Tag: Josh Lawson

Generous Giving: ReAlign part 3

I know I’m supposed to be the guy that teaches on Biblical finances, but if I’m honest, I really don’t like the idea of giving. To my number-crunching, tight-fisted, “it’s-not-in-the-budget” brain, it seems like such a waste of my money. I have bills to pay, kids to send to college, other “more important” things to take care of. Giving is the last thing I want to do!

So then why does God invite me to give? Actually, why does He command me to give? Psalm 24:1 says God owns everything, so surely He doesn’t need my money. Why does He tell me that even though it is the last thing I want to do, it should actually be the first  thing I do?

Here’s why: because He knows it’s good for me and you.

And why is giving for our good?

Giving helps REALIGN our lives with the one thing that really matters: knowing God and making Him known.

  • As we give, it takes the focus off ourselves and puts it back onto God and what He wants to do through our money. God knows that when we only focus on our needs and our wants it creates more discontentment, less thankfulness and less joy.
  • At its core, giving is really about worshiping God.

Giving multiplies our money.

  • I know the math might not work on paper, but God promises to multiply our resources when we give.
  • Here’s what Paul had to say to some of his friends who decided to give out of their incredible poverty. “ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for foodwill also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10).
  • Until we give our money away, it cannot have the great impact God intended for it. For some of you that might be difficult because you feel like you don’t have enough money to give, but God promises to give us more “seed to sow” as we give.

Today, as you are looking at the pile of bills and all of the things you should be doing, know that God understands exactly where you are at. He knows exactly what you need and His invitation to give is not out of spite. He wants you to be set free! And giving is what will get you there.

By Josh Lawson

Do you want to know more about how to live out Kingdom values with your finances? Sign up for our ReAlign class, beginning October 18th. The cost is $49 and includes a ReAlign kit! You can also pick up your copy of Josh’s book, ReAlign: Finding God’s Purpose for Your Money in our bookstore or online.

Why You Hate Your Job and What to do About It: ReAlign part 2

Have you ever hated your job? Not just disliked it, but actually despised it with a passion?

If you have, then you aren’t alone. A recent survey showed that 80 percent of people polled HATED their jobs.

That means the majority of us wake up every morning trying to figure out how we are going to survive the next eight to ten hours of our life. To us it seems like work has zero purpose other than giving us the ability to have fun or do things we really enjoy in life.

But I believe God’s desire is for work to serve a higher purpose than just giving us a paycheck.

And let me tell you something you probably won’t like: the purpose of work isn’t to make you happy.

I think that’s why the majority of us are so disappointed by work. Sure, we have bad bosses and stressful work environments, but at the core, we hate our jobs because we believe work is supposed to make us happy.

SO IF THE PURPOSE OF WORK ISN’T TO MAKE ME HAPPY, THEN WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF WORK?

I’m so glad you asked!

THREE PRIMARY PURPOSES FOR WORK:
  • Provide – It might seem like common sense, but God gave us work to provide for us. In the Garden of Eden, God created everything, but then He presented the task of harvesting to be man’s primary occupation. That is still true today. God has given each of us unique gifts and talents in order to provide for our households.
  • Character – I know, it’s not a popular word nowadays, but the second key purpose of work is to develop this little thing called character. The word “character” can actually be translated to mean “carving on a stone.” And that’s actually what character development feels like. This is helpful for us to remember when we are in a tough job or a stressful situation. Maybe God doesn’t want you to leave that situation or job, but maybe He wants to work on your character.
  • Deputy – The word “work” can be translated to mean “deputy,” or someone who acts on behalf of another. The final purpose of work is to work with God as His deputy to see His purposes accomplished in the world. The goal of work is not to build bigger mini-kingdoms for ourselves, but instead to advance the Kingdom of God in the world!

So, if you are one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who hate your job, what do you do?

Three simple things:
  • Thank God for your job
  • Ask him what He’s working on inside of you
  • Invite him to dream His dreams through you at work.

Want to get your finances ReAligned and on track? Sign up for the eight-week ReAlign Class, starting October 18th. The cost is $49 and includes a ReAlign kit.

By Josh Lawson, Author of ReAlign

Tell Me the Number: ReAlign part 1

“Okay I get it, having stuff is bad, giving is good, but really, just tell me the number I am allowed to spend and what I have to give away.”

Sound familiar?

This is usually the response we get after teaching on living simply. But it’s the wrong question. There is no magic for what you should give away. There is no amount of stuff you can or cannot accumulate.

The equation Jesus gives us often makes us angry. It blows our circuits and frustrates everyone who just wants a to-do list to accomplish to check off to be a Christian with money. And here’s why; Jesus couldn’t care less about your tasks. He couldn’t care less about how much stuff you have or don’t have. Here is what He wants; your heart and your attention.

