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God and Money (pt4) | Saving by Travis Sinks

This is Part 4, in a four part series, click HERE to read Part 1, HERE for Part 2 and HERE for Part 3.

What We’ve Covered

If you’ve been following this series, you’ve been with us as we’ve been covering aspects of God’s will for our finances. How He has a good plan and that we should find rest in Him regarding our finances, how He has called us to live generously, and how to steward our finances well through budgeting, as we are told to live wisely.

There is much more we could cover about finances, as so much of the Bible talks about stewardship and finances, but for the purpose of this series, we’ll end on what the Bible says regarding savings.

Why Save

As we covered budgeting last month, we talked about how budgeting is the way you organize your finances for the fixed and variable expenses you face each and every day/week/month.

Savings has its own three specific goals which are to…

  • Prepare for the unexpected (natural disaster, unexpected car repairs, unexpected health conditions or accidents, etc)
  • Prepare for upcoming situations that will require you to live off of savings (such as retirement, a period of time where you won’t be working because of health, or something similar)
  • Prepare for large purchases that require saving in advance (a car, house, or another large purchase)

As you can see, the similar thread in the goals for saving is the word “prepare”. Saving is a proactive action to get ready for a future event.

The Big Picture

As we cover this topic, you’ll see a theme of accumulating money, investing, and trying to make more money. This is because we’re specifically talking about how to save and invest money - but that doesn’t mean money should rule our lives.

Please do not take this post as an excuse to be all about money, and to forget that money is a gift from God and can be used as a tool to glorify God and to bless people. This post is specifically dealing with how to invest and save money so that it may grow and be used as a tool in a greater way in the future.

Don’t forget that we’ve covered other areas of money in this series dealing with specifically keeping a right heart before God and how to use it to bless others and glorify God. This post is merely dealing with the saving and investing aspect of money.

Savings In Scripture

We see throughout Scripture that it is wise to save and we are encouraged to do so.

  • Through saving during 7 years of plenty, Joseph rescued all of Egypt and many of the surrounding areas from the next 7 years of famine (Genesis 41:34-57).
  • Saving is seen as an act of the wise, while not saving is an act of the foolish (Proverbs 21:20, Proverbs 30:24-25)
  • We’re told that we should not only invest, but diversify by investing in multiple areas (Ecclesiastes 11:2)
  • We see examples of saving for a specific cause and goal (1 Corinthians 16:2)
  • And we see how valuable it is to save, even little by little (Proverbs 13:11)

Saving Is Not A Command

Before we dive deeper into the topic of saving, I want to preface this with a reminder that saving is a wise thing to do, but it is not a command in the Bible.

This means that 99% of people should do it because it is simply wise, but I am not discounting that God may tell you not to.

Jesus certainly did not save money. There have been many godly men in women who have not saved money - and there have been just as many who have saved money.

Just as with many wise things in the Bible, saving should be our default action, but if God tells you to do something different, then you ought to do that.

With that said, most people do not save because of their decisions in life, and not because they truly feel that God has told them not to. If we have not felt that God has specifically told us not to save, then we should be living wisely and saving well.

The Dangers Of Saving

Like all of the good and wise things we are told to do in Scripture, and even the commands we have in Scripture, we can easily turn saving into a bad thing.

Throughout the Bible there are warnings against relying on things instead of God.

Now, just because you save doesn’t mean that you will fall into this trap, but it will increasingly become a danger.

If you remember the second part in this series, we actually talked about how generosity can be one of God’s built in safeguards for us against this danger.

So, let’s not discount savings as a dangerous thing, but let’s save with our eyes wide open and our hearts sensitive to keep God as our only true safety and security. In reality, we can make an idol out of our money whether we have $10 or $100,000 and so we need to focus on God rather than trying to keep our savings low.

Here is some scripture for you to ponder and even memorize as you continue to guard your heart against relying on things other than God:

  • "Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf." Proverbs 11:28
  • "Take care... lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them… then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God…” Deuteronomy 8:11-19
  • "But godliness with contentment is great gain… For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." 1 Timothy 6:6-10
  • “…Give me neither poverty nor riches… lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?…” Proverbs 30:8-9

Types of Savings

As Dave Ramsey (and many like him) teaches, there are multiple “types” of savings. Each for a different financial stage and for different purposes. The general breakdown is…

  • Emergency fund (depends on your income level, but generally $1500-$3000)
  • 3 month's worth of expenses
  • 3-6 month’s worth of expenses (additional to the initial 3 months)
  • Retirement/401K
  • “Safe" Investments (mutual funds, etc)
  • “Risky” Investments (stocks, etc)
  • Saving for specific items or purchases (home, car, vacation, etc)

Now, in general, it’s ideal to move down this list in order, though you can have some overlap of starting your retirement/401K (especially if you have a company that will match your 401K deposits) at the same time that you’re still building your 3 month's and 3-6 month’s worth of savings.

The Purpose Of Each Type Of Savings

The important thing to gain from this post is the mindset of what saving is used for and how it can specifically benefit you as a wise action. Without connecting your savings to a specific purpose, it’s much harder to save because it seems meaningless and unimportant.

Emergency fund: By having an emergency fund, you are able to handle the miscellaneous bumps of life such as a car accident, unexpected medical, etc.

3-9 Month’s worth of expenses: By specifically having this savings, you are able to handle larger potential life problems such as loss of job, and larger unexpected expenses. The benefit of having these separated from your emergency fund is you can put these savings into higher returning investments that can take up to a month to liquidate because you have your emergency fund prepared to last in the meantime.

Retirement/401K: After you have your day-to-day and short-term savings taken care of, it’s good to prepare for the future where you may not be able to work, or at least make as much money as you do now. Especially in today’s world with matching 401K plans, etc - retirement savings has become much easier, more useful and can be done well.

**”Safe” Investments”: Once your retirement is underway, you’re in a good position to start investing money rather than just saving it. It’s good to start with “safe” investments that don’t have as many “downs” where you might loose money, but tend to grow at a steady and smaller rate than “risky” investments. NOTE: I say “safe” and “risky” because technically no investment is “safe”. Just that some investments are naturally safer than others.

