Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Join us for Prayerfest on Friday, July 29th!



Join us on Friday, July 29th for Prayerfest at the Christ Church West Campus in Rockaway!

This is a special time set aside by the Christ Church family and our friends for an all day festival of prayer and fasting. Throughout the day, from 9am to 4pm, we will join together with friends from other congregations to seek the heart of God for His answers to the challenges facing our communities, congregations, and families.

At 7:30pm, we'll have an Encounter with God service featuring the ministry of Worship Leader & Recording Artist William McDowell along with dynamic preaching by Dr. David Ireland and a rich time of personal ministry in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Click here more for info: Prayerfest 2011

See you there!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Christ Church 25th Anniversary Historic Video



Praise God for His faithfulness these past 25 years! We're excited to see what He has in store as we continue to serve New Jersey & the World in Jesus' name!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Join us for Christ Church's 25th Anniversary Celebrations!



Pastor David Ireland invites YOU to join us for Christ Church's 25th Anniversary celebrations. East Campus: Friday, June 10 @ 7:30pm & West Campus: Sunday, June 12th @ 11:30am. See YOU there!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Join us for the Elevate Your Marriage Seminar!



Join me & my wife, Pastor Marlinda Ireland for this powerful, life-changing event for anyone who is married or is planning to get married!

Saturday, May 21st
9:00am-2:00pm
Christ Church West Campus (Rockaway)

Register online at www.ChristChurchUSA.org or at the Bookstore in the Lobby at either campus.

Cost is $25 per couple or $15 for one spouse.

Childcare is provided. Register for a renewal of marriage vows for free!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!



Join us this Easter Weekend as we celebrate our RISEN Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

EAST CAMPUS - MONTCLAIR


RESURRECTION SERVICES
Saturday, April 23 @ 5pm & 7pm
Sunday, April 24 @ 8, 10, 11:45am & 1:30pm
______________________________________________

WEST CAMPUS - ROCKAWAY

RESURRECTION SERVICES
Sunday, April 24 @ 9 & 11:30am

We hope you and your loved ones will join us this Easter Weekend at Christ Church!

He is Risen!
Pastors David & Marlinda Ireland
Founding Pastors

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 5 (April 22): It’s Good Friday!


Approximately two thousand years ago today, Jesus was nailed to a cross. Your sins and mine were borne on His shoulders. Fortunately on the third day He arose triumphantly holding the keys of death, hell, and the grave.

The world has discovered: There is no grave deep enough, no seal strong enough, no guard powerful enough, no stone heavy enough, to keep Christ in the grave. Our salvation was paid for through His death, burial, and resurrection. He has risen! Alleluia!

Tonight at the East Campus we will feature a moving concert in celebration of the Power of the Cross. Simultaneously @ 8:00 p.m., our West Campus will host a Good Friday Service centered on the Seven Last Sayings of Jesus and Holy Communion. Our aim at both campuses is to win people to Christ and set the stage for believers to have their faith reignited.

Seize the opportunity to invite family and friends alike to either one of these meetings. And, for this Easter weekend consider inviting someone to God’s house by making a phone call, sending an email, or kidnapping them.

They will hear about our amazing God in a way that is easily understood. At the same time, you will be encouraged in your faith through a celebrative environment designed to capture the mysteries of our faith.

Make sure you tell your guests that our dress is very casual and we have an astounding Children’s Church.

Come prepared to celebrate the risen Lord tonight and anyone of our eight weekend services. Yes, this Saturday we offer two services at the East Campus: one at 5:00 and the other at 7:00 p.m. On Sunday, we will have our four services in Montclair and two meetings in Rockaway.

It’s Good Friday! Rejoice because Resurrection Sunday is coming!

Watch for my blog on Monday, April 25th that will have powerful stories of what God did this weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 4 (April 21): Obedience!


Last night’s service at the East Campus was quite powerful! As we heard the seven last statements of Jesus and contemplated the great mysteries of our faith around the Table of the Lord, it was clear: Obedience to God is a must.

Are you living in obedience to God? Don’t side step this question. It is foundational to discipleship. All Christ followers must strive to live in obedience to the will of God…all the will of God. This was the crux of Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42) days before the cross.

His emotionally distraught heart was asking the question: Should I go to the cross or not? Then He prayed to God, “Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” His resolve anchored in prayer, was one of obedience.

Right now you are facing the big decision to either obey or disobey God’s will for your life. It may be concerning something large or even a tiny matter. Obedience is obedience! Conversely, disobedience in small matters is still disobedience. What are you going to do?

Over the years I have discovered four simply questions that help me walk in obedience to the revealed will of God. Maybe they can help you.

► Is it worth it to disobey the Lord?
► What future blessings will I forfeit if I disobey God today?
► How many people will my disobedience impact?
► Can I live without God’s anointing or intimacy with the Holy Spirit?

Which one of these questions is most helpful to you? Why? What have you learned about obedience?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 3 (April 20): Pour Out Your Heart!


If you want to experience a fascinating Bible study, review the prayers of Jesus throughout the New Testament. They are most telling of what true praying is supposed to be like. They are instructional on both the “head” and “heart” levels. They show us how to pray the facts surrounding our concerns to God without ignoring the heart—the feelings and the emotions of the matter.

One such example of Jesus’ prayers is captured a few days before He went to the cross (Matt. 26:36-46). Before Golgotha came Gethsemane. At Golgotha He hung on the cross. At Gethsemane He wept on the ground. At Golgotha He poured out His life. At Gethsemane He poured out His soul.

This quintessential picture of intercession is presented to us as Jesus fervently prayed for clarity concerning the will of God. He wanted to be certain that the cross was indeed the will of God. He prayed: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Jesus demonstrated that prayer is truly the gift of tears. As Jesus prayed, the Scriptures point out that He was sorrowful and troubled. In fact, Jesus described His own predicament with these words: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matt. 26:38a).

After praying the same prayer three times, He was strengthened in the will of God. The cross was the only course to take. Humanity must have access to God’s forgiveness, salvation, and new life. The cross must not be avoided. Jesus then fixed His attention on the cross while His love was fixed on our salvation.

During this Holy Week you should find a quiet place like the Garden of Gethsemane where you can pour out your soul in prayer. Deal with the big stuff. The stuff that requires you to commit willingly to a path of obedience despite the difficulty it may require.

Holy Week is a week of fresh surrender. What are you surrendering to God this week? Offer it in prayer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 2 (April 19): Start Fresh!


Holy Week gives us a chance to start fresh. We all experience disappointment, setbacks, and trials over the course of the year. Reminding ourselves of God’s power becomes very easy during Holy Week. As we look back to the cross, we grasp a fresh perspective of the awesome power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. How much more so is God able to deliver us from any present adversity?

Holy Week stimulates faith. What I mean is, your time of reflection on the cross, the tomb, and the triumphant resurrection of Jesus evokes a fresh faith in God. This faith emboldens you to pursue a fresh start in any and every area where you feel your life is lagging behind the will of God.

