The Perception of Stewardship PI

ahm-keepin-my-money

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35

Read Psalm 24:1; Acts 20:35; 2 Cor. 9:7; James 1:17; 1 Pet. 1:3-5: From God’s perspective, what are the standards for stewardship are we are to have?

First off, 1 Peter tells us that we are chosen by God and by God alone! The Holy Spirit sets us apart. We are able to hear and receive His Words of grace and life. And of this, we should know; yet, we need to be reminded of what we have and who we are in Christ. If not, we will soon forget and replace His guidance either with our frailty or with the ways of the world. 

As we know, stewardship and tithing are hot subjects today and Christians seem to love to debate them. Unfortunately, most seem to have a skewed idea of what these subjects entail, and only impart their ‘assumptions,’ and ‘desires,’ not the facts from God’s Word. I just read through some Christian blogs and Facebook posts about this topic, and what amazed me was how people were arguing back and forth out of total ignorance, from both sides. Some people, saying they were pastors, were getting Greek words totally wrong and passages out of their context. People claiming to be mature Christians were using inappropriate language and tone, putting the other person down and even verbally attacking those who did not share their skewed opinion. Neither group was willing to dig into the text of the Bible to see what it really says; they just wanted to spout off with their preconceived ideas.

As a former academic debater and postgraduate student, I know that it is essential to form an argument on facts and logic, and not emotionalism and presumptions. With Scripture, this is fundamental and essential! Nevertheless, these message boards were all filled with assumptions and emotions, no real facts, no word studies, no thought-through doctrinal arguments. It was just, “what I believe” or “what my church does.”  Oh, how sad this is! The Bible was being used just like a buffet, to pick and choose what would fit their experiences and mindsets, ignoring the rest, and unconcerned to what God’s Word really said in its simple, clear, and concise form. The Bible means what it says and says what it means. The key is context–not reading into it what is not there, or taking out what is there.

One clear theme emerged from these message board “discussions.” People did not want to take responsibility for what God’s Word said, or what stewardship really means in applying it to their wallets.

Know this, emotions and personal Will, will block reason and Scripture. Instead of carefully crafted arguments, people misused the Word to force their views so they did not have to give to the church. I was dumbfounded, and thought these must be high school or young college students who never read a Bible, but some of them said they were pastors! I do not know if that is true, due to the immaturity of their language and arguments, but it would seem that the checking of facts and conviction of the truth were definitely absent.

The mature Christian may realize his or her responsibility in stewardship and then struggle in prayer and with family about what to give. And do it chearfully!

He/she will seek God’s Word for how he/she can serve Him and the church. A mature Christian should never rationalize that it is good not to follow his/her call, use his/her gifts, refrain from sharing his/her faith, or not to give. As persons saved by grace, we should be overwhelmed with gratitude for what Christ has done for us so we naturally desire to serve Him with all of our heart and means. Yes, you are not forced to do anything, because as His elect, you are saved by your faith alone in what Christ has done alone—period! But, as James tells us, what good is it? What good would you be (James 1:22-25; 2:14-19)?

Our real and true treasures are imperishable (1 Pet. 1:3-5)! Make a list of them, and put them in a place that you can see daily to encourage yourself. (Keep in mind that true treasures are not material in nature, so look to relationships and character)

 

©  2017, R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/

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Rethink your Giving

Rethink GivingAs we end 2015, now is a good time to rethink your giving.

 For we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 

Are you giving what’s right, or what’s left? 2 Corinthians 8-9

Is God blessing you? If so what are you giving back to your church, missions, or community? We can never just stay in the glory of great experiences and insights of worship and growth or even riches. There has to be a time when we take what we have learned and apply it. Not hoard, or be miserly with abundance.

How can we reset our thinking on stewardship? Be grateful for what you have and what Christ has done!

When the reality of Christ’s power and purpose hits us, we must also realize that others will not have the same beliefs and experiences. We see our friends with the latest phone or car or clothes or electric dog polisher, and we need to pray and ask, is it necessary? Then on the flip side, we will face the daily trivialities of life that seem to take a toll on us. We will face people who will reject us. We will try to put into practice what we have learned and we may fail. We can become frustrated and give up unless we focus, learn, and do not give up. We can best get through by our prayer life, and by our trust and reliance on His work!

Do not let your lack of willingness to grow in the faith rob you of His plan for you or rob what you are doing for others too. We can enjoy the mountain top or the wealth if you have it, but we also have to get busy in the valley where we live. When we do succeed, we need to be sure it is His success that is motivating us. Enjoying success and blessings is not a result of faith or what faith is about. Faith helps our relationship with God by bringing us closer to Him so He can use us more.

The Gospel is about One God Who is Sovereign and loves, while we are separated deeper and further than we can imagine from His salvation because of our sin. Yet, God is the One Who seeks us out with a love deeper and further than we can imagine and what to reconcile with us.

The Gospel is what we have that is true value. Remember, money and things are tools, not a lifestyle, Christ is to be our life and glorifying Him is to be our style. Our experiences and ideas tend to get in the way, so God has to sometimes knock us off our stool of pride and complacency, even greed, so we will look to Him (Job. 13:15; 2 Cor. 5:7).

Enjoying success and blessings is not a result of faith or what faith is about. Faith helps our relationship with God by bringing us closer to Him so He can use us more. Our experiences and ideas tend to get in the way, so God has to sometimes knock us off our stool of pride so we will look to Him (Job. 13:15; 2 Cor. 5:7).

