Posts

Showing posts from April, 2011

Getting your ministry or organization 501c3 tax exempt status on the cheap.

Image
I want to depart from the normal content briefly and give some tips on achieving tax exempt status for your organization. When I first realized that I was going to have to go through this process I was terrified. There was no way I wanted to deal with the IRS or the NC Secretary of State. To be sure, there is a certain intimidation factor to government applications, especially when they are asking for a tax break! What I want to give you here are some good resources that will make the process easier and cheaper. Cheaper is the key word. By far the easiest way to get your organization up and running is by hiring a lawyer skilled in tax code and law. However, if you are like me, and perhaps many non-profit organizations, you don't have mountains of money to sink into the process. My goal was to spend as little as possible and do whatever I could on my own. Yes, this led to many stressful moments and perhaps some mistakes but, at the end of the day Number 156 Ministries was granted 5…

Palm Sunday: A Time for Contrasts

As I'm sure most everyone is aware, yesterday was the day we celebrate as "Palm Sunday" in the Christian Church. This is the day we take time to remember the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem for the final time before His crucifixion. Each of the four Gospel accounts includes a narrative of this event. This alone should alert us to the fact that this was an important occasion for us to remember. For our discussion this morning I would like us to focus primarily on Luke's account of the events of Palm Sunday. In looking at it there are three major contrasts that I would like to point out that lead to very important lessons for us as believers.

1. The first and most obvious contrast is that between the Triumphal Entry and the events of Good Friday. In Luke 19:38 we find that the crowd that had gathered to welcome the Messiah into the Holy City was shouting, Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! While the …

The Epicenter of Revival: The Word of God.

It is no secret that I am a "revivalist." If that sounds a little old fashioned then that is just fine because I'm a little old fashioned. However, I believe with all my heart that we are not beyond revival in our land and, in fact, are in desperate need of it. In light of that, I want to take this opportunity to share what I believe to be one of the keys to revival. You may have rightly ascertained from the title of the post that it is the Word of God so I will not waste valuable time be sneaky about it.

In the most uncanny way the evidence that I want to share to support this theory of mine come from the Bible, though the location may seem odd. If we look in 2 Chronicles 34 and 35 we find an account from the time of King Josiah of Judah. The passage in question actually begins in 34:14 and carries on through 35:19. Here we find that Hilkiah the priest has stumbled upon the "book of the law of the Lord given to Moses." As a side note, I can only imagine the st…

Christianese 101: "Seeking God's face."

It should be no surprise that we, as Christians, have our own special language. I've often heard it referred to as "Christianese." Just think about it for a moment, we talk about things like "being washed in the blood," or being "saved." What about this one, "How is your walk with the Lord? Have you been in the Word?" From the outside looking in this could be strange, at the very least, and downright revolting at the most extreme. There is one phrase in Christianese that I want to take a closer look at today because we use it very often and it can not only be cryptic from the outside but I think it can be difficult to understand from the inside as well. The phrase is "seeking God's face." Raise your hand if you have ever used that phrase or heard it used by your Christian brethren. Very good. I believe that we Christians tend to have a sort of innate sense of what that means but the real question is not whether or not we know w…

An Urgent Lesson from Uzza.

In all honesty I cannot remember the last time I heard a sermon or a lesson come from the book of 1 Chronicles. In general I think it is one of the books that gets "lost in the shuffle" sometimes in favor of, what we see as the, more meaningful portions of the Scripture. However, there are some important truths that can be drawn from books like 1 Chronicles. The incident that I would like to expand on today comes from 1 Chronicles 13:9-10. At this point in the narrative David is having the Ark of the Covenant moved to Jerusalem because it was largely ignored during the reign of King Saul. What happens is tragic and shocking to say the least and it brings up some very interesting questions about the character of God. Here is Uzza, a man who is accompanying the Ark, and he sees that the oxen are about to upset the cart upon which it is riding. He reaches out to steady the Ark and God strikes him down. The Scriptures tell us that "he died there before God." This not o…

Not useful does not equal not true.

I just finished reading a short article on Fox News titled "Is Religion Really Dying?" by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield. The motivation behind the story was a study conducted by the University of Arizona and Northwestern University on the religious sensibilities of the world. Interestingly, they found that there are nine countries in the world where religion is effectively dead. Thankfully, the United States was not one of them but if the trend continues it could easily make the list in the future. What was, perhaps most intriguing to me was Hirschfield's comments about how our traditional religions may die out and that is some sense they should. This comment is found at the conclusion of the article:

No faith can succeed if it does not work in the lives of the faithful. This study just reminds us, particularly those of us connected to organized faith traditions, that we must never lose sight of that fact, and if we do, we probably deserve to go extinct anyway.

This statemen…

Leadership lessons from Naaman.

Image
In the first few chapters of 2 Kings we have the account of the life of the prophet Elisha. One thing that I have noticed about the stories of Elisha is that if you didn't know you were reading 2 Kings you could easily think these were stories about Jesus in the one of the Gospels. In Talk Through the BibleBruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa point out that Elisha's life was marked by many of the same characteristics as Jesus' such as; grace, life, and love. That is not to mention all of the miracles that Elisha performed during his ministry in the Northern kingdom. One of those miracles was the healing of Naaman, the captain of the army of Aram. While the story of Naaman only last for 14 verses in chapter 5 I believe there are a few important lessons that we can draw from it as we seek to be godly leaders.

1. Naaman was not to good to listen to his subordinates. If there was ever a lesson to learn in "Leadership 101" this would probably be it. One of the marks of a g…