Monthly Archives: December 2013

Godliness as a Means to Financial Gain? 1 Tim 6

#1 Question: Should we strive to be godly, so that we will become financially rich? Answer: If our motive in following Christ is money, we need to turn from that way of thinking.

1 Timothy 6:3 – 5  If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

#2 Question: Will people become content, only when they have comfortable lives and great personal finances? Answer: Enough of anything has never helped someone be content. However, being content with whatever is provided while following Christ is gain greater than riches.

1 Timothy 6: 6 – 8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 

#3 Question: What is Christ’s warning to those who want to get rich? Answer:  We are warned about exerting much effort for the want of riches. While I think it is good and natural to want to grow a business, expand investments, and build for the future needs of ourselves, our community and our charity, it is good to check our motivations and troubles (griefs).

1 Timothy 6:9 – 10  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

#4 Question: What does Jesus say we should do to keep our desire for wealth in check? Answer: It seems as if one of the things Jesus says is to always have the eye of a servant and to serve the world and not be served by it.

Mathew 20:25 – 28 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

#5 Question: This is not easy to do in a world that often seems so individualistic. What does the Apostle Paul teach us about this? Answer: In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we are urged to be united with Christ, and, through the comfort, love, Spirit, tenderness, and compassion we have from him, to look out for the interests of others

Philippians 2:3 – 4 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Conclusion: Strive for godliness, not for wealth, or what it will do for you, but what it will do for others and for Christ. He has bestowed wonderful blessings on you, and there is more to come. Be content (with what you have) and humble, enjoy his comfort, love, Spirit, tenderness and compassion–things we don’t have to work for. Lastly, seek to bless others.

Worry about having enough? I dare you…

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 12:13 – 21, Jesus’ talking to us about worrying whether our needs will be met.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In an earlier post, titled the New Economy, based on the same verses in Matthew 6:24-33. I wrote about the new way of living that Jesus brought forth; it was a life not based on striving for one’s own needs, but on striving after the Kingdom and letting the Lord provide for us.

Many versions of the Bible title these verses under something like “Do not worry.” These kinds of titles are not usually in the original text, but are put there by publishers to help readers reference different places (by the way, the same could be said about chapter and verse numbers). The main differences between the verses in Matthew and Luke are that Luke includes verses 32 – 34, and Matthew does not. Good readers of the Bible should ask themselves why and what can it mean.

Jesus the son of God, tells us that he will provide for us lavishly if we will just seek the kingdom and righteousness. He tells us to have faith in Him (verse 28). Why is it that you and I worry about these things? We worry about having enough today, tomorrow, and in the future, especially old age (I wrote about retirement last week). We know we can’t just lie back and not work too (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

If we worry, it may come down to several reasons why:

  1. We live for today instead of for the kingdom and eternity;  Luke 12:23.
  2. We compare ourselves to other people instead of looking at all of creation,  thus we are not content with what God is providing; Luke 12:24, Luke 12:27 – 28. When we are not content, we often make really bad financial decisions.
  3. We think we are in control; Luke 12:25.
  4. We don’t believe God is generous, Luke 12:24 & Luke 12:27, so we strive after more above our needs instead of waiting patiently for God to provide, or we don’t think he will provide for us in the only way we think will make us happy.
  5. We have old pagan habits and divided hearts, Luke 12:29 – 30.
  6. Our treasure is not in heaven, but in other things, Luke 12:34.

3 dares to stop worrying. I promise you, if you do these three things, you will worry much less.

  1. Pray through these verses every day for a month, confess and repent where you need to, ask God for help.
  2. Seek His righteousness and kingdom in whatever you are doing, leave your agenda by the wayside, and pray for insight.
  3. Obey the commandment in Luke 12:33 to sell your possessions and give the money to the poor.

#3 sell your possessions and give to the poor:  The start of a new year is a great time to clean house. Start by making an inventory of your possessions. Review your list and sell everything that you have duplicates of (except for some clothing that you need spares for). Sell items you don’t use anymore. If it has been a least a year since you used an item, you probably don’t need it. Review items that you do use, but their use or maintenance takes time away from seeking righteousness, the kingdom and caring for your family. It is okay to hold onto some mementos or things in storage you may be holding for your children when they get their own places, but be careful not to hoard. Lastly, don’t buy more stuff unless you really need it.

