29
Oct
2014
0

Man Not Taking Forbidden Fruit and Excel Spreadsheets That Don’t Add Up

This past weekend here at CCM started a two-week series on giving called “The Promise.” The entire point of the series is to talk about how we can build a financial foundation the way that God would have us to. This past Sunday we talked about six foundations for financial wisdom and peace. Here is what we covered in week one:

  1. Be Diligent and Have a Good Work Ethic
  2. Live Generously
  3. Be Careful of Debt
  4. Seek Wise Financial Counsel
  5. Be Faithful With Little
  6. Walk In Financial Integrity and Honesty

This next weekend we will cover the seventh foundation and really unpack Malachi 3 and how God tells us to test Him in trying to outgive Him. As we have been walking through this series on giving, numerous people have been sharing their stories of how God has blown their world wide open with unreal things. One of those came from a lady named Kelly. With her permission I am sharing her story with you now. My hope is that you too will find encouragement from her family’s story.

Trevor…thanks so much for today’s sermon. I wanted to share with you our list of blessings God has showered on us ever since we decided  I should quit my job and stay home with our kids. We HAD to start a list because it was getting overwhelming. Going to one income was a scary thing for us. It didn’t make sense on my excel spreadsheet budget….bills would not get paid…according to my budget. But after prayer and giving it to God, my husband and I felt God wanted us to “test him” in this…trust him. Lean on him and not our own understanding, and not return to work after maternity leave.

Our greatest temptation was to give up tithing. Like Eve listening to the serpent, I wondered if I had really heard God right. Maybe God would be ok with us not tithing for a time to be home with our kids? We were coming up short on our monthly budget almost exactly what we were tithing. And I made the mistake of deleting the “tithe” box on that excel budget spreadsheet just to see what it would change for us if we didn’t give that amount….awfully tempting. I even showed this to my husband to read his reaction and consider it. But my husband didn’t taste that forbidden fruit, and we decided not to give into that fear….and decided to tithe our 10% and lean into our savings if needed to pay our bills. 

I was supposed to return to work August 25 after maternity leave. Since this decision and not returning to work, God has poured these blessings on us:

  • $100 bill from a friend for watching her dog
  • clothes for my newborn daughter from friends…enough until she is 18 months old so far
  • finding gift cards for Kohl’s and Kroger from last Christmas (I needed post baby clothes…and groceries!)
  • for my husband’s birthday, gift cards to Home Depot, Bob Evans, Skyline, and a birthday money check
  • a one time opportunity to make money babysitting
  • my husband sold a phone for $200
  • a Target gift card for playing a small part in the high school purity retreat
  • inheriting a deep freeze and many quality tools when my husband’s grandpa moved to a nursing home
  • breast milk and formula donations for our baby
  • gift of groceries….from 3 separate people going out of town and not wanting their fresh things to go bad.
  • dinner out with friends ended up being free
  • my husband having overtime opportunities at his job
  • our car being entirely replaced by our insurance after an uninsured driver totaled my husband’s car….half as many miles as our old car….and 3 years newer.
  • my oldest son’s biological father (who is $6000 behind in child support) has filed his taxes for 2011-2013 and we will get over $2,000 from that in the next couple months. Very unexpected. (and this amount will be enough to make ends meet for MANY months for us)

 It just happened. Almost at the exact time we made this decision, God decided to blow us away. This is just since August. We’ve come into more money than I could have made at my job, less childcare expenses. The priceless gift has been our spiritual growth as we have learned to trust in God, ignore our excel spreadsheet, live without fear, and teach our children what it looks like to step out in faith and trust in the goodness and faithfulness of our loving Father. We might not have a lot of “Extra” these days…but we have what we need. We still struggle trusting the Lord sometimes. It’s funny how we can sometimes trust people who have let us down over and over…but then we can’t trust God, who has never let us down. He has proven himself time and time again and we have no reason to doubt Him.

I know you already know of His goodness, but sometimes….I just feel like I HAVE to share what He has done for us. We are so so thankful.

Thanks for a great sermon and sharing God’s heart,

Kelly 

Stories like this never get old. Do you have a story of how God has blown your mind in crazy ways through giving? Share it here in the comments section.

27
Oct
2014
0

Dear Daddy…

Dear Daddy,

It is almost strange to write those words as a now thirty-five year old man. Yet, at their very core they still ring true in my head. Today you turn 71 years old. Just typing that even seems surreal. To me you are still the thirty-five-year-old man who was raising me as a little boy. To this day you are still the man who I look up to the most. I remember as a small tyke wanting to be just like you. I wanted to walk like you, talk like you, love others like you, golf like you (still working on that one), love my wife like you, love my kids like you, and live my life just like you. I understand that you were by no means perfect, but as a little boy, even your faults were minimal compared to your strengths.

I learned early that you valued truth. If you said you were going to do something you did it. Not only did you do it, but you did it with a level of excellence that was second to none.

I learned early that you would sacrifice anything for me and mom. You took jobs you did not want, moved to states you would have never moved, worked hours you never wanted to work, put up with bosses you never would have worked for, and went without the things you wanted, so that mom and I would have what we needed, and more often than not, what we wanted.