What are you going to do so you do not let your lack of willingness to grow in the faith rob you of His plan for you?

 

What does it Mean to be Rich? PIII

rich dRead James 5: 1-6

James is not saying wealth is wrong; rather, he denounces wealth when it gets in the way of our relationships and call from God and when we use it to bring harm to others. This comes down to our attitude concerning security, and priorities about money over spiritual and relational matters!

Our focus needs to be to God and our trust in Him, not money, things, or power! It is not your bank account; it is your soul account!

Our true riches are in Christ alone! Wealth is not sinful, or even harmful, as long as it is seen as a tool. It does become a problem and a distraction when it becomes our focus and God is pushed out of the picture. We are also called to use and be responsible and accountable stewards with wealth; so, use it wisely, with honesty, and do not horde it, misuse it, exploit it, steal it, or waste it. Give it away with generosity for the godly influence to further His Kingdom (Prov. 11:24-25; 15:27; 16:8; 17:23; 20:17; 21:14; 22:2; 23:1-3; 30:7-9; Eccl. 5:10-20; Matt. 6:19-21; 25: 14-30; Luke 12:13-21; Acts 4:36-37; Eph. 5:10; 1 Tim. 6:10).

Condemned… murdered, in this context, it is not actual murder, but the setting up of events that lead to it.

The abuse of power will cause the loss of life. The rich in James’ day were taking food away from the people, not providing wages so they starved while they worked, and taking their coats away in extortion so they would freeze to death, too! The image is the oppression of the poor, as the wicked were scheming against the righteous. In this context, James warns them to repent.

This condemnation of judgment does not pertain to a Christian because we are saved by grace. It is condemnation to a non-Christian; a real Christian would never do this. The audience for this passage is also the aristocratic Jews and pretenders who say they are Christians, but their lack of fruit clearly shows otherwise (Isa. 13-23; Jer. 46-51; Ezek. 25-32; Amos 1:3-2:16; Zeph. 2:4-15).

The question is, do we “listen up” to what God is saying to us? Do we ask ourselves (and, of course, God Himself), what does God want from me?

Because if we do not, our focus in life becomes skewed! To focus upon what the world defines as success is to miss out on things that are much greater, both for the here-and-now and for eternity to come. For the person whose pursuit is in wealth, it becomes a weed that chokes off the soul from God and from others. One of the hardest things to do is be a Christian with worldly wealth because it most always leads to worldly interests that lead to worldly activities.

Wealth can be done and be done for greatness, but most, if not all of the time, it only brings darkness to light and blurs the Christian soul in the desires of the world. This leaves the person empty from lost opportunities, destitute of important relationships, and from Christ as Lord. If all we do is live for this world, then there may be nothing left for the next!

Do you worry?

Consider that we have a God who loves and provides. He fulfills us with Himself beyond our expectations. He will meet our deepest needs. We can trust in Him! If you are a worrier, the call is to worship in place of that worry (Matt. 6:19-34)!

Handling Credit Cards

Handling Credit CardsThis is a very simple concept and will alleviate most of your money struggles and marriage arguments.

Credit cards are a tool when you are in a great need. It is always best to play them off each month.

What credit cards are not, is being your money! They are not your income or your entitlement, they are not what you need or what you deserve. When we get this, we will be on the right track of money management.

This is all about telling your money what to do, not allowing your desires to ‘defund’ you. If you can’t manage a credit card, do not have one. Stick to a debit card and have a good budget to guide you.

6 Apps That Can Simplify Your Money Life

From Forbs, here are some good leads to check out:

If you’re the C.F.O. of your household, then you’ve probably wondered if there isn’t a techie solution for managing your finances.

The problem is that there are probably too many options out there. The onslaught of offerings that you’ll find when you visit the app store can be overwhelming—but we’re here to help!

We’ve scouted six free apps (including ours!) that are easy to use and work wonders to streamline your life and your wallet. Then we asked Jennifer Jolly, a tech expert and blogger behind Tech’s Appeal, to fill us in on what makes these apps so helpful—as well as some things to consider before you download.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2014/01/24/6-apps-that-can-simplify-your-money-life/

How to Work on a Budget

It is not hard to do, and it will make your life so much easier!

Instead of thinking of a budget as a negative thing, remember that a budget is simply a “game plan” or a financial plan. We need to have money to live in today’s society. Because money is a necessary aspect, a tool that we need to create, apply, and follow the plan. In doing so, we can be wise stewards with what God has blessed us, and we can competently handle money, time and things—all gifted to us for the glory of Our Lord. A well-designed budget considers necessities, generosity, and desires and benefits everyone—you, your spouse, your family, your friends, even strangers!

How do we do this? You need to have a plan. This starts with a biblical concept of how to deal with your money and debt.

First, know your total income (what comes in).

Then, count all of your expenses (what goes out).

The goal is to always make sure the income is greater than the expense. Kindly and honestly communicate with each other to make sure that you are both aware of the reality and work from there. Put the plan on paper and discuss it together. If you need a template for examples, go to crown.org or biblicalstewardship.net.

You are a money manager for God as it all belongs to Him, and we work for Him!

Here is how:
https://biblicalstewardship.net/how-to-make-a-family-budget/