A Challenge for “Organic Church” Believers and their Money

Woman Signing a CheckThe twitching and knee-jerk reactions I get from many (not all) “organic church” believers when the topic of money comes up, reminds me of what the Holy Spirit said to Saul of Tarsus: “It’s hard for you to kick against the pricks.”

The topic of money and finance has been severely abused in the past, and continues to be, in Christian media and many church environments. This abusive “static interference” makes it hard for believers to “hear” God’s genuine frequency on this subject. What is heard stirs up echoes of a painful history and a reactionary protective (understandable) posture: “I’m not going ‘there’ again.” If our pain and desire to protect ourselves ends up desensitizing our hearts, we will be in a bad place. The Holy Spirit in us has to be, and is, greater than the pain of our past.

Many believers in non-institutional environments who experienced financial manipulation and coercion in the past have reacted and settled into a very unhealthy place. My good friend, Stephen W. Hill, says it like this: “For many, the freedom from the selfishness of tithing (giving to get, or to avoid a curse) has been replaced by the selfishness of not giving at all.” Well said. That’s the problem.

Historical abuse is being used as an excuse to deflect any scrutiny or criticism by others of personal financial giving habits and disciplines. In some circles we have gotten so reactionary that the mere thought of any personal discipline, in ANY area,  is considered “performance,” legalism, and religion. Only the insecure with unhealed identities would think so. It is not about “performing to standard.” It is about being alive or dead. A good tree does bear good fruit: regularly, predictably, in season, and on cycle.

If our alleged Christian liberty and understanding of grace results in the decrease of the life of Christ and personal disciplines, it is neither grace nor freedom, but self-deception. Our freedom is not to be used for self-indulgence, but to serve one another in love.

The accurate reflection of our Father in time in space is the definition of being “Spirit-led. Our Father is a giver and to proclaim one’s self to be Spirit-led, free, and spiritually mature, and to be tight with our time, talent, and treasure (money) is not only oxymoronic, it is high-level delusion. (I have written elsewhere in this blog on the joy of Spirit-led giving: Why I Quit Tithing: http://wp.me/pPFqI-Hk 

We do not need any special “leading of the Spirit” to obey simple scriptural mandates. The Spirit has already led us, through the scripture! Now, we can seek the Lord for details (how much, to whom, or what entity), but the fact of the mandate to give financially and regularly, is not something we need to “seek the Lord” about. We just need to do it! (1 Cor. 16:2, etc.). I am not telling anyone what to give, or where to give. Seek the Lord for that, and be generous like your Father. But giving itself, and the disciplined regularity of it, are scriptural non-negotiables. Just do it.

I do not believe that our structures, meetings, meeting mechanics, what does or doesn’t happen in meetings, how they are conducted–open, closed, participatory, passive, “teaching vs. sharing,” “leading vs. facilitating,” etc., –have any bearing at all on how spiritual, mature, or “revelated” we might be. They’re all irrelevant to me. I’m more concerned about the cold love in my shriveled heart, than the spatial geography of my body during a meeting. There’s a better measure of the temperature of our love than futile OC/IC debates. That measure is our wallet. Closed wallets=shriveled hearts, regardless of how we do meetings. God looks on the heart, not our meeting mechanics.

Many try to rationalize their lack of financial generosity by saying: “Well, there are more ways to give than with just our money, and after all, Paul said that if I give all my money to the poor and have not love, I am a tinkling cymbal. It is true that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Indeed, love’s bandwidth includes much more than financial giving. But it does include financial giving! Giving includes the totality of our being! It includes all three dimensions of our life–time, talent, and treasure (money)—it’s not a take your pick buffet! God bought all of us, owns all of us, and has the right to distribute all of us, including our money.

So, Paul is right, but so is James. What is the essence of true religion? Winning Facebook debates about the deficiencies of the institutional church? Hanging around in eternal do-nothing holy-huddles in living rooms, swimming in our own sense of superiority because we’re in a living room instead of a sanctuary? Hardly. Seems to me that a cold, indifferent heart in either place is not a good thing.

My dear friend, Michael Rose,  says it in beautiful simplicity: love has feet.

