Practicing the King’s Economy

Practicing the King's Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and GivePracticing the King’s Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give by Michael Rhodes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of the book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Practicing the King’s Economy is a book that explores the Biblical concepts of economy through “keys”from Scripture. Each key is assigned a chapter to explain it (using Scripture) and then a follow up chapter with real world application for self, church, and business.

The keys are worship, community, work, equity, creation care, and rest.

This book took a couple weeks to wade through. I recommend no more than one key a day because reading and processing will keep your mind on the chapter beyond the time you finish reading. The authors are humble in their suggestions knowing that how these keys are applied may look different for everyone. The book is encouraging and convicting. You won’t look at life in the western world the same way after finishing it, unless you’ve already gone through a self-examination of how God intended for us to live as a society. If you have, the examples and creative applications are still worth the read.

The authorship of the book (there are three authors) is not confusing – each chapter/key is written by only one, though the keys and stories intertwine.

I was surprised by the depth of the book and by how truly thought provoking it was. I highly recommend it to church and ministry leaders. I know it will inform my own ministry a great deal in the future.

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Especially hurting

Suffering had a beginning and will have an end.

Church is a safe place but it isn’t. Elementary schools are a safe place, but they aren’t. We can’t even feel secure in our families – they are broken as well. There’s no place that isn’t broken, no place that is safe. No haven on this earth can protect us. That cloud above us of despair is overwhelming, and I have no idea how a person can get through a day of this without the hope of Jesus Christ.

but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame,

Suffering produces endurance, gives us perspective on our momentary troubles and afflictions. That endurance in turn refines our character. As we endure suffering and gain perspective, we are drawn to Christ-likeness. We don’t look for the healing of our hurt, we look to the healer Himself. That is how we hope. Hope that the suffering is temporary – that we grieve here on earth because we know and long for the redeemed world we’ve been promised.

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

As we try to numb the pain and suffering, we miss the truth of God spoken to us. Shouted at us. We don’t always like what we hear. We certainly don’t like the way the message is delivered. When we close our hearts to the message, we miss the blessing. If the suffering is to have a purpose, we must allow God to speak to us through it. We must endure. We must continually seek sanctification. And we must cling to hope.

Heaven in Brunswick

How to make welcome new friends:

Greet them as they walk in your back door. (let them use your back door)

Include them in what you are doing, whatever it is.

Be yourself. Really.

Then those new friends will feel at home and included and at ease in falling right in love with you.

I found a little piece of heaven in Brunswick, MD this weekend at the First Baptist Church.

They greeted us as we came in the back door. (it was what their website said to do)

They brought us right into their morning. They made a spot on the couch for us. Literally.

And then they showed us their heart for Jesus.

I fell right in love.

Pastor Phil shared a message I suspect the Holy Spirit had been saving just for me. I’m probably not the only person that feels that way though. The message brought to mind this quote I can’t help sharing.

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”

First Baptist Church – your light is so lovely I have no doubt people will want to the know the source of it with all their hearts. Keep shining, my brilliant (new) friends.

 

Grace

I saw this great instagram post yesterday:

“when to give grace? i’d rather stand before God knowing i loved others too much than regretting that i judged too harshly.” – Lysa Terkeurst @lysaterkeurst

I see a lot of time and effort spent on correctly defining grace – what it means to love, when it is required to speak truth. Lots of great points are made. I’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus wants us to speak truth – and he wants us to love each other. In fact, I believe that He shows us that love requires truth. I believe He also shows that truth requires love.

I know that it is very difficult to find someone to speak truth to you. First, you have to be looking. How many of us are really looking for honesty all the time? Then you have to find someone who is a little fearless (or crazy) and is willing to give it to you straight. They have to believe that love will keep hard truth from pushing us apart. You have to be willing to let love embrace the hurt that the truth may cause.

Most important to this discussion is the source of truth. It is not necessary for you to share the “truth” of your opinion. It is not necessary to share the “truth” of the internet variety either. Truth must come from a trusted source.

This seems to be the heart of most of the discussion on this point: we cannot ignore the truth of God’s Word.

Jesus knew all truth. He knew the darkest, ugliest truths of every moment, every person. He knows the horrors that are coming. He has seen all of our history and future and he knows how truly awful we can be.

But God – He loved us. Even knowing what He knows.

He expects us to acknowledge His truth. We are sinners. We are lost.

But God – He loves us. He knows His love can heal the hurt of that truth.

That’s what Easter is about. That’s Grace.

12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

Revelation 19:12-13 NIV

Revelation is always a little baffling to my human mind. I might be off the rails here, but I am reminded that the Word of God IS God. The truth. The life. The way. And Love.

Thank God for grace.

 

 

There is beauty in the bacon

In my walk as a follower of Jesus Christ, I am inhabited, overcome by, the Holy Spirit.

