Outward-focused

Joel Plantinga

Read: Philippians 2:1-11 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (v. 3) There are a variety of reasons people “choose” a church, and I’ve heard a lot of them. Whatever it is, the reason people come often becomes the reason they leave. When our basis for participation in a church is what we want, we are approaching a Christ-centered operation with self-centeredness. To approach church with the desire to please God …

Generous

Joel Plantinga

Read: Proverbs 11:23-31 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (v. 25) Reality check: Every breath we breathe comes from God. Our lives belong to God (“you were bought with a price”; 1 Corinthians 6:20). The church we love is Christ’s body and bride. In short, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). The concept of generosity is built on the truth that God owns it all. The calling …

Praying

Joel Plantinga

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 Pray without ceasing. (v. 17) “Well, I guess I can at least pray for you.” I’ve heard these words many times when one is trying to help another, only to find that there is little that can physically be done for that person. The sentiment is nice but reflects the idea that prayer is a last resort when our own heroic efforts fall short. Thessalonica was an important city in its time. It was a hub …

Connected

Joel Plantinga

Read: Hebrews 10:19-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. (v. 24) In an episode of NBC’s hit series The Office, Dwight was challenged to do something for a co-worker needing a favor in the best interests of their team. He responded: “We’re no more a team than the people staying in the same hotel are a team!” Just because we attend worship in the same building at the same time doesn’t …

Willing to Try

Joel Plantinga

Read: Numbers 13:1-3, 17-33 Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it. (v. 30) The story of the spies is so applicable to today. The new land God was leading his people to was beautiful, abundant, and rich. It was also filled with trials, trouble, and temptations. Most of the spies were having none of it. “We can’t do it,” they said. But Caleb and Joshua saw something else. They saw …

Mentoring

Joel Plantinga

Read: 2 Timothy 2:1-13 And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. (v. 2) A book I read about President Harry S. Truman described the moment President Franklin D. Roosevelt died and Truman ascended to the presidency. Roosevelt, despite numerous health concerns, never really included his vice president in discussions, leaving Truman out of the loop. The day he was sworn into office, …