”Risky” Investments”: After you’ve started working with “safe” investments, you’re now in a good position to start with “risky” investments. The reason for this is that risky investments can bring much more lucrative, but they can also be a complete loss. The reason we wait until these other pieces are in place is that the money you use for these investments is not the money you need to live. It is unwise to use your “bread money” on risky investments, but to use “extra” money to try to produce more.

Saving for specific items or purchases: This one is the easiest to remember why we’re doing it, because when you save for that car, or house, etc there’s a specific goal in mind that helps you stay focused and on track.

Next Steps

Each of us will have different next steps based on how far we’ve come with savings this far.

For many of us, this journey needs to begin with starting an emergency fund and simply having savings in the bank. For others, you will be able to start further down the road of saving.

Regardless of your next saving step, please do not forget what we’ve already covered. Saving is one piece of a wholistic plan that God has for our finances that are meant to complement generosity and budgeting.

I encourage you to take time to review through the other posts in this series and make a plan.

And all along the way, have God be the focus. Do not let money, or any other area of life, take place over Jesus in your life as your Lord and Savior.

I especially encourage you to go back to where we started this series. You can read part one at this link.

God can (and should) be our hope regardless of which financial stage you are in.

So let us seek Him, obey Him, and most of all: trust in Him.

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

God and Money (pt3) | Budgeting by Travis Sinks

This is Part 3, in a four part series, click HERE to read Part 1, and click HERE to read Part 2

Being Wise With Money

Jesus encouraged His disciples to be as “wise as serpents, and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). As Christians, we should strive to live wisely.

And wise living includes how we spend our money.

The Basics of Budgeting

Budgeting is one of those things that is extremely simple, but can be very difficult to walk out. And it all comes down to spending less than you make.

Obviously, there’s more to it (as we’ll get into), but we need to remember that the bottom line is that we need to live within our means.

I’m not trying to tell you how much you should spend where, but that you need to be aware of how much you spend in each area of life, and ask yourself if that lines up with what you value.

Fixed And Variable Expenses

The main concept that helps stay within your budget is realizing that some of your expenses are considered “fixed” while others are “variable”. Fixed meaning that there’s very little you can do to change the amount you spend, while you have a lot more control over your variable expenses.

Before getting into how to handle both of these categories, we need to make sure that we don’t allow these terms to enable us to have a “victim mentality” with our finances. Even our “fixed” expenses can be changed. In the “fixed” list I include things such as internet, car insurance, tv, etc. I consider these “fixed” because normally we sign contracts or have some type of commitment for these expenses. However, we can all try to find a cheaper deal for our car insurance, we can all choose to not have tv, we can all choose to have slower internet, or no internet at all, etc.

We use terms “fixed” and “variable” as they represent how we can make decisions on a day-to-day basis, but let us not forget that no one is forcing us to spend any money at all - these are all our choices, and we need to remember that we are responsible for the decisions we make.

Fixed Expenses

I like to start with “fixed” expenses because these are the ones that will have the biggest impact on your financial stability.

Personally, I like to keep my fixed expenses at a minimum. This allows me more freedom to choose what I do in day-to-day life. Because of this mentality, my wife and I have made decisions such as not to have TV (even with a two year old kid).

Some example of fixed expenses to consider are...

  • Tithing/Giving
  • Saving
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Home insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Car payment
  • Car maintenance
  • Internet
  • Cable/TV
  • Phone
  • Utilities
  • Credit Cards/Debt

Variable Expenses

The second category of expenses in our lives is “variable” expenses.

These are the ones you have more control over in your day-to-day decision making. In each of the example categories below, we can choose to buy cheaper, more expensively, or even not at all in some cases.

Variable expenses can be things such as…

  • Groceries
  • Restaurants
  • Gas
  • Entertainment
  • Home supplies
  • Personal care
  • Clothing
  • Gifts

I’ve personally seen my wife spend exceeding less than the average family on things such as groceries and clothing by simply buying less pre-prepared food, and finding which stores have the best deals. It’s methods like those that allow these categories to be more flexible in their total expenses. We have also personally chosen not to drive some places in order to save on gas for some months, or to not eat out as frequently. All of the categories above, and many more, can be adjusted as needed.

Tracking Your Expenses

When it comes down to it, the most important thing in your budget is to track your expenses. Regardless of whether you categorize based on fixed and variable, or other methods, tracking is what allows you to see how much money you are spending in each area of your life.

When you properly track your expenses, you are able to see where your money is going, and then take corrective action. Without tracking your expenses, you will never be able to see if your money is actually going towards the areas of life you want to spend money on. It gives you the clarity to make smaller decisions throughout your day that can have a huge impact on your longterm financial future. I can’t tell you how many problem are solved by simply realizing exactly where your money goes each month.

Here’s a few links to help you get started with tracking your expenses:

  • - This is the one I personally use, and love. It is specifically good at online transactions because it connects to your bank and brings all your transactions over to their system so you don’t accidentally miss a purchase. It’s not great though if you use a lot of cash (still works, just more work).
  • Dave Ramsey Budgeting Tools - This site is a great resource, especially if you are just getting started. It has both digital and pencil and paper budgeting methods available. Even better, it walks you through exactly how to use them and set up your budget.
  • Or, if you’d prefer a spreadsheet with the categories we listed above, you can click HERE to download the Excel file or HERE to download the PDF.

Finding Help

Like with most things in life, good stewardship of our finances is 10% knowledge, and 90% action. You can know all of these things, and have it still be difficult to apply. If you’ve struggled with this (as most of us have) please seek counsel and accountability. We are available to help, so please contact us if you would like help in this area. Otherwise, there are many other great resources and groups to help you in this area as well.

“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22

Don’t give up. Continue to learn and grow in wisdom regarding your finances and budgeting, and glorify God by stewarding your finances well.

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

God and Money (pt2) | Generosity by Travis Sinks

This is part 2 in a four part series. Click HERE to read Part 1

As we talked about in Part 1, God created an ideal design for all of our lives - including our finances. And when we go against His design, we find ourselves broken and in need of His healing, forgiveness, and grace. We cover last week how we find this healing and hope, but in these next 3 parts, we’ll be covering 3 aspects of how to correctly handle our finances...