*A chronological examination of any verse that involves money and stewardship, attempting to see the new light that Jesus shines on money in His ‘for-us’ but selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions. This is the forty-second post in this series.

An Emerging Grocery Shopping Trend: Bargain Chains

Do you ever worry about the costs of groceries, whether you will have enough money for the food you need, or the food you like to eat? In a moment, we will review a low cost option people are using today to have enough food, good variety and at a low cost. But first, think about these key Bible verses: Matthew 6:25, Matthew 6:31, Acts 10:12-15, and Daniel 1:12-16.

Have you ever shopped for groceries at a bargain chain store? They are growing in broader acceptance because of low prices and great value. But first, let’s review the various ways people shop for groceries today and their advantages:

  1. Convenience chain shoppers: This is typified by people wanting speed and high quality. Prices tend to be the highest this way, but some people cut prices by using coupons and taking advantage of sales. This appeals to busy households, and those not wanting to become coupon queens or multi-store shoppers.
  2. Coupon shoppers: These folks know the skills of couponing well, and often go to more than one chain store. Going this way, you’ll develop some real skills and know how, and in time will grow a stockpile of free or deeply discounted items. The time spent to do this each week amounts to earning $50 per hour.
  3. Quick-mart shoppers: These folks shop at quick-markets and eat a lot of fast food. Sometimes this is the main market for people living in tough inner-city neighborhoods, or those that have few kitchen skills.
  4. Organic store or specialty store shoppers: This appeals to those who value and can afford this the most highest priced of all grocery store options. Trader Joe’s, Earth Fare, Wild Oats and many more.
  5. Big-box buyers: High product value, quantity and selection appeal to these shoppers at Costco and Sam’s Club. Prices are good, but it is easy to impulse spend and over-eat.
  6. Bargain market grocery shoppers: This appeals to people who value price over the best selection or product. Bargain grocery stores like Aldi, Marc’s, and Save-A-Lot compete in this market.

aldi2The Great Recession of the preceding decade stagnated or lowered people’s incomes. Healthcare and gasoline compete for their share of budgets, and with high food costs, more and more people are shopping at these bargain food outlets. I have had people tell me that they are embarrassed to shop there, but this image is going away. Their stores were once viewed as only a place where the poor would shop, but now we see people who only used to shop at large grocery chains there. Aldi announced plans that they are increasing U.S. stores by 50% over the next 5 years to meet this growing trend.

We shop there each week, because it is a good part of our food saving strategy including couponing. The food quality is mainly good, although selection is limited, we can get by. Some things I actually like better than other stores. For example, their store brand cheddar cheese has good flavor, and is much better than the no-taste low cost Sargento that Walmart markets.

Remember to bring your own bags, since they don’t have any and your bag your own. Lastly, don’t forget your quarter! You need a .25 cent piece to insert into a slot to obtain a grocery cart.

Looking for a great last minute gift idea?

I dislike shopping; crowds, traffic, and confusion, however I love to be creative. So when I got this idea for a gift, my heart leapt for joy!   This year, on one side of our family, we are doing a minimal gift exchange for $25. It is so hard to come up with a good idea, that doesn’t turn out to be next year’s white elephant gift for them to give. This gave me ideas for other gifts in the coming year.

basketNew Year’s Eve Celebration Basket: While strolling around Home Goods, looking for a Chotchky, which is Yiddish for trinket, or something of little value. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we could put together a New Year’s Eve date basket, for my brother and his wife (I hope they don’t read this article). We found a cool basket at Home Goods for $7.99 and headed off to The World Market to fill it.  I’m glad we got the basket at Home Goods because it was nicer and costs less than what saw at World Market. We filled the basked with a bottle of Champagne, cheddar cheese wedges, Carr’s Entertainment Crackers, Ghirardelli chocolate sampler square,s and a old-fashioned wooden pop gun to announce the coming of the new year. Total cost came to a tad over $30. All high quality items, and probably cheaper than buying a pre-assembled basket.

