Equipped for Every Good Work

Equipped for Every Good Work

Word in Season

Fresh out of college, I started working at a construction equipment manufacturing company. In my first week on the job, I found myself in a machine shop looking at a 9-cylinder diesel engine. My task was to work with a small group to disassemble and reassemble this engine. I graduated with a degree in marketing. To describe me as ill-equipped for this task was the understatement of the century. Alone, I was ill-equipped. 

As believers, we aren’t so different from this situation I found myself in. Our dead hearts were made alive by Christ and now we find ourselves sent into a world of which we are we are not supposed to be. (John 17:14-18). We are forgiven all sin but still struggle to live by the Spirit and not the flesh (Romans 8:5). We are called to die to ourselves and live for Christ (Matthew 16:25). Our Lord asks us to suffer with patience, be angry and not sin, spread the gospel to the ends of the earth, and practice meekness in the face of our opponents. Alone, we are ill-equipped.

But the Lord has plans to equip us to do his work and does not leave us alone. He has not only given us his Spirit and the body of Christ, but also his Word. His Word has many purposes, one being to equip the man of God. 

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This means that on Sunday when we sit and hear the Word preached or attend a weekly Bible study, God intends to use it to equip us. How can we be better prepared to attend that Bible study or sit and listen to the Sunday sermon so that the Word equips us instead of going in one ear and out the other? How can we get better at applying truth and growing toward Christ?

  1. Recognize your Need: God sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7) and the posture of our hearts towards him. It is hard to teach someone who doesn’t want to be taught. We are better prepared to let God do his work on us with a heart posture of knowing we need his help. We come Sunday morning or to our mid-week Bible study wanting to be equipped. We keep in the forefront of our minds this purpose of God and we stop and pray that God would use his Word to do his work on our hearts. We get out of the habit of checking Sunday mornings off of our list and remember how much we need Christ to change us.
  2. Prepare:  It sounds almost too simplistic yet many of us don’t do this and it is so helpful. Read the passage in advance. We prepare for tests, we prepare meal plans, we prepare for sports practice, we prepare for that big presentation at work, but rarely do we prepare for Sunday morning. Spending time in the text before you come to church starts to prepare your heart. You will be more familiar with the passage and it will be easier to listen, understand, and apply. We need to hear things multiple times before they start to stick. The same goes for your Bible study; set aside time to read and think about what you are studying that week. If you don’t know what your pastor will preach on, ask him to share his weekly plan with you. It takes discipline to manage your time and priorities well and we must acknowledge that God’s equipping is needed more than just about everything else for which we take time to prepare.
  3. Engage: Be an active participant. Have your Bible open, take notes, write questions or thoughts about application. Then, talk to others about the sermon or engage with your Bible study group. As a leader of a Bible study, I can’t tell you how encouraged I am to hear questions from women because it means they are engaging with the text! Things stick more when we process them with others. Come to a Sunday night home group where you can discuss and apply the sermon. Plan to review the sermon as a family on Monday mornings at breakfast and have everyone share what they learned about God. If you are discipling someone, plan to talk about the sermon weekly with them. Ask others in the church how the sermon series has been affecting them spiritually. There are many ways to engage; let’s get in the habit of talking about application and how our lives are being transformed by God’s Word. 

I wasn’t equipped to put together that diesel engine and was useless to the three engineering majors in my group. I don’t want to find myself ill-equipped for the good works God has planned in advance for me (Ephesians 2:10). Let’s get better at applying truth and growing toward Christ as we come to church next Sunday and start our next Bible study this fall.  

God, Suffering, and Endurance

God, Suffering, and Endurance

What I Learned Last Sunday

“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. – Job 2:10b

Let’s think through three questions to meditate on what we learned from last Sunday’s message.

Question #1:

How is God’s desire to display His own glory not in competition with His love for mankind? 

Answer:

If God is everything He claims to be (the very being for whom all creation was made), then revealing His glory for us to see and worship is a revelation of the ultimate purpose for all mankind. It would be better for us to see God and worship Him than to spend a lifetime gaining temporary things in the world apart from seeing and worshipping God (See. Mark 8:36). 