Let’s try a simple experiment, a self-reflective reality check to see if your love has any practical feet. Fill in the blank after each of the following regarding your giving of time, talent, and treasure (money), but particularly treasure, to what follows:

  1. Widows __________
  2. The Poor __________
  3. The brotherhood in need _____________
  4. Expansion of the gospel _____________
  5. Other general opportunities for charity _______________

(Going to meetings/gatherings with your friends does not count as giving of your time! That is what you enjoy. I am talking about practical expressions to others that have no derivative benefit to you.)

How did you do? If you are a westerner and have enough money for a computer, and are reading this, you are able to regularly give financially to some, if not all of these. If you are not regularly financially giving, you’re self-justifying behind the “not all giving involves money” argument.

  • Most westerners could do a garage sale of their “stuff” and feed a poor family for a month or more.
  • Most of us could drink water instead of wine, soda, or fruit juice at our meals and times when we eat out (let alone other alcoholic beverages at $6.00+ a pop) and easily fund $50-$60 a month to one of the above.
  • Budgeting $2.00 a day–the price of a cheap hamburger or small bag of potato chips–would enable you to give $50-60 a month to something . . . can’t? OK, cut it back to $1.00 a day. Are you really saying that you can’t find $1.00 a day to give on a regular, disciplined basis to something that really matters? How about 50 cents a day?
  • Do you have any idea of what a $5.00 or $10.00 offering done regularly can do for the poor or someone in the third world?
  • You used to “tithe” faithfully to the institution based on self-centered manipulation and guilt, and now that you are out in “freedom,” you are giving what to whom? Nothing? Little? That’s not freedom. That’s just a different form of religious bondage.

The –“there are more ways to give than just money” or, “you might be giving in the flesh” etc.,–arguments are all bogus sophistry.  It’s not that you can’t give financially. You won’t. Your love, personal discipline, concern for others, or creative thought  (or all four) are so meager, that you won’t.

Closed wallet=shriveled heart, in need of a refreshing touch from Jesus. If Jesus touches my heart, and my wallet, and touches others there also, everything else will be just fine, without the distracting hyperventilating on other things. I think “how we do meetings obsessiveness” is a giant distraction from the essence of “true religion.” So, maybe you’re “right” about “how to do church.” Big deal. What are you doing for others? Does your love have any feet? And are your feet connected to your wallet?

I pray you and I will have a heart-touch instead of making self-justifying arguments about why we may not be giving financially.

Love is not a noun, a sentiment, an opinion about ourselves. Love is a verb and that verb has feet. Yes, our use of treasure does reveal our hearts. Our wallets are lighted highways that lead directly to our heart.

_________________

Copyright 2013,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact stephrcrosby@gmail.com.

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42 comments on “A Challenge for “Organic Church” Believers and their Money

  1. Please tell me, how is this article about giving any different than the usual gimmicks and persuasion that the false church uses? I see no difference. I give to whom the Lord directs me and not some online get up or any other false system. What a turn off. Please do not think for a second that I am closed fisted, I give generously,as the Spirit leads me, I don’ need any man or woman to tell me that I need to give. We can all read the Bible for our selves

    • Good! Then this article doesn’t apply to you! It DOES apply to MANY others. Precisely what I said. Read your Bible and just do it. Why do you object? that is what I am proposing? Why do you find an article about no excuses for not giving troublesome?

  2. I think it is telling that the immediate outworking of the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost was economical — “there was not a needy person among them” — people sold some of their land to help others — distribution was made, each according to their ability in response to the needs of those who ended up tarrying in Jerusalem..

  3. Whether this article is right or wrong makes no difference to me. What it comes down to for me in simple terms is, Either it’s mine or it is His. It’s not complicated.

  4. Thanks for the word. Giving is a Spirit-led joy that flows from loving relationship. It cost as love cost. The worst thing I could do with my life is waste my money and life energy on myself.

