Wealth, Poverty & the Bible: How Do Finances Relate to Faith?

On this week’s episode of the Theology for the People podcast, I speak with Mason Mortimer.

Mason is a graduate of Calvary Chapel Bible College and has worked in the financial services industry for 17 years.

In this episode we discuss what the Bible has to say about money, wealth, and poverty. How should we think biblically about financial matters, including investments and retirement?

We discuss how Christians have related to money historically, such as those who take vows of poverty. Finally, Mason gives us some very practical advice about stewardship, investment, and financial planning.

If you find this episode interesting or helpful, please share it with others and leave a rating and review on your podcast app, as that helps other people discover this podcast and its content.

Click here to listen to the episode, or listen in the embedded player below.

Wealth, Poverty & the Bible: How Do Finances Relate to Faith? Theology for the People

Mason Mortimer is a graduate of Calvary Chapel Bible College and has worked in the financial services industry for 17 years. In this episode we discuss what the Bible has to say about money, wealth, and poverty. How should we think biblically about financial matters, including investments and retirement? We discuss how Christians have related to money historically, such as those who take vows of poverty. Finally, Mason gives us some very practical advice about stewardship, investment, and financial planning. If you find this episode interesting or helpful, please share it with others and leave a rating and review on your podcast app, as that helps other people discover this podcast and its content. Make sure to visit the Theology for the People blog at nickcady.org

Sin Makes You Weird

Several years ago, I remember talking with my pastor, Tom Stipe, and discussing something I had observed: Sin makes you weird, but walking with Jesus makes a person increasingly healthy and “normal.”

Who Defines What is “Weird”?

Some people might bristle at the terms “weird” and “normal,” wondering whose definition of “normal” we should use, but in this case I use it in the sense of the healthy standards for behavior and attitudes that are laid out in the Bible, and which have shaped global society in a pervasive way.

For more on that, see Tom Holland’s incredible book, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World. Holland is not a “Christian author” per se; he is a historian who has spent most of his life studying history as relates to other topics, but he has admitted that his research for this book profoundly impacted his life and faith personally. I read it last year and would recommend it.

So, when I say “normal” in this sense, I am referring to virtues which are not only biblical, but which are affirmed by the majority of cultures worldwide. Things such as goodness, kindness, charity, graciousness, and the like – in contrast to abuse, usury, envy, pride, and so on.

Brain Scans

My conviction that “sin makes you weird” is not new to me, but it has been verified through the ever-increasing use of brain scans which show how certain behaviors affect brain activity.

One of the chief among these, and most reported on, is the use of illicit drugs, including marijuana, and pornography.

This article published by Inverse is just one of many on this topic which give empirical proof that pornography usage has negative effects on brain function and produces problematic behavior, as it changes the way a person thinks, views others, and relates to the world. THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON PORN: Casual porn watching changes the brain a lot more than you’d think.

Do Other Sins Make You Weird? What’s the Solution?

I would venture to guess that other behaviors have similar affects on behavior, outlook, and the brain, such as lying, jealousy, and other attitudes and actions.

Here is a discussion I had with Pastor Michael, our Worship Pastor at White Fields Church about this topic, in a follow-up to a sermon from John 15:1-11 called Jesus Is: the True Vine.

In it, importantly, we talk about the solution to the problem, which is: abiding in Christ, which Jesus defines as living in abiding relationship with him, by obeying his commandments (John 15:10).

Here’s the video of that discussion:

Palm Sunday Points Us to the Heart of the Gospel

Originally posted on CalvaryChapel.com

On our wedding day, as my wife was walking down the aisle, she looked at me intently, and the big question in her mind was, “Is he going to do it?” Her friend’s husband had done it at their wedding, and she wondered if I would too. But much to her dismay, I did not cry when she walked down the aisle. She asked me later on why I had not cried. “Why would I?”, I asked. “That was a moment to celebrate, not to cry!”