It All Starts With Generosity

We were created to enjoy God’s blessings (including finances), and to worship Him with His blessings - and generosity helps us strike this balance.

Basically, when we are generous we…

  • Become more thankful for what we already have
  • Keep ourselves from worshiping money over God

God's Design For Giving

Before we get into the blessings of giving and practical action steps, we need to remember that God also simply tells us to give - and we shouldn’t diminish this.

And, let’s not forget that we can trust that God gives us commands not arbitrarily, but because they are good for us and will bring us fruit and joy and growth in the end. Even when we don’t see how that is possible, we should trust and obey him. As it’s been said…

"God’s past faithfulness demands our present trust."

Yes, there are many blessings, but let’s remember that we don’t follow God simply because we know of tangible blessings, but because we are creation and He is Creator. He not only created us, but sustains our life - and He promises that He cares for us and loves us.

When we read verses like Proverbs 3:9, "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce,” we should remember that even if we don’t know why - we should obey God and trust Him.

Additional verses to consider are…

  • Deuteronomy 15:7
  • Proverbs 21:26
  • Acts 20:35

Even still, God does promise blessings to come with generosity, so let’s encourage ourselves with them.

The Blessings Of Giving

God set up generosity as a way for us to guard our hearts. It was a way to remind ourselves that everything we have is a gift from Him. This helps to keep us from pride, and helps us focus on the Giver (God) rather than the things He gives.

Basically, giving is God’s way of making sure we don’t forget that all of our life is meant to be about a relationship with Him.

Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy how money can become a cancer in our hearts, and ruin our lives...

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world... For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10

To guard ourselves from these pains and evils, God gives us a way to continually cleanse our hearts of the love of money… by giving it away.

Here’s some more examples of the blessings we find when we give generously…

  • Contentment: 1 Tim 6:6-10, Hebrews 13:5
  • Humility: Deuteronomy 8:11-19, Proverbs 11:28
  • Faith: Hebrews 11:1, 6, Malachi 3:6-10
  • Growing Our Affections (towards God): Matthew 6:19-24, Ecclesiastes 5:10, Luke 12:15

How Much Should I Give?

When asking this question, we need to realize that there are two parts to this answer. There was the law, and there is grace. Although we are under grace, there is still much to be learned from the law, as God tells us that He has fulfilled it, but not simply done away with it. It can still be a good guide to see the heart of God in different areas of our lives.

The Law

The baseline we see in scripture is the tithe (10% of your income), which is meant to go to local ministries to help provide for the practical needs of the ministries and their leaders.

God initially setup the tithe (10% of income before taxes and expenses) in the Old Testament to provide for the temple and the priests. Although we’re not under the law, we see that Jesus encourages the tithe throughout his ministry:

  • Jesus encourages the tithe: Luke 11:42, Matthew 23:23
  • Jesus encourages “above and beyond” the law: Matthew 5:21-28

In scripture, we even see that no one is exempt, even the priests (and today’s pastors) are told to tithe: Numbers 18:26.

In addition to the tithe, there were many other offerings and profit sharing commands for the general people. In total, these instructions for generosity averages to be about 30% of all income. (Genesis 31:43, Exodus 30:13, Leviticus 1:3, 2, 4:1-4, 6:5-7, 19:9, 25:4).

The Church (Under Grace)

But since we are no longer under the law - so what do we do about giving?

For starters, we are still told that we ought to give in these 4 ways…

  • Generously/Sacrificially: Proverbs 21:26, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, Mark 12:41-44
  • Strategically: 1 Corinthians 16:1-3
  • Secretly: Matthew 6:1-4
  • Joyfully: 1 Corinthians 13:3, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

We know from 1st Corinthians 13:3 that all giving is useless if not done in love, but that doesn’t mean we should be slack in giving - all the more, we should strive to give abundantly and sacrificially.

As a side note, consider what it means to give “joyfully.” This doesn’t mean that we only give when it’s convent and we can be happy about it.

In regards to our walk of faith, we’re reminded in Hebrews 12:2 that we ought to be…

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus had “joy set before Him” as He endured the cross. In Jesus’ most sacrificial and painful experience on earth, He found joy in His giving of His life. How? Because He knew the result of His giving.

And it's the same for us.

Giving can be extremely painful. It can be difficult to give to God first and sacrificially.

But when we focus on The Giver, and we remember the importance of seeking Him with all of our lives, and the blessing of being near Him.

We can give joyfully, even when it’s hard.

And this leads us to another question...

Where Should I Give To?

Generally, there’s no hard fast rule for how much, or where we should give (because, we do live under grace). However, here’s some examples we see in scripture.

To Your Local Church

Just as the law said to give to the temple, we see that the early church kept this focus of giving to local ministries, and to help expand God’s Kingdom by supporting ministries in other areas. The funds given to the local ministries was then distributed in three main ways:

  • Leadership: Numbers 18:21, 1 Timothy 5:17-18
  • Missions/Other Ministries: 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, 2 Corinthians 11:8
  • Benevolence: Acts 4:35

Many people decide to have 10% give to their local church, and then to give above and beyond to other ministries and additional benevolence as we’ll see below. Personally, my wife and I feel called to give more than 10% to our local church and then to give even more to other ministries and as we see need around us.

The amount has very little to do with the heart behind it, as we saw Jesus rebuke the Pharisees because they may have given a lot, but it was considered little to them and so it wasn’t sacrificial. The important thing is that our giving is causing us to refocus on God.

As You See Need

In addition to giving to local and distant ministries, we see God has also asked us to simply be generous to those around us as we see need. This doesn’t mean you have to, or even should, give to every person in every situation, but it should definitely be something on your heart and something you do regularly.

Here’s some verses that talk about this calling to be generous to others: Deuteronomy 15:11, Proverbs 14:31, Isaiah 58:6-10, Ezekiel 16:49,Matt 25:31-46, Luke 10:25-37, James 2:15-17, 1 John 3:17

Are You Growing In Giving?

