Friday, January 25, 2008

Tiger's Golf Lesson

If you follow professional golf at all, or sports in general, you may have heard about this story. A star host on the Golf Channel, Ms. Tilgham (sp?) said some very racist remarks in jest concerning Tiger Woods. Ms. Tilgham and Tiger are friends and according to Tiger, they discussed the issue, remain good friends, and are moving on.

The media didn't want to leave it at that. A golf magazine decided this was a provocative discussion to pursue and so they wrote an article about it, and on the cover of the magazine they placed a picture of a noose. This picture and the article sparked a great controversy. So much so that the editor who placed the noose on the cover is now reportedly looking for a new job. Ms. Tigham is being disciplined by the golf channel.

Many people have said that Tiger should take a stronger stand on this issue than what he has. He should speak up for his civil rights. Those who had gone before him have done so much just so he could have his current position of influence. That is true. Maybe he should use his influence to take a stronger stance than what he has. Tiger's stance is he cannot take up every cause in the world. He has already chosen which causes to get behind.

In all the fray and talk over this discussion is something I don't see from my "Generation X" eyes. I grew up in a generation where the Civil Rights movement is more of a textbook lesson than a reality I have experienced (I'm speaking of the 60's). One thing I see missing in the Civil Rights movement is forgiveness. Are not the leaders of the movement ministers of the grace of God? One thing I see Tiger demonstrating with Ms. Tilgham is forgiveness. He forgave her and now he is moving on. What is so wrong with that? Why hasn't anyone noticed this? Is our culture so far removed from the message of Jesus?

Now don't get me wrong, I know the Civil Rights movement was needed and is still needed in our country. You have to take action when people are not being treated as Christ values them. Every person in God's eyes is valuable and our culture should demonstrate that fact.

The question I have is this: When it is required to take a stand can we not also offer forgiveness? I'm not saying to be a push over and let people walk all over you. That is not forgiveness. That is stupidity. Forgiveness heals the relationship, it doesn't allow one person or group to dominate over another, or as the Bible says, "Lord it over them."

The Bible says forgive others as Christ has forgiven you. How did Christ forgave you? He gave up his rights on the cross so he could die for your sin. It heals the breach between you and God and that forgiveness we recieved from God is supposed to spill over to others in this world. Where is the forgiveness?

I believe that forgiveness is the most powerful force in the world. It is because of the forgiveness of Christ that we have the hope of heaven when all the races of the earth will live in harmony (RV 7:9). Didn't Jesus teach us to ask in his model prayer to have what is happening in heaven happen down here? (MT 6) In case you don't know he did!

Maybe Tiger, who unfortunatley is Bhuddist, unwittingly took a stand. He took a stand of forgiveness when he forgave Ms' Tilgham and "moved on."

I believe that is only through the power of forgiveness that Martin Luther King's dream will be achieved. Maybe that's the greatest golf lesson of all.

In Christ Alone,


Friday, January 18, 2008

A Money Party

My son's birthday party is coming up in February. He's going to be hitting double digits, 10 years old. The days of him being a little guy are behind him now. He's going to start turning into a man from here on out, at first slowly, in the end all too quickly.

This year Dietrich wants to have a "money party" instead of a birthday party. He wants everyone to give him money. He's hoping to get enough money to buy a Wii or somehting else. At first I reacted negatively to his request. You don't go around demanding people give you money for your birthday. I told him that is rude. You gladly accept whatever anyone gives you. If it happens to be money all the better. If they ask you what to give you for your birthday you can tell him or her. But you don't go around demanding a money party as your birthday party.

As I have been preparing these messages I have considered Dietrich's thoughts concerning the church. I thought it could seem to some that when it comes to money, the church is all about having a "money party." Many people think that is what the church is all about. They think the church is being rude. They think the church is being demanding. They could wonder why the church should have the right to ask for money.

Because of that ideology out there many ministers are scared to talk about money. I had one minister share that he never talks about money. He was shocked when I told him that I spend an entire month talking about it. But I do. I do becasue Jesus had more to say about money then any other subject. If I am going to preach Jesus then I better preach about money.

When you examine what Jesus said about money he never encouraged people to come together and have "money" parties. What he emphasized was our money management needs to be in line with God's vision. It was simple as that. Part of that vision is giving because the character of God is generous by nature.

Last week I shared that for the sake of heaven, we need to be shrewd with our wealth on earth.

Talk about it. What do you think? Have you ever thought that how you spend your money now directly impacts what you will experience in heaven?

A lot of people think heaven will be a communist state with everyone being treated equally. I don't see that in the Bible. What I do see is everyone being treated individually, as God sees fit. Jesus said himself we will be rewarded in heaven according to our deeds. My deeds are different than yours. Therefore you will receive something different than me.

What do you think? How does your spending habits, maney management, affect heaven? How could your spending be any different? How would it impact your lifestyle?

In Christ Alone, Kirk

Friday, January 11, 2008

Home Team Update

Today I wanted to give you all an update on the Home Team and there progress. If you don't know, the Home Team is is a team that will look into and find a permenant home for Celebration. It is being led by Romy Feliciano. There job is to find a peice of land for our home by June of this year. As you can see this team has its work cut out.

