Jesus, money, possessions, and you

By Founding Pastor Rick Duncan

Today, I did a quick read through the Gospel of Luke and noted that many, many verses deal with the topics of money, possessions, and wealth. Over and over, this Gospel challenges the wealthy to invest in eternal riches. And Luke encourages the poor to anticipate comforts and reward in heaven.

Clearly, a spirituality that does not impact the wallet, the pocketbook, and the bank account is a defective discipleship. A non-generous Christian is an oxymoron. A life changed by Jesus will be a life with changed financial priorities.

Has Jesus really impacted your relationship to your money? Is He Lord of all… including your finances?

Read the following verses and evaluate your life on a scale of 1-10, 10 being high.

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Verses on Money, Possessions, and Wealth in Luke

The Lord especially has a heart for the poor. 

He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. Luke 1:52-53

Repentance produces generous living. 

And the crowds asked [John the Baptist], “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:10-14

The mission of Jesus is especially focused on the last, the least, and the lost.

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…” Luke 4:18

One day, the Lord will bless the poor and the hungry. 

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Luke 6:20-21

One day, the wicked rich will experience judgment. 

But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Luke 6:24-25

A sign that one is in the Kingdom is generosity. 

Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. Luke 6:30

Generosity is rewarded generously. 

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38

A sign that your heart is soft is a resistance to the love of riches.

And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. Luke 8:14

Denial of self is the sign of a soul that is saved. 

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” Luke 9:23-25

Caring for the broken with one’s finances is commanded by Jesus. 

And the next day [the Good Samaritan] took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back. Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” – Luke 10:35-37

We must be on guard against greed. 

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15

When we seek God’s kingdom first, the Father meets our needs.

And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Luke 12:29-31

De-accumulating and giving to the needy are ways we lay up treasure. 

Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:33-34

The Lord is pleased when we show hospitality to those who cannot repay. 

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13-14

True discipleship means one has essentially deeded everything he owns to God. 

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33

When we invest money in God’s work, He gives us true riches. 

If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? Luke 16:11

We must choose whether we will serve God or money. 

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Luke 16:13

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Where did you score highest? Lowest? What are 3 changes you need make to be more faithful disciple of Jesus with regard to your money, possessions, and wealth?

 

SONG OF THE WEEK: “He is Faithful” – Bryan and Katie Torwalt

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by Kevin Lorow, Cuyahoga Valley Church Worship Arts Assistant

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“He is faithful. He is glorious. He is Jesus and all my hope is in Him. He is freedom. He is healing right now. He is hope and joy, love and peace and life!”

May we return to simply remembering the Lord’s faithfulness. We have failed many times, but the Lord never does. We are “prone to wander” but our God is “prone to pursue” us. What an incredible thing it is to have hope in Jesus! When we hope in ourselves, we will quickly turn to despair.  Tribulation comes, the storms rage on, and we quickly discover our weaknesses are much greater than we thought. We question, doubt, and sometimes respond sinfully. God however is stronger than any storm or tribulation. He is never-changing, so we have no reason to fear. God’s love for us is not based off our ability to do the right thing, its based on the cross where Jesus reconciled us!
So praise be the One who has paid the highest price! Praise be to the One who has shown us His great love! May we continue to proclaim our love for Him with the way we live our lives! 

Prayer Guide from Luke 12:13-21

by Pastor Dale Piscura

Lord Jesus, we give you the highest praise because you are worthy of all praise and glory and honor.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being our greatest need and supplying us with your wonderful riches.

Lord Jesus, help each of us to value you as our most precious Savior, King, and friend.

Father open our eyes to see the realities that your Word clearly declares; that life on earth is temporary and eternity is what matters most.

Father protect us from all forms of covetousness, desiring the things of the world beyond our needs which You provide.

Help us Lord to examine our behaviors and attitudes toward materialism. Help us to recognize and resist temptations that pull us into sin.

Lord search our hearts and reveal how we may be like the Rich Fool and grant us the grace of repentance to turn away and seek You.

Father renew a passionate love in our hearts for our Lord Jesus in whom we live and breathe and have our very being.

Father give us heavenly wisdom in the way we may lay up treasures in heaven.

Father, by your grace may we be good stewards of all that you have given to us. May we be fruitful servants in your glorious Kingdom.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Revelation Song” – Kari Jobe

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by Kevin Lorow, Cuyahoga Valley Church Worship Arts Assistant

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“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come! With all creation I sing praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything and I will adore You!”

