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Ravi Zacharias: The Corrosive Power of Wealth

“Wealth and enterprise have so woven themselves around the message of Jesus that popular models of Christianity appear as nothing more than self and greed at the center, with strands of Christian thought at the periphery.”

Ravi Zacharias in Jesus Among Other Gods (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 200) viii.

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Os Guinness on Doing Well and Doing Good

“The previous readings should have helped us reflect on our own settled convictions about money and giving. One obvious consequence of such conviction is that giving–however we are motivated and whichever avenue of expression we choose–is not a matter of impulse or spur-of-the-moment responses. It is a way of life that issues from a commitment and a plan. Only such planned giving creates the opportunity to address and remedy human needs constructively. Only when giving is a commitment and part of our life goals in this way does it reward the giver as much as those to whom it is given.”

Os Guinness in Doing Well and Doing Good: Money, Giving and Caring in a Free Society (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2001) 280.

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Larry Burkett on Helping the Needy

“God’s Word says there will always be needs in the world around us, and God expects us to help those in need. The needy are those who are doing the best they can with what they have, but what they have is insufficient to meet their needs.

The first generation church set an example for us when they sold their assets and surrendered the proceeds to meet the needs of other believers. So the question is whether we will be doers of the Word instead of hearers only. With literally millions of people starving in the world, the rewards of giving to them are saved lives as well as saved souls.”

Larry Burkett in The Word on Finances: Topical Scriptures and Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994) 189.

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Warren Wiersbe and Riches in Ephesians

“Ephesians 1:3 states [the theme of Ephesians]: the Christian’s riches in Christ…The Father has given us every blessing of the Spirit, everything we need for a successful, satisfying Christian life. The spiritual is far more important than the material…The fact that Paul is writing about wealth would be significant to his readers, because Ephesus was considered the bank of Asia. One of the seven wonders of the world, the great Temple of Diana, was in Ephesus, and was not only a center for idolatrous worship, but also a depository for wealth…

When Jesus Christ wrote His last will and testament for His church, He made it possible for us to share His spiritual riches. Instead of spending it, Jesus Christ paid it all. His death on the cross and His resurrection make possible our salvation. He wrote us into His will, then He died so the will would be in force. Then He rose again that He might become the heavenly Advocate (lawyer) to make sure the terms of the will were correctly followed! In this long sentence [Eph 1:4-14], Paul named just a few of the blessings that make up our spiritual wealth”

Warren W. Wiersbe in Be Rich: Ephesians (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1984) 11-14, 29.

Over the next four days July 16, 17, 18 and 19 set aside time to read and meditate on the whole book of Ephesians once each day. Contemplate on the spiritual riches we have in Christ Jesus and consider the implications of that reality for your life.

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Thomas H. Jeavons and Rebekah Burch Basinger on Growing Givers’ Hearts

“Because of the lack of success in finding and articulating such moral authority in a way that has encouraged Christians to be more generous, the risk is that Christian fundraisers will resort to other approaches for motivating donors. Yet these approaches may not only fail to engage potential donors on the ground of faith but may, even worse, actually encourage attitudes toward giving and patterns of giving that are contrary to the teachings of the Gospel. And sadly, these approaches to fundraising, when taken to the wider public in attempts to solicit funds from them, will give a false impression of the faith and values of most Christians as well.”

Thomas H. Jeavons and Rebekah Burch Basinger in Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000) 67.

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Andy Stanley in Fields of Gold

“What is given away cannot be taken away. Money invested in God’s kingdom is immediately out of reach of the most turbulent of economic conditions. It is the most secure of all investments.”

Andy Stanley in Fields of Gold (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2004) 115.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20

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Hilary of Poitiers on the Meaning of Life

“When I began to search for the meaning of life, I was at first attracted by the pursuit of wealth and leisure. As most people discover there is little satisfaction in such things, and a life oriented to the gratification of greed or killing time is unworthy of our humanity. We have been given life in order to achieve something worthwhile, to make good use of our talents, for life itself points us to eternity.”

Hilary of Poitiers in Celebrating the Saints: Daily Spiritual Readings comp. by Robert Atwell (Norwich: SCM Press, 2004) 36.

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Gordon MacDonald and the Generous Life

“At the core of the generous person’s heart is this penchant for Christ’s love-the desire to receive it and to give it to everyone along the way who is in need. The generous life is not about doling out extra amounts of money. It is about reorienting the human heart in the direction of Christ so that we become transmitters of the same affection and care that Christ modeled in his time.”

Gordon MacDonald in Secrets of the Generous Life (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2002) 13.

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Wesley K. Willmer on God and your Stuff

“While American Christianity has emphasized getting people saved, it has not spent nearly as much time and resources teaching disciples how to lead the Christian life. And one of the most crucial areas where teaching is needed is that of the Christian’s use of money and possessions. Jesus said, “You cannot worship Gd and Money both.” (Matthew 6:24, MSG). God is not indifferent to our daily financial choices but is interested in transforming all our lives.”

Wesley K. Willmer in God & Your Stuff (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002) 23.

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Bruce Demarest outlines liberating principles and a prayer

“How does a Christian move from being possessed by one’s possessions to delight in God and generosity to others? Consider the following principles.

Acknowledge that God alone is your highest good.

Through prayer and fasting determine how worldly possessions may have a grip on your life.

Loosen your grip on material things by enlarging your love for Christ.

Surrender your resources to God.

Remember that disciples through the ages joyfully gave up everything to follow Jesus.

A Prayer: LORD, my natural human inclination is to set my heart on, and find my security in, material things. Grant me the grace to be possessed, not by my possessions, but by You, the Lover of my soul.”

Bruce Demarest in Soulguide: Following Jesus as Spiritual Director (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2003) 101-102.

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