Here is a picture of it, although my wife Laura has yet to pretty it up with ribbons and paper. Laura found a holiday-ish napkin, and we might toss in a piece or two of fruit. Fun to do this, and glad that store was conquered. Happy New Year!

 

Jesus Discussing Inheritance and Retirement?

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 12:13 – 21, some have titled the Parable of the Rich Fool, where we see Jesus teaching about putting our hope in money. Interestingly, he discusses it in the context of two common situations of abundant wealth; inheriting and retirement.

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

These are two very personal situations Jesus decides to discuss together; inheriting money and retirement.  Most people look forward to either one or both of these events. That is okay, but when we put our hope in them that is another thing all together. Why do we do this?  It may be that people look forward to the day that they can live the life of leisure without laboring for money every day, like the fellow in the parable here. If we inherit money, that could make that day come even sooner.

Only mention of retirement in the Bible? This verse is the only one that I have found in the Bible that speaks directly about retirement. This may be that few people in ancient times either had any hope of accumulating enough wealth to live on for an indefinite period of time, but more likely, people didn’t live much longer after their bodies wore out.

Life spans affect retirement. During the birth of Christianity in the 1st century, the average life expectancy was around age 46 (if you lived past age 10). People did live to older ages, but it was usually in a communal setting, and not to a house on a golf course with lifetime health care. In the middle ages, except for the black death years, if someone survived childhood illness, military service, and pregnancy, and made it into your twenties, then the average age was in the mid sixties. In the twentieth century, average ages spans crept into the 70’s and 80’s. Now it is common for people to live into their 90’s and older!

The new idea of retirement. The modern concept of leisure retirement didn’t really come into reality until the last 100 years. Considering the 8,000 years of civilized man, this is a relativity new idea.

The growth of individual wealth. Until the growth of democracy and entrepreneurs in the last several hundred years, very people who labored for a living, could ever hope to earn and save enough to be able to think about retirement. Before modern times, a great deal of wealth was held by aristocracies, religious authorities, and governments.

The perfect storm. The increase in personally owned wealth, life spans, entrepreneurship and social security benefits, created or allowed for the modern idea of retirement.

What about Jesus and retirement?  Jesus seemed to lump retirement and inheriting into the same bundle. Since in the first century, retirement was not known, but having wealth so that someone could live in leisure was common.

He called anyone a “Fool” for putting their hope in money.  This is a severe word actually. The dictionary definition of a fool ranges from someone who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding, all the way to someone who has diminished mental capacities. In fact in Matthew 5:22, Jesus strongly commands us not to call anyone a fool. When Jesus says we will be like one, if we do this, then we should take notice.

3 Types of Retirement: 1.) Inward directed, leisure retirement, where one’s main goal is to spend most of one’s retirement years relaxing and vacationing.  2.) Outward directed, missional retirement, where one’s main goal is to be engaged in activities that contribute positively to society.  For the Christian, this could be helping in a ministry they can volunteer in, or derive some kind of income doing.  3.) High wealth retirement is for people who have accumulated a large amount of money, or own a business. These people often do a mix of the first two, as well as spending time managing their wealth as a good steward, and blessing others through large charitable contributions.  I haven’t mentioned more time to focus on marriage relationships, physical health issues, retirement more focused on grandchildren, friendships and community. These are other things are important to consider for one’s retirement goals

Post recession retirement. Many affected by the Great Recession, will not have enough money to retire, so they may have to continue working into their 70’s or later. For these people, they will combine many aspects of the first two retirement types, and work for a living. There is no shame in working in our older years, and for many people it will be source of joy and ministry to co-workers. See Colossians 3:23.

Retirement planning is good. Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. It is wise to plan for retirement; to set aside enough money so that one could do #2 above. It is a good goal to have an outward directed, missional retirement, as well as focused on some leisure, marriage relationship, grandchildren, friendships and community, while considering the possibility of diminished health.

Bad retirement. Our future hope, though as Jesus warned should not be on wealth, or a life of leisure; we might not live to enjoy it as he warned. In addition, we could lose it some day, through bad management, poor health, theft (ie. Bernie Madoff investors), or a bad economy. Better to build a character on Jesus, instead of money hopes.