Meditation is one of the spiritual disciplines you often don’t find being practiced in our fast paced society. Yet this art is biblical and powerful. Psalm One gives us the promise of meditating on God’s word. We are told that the one who does it, “…is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatsoever he does prospers.”

Before you end your day today, read and meditate—pause and consider—on the Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-13). This entry marks the week before His death. As you read, stop periodically and ask yourself these probing questions:

► Why is the phrase “The Lord needs them” so powerful?
► Why did Jesus seem so care free though He had to face the cross?
► What area of your life do you need a fresh start?
► If Jesus trusted God, can you trust Him for a fresh start?

Let God’s power work through you this Easter by giving someone access to new life. Invite them to church!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 1 (April 18): The Great Week

Holy Week was called “The Great Week” by one of the fourth century leaders, St. John Chrystostom. It was labeled great because of the great mysteries being celebrated.

When you consider how God clothed Himself in flesh and was born of a virgin to show us how to live. That is a mystery!

Jesus was born in a borrowed manger and rode to triumph on a borrowed donkey only to be buried in a borrowed tomb. Imagine the King of kings and Lord of lords choosing to live this way even though He is possessor of heaven and earth. That is a mystery!

Jesus willingly laid down His life for your life because He loves you. There is no greater demonstration of love than to sacrifice your life for another’s. This sacrificial love gave you access to God’s forgiveness and salvation. And, it’s still just as potent today to liberate people from the jaws of sin and death. That is a mystery.

During Holy Week spend some time contemplating the mysteries of our faith. Contemplation is enriched as your read, pray, and sing songs of praise to our God. This spiritual exercise will deepen your relationship with the risen Savior.

As you are meditating on God’s goodness ask Him to place someone in your path whom you could invite to one of our moving Holy Week services. I believe that someone you know will meet the Savior this week, if you go out of your way to point them to the Way.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Join Us @ Christ Church this Holy Week!



Holy Week is the most momentous time of the year for Christians. It is when we remember and celebrate the historic events of Christ’s passion, death and triumphant resurrection.

For centuries, followers of Jesus have recognized meaningful customs and traditions to connect the historic actions of Jesus with contemporary life. Today, the awesome gift of salvation is as powerful as ever.

At Christ Church, we invite you to share in these timeless spiritual practices as we:
* Participate in Holy Communion
* Hear the Last Seven Statements of Christ
* Celebrate the Risen King during our transformative Easter Service

Friends and family are a vital part of sharing His love.

Services times & location as follows:

East Campus

PALM SUNDAY WEEKEND SERVICES
Saturday, April 16 @ 7pm
Sunday, April 17 @ 8, 10, 11:45am & 1:30pm

HOLY COMMUNION
Wednesday, April 20 @ 7pm

HOLY WEEK CONCERTS
Thursday, April 21 & Friday, April 22 @ 8pm

RESURRECTION SERVICES
Saturday, April 23 @ 5pm & 7pm
Sunday, April 24 @ 8, 10, 11:45am & 1:30pm
______________________________________________

West Campus

PALM SUNDAY WEEKEND SERVICES
Sunday, April 17 @ 9 & 11:30am

GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE
Friday, April 22 @ 8pm

RESURRECTION SERVICES
Sunday, April 24 @ 9 & 11:30am


We hope you and your loved ones will join the Christ Church family as we remember Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection during Holy Week 2011.

He is Risen!
Pastors David & Marlinda Ireland
Founding Pastors

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 40 (April 15): You Did It!






Congratulations! You finished the 40-day journey to Financial Empowerment! As a recap, we covered four areas—each lasting 10 days.


► How to eliminate debt
► How to gain greater control of your finances
► How to live in financial freedom
► How to leave a financial legacy for your loved ones


If you need to review any one of these lessons, just stop by our bookstore the next time you’re at church and purchase the CD. You can also review the sermon by watching it online Vimeo.com/channels/ChristChurchUSA.

The ability to advance in your knowledge of money is an ongoing conversation we will be having over the course of 2011. The intent is to keep reinforcing keep principles such as legacy-building in order for you to grow in your personal stewardship before the Lord. Solomon says in Proverbs 13:22:

“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children”


What were the biggest lessons you learned in this journey? What did you take-away from the 40-day experience? Post your thoughts and lessons learned.

I will offer new postings to my blog weekly in order to create a strong online community. I have enjoyed getting to know you and hearing what you think through reading your posts. Let me know if my blogging is a blessing to you and what topics/themes you’d love me to write about. Thanks!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 39 (April 14): They Were Too Busy!


It’s great to be busy! But being busy without being FOCUSED is a mistake. Captured in Proverbs 19:14 are these wise words of Solomon:

“Houses and wealth are inherited from parents”

Now don’t break your computer if your deceased parents or relatives didn’t leave you any houses or wealth. Maybe they left you other things of great value which helped to shape the person that you are today.

The question you and I must grapple with is this: What will you leave your heirs? We live in a uniquely prosperous nation. People fight, lie, deceive, and even try to sneak across our borders because of the possibility the United States of America offers for a better quality of life.

The challenge sometimes when you live where we live, we take for granted these wonderful and lucrative opportunities. Let’s not fall into the trap of passivity—numbness of soul—because our legacy is at stake.

Your family and charity (hopefully Christ Church is on that list—LOL) is important enough for you to get cracking with making more money.

How has your desire to make more money or get out of debt faster been affected through this 40-day journey? Post your comment.


See you tonight at the WEST CAMPUS for training in leadership and Financial Empowerment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 38 (April 13): A Legacy Provides PEACE!




Jesus had a great legacy! Interestingly we read that He planned it out beforehand. As we are preparing for Holy Week, do you remember how Jesus foretold His disciples that He wanted them to have PEACE following His death? Checkout John 14:27 which said:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

If you want your heirs to have PEACE, you should prepare a legally recognized Will. Don’t say: “I don’t have a Will because I don’t have a large sum of money or a grand estate.” Don’t hide behind the excuse: “It cost too much to get a Will prepared.”

Even if you chose to use an online version like Law Depot http://www.lawdepot.com/contracts/last-will-and-testament-usa/?loc=US, it’s better than allowing the courts to decide the fate of your underage children or where your assets should go after your departure. A Will spells out those particular details.

For pennies, a legally prepared Will and Testament can be prepared. It will give you peace of mind. And, it will give your heirs peace of mind. Even if you’re not Donald Trump, you may still have underage children that must have the PEACE of knowing that you planned who should raise them if you died prematurely.
We seldom want to talk about death. Some even think that by not speaking about it will protect them from an untimely death. That’s pretty ridiculous! Yet, as a pastor, I have had the unfortunate experience to eulogize many people in our congregation that did not have a legally prepared (or any type of) Will.

Their family members did not have peace! They were frantic! They were emotionally distraught not only at the loss of their loved ones, but because the pain was compounded without their having a Will.

Please take the time to have a Will prepared; if not for you, for the PEACE of your heirs.

We’re days away from the completion of this powerful journey.