    “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”

  5. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for stepping out to challenge us on what is probably the greatest visible test of our love and the number one problem of the American Church just ahead of the clergy-laity divisions.The first comment reminds me of Wicked Tuna looks like you got a strike! We have a spanish saying that goes like this “throw a shoe at a pack of dogs and the one who yelps is the one you hit”
    I agrre that it is not enough anymore to just get mad at the abuse and respond reactionaryby holding back.
    The world is waiting for a real NT giving example! Also, there are hundreds if not thousands of dedicated servants who along with having to go through intitutional detoxification have also suffered these things in poverty because of a reactionary church.
    If you are one of these leaders hold on the King of Kings is waking up a new wave of real believers with a heart to give biblically.
    If you claim to be a cutting edge Kingdom believer then just check yourself. Read the last 10 debits/checks and they WILL tell you where your heart is at!
    Yes, we all know they had all things in common but lets quit talking about it and lets start living it. It start with me.

  6. As delivered from a false religious system, I find in its freedom a true need to be “TOLD” oops! what to do. God is gracious and merciful. Jesus exhorted, encouraged, rebuked, taught, showed, and “TOLD” people what to do. I think my Bible says that God even uses others to “TELL” what’s up. In my deceptive comfort zone of me, myself,and I; it’s kinda neat to have someone “TELL” maybe even teach me what I ought to consider/am not doing/to do. Am persuaded it is more than just me, myself, and I; and the Bible.
    Yours & always in need of a humbling,
    Robert

  7. Thanks Stephen. Have you ever written anything about the the other side of the coin, namely “receiving” in a non-institutional environment? I think the same principle that you have set out above applies here. Many of us have become neurotically reactionary and opposed to any form of personal income funded by the saints, for the sake of the ministry, now that we have greeted the professional pastorate and our salary packages, pension funds etc. Are we not perhaps turning “tent making” into a new type of legalism? Are we not perhaps muzzling many oxen and in the process working against the New Testament’s dictum that the workers should be freed for the sake of the harvest?

  8. I am so much still in time out on this… Yes I still give but i give more in buying food for the hungry than i do in giving money into the church. that is not to say i do not give to the church also.
    After 19 years of buiding financial abuse, simplu hearing the words “Malachi 3” brings on a mini panic attack. I relate to your oepning paragraphs very well…

    i quote
    “What is heard stirs up echoes of a painful history and a reactionary protective (understandable) posture: “I’m not going ‘there’ again.” ”

    I hear myself in that quote. Though i dont withhold my finances from God i refuse to enter into the Gift Aid available to UK tax payers which allows the charity to reclaim income tax paid by the giver… why? … because never again do i want to be scrutinised, watched, threatened or controlled.

    But aside from that i come always to Paul’s teaching that a man should “give whatsoever he determines in his heart..”

    I looked up the reference to Cor and find that what was said in a letter from Paul to the church at Corinth… its practacle, but moreover it is about deciding for yourself, away from the gathering, away from the heartfelt plea, away from the possibility of pressure and in accordance with what can be afforded by the individual. Kinda cuts across the “give till it hurts” instruction or the “cursed with a curse” threat (which was a rebuke to the priests for not handling the tithes accordingly.)

    People dont rebel against God, they react to the abuse they have gone through.. i dont believe people make a decision never to give again… that is not apparent in the heart of true believers, for in the heart of true believers the love of God provokes giving to those in need. If anything is done because of a challenge and the delivery of an expectartion the door to legalism opens again. EVERYTHING should come out of relationship with God, not with an expectation of action because of anything… if it is not from the heart it is meaningless anyway.

    Gladly God gave me compassion for those in need and i move because of that compassion, i always have, but no matter in what form the pressure comes, either at the hands of a self appointed leader with selfish motives, or the well meaning quotes to challenge folks, it ammounts to external pressure rathet than it coming from a grateful and giving heart that belongs to the Lord.

    • You are right Jayne. We have to get healed and free from abuse to be able to give freely again. I recommend my other blog article that I referred to in this piece, “Why I Quit Tithing.” It talks about the joy of free, Spirit led giving out of relationship with my Father.