And yet, the Gospel of Luke tells us, that on Palm Sunday, when everyone else was celebrating and rejoicing, Jesus was crying. Why? The answer draws us into the heart of the gospel.

GOD’S PROMISE OF A TRUE KING

Israel had many kings throughout their history, but, as we see in the books of 1-2 Kings, each one was a disappointment. Some were better than others, but none of them fulfilled their potential, and all left the people hoping for more. 

God had promised that one day, He would send them a true king, who would rule in righteousness. He would be a liberator, who would set the people free from all oppression and establish a kingdom of peace and justice, which would have no end. And yet, no governing administration ever produced what they hoped it would. 

JESUS, THE TRUE KING & PROMISED MESSIAH

Rumors had been swirling for years that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the true king, but Jesus had refused to allow people to revere him as such, until Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday, with the city of Jerusalem full of people who had come to celebrate Passover, Jesus affirmed publicly that he was indeed the Messiah, and he rode into the city on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.

The people waved palm branches (John 12:13), laying them on the ground, along with their cloaks, before Jesus to create a “red carpet” for the rightful king. The significance of this act is found in 2 Kings 9:13, when Jehu became king of Israel, overthrowing the wicked dynasty of the Ahab and Jezebel. At that time, the people laid their cloaks on the ground before him. Additionally, some 200 years before Jesus was born, in the Maccabean Revolt, Israel had successfully cast off their Syrian overlords and gained their independence — at which time, the people celebrated with a parade, in which they waved palm branches. The palm branch, stamped on Jewish coins, was a symbol of deliverance from oppression.

JESUS GOES TO THE TEMPLE, FAILING TO MEET THEIR EXPECTATIONS

And yet, upon entering Jerusalem, instead of going to the Antonia Fortress to put the Romans on notice, Jesus went to the Temple, where he drove out the money changers and healed the sick (Matthew 21:12-14). Clearly, many of the people were disappointed that Jesus did not give them a political solution that day. Perhaps some of the same people who shouted, “Hosanna,” on Palm Sunday were even amongst the crowd shouting, “Crucify Him,” on Good Friday, having been disillusioned that Jesus hadn’t done what they expected him to do.

Perhaps they should have read Zechariah’s prophecy again. “Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he” (Zechariah 9:9). Jesus, the true king, came to meet our greatest need. The unrighteous, the Bible says, will not enter the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Jesus, the only truly righteous person who has ever lived, came to meet our greatest need: so that through his life, death, and resurrection, we might be justified by his grace, and thereby be saved from judgment!

GOD’S PLAN: BETTER THAN WHAT THEY HOPED FOR

The people in Jerusalem had an expectation of what Jesus was going to do for them, but when Jesus didn’t do what they expected He would, some of them turned away — and yet, what Jesus was doing for them was better than what they had hoped for, and was what they truly needed! 

May that be a lesson for us this Palm Sunday, so that we would walk with God by faith, trusting in His character, His love, and His plans. Rather than a genie in a bottle, who always gives us what we want, we have a Father in Heaven, who loves us and gives us what we need — and that is infinitely better!

Jesus Wept With Us So That One Day We Might Rejoice With Him Forever

In Luke 19:41, we read that as Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, as the crowds were cheering, Jesus was crying. 

Shouldn’t He have been reveling in receiving the recognition that He rightly deserved? The reason Jesus cried is because, as He looked over Jerusalem, He knew that the current enthusiasm would not last, and He would soon be crucified as a criminal by the people He had come to save.

Yet, with tears streaming down His face, Jesus continued into Jerusalem. Why? Because, Hebrews 12:2 tells us of the joy that was set before him. 

Jesus wept with us for a moment, so that one day, we might rejoice with Him forever.

In the Book of Revelation, we are given this preview of Heaven: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with “palm branches” in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10).

PALM BRANCHES – THE SYMBOL OF DELIVERANCE, AGAIN

In Heaven, we see palm branches, the symbol of deliverance from oppression, because Jesus, the true king, has liberated us from that which is at the root of all oppression! Whereas on Palm Sunday, people shouted “Hosanna!” (“Save Now”), the great multitude in Heaven declares that Jesus has saved them.