How has it benefited you?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 37 (April 12): 4 Days Left to Live


If you had four days left to live, what would you do? Another way of asking this question is: How are you intentionally building your legacy? If you do nothing, your legacy reflected in your obituary may read: “He did nothing to help or influence the life of his family!”

I don’t want my eulogy to last five minutes because I did not leave behind a worthwhile legacy. I’m sure you feel the same way. Leaving a legacy behind has very little to do with money. Rather it has to do with your life being an influence to others even after your death.

Sadly, some people will not leave property or other material goods behind for their family. But, if they are smart they can still leave a legacy through their kind behavior and righteous lifestyle. There’s something to speak of a person whose heirs say: “I learned how to pray because I had a praying mother or a praying father.” I’ve often heard some people say: “I learned the value of a good education because of the environment created in my home.” When we really probe this statement, we’ll most likely learn that the value of education is a rich legacy handed down from a deceased loved one. These two examples of non-financial legacies embody the purpose of a legacy. A legacy should POINT an heir towards God and a better quality of life.

Whatever we value will become a part of our legacy!

Fortunately, from our 40-day Financial Empowerment Journey, we have all been instructed on how to live beneath our income. This practice will ensure that we leave a financial legacy for our family in addition to the other forms of legacies.

Solomon guides us in how to leave a legacy when he said: “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Prov. 21:5).

How has our Financial Journey helped you? We’d love to hear your testimony in order to prepare other practical kinds of 40-day journeys in the future. Post your answer.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 36 (April 11): 5 Days Left to Live


If you found out that you only had five days left to live, what would you do? After crying and wondering how, why, and why me, then what would you do? Let’s rule out doing crazy, sinful things as a last ditch effort in living. That’s not the choice for Christ followers.

I would try to leave my mark on the earth over the next five days. That’s what leaving a legacy is all about! The word legacy means a gift of personal property, as money; anything handed down from the past. Since legacy has a specific meaning; it must also have a specific purpose. Here is the fourfold purpose for you to intentionally develop your legacy.

► A legacy POINTS my heirs to a better life.
► A legacy PROTECTS my heirs.
► A legacy PROVIDES for my heirs.
► A legacy instills PEACE in my heirs.


Fortunately, we have not been given five days to live. Whatever the amount of time we have remaining on the earth, we’re called to be stewards of our life AND our death.

Your life from the grave should still speak to those you used to influence while alive! God cares enough about our ability to leave a legacy by allowing Paul to pen these words: “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19).

What are you doing right now to develop and safeguard your legacy?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 33 (April 8): The Real Meaning of Financial Empowerment


The members of the West Campus are progressing nicely in developing the practice of worship and warfare. Our Harp and Bowl service last night was over the top!

Financial Empowerment is not just you personally achieving a strong financial footing. You have been called to help others less fortunate than yourself. In fact, we’re taught: “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you” (Lev. 25:35).

This verse is being demonstrated everyday at Christ Church. Most of the times the practice is done so silently and under the radar that no one knows who assisted whom. The focus is not about getting recognition from others, but about helping someone who has gone or is going through a heavy trial.

Last Christmas, one of the single parents experienced a robbery. The thief stole valuables in addition to the children’s Christmas gifts. Can you imagine the emotional trauma notwithstanding the financial loss, and the untimely nature of such an act? Fortunately, a bunch of folks at the church got wind of it and chipped in financially. They restored the gifts and most of the valuable items so that Christmas would not be a sad ordeal for this family.

This was a powerful picture of Lev. 25:35 being lived out in our day. Share a post of a story that demonstrates the practice of this verse.

I will resume new postings to my blog on Monday, April 11th. Get ready to encounter God in worship this weekend! Also come prepared to receive a powerful word that will inspire you to successfully continue our Financial Empowerment Journey! We’re almost at the end. One more week to go! Strive to finish well!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 32 (April 7): The Lord Will Open the Storehouse


God met us last night! We are beginning to see the culture of prayer developed in our church. Thank you for growing in your life of prayer. I believe that many of the good and powerful things occurring in our society are due to the prayers of the righteous. Only when we get to heaven will we fully understand the role our prayers played in building a just society.

Tonight @ 7:00 p.m. the West Campus will experience a time of “Harp & Bowl”. I look forward to waiting on the Lord in an atmosphere of spiritual vulnerability.

Today is Day #32 of our 40-day journey. The Scripture lesson taken from Deut. 28:12 teaches: “The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.” Serving the Lord has many tremendous benefits including the fact that we should expect His help with our financial needs.

Please make this promise a point of prayer right now. After you’ve read this post, take a moment and pray about a specific financial or business need that you have. Ask God to show you a strategy in how you can see this need met. Conclude your prayer by asking the Lord to show you one person whom you can help once He answers this prayer.

Why is helping that person important to you? Did God give you feelings of compassion, justice, or empathy towards the person who comes to mind? Did you consider helping someone who’s of a different nationality than yourself, as the Scripture guides us? Post your answer.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 31 (April 6): Claim God’s Promises!


Hearing your thoughts in regards to how you flesh out this Christian walk is exciting and encouraging. Keep posting so that our conversation blesses others.

Speaking about blessing, do you remember this verse? Moses writes: “For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you” (Deut. 15:6). Wow!

If there is ever a verse you need to pursue in prayer, it’s this one. It’s in God’s heart to bless us with more than enough so that we can be a blessing to others. Submerged in this verse is God’s perspective of you. You are called to grow a substantial nest egg where others will look to you for loans, financial support, and partnership. This means that creative income streams must be sought.

What are you going to do about this verse? God’s role is to bless you. But your role is to position yourself for His provision. How are you doing this? Some leverage this Scripture by going to school to learn a trade, profession, or to develop a marketable skill. Others are launching a money-making venture by the faith generated from this verse. But, what are you doing to prepare yourself for God’s blessings? Do you know anyone that grew their financial position because of the teachings of the Bible? If so, post a testimony that will encourage us that we too can do it.

Remember that tonight @ 7:00 p.m. at Midweek at the East Campus is having a time of “Harp & Bowl.” (To understand this phrase of Harp & Bowl check out Rev. 5:8). This is a special time of waiting on God through intense intercession combined with powerful praise. See you tonight!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 30 (April 5): Experiencing God’s Peace


One of the great goals of this 40-day journey is to empower you with knowledge. This knowledge in matters of debt reduction, debt consolidation, budgeting, etc. is intended to give you peace of mind. Establishing a Financial Picture by taking the time to wade through these vital forms (Financial Empowerment Resources) is certain to give you peace of mind.

Apart from having peace of mind is having God’s peace. Paul says it this way: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Col. 3:15).

Once you’ve completed an accurate Financial Picture and committed to live in obedience to God’s word, there is nothing else you can do. This is when God’s peace must surface in your life. This occurs when you ask God, in faith, to fill your heart with His peace. You cannot control everything. But, you can control the way you respond to the trials that come your way.

