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Im4God Newsletter 1.16.09@

Welcome to the / January 16th, 2009 Newsletter!
You can email Webservant Peter J. Louie by replying to this message.

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Pastor Josh Harris recently did a two part sermon series entitled: "the good recession."  Josh discusses how Christians who believe in a sovereign God should think about these times.  God can use a bad economy for our spiritual good.  His love for us does not depend on our portfolios.  Josh says that we often need both a rebuke and an encouragement from God.  God warns us to be on our guard against greed.  It is sin and we are called to weep over sin.  At the same time, God comforts us with his promises of being our good and faithful heavenly Father, who provides for our needs.  Jesus Christ is a good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep!  Josh's two part sermon really spoke to me, so if you are like me and have a tendency to worry, make an investment on your health and the kingdom of God by devoting some time to listen to these sermons.  I have included Josh's application questions below for you to reflect on.

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Luke 12:13-34

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”  And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’  And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’  So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

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Audio Sermons:
The Good Recession: Part 1:
The Folly of Greed by Josh Harris (Link to website.)  Based on Luke 12:13-34.

The Good Recession: Part 2: Don't Worry: Seek the Kingdom by Josh Harris (Link to website.)  Based on Luke 12:13-34.

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Application Questions
By Josh Harris and his staff

Yesterday I preached a message called “The Good Recession” from the Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12. In it, I asked the question, “How should Christians who believe in a sovereign God think about these times—how can God use a bad economy for our spiritual good?”  The bottom line was this: God can use this recession for our spiritual good if we let it awaken us to the folly of greed and covetousness.”

You can listen online or download the message here.

And here are the application questions, prepared by pastor Adam Malcolm:

1.  Josh defined covetousness as, “a strong desire to possess something—usually something that somebody else has.”  He went on to say that “it’s built on the lie that the quality of your life is measured by how much you have.”  Where might this lie be at work in your own heart and life? 

2. The Rich Fool built his life around this hope.  His driving motivation was his own selfish indulgence.  Which of the following warning signs that Josh spoke of would most apply to your life currently:
-A greater concern for self than the needs of others.
-A preoccupation with this life and its comforts and pleasures.
-A pride in your possessions.
-A disregard for your soul and eternity.

3.  Ultimately, God works all things for our good (Romans 8:28-9).  He is faithful to sanctify us as His dearly beloved children.  Josh reminded us that if we allow a shaken financial system to shake our trust in money and possessions, that’s a good thing.  How is God already at work in your life in this area? 

4.  In closing, give God thanks for where you are aware of His grace towards you now, and end your time together praying that God would use the recession to teach us:
-That He is our only hope
-The danger of covetousness
-That our lives do not consist of the abundance of our possessions
-That we need to weep over the sin of greed

Week 2, Blog Post Continued:

Four ways the recession can be for our spiritual good.

1. If it helps us reset our definition of “need.”
2. If it makes us more aware of our helplessness and God’s faithful provision.
3. If it helps us see that only King Jesus and His kingdom are worth living for.
4. If it encourages us to lay up our treasures in heaven.

You can listen online or download the message here.

Below are a few are questions I shared at the end of my message that should help you apply it.

1. How are you being anxious?
2. Where is your definition of “need” wrong?
3. Where is greed or worry distracting you from seeking the kingdom?
4. How could you use your resources to be rich toward God’s concerns?

<< Taken from the blog at >>

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