Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lifestyle Changes and Sacrificial Giving

Guest blog by John Richey,
pastor of Family Deaf Church

In the time of Solomon, the Temple was a sign of God living with his people. At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon said: 
May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may He never leave us nor forsake us. May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations He gave our fathers. And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that He may uphold the cause of His servant and the cause of His people (Israel) according to each day’s need, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. But your hearts must be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by His decrees and obey His commands, as at this time. (1 Kings 8:57-61)

Baptist Temple is also a sign of God being with His people and active in our lives. Led by Him, you share His love and blessings with the surrounding neighborhood, through the thrift store, food pantry and other ministries. A little over a year ago, God opened doors and brought Baptist Temple and Family Deaf Church (FDC) together. Because of what you have done for FDC, we have experienced a revival, growing in number and Spirit. Now He is asking us to do even more, to repair our temple so that we can open new doors and go into the world, so that the world can see His light shining in us, through new exciting ministries.

My wife Mary Ann and I have been praying and continue to pray about what God wants from us. In addition to our service with FDC, we feel in our hearts to be a larger part of what Baptist Temple is doing. We have decided that when we sell our motor home, we will give the money to support the Heartstrong for CHRIST! campaign. Additionally, God is leading me to dedicate more of my life to serving Him. First, many of you are familiar with the Catholic Church tradition of giving up something for Lent. I feel called to give up Diet Cokes and donate the several dollars a day for more than 1000 days to this campaign. This serves as another daily reminder to focus on Jesus and to seek His will. Second, at a recent religious seminar, God opened a door for me to rejoin Wayland Baptist University. I have accepted a temporary, part time teaching position with them and will be donating those funds to Baptist Temple.

While these may seem trivial to some of you, for me they are lifestyle changes leading to increased, sacrificial giving of my time, talents and treasures in obedience to what Christ has put in my heart through the Holy Spirit. I will pray as Jonah prayed: “But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to You. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9)

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