Matthew 6:24 tells us no one can serve two masters. We will end up hating one and loving the other. Jesus doesn’t want someone to just do what He says. He wants someone who will love Him with his or her life and resources.

At the core of our love there is this little thing called trust. You will live for whatever you trust. It will be what your money follows and ultimately what you spend your life trying to serve.

So the question of simplicity is not how much stuff you have or don’t have, but instead, do you trust that Jesus is enough to satisfy you? Do you trust that he has your back? Do you trust that He will provide everything for you? Do you trust that He is worth it?

When your heart is settled on that, you are free to do whatever God asks with your money. You are free to have a little. You are free to have much. You are free to live for God’s Kingdom.

And we will be able to echo the ancient words of the apostle Paul; “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13).

We will continue to explore these Biblical truths and how they affect our financial lives in our eight-week REALIGN Class, starting October 18th. The cost is $49 and includes a ReAlign kit! Register today.

By Josh Lawson

3 Ways to Give Out of Your Need

You want me to be honest? I really don’t like the idea of giving. I know that I’m the “money guy,” but you also have to realize that I’m what you would call a “tightwad.” Any use of my money that doesn’t seem to have a return or practical use rubs me the wrong way. Those feelings are compounded when I feel like I never have enough money to give! But maybe you’re like my wife and you actually enjoy giving. You love the idea of giving your friend that perfect gift or a ministry that much needed donation.

Whether you are the tightwad or the carefree giver, you can all probably agree that we would like to give more. And for many of us, we know that we should give, but the numbers just don’t add up.

We feel like we have too many needs of our own to even think about giving. There is always another need in our life, whether that need is to pay our light bill or to save for our kids’ college education.

So then the question becomes, how do we give in the midst of our need?

1. Giving must become a priority.

Take a second and figure out your top three financial priorities. Be honest with yourself. Now, if you are like most people, giving is probably hovering around fifth or sixth on your list. Other more important things are taking priority and therefore, they will get the money first. In order to be able to give as much as we would like, we must make giving a priority in our lives.

2. Giving must become part of a disciplined plan.

All too often our financial plans revolve around the “emergencies” we see right in front of us. We are flying through life at a million miles an hour and giving becomes an afterthought. If we want to be people who give consistently, then giving must become a part of our plan before life happens. If we hope to give someday but fail to actually put it into our monthly spending plan, then we will probably not ever get there. And if we give flippantly because we feel bad and hope the rest of our bills are taken care of, then that isn’t good management. My encouragement would be to put giving at the top of your monthly plan to make sure it happens regularly. Don’t wait until the end of the money to give because I can promise you the money will be gone.

And for those of you who want to “give spontaneously” and “be free,” Jenny and I can honestly say that we have been able to give spontaneously and give more than we thought possible because of how diligent we have been to stick to a plan throughout the years.

3. Ask God what you should give to and how much.

Now one of the most important steps in this process is to listen to and obey God’s leading. He has all the wisdom in the world and the Holy Spirit is known as the “Great Counselor”! God sees your need. So when He is inviting you to give out of your need, He is standing outside of time and saying to you, “I’ve got your back. Just trust Me and give!” My encouragement would be to do it all within the context of community and wise counsel. If you feel like God is asking you to give to something, bring that to your Lifegroup and community and ask what they sense God is saying.

To my practical mind, giving in my need doesn’t compute. It seems irresponsible.But thankfully we serve a God who is supernatural. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts.

And when He invites us to give out of our need, He also has a beautiful promise on the other side to provide for all of our needs.

IN RESPONSE:

I encourage you to think through these three steps and put a plan on paper for how to give out of your need. You will be encouraged as you give faithfully and watch God supply your needs. Let me leave you with an encouragement from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church:

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work… Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”

By Josh Lawson, director of Impact Waco and author of ReAlign

Jimmy Seibert Endorses ReAlign

When we began Antioch, it was our desire to live out the New Testament, just as we read about in the Bible. We wanted to be people who weren’t just hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word. We were committed to prayer, sharing our faith, discipleship, and reading the Bible and applying its truth to our lives.

We realized that if we were going to see people live radical lives for Jesus we would have to deal with the issues of money and possessions. When I look back at my years of church planting and church impact in our city, nation, and around the world, I cannot overstate the importance of dealing with the issue of money. Only when we set our hearts straight and align ourselves with doing it God’s way, instead of our own, can we fully embrace His purposes for our lives.

When Josh first came to me and shared his heart for helping people in the church neighborhood (one of the poorest zip codes in Texas) who struggled with finances we said, “Absolutely, we are with you. The only problem is we don’t have any money to fund that particular ministry.” How ironic. But, as God would have it, Josh said, “I believe so much in it that Jenny and I will live by faith. We will sacrifice, even financially, to see others set free.” And that is exactly what they have done. Josh began to facilitate an existing financial program on Sundays. During the first three years we saw more than three million dollars of debt eliminated, we saw people personally set free, marriages restored and healed, and miracles began to happen in the context of community. It was during this time that Josh began to develop his own curriculum with heaven and eternity as the foundation and where radical giving became more important than creating wealth and stability. So Josh and Jenny began to look at their lives, their friends’ lives and our experiences as a church community to shape and form what you are now about to experience through their new book, REALIGN.