Have you experienced God’s peace? What did you do to secure it? Please post your insights.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 29 (April 4): The Secret


Finances can create a lot of pressure. If you need it, there’s pressure. If you have lots of it, there’s pressure. However, there’s a secret that we need to know about living with little or lots of money. Paul said: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil. 4:12).

A couple of weeks ago I taught about this very principle in my sermon entitled Winning the Financial War. You can access a video version of it by going to Vimeo.com/channels/ChristChurchUSA. Not every Christ follower understands how to experience varying levels of freedom, victory, deliverance, or wisdom from the Lord.

Paul gives us insight by using the word "Secret", which he took from the mystery religions of his day. It actually means “I’ve been initiated.” In other words: learning the secret of how to be content in any and every financial situation is a matter of initiation. Your current circumstance is part of the initiation rite that God has set aside for you. If you are able to secure contentment through the use of your faith, well done! You’ve passed the test. Enter into the contentment zone. If not, you will have to keep plugging away until you learn the secret.

One way to experience contentment is to be missional in your actions. Living purposefully keeps you financially focused. Your financial decisions must revolve around your ultimate mission in life.

If you chose to live missionally, what changes would you have to make financially? Would your habits be different? Would you experience any financial savings? Share your answer with us.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 26 (April 1): Getting An Ant Farm May Be a Good Idea!


Have you ever studied the life of ants? Sounds like a crazy question, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not my question. It’s Solomon’s. He said: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Prov. 6:6-8). Solomon is talking about financial planning.

While we are young and strong—working and getting a steady income—we should be putting monies aside for our winter years. If the ants can gather food during summer and harvest time, in anticipation of the coming winter, so can we. If you read Proverbs 6:9-11, you will see a fuller picture of the wisdom behind planning for the future when there is no steady income stream.


True financial freedom comes as you learn the discipline of planning for the future. This means that we have to control our present spending habits despite the vastness of our current needs. Winter is coming! Savings must occur, even if you’re putting aside $10 every paycheck.

If you have to set-up an automatic deduction from your pay in order to have a growing savings account, do it. Some of us need that rigidity in order to have funds for retirement. The thinking is: if I don’t see the money, I won’t be tempted to spend it. If that’s what you need to model the ant’s behavior of savings, then do it! Make the necessary arrangements this coming week.

Remember, procrastination is a thief of time! If you keep putting it off for another time…a better time…a more convenient time, it will never happen.

Although ants are good at hoarding food during summer in anticipation of the winter, I don’t like ants. Post a funny story you experienced with ants.

I will resume new postings to my blog on Monday, April 4th. Get ready to encounter God in worship this weekend! Also come prepared to receive a powerful word that will inspire you to successfully continue our Financial Empowerment Journey! We’re almost at the end. Strive to finish well!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 25 (March 31): Becoming a Disciple of Jesus


Last night was special. We spent time getting to know one another. You cannot have a strong local church without healthy relationships. Tonight @ 7:00 pm, the West Campus will experience “Among Friends”. Come prepared to worship & then fellowship around light refreshments & powerful conversation.

To achieve financial freedom Jesus taught His disciples to: “estimate the cost” (Luke 14:28) before launching into a big project. A couple of weeks ago, a number of people asked The Money Coach—Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: “Do you suggest attempting to take out a business loan to finance a business that you have invested in although credit may not be good?” She gave a very well thought out answer which began with the word: No!

You may access her excellent answer found in this online article containing loads of helpful pointers at AskTheMoneyCoach.com

Becoming a disciple of Jesus requires that we think and look ahead in spiritual and non-spiritual ways. This includes our financial and business decisions. When you become Born Again, you are giving Jesus full leadership of every area of your life even the business area.

Post an example of a person who told you: I wish I had consulted the Lord before I jumped into this business arrangement.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 24 (March 30): Let the Bible be Your Guide!


I enjoy hearing and reading about your personal experiences. It encourages me that the ministry of Christ Church is positively influencing and impacting your life.

The Apostle Paul was eager to guide believers in how to live a godly and harmonious life. When he wrote to the folks in Corinth, he taught them how to be disciplined in the area of giving. He said: “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made” (1 Cor. 16:2). His goal was to teach them how to benefit from an ongoing financial partnership with God. Living based on God’s word keeps you in partnership with God. You then have the confidence to pray for His provision to come into your life because you are honoring His words and financial guidelines.

Generosity is a learned behavior that becomes habitual when we maintain the discipline Paul exhorted us to adopt. Last Wednesday night and the previous week, a number of people raised the question: Where does it teach tithing in the Bible. There are numerous places (Matt. 23:23-24; Mal. 3:6-12; Lev. 27:30; Neh. 10:37) including the passage I just cited. Although the 1 Cor. 16 passage does not use the word tithe (which means giving one-tenth of your income to God), the principle of “proportional giving” is shown. Proportional giving is when we give money to God’s work, which reflects a specific proportion (or percentage) of our income. The giving is to be regular since Paul used the term “the first day of every week”.

The idea of financial freedom is demonstrated in that we are allowing the Bible to be our guide in all matters of life, even the financial areas. Through budgeting, we are able to dictate where our monies go. Avoiding “budget busters” such as excessive dining out will help us maintain discipline in tithing. Here’s a great form that helps you monitor and destroy the common budget busters you may come up against www.christchurchusa.org/doc/Budget_Busters_Form.pdf.

What budget buster(s) do you have to constantly monitor? Why is it so hard to avoid it?

Tonight @ 7:00 p.m. at Midweek at the East Campus is when we worship and then fellowship with one another. We call it “Among Friends”. The goal is to establish healthy friendships through meaningful conversation.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 23 (March 29): Look Ahead!


This past weekend I taught about how one can end the financial war which rages in the heart of the unsuspecting soul. Positioning yourself for a prosperous future requires that you look ahead constantly.

Solomon puts it this way: “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it” (Prov. 22:3). This verse seems almost like the one I examined yesterday—Proverbs 27:12. This is probably the case because making hard financial decisions is often one of the most frequent things we procrastinate about. The delay may result in the decision being made for us by someone who cares little or nothing about our personal circumstance or financial future.

Several years ago I started using this question to help me make many financial and non-financial decisions: “Is this sustainable?” In other words: “Are my actions sustainable as it relates to this particular project, activity, or whatever?” “Can I keep up with the payments or the time it takes to address the activity I’m thinking about starting?” If the answer is “no”, I then begin immediately to transition myself out of the situation because it is not sustainable.

Sustainability is a great way to sift through the complexities of life. The ability to sustain something is like the ability to stay on a moving treadmill. If you don’t have the stamina, passion, or the peace of mind that you’re in the will of God, you cannot maintain the present or anticipated course of action indefinitely.

Apply this question to some of your financial issues and see where it takes you. Share your answers with us. Let’s keep the conversation going.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 22 (March 28): What’s My Credit Score?


We had powerful meetings this weekend! I’m amazed at how the Holy Spirit moves when we make Christ the focus of our worship experience. We are a few days beyond the halfway point in our 40-day journey to Financial Empowerment.