What about today? In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus tells us to not worry about tomorrow. Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Hope, joy, mercy and grace is new everyday. Our hope is not in money, or good circumstances, but in Christ (Romans 5:2).

*A chronological examination of any verse that involves money and stewardship, attempting to see the new light that Jesus shines on money in His ‘for-us’ but selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions. This is the forty-first post in this series.

Improved Finances Helped Marriage, Ministry and Career

This couple took a financial education class 3 years ago in the Fall of 2010, and it dramatically changed the course of their lives; in ministry and careers, as well as marriage. The work to improve finances is hard, but it is worth it, as this story demonstrates.

“God used the financial ministry at Vineyard Columbus and the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course to help break the bondage of debt in our lives and our marriage.  We had $20,000 in credit card debt when we started the program and were in what seemed to be an endless cycle of running up the credit card bills, struggling to pay them down, only to run them back up again.  Using the principles learned in the Financial Peace University course, humbled hearts, and thankfully a promotion at my job, we were able to pay off our debt in its entirety over the course of 12-14 months.  Shortly after paying off our debt and building some savings, God opened a door for me to take a job working full time with World Vision at their corporate HQ in Federal Way, Washington.  Had we still been in debt, there is no way we could have accepted the opportunity with World Vision and moved our family across the country to chase a dream to serve Jesus in a greater capacity.  Our debt burden and bad money management habits were a point of contention in our marriage and caused much contention.  Therefore, the freedom we gained was not just breaking free from the burden of debt, but freedom and unity in our marriage like we had not known in the past.  Praise God!!!”  -R. & J. D.

Luke 11:46 Ground Level Social Justice

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 11:46, and is about ground level social justice.

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

This morning at the gymnasium a Christian women friend was talking to me about the financial struggles young people have. She came across as very judgemental to me. She was an expert, in her eyes about the financial stress young couples have trying to make ends meet. In her mind, most of the time, both the husband and wife both work outside the home, is because it is a decision to have a higher standard of living.

I reminded her that when I graduated from college in 1983 the average cost of a nice house was under $100,000, and our rent was $200. Today housing costs dominate much more of one’s budget. Health care didn’t cost what it does today; when our daughter was born in 1989 our total out-out-of-pocket cost was less than a $100 for all of my wife’s and daughter’s care from the beginning of the pregnancy until we brought them both home from the hospital. Multi-thousand dollar health insurance deductibles are common today. In addition, gasoline and food is nearly triple what it was 30 years ago. One of the big effects of the recession is many people’s income has stagnated, or people drained their savings during long periods of unemployment. Once people did get back to work, their salaries are no where what they used to be.  Even worse, are people working in manufacturing, they have fewer jobs to fight over, forcing many of them to earn minimum wages.

Luke 11:46 was a picture of Jesus talking to “Experts in the Law.”  This meant, people who had a high religious position, and of good education and intelligence, and income who sat in judgement of other people. In modern times, this is the average well-educated, politically opinionated person. Basically, this is you and me, and almost every other American. We are all experts in politics, religion, social programs, economics, education, and work. When we see people struggling financially, or receiving government help, or two working spouses; we judge them or society for their situation, for their bad decisions, lack of skills or whatever reason we can come up with.

Everyone has a strong opinion on how to help others, but how many of us “lift one finger to help them?” When we don’t, do we “load people down with burdens they can hardly carry?”  The burden of judgement can be heavy, yet the load lightening word of encouragement to people struggling can be life-sustaining. On one side of the social justice argument, some say we help strugglers enough, with government programs, while others say, we just need to increase taxes so that we can help them more. Jesus didn’t get involved in this age-old argument; I think Jesus is calling us to NOT SAY (judge), but DO SOMETHING to help them. I can’t recall Jesus ever asking government to step in, but he often calls you and me to help other people one-on-one, not just by paying taxes or writing a check to a not-for-profit (which is good, and I don’t condemn that).

