God is.

I am the life
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
What it reminds me?  Jesus came to bring us life.  In John 10:10, it says He came to bring eternal or abundant life.  This is not just heaven, but life on earth today.  Jesus did not come to make bad people good, but instead dead people alive.  I am thankful for the life I have in Christ and how that changes how I live today.  For more on this topic, check out Matt Heard's book, Life With A Capital L.

Tweets and more tweets

Here are some of my favorite tweets from the last few weeks.  This is one of the blessings of social media where we can hear the gospel from people all over the world. If you like the tweet, go and follow the person on Twitter. 
When I go to church, I need the message of death and resurrection over and over and over. @BlingfortheKing It is not much use if we are experts in identifying sin, only to be novices at applying grace. @JMellinger The theology of the word of God, properly understood, never just defines who God is. It redefines who you are as his children. @PaulTripp I've got to take myself back to the Gospel over & over & over & over again, & I've got to pray "God, help me remember." @ElyseFitz Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection is the center of the gospel. We deserve to die, but Jesus died in our place. #thegospelprojectkids

Gospel Playlist

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This is a new feature replacing "Playing on the Radio", but will be similar because it will include music.  I will be sharing songs from my "Gospel Playlist" on my phone.

The gospel is good news.  It reminds us what Christ has DONE for us.  As I share, I hope it will be an encouragement to you today. 

Song today is: Cornerstone by Aaron Shust

You Are Free

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.(Galatians 5:1)

Sermon Notes: Generosity 101

Introduction: Generosity, Money, Giving.This is one topic that congregations do not enjoy hearing about AND one of the topics that pastors do not like to preach or teach on. This is an area that I personally struggle with. But before you stop listening, let me share a secret about my feelings on this topic.As a pastor, I am not a fan of the way giving, generosity, money has been taught in the church.Much (not all) of the curriculum or teaching I have discovered focuses too much on guilt and shame to get results.Today’s passage shows us how generosity is good news not bad news.

Give (Vs. 14-18)
·Vs. 14-Good to share in my troubles
oThe Greek word translated “share” emphasizes that participation. Same root word used in Philippians 1:7. The basic translation, “fellowship,” means a deep partnership of two going the same direction.[1]
oPaul had experienced many hardships (persecution, currently in prison, in need, hungry-vs.12) Listen to Paul’s own words in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28-with far grea…