All posts tagged: giving

It’s Not What It Looks Like.

Last November the church was going through a series on finances. I don’t remember the series name, but with our life groups we were using a book called the ABC’s of Financial Freedom. I remember I was in my office reading the book, preparing for how we would use a particular chapter when God opened my eyes to something I had never seen before. I wasn’t generous. I did a pretty good job of looking the part. Karen and I have tithed since we were first married, and there were times this was hard to do. We support several friends who are missionaries oversees. If you ask me to help you, I will. If you have a baby, we will bring you a meal. You get the idea. I read my actions and concluded I was generous. Here is the danger in this thinking. In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus told a story about a Pharisee and a tax-collector. The Pharisee gave immensely and prayed a lot. He entered the temple and talked about all he had …

Glory in Our (Not So?) Failure

God’s timing is funny. I meet weekly with 3 other ladies to talk about our relationships with Christ. We discuss the assigned Bible reading, recite the memory verse to each other, share our struggles, and confess our sins. The week of Thanksgiving Offering, we read about Joshua and the Israelites crossing the Jordan River into the promised land. As they crossed, each tribe was to pick-up a large stone. Joshua explained to the people: We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, “What do these stones mean?” Then you can tell them, “They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.” These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever. – Joshua 4:6-7 Shannon mentioned this story during our Thanksgiving Offering services and then we dropped our rocks into our own memorial. God was the one who months ago gave me the idea of rocks and creating a visual reminder of how far …

Have You Limited Your Generosity?

I remember the first time I saw him put a check in the offering plate. I was sitting next to him in the choir. He didn’t make a big deal about it; just quietly took the check out of his pocket and dropped it in the plate. I have no idea what the amount was. But I wanted so badly to be able to do it, too. I was only 15 at the time; not old enough to work a regular job like he did. I cut grass for $1.20 per yard. In my mind, my twelve cents didn’t match up to a hand-written check. To me, the amount was more important than the spirit behind it. I turned 16, got a job, and opened a checking account. Each week I wrote a check and dropped it in the offering plate on Sunday morning. I can’t say I tithed every week, but I was pretty consistent. After all, we are to be good stewards. Right? Right. But tithing was about the extent of my idea …

Stewardship Is More Than Money. It’s Everything.

Stewardship. What does this word make you think of? For me, my mind always goes right to church and managing money. Yes, we do say it in church and yes, we do steward money, but there is more to it. Stewardship is simply the conducting, supervising, or managing of something. While managing or stewarding money is a big part of our lives, there’s a lot more to manage than just money. My boys, Liam and Levi, are now 5 and 4 years old. They constantly keep Kelli and I on our toes. Sometimes managing the two of them seems impossible. But we seem to manage. (See what I did there?) We signed them up for fall baseball back at the end of summer, moving Levi up an age bracket as wanted them on the same team so we were together as a family on game days. The Rec Department needed more coaches so I volunteered to help. I was excited. This marked my 3rd time coaching, but my first time head coaching, both my boys …

But Its My Gift and I Don’t Want to Share

Remember the first day you got to drive a car? Alone? Maybe you were lucky enough to get a new car that day. Or maybe you were just grateful to be able to borrow the family car. Either way, you were given the gift of freedom. You didn’t have to depend on anyone to go where you wanted anymore. You could just go. I got to drive the family car when I was 16 and the privilege to do so was a gift I didn’t take lightly. I had dreams of grandeur, driving around and picking up my friends to go and do… I don’t know what. We didn’t do a whole lot other than hangout and play basketball. I found out quickly with my new found gift there was an expectation to share the gift with my sister. She was younger, but she needed the car to take her places also. I needed the car to get to the store, school, a friend’s house, and church. So did my sister. And now with the …

Do You Know the Secret to Generosity?

One of the all time greatest Disney movies is “Cool Runnings.” It is enticing–the struggle to overcome unbelievable odds. One of the climactic scenes of the movie has the two main characters discussing purpose. Derice, the bobsled driver, asks his coach, Irv, why he had cheated when he competed. Irv responds, “It’s quite simple, really. I had to win. You see, Derice, I’d made winning my whole life. And when you make winning your whole life, you have to keep on winning, no matter what. You understand that? A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.” So often, we feel compelled to win. Sometimes we are so compelled we will go to any length to be the victor, even at the expense of our integrity. And this is not confined just to sports; in business, relationships, and even arguments, winning is paramount. Even our modern American culture is rife with language that tells us we have to have it all. Winning is having …

Are You Living a Wholly Generous Life?

Don’t you love fall? The leaves are changing, the flannels come out of storage, the weather is cooling off, and everything is pumpkin spiced. This time of the year is beautiful. One of my favorite things to do in the fall is have bonfires. There is nothing more relaxing than getting together with my small group or a couple of guys and just sitting around a fire. When I have a bonfire, I like to go somewhere away from everything: out in the country, out in a field, or out in the woods. It fascinates me that bonfires can be seen for miles. People a couple of houses down can enjoy my fire form the comfort of their own homes. In the Bible, our lives in Christ are often referred to as a light. Our lives illuminate this dark world. But the thing is, this light does not come from us. The life that illuminates is merely reflecting the greatness of God. This light comes from the glory of the Gospel, the generous sacrifice of …

Lessons from My Anonymous Generous Admirer

–written by Terri Morris The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. – Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur I have a secret admirer. Not the weird, stalker version, but a true anonymous admirer that leaves me fabulous gifts on a monthly basis. This has been going on now for a little over two years. Initially, I was determined to find my nameless benefactor, but that proved to be a fruitless endeavor so I stopped looking. I am pretty confident God Himself is sending me these gifts. They are so personalized to my personality and preferences that it’s almost scary! Who else knows me like Jesus?  The gifts always seem to come at a time when I need to be encouraged — often when no one even knows that I am struggling on a personal level… but Jesus knows! I believe one day in heaven someone will come walking up to me and I’ll just know they were the one who brought the gifts and I’ll say, “Thanks so much for making me feel loved, valued and …

Giving Thanks in a God-sized Way

When Nicole first scheduled me for this blog I thought, “Crap, I have to write a blog that’s worth $500,000.” As Thanksgiving approaches, so does our annual Thanksgiving Offering. Our goal is $500,000, which for me comes with a little vomit-in-the-mouth feeling when I say it. For a chicken-farm church, this goal may seem astronomical or insurmountable or insert your own adjective, but pretty much everything that comes from God seems like that to us. God’s vision for us, for His church, is far greater than any one of us could ever think of. No one in Carroll County would have predicted a church out on Highway 113 would set out to build a community center at the other end of the bypass. No one at SoHills would have expected our 2017 Thanksgiving Offering goal to be double what it was last year. But that’s because we didn’t come up it. This vision we are walking out daily has been entrusted to us by God to show Carrollton and the nation what it truly means to love …

First Give To God What is His

The Bible is filled with practical wisdom for life; nuggets of wisdom that can be mined from the Scripture to help us be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, ESV). The book of Proverbs is a treasure house of “get smart” lessons about life. Jesus packed the Sermon on the Mount with such lessons: be careful about the foundation on which you build your life house—it makes the difference between prosperity and disaster (Matthew 7:24-27); you better be careful about your criticism of others—it’ll come back to bite you (7:1-2); settle your differences quickly—if it gets to court you’ll pay through the nose (5:25-26). Now that’s about as practical as you can get! And probably any kid in our 456 program can understand it. There’s another area of life about which God knows we need practical, elementary teaching: the way we deal with our treasures on this earth. So He gives us the principle of “first fruits.” In the Old Testament, God’s people offered the first fruits of the harvest as an acknowledgment that …