  9. My question is how do we quantify what OC folks are giving since they aren’t giving to organized churches anymore and to ministries as much as to have a record.
    I posted the following recently in response to the discussion of similarity you had last week on Facebook at several Organic group discussions to hear their response, to try and get a feel of what’s going on out there. One was from Alan Knox who posted a link to a study done on giving in the OC: http://simplychurch.com/house-church-finances/
    I recently have had a conversation on Facebook regarding the
    lack of generosity by the OC. That we have gone from the legalistic
    obligation of the Tithe imposed upon by the IC, to not giving, and
    instead, have become selfish.
    I won’t deny that there are those who are selfish, that will always
    be part of the equation. However, if you’ve been a Chr…istian for
    a number years, you’ve undoubtedly witnessed the swinging pendulum that inevitably happens in reaction to new knowledge or revelation. For a good while the pendulum will swing way out of center to an extreme. Eventually, it will come back into balance.
    That is what I think is happening to those that have come out the IC. After years of abusive in being shaken down for money, people are very wary and distrustful of those asking for money.
    What I am hearing throughout the OC social media is more of a
    desire to give towards the poor, the homeless, the starving people
    in 3rd world countries and to their neighbors/community needs.
    To those ministers that have been solely dependent on offerings,
    you are caught in the cross hairs of a transition in the Body of Christ. We are witnessing a backlash to the manipulative money grubbers. A perfect storm has been created with the severe down turn of the economy and the mistrust of ministries. My opinion is, although painful to those dependent on offerings to live, it is a necessary adjustment.The days of the full-time, offering dependent minister are coming to an end. The trend of giving is going toward the truly poor with no safety net and toward those that we are in relationship with.
    My advice to any young person wishing to be in ministry, which to me is a misnomer, because we are called to minister the Gospel, is please get a marketable skill to fall back on when things get lean financially.
    A generous heart and giving of our time. talents, love and MONEY, should be a given for every Believer. Not under compulsion, but with a cheerful heart.
    Be generous toward those that are in need and those that are pouring their life into your life.

    • Hi Jeanne, It’s not a matter of quantifying amount. It’s not a matter of how we generate income. It’s not a matter of where you give it. It is just a matter of doing it, without hyper-spiritual sounding excuses about why we are not.

      • But how do we know that they are not giving? When one helps the neighbor with groceries or helping with someone’s rent, it’s not going to be on a Giving Statement.

        • It’s all back to relationship again. When you walk with people, you see them interact in life. Charity is a quality of spirit that is evidenced in behavior. Nothing works apart from relationship, including giving. You do not have to be a genius to figure out if a man is a tight wad with his wife and family, keeping them on the brink of poverty, but spending money on man-toys like water, that the likelihood is that he will be a self-centered tightwad elsewhere. Besides, in a functional relationship . . .you just ask somebody . . . how is it going in your giving? I am not embarrassed about talking about money candidly in a relationship of trust. I believe the arguments about privacy are all western culture based, not kingdom based. If our lives are open books with one another, that includes money. The “exhort one another” to good works includes being candid about money. Our hesitantcies are all based in reactionary woundedness and cultural norms. Can you imagine if someone came to an organic church meeting in our day and spoke to a bunch of OC’ers like this: “I will be back in a month and I want you to have the offering ready when I return.” He didn’t ask for their opinions. He didn’t ask for their consensus. He didn’t ask for a vote. He didn’t ask how they “feel about it.” We would have a fit and social media would be abuzz about controlling brother so and so. In general terms, that is how Paul spoke to those he was in RELATIONSHIP WITH, and we Americans will not tolerate it, it is offensive, authoritarian, controlling, etc. etc. yet we think we are all “kingdom” and this and that . . . it’s just nonsense.We have a RIGHT TO PRIVACY in our finances. Show me any where, any verse, that says that? It is a deeply set American cultural virtue, not a kingdom one. Outside of RELATIONSHIP . . NOTHING WORKS! Inside agape, EVERYTHING works! We are so full of it when we talk “transparency” with one another. What, “transparent” except for finances??? Lots of scripture for that. (NOT!) My finances are an open book to the people that love me and I am in relationship with. They know how much I make, and can see how much I give any time they want to. I am not afraid of anything. And I am not being abused. Why . . . because we love one another. . I wonder if others who have opinions on this topic could say the same? So much of the consternation on this topic is because of NO REAL LOVE and NO REAL RELATIONSHIP, NO REAL TRUST. Well, duh, of course . . . nothing works.

  10. Steve – you’ve already made 90% of organic Church believers mad in your previous articles over the last year, are you trying to make the other 10% mad now too! 🙂 Almost seems like enjoy it 🙂 Thanks Steve – I needed this word from the Lord too.