I am so excited about this book and the curriculum. It provides very concrete and practical ideas/instruction/coaching so people can build their lives around Jesus and His purposes and not just self-interest. When that happens at a financial level, it will happen at every other level, and we will see the Kingdom of God made real. Until we touch the area of finances, our hearts will always be divided. But when we transform the area of finance, then people are set free to do anything that God would have them do in any area of the world.

This book is not just a recounting of principles, but evidence and fruit of a life well-lived by Josh and Jenny Lawson, their family and a community of people who have lived this out the last three decades. Enjoy! It will be life changing. Get your copy of ReAligned today.

Jimmy Seibert, Senior Pastor of Antioch Waco

Giving Generously: ReAlign Part 3

I know I’m supposed to be the guy that teaches on Biblical finances, but if I’m honest, I really don’t like the idea of giving. To my number-crunching, tight-fisted, “it’s-not-in-the-budget” brain, it seems like such a waste of my money. I have bills to pay, kids to send to college, other “more important” things to take care of. Giving is the last thing I want to do!

So then why does God invite me to give? Actually, why does He command me to give? Psalm 24:1 says God owns everything, so surely He doesn’t need my money. Why does He tell me that even though it is the last thing I want to do, it should actually be the first  thing I do?

Here’s why: because He knows it’s good for me and you.

And why is giving for our good?

 

Giving helps REALIGN our lives with the one thing that really matters: knowing God and making Him known.

  • As we give, it takes the focus off ourselves and puts it back onto God and what He wants to do through our money. God knows that when we only focus on our needs and our wants it creates more discontentment, less thankfulness and less joy.
  • At its core, giving is really about worshipping God.

Giving multiplies our money.

  • I know the math might not work on paper, but God promises to multiply our resources when we give.
  • Here’s what Paul had to say to some of his friends who decided to give out of their incredible poverty. “ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for foodwill also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10).
  • Until we give our money away, it cannot have the great impact God intended for it. For some of you that might be difficult because you feel like you don’t have enough money to give, but God promises to give us more “seed to sow” as we give.

Today, as you are looking at the pile of bills and all of the things you should be doing, know that God understands exactly where you are at. He knows exactly what you need and His invitation to give is not out of spite. He wants you to be set free! And giving is what will get you there.

By Josh Lawson

Do you want to know more about how to live out Kingdom values with your finances? Pre-order Josh’s new book, ReAlign: Finding God’s Purpose for Your Money, today!

Why You Hate Your Job and What to do About It: ReAlign Part 2

Have you ever hated your job? Not just disliked it, but actually despised it with a passion?

If you have, then you aren’t alone. A recent survey showed that 80 percent of people polled HATED their jobs.

That means the majority of us wake up every morning trying to figure out how we are going to survive the next eight to ten hours of our life. To us it seems like work has zero purpose other than giving us the ability to have fun or do things we really enjoy in life.

But I believe God’s desire is for work to serve a higher purpose than just giving us a paycheck.

And let me tell you something you probably won’t like: the purpose of work isn’t to make you happy.

I think that’s why the majority of us are so disappointed by work. Sure, we have bad bosses and stressful work environments, but at the core, we hate our jobs because we believe work is supposed to make us happy.

SO IF THE PURPOSE OF WORK ISN’T TO MAKE ME HAPPY, THEN WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF WORK?

I’m so glad you asked!

THREE PRIMARY PURPOSES FOR WORK:

  • Provide – It might seem like common sense, but God gave us work to provide for us. In the Garden of Eden, God created everything, but then He presented the task of harvesting to be man’s primary occupation. That is still true today. God has given each of us unique gifts and talents in order to provide for our households.
  • Character – I know, it’s not a popular word nowadays, but the second key purpose of work is to develop this little thing called character. The word “character” can actually be translated to mean “carving on a stone.” And that’s actually what character development feels like. This is helpful for us to remember when we are in a tough job or a stressful situation. Maybe God doesn’t want you to leave that situation or job, but maybe He wants to work on your character.
  • Deputy – The word “work” can be translated to mean “deputy,” or someone who acts on behalf of another. The final purpose of work is to work with God as His deputy to see His purposes accomplished in the world. The goal of work is not to build bigger mini-kingdoms for ourselves, but instead to advance the Kingdom of God in the world!

So, if you are one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who hate your job, what do you do?

Three simple things:

  • Thank God for your job
  • Ask him what He’s working on inside of you
  • Invite him to dream His dreams through you at work.

