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This article – Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents Stuff – prompted me to share these thoughts:
I liquidated my dad’s house when he was killed and my mom then moved into her own little place. Then I liquidated her home when she moved in with us. Then when she died I did it again with her stuff. Then I moved to Europe and liquidated our home, acreage and belongings. Last year we, mostly Kristen and her brother, liquidated her parents home when they moved into assisted living. It’s painful to see a life times worth of stuff end up in a dumpster.
That said, shame on those who turn down free family stuff and opting instead to buy trendy crap on their own, and usually with credit. Learn how to refurnish something, get artsy with old stuff. Be thankful. It may not be much, but it’s your inheritance and it blesses your parents to be able to pass things on. I love giving to my kids. If they want it they can have it, now. Books, coin collection, pictures, guns…. they show interest and I give it to them. Oh, but I had to work hard for this stuff and I don’t want to give my kids the impression there is any such thing as a free lunch! I had that thought too. But it was canceled out by my desire for my kids to know me as generous and that maybe they’ll value generosity too.
Once Thomas craigslisted something I gave him — had a bill due he couldn’t pay (both my boys are masters with craigslist, better that than the credit card – new is overrated). It bothered me at first but good for him trying to get the highest price. (It was a window unit air conditioner.) Better to sweat than borrow!!! I’ve passed on my aversion to debt to my son!!!
Kristen and I lived the first fifteen years with furniture from garage sales, we’d joke about our furniture being early garage sale era. The kids beat it up anyway, why get something good? Hand me downs are God’s provision in your life.
I’d encourage older people to start early liquidating their estates so their kids aren’t foolish with the stuff later. I had my kids walk through my home and tell me what they wanted. If they all wanted the same thing I took note and they traded this for that. The rest I sought a home for- don’t worry about recooping dollars- there is a bigger blessing in giving it away to young people in your church. If something means something to you, stick a note on it or your kids won’t have a clue later.
Liquidating your stuff is both scary and freeing. It’s a spiritual journey, of sorts. It is not God’s will that you have a full home and still need a storage unit. When you want to buy something, ask first if it’s a legacy purchase or just more crap for your kids to deal with.
Today I’ll relate Proverbs 30:15 to the spirit of entitlement in so many today… “The leech has two daughters named Gimme and Gimme More” (The Message).
A leech lives off the lifeblood of another and according to this verse the mentality is generational —meaning you pass it on to your kids. We need to apply this first to ourselves in the church before we relate it to the 50% of our nation not paying taxes.
More from me in the days ahead on how God is shifting ministers and missionaries off support letters and fundraisers and endless offerings. My contention is that “the paid guy” is in the way of the fulfillment of the Great Commission because what happens is everyone shows up week after week and watches him do the work. A doctor recently told me he has many ministers in our town as patients and they are all on anti-depressants. And I’d add they are all broke and struggling. How can broke people be a blessing to people in hard times? They can’t.
A couple weeks ago in Greece I put forth some thoughts on the various mentalities to avoid in an economic crisis. One was this entitlement mentality. Others have to do with coveting and envying what others have (class warfare), the poverty mentality, and the victim mentality. I’ll probably say more on this matter this weekend.
Last year I spoke some on the importance of having a Great Depression mentality. God spoke to me on this last year… that we need a Great Depression mentality right now…. meaning that like our grandparents who lived through the years following 1929 that we also would have a willingness and mindset to do whatever it takes to put food on the table for our family, regardless of the effort or STIGMA. Also we need the Faith of a Sower mentality. People have no harvest because they don’t plant seeds – and I’m NOT just talking about over and above giving and more offerings. I’m talking about literal WORK in fields (the marketplace) that will produce a return.
So much to say. This weekend I’m developing the matter of having a mentality that not only allows for, but a mentality that produces miracles and supernatural supply. Comments are always welcome.
Thought I’d experiment and try a vblog today instead of typing this post. Let me know if you like it better than reading. If you do I will do more of them. Already I’ve learned I need to change the lighting (unless you like the glow over my head, kind of saintly I think) and that I should at least wait until my hair is dry (my best thinking is always in the shower so you can be thankful I at least waited until I got dressed before I sat down in front of the camera!). The jury is still out on whether or not this saves me time – hard to tell – loading it to youtube took forever. I’m old school in that I’m a little technology-challenged and I can type as fast as I think so right now I’m thinking the old way may still be easier for me.