Question #2:

How is God’s glory magnified when I suffer?

Answer:

God is shown to be glorious when temporary things in my world are shown to be exactly what they are—temporary gifts from the Giver of all things. When God is the means and the end, the circumstances He wills for me (suffering or worldly success) are opportunities to worship. Give me wealth—Glory to and trust in God. Give me cancer—Glory to and trust in God. 

Though God does care for His children with temporary gifts, Scripture is overwhelmingly weighted toward preparing the Christian to suffer when the comforts of this life are found to be fleeting. Nearly every New Testament author alludes to some form of suffering that Christians will endure. We see the same pattern of suffering for proclaiming the truth in the Old Testament from Joseph in Genesis to the prophets.

God is my greatest need in this life whether the Lord gives or takes away.

How is God’s glory magnified when I suffer? He is magnified because suffering has the ability to remove potential idols from our lives that could replace God.

Question #3:

If suffering is ordained by God as a test (as shown in Job’s life) to prove a Christian’s faith, how can I have confidence that my faith will not fail when suffering comes?

Answer:

The faith with which one surrenders to Christ to be saved, is the faith that will keep the Christian to the end. You will not walk away in suffering, because the Keeper will keep you. You can trust Him to keep you in suffering as you trusted him to save you. The work He begins in you He will complete

(See Philippians 1:6). He is able to keep you from stumbling and falling away (See Jude 24). He was the one who made you new, and He is guarding you for salvation (See 1 Peter 1:3-5).

 

Meet Lyubov Zheleva

Meet Lyubov Zheleva

Missions

Recently, the elders tasked the missions committee to find a new home for support that we were giving to a missionary couple who returned permanently from the field. The committee recommended that we support two pretty amazing people: Tanya Batueva (whom we introduced here) and Lyubov Zheleva. With this post, I’m happy to introduce you to Lyubov, and I am so glad we are a part of her support team.

Lyubov served alongside a Ridgeview mission team to Bulgaria a few years ago. She also visited Ridgeview last year, and even served as part of the worship team for a Sunday gathering. So, many of us have met her. Lyubov is Bulgarian, and she is now serving as a missionary to Bulgarian young people with Josiah Venture. Here is Lyubov sharing her new ministry in her own words:

Friends, it is so humbling to look back and see how God has been preparing me for this. Nothing in my life has brought more delight and joy than stepping into His will for me. Oh, how tirelessly God has pursued me; how privileged I am to call myself his servant, his friend, his daughter. My Father has saved me, is sanctifying me, and is now sending me… on a mission at home! I am sent on a mission with Him- to find the lost, to disciple the found and build up the church!

Besides serving as a local youth leader at my home church in Asenovgrad, I am particularly excited to step on board as the Bulgaria Intern Director!

Let’s commit to pray for Lyubov as she continues to raise support for this ministry and as she serves to bring the gospel to Bulgarian young people. May God bring much fruit from this, for his glory among the nations! Also, if you would like to support Lyubov, either with a one-time gift or monthly, you could give your gift to Ridgeview with a clear designation and we will make sure the funds get to Lyubov.

 

Meet Tanya Batueva

Meet Tanya Batueva

Missions

As I mentioned yesterday during the service, the Missions Committee has recommended, and the elders have approved, monthly financial support for two new missionaries: Tanya Batueva, en-route to Asia-Pacific; and Lyubov Zheleva serving in Bulgaria. Today, Tanya will introduce herself, and later this week we will spotlight Lyubov. Please be praying for both Tanya and Lyubov as they continue to prepare and to raise support for their respective ministries.  Without further ado, here is Tanya in her own words:

Hello Ridgeview! My Name is Tanya Batueva. I was born in Siberia during the Soviet Union times and grew up with the notion that there is no God. With the break-up of the Soviet Union, the iron curtain fell and many missionaries came to Russia. That’s how I learned about Christ’s love for me – through the ministry of missionaries! Their example taught me about God’s plan for the Church and later directed me to missions. In 2017, God opened a door for me to train for ministry – focusing on Bible translation. Now I am getting ready to go to the Asia-Pacific region to church-plant among unreached people groups and to translate the Bible into their heart language.