So where are they at?

At the beginning of this month the elders gave Romy a job description for the team. I thought I would share with you what was written in the description.

First, it lays out the "win" for the team. It says, "The Home Team has accomplished its goal when they have proposed a piece of land to the leadership of the church to be the new church home. The goal is to have a piece of land purchased or have begun the process of purchasing by June of 2008."

That is pretty straight forward.

The description also states what kind of land they need to seek out. First, it states the new home needs to be located centrally in Suffolk. There area a number of reasons for this. One big reason is our church is already drawing people from Windsor to North Carolina and from Chesapeake to Holland. That is a wide geographical area and our church needs to stay central to those locations.

Secondly, it states that the peice of property needs to be near a major road with easy access. It also states the peice of land needs to be at least 5 acres of land.

The description says they will report to the elders of thier progress. It also states they will give updates to the congregation by giving reports during the service and by writing in the church program from time to time.

We really need a home! We are rapidly outgrowing the YMCA facilities, especially when it comes to the children. The KidMo room is getting to crowded and we are currently looking at options to ease the condition. Also, if we grow to much more we are going to have to radically change our seating arrangement.

We also need a home becasue God has laid out an incredible vision for us! 10,000 disciples, one person at a time.

I'll continue to give you updates as the team progresses.

In Christ Alone,


Friday, January 4, 2008

Faith and Church Budgets

At Celebration we are considering the budget for 2008. I noted in a church e-mail that church budgets are different from a family budget or a business budget. In a family budget you must stay within the boudsaries of your income. In a business budget yoou worry about the bottom line.

In a church budget you have to consider faith. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. If we don't plan a budget with faith then our stewardship will not please God. In that light I want to share with you some basic ideas on faith, ministry, and budgets. I'm going to share with you an article Rick Warreen, minister at Saddleback Church, wrote on faith and ministry. What does it mean to have a faith budget?

1. Believing When I Don't See It.
Hebrews 11:1 says faith is being certain of what we do not see. it is visualizing the future in advance. The world says, "Seeing is believing." God says, "Believing is seeing."

2. Obeying When I Don't See It.
Has god ever told you to do osomehting and it just didn't make any sense? This is the essence of Noah's story. Noah was told to build a boat in a world where people have never heard of a flood. Noah didn't understand it either, but he built the boat anyway. I betcha he was glad he did once the flood began to rise.

3. Giving When I Don't Have It.
(11:4b) “In faith Abel was commended as a righteous man and God spoke well of his offering.”
Isn’t that interesting? Giving and faith go together. God uses money to test our faithfulness. God watches the giving of a Christian. The Bible says if you have not been faithful with unrighteous mammon, who will entrust you with true spiritual riches? There is a direct relationship between how I use my money and how much of God's power I experience in my life. It influences how much God can bless my life. I think God expects leaders to take the lead in giving. You cannot out give God.

How do you develop persistence? How do you develop the kind of persistence that keeps you in a position when God has put you there, when every bone in your body says, “Move or quit the ministry!” Where do you get that kind of persistence?
(v. 27)“It was by faith that Moses left Egypt and was not afraid of the king’s anger. He held onto his purpose like a man who could see the invisible.”
Notice the key to persistence is that last phrase – he could see the invisible. Only as we see the invisible can we accomplish the impossible. The key to persistence is to keep your eyes on God. Keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Corrie Ten Boom says, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” It all depends on where you’ve got your eyes.

A good illustration for this is Joshua. By faith, the walls of Jericho fell after the people had marched around them for seven days. Jericho was the most fortified city in the world at that time. God said, “There’s no way a bunch of slaves are going to take this thing, but here’s what I want you to do: March around the city seven times a day for seven days and then I’ll cause a miracle.”
What were they doing seven times a day for seven days? Thanking God in advance. Praising God in advance. Faith doesn’t mean you believe God can do something. He can do it whether you believe it or not. Faith doesn’t mean believing He will do something. That’s hope. You hope He will. Faith is believing He’s doing it! That He’s already doing it. That the answer is already on the way.
(Mark 11:24) “When you pray believe that you have received it and then you’ll be given what you’ve asked for.”
Don’t beg. Just thank God in advance. Make your request and then be continually thanking. If I were to write out a check for $1000 and give it to you, would you wait until you’ve cashed it to thank me? (You might!) No, you’d thank me the moment you made the request and the check was offered.

Ministering by faith does not exempt you from problems. We all know that from personal experience. (Hebrews 11:39-40) Anybody can trust God in ministry when things are going great. Big deal!
Real faith is developed in the valleys of ministry, when the situation looks impossible, when the people look hopeless, when the tide has turned against you, and when you’re tempted to ask yourself, “Why is this happening to me?” This is a test!
Faith is trusting that if you don’t get it, God has a better idea -- a far, far better idea. In Abraham’s case, it took God five more years to reveal the better idea, but He did. And don’t you think there were some real questions during those five years?
Faith is trusting even if you don’t get it. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” If you’re not ministering in faith, then you’re not pleasing God, and if you’re not ministering in faith, then you’re ministering in sin.

I'm excited about what God is going to do at Celebration in 2008!

Have Yourself Committed!