The journey has four 10-day phases to it, as referenced in the small brochure I wrote detailing the nuances of our journey. You can access the brochure online www.christchurchusa.org/doc/Financial_Empowerment_Journey_Brochure.pdf. This third phase captures Day 21 through 30 and focuses on our attaining financial freedom. Solomon says, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it” (Prov. 27:12).

Financial freedom requires that we anticipate things that may rear its head in the future. This includes both good and bad things. One of the steps we can all take, which costs absolutely nothing, is to get a copy of all three credit reports. The three main credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—are the reporting agencies that apprise people of our credit scores every time someone does a credit check on us. To preserve our financial future as Solomon advises, we need to ensure that everything in our file is accurate.

To access your free credit report every 12 months, go to the federally mandated website www.annualcreditreport.com. The website also has a lot of great answers to frequently asked credit reporting questions.

How has this Journey helped you so far to experience financial freedom? Do you feel more empowered? Do you feel a greater sense of peace because you’ve been equipped with answers to financial questions? Share your experience with us.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 19 (March 25): Success Comes from Obedience


The West Campus is really coming along. People are hungry to grow…to learn…to walk with God. At last night’s Midweek session, there was a strong presence of God as we delved into the Scriptures.

One of the spiritual principles surrounding success is obedience. In 1 Chron. 22:13, we learn that success comes to those who are obedient to God’s laws and decrees. That makes sense!

Success is not just about having your financial needs met. It’s about having a life that is in total alignment with God’s word. I don’t mean that we should be going down a checklist to ensure we check-off all of the things the Bible tells us we should be doing. Rather, our relationship with God is so important to us that we just want to please Him in all of our ways. This perspective is a healthy perspective.

I strive to meet God’s expectations of me no matter what the category simply because He loves me. I tithe because God loves me. I walk in integrity not because I’m supposed to but because I love God and I want to please Him. Do you see the difference in motivation? One person may see Christianity as a list of do’s and don’ts, even though the Bible paints a totally different picture.

What area of your life has God been challenging you to trust Him? Do you think obedience is hard or easy? Post a funny story where you walked away saying: I’m gonna start being obedient to God.

I will resume blogging on Monday, March 28th. See you at the weekend services. Come prepared to receive a powerful word that will inspire you to successfully continue our Financial Empowerment Journey!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 18 (March 24): Don’t Ignore the Lord!


Last night was special. We spent some time in prayer before the start of the instructional classes. Already I’ve been hearing great news of how The Road to Financial Empowerment class and the Leadership Class has been helpful to people. Post your testimony so that others can be encouraged about God’s working in your life.

Tonight at the West Campus @ 7:00 p.m., we will offer them the experience of those two classes.

In Psalm 37:4 we learn: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This is a powerful insight that David received about God’s ways. It is as if God gives us a blank check when we delight ourselves in Him.

To delight in the Lord means to find joy and excitement in serving Him. This is very possible if you start praying something like this before you start your day: “God, help me to go on a spiritual adventure today. I want to experience your supernatural leading today.” Start praying that and then be open. Excitement is about to take place. Aspects of your life will be unpredictable, yet delightful.

As your relationship with God begins to grow in excitement, you will find your times of prayer will be more effective. Make up in your mind that today begins the rest of your life. Choose to delight yourself in the Lord. And, remember: it’s His responsibility to give you the desires of your heart. Your inner most desires are important to God. He promises to fulfill your desires as you make Him your joy.

Post an example of a person who has unique encounters with God. Why are they unique?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 17 (March 23): The Freedom to be Generous


It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone from their post. Keep up the conversation and our online community will grow in strength and connectedness.

Would you consider yourself to be generous? For many, the answer would be: It depends on what you mean by generous. Let’s get on the same page then with a standard definition. Paul defines generous when he wrote: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:6-7).

Generosity is seen here to have a threefold meaning. First, generous means “What do you want to receive as a reward of your investment?” If you sow generously, you’ll reap generously. What do you want to reap? That defines your interpretation of generosity.

Second, generous means “giving from the heart.” If you can give a gift without feeling obligated, reluctant, or any other weird sense of awkwardness then your gift is a generous one.

Third, the word generous means “to give in a way that pleases God”. Since God loves a cheerful giver, generous people tend to want to always please God by living out the character traits that God enjoys. Generosity is one of them.

Based on these definitions, who are some of the generous people in your life?

See you tonight @ 7:00 p.m. at Midweek at the East Campus! I’ll be teaching a leadership class while the financial empowerment class is going on.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 16 (March 22): Stop Worrying!


In our journey we built in the spiritual components like fasting, praying, and Scripture reading. There are some things knowledge alone cannot solve. For instance, a person who worries needs a revelation from God and solid coaching from the Bible in order to stop worrying about things outside of their control. Jesus said it this way: “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (Matt. 6:31-32).

Praying and fasting about your circumstance will cause you to experience a powerful revelation from God. He will quiet your heart and help you to trust Him. This will free you from worrying.

In order to stay free, you must then take advantage of the truth being presented about money in the weekend teachings and Midweek classes we offer. For example, tomorrow night @ 7:00 p.m. at the East Campus we will continue to explore The Road to Financial Empowerment with The Money Coach, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox (www.TheMoneyCoach.net). She will answer financial questions ranging from the basic to the complex about personal finances. You’ll be sure to take away a wealth of practical knowledge and advice.

How do you coach others who worry a lot? What about that friend or family member that does really weird things because they’re worried. What do you say to someone like that? Tell us.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 15 (March 21): The Financial Plan


Solomon was onto something when he wrote: “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act” (Prov. 3:27). He was sharing that debt elimination happens first in the heart. In our heart we must always desire to payoff those we owe.

In addressing the whole debt scene, we learn that old debts must be paid off before new debts are incurred. If this principle becomes a life principle then the verse becomes a guide for our behavior. The statement “when it is in your power to act” means that when you have money, give it to the ones who deserve it. That references the ones you owe.

I have seen people freely incur new debts while ignoring the old ones. Their behavior shirks a responsibility toward the creditor and God’s word. Over the course of this journey, you should establish a debt reduction plan. This plan outlines all of your creditors, amount of monies owe, interest rate, etc. More importantly, you should write down on this plan when you anticipate paying off the creditor. By doing this little homework assignment, you are honoring Prov. 3:27-28.

Checkout the Financial Forms we put together and made available for you and your friends to use www.christchurchusa.org/index.php?id=events. The Debt Summary form is the one that you can use to generate a payoff plan for each creditor.

Post a testimony of what God has done for you through this 40-day journey.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 12 (March 18): Are You a Slave?


Well, are you a slave? Before you answer the question, let me share this verse with you: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Prov. 22:7). Solomon used the strong word picture of slave to describe how one feels when there is a hefty financial obligation hanging over their head.

Our 40-day journey has taken us into the second 10-day phase, which is aimed at helping us break free from financial bondage. The passion to break free from financial slavery begins when you hate the fact that you’re being viewed as a slave.