Palm Sunday points us to the heart of the gospel: The true King came to meet our greatest need, and He wept with us so that one day we might rejoice with Him forever.

How Does Understanding Biblical Genres Affect How We Interpret & Teach Passages in the Bible?

On this week’s episode of the Theology for the People podcast, I speak with Kristie Anyabwile, who recently wrote a book called, Literarily: How Understanding Bible Genres Transforms Bible Study

We discuss the difference between interpreting the Bible “literally” and interpreting it “literarily,” i.e. according to the genre of a given passage. Kristie describes the 8 major literary genres found in the Bible, and their unique aspects. We give a few examples of how not taking genre into account can lead to misinterpretation and misapplication of particular texts.

Kristie is married to Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile and they serve at Anacostia River Church in Washington D.C. For more about Kristie, visit her website: kristieanyabwile.com.

Kristie also shares with us in this episode the meaning of her last name!

Also mentioned in this episode are two groups Kristie is involved with:

If you find this episode interesting or helpful, please share it with others and leave a rating and review on your podcast app, as that helps other people discover this podcast and its content.

Click here to listen to the episode, or listen in the embedded player below.

How Does Understanding Biblical Genres Affect How We Interpret and Teach Passages in the Bible? Theology for the People

In this episode, I speak with Kristie Anyabwile, who recently wrote a book called, Literarily: How Understanding Bible Genres Transforms Bible Study.  We discuss the difference between interpreting the Bible "literally" and interpreting it "literarily," i.e. according to the genre of a given passage. Kristie describes the 8 major literary genres found in the Bible, and their unique aspects. We give a few examples of how not taking genre into account can lead to misinterpretation and misapplication of particular texts. Kristie is married to Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile and they serve at Anacostia River Church in Washington D.C. For more about Kristie, visit her website: kristieanyabwile.com. Also mentioned this episode are: Charles Simeon Trust The Pelican Project If you find this episode interesting or helpful, please share it with others and leave a rating and review on your podcast app, as that helps other people discover this podcast and its content. Make sure to visit the Theology for the People blog at nickcady.org

10 Years… Part 2

March 25, 2022 marked 10 years since my first Sunday as pastor of White Fields Community Church.

When I moved to Longmont to pastor White Fields, I was 28 years old. I had been pastoring for 7 years, and had a lot more hair (though it was already thinning!)

On March 27, the church surprised me with a celebration I didn’t know was coming. We had cakes and other treats at each service, and they had leaders who were elders in the first few years I was here come up and say a few words and pray for my wife and I.

Of these past 10 years, the last 5 have been particularly enjoyable; working with friends, taking steps of faith, and experiencing good fruit.

We are currently in the midst of a building expansion project, in order to create room for more people to come, hear God’s Word, grow, and be equipped. It’s an exciting time, and I look forward to the future!

10 Years… Part 1

This March, my trip to Hungary to visit, encourage, and support our friends and co-laborers in the gospel from Ukraine coincided with the 10 year anniversary of me leaving Hungary to move to Colorado.

For more on what we did on that trip, see: Ukraine Relief Update: What We Did in Hungary & Ukraine

On Women’s Day, March 8, 2012, we left the beautiful city of Eger, where all of our kids (up until that point) had been born, and boarded a flight bound for Germany, on route to San Diego.

Eger, looking north from the city center. The minaret is the northern-most Turkish minaret in Europe, and the long yellow building behind it is where my kids were born. The church on the hill is a Serbian Orthodox Church; we started the Eger church in the neighborhood next to it.

We left part of our hearts there. People often ask me if I miss living in Hungary, and the answer is: Yes, I miss it so bad it hurts, every day. This isn’t to say that I’m not content where I am, or that I am planning to move back – it’s just the truth. I spent my entire adult life in Hungary up until we left. When we moved to Colorado, I had never been an adult in America before, and there was a learning curve, for sure.

