And He said to them, "It is written,'My house shall be called a house of prayer,’…”
Matthew 21:13 NKJV

Friday, January 28, 2011

Balancing Your Books

Tony Hauck
Church on the Rock - Melbourne

I pulled financial reports today for our monthly meeting. In just a few minutes I have a report that explains what we’ve done with every dollar we’ve been given, and how that compares to our budget. We create a budget each year so that we spend intentionally. Our income can vary, so if we spent according to the wants and needs of the moment, we may not have enough later to pay all our bills. Budgets help you determine when to say “yes” or “no”. We plan ahead because we are accountable.

God has given each of us a fixed, known asset, and we will have to account for how we’ve spent it. Its called time; 168 hours a week. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a year end spending report on our time? Of course you have to trade part of your time for income, and spend some on family and friends. And you have to spend a fair bit taking care of yourself, like eating and sleeping. You may be surprised to learn that the average person still has over forty hours left in their week to do whatever they want. Most of us don’t budget that time, often allowing the desire of the moment to crowd out more important things. If we don’t spend our time intentionally, often others will determine how its spent.

I find that considering the millennium motivates me. If our goal is just to be a good Christian and get to heaven, we’ve missed a lot of the Bible. This life is just an internship. Our true function kicks in when Jesus returns. We’ll be partnering with Him in judging and ruling and restoring. There will be positions of authority. But here is the catch; the position you hold then is determined by what you did with this life.

Consider Ephesians 5:14-16. Every hour we’re given is gone the moment we spend it, unless its invested in eternity. Then it accrues interest forever.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Worthiness of God

Pastor Gary Stebbins
Church on the Rock - Melbourne

When I come home after being gone for several hours, my dog will get very excited, jump up and down, and many times rolls over on her back in what looks like a total act of submission. Or, perhaps she just wants me to pet her stomach. In any case, she acts like she adores me and worships the ground on which I walk.

If you look up the definition of the word worship in the dictionary, one definition is: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power (Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary). In different words, worship is the celebration of the worthiness of God. God is certainly worthy of our worship.

When my dog rolls-over on her back, she may not be worshipping the ground on which I walk, but she certainly is excited and glad to see me. As we approach God, whether privately or in a church meeting, should we not have excitement in our heart at the thought of worshipping Him?

The supreme reason for human existence is to worship God, our Creator. Worship is a natural response from God’s people to:

1. God’s Love - “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16 NAS).
God’s desire is for all men to be saved and for humanity to be restored in their relationship with Him.
2. God’s Presence - When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent (Exodus 33:10 NAS). When God appeared to Israel as a pillar of cloud they were awed by His presence among men and worshipped Him.
3. God’s greatness - Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable (Psalm 145:3 NAS). We should always be in awe at the limitlessness of God, of the “breadth and length and height and depth”, of His incredible love for mankind.
4. God’s mighty deeds - But when the crowds saw this (lame man healed), they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men (Matthew 9:8 NAS). The people were constantly amazed as God worked miracles, healed the sick, and raised the dead. God is performing the same miracles today.

True worship is not a lifeless ritual, but the response of a heart that has fallen in love with God. True worship is not just an emotional response to external stimuli, it is based on an understanding of who God is that comes out of that place of revelation. True worship, regardless of how it is expressed outwardly, begins as an attitude of the heart that has experienced the eternal life of God.

As we come together to pray and worship God, may we find ourselves excited and in awe of who He is, His love, His presence, His greatness, and His mighty deeds.

How about you? How do you respond to God? How do you worship Him? What is it about God that causes you to want to shout and jump up and down and celebrate His worthiness?