Without a doubt though, the Bible is full of verses and stories about money and possessions. God gives us blessings with strings attached. In other words, He gives as long as we continue the process. He wants us to be rivers, not ponds. Rivers flow. A river remains new. A pond accumulates scum. I'd rather be the river. Ponds stink, and it's pretty obvious when you're around one, especially in the church . . . Many people don't realize that money was pretty important to Jesus. He actually spoke more about money and possessions than faith and healing. It seems Jesus knew what would be the enemies of our hearts long before we did. In fact, the only time Jesus ever drew a line in the sand about serving the Lord was in Matthew 6 where He let the people know that they couldn't serve both God and money (mammon for you KJV only people).
It is our money and possessions that pull at our hearts more than we care to admit. We work extra jobs sometimes to have things and buy our kids things. And while there's nothing wrong with showering our kids and families with gifts, sometimes they'd rather us just be home and spend time with them. They say money can't buy happiness, but I don't believe it. I've bought some things that have made me happy. I've bought things for other people that made them happy. So, I do think money can buy you happiness. I just don't think it can buy you fulfillment. Without a doubt, the happiness eventually fades and the desire for more becomes evident again. Only Jesus can fulfill. Only the blessings from Heaven, that is, our relationship with the Father, our families, friends, churches, and serving the Lord, can provide true fulfillment.
I truly believe one of the greatest tragedies of the modern church is the lack of giving in many congregations. One study suggests that approximately only 28% of church goers give their tithe and offering faithfully. A little higher percentage gives something, but sporadically. But approximately more than half of the congregants in modern churches give nothing at all. If everyone gave as they should, churches could quit fundraising and do more ministry and help more people. It's the struggle between God and money. The enemy wants us to focus on what we don't have. God wants us to focus on all that He is. The enemy wants us hording for tomorrow. Jesus said tomorrow will take care of itself. He also asked, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" A good question indeed.
All four Sunday mornings in July, I'll be preaching a series entitled, "A Generous Life." During this series, I want to point out the blessings of God that He so freely gives us and the power of being a giver/river. We'll see what Paul meant when he talked about the "grace of giving," and we'll become challenged to believe for greater things. Don't miss a service during July as we unlock God's promises and Heaven's blessings in our lives.
The total cost of our project will be close to $10,000.00, and we're believing God to help us get it to bless our children and their families. Last year, our foyer/stairs/bathroom remodel project cost around $15,000.00 and we paid for it completely. So we know what God can do! You can see the not-to-scale drawing in the picture above. We'll have a playground structure for ages 5-12, a playground structure for ages 2-5, and a double swing set for tots and kids alike. Once this project is complete, we'll be starting the second phase which is building a pavilion onto our social hall where families can picnic and fellowship while children enjoy themselves on the playground. It is pictured as well. So we're asking everyone who can and will to consider giving towards this project. Envelopes are available in the church foyer, and we're asking them to be turned in by Sunday, August 2nd. In a few days, we'll also have a donation button posted online at www.bellstreetcog.org under our iSow logo where you can give without an envelope if you desire.
We're excited about all that God is doing at Bell Street Church of God, and we're extremely excited for yet another project on deck. God continues to amaze me at His blessings and provision. He continues to save souls, heal, and deliver. The church continues to grow and flourish as we follow the Lord. We're not perfect, and we've got plenty to work on, and we are! We'd love for you to come be a part of what God is doing in our church. If you don't have a home church, we'd love to become your home church. Come experience the difference at Bell Street Church of God!