Want to get your finances ReAligned? Sign up for the ReAlign Class, starting Sunday, January 25th.

By Josh Lawson, Author of ReAlign

Tell Me the Number: REALIGN Part 1

“Okay I get it, having stuff is bad, giving is good, but really, just tell me the number I am allowed to spend and what I have to give away.”

Sound familiar?

This is usually the response we get after teaching on living simply. But it’s the wrong question. There is no magic for what you should give away. There is no amount of stuff you can or cannot accumulate.

The equation Jesus gives us often makes us angry. It blows our circuits and frustrates everyone who just wants a to-do list to accomplish to check off to be a Christian with money. And here’s why; Jesus couldn’t care less about your tasks. He couldn’t care less about how much stuff you have or don’t have. Here is what He wants; your heart and your attention.

Matthew 6:24 tells us no one can serve two masters. We will end up hating one and loving the other. Jesus doesn’t want someone to just do what He says. He wants someone who will love Him with his or her life and resources.

At the core of our love there is this little thing called trust. You will live for whatever you trust. It will be what your money follows and ultimately what you spend your life trying to serve.

So the question of simplicity is not how much stuff you have or don’t have, but instead, do you trust that Jesus is enough to satisfy you? Do you trust that he has your back? Do you trust that He will provide everything for you? Do you trust that He is worth it?

When your heart is settled on that, you are free to do whatever God asks with your money. You are free to have a little. You are free to have much. You are free to live for God’s Kingdom.

And we will be able to echo the ancient words of the apostle Paul; “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13).

We will continue to explore these Biblical truths and how they affect our financial lives in our current series, REALIGN. You can also be a part of the eight-week REALIGN Class, starting January 25th. Register now through December for the discounted rate of $40.

By Josh Lawson

What Are You Doing For Lunch?

For years I believed mentoring meant you basically had to adopt a kid, take him on vacation and pay for his college tuition one day.

But I found out this past year that being a mentor through STARS Book Clubs was almost too easy.

I could be a mentor and make a legitimate impact on the life of a kid (actually three kids) in a mere 30 minutes a week. All I had to do was go to their school during lunch, meet the kids in the library, ask them how their week was, read a book together and tell them they were awesome. That’s it. 30 minutes, once a week.

And the boys I was mentoring have actually shown some remarkable improvement in their reading ability. After only a few months of being a part of the Book Club, they had improved an average of over one grade level. Imagine the impact of hundreds of kids having book club leaders spend 30 minutes a week with them. The results would be incredible.

We already have 80 mentors meeting with more than 200 students -but we need more mentors! The qualifications for being a mentor come down to this: “Can you read?” and “Do you have 30 minutes a week?”

Be a part of an incredible thing happening in our church and at Provident Heights Elementary School during lunch times. Sign up to be a STARS mentor today!

By Josh Lawson, Director of Community Engagement

Four Ways to Miserably Fail

In January of 2013 I sat down to write out my very first attempt at New Year’s resolutions. I had big dreams for my year: I was going to read more, exercise more, lose weight, wake up earlier, love my wife better and save the world. Besides saving the world, I didn’t get too far on any of those goals. 

By February I had canceled my gym membership, gained five pounds and was doing a fairly incredible job at NOT loving my wife well. For years I had made fun of people who made New Year’s resolutions, and had made even more fun of the people who couldn’t follow through on them. Now here I was 34 days into the New Year and my dreams for the “Year of a Lifetime” had already ended.

Through that journey I learned some valuable lessons about how to make goals that actually work and how to make goals that don’t.

If you want to fail miserably at your New Year’s resolutions, then just follow these four simple rules:

  • How to fail: Write out too many goals. I looked back at my goals for 2013 and I had 32, count them, 32 New Year’s resolutions. No one can accomplish that many, much less remember half the list.

How to succeed: Write down three very specific, very doable goals.

  • How to fail: Write year-long goals. You have no idea where you will be in 12 months or what you will be doing, so why write out a goal that would take a year to accomplish. We live in a microwave culture, so you have to set microwave goals.

How to succeed: Set goals for two to three months at a time.

  • How to fail: Write out broad goals. I’m sure we all want to eat healthier and exercise, but how in the world will you know if you are actually doing it? You have to be more precise.

How to succeed: Quantify everything you want to do (i.e. go on a Daniel fast for thirty days).

  • How to fail: Don’t tell anyone. If you don’t tell other people what you are doing, then you have zero accountability besides yourself. Last time I checked, I am my own worst accountability partner. The reason Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers work so well is the accountability factor.

How to succeed: Once you have two or three very specific, very short goals, tell someone to hold you accountable to them and/or invite them to do it with you.

What are some other sure-fire ways you have failed miserably at your New Year’s resolutions? What are ways you can turn that around this year?

 

By Josh Lawson, Director of Community Engagement