Stop that Thief!
Not too long ago, I was inside Market Street grocery store and I purchased a cup of coffee. I grabbed a newspaper to read for just a few moments and intended to put it right back. However, I got caught up reading the sports and business sections and ran into some friends and talked with them for awhile. After a few moments, I stood up to leave and walked out the door. Almost to my car, I realized that I was carrying the newspaper that I had not paid for!
In fear of seeing a headline ‘local minister shoplifter’ my heartbeat escalated as I quickly turned around and trotted back into the store to replace the newspaper. Thankfully, I was able to get it back into place before I became an official ‘robber’.
We all know that robbery is bad. We teach our kids to be honest and not to steal. This is so important to a highly functioning society that we have numerous laws at every level of government to prevent and punish stealing. God made His instruction very simple in the Ten Commandments, “You shall not steal.”
We consider ourselves honest people and wouldn’t dream of robbing someone and breaking that commandment or any laws. But, are we being honest with God about our money? Are we robbing God of what we owe Him?
According to Malachi 3:8-11, we have a problem and a promise. Let’s look at the verse:
Malachi 3:8-11, Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, “How do we rob You?” “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.
Problem-
According to the Bible, we rob God when we don’t give Him 10% of what He has given us. Ouch.
Promise-
The good news…This same verse has a great promise. God says that if we do give 10%, also called a tithe, then we can expect Him to “open the floodgates of heaven” and to bless like crazy.
Financially, we are given a choice. 1) Give 10% and get incredibly blessed, or 2) don’t give a tenth and rob God, which has its consequences as well.
Let’s choose to get blessed!

Scott Sanford
EXECUTIVE PASTOR (STEWARDSHIP AND OPERATIONS)

office: 972.359.7777 x2021

Eat Your Veggies!

We hear “eat your vegetables” from everywhere…parents, doctors, nutritionists, the government, the FDA, magazines, TV shows, and nutritional websites. Why do we continue to hear this message? Because veggies are good for us, but we don’t get enough of them to be healthy, and we need to make changes to get the full benefit and blessing from eating our veggies.

A minister loves the church and wants the very best for the people that make it the church. Our desire is that everyone learns and lives out the teachings that God gives us in the Bible. Why? Because it’s best for you; it’s best for everyone. We understand that when we live by the truth of scripture, then,and only then, can we begin to experience the abundant life that Jesus said He wants us to experience because of our relationship with Him.

So, when it comes to money, what’s best for you? I want the best for you and your family. I want you to see God move in your life and for you to experience the thrill and joy of living a life of faith and trust.

To be honest and true to the Bible, then I’ve got to tell you that the best thing for you is to give…to give a tithe. Why? Because that is what the Bible says that we should do, at the very least. If I were to say anything else, or anything less, then I wouldn’t be telling you the truth, and you wouldn’t be able to experience all that God wants to do in your life.

Tithing is especially interesting because the Bible has a very unique promise associated with it. Now remember, a tithe is a tenth or 10% of all you are given. Along with the promise is a very unique problem. So, let’s look at the promise:
Malachi 3:10-11, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough to store it.”
This verse is the only place in the Bible where God says “test me.” He says to test Him by giving at least 10% and see what happens. He says that He will bless you so much that you won’t be able to store it all.
What’s best for you? It’s best to get so many of God’s blessings that you can’t even hold them all. That would be awesome! I want you to experience heaven’s floodgates opened up in your life. Therefore, my very best advice regarding you and money, is that you tithe…give 10% of all that God gives you.

Scott Sanford
EXECUTIVE PASTOR (STEWARDSHIP AND OPERATIONS)

office: 972.359.7777 x2021

Have you ever opened up a box of cereal or a bag of chips and noticed that it was only half full? It happens all the time. As a matter of fact, on the package itself, there is a statement about how the contents are sold by weight, not by volume, and some settlement may have occurred in shipping. In other words, you may only get half a box!

In Jesus’ time, things were sold by volume. In other words, if you bought a container of grain, you would expect a full container. What you really wanted was the seller to fill up the container completely, then press it down and put more in. Then, you would want him to shake it to get even more air out, then fill it up again. You would want this to repeat until you got every possible grain into the container. And…you really wouldn’t mind a little extra for free!
Jesus said that is the way it is with giving:
Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Jesus says that when you give, what you will receive in return is fair. Actually, it’s more than fair. He says that when we give, then we will receive a lot of extra stuff worth more than what we gave in the first place.

