Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. Yancey Arrington on The grace of repenting to your kids. We do confession each night together as a family and it is becoming an important practice in our family when we reconcile with each other.
  2. Removing the lid of your organization.
  3. Tony Morgan on 10 things people want before they start to give at your church.
  4. Ron Edmondson on 7 ways to protect a pastor’s kid.
  5. The leader who can’t let go.
  6. Mike Leake on 5 reasons why our small groups stopped doing book studies and why I’m glad about it. We do sermon based discussions in our missional communities and it is the healthiest thing our church does.
  7. Jonathan Dodson on Sermon prep.
  8. One reason why parents (especially men) church attendance is declining.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

  1. One church planter reflects on the gospel coalition conference.
  2. Jason Helopoulos on Why pastors quit. Lots of wisdom for pastors and for church members to know what pastors go through.
  3. How pastors can thank wealthy givers.
  4. Joe Thorn on Why you shouldn’t be late to church. Totally agree.
  5. What do you do when you find out your favorite band is a Christian band?
  6. Brian Howard on How to get home from work early.
  7. Carey Nieuwhof on If you miss your family, you will miss everything.

Real Beauty

Money and the Vision of a Church

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Most pastors hate to talk about money. People also don’t like to hear pastors talk about money. Yet, money is a huge issue in people’s lives. They mismanage it, get divorced because of it and it often ruins their lives.

The reality for churches and pastors is:

There is a direct correlation between giving in a church and vision.

I was talking with some pastor’s the other day and the question of how to increase giving in a church came up.

Now, if you aren’t a pastor you may think this a coarse conversation to have. Why would a pastor want giving to go up? The reason is simple:

  • Giving is a heart issue. Jesus said as much in Matthew 6:21. If giving goes down, it shows that the heart of the people in the church aren’t there, their passion and worship is somewhere else besides Jesus. 
  • It shows that they might need to hear solid, biblical teaching on the topic.
  • It shows buy-in.

It was this last reason that struck me as I thought about.

While churches can increase giving and generosity by having a giving challenge (you can listen to me here giving our last giving challenge), or teaching on giving (which many pastors need to start doing).

What many churches need do a better job at is communicating a compelling vision. When the giving at Revolution has gone down it has been during the seasons where our vision was cloudy or if felt like our vision wasn’t going anywhere.

Tell stories. Show how your church is winning. Talk about how your vision is happening. Make videos, show people it is happening.

People want to be generous, they want to be part of something that is winning, something that is going somewhere.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

  1. Jonathan Parnell on Figuring out what is God’s will for my life?
  2. Why team alignment is so important.
  3. Todd Rhodes on What churches can learn from Google killing Google reader. Lots of insights, I’m sad as I love google reader, but a great leadership move.
  4. If you read this blog through Google Reader, you’ll want to update to Feedly, now that Google Reader is shutting down.
  5. 5 insights behind North Point’s success.
  6. Ed Stetzer on Whether or not the church needs to “get with the times.”
  7. 3 practical ways to increase giving at your church.

Som Sabadell Flashmob

90 Day Giving Challenge

Tonight, we continued our series The Story of God and Mike preached on generosity from the book of Malachi. When it comes to the topic of money and giving back to God, people get very private and touchy about it. The Bible does not say that being rich is wrong or sinful, just how we get rich, what we do with it, what it says about us. One of the things we do twice is a year to help people in the area of money and generosity is what we call the 90 day giving challenge. I love seeing people take this challenge. When we did it back in March, we had 15 people take the challenge. Every time we give it, more and more people take it.

One of the things I have come to see in my own life and in the lives of others is the deep connection between our money, how we use it and God. I believe that God works through people who are generous with their stuff, time and money. For a few reasons:

  1. It gives God a chance to show His power.
  2. It shows God that we in fact trust Him.
  3. Generosity is the pathway to freedom.
  4. Generosity is evidence of a changed life.

While I don’t believe the Bible lays out a specific amount that we are to give (here is a great article that I pulled a lot of information from for tonight). I know many pastors point to 10% as the tithe, but the tithe in the Old Testament was actually closer to 22%. In the New Testament we are given principles when it comes to giving. They are:

  1. We should give.
  2. It needs to be systematic. We need to decide how often we will give.
  3. It needs to be generous and sacrificial. It should cost something. (Not giving will cost us something, but you’ll have to listen to my talk to here that part)
  4. It needs to be proportional.
  5. It needs to be intentional.

For Katie and I, we started at 10%. It was a round number, which helps. But when we began, it was sacrificial. As we have gotten older, God has blessed us with more, our giving has changed. I’ll post later about what that is.

Here is how how the challenge works. If you are not giving, start. If you are giving a little, move to greater generosity.

We don’t lay out a specific amount. Just look at the 5 principles above. For the next 90 days, give back to God through Revolution. If you feel at the end of those 90 days that it was a waste of time, you didn’t see God move in your life, you didn’t see God stay true to Scripture. Just tell us and we will give you the money back.

It is that simple.

Still not sure? Here is a video we showed tonight from Kat, a woman in our community.

