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Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

This is from Erin Basinger, a UGA grad student who’s been hanging out with us at Christ Church since last fall:

I live on the salary of a graduate teaching assistant, which I can tell you isn’t much. I budget every penny each month. I have even justified not tithing some months because I’ve been so strapped for money. Last week, I wrote a check for 12.5% of my paycheck for the month, which I knew was going to be more than a sacrifice…it meant that I would have to trust the Lord for money that I no longer have in my bank account but still need to pay the bills. Today, I received a $100 Wal-Mart gift card from an address in Birmingham that I don’t recognize with no name by the address. Only my family knows that this is something I’m doing, so I don’t have any idea where the money came from, but I’m praising the Lord for it, knowing that when I stepped out in faith, he reached out and caught me.

When we’re in need, He shows up. Every time.

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  1. Because I want to love you like Jesus – and 15% of what he says in the Gospels is about money.
  2. So we can dream about an avalanche of money going out to advance the kingdom of God in church planting and mercy ministries.
  3. Generous people are happier than stingy people.

I love what God’s doing in our life together through this series. We’ve got one more week in the Money series – I can’t wait to dig into Matthew 6:19-34 with you and watch God convince us to take real steps towards radical generosity.

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Yesterday, the Acts 29 Network launched an inititative called Churches Helping Churches to direct resources to Haitian churches.

Every penny we take in for Haiti between now and January 24th will go to CHC. One-third of our April offering called The Seed Project will go to CHC. $2,000 from last year’s Advent Conspiracy will be going to CHC this spring.

So pray for the churches in Haiti and give generously.

Here’s the press release on the launch of CHC:

Who Will Help the Churches in Haiti?

The images streaming in from Haiti is disturbing. We feel pity, sorrow and a sense of helplessness at the extent of their plight. The waves of humanitarian aid are washing ashore in Haiti and beginning to meet this massive need but little if any of this medicine will soothe the sores of the suffering church. The country will be rebuilt in time, but so little of that aid will go to the pastors and congregations who are decimated and broken.

Who is helping the Haitian churches and the pastors? While so many agencies will be focused on the immediate social needs, the local communities of faith are devastated as well. These bodies of Christ can also contribute toward meeting the spiritual and emotional needs of the local people who are burying their family members and are seeking comfort, counsel and guidance.

Churches Helping Churches initiated by Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald is calling on the North American church to help restore the ravaged church in Haiti. MacDonald writes, “Without question the priority of the ‘church helping the church’ is commanded by Paul in scripture and modeled by Paul in his crisis care for the Corinthians and the church in Jerusalem. If Paul were alive today there is no doubt his first concern as a church planter and leader in the body of Christ would be for the family of God in Haiti.”

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

Mark and James are going to Haiti early next week to see first hand and assess what can be done to meet the needs of the church in the toughest areas. They will take a team to help them capture this story so they can report on the hope the North American church can bring. They hope to get some great stories on video about what God is doing in Haiti to help encourage God’s people around the world to be generous and help those in need.  They are seeking to provide great photos and other video footage to give away online, to give to Christian agencies who could use it to help expose the need of the church, and to give to mainstream media outlets showing the difference the church and God’s people are making.

Acts 29 Network is asking you to consider helping the churches in Haiti so they can continue to contribute in the recovery when other agencies have moved on from the devastated land. Please ask the members of your congregation to contribute financially this week or next to unite as the Church helping churches.

A website has been formed to assist in the communication of this effort: http://www.churcheshelpingchurches.com/

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Wanted to let you know that we’re taking $2,000 of the money from last year’s Advent Conspiracy to help provide relief for the victims of this week’s earthquake in Haiti. We’re talking with several different relief organizations to determine how we can best help.

In addition, if you’d like to give additional funds to support relief in Haiti, you can send in a check to the church office or give during the worship gathering. We’ll take up funds through Sunday, January 24th and send everything out on Monday, January 25th.

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Last Sunday, we talked about why Advent Conspiracy is so critical to the life of our church:

  • The longing and anticipation of Advent is a universal experience;
  • The opportunity to recover Christmas as a season of compassion is about people – real faces, real names, real lives, real needs.
  • The tangible step of trusting God – not money and stuff – for our security and satisfaction.

In 1 Chronicles 29:9, King David calls on the people to volunteer to give to the work of building the temple. They give with radical generosity – this is the summary of their response and what I’m asking God to do in our midst this Sunday:

Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord.

So as you’re praying and planning for Sunday, remember two things:

  • Give willingly…freely…with your whole heart. You don’t have to give…our hope is that you’ll want to give.
  • Joy. Giving entails loss but this kind of giving produces joy and not grief because the gains outweigh the costs.

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The Scriptures are deadly serious about money – take the same approach.

There’s a reason Jesus talks so much about money in the gospels. In my estimation, the most comprehensive resource on what the Scriptures teach about money is Randy Alcorn’s Money, Possessions and Eternity.

What you do is driven by who you are.

Your identity shapes your activity. For us as a church, that means we make decisions about money in the light of our identity as missionaries in community empowered by the gospel.

What you do with money is a community project.

Because we are so easily deceived about what constitutes what we need versus what we want, we need other people who know us and love us enough to listen to us and ask good clarifying questions.

Pursue simplicity and generosity.

The biblical pattern when finances get tight is not to maintain and save. Without dismissing the issue of savings, the pattern throughout the Scriptures is to live simply and generously.

Take one more step.

Biblical simplicity and generosity pushes the envelope of what culture considers to be normal. If the gospel creates a people who cut against the grain of societal standards, that means that the followers of Jesus will be more rigorous in their pursuit of simplicity and more lavish in their generosity than their friends and neighbors who don’t know Jesus.

Depend on the grace of God in the gospel.

Rigorous simplicity and lavish generosity is impossible apart from God powerfully rewiring how we think and feel about money. And the issue seems to come down to this – money exists as currency that purchases our greatest security, comfort and satisfaction. The question is whether we find those things in a life that is centered on God or some other source of hope and delight.

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