This past weekend Pastor Brian Jacks and I preached on Gaining Control of Your Finances. The teaching brought out several important points including: Freedom from debt cannot occur if you are lazy with money matters. This point may be a zinger but it’s true.

To get out of debt, you have to have a crazy-like perspective concerning debt. You actually view debt as a dangerous enemy that has the capacity to destroy everything that’s precious to you including your family. You can’t play with an enemy! Sometimes to get out of debt you have to take a second job for a couple of months or a year or two. You have to view this new source of income as a “restricted fund.” It’s not for any other use than paying off bills. It is restricted! You can’t use it to go on vacation or buy that new sofa you’ve been longing for. That salary is to pay off bills. Period!

Paying down debt requires patience, persistence, and passion. These three qualities combat laziness while conquering debt. As you maintain patience and an attitude of persistence, your passion to get out of debt will see you through.

How do you motivate yourself to stay patient, persistent, and passionate about getting out of debt? Your post will encourage someone else to stay the course toward achieving debt-free living!

I will resume new postings to my blog on Monday, March 21st. See you at the weekend services. Come prepared to receive a powerful word that will inspire you to successfully complete our Financial Empowerment Journey!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 11 (March 17): Trust God To Pay It Off!


Last night at the East Campus was powerful! Debt-smashing principles were shared in the Midweek class entitled: The Road to Financial Empowerment. My class on: How to Effectively Influence Others was eye-opening for many as they learned how people within their sphere of influence are seeing them. Tonight @ 7:00 p.m., there will be a repeat performance at the West Campus. Don’t come on time, come early! We’ll spend a few minutes in prayer before we jump into the word.

Learning about God’s views on money is exciting and at the same time quite challenging. David speaks in a pretty strong tone when he writes: “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously” (Psalm 37:21).

The tone is rough if you are in the habit of not repaying your debts. I don’t believe David is speaking about the inability to repay your debts. He’s speaking of the unwillingness to repay your debts because of a lack of proper money management habits or of a person who just wants to get over on others. The contrast we see is the good practices of the righteous person as it pertains to financial matters. These individuals are able to bless others because of how well they have learned to manage their monies.

Generosity is shown here to be a trait of godliness. How generous are you? Or, maybe I should ask: How godly are you? If someone had to write an article about your character and the only data source was your checkbook, will they conclude that you are godly?

Post an example of a godly person whom you know and why you say they are godly. What role does generosity play in that description?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 10 (March 16): What Does God Want From Me?


I love reading your posts. It reveals personal information that connects us heart to heart. That’s what the psalmist was doing when he wrote Psalm 1. He was posting an experience he had with God. The psalmist tells us that there is a cause and effect to spiritual and natural things.

In this instance verse one tells us what to avoid doing while verse two declares the things we ought to do. The effect of our action is communicated in verse three: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

How would you like that to be you? Whatever you do prospers. That’s one of my goals. I want the Lord to prosper whatever I do. The key is to avoid what He warns us to avoid. Read Psalm One verses one and two. We are also instructed by verse two to delight ourselves in God’s word and meditate on it day and night. These actions trigger the prosperity effect.

This is not magic! I believe that God is saying: When you immerse yourself in Me, I will give you creative ideas that are lucrative. A tree which is planted by streams of water is a tree that’s constantly being nourished by the life contained in the water. Such a tree is fruitful in its season regardless of the weather or the atmosphere.

We must become confident that regardless of the economic weather or the business atmosphere, God can cause us to experience fruitfulness. What do you think of that? If you’re not careful the economists and social pundits can sow doubt and fear into your mind about the state of our economy. And, unknowingly you will be refuting the ability of God to make you fruitful in this season of the national or global recession.

During this journey ask God to help you rise about the chatter of the economic prophets. This way His word reigns in your life. In fact pray this prayer: “God show me how to be planted by the streams of water so that I can be fruitful in season and not experience financial loss, in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

See you tonight at Midweek at the East Campus!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 9 (March 15): You Can't Out Give God!


To get the most out of our journey, you should set aside one day of fasting each week. During that day, eat one meal and turn the other meal times into prayer times. I encouraged the people at the East Campus to choose Wednesdays as their fast days. This way their spiritual lives will be fueled by the Wednesday night Bible Study and corporate prayer time.

Similarly, I asked the guys at the West Campus to choose Thursdays as their fast days because Midweek is on Thursday nights for them.

During Midweek this week @ 7:00 p.m., we are going to explore The Road to Financial Empowerment with The Money Coach — Lynnette Khalfani-Cox (www.TheMoneyCoach.net). She is an expert in the area of personal finances and you’ll be sure to take away a wealth of practical knowledge and advice. There will also be time for questions and answers. Simultaneously, I will be teaching a relevant lesson from The Leader’s Tool Box on How to Effectively Influence Others. Try to get there a few minutes before 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday in Montclair or Thursday night in Rockaway.

Jesus said: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29). The journey of faith is an investment into eternal life. The more you become totally obedient to God even with the management of your money, the more impact your life will have on others in this lifetime…and the one to come.

Think about how much more impacting the gospel would become globally if every Christ-follower became totally sold out to Him. This journey is about maximizing your impact by honing your money management practices. What Jesus is calling for in Matthew 19:29 is totally commitment to God’s word. And, when that occurs, God can trust us with tons of money because money doesn’t own us. Our heart’s devotion to God is should be so great that everything else pales in comparison, even money and earthly relationships.

How do you know that you’re sold out to God? If I asked your money this question, what would be the answer? I’m assuming money can talk.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 8 (March 14): What Have You seen?


I love being around people who are well traveled or those who have loads of life experience. They can give firsthand accounts of what they have experienced. It’s not theory. It’s hard cold reality they have personally lived.

David discovered through his lifetime this reality: “I was young and now I’m old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). Imagine that. David’s testimony of God is that He always provides for righteous people. A debt reduction method is living a righteous life by God’s standards. Think about it. It costs money to sin...lots of money. Life outside of the will of God is also quite expensive.

During the journey, ask God to get you totally aligned with His will for your life. While you’re praying about that try to shed all of the unrighteous habits you may be engaged in.

The cost for a pack of Malibu Lights in Montclair is approximately $6.22. Although some would debate the sinfulness or lack thereof of cigarette smoking, we can all agree that smoking will get you to heaven a lot quicker than you’d like to be there. This assumption—the getting into heaven part—presumes that you are a believer in Christ.

My life experience tells me that a number of wonderful believers have a problem puffing on Malibu Lights or some other brand of smokes. I can’t see Jesus smoking cigarettes or another kind of substance even if He was able to get a medical prescription for marijuana. So I conclude that smoking is an unrighteous act…and an expensive one. During this 40-day journey ask God to deliver you from smoking if you’re in the habit of such.

This deliverance will save you a ton of money. If you smoke two packs a day, that translates to a savings of $4,503 per year. Take the savings and pay off a debt. Then you can join King David in singing, “I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”

What’s the most expensive sin that you have seen? And, have you seen God deliver anyone from it?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 5 (March 11): God Protects the Little People!