I’ve come to understand this to be a larger vision of “God with us” than a God who is always watchful. Instead, He is a God who is always present. This means to me that every conversation that I have, every thought that fleetingly exists in my manic mind, is shared with Him. It means that although I believe it is important to make time for God where we are altogether dedicated to Him, that every moment of my day (and night) already belongs to Him and is already sacred to His purpose.

He doesn’t mind that I spend time in the mundane. He knows those chores are dedicated to His Glory as I serve faithfully in my role as wife and mother. He knows that I see Him in the beauty around me. I hear a bit of music, read a sentence in a book, look at a sunset, watch a television show, and I see the work of His hands through the millions of people on the Earth who show God to me.

And in the hard times, I know that the yoke He asks me to carry feels heavy, but He is carrying the bulk, and is training me to endure, to persevere. He is developing a character in me that is worth ten times the yoke I have borne. He asks me to carry nothing He does not carry Himself. His burden truly is light.

My great pleasure is found when the Holy Spirit in me is most awakened. The bridge in “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns, reading the introduction to “Mere Christianity”, the returned smile of a tired stranger. These have all awakened that Spirit in me this week.

My great passion is in finding ways to awaken that Spirit in others. For me it might be cooking bacon for my husband’s breakfast, or writing a blog, or teaching my Bible study. Whatever it is, I know God is there with me, in the middle of it all.

 

Further thoughts & clarification re: my post on Planned Parenthood

I recently sent a note to friends and family regarding a mention of my post in the newsletter for our local crisis pregnancy center. The newsletter, written by director Kathy Leamont, sums up the responses I received to the original post and also allows for her understanding of my later clarifications. Allow me to share an excerpt here:

I had written a letter here about our move and the expansion of our “tent” and of our services and it was all ready for printing… then a young lady I know posted something on Face Book that inspired me to make a change …

Many are outraged at the recent story regarding the selling of body parts from aborted babies. I am too. I have spent many years being outraged at the practice of abortion. I do not like it that my tax $$ are used to fund abortion. I have voted my conscience to help change the system. I have contacted my representatives. I have prayed.

That FB post spoke about loving the women facing unplanned pregnancy, showing them love and helping them in a way that allows them to see that they do have options for LIFE. And some folks were being kind of negative … my response was to thank her and to pray about helping her in her plans…

I have no direct control over the government or the abortion industry but I do have control of my personal actions and my personal financial decisions. My suggestion is for all of us to pray, seek God and let’s make our response
POSITIVE ~ PROACTIVE ~ PERSONAL
You can do something… every bit helps…
[You can read the recent blog at SOMEJENSHINE.COM ]

I forwarded along the newsletter and included this open note:

Some of you will recognize the website Kathy mentions in her letter here as my own.The facebook post she mentioned is mine. In it, I do not defend Planned Parenthood. I certainly don’t defend abortion. I hate Planned Parenthood and abortion in a way that I can’t even express with language. Many of you know my personal story. I’ve lost four babies during pregnancy and my heart is so damaged every time I read about someone choosing to end a life. My heart truly breaks for what breaks His. What I believe and attempt to express is that the only way to stop abortion is to reach the women having them – with love and options, not hate and shame.

here’s the link if you’re so inclined. as Kathy mentions, many Christian readers didn’t approve of my opinion and were vocal about it.

I plan to write a future post clarifying and further explaining practical steps I think we can take to make a real difference. I hope to have you alongside me as I try to reach every single woman who doesn’t know the reality of her options – and to help all women (and men!) find the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.
God bless
This is the future post. Believe me when I say that every commenter who thought I was defending what happens to a million unborn babies a year was wrong. That might be my fault – perhaps I wasn’t as clear as I could have been.
I hate abortion. I hate every single instance where a woman feels that taking the life of another person is a valid and acceptable choice. As I mentioned above, I personally have lost four babies in pregnancy. I have two beautiful children. I value human life greatly.
I can remember a time in my life when a pregnancy wouldn’t have been desirable. I can understand to an extent the pressure and hopelessness and I am grateful beyond words that I was never in that particular position. That doesn’t mean I’m better. My sins may be different shades of evil, but they condemn me just the same. The grace I receive from Jesus Christ is enough to cover any sin in my life and is freely available to every single person.
I believe that defunding Planned Parenthood is nearly impossible. Take away the money the government (by which I mean, we the taxpayer) gives them. I agree with that. Money will come from somewhere else. Make abortion illegal – it will still happen. It will become less safe and more expensive. I’ve seen smart people talk about how best to remove the influence of Planned Parenthood from our government. I believe they have good ideas. I also believe that God is truly able to do anything. But it is His perfect plan to give us freedom of choice. I therefore stand by my original post.
The only way to prevent an abortion is by the pregnant mother choosing not to have one. I see one way forward. Inform and care for every woman who’s dealing with a pregnancy and doesn’t know what to do. Ultrasounds (not mandatory, just available) are one of the best ways to start this process. Intercede for and love these women and their babies. We need clinics that offer life affirming choices. We need to surround those who have had abortions with love and help them heal, to be redeemed and made whole in Jesus Christ. You with me?