Not only did we leave behind our beloved city, more significantly, we left behind a ministry we loved: one we started and nurtured.

We moved to Eger in 2005 with a vision to start a church which would be self-sustaining, that would be focused on evangelism and discipling those who became Christians through our outreaches, and we hoped that someday that church would have a Hungarian pastor, preferably someone who had been raised up through our ministry. Additionally, we hoped to start a “daughter church” out of that church, and to take the people of that church on mission trips themselves.

By God’s grace, all of these dreams came to fruition.

In January 2012, I handed over leadership of the Eger church to Jani, and he celebrated his 10 year anniversary as pastor earlier this year.

I had the opportunity to preach at the church when I was there this year, exactly 10 years to the week of my departure. I preached in Hungarian, which I miss doing.

The church recently moved into a new location, about 2 blocks from where they used to meet, and still in the heart of the city center, right on the main walking street, with a balcony overlooking it.

Standing on the balcony of the new church meeting place in downtown Eger.

Pray for Eger, and pray for Pastor Jani. He has been faithful. Pray for a fresh work of the Holy Spirit, for vision, guidance, and effective ministry.

Pastor Jani overlooking Eger from the fortress.

Good Friday & Easter Services 2022

Join us in-person or online for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday at White Fields Church!

Address: 2950 Colorful Ave. Longmont, CO 80504

Click here for LiveStream.

Easter Services: April 17, 2022

Join us as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection!

Sunrise Service: 6:00 AM Outside in the grassy area at the church. (No LiveStream, Brunch available afterwards for those who attend)

8:00 AM

9:30 AMLiveStream and NextGen classes available (birth-5th grade)

11:00 AMLiveStream and NextGen classes available (birth-5th grade)

Good Friday Services: April 15, 2022

5:00 PM – Family service (no NextGen), LiveStream available

6:30 PM – Family service (no NextGen), LiveStream available

All times are Mountain Time (GMT -7)

My Worst Easter Sermon + Preparation for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday

I recently had the opportunity to talk with some friends and record a podcast for pastors in our movement.

My friend and colleague Mike Neglia (we serve together in the Expositors Collective) and I were interviewed by Aaron Salvato of CalvaryChapel.com and the GoodLion Podcast Network about different aspects of preparing for Good Friday and Easter.

As part of the discussion, Aaron asked Mike and I about our worst Easter sermon ever. As I was telling about my worst Easter sermon, I remembered something that happened on our first Easter (also our first Sunday) planting a church in Eger, Hungary. It wasn’t something I did (or even saw), but it was something which probably made it the worst Easter service ever for those who attended 😂. Here’s the video of that part of our discussion:

Aaron broke up our discussion into sections and created a helpful article, with Mike and I discussing about Good Friday, how to support staff and volunteers amongst the busyness of Easter weekend, and how to keep Easter fresh.

That article can be found here: Advice for Pastors and Preachers on Easter Sermons and More!

In Section 2, Mike and I discuss our differences of opinion on the practice of Lent! Check it out, and see what you think.

Does Christianity Create Hateful People? – with Aaron Salvato

On this week’s episode of the Theology for the People podcast, Aaron Salvato interviews me about hypocrisy can be a barrier to people embracing Christianity, and what the solution is to this problem. 

In my recent book, The God I Won’t Believe In: Facing Nine Common Barriers to Embracing Christianity, one of the chapters addresses the question of how Christianity can really be true if many of its adherents are hypocritical or hateful people. Can this problem be blamed on Christianity itself? Or is there another explanation? Either way, it certainly hurts Christian witness, so what, if anything, should or can be done about it? 

Originally aired on the GoodLion Podcast, this episode is a collaboration with our friends over there, who also run the GoodLion Podcast Network, under the umbrella of Calvary Global Network.

If you find this episode interesting or helpful, please share it with others and leave a rating and review on your podcast app, as that helps other people discover this podcast and its content.