Tanya is presently in the US raising financial support. She is at 58% of her recommended support level. Tanya is tentatively planning a trip to Chadron in July, so you may get to meet her soon! She visited Ridgeview for several Sundays in 2017, and was scheduled to participate in Reach2020 – until a global pandemic made that impossible. Thank you for praying for Tanya, and if you would like to give to her financially, you can do that through Ridgeview. Just make sure to clearly designate the gift.

(Note: This support is part of the approved 2020 budget. We are redirecting support that Ridgeview was giving to a missionary couple who returned permanently from the field in March.)

Words Are Always Necessary

Words Are Always Necessary

What I Learned Last Sunday

[When an outsider hears you prophesy] …he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. I Corinthians 14:25b [brackets adding my paraphrase]

Let’s reflect for a moment on the recent messages going through 1 Corinthians 14 the past two weeks .

Question: From 1 Corinthians 14, what is our goal both when we gather as Christians?

Answer: The goal for every Christian is two-fold. First, we are to live and speak in such a way that other Christians around us are built up and encouraged (1 Corinthians 14:12). Second, we are to live and speak in such a way that non-Christians are led to worship God (1 Corinthians 14:25). The combination of both points is that God is glorified in our lives—the ultimate goal in all we do.

Supplemental Question: If those are truly the goals of a Christian, what could distract us from that pursuit of God’s glory?

Answer: Placing a higher value on the “act” than the “outcome”.

If you reread 1 Corinthians 12-14 (I strongly encourage you to do this!) you see a common thread that Paul is addressing. Paul really seems to want Corinth to love the outcome (the glory of God in building up believers and saving the lost) over the act (perceived benefit of the gift or method of expression). In other words, Pauls begins with the question, “What will build up and lead to worship?”, before he acts. Corinth seems to have begun with the question, “What is the greatest act I can accomplish?”, which led to Paul’s corresponding correction in chapters 12-14. Just Like children who forget that cars are meant to be driven, spending too much time focusing on the colorful paint job of their flashy toy camaro, we too can fall prey to believe that any program (regardless of how clearly it presents the gospel) is sufficient as long as it has that flashy exterior that will make the masses say, “Wow!”. That, of course, is not a great analogy, but I believe Corinth had a similar tendency to prioritize certain gifts based on their perceived flair. It also seems that certain people in the church may have used these gifts to elevate themselves above others (“I’m better than you because I have a higher gift.”).
Christians, rather, should put their focus on the engine, on the real means that God uses to bring the dead to life and give the shaky Christian a foundation—the proclamation (and living out) of the Word of God.

Intelligible Words, Words, Words.

Paul says himself, “…in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (1 Corinthians 14:19b). God has designed miraculously, to make the proclamation of the Word of God expressed through simple, humbling words. The gospel we proclaim in word and deed, though foolish to the world, is the power of God to the one who is being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18). If someone will see God for who He is and respond in worship, it will be expressed through intelligible words from another person (including their actions) or God’s Word written down.
This should humble any Christian, for our great God uses simple people with simple words to do the supernatural.

Let us stop acting in a way that may elevate ourselves while muddying the proclaimed Word of God. May we act as we were encouraged on Sunday, “…to be thoughtful about how our actions and words as a church affect the upbuilding of the congregation, the eternity of the lost, and the glory of God.”

Words Are Always Necessary
Jesus is King over everything,
Simple words yet so sweet.
Ten thousand lines in unintelligible phrasing,
Will lead no sinner to the Savior’s feet.

How to Manifest the Spirit

How to Manifest the Spirit

What I Learned Last Sunday

So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. – 1 Corinthians 14:12

What quality is at the heart of a person that strives to excel in building up the church? Love! Just as 1 Corinthians 14 is built upon its preceding chapter focusing on self-sacrificing love (1 Corinthians 13), so it is love that is the foundation of any person that prioritizes attitudes and actions that build up God’s Church. We know love is at the center of the desire to build up the church because the selfless qualities of love (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7) are essential in the life of a person who seeks the good of the church rather than their own needs. You can’t truly seek to build up God’s church lovelessly. And, it is the love beaming out from the cross of Christ that is foundational to any love any Christian will ever show. So, building up the church happens when love is present, and love leading to building up is present in one who has tasted the love of Christ for them.