What a lyric this is. It’s taken directly out of Scripture in Revelation 4 (v8) and 5 (v13). This song is focused on our response of praise to the God who has revealed Himself to be a most incredible, glorious, and honorable God. The lyrics of this chorus are powerful and give us a glimpse of the song of Heaven. There are many great lines in this song that help point our hearts and minds to the magnificence of Jesus. The first and perhaps greatest of these is the reference in verse 1 to Jesus Christ being the Lamb of God slain for our sins. This is the ultimate work of Christ. In it, God’s character is put on display for us to see and know. Through it, we are redeemed from the damnation of our own choosing and are reconciled back into a right relationship with God. The verse also refers to “Heaven’s mercy seat” which is a callback to Israelite’s time in the Old Testament. The mercy seat sat on top of the ark of the covenant. Every year on the “Day of Atonement” the high priest would be allowed into the Holy of Holies – a room where God’s presence physically manifested itself among the nation. The priest would make a sacrifice and sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat, a representation of the blood covering the sins of the nation. Jesus Christ came as a fulfillment of that representation, paying His blood to cover our sins with His righteousness! Praise be to His lovely name!

Throughout the rest of the song, God is exalted, and we are encouraged to see Him as the tremendous ad majestic God that He is! May our view of God grow as we see Him for all He is, and understand the depths of what He’s done!

Be Rich Toward God

by Rick Duncan, Founding Pastor

This past weekend, Pastor Dale Piscura challenged us from the Scriptures to be “rich toward God” as he taught from Luke 12 – The Parable of the Rich Fool.

So, how can we be more rich toward God? One way, of course, is through prayer – asking God to change our hearts and our priorities.

We’ve learned in recent months how important it is to build prayer from Scripture. As I reflected on Dale’s text, I composed the following prayer that he asked me to share. Perhaps it will encourage us to keep applying the truths of this past weekend’s message.

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Dear Heavenly Father,

Help me not to be inheritance-minded, only focused on what I can get.

Give me the capacity to take care and be on my guard against all covetousness because life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.

When I am experiencing plenty, give me the ability to ask not “What can I store for myself?” but “What can I share with others?”

May I learn to say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods. Be zealous and find joy in blessing others, in building Christ’s kingdom.”

May I be called wise when my soul is required of me. May my possessions always be leveraged for Kingdom purposes.

Show me how to lay up treasure in heaven. Show me how to be rich toward You. Make it so, dear Lord.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

***

Our Creative Team meets together each week to pray, to walk through the text with the lead teacher, and to design the various elements of the service. This past week, we considered a powerful video from Pastor John Piper, a leader that Dale quoted on Sunday. We really didn’t have the margin in the service to play the video from Pastor Piper. But we thought it would be good to share links to his words here – words that reinforce the very important message that Pastor Dale gave us on Sunday.

https://youtu.be/ysEXlciSelM

https://youtu.be/5gc3s6TCSVw

So, just how rich are you? Add up what you have that money cannot buy and death cannot take away. That’s how rich you are!

Let’s be busy laying up treasures in heaven. If we do that, then when we die we will, as Pastor Dale said, be going to our treasure rather than away from it.

Let’s help save lives on June 25!

Blood Drive - Rotator

On Tuesday, June 25 we’ll be rolling up our sleeves and helping save lives! We will proudly partner with the American Red Cross to hold our annual blood drive.  The Red Cross has over 130 years of experience providing humanitarian aid – including more than 70 years of supplying blood to those in need.

Each pint of blood we collect can help save up to three lives and will touch the lives of so many more. What a great way to pay it forward and make an impact on people in our community and across the country.  Let’s show our community and the patients in need of blood just how much we can do.

We have partnered with the Cleveland Clinic, Moody Radio Cleveland, Chick-fil-A of Macedonia, Nothing Bundt Cakes in Strongsville, and Eddie’s Pizzeria Cerino.  They have generously provided giveaways for all presenting donors!  Childcare will be available between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. during the donation process.

Lunch will be provided by the Cleveland Clinic and dinner will be provided by Eddie’s Pizzeria Cerino.  Our CVC volunteers will be baking up some tasty treats, and we’ll also have Bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes in Strongsville.  Get them while they last!

TWO WAYS TO HELP…

  1. Volunteer–If you would like to volunteer, you can sign up in the foyer or online.  It’s not every day that we do something that has such a practical, lifesaving impact in the community.  Our job for the day is to provide great hospitality for all of our guests.    
  2. Donate blood–We need people to come out to donate!  You can schedule an appointment here.  Invite a friend, too.  I’ve already signed up and I hope many more of you will do the same!

Thank you for being part of our CVC family and for helping to make our blood drive a success.  I get comments every year from donors who say they look forward to our blood drive because of our hospitality.  I love that!  Let’s continue to be a light in our community.