Click here to listen to the episode, or listen in the embedded player below.

Does Christianity Create Hateful People? – with Aaron Salvato Theology for the People

In this episode Aaron Salvato interviews Nick Cady about how hypocrisy can be a barrier to people embracing Christianity, and what the solution is to this problem.  In Nick's recent book, The God I Won't Believe In: Facing Nine Common Barriers to Embracing Christianity, one of the chapters addresses the question of how Christianity can be true if many of its adherents are hypocritical or hateful. Can this be blamed on Christianity itself? Or is there another explanation? Either way, it certainly hurts our witness, so we, if anything, should or can be done about it?  Originally aired on the GoodLion Podcast, this episode is a collaboration with our friends over there, who also run the GoodLion Podcast Network, which is part of Calvary Global Network. If you find this episode interesting or helpful, please share it with others and leave a rating and review on your podcast app, as that helps other people discover this podcast and its content. Make sure to visit the Theology for the People blog at nickcady.org 

Will We Really See Our Loved Ones In Heaven?

When someone is sick or dying, or when a loved one has passed away, it’s common for people to comfort each other by telling them that they will be reunited with that person in Heaven.

But does the Bible actually teach this, or do we just say it because it is a “sweet little lie” that makes us feel better?

Clearly the Bible does teach about Heaven and eternal life for those who believe, but does the Bible actually teach that we will be reunited with people we knew on Earth? Are there any passages in the Bible that teach that we will recognize each other and hang out in Heaven?

Reunited and It Feels So Good

In 2 Samuel 12, when David’s infant son was sick, David fasted and prayed. When his son then died, David’s servants were afraid to break the news to him, thinking that if he was so distraught over his son being sick, surely the news of his son’s death would send him over the edge…

When David saw his servants whispering, he realized his son had died. Rather than being distraught, David was at peace – much to the surprise of his servants.

David explained his response by pointing out that since his son was dead, there was now no more he could do; praying for his son’s recovery wouldn’t help at this point. Instead, David went to the house of the Lord and worshiped, explaining to his servants that he was at peace, since, he said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:23)

David clearly took comfort in the knowledge that he would be reunited with his son in the life to come.

But this begs a question: When David would see his son, who died in infancy, would that child be an infant perpetually, for all of eternity? That question finds answers in some other passages in the New Testament, which we will consider next.

Recognizing…But Not Right Away

The gospel accounts in Luke 24 and John 20 tell us that when Jesus resurrected, three days after his crucifixion, some of his disciples met with him, but they did not immediately recognize him. After they realized it was him, however, they did recognize him.

This is an important detail for several reasons. In 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul the Apostle explains that Jesus was the “first fruits” of those resurrected from the dead to eternal life. Other people had been raised back to life, but those people all subsequently died again, that time for good. Jesus was the first to raise to never die again – the fate which awaits those who believe in Him.

As the “first fruits” of those raised from the dead to eternal life, Jesus’ resurrection body is a prototype of what our resurrection bodies will be like. So what was Jesus’ resurrection body like?

We know from John 20 and Luke 24, that Jesus’ body was physical, for he ate food and people touched him. Yet, his physical body also had properties which were different than our moral bodies; he entered a locked room without using a door, for example.

Furthermore, Jesus’ appearance was, on the one hand, recognizable, and on the other hand, different enough that his closest friends didn’t recognize him – until they did.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul the Apostle mentions that over 500 people saw Jesus at one point after his resurrection, and those people all recognized that it was Jesus. When Jesus appeared to Thomas, who doubted that he had actually risen from the dead, Thomas recognized him, touched him, talked with him, and believed.

For these reasons, we can conclude that our bodies, in the resurrection and eternal life will be:

  • Physical, yet with unique properties that our mortal bodies do not possess.
  • Recognizable, yet somewhat different than the way you look now. (It seems reasonable to assume that infants will not be infants forever, and that these new bodies will be free of infirmity or other limitations related to age). It will truly be you, and will be recognizable as you, but will not be identical to your current appearance.