Have you ever gotten ripped off simply because you did not know any better? We learn in Exodus 22:25 that under the old covenant God wanted His people to live by this rule: “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like the moneylender; charge him no interest.”

Please don’t misinterpret this verse. It’s not saying it is unethical to charge someone interest if you extend a loan to them. Rather, God is saying don’t get take advantage of them or their unfortunate situation. This verse captured a moment in the history of the Jewish people when less fortunate Jews were being taken advantage of by wealthier Jews. The wealthier people were charging an ungodly interest rate on loans to their less fortunate brothers.

Because justice is a big deal to God, He intervened to protect the poor from the unscrupulous behavior of the rich. It’s almost like the modern credit card companies who charge predatory interest rates. The 2009 Credit Card Act was designed by the federal government to protect consumers from unfair credit card practices, eliminate predatory credit card lending tactics, and increase transparency of the credit card companies. The new credit card law helps consumers in many ways including restricting the issuance and marketing of credit cards to young adults and on college campuses. Now, anyone under 21 must get an adult to co-sign on the account if they want to open their own credit card account. Or, they must show proof that they have an income stream to repay any debts they incur.

Justice is needed to free people from unrealistic financial expectations and lift the overwhelming burdens off their shoulders.

What would happen if you applied faith as it pertains to the justice of God? I mean after spending some time in prayer and reflection make a list of some of your creditors that you can approach with the thought of their reducing your debt. Many creditors (and credit card companies) are willing to lower the payoff amount if you can be consistent with paying off a lesser amount within a certain period of time. You have to demonstrate good faith however in following through with the agreement.

Post your story of how you were able to secure a lower payoff amount because you professionally approached a creditor.

Our journey continues this weekend -- we'll see you at Christ Church for worship and I'll be back here on the blog on Monday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 4 (March 10): Is Your Middle Name MONEY?


Is your middle name “money”? My question is a silly one but it points to a perspective that many people struggle with unknowingly. King Solomon waxes eloquent by stating: “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless” (Eccl. 5:10).

We all know that money is necessary. We need it to meet our financial obligations, take care of our families, and the list goes on and on. The problem God is trying to point out is that of the heart. God is always dealing with our heart…our values, and our priorities. The verse infers that loving money is wrong and meaningless.

But, how do you know if you love money? Solomon gives us one answer when he says: The person who loves money always thinks that they don’t have enough money. The angle of his observation is directed to the person who wants to hoard money. This person sees money as something to be accumulated selfishly. Do you feel that way about money? If you do, then I must lay guilt at your feet by labeling you as one who loves money.

You can also determine if you are a lover of money by checking the color of your palms. Are they green? Does the green dye from the money rub off into your hands when it comes time to tithe? I’ve noticed some people when they raise their hands in worship, their palms are green. God had to pry His offering out of their hands because of their death grip on the cash. I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I’m being a bit facetious. But, the point has been made. Money is to be used for a higher purpose than simply hoarding it for selfish reasons.

Money is to be your servant and not the other way around. Post one of your experiences that demonstrated your change of heart towards money. Or, share with us how you were able to have a conversation with someone who loved money and didn’t know it until you pointed it out.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 3 (March 9): Honor Your Word!


One of the beautiful things about reading God’s word is that we gain a ton of free advice that can be applied to our daily lives. For example, Solomon says: “It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it” (Eccl. 5:5). Honoring our word as it relates to keeping financial commitments is extremely important. Apart from the obvious reasons of integrity, ethics, and morality that are associated with keeping your word, we learn that there are also financial implications.

After this Sunday’s sermon on The Enemy Called DEBT, a lady approached me exuding with excitement. She announced: “Pastor, this word is so timely. I just got a job after a year of being unemployed. I can now pay my bills. In fact, one of my creditors is threatening to sue me.” I congratulated her on the new job and quickly offered this advice. "Write a letter to your creditor indicating that you were unemployed but recently landed a job. Indicate your intention to resume payment by such and such date. I believe that this action will avoid the expense battle of a lawsuit and keep your credit from any further damage.”

Just because you owe a bill is no reason to throw away or suspend your integrity. Contact your creditor providing them with clear instructions as to the minimum you can make given your financial situation. This practice recognizes that Ecclesiastes 5:5 must be honored.

Some financial advisors even counsel that you should contact your creditor if you know you are going to lose your job due to a layoff, etc. At that time you can even press them for a lower interest rate or a better payment plan in order to ensure there’s no disruption in your making the payment.

Post your story of how you were able to reduce your debt because you honored your vow. Or, tell us how you felt because you honored your financial commitment. It’s neat to hear how God backs His word when we dare to believe Him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 2 (March 8): Patrol Your Heart!


Jesus warns us: “Watch Out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). The verse provides warning on two different levels.

First, we are to be on the lookout for greed. The basic meaning of greed is “excessive, extreme desire for something, and often more than one’s proper share.” The greed Jesus is speaking about is not something external or outside of our person. It’s internal. It’s a change in our heart, our desires, and our appetite. When greed is lurking in our souls, we start mulling over and over in our minds a justification for an excessive amount of something in particular. That something varies from person to person. Jesus’ warning must be further heeded because He notes that there are many kinds of greed.

Some people get into debt over greed for clothes while others sink into money problems over greed for status. So, the excessive amount of money they pour into a status automobile becomes a symptom of the problem of greed.

Second, we are told that life is more than the amount of stuff we own. I have never buried someone whose family wrote an obituary that listed all of the possessions of the deceased. When we face the end of life, we get sober as to the real meaning of life. It’s not about the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. It’s about the relationships we’ve built and the people we’ve impacted.

As you look over your life to really establish a satisfying life, what stuff can you get rid of? I mean, if you were to put some things on eBay or hold a garage sale before the end of this 40-day journey, could the proceeds help you inch further away from debt?

Look around your house or in your closet and make a quick post of things you bought because you thought they were going to make you happy, more content? But now, it’s sitting in the closet or collecting dust. What have you learned about yourself and the abundance of possessions? If truth be told: We all have stuff around the house that we had no business buying. Now, it’s collecting dust.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 1 (March 7): Are You Content with What You Have?



Congratulations! You’ve started the journey. The first ten days will focus on the perspective God has and wants us to have towards money. In Hebrews 13:5, the writer says: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I Leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

To avoid debt God tells us to be content with what we have. Can you do that? In other words, if you were not able to get any more stuff—no more new cars, no new furniture, etc.—could you be cool with that? Before you answer, realize what God is trying to get us to understand. God is saying: Be content with what you have…because you have Me.

Factoring that dimension of meaning into being content with what you have, can you now answer my question about being content?

Can you see the logic behind this approach to controlling debt? God is challenging us to see that we should not let stuff fill up our lives. Rather, we should see how His love and presence is all satisfying.

What financial decisions is this interpretation of Heb. 13:5 challenging you to rethink?

In what way does this meaning of this verse get you to reduce the emotional pressure for acquiring more stuff?

