Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Now for the serious stuff...

Welcome, all gluttons of punishment, to another episode of - "A Spiritual Kick in the Teeth!" (cue themesong) Today we are going to hit you where it hurts. I guess, because we are participating in this blog, we all fancy ourselves to be people that are truly seeking God and are attempting to line up our whole life (not just the convenient parts) under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This will be a true test to see if that is really true, because nothing probably gauges it better than watching the direction your money goes. Let me take you back to the quote by David Wilkerson that I used on Sunday:

"We are not ready for the coming of Christ! Is this the Church triumphant? Covetous. divorcing, depressed, worldly-minded, grasping for materialism and success, competitive, lukewarm, adulterous, rich and increased with goods, unaware of spiritual blindness and poverty, pleasure-loving, recreation-minded, consumed with sports, politics, and power - is this the Church Jesus is coming for? Simply coping, filled with fear and anxiety, satisfied only to have good health and happiness?"

If your money could speak (and it does, more than you know)would it say that you are materialistic? Would it say that you are rich towards God or yourself? How much money do you spend on pleasure, recreation (schlitterbahn passes, anyone?) and sports in comparison with how much you give to God? If you had a tight month and you had to choose between eating out and going to the movies or tithing, which one would you choose?

When Amy and I were dating, I loved spending money on her. I couldn't make it fast enough. I would sit in my church office, thinking of creative things to do for her and where to take her and all that. I sacrificed things for myself just so I could see the look on her face when I did something for her. Noone had to tell me to do it, it was my pleasure. I was (and still am!) in love! So, then, why is it like pulling teeth to get Christians (who supposedly love God) to give? Why is it so easy to find an excuse why we "just can't give this month"?

As I continue to think about revival and what brings revival and what keeps it from coming, I can't help but talk about this subject. Because if there is one area that I consistently teach on several times a year, and yet it goes largely unheeded - it's giving. I don't think there is a more taught on, yet ignored, teaching of the Bible. Let me give you a couple things to read:

This is a great article on tithing by a man named Dennis Rupert. Read all of it!

This one is from Keith Drury, one of my college professors. This is not so much on tithing, but on the attitude of giving in general. I love stuff like this, because it isn't just teaching on the subject, but it gives me an example to follow of someone who is trying to do as much as they can to fight materialism in their own life and to give as much as they can to the Kingdom of God.

And while you are reading that,
listen to some music by the Newsboys.

Just a reminder that the mp3's I post on here are legal to download and copy for yourself. Or if you prefer the visual version...go here. Sorry, I couldn't embed the video because embedding was disabled by the person who posted it. It's definitely worth a watch, though.

Happy Reading! Let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe you were up at 6:55 am typing this - but then again...yes, I can, because I've heard you preach on this subject many times and I can literally see peoples ears slowly close as they know what you're getting to. I can honestly say I was one of those that asked questions about it...is it gross or net? Am I still required (when I was Catholic) and many times I was told it was an Old Testament teaching...I think it was shortly after being saved that I started seeing it for what it was...obedience, and letting "My King" know that I appreciate what he has given me to borrow while I'm on earth...

Anonymous said...

When our need for Starbucks, $3.00 energy drinks, cool gadgets that we dont really NEED, video games, huge big screen tv's and everyting else under the sun we can think of that we don't really NEED, becomes more important that making sure we have enough to give to the Lord at least a tenth, faithfully, and joyfully, then we have truly missed the mark by a long shot.....

Phil said...

Hey, watch what you say about big screen tv's! :)

david m. said...

I could almost have written "Thank God, I don't have that problem," and invite examination of my tax returns, tithe and charitable contribution statements, AND my 20-inch screen TV. ;)

Truth be told, it's totally possible to tithe, practice frugality, even self-denial and yet be totally unrepentant, legalistic, carnal-minded, etc.

Financial stewardship just happens to be one of the most objective strongholds to be yielded. I had a pastor who used to say (regarding financial giving), "No matter what I say or do, this is what I think of You" believing it to be a barometer of the true spiritual condition.

The real issue is yielding to the Lordship of Jesus in every area of the believer's life. Lord knows I need this teaching over and over again.