This is the most important question we can ask ourselves.

It’s interesting how we know we ought to grow in patience, mercy, grace, forgiveness, serving, reading our Bibles, prayer… but rarely do we think about growing in our giving.

Above all, the Bible challenges us to continue to grow in our walk with Jesus, to grow in faith.

Maybe that $20 a week you use to give doesn’t seem as much of a stretch anymore. I’d encourage you to give more. To stretch your faith.

We’re told in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please God without faith, and it is entirely possible for us to give without having faith. People give to nonprofits and others all the time without faith, and so can we.

So consider if your level of giving has become stagnate. My wife and I personally reevaluate our giving yearly to make sure that we are still acting in faith and giving sacrificially. (We do these on a more regular basis in conversations, but we specifically set aside time to pray about it and consider with the start of each year). Sometimes we increase our percentage of giving, other times we don’t - the important thing to remember is that we need to always be acting in faith and growing in our walk with Jesus.

Next Steps

I don’t know where you are in your giving, but I can tell you that God says He gives mercy to the humble, and when we submit our finances to Him, we are acting in humility towards Him.

Maybe you’ve never given sacrificially before, I’d encourage you to start today. Maybe you currently give, but feel like it’s no longer sacrificial, I’d encourage you to pray and ask God what you should do. Maybe you feel like you’re in amazing place in your giving and growing in faith towards God - keep going and don’t give up.

Regardless of your next step let us remember giving’s purpose to draw us nearer to our Creator and to bring our hearts in line with His.

As we’ll cover budgeting and savings next, let us continually ask for grace to steward God’s money well in our generosity, spending, and saving.

You can subscribe to the Redemption Church blog below to receive new posts in your email.

God and Money (pt1) | Finding Hope by Travis Sinks

Have you ever struggled with finances?

  • Not "making enough?"
  • Always seeming to run low at the end of the month?
  • Never seeming to do better than “get by”?
  • Always stressed about how you’re going to make it?

You’re not alone.

In 2016, Business Wire conducted a study and found that financial stress caused nearly 1 in 4 Americans to suffer from PTSD-like symptoms.

This is a serious problem.

But God says there is hope.

God promises to bring us healing, hope, and new life when we turn to Him - and this includes our finances.

This financial series is going cover many practical aspects of godly financial management such as budgeting and saving, but we can’t miss the foundation of all of our financial decisions…

God’s Perfect Plan

Like every area of our lives, God has an ideal design for our finances. Similar to those other areas, the fundamental basics of this plan is to:

  • Enjoy His blessings
  • Worship Him with what we’ve been given

Enjoy His Blessings

You realize God is not a kill-joy, right?

He loves us very much and created this world so that we could enjoy His creation. As culture grew and money became a way of trading goods and services, we can use money today to enjoy the world that God has created.

But, this enjoyment isn’t meant to surpass our enjoyment of God Himself.

Worship Him With What We’ve Been Given

We were made to worship, and we are designed so that we are filled by whatever we worship.

We were created to worship God, and Him alone, so that we may be filled with joy, peace, love, and other characteristics of God.

And this includes our money and possessions.

This can play out in many ways such as generosity and wise money management, but it all comes down to if we are using money, or worshiping it.

Our Rebellion

I think the title says it all: we messed up. It’s what the Bible calls “sin."

God created us to enjoy His blessings, yet to still worship Him as God - and we’ve messed it all up.

Some claim the physical to be bad, and choose to not enjoy God’s blessings… While others allow His blessings to take the priority in their lives and remove God as having the first place in their lives.

And it’s this rebellion that leads to our pain...

Our Pain

Whenever we rebel against God, we bring pain upon ourselves.

Sometimes this pain is “small” or delayed to show up in our lives, but God’s Word promises that when we turn away from His design, we are immediately “dead in our sins” and it’s only a matter of time until we feel the pain of it.

And, this may seem like we can simply start over today, and try better and do better, but the reality is that the damage is already done.

We cannot redeem ourselves from our sins any more than you can raise someone from the dead by simply putting clothes on them and pretending they’re alive.

But there is still hope.

God’s Grace And Redemption

As in every area of our lives, God offers redemption for our finances and our heart towards money and things.

I’m not saying that God promises health, wealth, and prosperity to those who surrender to Him and love Him.

But God can free you from the love of money. From the fear of financial struggles. From the cycle of bad decisions that makes your difficult life even harder.

From the PTSD-like symptoms that 1 in 4 people reading this struggle with because of financial difficulty and stress.

Finding Hope

Ultimately, to find hope in any and every area of our lives, we need to turn to the hope of the Gospel.

To believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to bring healing to our brokenness and sin, and to trust Him as our Lord and Savior. When we do this, He promises to work in our hearts and lives and continue to heal our brokenness - and this includes our crippling worries and fears regarding our finances.

And we’re not alone - God says that we not only are given hope through Jesus and the power of His Spirit entering our lives when we believe, but that we’re added to a new spiritual family called the Church. In this group of people who trust in Jesus and desire to follow Him, we find help, accountability, guidance, and general love and support to follow Jesus every day.

Finding Healing

In order to find healing in every area of our lives, we first need to admit our need.

James 4:6 reminds us: "But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’"

And Proverbs 28:13 tells us: "Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

And, lastly, 1 John 1:9 also says: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Turning to Jesus as our Lord and Savior starts with us acknowledging our brokenness and need, and then asking Him to heal us - and He promises to do just that.

From the many conversations I’ve had with people about their finances and difficulties I’ve found something interesting:

People are more open with sins such as pornography or lack of a prayer life than they are their finances.

I’m not sure why this is, but we all have a tendency to want to hide our financial sin more than other sins and brokenness in our lives.

But we cannot find healing in our lives until we confess our sin, and ask Jesus to heal us.

If this is you, I encourage you to confess your sin regarding finances, and ask Jesus to heal you in that.

  • The way you’ve prioritized finances over Jesus...
  • The way you’ve overworked in order to have more...
  • The way you haven’t been obedient to give your first 10% back to God...
  • The way you haven’t even gone above and beyond that 10% to be generous as God tells us to...
  • The way you’ve found your identity or pride in how much you make...
  • The way you’ve been undisciplined and/or spent more than you make...

