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Tithing is the single greatest issue that the Church struggles with as a whole.  No one other issue limits ministry, hinders personal growth, and stops you from living the life that God designed for you to live.  I have such a heart for the local church, telling people about Jesus, and the financial well-being of our people and I believe they all go hand-in-hand!  My hope is that this blog will cause you to change everything about your current giving and spending habits!  Lofty goal? YES!  But I’m all about impractical dreams mixed with an all-powerful God!

The problem that is created by our lack of willingness to tithe is two-fold.

First of all, our personal finances are in jeopardy if we decide to consume 100% of our income.  Statistics show that tithers carry much less debt than most people and are financially better off than Christian non-tithers—80% of “tithers” have no unpaid credit card bills; 74% have no car payments; 48% own their home; and 28% are completely debt-free. (For the official source of this article CLICK HEREThis is because when we are in alignment with God’s plan for our giving and spending, we will find health.  The principle of obedience is also true for sexual boundaries, moral boundaries, as well as these financial boundaries.  When we follow a Biblical framework, we will find holistic well-being time and time again.

Part of the reason for the above statistics is that people who come into alignment with God’s ideal for giving will tend to come in alignment for spending as well.  This will play out by not using credit cards to accumulate possessions we can’t afford, and buy cars that are out of our cash-purchase range.  When we have submitted our finances to God, we tend to make decisions that benefit our lives for the long-term satisfaction, rather than the short-term pleasure.  Although it requires more discipline, it pays out in less stress, more joy, and more freedom.1213643-Exhausted-Businessman-Carrying-The-Burden-Of-A-Heavy-Boulder-Load

The other issue that a lack of tithing creates is that our responsibilities as Christ-followers to reach, disciple and care for people are passed to someone else.  When we refrain from tithing, we are saying, “God, I know that you have given me this “rock” to carry as a Christian, but I don’t want to carry it.”  Unfortunately, that responsibility or “rock” doesn’t disappear….people still need to hear about Jesus and still need a church to be discipled in, so when we forgo our job, someone else picks it up and adds it to the load they were already assigned.

But sometimes that load becomes too heavy and the ramifications are that some people never even hear the message of Jesus because the resources can only stretch so far and the weight can only be so heavy.  Yes, we lived happily as a consumer, but they died without the hope of Christ.  Harsh?  Unfortunately, but said in the positive it is the most motivating thing in the world – When we give, people are reached with the message of Jesus…churches are birthed, communities are changed, people are set free, sex workers are rescued, the thirsty can drink, the widows are cared for, children are protected, the weary are refreshed, the hungry are fed, the lame are healed, and the suicidal are saved… I could gladly go on with all the ways our measly resources are used by Jesus to impact eternity!  His plan for us sacrificing a little to make a big impact is really astounding!

So, how do you go from spending to giving and being a part of changing the world?  Here’s a few ideas:

1.  Give first.  Yep, write the giving check before the other checks.  Why?  Because there is never enough left at the end of the month if we allow ourselves to spend first.  By writing the giving check first, we are saying, “OK, God, I trust you.  If the washing machine breaks down and there’s no money left, YOU have a big problem, God.”  And just watch, because He will come through every time!  It’s living in faith and it will be good for you!

2.  Don’t wait to get out of debt before you start giving.  Why?  Well, that will never happen.  You’ll die before you’re out of debt if you don’t come in alignment with God’s plan.  Start today and watch God help you get out of debt in miraculous ways – the first one being His ability to change your perspective!

3.  Reward yourself.  Not in a prideful way, of course, but when you hear about a Story of a Changed Life coming from your church, say to yourself, “Self, because you gave, that person gets to experience Jesus.”  Help yourself make the connection between your giving and eternity…because there is a BIG connection!

So, give it a shot!  I understand the fear your facing when deciding to give, but I’m on the other side of the mountain and it’s AWESOME over here!  God just keeps changing lives and the stories are worth every penny.  I believe in you!

 

 

 

 

Making Change

stacynewell —  February 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

titleRight now we are finishing up a financial series at church.  I think there is a myth out there that people get angry when the church mixes the topics Bible and Money.  That has not been our experience at all!  We have been flooded with questions, emails, and kind messages of gratitude as people are starving for financial principles that will give them the boundaries that we are all looking for.  I know that we will take all the help we can get!

One of the interesting facts about our marriage is that we have never had a fight over money.  And it isn’t because we have an enormous salary, a big house, nice cars, and no need to discuss a budget.  Quite the opposite.  I believe we’ve never fought about money because we base our decisions from the Bible.  If we want to argue, we’ve got to argue with God Himself…and that’s not a good plan.

Although I don’t think we have our financial picture completely worked out, I thought I’d share some of our foundational beliefs about money and maybe you’ll find some common ground to help your own financial stress.

1.  We give first.  The Bible gives us a foundation of 10% to give back to our church.  We tithe off of our gross because that’s what we are paid.  Then we decide how much we want to give to missionaries, facility fund, and camp scholarships within North Creek.  There’s no guilt in this conversation.  It’s not about breaking the bank, but about consistently supporting things we believe in.  Then we evaluate other opportunities outside of the church that we have a passion to support.  If one of us doesn’t feel good about something, we scratch it off the list, even if the other person would like to support it.  It’s about agreement.  There are plenty of organizations that we can both get behind.  It’s not his money and my money…it’s our money.

2.  We had a values conversation a long time ago where we decided what was important to us.  The main thing about this list is that it benefits our family as a whole.  That means we each say no to personal desires along the way.  The exception to that rule is that birthday and Christmas gifts are FUN money.  Mark saved his fun money for years to buy a TV he wanted.  He was like a kid in a candy store, and it didn’t hurt us financially at all.  We have decided that retirement, travelling on a vacation once a year, having an emergency fund, and having a date fund are priorities for our family.  That means other things just can’t make the list.

3.  We hate debt.  We have never paid interest on a credit card in our married lives.  That means we say no more than we say yes to things.  We have a budget and our desires must fall within the amount of money God has entrusted us.

So, there it is!  Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, but maybe something we are doing will help you.  I’d also love to hear your tricks and tips for living a financially healthy life.  What is working for your family?