THE REAL DEAL ON DEBT
Noted Christian financial expert, Dave Ramsey said, “Debt is so ingrained into our culture that most Americans can’t even envision a car without a payment, a house without a mortgage, a student without a loan and credit without a card. We’ve been sold debt with such repetition and with such fervor that most folks can’t conceive of what it would be like to have NO payments.” 1
MONEY TALKS - BUT WHAT IS IT REALLY SAYING?
There are many pastors and churches that avoid the subject of stewardship like a plague. In fact, many modern church gurus are telling pastors across the country not to talk about money or stewardship. I find that to very strange since our Lord spoke of it in one-third of His parables. In the churches I was privileged to pastor, we made no apologies in challenging one another in the realm of stewardship for it was a great part of our own spiritual development and growth.
8 BIBLICAL TRUTHS ABOUT CHRISTIAN GIVING
God created everyone and everything on this earth — including our ability to earn money. As we contemplate our own giving to the Lord’s church in response to the clear teaching of his Word, perhaps it would be wise and helpful to review eight biblical principles of Christian giving.
FACING THE FACTS ABOUT DEBT
Our nation soon will be $16 trillion in debt. The U.S. government is living way beyond its means — it is insane and can’t continue without cataclysmic results. But the government is essentially doing what the average American citizen is doing.
CAN WE GET A DO OVER?
If you could start over, what would you want to do? I’m pretty sure all of us would do some things — maybe a lot of things — different if we got a do-over on life. Especially when it comes to our finances. Looking back over my life, I can guarantee you there are some things I would definitely DO differently.
FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS
This past Tuesday night, President Obama shared in his State of the Union address how good things are in America, how we’ve rebounded from the recession, and how the economy is growing and thriving again. However, there was no mention in his address or in the Republican response of the ominous DEBT hanging over all of us. As of this morning, our national debt is $18,087,620,568,480.53. It has continued to increase an average of $2.39 billion per day since September 30, 2012, and your personal share of that debt now exceeds $56,500.00.
THE MIRACLE MEAL
You will never GIVE more than you RECEIVE. Never. So stop whining and complaining and start giving.
Mark Batterson tells the story of a friend who is an author and a filmmaker. He’s also the perfect illustration of the statement above. I’ll let Mark explain.
HOW TO TEACH PEOPLE TO TITHE (AND WHY SOME WILL RESENT IT)
A cartoon shows a fellow in the cemetery holding flowers. The epitaph on the stone before him reads: “Eternally peeved at those who never showed me how to tithe.”
That may well happen.
HOW U.S. DEBT ONCE DROPPED TO ZERO
If the United States paid off its massive debt today, the media might literally implode on itself. But this moment actually did happen, once. It was announced in the Senate that the U.S. National Debt was $0. That was on Jan. 8, 1835. America hasn’t come anywhere close to paying off its debt since.
THE BEST INVESTMENT YOU'LL EVER MAKE
In Luke 16:9, Jesus said, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” The NIV (1984 edition) puts it this way: “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE CHURCH TITHED?
The church of today is not great at giving.
This isn’t exactly news. But it is a statistical fact:
- Tithers make up only 10-25 percent of a normal congregation.
- Only 5 percent of the U.S. tithes, with 80 percent of Americans only giving 2 percent of their income.
- Christians are only giving at 2.5 percent per capita, while during the Great Depression they gave at a 3.3 percent rate.
FOUR PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE A WEALTHY CHRISTIAN
Rose Greenhow, a Confederate spy during the Civil War, tried to evade capture and the loss of her fortune by sewing the gold she had gained into the seams of her dress. However, the ship she boarded sank and the weight of the gold made it impossible for the life-preserver to support her. Tragically, she sank to the bottom with all her wealth.
GIVING: TITHES & OFFERINGS
There is no argument when it comes to giving to God. It all belongs to Him – ALL OF IT – period. (Psalm 24:1) When King David and all his people had given so willingly, generously and sacrificially to build God’s temple, He said to God, “Who am I, and what is my people that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you” (1 Chronicles 29:14). David knew what most people today still don’t get: we never give God anything of ours. Everything we have came from Him.
SOME QUESTIONS I GET ABOUT TITHING
Over the years I have gotten (and had myself) questions about whether or not the tithe (giving the first 10% of our income back to God as prescribed by the law) was biblical. Let me give you brief answer to some of those questions that demonstrate how I have learned to approach them.
SHOULD I GIVE TO MY LOCAL CHURCH FIRST ... OR TO OTHER MINISTRIES?
Of the many questions that people perennially ask pastors, some of the most uncomfortable ones are about financial giving. Most of the questions I get about money go back to the idea of the tithe, the Old Testament principle of giving the first 10% of our income back to God. (For those who are curious, you can read my thoughts on tithing here.) But another huge question I get is about the destination of our giving. In other words, should I be giving to my local church, or is it okay to redirect my “tithe” to other ministries?
The ABCs of Financial Freedom has been instrumental in helping thousands of people and churches all across America turn their financial situations around. Discover the principles that will show you how to get out from under the burden and bondage of debt and enable you to declare your financial independence.
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