Kristy

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Happy Day ” – Tim Hughes

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by Kevin Lorow, Cuyahoga Valley Church Worship Arts Assistant

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“The greatest day in history, death is beaten, Youhave rescued me. Shout it out, Jesus is alive. The empty cross, the empty grave. Life eternal, Youhave won the day. Celebrate, Jesus is alive!”

This song is a party! We love singing this with our congregation and declaring the joyous truth that Jesus is alive. Christ’s resurrection served as the validation of His message. He claimed that He was the Son of God, and that by taking our sins and dying on the cross, we could have our relationship with the Father restored. The problem with that is that anyone can die on a cross. How could we know that Jesus was who He claimed to be? How could we live confidently knowing that His death accomplished what He declared it could? Jesus’ resurrection served as the proof of His message.

This remarkable claim of Christ’s is true! Hallelujah! We can rejoice knowing that our sins are forgiven! We can celebrate knowing that we have been cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb. We take heart because we know that Jesus Christ and His message is TRUSTWORTHY. 

Brothers and sisters, it’s a happy day! Let’s rejoice and be glad in it, for He has washed our sin away!

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Is He Worthy ” – Andrew Peterson, Chris Tomlin

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by Kevin Lorow, Cuyahoga Valley Church Worship Arts Assistant

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“Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole? Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave, He is David’s root
and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave
Is He worthy? Is He worthy? Of all blessing and honor and glory? Is He worthy of this?
He is!”

We hope you all enjoyed this declaration on Sunday as much as we did!
The style of this song is very different than many that we use here at CVC, with a call and answer for its verses. But the lyrical imagery given to us in the chorus is astoundingly beautiful. These lyrics are drawn out of Revelation of all places. A really rare book for worship songs to be connected to, as this book is considered to be “apocalyptic prophesy”. The language is stunning and often a little confusing to full comprehend. But consider the text this passage is drawn from in Revelation chapter 5

1-4 “Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I (John) saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it”

This passage is intense! You can feel the angst in John’s heart and the despair that is found. No one is able to open the seal! Hope is lost. The scroll is taken to be God’s act of redemption. There is no one capable of performing this. No one is able to do what is required to right our relationship with God and bring about the completion of the Father’s plan.

5-7 “And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.”

The Lamb of God is there! No man or angel could be found, but the Lamb of God, the Son of God is worthy! He is worthy because He is God. He approaches the throne and takes the scroll.

8-14 “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, reach holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

This is the end result. Jesus Christ alone is worthy to perform God’s act of redemption! This new song is one that has experienced this redemption and is a response of complete and total joy! The endgame of God’s redeeming work is endless worship and praise of His great and glorious name! The wonderful things is that we get to sing that song today! We don’t need to wait. We’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and that His redemption is complete.

 

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Behold the Lamb” – Kristian Stanfill

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by Kevin Lorow, Cuyahoga Valley Church Worship Arts Assistant

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“Behold, the Lamb. The story of redemption written on His hands. Jesus, Youwill reign forevermore. The victory is Yours. We sing Your praise, endless hallelujahs to Your holy name. Jesus, You will reign forevermore. The victory is Yours.” 

If you joined us at services this last Sunday, you got to hear our church sing these words for the first time. This song directs our attention to the cross and the One who died on it.

The cross is integral to our faith. There’s a reason why we see the symbol drawn out so many different places. There’s a reason it is discussed nearly every week when we gather together. There’s a reason behind its ability to sneak its way into our conversations each and everyday. The cross is the place where God resolved what stood between us.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were constantly making sacrifices to the Lord as a part of their service to Him. More importantly, to cover their sin and failure to keep the Lord’s commandments, they were to offer up a perfect spotless Lamb. This Lamb’s blood covered their sin, butdid not take it away.

Hebrews 10:3-7, 10, 14
“In these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.”…By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. or by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

This passage shows us that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away our sin, butserved as a consistent reminder that they had sin and needed a payment for it. They were a temporary covering. The Israelites often made the mistake in believing that what God wanted from them was their sacrifices.
Jesus Christ changed everything about that. Through His sacrifice on the cross, He revealed to us that He was the Lamb of God who could take away our sins.

Everything in our faith and relationship with God relies on the truth that Jesus Christ made a way for us to be restored to a right relationship with God through the cross. The cross must constantly be on our minds. As we consider the suffering and offering of Jesus Christ there, we can grow in our love and adoration for Him.

Brothers and sisters, let us continue to “Behold the Lamb” to consider the great and awesome love demonstrated there, and praise our Savior Jesus Christ for it.