Three Pounds Of God, Please

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I came across this poem recently –  and wanted to share it with you.

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
— Wilbur Rees

My first thought when I read this was, “EXACTLY!” Isn’t that exactly how Christians act? We want all the benefits of the title “Christian” but want nothing to do with any of the sacrifices that would come with more than just a small portion on our plate. Study after study shows that there is little difference between the Christian and the non-believer in the way we act when it comes to divorce, pornography, domestic violence, charity, volunteerism, or basically any other category you want to pick. The reason? For the most part, we’re $3 Christians. The key line in the poem is this: I want ecstasy, not transformation. People want to be happy, not Christ-like.

I am thoroughly convinced that the majority of people who profess to know Jesus Christ as their Savior do not. Allow me to explain. I believe that they (and most ‘Christians’) have conformed to a lifestyle without being transformed by the Holy Spirit! They know that being a believer means you do certain things [read your Bible, attend church, give money to the church, etc] but they have not been transformed; there has been no change internally. 

When you talk to them about a real, dynamic relationship with Christ; they stare at you like you are speaking a foreign language and you are. ” But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” They cannot understand because there has been no change in their spirit. 2 Cor. 5:17 

For many $3 is all they’re willing to pay. But for them I ask this simple question: When you die and stand before Jesus (and you will) what are you going to tell him? When Jesus asks you why you didn’t go all in knowing what he expected of you and instead you chose to be a $3 Christian what are you going to say?

Don’t be a $3 Christian. Stop conforming to the pattern of this world! Make God and His ways your priority! Allow God to transform your life – go all in. 

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The Perfect Pastor

The perfect pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes.
He condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
He works from 8am until midnight and is also the church janitor.
The perfect pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church.
He is 29 years old and has 40 years experience.
Above all, he is handsome.
The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens.
He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church.
He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed.
He never misses the meeting of any church organization and is always busy evangelizing the unchurched. 

We All Worship Something

Romans 1:25 is a really interesting verse. The New Living Translation says, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself…”  

That’s an indication that they had worshiped God but decided to take something else [“they traded”]  to worship. The word “traded” suggests that they couldn’t have had both. {Matthew 6:24) They had to give up one for the other. We are either worshipping God or we are worshiping something else. We must trade one for the other. Because worship is how we respond to the thing we value the most. There can be nothing above that thing or equal to it.

The thing we spend we spend most of our time thinking about, doing, giving the most attention to, putting all our energy into? That’s what we worship!

What are you worshiping? What things are you putting before God?

Fully Engaged

When I was learning to drive, my father thought everyone should first learn to drive a car with a manual transmission. For those not familiar with that term, this refers to cars that require you to change gears manually. The process involves learning how to synchronize the gas pedal, the clutch pedal, and the gearshift. The key is to ‘smoothly’ engage the clutch.

My father and older brother took me driving in the country one Sunday afternoon (less traffic) to practice learning the mystery of the manual transmission. I came to a stop sign that had a sharp left turn UP HILL. Now the trick is to engage the clutch without letting the car roll backward.  My first unsuccessful attempt was best described as a hopping rabbit. My “instructors” roared with laughter! 

For the Christ-follower, our lives must “fully engaged” to live our lives pleasing to Him. Romans 12:11 “Do not be lazy but work hard. Serve the Lord with all your heart.”  

The plague of Christianity is half-heartedness, resembles Christianity but there is no power, no love, no peace. We are to serve the Lord with all [fully engaged] our hearts. 2 Timothy 3:5 says, “They will go on pretending to be devoted to God, but they will refuse to let that “devotion” change the way they live. Stay away from these people!”

We are beginning a new year, I would encourage you to be fully engaged in your service to the Lord this year.

Loving His Appearing

I grew up in a very legalistic church where spirituality was measured on personal performance. My acceptance to God (and my church) was based on how well I kept all the rules: modest clothing; no television, no movie going, very strict Sabbath observence, etc. 

I dreaded when our church had revival services because the evangelist would always use the rapture as a means to get people to come forwardto the altar. He would use Christ’s return to scare Believers into wondering if they would miss the Rapture because they didn’t “cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s” spiritually speaking.

But when the Apostle Paul spoke of Christ’s return he said, “Therefore encourage one anotherwith these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18 

“The prize that shows I have God’s approval is now waiting for me. The Lord, who is a fair judge, will give me that prize on that day. He will give it not only to me but also to everyone who is eagerly waiting for him to come again.”  2 Timothy 4:8

Go Tell

A young ministerial student was reminded by his professor that one of the graduation requirements was he had to preach in front of his peers. He told him that he would be preaching at the next chapel service. He  went to his room, got out his study books and began to prepare.

The day arrived for him to preach, he stepped unto the platform and said, “How many of you don’t know what I am going to say?” Hands were raised all over the chapel. “Neither do I. Go in peace, you are dismissed.”  His professor met him as he was leaving the platform. “That message was not acceptable. I am going to give you a second chance.” 

His second message began, “How many of you know what I am about to say?”  Hands were raised all over the chapel. “Since you already know what I was going to say, there isn’t any reason for me to say it. Go in peace, you are dismissed.”  His professor met him as he was leaving the platform and once again he said “That message was not acceptable either. I am going to give you one last chance.” 

The next chapel service had a standing room only crowd. Everyone wanted to hear the student’s next (and maybe last) sermon. He began his message by saying, “How many of you do not know what I am going to say?” Half the room raised their hands. He continued, “How many of you know what I am about to say?”  Half the room raised their hands. 

He finished his message by saying, “Those of you that know what I was about to say; please tell those you do not know what I was going to say.”  His professor shook his hand as he stepped down from the platform. “Excellent message my boy! Excellent.”

We that know the Good News of the Gospel must tell others that do not not know. Jesus said to his followers, “Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone.

Success or Failure?

There is no question that our culture worships at the altar of success. We love rags-to-riches stories. We swallow the world’s lie that the person with the biggest bank account, largest mansion, most expensive car and who is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is a success. 

In the “religious” world, the church with the largest congregation and the most elegant campus is considered a success. Churches compete with each other for recognition. TV evangelists [some, not all] pride themselves with their ratings. Pastors from the small, country churches feel inferior to the “big-city” pastor. 

While I don’t believe that churches should compete against one another, I do believe we should do and be our best. We are told to be faithful not successful. Matthew 25:20  Sometimes faithfulness and “success” run on the same track but not always. Missionaries and pastors sometimes labor years without seeing the fruit of their labor. 

As Christ-followers, we must remember we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Each of us have our place of service in the Kingdom and it all works together. “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” I Cor. 3:5-9