Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Every single mention of debt or borrowing in the Bible portrays it as something negative and not to be desired. This is a clear indication the debt should not be the norm for a church (or for an individual Christian).
There are two very big problems in terms of church debt from a Biblical perspective. The first is that debt presumes upon the future. James 4:13-14 says "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." When a church borrows money, they are presuming that they will have the money come in in tithes and offerings so that they can pay that debt back. They do not know what will happen to the economy, and if half of their congregation suddenly becomes unemployed, they will definitely see a drop in tithes and offerings. This could lead to an inability to repay their debt, and the Bible states that “the wicked borrow and do not repay” (Psalm 37:21). Some people say that this is "stepping out in faith", but doing something that God's word directly advises against doing (i.e. going into debt) is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of presumption.
Secondly, Proverbs 22:7 states that "the borrower is servant (or slave) to the lender". When a church goes into debt, they are putting themselves/their congregation in the position of a servant to a secular financial institution. The only master that a church should be serving is God. They certainly should not be serving a bank.
Furthermore, when a church rushes out and uses debt a solution to meeting a "need", they often deny God the opportunity to show Himself mighty in the way that He can provide. The majorly expensive Chrystal Cathedral in California was built without one cent of debt. Churches would often be better off by waiting on the Lord rather than looking at how they can finance an expense. Is God always going to provide? No, but in the cases where He does not provide it may mean that He was not wanting the church to do what they were planning to do in the first place.
I could probably go on and on about this subject, but instead I will close by saying that I do not think it is a good idea for churches to go into debt, and from what I read in His word, God doesn't seem to think so either.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Ahh, the proverbial elephant in the room, the one people tiptoe around. As they say here in the south…. It’s a big ‘un!
Let me add my disclaimer here: I am not directing this post at any one church or person or population segment. It is merely my opinion, which I am fully entitled to. I in know way expect everyone to agree with me. I don’t expect ANYONE to agree with me. This is just what God has laid on my heart through His word and the path my life has taken. If it steps on your toes, then maybe it’s time you take a good hard look at the direction of your church and the condition of it’s heart. And from some of you I can hear a resounding “AMEN” because your church is doing things right. Take it or leave it.
My Disenchantment With The Contemporary American Church, Part 1
It is no secret that I’ve become disenchanted with the contemporary Christian Church these days. It’s just that when you’ve looked into the faces of innocent children that go days and weeks eating only bugs and poop, it changes your perspective. Then, to see them raise their faces and hands to God and praising him for His provision and being part of a “church service” right there in the middle of nowhere with a dirt floor and a couple of drums, well it sends chills up your spine. I know without a doubt that I saw the face of Jesus in that place and amongst those people.
So I struggle. I walk into a typical contemporary church and am supposed to be wowed and transcended into this “worship experience” of sounds and lights and artificial fog. It seems that this is how we are wooing the “unchurched” into our church services, by creating this artificial “environment”. The Bible says in John 13:35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Do our churches attract people because we love, or do they attract people because we have the coolest music, a laser light show and superb programming?
It’s just something to think about. I’m not saying that those things are inherently bad, but if they are our focus, then we’ve gotten off track. That is my opinion. More later.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Recently I was asked this question: Why would you spend a few thousand dollars on going on a mission trip when you could just send the money and have it go much further?
That was a pretty good question and I started thinking about it. I talked around it a little bit but this was something I really needed to pray about and be able to adequately communicate.
My first answer was easy. God had told me to GO. This wasn't an audible voice that I heard with my ears, but rather a verse that God gave to my heart.
"Go swift messengers to a people tall and smooth skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech whose land is divided by rivers" ~ Isaiah 18:2
God told me to GO. He didn't say write a check... He said GO.
I was reading in Luke and was captivated as the words jumped off the page at me: Jesus told his disciples to GO! He told them to NOT take any money. (Luke 10: 3-4)
Jesus told His disciples to GO.
Then, by no coincidence (God is sovereign), I listened to a podcast by David Platt, pastor of Brookhills Church in Burmingham, AL. It was called "One Life With A Global Gospel". David told this story:
He was getting ready to take a $3,000 trip to Sudan. He knew this was a lot of money. Someone in the church came to him and said "Why are you going to spend three thousand dollars on a trip when you could just send the $3,000 and it could go a lot farther than you going there?
(Sound familiar? emphasis mine)
David says he wrestled with that.... until he got to the Sudan and spent time encouraging his Christian brothers and sisters there, sharing in their persecutions and struggles. One brother looked back at David and said, "David, over the last twenty years of persecution many different organizations have sent resources to us and we are extremely thankful, But, " he said, "do you know how we can tell who a true brother is? A true brother comes to be with you in your deepest time of need." He thanked David for being a true brother and at that moment it hits him... this is the very essence of the Gospel.
When God chose to bring salvation to you and me, He did not send gold or silver or cash or a check. He sent Himself. So how will we ever show this Gospel to the world if all we ever send is our money?
If we only send or spend our money we will miss part of the point of global missions!
Thanks to David for that awesome reminder. If only the Church in America would embrace it!