Jesus is talking about Ground Level Social Justice. You and me getting our hands dirty, helping people to carry their burdens. We got help when our children were young, when my parents babysat our children so my wife could work a part-time job. People at church were willing to help me budget and learn financial skills. Our church had a Benevolence Ministry; it provided counsel and financial help to those caught in financial crisis. What can you do?  The book, When Helping Hurts, by: Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert says there are 5 essential keys to helping people get out of financial difficulty (or preventing them from experiencing it): 1) Employment assistance (such as resume writing, interviewing and work skills)  2) Financial  counseling and classes  3) Loving and supportive community, like churches offer, especially through small groups 4) Financial assistance (help with bills and food pantries), but only coupled with the preceding 4, and 5) Entrepreneurship, or helping people start or grow a business, or start one yourself, that may eventually create good paying jobs with benefits.

There are literally hundreds of programs in your church and community that help people with these 5 areas. This is ground level social justice in action; it helps people and it builds a strong and loving community where you live.

*A chronological examination of any verse that involves money and stewardship, attempting to see the new light that Jesus shines on money in His ‘for-us’ but selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions. This is the fortieth post in this series.

Jesus and the Pharisees, Giving to the Poor and Clean Hearts

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 11:37-41,  about Jesus connecting serving the poor and having a clean heart.

When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

Jesus was either listening to the Pharisee’s grumbles, or like on other occasions, he may be demonstrated his ability to know people’s thoughts. Either way, he knew they were judging him based upon outside appearances. Jesus judged them for their greed and wickedness.

Do you ever judge someone by how they appear on the outside? Recently I heard someone say that people thought she was weird, because she had rather strange behaviors. She liked to farm, getting her hands dirty rasing crops and caring for animals- much different from the life she lived as a Fortune 500 company CEO. Also, she lived in a small home, even though she could live in the estate’s grandeos mansion.  She said people now considered her just eccentric, because she is very wealthy — interesting perspective! It is easy for us to judge other people by their outside appearances isn’t it? It can be race, how wealthy or poor they appear is often used, looking at the car they drive, the neighborhood they live in. The Pharisees were judging based upon behavior, and they were judging Jesus, even though he showed compassion and love to thousands of people. Manners, diction, schooling, accents and family are all used to judge people.

Christians are like the Pharisees, we want to look successful to those around us too. We don’t want to look bad or dumb. Among our fellow believers we want to look good too, god forbid that we give the perception that we are being judged by God for bad acts or lack of performance, or for some reason are not as blessed as other people. If we think this way about ourselves, do we then think this about other people too? Probably.

But just like in this scripture, Jesus can see what we are like on the inside; what we are really like. We know that we ought to behave better, more like the principles we believe in. We are all hypocrites really, the Apostle Paul knew this, that is why he devoted a couple of chapters in Romans about it (Romans 6 & Romans 7).

Back to Luke 11:41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. This verse begs the question, can we be clean on the inside, can our hearts be cleansed, and forgiven and made right by God for the way we treat the poor, by being generous to them? Can we write a check, and have our salvation assured for all of eternity?

When Jesus talks, he does so in a way that makes us want to dig down deep within our souls. The Pharisees, experts in the law, may have been well-off financially. They probably knew that to be generous to the poor, they would have to do so in a way that didn’t hurt the poor more than helping them- kind of like giving money to a homeless guy, with beer breath, standing outside a liquor store. Being generous to the poor means, getting down on your knees, getting your hands dirty, being uncomfortable with their smells and imperfections. Helping them with their problems and being used at times. It means using your connections, being industrious, speaking out on their behalf, encouraging and praying with them.

It has been my experience being around a lot of people who work regularly with those in poverty and homelessness, that they know how badly they need Jesus to clean their own hearts, to save them, and help them through life. They can identify with those in poverty, because they are just like them. Those following Jesus respond this way to those in need around them. They don’t judge others, which is just an excuse for not helping them, they care for others. These people are not perfect, but they know Jesus is their savior, and their hearts are clean, because of what Jesus did on the cross to save them. Jesus followers, are the beloved by God, covered in a beautiful white robe, and they have clean hearts- and they love and serve Jesus (Matthew 25:40).

*A chronological examination of any verse that involves money and stewardship, attempting to see the new light that Jesus shines on money in His ‘for-us’ but selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions. This is the thirty-ninth post in this series.