  11. Agreed that a Spirit-infused disciple sees money as a resource to help others.

    But it’s none of the church’s business anymore than it should be the government’s.

    And I don’t consider donating money for churches to pay salaries and make payments on buildings necessarily helping.

    God bless!

    -Jim+

    • Jim, note, that I did not mention any of the areas you bring up. Purposefully so. I don’t give to those things either. But I do give to people I am in relationship with, regardless of their OC/IC affiliation. I don’t give to “things”. I give to people, without preconditions of where they happen to spend their time on Sunday.

  12. I think this is a really complex subject and very hard to get a well-balanced perspective on. I think you pretty much did a good job. You can’t really cover every detail in a short blog article.

    I guess I have a little bit of problem making distinct categories out of time, talent and treasure. In my opinion there is no more precious asset that we have than time. Our talents are certainly treasures. In fact, time and talent put together is what creates money which is only a store of value; the result of time and talent.

    If someone has a leaky sink and no money to pay for a plumber and I fixed the sink I have not directly given them money but I have given them something better than money, in their case. A person in Africa who has no food however, I cannot do anything about directly. So by sending money I can give them food. But I got my money by applying my time and talent to something.
    I personally have a very small income these days. But I also have a lot of time and a lot of talents. I don’t like to feel that I’m somehow falling short by giving of my time and talents but not much of my money. Having said that however, I will not dispute the fact that I could come up with a extra 5, 10, or 20 bucks a month to give somewhere. Probably most of us could. But most of us have also seen a vast percentage of those who receive this kind of money don’t really deserve it because they could easily change their lives and take care of their needs themselves. It’s a challenge to find worthy places to put the money we would like to give. I was disappointed recently to discover a well-known TV evangelist who seemed to be busy giving help to African children, and to whom I had given money, actually refuses to divulge his financial numbers to the Evangelical association that gives oversight to ministries. Turns out that perhaps not as much money goes to the children as it ought to. Like I said it’s a complex subject!

    • Hi Bob, No doubt about what you said. The reason for the T, T, T distinction is for precisely the reason you cite. If we are cash short, there are other resources we can give. But honestly Bob, I don’t know many who see it that way, and I have been a believer for 40 years. Most want to use the “time and talent” path as an excuse. They somehow just “never seem to be able to give financially.” No, it is a discipline problem, not an inability problem. In my life time I have worked for $3.00/hr. I practiced giving financially. I have worked for $200.00+/an hour. I practiced giving, and every place in between. If we wait until we think we are “cushioned” enough to practice financial giving, we will never give. I have been virtually unemployed for 2.5 years and I have found ways to give financially in addition to time and talent. It can be done. It’s just not fun nor easy. The “how do I know?” question . . . it all boils down to relationship, love, and trust. I don’t love a “ministry” or a building, or a thing, I love people I am in relationship with. Nothing works apart from these things and we can’t let the abuse of our past determine today or our future. Check out my response to Jeanne for further unfolding.

      • Thanks for the cordial reply; thoughtful as well.
        I too, have been with The Lord 40 years. I remember working for $1.10/hr! And up to several thousand/hr as a broker. I’ve always been a pretty undisciplined person (I got sucked into the hippie movement in 66). I will concede that on the whole, the happiest Christians I’ve known have had consistent generosity as a component of their lives. You’re provoking in me a new look at the subject. I think a lot of us treat giving like buying gasoline; we want it cheap and we want to squeeze as much mileage out of it as we can before we have to stop for more! We give a little, get a good feeling, milk that feeling until we start to feel empty, try to coast as long as we can, and finally give in and give some more! My wife always likes to keep the tank full. I hate to admit it but I think she’s been right all along!