Now let’s go deeper. Notice that Paul doesn’t simply say that we should build up the church. He clarifies it with the eye-opening truth that certain gifts of the Spirit (things like speaking in tongues) may not be helpful depending on the setting in which they are used. Wow! Gifts from God (God wrought and God glorifying) may not be helpful depending on the situation. Rather, we are to focus on the upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation of the church. 

Question: What does that mean for us practically? If good things from God can be rendered unhelpful depending on the situation, what does that imply for the Christian desperately seeking to see God work in them?

Answer: We need to readjust our spiritual standards and focus in order to properly pursue the manifestation of the Spirit.

Adjusting the Spiritual Measuring Stick.

So Corinth comes to Paul and says, “Do you think if we speak in tongues, we will reach the highest heights of spiritual maturity? After all they are one of the greater gifts.” The question seems to be rooted in identifying the type of gift that they can accomplish in order to manifest the Spirit most vividly.

Corinth’s sure-fire process to manifest the Spirit: 

Christian >> Exercise Higher Gifts = Spirit is Manifest

Paul flips the script, however, and from a 1 Corinthians 13 mindset draws us to see the true “sure-fire” method for manifesting the Spirit.

Paul’s Proper Method for Christian’s to Manifest the Spirit:

Christian >> Seek to Build Up the Church (love) >> Exercise gifts that Build Up = Spirit is Manifest!

Paul exchanges the Corinthian’s “Spirit-Manifestation” measuring stick. Where their focus used to be on the type of gift itself, Paul gives them a new measuring stick focusing away from the higher gift they desire to express and toward the effect that the gift has on the church. He says, “Since you want to see the Spirit work in you, try setting your focus on building up others for a change!” We must do the same! We don’t just do things because we feel they will have some spiritual value. Strive to build up the church, and the love of Christ will be shown in you. Make building up your focus, and the corresponding gifts will follow in the wake of that passion for seeing Christ glorified as others see and worship Him. 

Question: How would my ministry to others change if my first question was not, “Is this something true?”, but rather, “Does this build up the church?”

Remember the “Scare Quotes”

Remember the “Scare Quotes”

Word in Season

Recently we were able to gather in person on a Sunday morning after 2 months of having livestream “church.” It was glorious. I am full of gratitude to God for the members that worked tirelessly to make technology work in short order so we could live-stream Sunday mornings. That being said, are we prepared with an answer for why live-stream “church” isn’t church? Will we remember the scare quotes?

The answer lies in another question. What was it like for us to be together again that glorious Sunday morning? I spoke to many who attended that first service and our responses were all the same. We found ourselves with tears of joy as we raised our voices together, received the Word together, and took communion together. We wept.

What happens together on Sunday mornings cannot happen in our living rooms, alone, with a good internet connection. Brothers and Sisters, the Lord is teaching us something very precious about his church during this time.

We were created to worship Jesus, together.

In his book, Habits of Grace, David Mathis rightly identifies that our great destiny is corporate worship (p.155). In the new heavens and the new earth we will join angels and other believers from every tribe, tongue, and nation to worship the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-10). Today, as we eagerly await that day, we do just that when we come together Sunday mornings with our local church.

When joined together, we fulfill our purpose to live for the praise of God’s glory (Eph. 1:12) as we lift our voices in unison to praise Christ. Together, we leave ourselves for a while and set our voices and hearts on the one who alone is worthy of our praise. We need to hear each other’s voices in this battle of faith because our own heart or the heart of our brother sitting next to us has become weak and oh, so weary.

When joined together, we receive the preaching of the word as the body of Christ. He is equipping us, one body but many members, to do his work (1 Cor 12:12). We need to be one in order to be many. Amputated body parts need to be reconnected to the body not only for survival, but also to perform their intended function. A properly working body must be together.

When joined together, we receive communion and remember the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. We proclaim together that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). We humble ourselves, as sinners, in need of a savior. When we do this together, our idol making hearts experience a much needed reminder of the gospel.