And the list goes on…

And when you do, you’ll begin to find healing in God’s forgiveness and empowerment to live as God has made you to live in this area of finances.

In the next few blog posts, we’ll cover the practicalities of following God’s design for our finances, but simply reading about these things are not enough.

I encourage you to find accountability to live in God’s design for your finances, just as you would for any other area of your life.

  • Ask someone to disciple, teach, and be an example to you on surrendering your finances to God
  • Ask a few people you know to keep you accountable, and let them see and speak into this area of your life

To do this takes extreme courage and humility, but as we’ve already seen…

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." -James 4:6

So, may we find God’s grace in our financial lives today, and may be be humble to seek His ideal for our lives.

For when we obey and follow God, He promises that we will be blessed because of it.

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Social Justice & The Church by Travis Sinks

Social justice has been, and always will be, a part of Christian living and one of the many ways the church loves and serves its surrounding community.

However, social justice was not the message of Jesus, and is not the primary purpose of His Church.

As we seek out Jesus’ purposes for His church, it’s always good to go back to scripture and see what He had to say about it.

As one of His final words to the disciples, Jesus said,

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

We see that the primary purpose of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus, to see people believe in Jesus (baptizing them as an outward sign of their inward belief), and teaching those disciples to follow Jesus in all of His teaching.

So what was Jesus’ teaching all about?

The primary message of Jesus is that we are dead in our sins, and we need to be born again by His sacrifice, grace, and forgiveness. (John 3: 1-21)

Everything else Jesus teaches hinges on us accepting His sacrifice for our sins. He taught us how to pray, give, serve, seek the Father, love others, and generally live the life we were meant to live - but this is only possible through accepting His Gospel.

One of the many things Jesus taught was social justice. However, there isn't much specific teaching on equality, and social justice - but He clearly lived a life of caring about these things. He never taught to organize social justice movements within His church, or to seek lobbying of any kind - but rather that a transformed life would engage in social justice daily. This is because social justice (as well as any person-to-person interaction) cannot simply be legislated, but must come from a transformed life and heart-change.

Social justice is a byproduct of salvation.

Truly effective social justice cannot come from simply changing laws, but only from changing hearts. This is why we never see Jesus pushing for new laws or government because He is most concerned with the salvation of people.

This is why Jesus emphasizes people’s salvation more than anything else. An amazing example that is covered by three of the four Gospels is when He first forgives the sins of a paralytic man and tells the scribes the the primary reason He will then heal the man is so that they will know that He has the power to forgive sins (Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:18-25).

Jesus clearly had a primary emphasis on salvation through forgiveness of sins above anything else.

And when the church shifts to focus on coordinated social justice, we miss Jesus’ primary mission: to see people saved from death and brought into new life.

I really like how Bruce Zachary explains it:

“Activism emphasizes the social gospel & tends to produce cause-oriented rather than Christ-centered people. Attempts to effect social change without a change of heart/nature. Caring for the poor, for example, is very important, but it should not be divorced from Jesus & man’s greatest need –salvation.” -Bruce Zachary

Jesus mission for His church is that we would be gospel oriented people which would result in the people of His church bringing social justice and love to those around them.

Salvation will always bring social change (along with the all the other things that come with a transformed life) - yet social change alone cannot bring salvation.

As a church in Delray Beach, we have seen many people loved, served, helped, and brought into life-bringing community. However, it all flows from our mission to “pursue and proclaim Jesus” as He intended for us to do.

We may not have a “social cause” that we emphasize or all gather around, but that is because we are called to gather around Jesus. And as we have, and continue to, He promises that we will continue to see lives changed, families restored, and equality and hope brought to all people through receiving His Gospel and surrendering to His grace.

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4 Resources To Help You Grow by Travis Sinks

Jesus warned the crowds that followed Him in Luke 14:25-33, that they should count the cost of following Him. He compares it to building a tower and making sure you have enough resources and man power to build it fully, so that you do not get halfway and realize that you can’t complete it.

To follow Jesus requires all of our life, for the rest of our life.

As you are on your journey of following Jesus, there’s so much to learn, and apply from Jesus, but as a pastor, I want to give you as many resources as I can to help you in that process.

This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but to help you realize how many resources are accessible to us today. There are endless podcasts and books - but sometimes that can be overwhelming. So, rather than giving you endless options, here are four resources to help you learn and apply as you follow Jesus.

NOTE: These are meant to compliment your time in community with others Christians (discipleship) and time gathering together on Sunday services or other gatherings. Nothing can replace your time with other believers, just like nothing can replace your prayer life and Bible reading.

Podcast/Audio Sermons

At Redemption Church, we have all of our past sermons online for you to listen to. We currently have 9 full books of the Bible that we’ve studied through and multiple topical sermons series through sections of scripture.

You can find all of these on our teaching page, or you can subscribe to the Sunday sermons on iTunes or Google Play.

3 Minute Messages

In addition to full sermons, we’ve also started our “3 Minute Message” series last summer. This allows for briefer overviews of scripture as we talk about the overall message of each chapter in a book of the Bible in under 3 minutes. Currently we’ve gone through 4 books of the Bible and we’ll continue to add to that list. You can find all the past 3 Minute Message on our website, or subscribe to them on iTunes or Google Play.

Blog Posts

For the last few years, Redemption Church has kept up an ongoing blog in order to be a resource on a variety of topics. On our blog page you can find the most recent posts, look at the most recent few by specific authors, and search through the blog archive for a specific subject. You can even subscribe to our blog via email so that you never miss a post.

Additional Resources Page

As a general addition to the options above, Redemption Church has also included an Additional Resources Page with a variety of helpful links and downloadable content.