Please take 5 minutes to read Winter’s short article – Reconsecration to a wartime lifestyle (pdf alert) and don’t miss this part… “we must live only on what we need and give the rest of our income where it is needed most. We call this a wartime lifestyle.” Here’s a related website also. Here’s a link to some practical suggestions on how to live a wartime lifestyle. Here’s a link to the US Center for World Mission in Pasadena and the William Carey library. This is where I get my mission biographies. (Had to laugh at seeing the book they are featuring today on the homepage – Apostolic Function in 21st Century Missions. The dreaded “A” word I was crucified over five years ago is now becoming standard in evangelical mission circles. Ha!)
I’ve not put much up on GatePost yet on what we have in the cooker for a plan to plant lots of life-giving local churches in Europe but you can contact me if you want to know more. We are starting a new mission agency called Europe Advance. We plan to launch EA at the end of September here.
Now, feedback please! Use the comment link here to a) tell me whether you like the vblog better or not and b) to discuss the call to the wartime lifestyle. I know I know I know, I still ended up typing four paragraphs.
This post is part two of my reflections on the Cathedral (Kölner Dom) in Cologne Germany. You can read part one here.
In this post I will focus on the Cathedral Treasury which, curiously, I had to pay €8 euro to see. No photos were allowed so I’ll have to use this stock photo. This is one section along one wall on just one of the four floors of 13th century vault rooms under the cathedral which have been updated to display millions and millions of dollars of gold, silver and jewels. The Cathedral Treasury was robbed in 1975 and so security today is quite tight.
While this wealth sits here, just outside sat a hungry beggar (who only got a measly one euro in his paper cup from me).
The Immorality of untouchable church Memorial Funds
Back in my denominational days I ruffled feathers with my suggestions that it was immoral for all our American churches to be sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars in “memorial funds” (waiting for the rainy day when the church may need new siding) —all the while we had no funds to start life-giving churches that could help people in our communities. There was once an audible gasp in a room of 1000 when I suggested from the platform that all our empty dying old churches sitting on prime downtown real estate ought to pray about selling their properties and using the money to launch ten new churches and outreaches to the hurting and the poor in the city. All this came back to my mind as I toured the Cologne Cathedral Treasury.
An ornate tomb for gold-plated skulls
I briefly mentioned this in part one of this post, but here are the details… the Cologne Cathedral was built to house the gold-plated skulls of the three wise men. These skulls are consider sacred relics and this church is a shrine intentionally built to house them so people can worship them. I’ll quote directly from the literature handed out at the Cathedral;
In 1164 Archbishop Rainald von Dassel transferred from Milan the bones of the Three Magi. A precious reliquary shrine was ordered to house these relics…. the famous relics drew the faithful from all of Europe and the Cologne pilgrimage became one of the largest of the Middle Ages.
Here’s a pic of the gold box that contains the skulls – I’d estimate it’s four feet high, six feet long.
While others (hundreds) were lighting prayer candles all around this gold box I was praying that some day the church would melt the box down, bury the bones in dirt and use the money to advance the Kingdom of God. What do you think that amount of solid gold is worth? I’ll let you read this last sentence from the literature yourself…
And that is where all the wealth in this treasury came from – relic worship. Kings and noblemen throughout the centuries have come here with priceless gifts paying homage to these three skulls. I underlined the word “imprimatur” which in Latin means “let it be printed” because an imprimatur “is an official declaration from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church that a literary work is free from error in matters of Roman Catholic doctrine.” Really, do they not see any “doctrinal” error here? I just know those who brought gold to Jesus at his birth (the wise men) would reject the practice of bringing gold to their bones. Geesh.
One of the forerunners to the Reformation, Erasmus, was a satirist. He viewed these “relics” as a fraudulent fund-raising scheme to raise money for Rome. Erasmus decided one day to take an inventory of the relics of Rome and he published his findings which included two heads of John the Baptist, two bodies of St. Anne, three of Lazarus and a bottle of breast milk from the Virgin Mary. Calvin later continued the biting sarcasm in his published Inventory of the Relics which showed there were fourteen churches in Italy, Germany and France that each “had” one of the three nails that held Jesus to the cross. You get the point.
Treasure in heaven?
If you have read this blog for any length of time perhaps you are able to see a pattern in how I think – you’ll have to track closely to process this as I do. Here we have an ornate tomb built for three gold-plated skulls adorned with millions of dollars of gold and millions of dollars in jewels. While all that is still fresh in the forefront of my thinking, I then read today’s LA Times story about how hundreds and hundreds of bodies in the LA morgue are going unclaimed because poor families can’t afford funerals ($348 to pick up ashes at the LA county crematorium).
