Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Church should preach Z-Giving, NOT Tithing

My pastor has been preaching a sermon series on spiritual warfare.
In this series he mentioned that it is a ploy of Satan for us to "ignore the subtle". Another week he mentioned that we are tempted by Satan to compromise the truth.

I observed that many pastors in churches we have attended, preach tithing and that it should be at least 10% of one's gross income.

However, in 2 Corinthians 9:7 it clearly states, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver". There is nothing anywhere in the NT that says it should be 10% or more. In other words, when God says "free-will giving", are pastors tempted by Satan to fudge the truth and say "at least 10% tithing"? Shouldn't also pastors trust God to supply their need rather than be tempted to "ignore the subtle" (a ploy of Satan). Aren't they being tempted to compromise the truth?

I observed that these same pastors are often angered or refuse to discuss the truth about tithing. Last month I was working in Atlanta GA, and visited Victory church in Norcross (8/29/2010). It was heartwarming to see the sincere congregation; almost every service had baptisms. However, the pastor was an abusive person. 

The senior pastor Dennis Rouse preached a blistering sermon on tithing The senior pastor Dennis Rouse preached a blistering sermon on tithing He preached against those who were sitting in the pews and consuming and not giving, against those who pass the offering bucket without dropping anything in, against those who did not contribute to the building fund. He also preached that those who gave less than 10% of their gross income to his church were robbing God. Finally, he said that he wanted non-tithers to leave his church. 
I went to him afterward and said, "I have no problem with giving to the church. I used to give 11% of the gross and now it has dropped to 10% of the net. I have studied this topic and believe in the NT, 2 Corinthians 9:7 applies", and quoted it.  Whereupon he got enraged, stepped into me, literally breathing into my mouth and jabbed me in my side with his finger and said angrily, "Listen, Everything in the OT remains and became more in the NT". Then he walked away saying he would not argue this topic.
I feel such strong reactions come because they secretly know the truth and are guilty.

As a result, they pull out the Tithing sermon once or twice a year hammering the congregation with Malachi 3, accusing them of "robbing God" and "cursed with a curse".
The rest of the year, they are afraid to talk about money lest the congregation get fed up.

Not Tithing, does not mean Not Giving.

From other passages, Giving should be generous, regular, a percentage of income, cheerfully.  "As he has decided in his heart" does not mean whimsical or sporadic based upon mood.  In other words it should be disciplined and regular.

I wonder what would happen if pastors preached thus. They should regularly preach this kind of, let us call it, Z-Giving. When they do not hint at 10% but leave the percentage up to the person and God, then it allows God to work in their heart to give generously and cheerfully. The closer they grow to God, the more they want to give.

When their Z-Giving is dependent upon how close they are to God, then as the pastor does his good work, it can only grow and be joyous and generous.

The OT required obedience from the congregant to give 10%. The NT requires obedience of the pastor to faithfully preach Z-Giving and to get the people close to God.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When you tie your self-worth to your standard of living, you will always be poor.

When you tie your self-worth to your standard of living, you will always be poor.

Let's say you want to drink coffee. You can choose between Starbucks (upper class and expensive), Panera Bread (slightly less expensive) and McDonalds (cheapest).
If going to the McDonalds makes you feel embarrassed, and lower class, then chances are, you tie your self-worth to your standard of living.
So let's say you go to the Starbucks and instead of $1 for a coffee in McDonalds, you spend $2.79.
In other words your standard of living has been raised in order to make you feel good.
Now multiply this effect across the hundreds of spending decisions you must make over the period of a month.
For every buying decision you make, if you pick the premium option, your bills at the end of the month will be a lot larger than necessary. You will either land heavily in debt if unrestrained,
or if you force yourself to pick cheap, you will feel unworthy and miserable.

Take another example. Let's say you have $2500 to buy a car. You can choose to buy an old car, say, a 11 year old Toyota Corolla for $2500 OR a new Honda CRV SUV costing $23,000. You are embarrassed to drive the Corolla - it has some rust spots and looks worn. Most of all, it is below your standard of living! So you pay the $2500 as a down payment, and buy the spanking new SUV. The payments are only $600 a month...

Do you see my point? The cumulative cost of all these 'minor' decisions will soon engulf you!

When you tie your self-worth to your standard of living, you will always be poor.