The things you can find on these pages are:

  • Topical Bible study worksheets
  • Baptism information sheet
  • Start to follow PDF workbook
  • Links to free Bible study websites
  • Links to free Bible apps
  • Through The Bible reading plan and study guide
  • Spiritual gifts PDF book
  • Spiritual gifts online test
  • Suggested church podcasts to listen to
  • Recommended books to purchase

As mentioned above, there are so many resources available to us that we can easily quit before we’ve even begun, but there’s nothing to replace the time invested in learning more of God’s Word and desiring to see Jesus more clearly and follow Him more diligently.

I hope those resources encourage and enhance your walk with Jesus.

Press on and continue to follow Him!

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Maturing As A Christian by Travis Sinks

As a Christian, we have the privilege of not only being saved by Jesus, but to be given new life so that we would mature and grow to become more like Him. Our calling to grow and become more like Jesus is throughout all of the New Testament. A few examples are: John 15:16, 1 Peter 1:15-16, Titus 2:11-14, Ephesians 2:10, Colossians 1:10, 2 Timothy 1:9.

However, we need to remember the warning that Paul gave in the book of Galatians:

"Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3

This new life given to us by Jesus is a gift of grace. And just as it is God’s grace that saves us, it is by His grace that we grow and mature and become more like Him.

With that said, God has given us handlebars and helpful ways for us to fan this gift of God from a small flame into a burning fire. It is by God’s grace that we have an opportunity to grow, and it is by His power and Spirit that we have the ability to walk in His grace and mature by faith - but he has also given us very practical steps that He has put in place for us to act on and do our part. As Jesus said, it is when we obey God in faith, and put these into practice that we are blessed (Luke 11:28).

To encourage our spiritual maturity, Peter lays out a general template of how we grow in our faith and become more like Jesus in 2nd Peter 1:5-8.

"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8

Here’s a breakdown of the list we find in this section:

  • Faith
  • Virtue
  • Knowledge
  • Self-control
  • Steadfastness
  • Godliness
  • Brotherly Affection
  • Love

NOTE: Faith is where salvation takes place. Everything from here on our is the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification, which is the life-long process of God’s Spirit making us more like Jesus. When the verses above say “supplement your faith with…” it’s saying to make complete and whole. Not that you are unsaved, but that the purpose of faith is to bring about our relationship with God and our sanctification. So when we “supplement our faith with…” we’re NOT adding to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We are saved by grace through faith alone. However, we are told to corporate with God in bringing about our sanctification by obeying Him in faith.

With that in mind, let's look at how this process works itself out in our lives:

We begin with faith. Nothing can happen apart from faith (Hebrews 11:6).

After faith, we begin finding and encouraging virtue in our lives. As God’s Spirit fills our lives, we supernaturally will begin to seek to obey God by living a more virtues life.

From virtue we are encouraged to grow in knowledge and continue to learn the will of God that we may be even more obedient and near to His good plan for us.

Resulting from knowledge, we are called to self-control. Now that we’re even more aware of God’s plan and purpose, we are called to have self-control and seek to pursue Him over other choices in life.

From self-control we are called to remain steadfast in our lifestyle. That we wouldn’t have self control one day, and then abandon God’s will the next. We are called to walk with God throughout our life.

Through steadfastness comes godliness. It’s been said that what you do defines your character and your character defines who you are. As we continue in self-control and steadfastness, we are becoming more like Jesus and we begin to have godly character.

Eventually, godliness we will grow into brotherly affection. As we become more like Jesus it’ll be normal for us to have a love for His church, just as He has.

And ultimately, brotherly affection grows into general love for God and others.

A quick summary of what we just went over is:

  1. From faith in God, we are called to seek God’s will for our lives, and be obedient to Him
  2. We will find our character grow through continuing to seek Him and obey Him consistently.
  3. From this nearness to God in faith that plays itself out in our everyday lives, we will begin to grow spiritual fruit of brotherly affection and love (see John 15 on bearing fruit).

Another way to put it is:

God’s plan for your life is that you would:

  • Know Him (faith)
  • Obey Him (virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness)
  • Become more like Him (godliness, brotherly affection, love)

Paul then ends this section by telling us that if we do all of these things (“if these qualities are yours”) and if they are growing because we continue to pursue Jesus, then we will keep from “being ineffective or unfruitful.”

So may we be effective and fruitful as we have been called to be, and may we put these into practice.

If you would like to learn more about how to apply these in your life, we highly encourage you to read this book: Spiritual Disciplines by Donald Whitney. You can also read this blog post by Alesha where she encouraged us to build habits and to have perseverance in our spiritual growth.

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The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit by Travis Sinks

holy spirit gifts by travis.jpg

This last Sunday, I spoke on The Gifts of the Holy Spirit (you can listen to the sermon at THIS link). This is such an important topic that we can't ignore as Jesus has told us that we cannot complete the will of God for our lives as individuals or as Christians as a whole, without the power of the Holy Spirit - including the gifts He gives.

The list below is not exhaustive, but is meant to encourage and explain many of the gifts/talents of God given to people to build up His church and share the Gospel with the world.

We encourage you to take the Spiritual Gifts Test offered by the Rock Church to get some external views on where you are most gifted. Of course, this is a great subject to talk about with your ministry team leader or community group to get insight from people who know you best.

What is most important to remember is that God has gifted all of us in different ways and we have been given these gifts to be a blessing to others.

You can listen to the sermon on The Gifts of the Holy Spirit at THIS link.
You can also download the PDF with the following spiritual gift descriptions at THIS link.

Note from the Rock Church:

"The following contains definitions of the Spiritual gifts. While not meant to be complete or final, these definitions correspond to the gifts as expressed in the Spiritual Gifts Assessment."