This Weekend @ Revolution: Testing God

This weekend at Revolution, we are continuing our series The Story of God as we look at the book of Malachi. In this book, God tells us something he never tells us anywhere else in Scripture, he tells us to test him. Not just in any area of life, but specifically when it comes to money. This week we will look at what that means. What does God have in mind when it comes to our money. Many people think God or the church just wants your money, but what if instead of God wanting your money, he wants something for you that involves your money?

Whenever it comes to the topic of money and God, we get very defensive. I think with what is going on in our country and economy right now, this topic of what God has to say about money becomes even more important.

Many people have no idea how to handle their money. How to use their money instead of their money using them. We often have even less of an idea of what God says about money.

I believe it will be an eye opening night as many people are looking for answers when it comes to life and money.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, as they probably have the questions you have, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy way to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our next series starting August 20th called The VowThis is a series you will not want to miss one week of.

See you Saturday.

A Story from the Giving Challenge

A few weeks ago, I laid out the 90 day giving challenge to our church, which we are in the middle of right now. One of those doing the challenge recently sent me this story and I wanted to share what God is doing through this challenge:

“With this last giving challenge, we decided we would up our tithe and give back to God in a big (but very scary) way. We have been struggling making our mortgage for a very long time and had applied for a home modification time and time again for the last year and a half. Last month our lender sold our mortgage to another bank who said we had to start the lengthy process and paperwork all over again.  We resorted to the fact that we most likely would lose our home and have to move our family of five to a smaller more affordable home, but we started the paperwork over once again while praying for God to move in a big way. Then the other day we went to the bank and took out the largest amount we have ever tithed (which in cash looks like so much more when you have bills that need to be paid). After getting home from the bank there was a package from the new lender. Our lender offered us a permanent loan modification by reducing the amount of our loan and dropping our interest rate to an astounding 2%! This meant our mortgage has actually been reduced by 50% and we are able to stay in our home! By being faithful and giving God our finances, we have been so blessed and feel very grateful!!”

Love seeing how God works when we are obedient.

Links of the Week

  1. Here are some quotes from Steven Furtick’s 24 hours of preaching he did to release his book Sun Stand Still. Some great stuff about faith.
  2. Why gluttony is a sin. Great insights on what gluttony is and what the gospel has to say about it.
  3. Debt and giving. Great thoughts on what to do about it.
  4. Dustin Neeley on Learning how to use the family dashboard. How to gauge your family’s stress, pressure, relational, spiritual and other important information.
  5. Ron Edmondson on 10 random things to know about pastors. This right on and I found myself nodding as I read each one.
  6. Charles Stone on 8-point checklist for body care for leaders. Great stuff.
  7. This movie loos really interesting and I’ve heard great things about it:

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • I was so tired tonight
  • I spent Wednesday through Friday in Chicago visiting family for Katie’s mom’s wedding
  • But, in spite of all that
  • Tonight was off the hook
  • I love the nights where it is obvious God is working in people’s lives and people are being changed
  • Tonight was a very personal topic:  money
  • For me, as I said tonight, money is one of my biggest idols to overcome
  • I think it is for many people
  • It is also the reason that many of us struggle in our relationship with God, because of the way we view money, we actually create a relationship with God and a faith where we don’t need God
  • Here is my belief on money:  those who use money in a God honoring are more likely to see God work in their lives, to see their faith expanded and for God to use them
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • Laid out our 90 day giving challenge tonight
  • Love what God does through these
  • If you are curious where I got a lot of my information from, here you go:  A Biblical model of giving (this is a great article by a theologian), Radical (this is a must read book by David Platt) and Money, Possessions & Eternity
  • The best way to learn about stewardship and giving though, is to just do it
  • Got an email this week from a woman who listens to the podcast every week who lives in Texas
  • I am blown away by how God uses technology to work in people’s lives
  • Since Katie and the kids will be away for another week, this week is all about getting some sermon prep done for the summer series we are doing:  The Perfect Kid and The Couch
  • Gonna be good
  • I’m also thinking about running Sabino Canyon this week
  • Picked up the new album from Mumford & Sons, good stuff
  • On the plane this week I read Unmasking Male Depression, easily the most eye opening book on men
  • This book is right on in understanding why men act the way they do, why they react the way they do
  • When I got to Chicago I told Katie I found another book for her reading pile
  • The only problem with being married to someone who loves books is they are constantly giving their spouse new books to read
  • Definitely a must read for couples
  • If you want to sign up for our partnership class but haven’t yet, you can do so here
  • Next Saturday we start Nehemiah 13, this chapter is easily one of my favorites in the whole book
  • You’ll to wait to see why
  • Three letters come to mind when I think of chapter 13:  UFC
  • Had someone tell me tonight, “I’m finding that I am feeling bad when I do something wrong, but that I am doing less wrong”
  • Love hearing how God is working in people’s lives
  • Never gets old
  • There are a lot of plans being made behind the scenes right now as we prepare for our move to 22nd St.
  • Be in prayer for our team as we make this move
  • I have always prayed and dreamed that Revolution would become what it is and is becoming, but to see it happening is so humbling
  • I’m grateful that God has chosen to work through us and in us and bless us at this time