Test God In This

Lettie CowmanTest me in this…and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it (Malachi 3:10). Here is what God is saying in this verse: ‘My dear child, I still have floodgates in heaven, and they are still in service. The locks open as easily as before, and the hinges have not grown rusty. In fact, I would rather throw them open to pour out blessings than hold them back. … On My side of the floodgates, Heaven is still the same rich storehouse as always. The fountains and streams still overflow, and the treasure-rooms are still bursting with gifts. The need is not on My side but on yours. I am waiting for you to test Me in this. But you must first meet the condition I have set to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, and thereby give Me the opportunity to act.’” —L.B. Cowman

Book Reviews From 2013

‘Nuff Said

'Nuff SaidWould you like God to bless your work? Would you like Him to bless all of your work?

He said it pretty simply. There are two actions / attitudes (because the actions must be done with the right attitude) that will bring God’s blessings:

  1. Tithe on what you earn—Deuteronomy 14:28-29
  2. Help the poor—Deuteronomy 15:7-11

‘Nuff said!

Plastic Donuts (video review)

Plastic DonutsHere is a video review Waterbrook Multnomah Press asked me to do on Plastic Donuts. This review is especially for other pastors, but I think you’ll see how much I liked this book. If you would like to read my full book review, you may do so by clicking here, you may also read some of my favorite quotes from the book by clicking here.

Calvary Assembly of God, get ready … you’re going to hear more about Plastic Donuts soon. And I’ve got a special gift for you too! Stay tuned.

10 Quotes From “Plastic Donuts”

Plastic DonutsPlastic Donuts is a fresh look at the biblical concepts of tithing and giving offerings. You can read my full book review by clicking here. These are some of the quotes that caught my eye—

“What I didn’t realize was that my lifestyle had frozen my giving at the 10 percent level. When it came to my finances, my lifestyle had all the influence. The issue is not about my needing to sacrifice my lifestyle. The issue is about my giving a gift that is connected to my heart.”

“In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provided instructions on giving, praying, and fasting. For each, He focused on the heart standard but did not provide an amount standard (see Matthew 6:1-18).”

“David praised God seven times a day. Daniel prayed to God three times a day. Moses fasted from food and water twice, for forty days straight. Daniel fasted twenty-one days from rich foods and wine. Where did these faith heroes get their standards? They determined them. It’s human nature to seek something that is concrete, an inviolable guideline, clear marching orders. … But let’s be honest. Are we looking for a rule to follow so we can check it off the list? Or does a strict rule help to soothe a sense of guilt and confusion? It’s always easier to follow rules than to follow a living God. The absence of rules can cause tension in determining the amount of our gifts. Shouldn’t there at least be a minimum? If not, suddenly it’s wide open. Multiple options appear.”

“God is not looking for the same gift from all His children. He wants a personal gift.”

“You may not think you have the ability to give. But if you pay attention, you’ll be surprised at just what abilities you really do have.”

“Tapping your true giving ability will require countercultural lifestyle choices—such as debt-free living or a reduction in your spending.”

“If you want to grow your faith, grow your gratitude. To grow your gratitude, take time to count your blessings.”

“No matter what your ability or inability, God can be pleased with your gift.”

“Could it be that a giving lifestyle apart from love and obedience to God is simply philanthropy?”

“In the end, it is the condition of the giver’s heart that makes the gift pleasing to God.”

Plastic Donuts (book review)

Plastic DonutsEvery once in awhile a book comes along that addresses a topic in such an innovative way, that I get an insight I had never considered before. Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson is just such a book.

Tithes. Offerings. Missions support. Building funds. It seems pastors cringe when they think about addressing these subjects, and congregants squirm when they hear their pastor addressing these subjects! “After all,” many think, “every church-attending Christian knows they should give, right? We know it and the pastor knows it, so why do we need to talk about it?”

But Plastic Donuts will give you a take on church giving that you probably haven’t considered before. It all comes from an insight Jeff Anderson got when his young daughter served him some plastic donuts.

The book is short, but powerfully-packed. I would say that its size would make you think it could be read quite quickly, but the content is so thought-provoking and eye-opening, you may find yourself taking time to rethink what you thought you knew on this subject.

Here’s my final word: Get this book. Get it for yourself and get it for your pastor. Everyone will be grateful that you did.

I am a Waterbrook Multnomah book reviewer.

UPDATE: 

  • To read some of my favorite quotes from this book, click here.
  • To watch a video review I did of this book for Waterbrook Multnomah, click here.

Money And The Church

Unfortunately, far too many financial scandals have tainted the church, and therefore any pastor who mentions tithes or offerings or missions support is usually viewed skeptically.

So sad! Especially because it should NEVER be this way!

The Apostle Paul gives an excellent teaching on financial gifts for church ministry in 2 Corinthians 8-9. I love this example he gives about the Christians in the impoverished area of Macedonia —

Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. (2 Corinthians 8:3)

Severe trial … extreme poverty rich generosity…. Want to see this in a modern-day setting? Check out this video:

Wow!! If the homeless can give like that, why can’t we?

Here are some principles Paul lists about giving:

  • Give because God compels you, not because a man compels you (2 Corinthians 8:3, 4)
  • Give yourself to God before you give your income (8:5)
  • Give excellently (8:7)
  • Give sincerely (8:8)
  • Give like Jesus gave (8:9)
  • Give what you say you’re going to give, and do it quickly (8:10-15)
  • Give where there is proper accountability and proven credibility (8:16-24)
  • Give generously (9:1-6)
  • Give cheerfully (9:7)
  • Give where God is glorified (9:8-15)

Giving according to these principles removes the taint of anything shady, and puts the focus on God.

What is your take on money in the church?

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