A. ADMINISTRATION: The gift of administration is the divine strength or ability to organize multiple tasks and groups of people to accomplish these tasks. Luke 14:28‐30; Acts 6:1‐7; 1 Corinthians 12:28

B. APOSTLESHIP: The gift of apostleship is the divine strength or ability to pioneer new churches and ministries through planting, overseeing, and training. Acts 15:22‐35; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 2:7‐10; Ephesians 4:11‐14

C. CRAFTSMANSHIP: The gift of craftsmanship is the divine strength or ability to plan, build, and work with your hands in construction environments to accomplish multiple ministry applications. Exodus 30:22, 31:3‐11; 2 Chronicles 34:9‐13; Acts 18:2‐3

D. DISCERNMENT: The gift of discernment is the divine strength or ability to spiritually identify falsehood, to distinguish between right and wrong motives and the spiritual forces at work in situations. Matthew 16:21‐23; Acts 5:1‐11, 16:16‐18; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 John 4:1‐6

E. EVANGELISM: The gift of evangelism is the divine strength or ability to help non‐Christians take the necessary steps to becoming a born‐again Christian. Acts 8:5‐6, 8:26‐40, 14:21, 21:8; Ephesians 4:11‐14

F. EXHORTATION: The gift of exhortation is the divine strength or ability to strengthen, comfort or urge others to action through the written or spoken word and Biblical truth. Acts 14:22; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:24‐25

G. FAITH: The gift of faith is the divine strength or ability to believe in God for unseen supernatural results in every arena of life. Acts 11:22‐24; Romans 4:18‐21; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 11

H. GIVING: The gift of giving is the divine strength or ability to produce wealth and to give by tithes and offerings for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. Mark 12:41‐44; Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:1‐7, 9:2‐7 65

I. HEALING: The gift of healing is the divine strength or ability to act as an intermediary in faith, prayer, and by the laying‐on of hands for the healing of physical, mental and spiritual sickness. Acts 3:1‐10, 9:32‐35, 28:7‐10; 1 Corinthians 12:9, 28

J. HELPS: The gift of helps is the divine strength or ability to work in a supportive role for the accomplishment of tasks in Christian ministry with the ability to often see the need before others do. Mark 15:40‐41; Acts 9:36; Romans 16:1‐2; 1 Corinthians 12:28

K. HOSPITALITY: The gift of hospitality is the divine strength or ability to create warm, welcoming environments for others in places such as your home, office, or church. Acts 16:14‐ 15; Romans 12:13, 16:23; Hebrews 13:1‐2; 1 Peter 4:9

L. INTERCESSION: The gift of intercession is the divine strength or ability to stand in the gap in prayer for someone, something, or someplace, believing for profound results. Hebrews 7:25; Colossians 1:9‐12, 4:12‐13; James 5:14‐16

M. WORD OF KNOWLEDGE: The gift of knowledge is the divine strength or ability to bring truth to a situation by supernatural revelation. This is often accompanied by a word from God. Acts 5:1‐11; 1 Corinthians 12:8; Colossians 2:2‐3

N. LEADERSHIP: The gift of leadership is the divine strength or ability to influence people at their level while directing and focusing them on the big picture, vision, or idea. Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 3:1‐13, 5:17; Hebrews 13:17

O. MERCY: The gift of mercy is the divine strength or ability to feel empathy and to care for those who are hurting in any way. Matthew 9:35‐36; Mark 9:41; Romans 12:8; 1 Thess. 5:14

P. MIRACLES: The gift of miracles is the divine strength or ability to alter the natural outcomes of life in a supernatural way through prayer, faith, and divine direction. Acts 9:36‐42, 19:11‐12, 20:7‐12; Romans 15:18‐19; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28

Q. PASTOR/SHEPHERD: The gift of pastor/shepherd is the divine strength or ability to care for the personal needs of others by nurturing and mending life issues. John 10:1‐18; Ephesians 4:11‐14; 1 Timothy 3:1‐7; 1 Peter 5:1‐3

R. PROPHECY: The gift of prophecy is the divine strength or ability to communicate God’s truth and heart in a way that calls people to a right relationship with God. Acts 2:37‐40, 7:51‐53, 26:24‐29; 1 Corinthians 14:1‐4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5

S. SERVICE: The gift of serving is the divine strength or ability to do small or great tasks in working for the overall good of the body of Christ. Acts 6:1‐7; Romans 12:7; Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:16‐18; Titus 3:14

T. TEACHING: The gift of teaching is the divine strength or ability to study and learn from the Scriptures primarily to bring understanding and depth to other Christians. Acts 18:24‐28, 20:20‐ 21; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11‐14

U. TONGUES (and Interpretation): The gift of tongues is the divine strength or ability to pray in a heavenly language to encourage your spirit and to commune with God. The gift of tongues is often accompanied by interpretation and should be used appropriately. Acts 2:1‐13; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:1‐14

V. WORD OF WISDOM: The gift of wisdom is the divine strength or ability to understand and to bring clarity to situations and circumstances often through applying the truths of Scripture in a practical way. Acts 6:3,10; 1 Corinthians 2:6‐13, 12:8

Download the PDF at THIS link.

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Thirsting for God, and coming up empty by Travis Sinks

I think we’ve all been there. Feeling empty, dry, and spiritually in need. We seek God, but He seems so far away.

So what are we to do?

David expresses a very similar situation in Psalm 42

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”

If we look too quickly it seems that David has gone astray. That he is a deer that has left the brook and needs to return to it. But that’s not the case. Deer aren’t like some animals that might loose their way, or choose to stray from the riverbed. No, the issue isn’t that the deer has left the stream, but that it has dried up. The same is true for us, sometimes we may be seeking God, serving Him, and the stream can still seem to come up empty.

As we keep reading, David describes his intent to go before God in fasting, and in prayer, while others mock him saying “Where is your God?” He remembers times of great spiritual highs when he would lead people into the house of God singing and dancing. But that’s not where he is now.

It’s in these times of spiritual dryness that we need to take a proactive stance in trusting God.

Rather than staying in memory lane, yearning for “the good 'ole days” and wishing for different circumstances, David speaks to himself and reminds Himself that God is actually with him. Although he doesn’t feel God, he reminds himself that God commands His love on him during the day, and sings songs over him at night (Psalm 42:8).

"Even when God feels distant, we can trust that He still loves us."

The same is true for us. When we go through trials, or worse: through spiritually dry seasons, we need to speak the truth of God’s character and plan over our lives. Not that God guarantees us a life of ease. Or what we would consider physical success or breakthrough in any given area of life. But better than either of those, He promises that He will use everything for our good and for His glory.

