The Legacy Project
These devotions were written by Pastor Jeff Bulthuis, and they are intended to help us take to heart what we’ve been learning in the last several weeks. May God help us to consider how to leave a lasting legacy!
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
“…renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Our current series on the subject of Legacy began with the concept of renewal. We saw that God makes things new – and most importantly, He makes US new when we trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Rather than being dead in our sins, we have new life in Him!
In Psalm 51, David is struggling with how to deal with the sin in his life – he’s not only committed adultery, he also essentially killed the woman’s husband in order to get away with it. This psalm is David’s prayer in the midst of all that guilt.
When I read this psalm and think about renewal, two things come to mind. First, I see the importance of prayer in renewal. David isn’t simply thinking about renewal or talking about it or contemplating it – he prays to God, asking that He would provide it. I think that David understood an important truth: we can’t make renewal happen ourselves. Yes, we can seek it, we can do everything to create favorable conditions, but ultimately it comes from God’s hand. Maybe that’s why Martin Luther said these famous words, hundreds of years ago: “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
Second, I see that David’s request here is intensely personal. Churches can’t have renewal without families being renewed; families can’t have renewal without individuals being renewed. Each of us is called to seek newness in our walk with God so that our thoughts, words, and deeds are made new!
Prayer Challenge: How have you seen renewal in your life? In prayer, let’s commit ourselves to being renewed!
“…you shine like stars in the universe…” Philippians 2:15
Another theme that we’ve been considering in these past few weeks is the kind of legacy that you will leave. We often think about the difference that Christians can make in the world – but, when we think about it, everyone makes a difference in the world around them. Our attitudes and actions change the world – for better or worse!
We can think about this on a daily level – how you treat the bank teller will determine how other customers are treated, which will affect the people in their lives. How you talk to your spouse or siblings or friends can make a big difference in whether they continue in certain sin or repent from them. Your work ethic – whether healthy or ill – affects others’ ability to accomplish their work, which can change how others view them.
From a big picture perspective, we also make a difference in the lives of those around us. Even if people can’t point out a specific instance or tell a concrete story, do they know how we hoped to make a difference in their lives? Can loved ones look at the broad strokes of our lives and see what kind of life we lived?
Take a few minutes to reflect on this quote from Billy Graham: “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”
Prayer Challenge: Discuss with someone what kind of legacy you want to leave. How can you go about that? What daily changes need to be made? Pray that the Holy Spirit would empower you to shine like a star today!
“…a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance…” Ephesians 1:14
Lately, I’ve noticed a radio commercial for an insurance company. And it raises this question: does your insurance cover your missing wedding ring or merely your missing decoder ring? The intent is that people would question their current coverage and (ideally!) switch to a company that ensures that you’re fully covered.
When we read between the lines of that commercial, we find that it’s actually asking much bigger questions in life. What’s really important in your life? What would be something you can’t imagine living without? What would cause you to be devastated if it were taken away and wasn’t immediately replaced? It’s the question we asked in studying God’s Word: what do you treasure?
In Luke 12, Jesus teaches that our greatest treasure should be the kingdom of God – we should seek it first, and everything else will be added to us. This ensures that we have an eternal treasure, one that won’t be taken by thieves or damaged by moths.
Hearing Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 1 gives me deep comfort – we’re told that our eternal inheritance in heaven [our salvation!] is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit’s work in us. That tells me that God has assured me and insured me against the most devastating situation: salvation being taken away from me! This is truly good news!
Mind-bogglingly, the same Spirit who protects that treasure also equips and empowers me to live everyday of my life for that treasure.
Prayer Challenge: Ask that God would turn your desires to His treasure. Take comfort in the fact that our eternal inheritance is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit!
“…those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” Psalm 34:10
One of the biggest things that we learned – or relearned! – when we studied Jesus’ words in Luke 12 is that God provides for everything that we need. He powerfully shows that if God cares so deeply for the birds of the air and lilies of the field, how much more so does He provide for our needs?
Sometimes a passage like this one could be misconstrued. We might think that this means that God will give us everything that we could possibly want. Or we might think that something that is considered good will automatically happen to us. But life doesn’t work like that; if it did, we’d likely have more problems than we do now.
I’m reminded of a quote that I once heard from Timothy Keller – “If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what He gives.”
That is to say, if we were all-knowing like God, we would know exactly how God’s provision will be for good, why He’s doing what He’s doing, who He’s going to work through to accomplish His purpose, and when it’s all going to work out – whether during our time on earth or in heaven.
But since we don’t know all that, we’re called to be people who trust. People who – as the psalmist says – seek the Lord. And even though we don’t understand how things are being worked out, we can be assured that everything is working according to God’s plan. And I think that’s all we really need to know.
Prayer Challenge: Ask God to assure you that He will provide all that we truly need – and revel in that comfort!
“A generous life”
2 Corinthians 9:7-8
“…God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
When I was studying for our message on the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, one of the things that surprised me was the monetary value of the talents. The master is entrusting his servants with huge amounts of money when he goes away!
We realize today that God has entrusted us with so much more than just money – if we’re honest, we recognize that everything that we have is a gift from God! Not only can I do nothing apart from Christ, but I also have nothing apart from the generous, Fatherly hand of God. Even if we try to take credit for what we have (“I work hard,” “I made good grades,” “I’ve made good friends who helped me out”), we see that our work ethic, sound minds, and fruitful connections all ultimately are a gift from God.
And I think that this is the key for understanding the importance of being a cheerful giver. If we truly believe that we wouldn’t have anything but for the grace of God, doesn’t that make us all the more ready to give it back to God? If we recognize the grace of God not only in our spiritual life but also in our physical life, doesn’t that make us want to display that gratitude by giving? If we have eyes to see God’s faithfulness in the past, doesn’t that assure us that we can give generously because God will also provide for us in the future?
When we see God’s grace, we’re moved to give and live generously – not because we have to but because we want to.
Prayer Challenge: Ask God to help you see His generosity so that you can respond generously!
The Legacy Project is in direct response to our church’s Renewal Plan which calls us to be intentional in everything we do to carry our Christ’s Great Commission to his church – “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Our mission is to build on our foundation to proclaim Christ to the Greater Munster Community for generations to come. We are called to reach the unchurched of the 21st Century.
The Legacy Project is our Capital Fund Raising Campaign to update and enhance our property and facilities. In order to develop a user friendly culture, our property and facilities have to meet the expectation of excellence that the typical American has come to expect in the marketplace. In Thom S. Rainer’s book “Surprising Insights from the Unchurched” he points out in his surveys that the Unchurched are ‘impressed with first impressions’ and ‘surprised that God’s church would accept anything that did not approach excellence’. The Legacy Project includes (1) remodeling of the worship center (sanctuary), (2) landscaping of the property, (3) canopies for improved traffic flow and protection from the elements, (4) parking lot repaving and (5) updating the staff offices. The renewal the community is seeing externally is also taking place internally at Munster Church through new members joining the congregation. If you wish to partner with us in The Legacy Project, you can participate by using the “Giving” tab on the web site or sending a check to the church office. What will your Legacy be?