Burden -bearing, rejoicing, encouraging, maturing, equipping, serving, teaching, evangelizing, admonishing, praising, remembering. God designed us to do these things together. Solitary fellowship is an oxymoron. Church is a wonderful means of God’s grace and this grace is poured out in a unique way when we gather together. This is why we wept.

Let’s thank God for the technology he provided to live-stream “church”, but let’s also remember the scare quotes and, as we are able, let us join together again.

Loveless Christian? It’s a Contradiction

Loveless Christian? It’s a Contradiction

What I Learned Last Sunday

If I [achieve in my life the greatest outward expressions of the Christian life], but have not love, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (brackets adding my paraphrase)

The message in 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 of the greater call to love that Pastor Mike shared Sunday shoots straight to the heart of the deepest sin issues in a church and its members. Our expression of love to one another and the world is the best indicator of a Christ follower. Jesus Himself said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35). In the moments we are unloving, Christ does not shine. Rather, we look just like the world groveling over our own selfish ambitions.

And how we need this, right? We can be just like Corinth as we place such higher value on outward performance or investment in a project that love is lost along the way.

In fact, I think we at times excuse our lack of love when we think of all the “good” we are doing! How backwards is that?

Below are four examples I pray help us reflect and repent.

1. You are totally invested in a project for the church (This can apply to any project or task), You justify being unloving to your spouse when you imagine all the benefit your hard work is leading to. You justify cruelty or shortness with the excuse, “But, I’m working on this for our church.” You claim to want the project to be beneficial and God honoring. Therefore, you convince yourself that you have an excuse to be short with your spouse. “Can’t they realize all the good I am trying to accomplish?” 

In those attitudes and actions, the call to love has become less valuable than the “great” church project you are working on. But, God calls you higher! You are nothing when you accomplish things without love. Your loveless attempt to honor God is counterproductive. For, God is honored most in our love expressed to others for the praise of His glory, not our great projects.

2. Think about your expression of love in daily life. The neighbor asks you for help on their house project for the 1,000th time. You roll your eyes when you get the text. You complain to your spouse about how needy your neighbor is. You slip on your shoes and walk out the door, only making sure to put on your smile just before knocking at your neighbors door.

Outwardly, you look good to your neighbor, but God is not fooled by your loveless heart! 

3. You have a rough day at work. Nothing goes right. Your boss reprimanded you, and that big project you have been working on is not going to meet the deadline. Those circumstances then justify your actions at home. You go around spreading discouragement and impatience. The kids see it. Your spouse sees it, but you label your actions as “stress-related” and now have a free pass to spread your lovelessness through each word, cupboard slam, and glare.

Though, you are truly under the pressures of life, God has not exempted His call for you to love.

4. Finally, say there is a global pandemic. But rather than fearing it, you are irritated by those (especially Christians) who focus “all” their attention on safety and isolation. To remedy and help them, you blast off on social media reminding your circles that cautionary measures are signs of a lack of faith in God. You call cautious people cowards. You proclaim that anyone who does not hold your specific view on the nature of the pandemic is giving in to fear mongering. And you boldly scoff, “I will not wear a mask!” 

There may be some truth in the things you said in your post, but God was not fooled by your unloving expression.

God, help us be truly, genuinely loving!

I pray that this message and meditation on the higher call of love in 1 Corinthians 13 will cause deep, enduring clinging to Christ. Let us not be defiant if there is unloving behavior that only sweet Gospel can transform.

Scrubbing Toilets by Divine Design?

Scrubbing Toilets by Divine Design?

What I Learned Last Sunday

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way. – 1 Corinthians 12:27-31

What if God has not designed me for a leadership role?” Asking a question like that should never be an excuse to remove yourself from potential responsibility. That sort of question must come from a heartfelt and earnest desire to be used by God to serve in the body of Christ.

To a non-Christian that thought would likely cause head scratching. They might even deem you unmotivated and lacking in passion. The main reason for such a response is tied to the world we live in where self-improvement, elevation, and making moves financially and in our responsibilities is seen as a good and natural progression for everyone. The world loves visible success!