Amazing! Where else can you get that?
Give…and it will be given back to you…and then a little extra!
God’s generosity doesn’t settle to the bottom leaving a lot of empty extra space.

Think about it, and have a blessed day.

Scott Sanford
EXECUTIVE PASTOR (STEWARDSHIP AND OPERATIONS)

office: 972.359.7777 x2021

Working Hard for the Money

There is a sense of satisfaction when payday comes around, isn’t there? Honestly, it feels good to get paid and to receive recognition and reward for work. We were designed to work and to be productive. When we fulfill that part of our design, it feels good, and we feel a sense of pride in what we have accomplished and in what we have received.

However, let’s consider something a little deeper. Where did we get the ability to be productive? How did we receive talents and skills that would result in someone paying us in order to use them?

The Bible tells us pretty clearly that when we begin to congratulate ourselves on a job well done, we also should remember the source of our abilities.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 says, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth…”

And then, I Corinthians 4:7 says, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”

When God created us, He gifted us with productive abilities. He gave us tools for us to produce wealth.  When God created Adam, He gave him abilities and skills and then gave him a job to work in the Garden of Eden. This was not a curse; it was given to him before he took a bite of the forbidden fruit. The opportunity to work, to create, and to produce was a gift that was reflective of God’s image as One who works and creates.

Sure, we work hard for the money, but we are God’s creation using God’s gifts to produce God’s paychecks.  And, don’t forget- we must go back to Deuteronomy, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth…”

Thing about it, and have a blessed day.

Scott Sanford
EXECUTIVE PASTOR (STEWARDSHIP AND OPERATIONS)

office: 972.359.7777 x2021

The Father’s Ranch
My father has a small cattle ranch in Central Texas and over the years has developed a nice herd. It’s a neat experience to watch them on the side of the hill as they do what cows do, which is mostly just eat grass and take it easy. It is really fun when the calves start running around chasing each other like puppies. We enjoy getting out in the pasture with them and feeding them hay or vitamin snacks.

My father lets us visit any time we want.  We can help with the cows and other ranch chores or just simply enjoy the outdoors. We feel at home, just as if we owned it ourselves.  But ultimately, this is his herd. He owns everything on the ranch…even though   we sure enjoy it.

Our heavenly Father also owns a few cows. He says:
Psalm 50:10-12, “For every animal of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine … for the world is Mine, and all that is in it.”
King David in the Old Testament lead his people to give, and they gave generously knowing that whatever they had really was God’s to begin with. This was his prayer:
1 Chronicles 29:14,16, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand. LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building You a temple for Your Holy Name comes from Your hand, and all of it belongs to You.”
God is the owner of everything. So, whatever resources that we ‘have’, we are really only enjoying by His grace. Do we have any cattle? They are really His. Do we have any money? It is really His. A home, a job, a car? It’s really His; we just get the privilege of using it for awhile and using it for His glory.
So, when we give, we are just simply letting go of what already belongs to Him.

Think about, it and have a blessed day.

Scott Sanford
EXECUTIVE PASTOR (STEWARDSHIP AND OPERATIONS)

office: 972.359.7777 x2021

Read:

1 Peter 4

Living for God

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithfulstewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Suffering for Being a Christian

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoiceinasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Respond:

What does 1 Peter 4:8 tell us we must do above everything else?

Why do you think LOVE is so important?

Reflect:  

Record your thoughts on today passage:

Record your prayer requests

Read:

Titus 2:1-15:

2:1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

Respond:

There is one thing that is for sure about relationships – people want someone to care about them. This relationship goes beyond the common ones that we all have. These are more about an intentional investment into someone’s life that helps them become a better individual. This is the relationship of a mentor.
Some of the most memorable relationships that we have are with people that help us in life. I had a man pour into my life for three years that helped change my perspective on the way I spoke and thought. He introduced me to important people as if I was his son and lovingly admonished me when it was necessary. The impact that was forged on my life is being passed on to my family as I watch them interact with friends in ways that I have been interacting with them.

Paul gives us the elements of a mentor. He writes, “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ” (Col. 1:28). The word translated “perfect” means complete or whole. When we take time to sew attitudes and actions of Christ’s righteousness into another, the opportunity to help shape them into a more complete individual, showing them how valuable that way of life really is.

Do have someone that you have taken under your wing in a mentor relationship?
Do you need a mentor?

Be encouraged to act on this relationship and be strengthened in preparing a life for greater things in Christ.

Reflect:

Record your thoughts on today’s scripture, and seek out a mentor relationship.