Having recently buried both of my parents and my grandmother I’m sensitive to these poor families. Only my mother had adequate insurance to cover her funeral – my brother and I split the cost of my dads and grandmothers – things were so tight when my grandmother died at age 95 in 2006 we didn’t even order a spray of casket flowers (and that offended one of her two yet-living friends).
Perhaps only a few at Church at the Gate know that we have bought gravestones, burial plots, hotel rooms, flowers and caskets for people in our church family and community who had no means. Yet here at the Cologne Cathedral, we have a highly guarded billion dollar church treasury adorning the supposed bones of the Wise Men. If the wise men were to come back to life today I’d think they’d take the gold to Jesus. And, Jesus would spend it on the poor families in Los Angeles.
Imagine the PR mileage the Catholic Church could get if just one of these priests here at the Cologne Cathedral sold just one piece from this “treasury” and used the money to pay for hundreds of funerals for poor grieving families in LA. The priest would surely get defrocked but at least he’d amass great treasure in heaven.
How much is a body part worth?
St. Mary’s College in my homestate of Kansas houses over 1200 relics, including the finger of St. Odilia. Apparently that young gal’s body part is priceless today. You’ll need to keep tracking with me here as I try to spell out the connection in my head between relics and human organ harvesting here in Europe.
One of the two main reasons I’m in Europe this summer is to work with church planters here to put on paper a strategy to establish lots of local mission outposts for the Kingdom of God all over Europe. A few days ago we were focusing on Moldovia and I mentioned our heart to start orphanages and how God spoke to me in 2004 about “becoming a blessing to women going through life alone” – widows, single moms, sex trade, etc, etc. – you know… the pure religion stuff of James 1:27). I did not know that besides poverty and sex slavery, Moldova is one of the top countries in the world for organ harvesting.
I was then told about the hundreds+ of 15 year old Moldovian girls who are taken each year and used in the sex trade and that after they’ve “served their purpose there” they are bringing a quarter of a million dollars each as they are sacrificed to harvest their organs (which are kept in cold storage and air lifted and sold to illegal distribution centers in the United States, Germany, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Israel, and South Africa).
We talked about starting a church/rescue mission there this year. I told our CATG congregation last year that one of these weekends I’m going to stand up at offering time and say… “one hundred percent of today’s offering is going to buy 13 year old girls out of the sex slave trade— so give generously.” I will do that this year. As we continued to talk about what God was calling us to do here we talked about chartering flights to the US full of these girls and Kristen and I figured we could house ten in our home.
Pardon me if this has gotten way long for you, I’ll end soon. In one of our church planting planning sessions I was asked what the obstacles are – of course money is always at the top of the list. A few days later I then find myself in this “sacred treasury” and I’m sorry if my report here is so critical and negative of what I saw there. It screams insanity to me that the “religious” are hoarding shocking amounts of wealth to adorn skulls while precious girls are being sold and slaughtered on the black market for parts.
I’ve been reflecting on kindness for a couple weeks – it’s a rare thing to find on the internet especially. Although I’m posting this on the internet, my real aim is to stir up more kindness in the Body of Christ – in our church, in your church.
A few of us have been talking about how so few of us reciprocate kindness. You know what I’m talking about… we invite people over, they never invite us over. We call them, they don’t call us. I believe kindness is a form of mercy and the Bible teaches that we can stop the flow of mercy if we don’t share it ourselves. Kindness that comes to you must quickly flow through you. We kill it when we keep it. It has a short shelf life.
To reciprocate means to return in kind or degree. I’ve been thinking of the reasons we don’t reciprocate kindness. I hope you can add to my list and that you’ll be brutally honest…
1. We are too busy or tired, or we assume they are (Are you giving off a vibe that you are too busy for somebody? Maybe it’s like the pretty girl who never gets asked out on a date. Maybe people are incorrectly assuming your social calendar is already full and so they don’t call you. I struggle with the flip side of this – fatigue – how many more people can I call? Really, I’ve answered 50 emails since my kids left for their two week internship a week ago last Sunday, and yet I haven’t emailed them. If we can’t meet our family commitments, how can we do anything more for others?
2. We are embarrassed to have people in our home – too messy? Or, we don’t have the money.
3. We’ve been hurt or rejected before
4. We possess a sense of entitlement, others are there to bless us.
5. We don’t want to open the door to one who needs more from us than we are willing/able to give.
6. We are unaware of what we have to offer
7. We are irritated by other aspects of those being kind to us.
If you are one who has extended yourself to others and kindness has not been reciprocated back to you, how do you keep from being offended?
Grab a box of kleenex and then follow this link to a special page we just put up on our church website – it’s about a girl we are desperately trying to help in China.