        • Hi Bob, I am tracking with you. You are RIGHT ON! The squeezing gasoline analogy is a GREAT one, and hits the matter right on the head. Really, this is about a “cast of heart” toward “liberality” rather than sort of an “anxiety-based” “I hope we have enough” mindset. Of course, i am not endorsing not paying one’s bills for the glory of God (I have actually heard that taught . . . yikes . . . that’s a great testimony). No, it is about cultivating an “in-tune-ness” to the Spirit and to the needs that are presented around me daily, and to hear his voice, “which one and how much Father,” and say yes to Him. But all of life is no more simple than . . . do what He says. 🙂

  13. I think you wrote this article just to increase your readership and popularity, you sneaky son of a gun! Why don’t you just stick to subjects like whether or not the sun actually stood still or if it was the earth that stopped revolving around it in Joshua 10? After all, the Bible’s a long book, and contains only about 1,200 verses that touch on personal finances.
    Seriously, the responses above and on Face Book prove how sorely needed this challenge is for all of us today. It’s not possible to be walking in freedom while a closed checkbook makes us slaves to selfishness. Thanks for spurring us on!

    • Let’s be careful with huge generalization being made. Just because someone has a different way of looking at things here, does not mean they are selfish or have a closed check book.
      Matter of fact, the one person on here that responded, I know is so generous, to almost a fault, and would literally give the shirt off their back to someone. He gives away everything and heart as big as ever I’ve seen.

  14. I cannot presume to sit in judgment on IC or OC? or living room church people, in the box, out of the box or even “lone ranger Christians. We don’t need to be grilled or roasted or even instructed.with concern to giving. We need to desire to have the Lord to instruct us.

    When studied, the more complicated giving can get. My wife and I have learned to respond not only to the spirit but also to the needs around us. You would have to be blind and live in a cave not to cone in contact with opportunity to give to Jesus by giving to others. So,the question is when and how and of course how much. I(s our giving in accordance with hiow much we have, how great the need is, waht we are taught, every jot and tittle of scripture? Do we give to everyone who asks? Do we respond to everyperceived need? . How much “should” we give?. It’s all God’s so dig deep! Do we give regularly on a planned basis? Family first? First to the household of faith? Widows and not single mothers? The ministers among us? Do we give out of our excess or our substance. Perhaps, like the rich young ruler we should just give it all, follow Jesus and be done with anguishing over the details?!

    There is not consistent pattern, teaching, example that we can hang our hat on. So I give…. up! In utter confusion ad ignorance I began to seek the Lord for guidance through the scriptures (not rules) but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is a most interesting journey and one that will never be completed…but through it all the Lord is and has established in my and Nancy’s life certain principles or rhythms that we operate under and certain freedoms that allow for spontaneity.

    Although i am not a great believer in paid clergy or teachers or apostle or prophets or a responsibility towards and any perceived office, I have received this word from the Lord (for me – not for you): I have been given one principle to operate under: (1) “Let him who is taught share all good things with him who teaches.” )Gee Steve I hope you like fried liver…Mmmm good). The Lord knows that for me the watchword is “keep it simple stupid,” Even i can understand that. It’s a no brainer!.. . (2). We lay aside as we have purposed prayerfully in our hearts, funds as a sort of Jesus account. Besides that we both try to remain sensitive to the leading of the Spirit with respect to responding to give as the moment arises. out of that has come some very interesting encounters in response to our response to Him. (3) WE have some planned and significant commitments taht the Lord has laid on our herts.. There is a couple who are sharing the message of Jesus with college kids through adopting college students at a major French University. In twenty-five years they have birthed, adopted and discipled young people from over 80 countries who have been sent to France to attend university. most are from influential families. Hindus, Muslims, every ethnicity and religious persuasion have been loved to Jesus and helped to grow towards maturity by these two “adoptive parents”. From their kitchen and living room in France they have reached out to the world and impacted the world…just through loving and giving totally of themselves to others.

    This is not bragging…as as i (we) have so far to go but He is able to teach even the most self centered of his children. I have written simply to say,.but it is just to say there are NO absolutes, no scriptural imperatives that we all must follow. The is a desire to know his will and a sensitive heart of love which enables us to give cheerfully not begrudgingly.

    So if you feel attacked or defensive that is not my intention. If the tone of this message strikes a discordant chord, just shake it off and go to the Lord and ask Him guide you. I can guarantee-he will. After all that is His nature…the nature of love…for God so loved that He gave….”

    With that, the trickiest question becomes “when NOT to give”. For all of us are more opportunities to give in more infinite ways then we can fathom or respond to. So when and how? Who can give us some formula, some rules, some principles to operate under???!

    i suggest we all soften the rhetoric and prayerfully, in concert with the holy spirit, open our bibles and our hearts (thank god we have them) and ask “Lord, show me what you would have me to do and then give me the energy, desire and strength to do it – cheerfully.