So whether you’re going through extreme difficulty or spiritually dry season, know that God is using it so that you may grow to be more like Him, and so that His plans may be fulfilled - and we are guaranteed that ALL of His plans are for the best.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing… Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:2-4, 12

May we remind ourselves, and others, of these truths and move forward in life knowing that whether times are easy or hard, our God is always good.

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How To Study The Bible (pt2) by Travis Sinks

Last week, we covered the attitude we need to have when approaching the Bible to study it. If you haven’t read that yet, I encourage you to at THIS LINK.

Now that we’ve prepared our hearts to receive from God’s Word, we’re going to cover the simple three step process and tools for you to study the Bible with.

1. Observation

All good study begins with observation. This takes the form of noticing key characters, events, locations, etc. Sometimes this means looking at a book of the Bible as a whole to know more about the context, such as who was the author and who was the original reader, but oftentimes we can gain enough to understand a passage by reading a few verses beforehand and a few after in order to see what the author was trying to communicate. Remember that the original writing wasn’t broken up by chapters and verses (except for the Psalms and some of Proverbs) and so consider reading a previous chapter to gain more context. By observing, we can learn the context for something that was said or done.

One helpful tip for this section is to use the 5 W’s and an H. Look at the text and ask yourself, who is this about, what is happening, when is this happening, where did it take place and how is it happening or how is God working in this situation, etc. But save the last “w" (why) for the next section.

2. Interpretation

Obverving words and actions without interpretation is meaningless. After observing the passage, we are confronted with a big "so what?" What truth is God communicating to us through this passage? Why is this important or valuable? The primary way we can learn to interpret scripture well is through other verses in the Bible.

Imagine that someone wrote a very detailed explaination of the reason for life and how to live it well. That book would be riddled with references to other sections within the same book to help gain clarity and context without rewriting all of the same content. Now imagine that book was written thousands of years ago in another laungage and culture and has now been brought to your native language but has kept all of it's cultural references. That would be very much like the Bible we have today.

So, what do we do with all of these internal references and explainations and having cultural references that are not our own? A big piece of interpretation is bridging the gap between how the original readers would understand a passage and how our western and modern eyes read it. This gap, thankfully, is something we can learn to adjust to, and as we learn more scripture, it become increasingly easier.

To start, however, there are many resources at our disposal. We have many specific books, podcasts, and online helps listed on our RESOURCES PAGE, but here are a few ideas:

  • Sermons - Many great pastors have broken down parts of the Bible and explained interpretation for any of us to be able to listen to at our leisure online. At Redemption Church, we study and teach the Bible weekly and have studied through many books that you can access on our TEACHINGS PAGE.
  • Verse References - Many Bibles include verse references to show passages that relate to the passage you're reading. Not every verse will seem applicable, but many have obvious connections that help bring understanding to the meaning of the passage. Blue Letter Bible in particular has a great section for each verse in the Bible called their "treasury of scripture" feature that lists related verses.
  • Concordances - Similar to verse references, concordances show each place a specific word is used. Keep in mind that because the Bible was originally written in different languages, we are reading translated versions which means that sometimes you could look up a word and have it point to sections that use other words, but they were the same word in the original laungage. This also helps bring clarity to the meaning the purpose of a passage of scripture. The Strongs and Vines concordances are the most common, and both can be found for free on Blue Letter Bible as well.
  • Commentaries - Much like sermons, commentaries break down sections of scripture and normally are more in depth and focused on simply interpretation rather than application (depending on the commentary). I personally use many commentaries, but I think the Warren Wiersbe Commentaries set listed on our RESOURCES PAGE is one of the most helpful if you only have time for one. As another great suggestion, my wife’s favorite, is by David Guzik which can be found on Blue Letter Bible for free.

3. Application

After we interpret the meaning of a passage, we are left with a complete waste of time unless we apply the passage to our lives. This means that we need to decide, and then act on, a direct and practical response to the passage we just interpreted. We believe that there is only one interpretation of scripture, but that there can be many applications. For example, let's take 1 Timothy 1:15 which states that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst."

The interpretation, of this passage is that Jesus came into the world as our Savior with the purpose of saving everyone and anyone is is willing to receive His salvation. Furthermore, we recognize that all sin is extremely devastating to our relationship with God and therefore we cannot judge others as worse than ourselves in order to gain a status above them or become judgmental on them, as demonstrated by Paul in this passage.

  • One application we could take is to remember how much we personally need the grace of God, and that we are never too far from God for His grace to save, redeem, and transform us. So we humble ourselves before God and ask Him to forgive us for sins and to transform us to be more like Him.
  • A second way we could apply this passage is to focus on the part where it reminds us that Christ Jesus came to save sinners. This was His whole purpose, and He has called us to share this Gospel. Not only is it our calling to share Jesus' grace with others, but the latter part of the verse reminds us that He can save anyone, and because of that we are to take any opportunity we are given to share His Gospel.

These are just two ways we could apply this passage, but notice that we never deviated from the basic interpretation of the message. It's truth stayed the same wherever we applied it. Similar to a bandage that can be applied to any part of the body, God's Word is meant to be applied in many areas of our lives.

I want to leave you with an analogy from everyday life that will hopefully take away some of the intimidation of studying the Bible.

Imagine you're in your kitchen and you notice that the light on your dishwasher is on (OBSERVATION).
Because the light is on, you're aware that the dishwasher is currently running (INTERPRETATION)
And since the dishwasher is running, you decide to put the dish in the sink rather than inside the dishwasher since then you'd end up with water all over your floor (APPLICATION).

That example may seem simplistic, but that's really all that is happening when we read the Bible. Yes, you may need to look at the dishwasher's manual in order to understand what that light means just as we go to commentaries and other parts of scripture, but the concept is still the same.

I hope this has helped diffuse any fear of reading the Bible that you may have, and that it has equipped you to study it better. Please remember that no matter what the cost of understanding the Bible, this is the most important and valuable thing you will ever do. Without studying and submitting to God's Word, we cannot hope to see God Himself and have a transformed life with Him. When we study and apply God’s Word well, we can say, like the Psalmist:

"I rejoice at Your Word like one who finds great spoil.” Psalm 119:162

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