 

Record daily prayer requests:

 

Nathan Quillan
Sports and Recreation Minister
Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church
1015 St. Hwy 121
Allen, Texas 75013
972-359-7777 x2525

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe…” Romans 1:16

Read:

Galatians 6:1-2

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Respond:

I am sure that there are a few times in our lives that we can look back and wish we had a do-over. There are probably some of those moments that, if you give an honest account, you could have used an additional voice in your life to help you with the decision making or even the endurance of the consequences of your mistakes. These voices would have come from men or women that you could depend on to hold you accountable to walk on a worthy path…  away from snares of our desires or worldly satisfactions. Accountability relationships are essential to help us minimize our do-over wishes and keep our feet on the right path.

In his book, Man Code, Dennis Swanberg encourages every guy to have three good buddies “that can keep their mouths shut.” This goes for the ladies as well! This isn’t your spouse (for married readers). These are people you can call and meet at any time just to spill your guts. There is a desperate need that we have for these sharpening relationships that makes his exhortation real. Speaking from experience, we all need a few people in our lives who will listen to our struggles and speak honest, clear truth. This friend does not shy away from asking the hard questions and being a voice in uncovering deep rooted selfishness or motives that do not line up with Scripture. These trusted friendships can keep you away from the do-overs and unnecessary regrets in life.

We are, after all, accountable whether we like it or not. Accountability keep society functioning. Think of what happens if you get pulled over for speeding. Christian accountability is no different. Christians are:

Accountable to God – “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12),
Accountable to one another: “For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”(click to read the whole passage 1 Corinthians 12:12-31),
Accountable to encourage: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11),
Accountable to grow spiritually: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

Do you have accountability relationships in place?

Are you using them, and do they hold you accountable to a higher, Christ-centered standard?

If you don’t, now is the time to prayerfully consider the right person for this task.

Reflect

Record your thoughts on today’s scripture and call your accountability relationships to check in and pray for each other (James 5:16, 19-20).

Nathan Quillan
Sports and Recreation Minister
Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church
1015 St. Hwy 121
Allen, Texas 75013
972-359-7777 x2525

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe…” Romans 1:16

The Starting Point in Christian Relationships

 

Read:

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

Respond:

 

Relationships are, without question, vital to the health of mankind.  They are part of what makes us human.  Physical relationships meet a certain need; social relationships connect us emotionally to others through events, and intellectual relationships help challenge us to keep our mind sharp. All of these relationships provide a tangible opportunity for us to connect to the world around us. However, without investing in a spiritual relationship, mankind will never be fully complete in our relational growth.

 

Jesus has made it simple for us to have a spiritual relationship. He has extended a simple invitation for everyone to accept.  He simply beckons “Come to me.”  There is nothing other than surrendering to Him that we have to do.  No fake smiles.  No conditional moments.  No special clothes to wear.  Just simple surrender.  We can bring all of our tiredness, all of our weakness, all of our needs, and all of our celebrations to the One that sustains us in every physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual way.  And in Him, we have an unbreakable relationship bond that will last eternally.

 

Consider Romans 8:38-39. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

In our relationship with Jesus, there isn’t anything that can take away His love for us.  That seems quite different that man’s conditions for relationships!  How would you define your relationship with Jesus Christ? He is all in… Are you?

 

Listen to His voice and His constant invitation to you, “Come to me.”

 

Reflect:

Record you thoughts on today’s scripture and your relationship with Christ.

 

List your prayer requests:

 

 

Nathan Quillan

Sports and Recreation Minister

Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church

1015 St. Hwy 121

Allen, Texas 75013

972-359-7777 x2525

 

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe…” Romans 1:16

 

Sin and Joy

Read:

Ephesians 4:30

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Respond:

In what ways can sin affect my emotional health?

When we live with unchecked, unconfessed sin, even the Spirit of God within us is emotionally grieved. So when my mood is negative and I am feeling down, one of the first things I need to do is assess my own life for sin.

After the prophet Nathan confronted King David with his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and his attempted cover up, David confessed his sin. Psalm 51 records at least some of David’s confession to God and his petition for forgiveness. It’s obvious from his prayer that David’s sin had robbed him of the joy he once had in God’s salvation. David pleads to God:

Psalm 51:8 “Let me hear joy and gladness…”
Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation …”

Psalm 51 is a great prayer to have bookmarked for quick access to help guide us in confession and forgiveness of sin. Confession and forgiveness are key ingredients to our emotional health.

1 John 1:9 says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Reflect:

Record your thoughts from today’s scripture:

Prayer requests:

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