    Your answers, your direction will most likely be totally different than mine. We all have so far to go. One last thing the Lord has given me: “When you do give, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing! Don’t sound a trumpet or get all puffed about it.” Just enjoy it.

    Sorry to be so wordy Steve.

    • Hi George, and yes, sometimes the Lord instructs us . . . through people. Ergo, this article. If it doesn’t apply to you. Good. It shouldn’t and I would hope it would not, yet I assure you, it applies to scores of others whose selfishness makes “whatever I feel like doing” = “what the Lord is telling me,” as in . . . nothing. If that is grilling and roasting, I am happy to be the grill master. Please see responses to Jeanne below. I am basically saying the same thing you are. HEAR GOD . . . AND DO IT! PERIOD.

  15. One of my favorite IC “pastors” says “Don’t give here.” Don’t give a dime to anyone anywhere, until you genuinely want to from a heart that is overflowing with God’s love. If God isn’t compelling you to give, keep your money please.

    That’s all he says about money, (90% of the time he never mentions money) and that is all I have to say about this.

    I’ve decided to think about giving like he does. Don’t give, until you want to really bad – then give all you want, God will provide more.

    Love you Stephen. Have a great week.

  16. I’m going to apologize up front because I am just thick (meaning I don’t understand exactly what this is all about). I know what time, talent and treasure is. Time is something that I have been given, Christian or not, I’ve been allowed to breathe because of Gods merciful love towards me and to anybody else that is breathing at this moment to be able to read this. So I don’t own my time I’m given it. Talent is something I have been given just like my time. I should use my talent in order to fill my time that I have been given. Because of the time/talent given to me the treasure is a result of what’s been given to me, all of which is by the fact of His doing. So this is where I am thick, I’m a Christian and I don’t see anywhere in scripture or anywhere else that I have the ability to CREATE time, talent and treasure (Christian or not). The only thing that I can figure is if I was trying to justify (holding on to a position of thinking I’m right) that I OWN MY time my talent and my treasure. But I know this can’t be true because I know I have been given my time, talent and treasure. I guess I am the uneducated one here, my apologies.

    • Hi Larry, you are tracking. God owns my time, my talents, and my money. It’s really that simple. We just need to live like it, in objective reality, not in our subjective opinions of ourselves (I am a wonderful, loving, giving, person, when in reality, I am a self centered tightwad with all three-and no one has the right to tell me so.)

      • Steve, so many folks just dont get you do they? You are a bit controversial, a bit hard hitting, a bit provocational… but at the heart of it all is the fact that you care for people with a passion. I’m thinking you n Paul may well have hit it off…
        I mean, he never read “How to win friends and influence people” n neither did Jesus. Bless ya brother. x

        • Hi Jayne, thanks. I really don’t care if people like me or not and pretentious religious nonsense that gives people a false sense of spiritual superiority needs to be skewered as the enemy of the gospel that it is-regardless of where it is . . .IC/OC. The way I see it, I am much kinder than Jesus who insulted people, their ethnic heritage, their religion, their confidence in their religion, called them names, etc. The more conservative and moral and impressed with themselves they were, the deeper he stuck in the knife . . . why? To try to get their attention to set them free. Sometimes we read the scriptures with such a lens of mythological sentimentality, that we can’t see what is really there.

  17. For God so loved……..He gave. Since partaking of and expressing Father’s Nature is the true evidence of authentic New Testament faith, regardless of which “T” category it flows through, He fully expects the transaction of His Nature to be released by sons without the expectation of receiving something in return.

    In my mind and experience, the issue is an immaturity in God’s People that is a result of decades of erroneous teaching and practice regarding giving. And, as we all know, simply leaving an IC and declaring ourselves as an OC (or whatever) does not bring down the strongholds which resist a believer’s advancement, whether individually or corporately, in Father’s purposes.

    Raw apostolic/prophetic teachings such as yours, my dear brother, are necessary and I can tell you from personal experience, it takes years to turn the corner on such critical matters on a corporate body scale. So, I appreciate you getting the party started! Keep ’em coming!

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