For more on the resurrection body, check out this message on 1 Corinthians 15:35-58.

The Transfiguration

In Luke 9, we read about Jesus’ transfiguration, when his closest disciples were allowed to see a glimpse of his divine glory. During the transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus before their eyes, and it says that the disciples recognized them.

This is interesting, because the disciples had never seen Moses nor Elijah, since they died long before the disciples were born. The disciples were able to recognize them somehow, possibly by interacting or speaking with them, or though their personalities.

Either way, it’s an example of long-deceased people being recognized as who they were. The implication is that in the life to come, people will be recognizable, and interact with those who have passed away before them.

That Weird Story about the Prophet Samuel and the Witch of Endor

Another story in which we see an instance of a deceased person interacting with and being recognized by someone they previously knew in this life, is found in 1 Samuel 28:8-17, where King Saul asked a necromancer to summon Samuel the Prophet, so Samuel could give him advice.

In this story, it seems that the necromancer is genuinely surprised that Samuel actually appeared. Her usual practice, in other words, didn’t produce that result. It can be assumed she was a charlatan, and that the deceased do not usually interact with the living, yet on this occasion, God allowed an exception, in order to teach King Saul an important lesson.

Reunited in the Sky

In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul encourages the Thessalonians, and us, regarding the fate of those believers who have died prior to the return of Jesus. For the first Christians, who expected Jesus to return in their lifetime, they were genuinely surprised by and confused about the death of other Christians who had died Jesus had returned.

Paul encourages them by telling them that when Jesus returns, those who died in faith will be resurrected, and we who are alive will be caught up and we will meet Jesus and those who passed away before us in the sky. Paul then tells us to encourage each other with these words.

The Rich Man, Lazarus, and Abraham

In Luke 16, Jesus tells a story about two men who died, and what happened to them after they died. One was an unnamed rich man, the other was a poor man named Lazarus.

The irony of the the reversal is poignant: a man who had “a name” on Earth, and a “nameless” beggar – yet in eternity, the beggar has a name and the rich man is nameless.

These men find themselves in Sheol, a place of waiting, which is divided into two parts, with an impassable chasm between them: Abraham’s Bosom – a place of waiting for the redemption promised in the Messiah, and Hades – a place of waiting for the ultimate judgment.

For more on Sheol, Abraham’s Bosom, and Hades, see: Did People Go to Heaven Before Jesus’ Death & Resurrection?

Interestingly, these two men not only recognize and interact with each other, but they recognize and interact with Abraham – yet another example of people in the afterlife interacting with and recognizing each other.

Eden Restored (and then some)

The Bible begins with God placing the man and woman he created in a garden paradise in Eden, and charging them to be fruitful and multiple. Sin, however, comes into the good creation, leading to death and destruction. God immediately announces his plan of redemption through a savior, but the effects of sin are pervasive.

In Revelation 21, we see that after God has redeemed the world and defeated evil, Satan, and death, that there will be a new Earth. In this new Earth, we see a scene strikingly similar to Eden; people dwell with God, and there is a special tree: the Tree of Life, which hasn’t been seen since the garden paradise of Eden back in the Book of Genesis.

There is a difference, however: whereas Eden was a garden, this new place is a garden city. This place, in other words, isn’t just Eden restored, it is Eden fulfilled: it is what Eden would have become if sin and death hadn’t entered into the world.

The reason this is important for our discussion, is because it shows that Heaven will not be an ethereal place where we will float on clouds, or live in mansions. (The word “mansions” in some English translations of John 14:2 is a poor translation. The word monai should rightly be translated “rooms.”) Heaven will be a physical place, similar to the world we currently live in, but – just like our resurrection bodies – with important differences, and free from entropy and decay.

Conclusion

With all these thoughts together, we can be fairly confident that for those who are “in Christ,” who have put their faith and trust in him, we will indeed be reunited with our loved ones in eternity.

For further reading, I recommend Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven.