The excitement of a fresh start

Last night the Columbus Crew played Real Salt Lake in a quarterfinal CONCACAF match. The MLS season does not begin for almost a month yet despite the bad weather a few thousand die-hard soccer fans came out to support the Crew. The game was sloppy but exciting. While the match ended in a scoreless tie, there were some close plays that could have turned the game into a big win for the Crew.

The field was icy; the seats were below freezing cold, despite being a pre-season (as far as MLS fans are concerned) game on dreary February evening; still fans showed up. It is in the human nature to be excited about the things that we love. Sports fans love the live entertainment of sports. Soccer fans have been waiting all winter for the season to start up again. There may still be a month before the MLS season starts but fans around the Columbus area are ready for Crew season.

Others may not be soccer fans, but are excited for the start of spring, the warmer weather or the start of a break from school. Humans need fresh starts. The Bible speaks about fresh starts. 2 Co 5:17 says that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Romans 10: 9 says that “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” The Lord Jesus Christ can give your heart a new, fresh start today!

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The investment of the offerings

In the Old Testament, The Levites were commanded by God to give a tithe (a tenth) of the tithes they received from Israel to a priest (for God) in Numbers 18:26 . Traditional Jewish law and practice has included various forms of tithing since ancient times, including both financial and argicultural tithing. The word tithe is not found in the New Testament. Instead the New Testament scriptures are seen as teaching the concept of “freewill offerings,” give freely as you feel lead.A lot of churches base the idea of the tithe/offerings on Malachi 3:10. It is the “storehouse” concept, that the tithe belongs to the local church. Basically a good church will have a wide and varied missionary/outreach program.

They like the storehouses of the Old Testament will accomplish many things with the tithe/money we give to the church:
use it to care for the spiritual leaders, pastors, church staff members, evangelists, and missionaries,
to reach unbelievers outside the church, and to care for the needy within the church.

Many people investing in the fund, the congregation, has power to do things one person couldn’t do on his own and it invests money in valid ministries he or she might not know about otherwise. So a good church will not keep all of the financial gain for themselves but rather will be finding ways to bless others, those in need especailly. But if the church is not well investing the money then it is a good idea to give to other organizations to take care of these things like taking care of the needy.
If God is leading you to help someone or a group then it is right to give to them as God leads. He will bless us for doing what we can.

June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Financial Freedom: Principles of Wise Money Management (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 31.

Bill Hybels, D. Stuart Briscoe and Haddon W. Robinson, Mastering Contemporary Preaching (Portland, Or.: Multnomah, 1990), 108.

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Integrity: do the right thing

The Bible clearly stresses the importance of living with character. God wants us to try to do the right thing, to live with integrity. A life verse of mine has been 1 Co 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” In all areas of life, we can choose to glorify God. Even when we are eating, when we are sleeping, at work or at home, in all things, in all ways Christians have the opportunity to bring glory to God.

Proverbs 22:1 says that “A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold.” A man with good character is more important that all the wealth and riches this world has to offer. A man with a good name does not slack off as a lazy man would but instead works hard at everything he does. People around him can see his character. They can see God in Him because in all things that he does, he brings glory to God. Not glory to himself, but to God. A man of integrity does what is right even when no one is watching. A man if character has an audience of one, God. (Phil. 2:12-15, 1 Thes. 2:12).

A popular saying in recent years is “What would Jesus do?” Whatever you are doing today at work or at home, ask yourself if what you are doing brings glory to God. Are you living with integrity and doing what is right in the sight of the Lord God?

New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

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The blessings keep coming

This year so far has been exhilarating. God has been blessing me a lot and my little heart can hardly stand it.
The first one: Beginning on January 3rd, a month ago today, I started emailing this stranger. Honestly, I was sort of going out on a whim (on an online dating website); I was not sure she would even write back. This stranger has quickly become a great friend. I have learned a lot from her already and she inspires me. She is an amazing lady and what a blessing to have her in my life as a girlfriend.

The second: I am finishing up the process to become an ordained free will baptist minister. This journey has been such a great adventure and learning experience. I have been working closely with my pastor and church, doing the work of ministry. I have learned a lot from my mentor and friend. I appreciate him very much and continue to learn to love people the way he loves his flock!

The third: After three years of being on annoying schedule at UPS Freight, they have finally moved me to a M-F shift! No more split shifts on the weekends, I can sleep in everyday of the week (except Sundays now!) YES!
And finally I have more opportunities to do things that I love and make more money. While UPS Freight is easy money. It is not much money and it is not something I want to do for the rest of my life. Two companies have offered me independent positions. I will be working for myself but with their help. The first is with Examiner.com. I am a “Biblical Living Examiner.” I get to write articles on what I love: Christian Living, theology in relation to culture and etc!
The second is with wyzant.com, as a tutor. I can find students and students can find me. I will hopefully be tutoring students in psychology, English, guitar, Bible Study, basic software and other topics. The plan for now is to stay with UPS Freight and do these side jobs for extra side money. UPS has not been super busy lately and I have been pushed back to the bottom of seniority. So besides being put on M-F shift, my relationship with them is not the most pleasant. I would much rather being writing, blogging, teaching and tutoring. So if I get super busy with the other two jobs, or find a real ministry job then I can quit UPS Freight.