Let’s talk about how you can establish a list of stuff that you NO longer need to buy if you got a revelation of God’s promise to never leave you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Join us on the Financial Empowerment Journey! (March 7 - April 15, 2011)



The Financial Empowerment Journey is a 40-day spiritual journey designed to help elevate you to a new dimension of financial freedom, management, and overall effectiveness. This journey is one phase of the ongoing conversation the Christ Church family is having in 2011 in order to promote a lifestyle of financial empowerment.

This 40-day journey culminates with you having a well developed plan to leave a legacy for your family. This four-staged journey is aimed at discovering:

- How to eliminate debt
- How to gain greater control of your finances
- How to live in financial freedom
- How to leave a financial legacy for your loved ones

Why take a 40-day spiritual journey?
Every one of us gets spiritually depleted at one time or another, which can adversely impact our financial decisions. This is why the entire Christ Church family has chosen to become emotionally and spiritually energized in a way that leads to financial empowerment.

At the close of this 40-day experience, we want you to make a solemn agreement to live a financially empowered life.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day Ten (January 21): The Joy of Rest


Tonight at the East Campus, our intercessors will gather @ 7:30 p.m. along with the entire congregation for a time of prayer and praise. Congratulations! You’re at the end of the fast. We will break our fast at the end of tonight’s service. Our time of prayer will focus on a number of corporate needs including the economy and the need for a powerful move of God to hit this region. The pastors will lay hands on you and anoint you with oil, as we claim a fresh anointing from God.

Did this fast show you anything about your spiritual strength? What parts of your life needs a fresh visitation? Could it be that your busyness is prevent you from enjoying God’s best…and the rest He promised you? You have witnessed the benefit of a rich devotional time with the Lord. This means that you should now guard your time like a watch dog so that your Sabbath day is not spent doing everything but resting.

We have been designed by God to need rest. Not just the ceasing of physical labor, but the ceasing of emotional and psychological labor. You cannot keep running a hundred miles a minute and expect to sense the glory of God. Even Jesus forced Himself and His disciples to rest when He said: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31b). He knew that restoration of emotional and spiritual energy comes not only through prayer and fasting, but also through quiet moments of solitude and rest.

What will you do to recharge emotionally? How do you guard your rest? What will you do to protect your Sabbath day?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day Nine (January 20): The Joy of Restoration


Tonight at the West Campus, our intercessors will gather to pray with you @ 7:30 p.m. You may want to get there early to help set the tone of intimacy with God. The pastors will also anoint you with oil coupled with the laying on of hands. We want to close our time of prayer with this kind of personalized ministry to you.

I hope you feel restored in your walk with the Lord. Fasting has a way of repairing broken walls and restoring streets with dwellings—two metaphors that symbolize the repairing and restoring of our lives. Through this fast, God restored my joy of studying. Don’t get me wrong. I like studying but the deep joy had not been at the height that it is now.

Now, I am like a kid in a candy store when a book is in my hand. Thank God for His restoring power.

What was restored in your life during this fast?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day Eight (January 19): The Joy of Restoration


Your posts are quite intriguing. But, I’m still wondering if you’ve sat down and knocked out your goals for 2011. Don’t let this year rule you. You must shape your life by managing it with plans, goals, and vision.

Verse 12 of Isaiah 58 gives us a unique value to fasting. Fasting gives us the appetite to rebuild the ancient ruins and raise up the age-old foundations of our life. What ancient thing(s) have you seen crumble in your life? Perhaps it was a marriage, an employee to employer relationship, or a pastor to member bond that used to be healthy. Have you ever considered holding out the olive branch—a symbol of peace—to that person? God may be using this fast to repair something that had been ruined in your past.

I would not discount something so precious as God concerning Himself with a private area of our life that you’ve moved away from and now think it unimportant. Pray about it! If God speaks to your heart to shoot someone an email saying: “You were on my heart and I wanted to say: I miss our times together. I wish the painful things didn’t occur; but I want God’s best for you.” Maybe one of the benefits of this fast is not just getting you to move in a new level of spiritual vitality, but also to shift your heart to want to rebuild the age-old foundation of reconciliation and friendship.

Share your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day Seven (January 18): The Fire of Revival


You’re almost there—the end of the fast. Don’t go hog wild afterwards and sleep in the neighborhood McDonald's. Adopt some healthier eating habits, if you struggled in this area prior to our fast. Your body will love you and your church family will have you for a longer period of time.

What needs have you been asking God to satisfy during this fast? Have you already mapped out your 2011 goals, for the six major areas of your life as this past weekend’s sermon challenged us to do? If not, why not block out some time before Friday and jot down some goals that you’ve always had on your heart. Remember the six areas: 1) Personal & Family; 2) Spiritual & Ethical; 3) Cultural & Societal; 4) Financial & Career; 5) Health & Physical Well Being; and, 6) Mental & Educational.

Ask God for His help in meeting those goals. We’ve all been given the gift of time. And, time is like real estate. God is not making any more of it. If you need to get a friend to coach you in mapping out your 2011 goals, give them a call.

Some people need to have questions put to them in order to formulate an orderly plan about their future. If you’re like that, there’s no harm in it. The harm would be if you simply did not use the gift of time to map out your goals.

What are some of the craziest excuses you’ve heard from friends and family as to why they never outlined personal goals. I need a good laugh. Please share it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day Six (January 17): The Power of Renewal


Verses nine and ten of Isaiah 58 are faith-building tools. Fasting gives you confidence to cry out to God with the kind of attitude that says: “I will not be denied! I cannot be denied! I know that I know that the thing I’m asking God for is aligned with His will.”

This holy boldness comes when your life has been cleansed through repentance. This cleansing of soul allows you to confidently cry to God for help. His response is to say: Here am I.

Fasting should have allowed you some reflective time so that you can “right the ship of your life”. Living in a more Christ-honoring way should now yield greater compassion for hurting people in addition to gaining a greater level of wisdom regarding your own life.

Is there anything in the past 12 months that you were afraid to ask God for? Can you now revisit that need? You should not be hesitant because of your newfound place of spiritual strength and confidence. Go for it!

Post a description of your newfound confidence and boldness in the Lord.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day Five (January 14): The Power of Recognition


God offers a couple of powerful promises when we fast. He says: “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 58:8).

Light represents clarity, wisdom, and understanding. During this fast, ask the Lord for clarity in how you’re to approach this New Year. Ask Him for wisdom in how you can circumvent some of the challenging economic circumstances our nation is facing. He assures us that our fasting is intended to address these kinds of difficulties.

Another wonderful benefit tied to fasting according to verse eight is the unveiling of our righteousness. Righteousness is a character based word. It has to do with how others see and interpret our behavior. Through fasting they will see the uprightness fueling your character and not assume the negative. Who in your life needs to have an altered perspective of you? Pray that they may see your heart…the righteousness that God is unveiling.

During this season of fasting I’ve found myself praying for my level of compassion to increase. And, my fasting is also focused on my character that I may grow in a more patient way with others. What about you? What have you recognized that God is doing in you during this fast?

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