As followers of Christ, we fight the inclination to usurp and for selfish gain elevate ourselves (See Paul’s instructions to bondservants in Titus 2:9-10). We are part of the body of Christ, and we know our part has been orchestrated by the God of the universe (1 Corinthians 12:28). Our parts change and transform at times. God gives us good desires/talents that help us identify how to help. He even uses other Christians to affirm and encourage a certain role for us as we use our giftings. But, at the end of the day, we should seek to please God in our role rather than self—a thought diametrically opposed to our culture.

O how helped we would be if we stopped looking at “church” as we do a business in corporate America full of its ladders, self-serving hierarchy, and throat-stepping. That mindset will lead the Christian astray as they chase after their best piece of the dream that many mistakenly believe can be achieved by everyone with a little hard work.

God, in wisdom, has given us unique roles. We are not called to the same task, and that is divinely good. For, He tells us that unique parts, joined in unity, make up the body of Christ.

Question: Does the problem I have with my given role in the body of Christ have anything to do with a desire to elevate myself?

The Least of These
I am no apostle, nor a prophet,
They went to Christ long ago.
And I am not a teacher,
Unless God calls me to be so.
Neither have I the gift of tongues or miracles extraordinary.
I exercise my gift with pumice in hand,
Unworldly joy within my heart.

My God-given part I desire to play,
A single member in Christ’s diverse body.
Perfect in His design.
God, never let me stray to right or left,
Comparing others gifts to mine!

Discovered as I surrendered in humility.
To Him I exclaimed, “Use me!”
And as I sought to serve this Christ community,
A need was found that could be met…

…Scrubbing toilets by divine design.

Poor Widow vs. Rich Young Ruler

Poor Widow vs. Rich Young Ruler

Word in Season

A group of us have been studying Mark’s gospel, preparing to teach it this Fall. This week we come to Chapter 12 and the well-known story of the poor widow who put two small copper coins into the temple treasury. The story is familiar and yet it still shocks us. We expect Jesus to gently stop the poor old woman by saying something like, “Trust me dear, you need this more than they do.”  After all, the spiritual leaders of the day are corrupt. Jesus had just confronted them for turning the temple into a den of robbers. We can’t think of any justifiable, responsible reason for this poor widow to give her entire livelihood, to the temple treasury. We’re surprised that Jesus accepts it and bothered that he holds her actions up as commendable.

On the surface this looks like a fulfillment of what Jesus says in Mark 12:38-40 “Beware the scribes…who devour widows’ houses…”. But this is not and cannot be reduced to just a financial transaction. Instead, this is an act of worship. This woman is putting legs to the spiritual truth that must already be well rehearsed in her mind and heart. She is, in effect, living out what she already knows to be true and that is: “Lord, I have become entirely your responsibility.”  “Lord, you are my rock and my provider.”  “Lord my faith and trust are in you alone.”

What a wonderful example of faith! What an appropriate act of worship! What a clear illustration of salvation!  Still, we have objections. This seems extreme; surely God is more practical about these matters. He doesn’t want me to sell everything and give to the poor and follow him, right?

For the rich young ruler in Mark 10 that is exactly what Jesus required. “One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Mark 10:21) Unlike the poor widow, the young man was hanging on to his “stuff” so tightly that he could not be free to follow Christ. His wealth prevented him from trusting Christ, it prevented him from worshiping Christ, and it prevented him from being saved.

One question that we have started to ask ourselves at our Tuesday night Bible study is, “What is it, right now, that is preventing me from going with God?” For the rich young ruler, it was his wealth. For the poor widow, it was nothing, she was all in. The young man went away sad, the poor widow went away saved.

Living out truth in sacrificial worship is so good for us. It brings clarity and strengthens our faith and resolve. Our actions preach the gospel to our souls in ways that mere words never can. Our actions preach the gospel to those watching in ways that mere words never can. So, by faith let’s give generously and sacrificially, even when it doesn’t make sense. Let’s testify by our actions the truths we profess in the gospel.  Let’s joyfully meet pressing needs by faith knowing “God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19).

“That in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.  For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.”  – 2 Corinthians 8:2-5