I learned early that your character meant more to you than status. Could you have bought nicer cars and bigger houses? I am sure you could have. However, you cared more about being an upright man, than being the man everyone else was fighting to be. In our community growing up you were known as a man who would always do what was right now matter what it cost you. I watched as you lost friends, were taken advantage of, lied too, and cheated. In those moments you always clung to character more than stuff. I would much rather a father accused of loving too much, than cheating his way to the top. You showed me that.

I learned early that you loved Jesus more than me or mom. I will never forget the day you came to know Christ. In fact I had the only front row seat to watch it happen. I can still see the dark worship center and the glow of the pastors office as you had me sit and wait. I vividly remember that cold fall evening as you stepped into the baptistery a lost man and you came up a redeemed man. That mark on my life was indelible. It forever changed the course of my life. You changed…for the better. You led mom and I spiritually. You again stood for truth in the church and the community. You never wavered in your faith. You taught me what it was to pray, love, lead, and serve. I would not be in ministry today if it were not for you. It was your example that set the path.

Dad…today as you celebrate another year of life, I want you to know that your seventy-one years have a left a mark that will be felt for generations. I am a better man because God gave me you as my father. I am a better Christ follower because you put down pride in front of me and showed me what humility really looks like. I am a better dad because you showed me what it is to sacrifice for your children. I am a better husband because you showed me how to do whatever it takes to make sure your wife is cared for. I am simply better because your my dad.

I often wonder why God chose me to be your son. Maybe it was because he knew you couldn’t handle daughters (haha). Maybe it was because you were the only one that could handle me. Whatever that reason is, I thank him everyday that we have had thirty-five years together. I pray that we get many more. The one thing I want you to never forget is that this little boy will always need his daddy, and will always thank God for giving him the one that he did.

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Love ya buddy

-Me-

 

26
Oct
2014
0

Sunday Morning Thoughts

“No man was ever honored for what he received. He was honored for what he gave.” 

Calvin Coolidge

 

“You can’t have a perfect day without doing something for someone who cannot pay you back.”

John Wooden

 

“It is more blessed to give than receive.” 

Jesus, in Acts 20:35

23
Oct
2014
0

Every Battered Ship Needs A Harbor

The air was heavy. Sighs were deep. The storms had battered and beaten every soul that walked through the doors. You could see it in the eyes of every life’s sailor. One by one they filed into the auditorium. These voyagers were weathered. You could see that their past and present were almost to a breaking point. In fact it was as if they did not, or even could not, look to the future, because the storms had beaten their ships of life. It was as if this harbor came just at the right time. Rest was on the horizon…even if just for an hour. In fact most knew that even though reprieve was momentary, they were going to have to get back in the boat of life and hit the waters again.

Last night some 300+ folks joined together as broken and weathered sailors of this thing called life. Our community of believers came together last night to simply worship. We sang, encouraged, rested, celebrated, and dreamed. If but for a few moments, their individual storms subsided. Every one of us brought something into that place last night. Yet, every one of us received the same thing last night—at least I hope we did. Amidst the storm, there was a calm. Some of us were in mourning, yet again, for another person who was taken from us sooner than we would have liked or imagined. Some were dealing with their past hurts and struggles. Some were navigating their present storms of life. Most of us were not even in a place when we could begin to think about our future or our hope. These ships of life came into the harbor last night battered and beaten up. But they made it to the harbor.

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21
Oct
2014
0

“I Wanted To End It All For My Kids”

Yesterday was a long day. A good, but a long day nonetheless. Last night was our monthly elders meetings, which means I am typically in the office from 8:00am until roughly 9:00-10:00pm. After I went and worked out and grabbed a quick bite to eat I was back and ready to dream and pray with our team of elders. We had an incredible meeting where we started sharing new vision and praying about what God was leading us into next. There has been a running joke that no matter how hard we try, we never seem to get out of there before 9:00pm. However, last night it finally happened. I was pumped. I was going to get home before my wife was in bed and we would get to catch up on the day and spend a few quiet moment together before our impending slumber for the evening.

As I walked to my office to pack up my stuff and head home I noticed a purple sticky note affixed to my door. I grabbed it off the door and read these words, “Mr. Trevor, can a please get a prayer before you leave today, if you don’t mind. Thank you!! Chris from Jani King.” Now here is some backstory. A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday night, I was in my office waiting for my daughter to get done with a youth event here at the church. It is pretty unusual for me to be in my office late at night. Even more unusual, is when I get a knock at the door while I am here that late. That evening, that is exactly what happened. As I opened the door there was one of the men from our evening cleaning company standing there. He introduced himself as Chris and said that he simply wanted to meet the guy that he cleaned the office of each week. I immediately started to ask about his life and he shared with me that he had seven kids. He also shared with me that life was a bit of struggle, but he was making it. I invited him to come hang here at the church with us sometime. He obliged and said that when his work schedule changed he would love too. After that he went back about his work and I went and picked up my daughter.

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