Bible Verse of the Day

1 Corinthians 15:55-57
“?Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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AYP February 2015

Grace, mercy and peace from Christ our Lord be with you all. Amen.

You are going to be hearing a lot about a variety of different things in the coming future. You will be hearing about changing denominations, you will be hearing about the new church council, you will be hearing about all the plans that we are trying to implement here at the church. You will even be hearing about one thing that is probably the scariest of them all. Stewardship.

Stewardship is one of those things that scares everyone, because it talks about one of those things that is close to our hearts, and we perceive to be most private. Our money.

Well here are some things you may not have known.

  • Money is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible, and 146 times in the New Testament alone.
  • Jesus talked about money more than he talked about heaven and hell… combined.
  • Jesus talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God.
  • 11 of 39 parables talk about money.
  • One out of every seven verses in the Gospel of Luke talk about money.
  • About 25% of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels relates to money, stewardship and the resources that God has given to us.

So why does Jesus talk so much about money? There Is A Direct Correlation Between What We Do With Our Money And What We Truly Believe. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). In other words, where and how we spend our money is a reflection of where our heart is.

I think we can all agree that the world does not tell us how to spend our money according to biblical principles. So where else will we hear this? It needs to come from the church. But if you think pastors and churches talk too much about money, and ask people to give too often, consider these facts:

  • Only 4% of Americans tithe (give 10% of their income to their church) according to a 2011 survey by the Barna Group.
  • 25% of American Christians gave away no money at all (according to a 2008 Christianity Today article – from which the following points are also taken).
  • The average regularly attending churchgoer gives 6% of after-tax income (but it was noted that this figure is skewed by a handful of very generous givers).
  • The median annual giving for an American Christian is $200 – just over half a percent of after-tax income!
  • About 5% of American Christians provide 60% of the money churches receive (it’s these people who skew the average mentioned above).

What this tells us, I believe, is that few Christians really believe that their money belongs to God and that they are stewards of the resources He has chosen to entrust to them. Few make a priority commitment to give from the heart. Most of us just “tip” God by dropping a few coins or bills in the plate here and there.

I believe pastors and churches probably wouldn’t need to ask for money if all Christians gave at least the 10% tithe. A church has tested this assumption by holding a “Tithing Demonstration Weekend”, where they asked everyone to tithe 10% of the income they earned that week. Their goal was to see how much money would be received if everyone tithed. They found that their income increased by nearly 50%! They also challenged non-tithers to a 90 day Tithing Challenge to give tithing a try for 90 days and see what would happen in their lives as a result. After the challenge, they heard amazing stories of how people grew in their faith and watched God provide for their needs when they committed to giving Him at least 10%.

Now I am not going to ask you to do that… I want you to WANT to do that. If you cant give 10%, don’t… but take a serious look at your budget, and see if you could afford to give maybe 5%. Or whatever percentage you can realistically give.

We all realize that it takes money to do things; well it also takes money for the church to go and grow. As one Pastor once said as he was addressing his congregation about stewardship, “I have good news and bad news… The good news, is that there is plenty of money to do everything that we want to this year here in the church. The bad news is that it is still in your pockets.”

The other thing that I will be doing in the near future, is sending everyone a time and talents sheet. This will be asking you all to let us know what it is you enjoy doing, what it is you have a talent for doing and asking if you would be willing to share this with the church. It can be a hobby, or what you did as a profession. Or if you even have an aptitude for something, such as cooking, or sewing, quilting, finance, construction, plumbing, electrical work… the list goes on and on… This is also part of stewardship… something that I hope to make a less scary word for us all in the near future.

Amen.

Peace,
Pastor Paul D. Hansen

Last Updated on Sunday, 03 May 2015 23:28