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Category Archives: Worship

That thing about GIVING….

God loves a Cheerful giver

God loves a Cheerful giver

It’s offering time!!!

Many have been turned off or avoid the church because of methods employed for giving and offerings. Yes?

Sometime last year I took part in a focus study group for my pastor as he was completing his doctoral project on GIVING. We were given a handbook and a diary to write our reflections, thoughts, and feelings after every session. Like everyone else, the sacrifice of time was worth it to show support and love. As a Christian, the topic of giving is not unfamiliar, so I was expecting more information as a refresher. Boy, was I in for a surprise!

The first two sessions covered rudimentary information; Old Testament faithfuls like Abraham and Jacob, tithes, agrarian vs monetary systems etc. But I believe it was the third session that caused a massive struggle. We learned that Tithing was NOT required. Huh? What do you mean? I’ve always known about the 10% that I was supposed to give, and within the past few years had gotten to the point of giving that consistently, so what was this all about?

I looked at the scriptures in my handbook Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 14:22-29 and Malachi through different eyes. I felt a little flustered as I read because it is very nerve wrecking when something that one believes as foundational is challenged.

Leviticus 27 talked about being able to redeem one’s tithes if the giver so chose. In Deuteronomy the giver was to have a celebration with the tithe as thanksgiving to God. And also to take care of the Levites since they had no land (they served in the temple). In Malachi? Well, the key here is not “Will a man rob God?”…..but “How shall we return?” (v.7). God was done with the Priests and was not going to accept any offerings from their hands; they were bringing Him lame and sick animals etc. The priests were not upholding the laws of what was to be sacrificed to God. We no longer sacrifice animals….Jesus was our sacrificial lamb.

At this point I was thinking of every place in the bible that I could find something about tithing; Abraham and Jacob! Well, I looked at that and obviously they both chose to give a tithe before there was any law. Abraham in Genesis 14:20 and Jacob in Genesis 28:22. They both did it out of love for God and his faithfulness. I couldn’t find anything that substantiated mandatory tithing in the New Testament. There is nothing to redeem….Jesus already DID that!!

I went home grappling with what this meant. I did some more research and realized that this information is out there but I have NEVER heard anyone speak on this. Understandably so, because there is a fear that if people know they don’t HAVE to give, then they wouldn’t!

I sat on my little foot stool in my closet and thought to myself “Man, if I don’t HAVE to give I can save a lot of money!”. As soon as the thought left my mind God asked “Were you giving because you LOVE ME, or just because you thought you were obligated to?”

I sat there for a long time digesting this.

Obligation never equals love. Love is doing it when I have a clear choice not to.

I repented.

My heart changed in that moment. God has been so good to me! And especially faithful.

I have the opportunity to appreciate God just as Abraham and Jacob did when they decided what they would give without a legal standard.

I thanked God for the opportunity to check myself. It’s easy to SAY we love and trust God until we are faced with putting it to the test. I couldn’t imagine the courage, trust in and love for God that my Pastor had to work through to first embrace this information and then share it. He risked people stopping their giving, because they didn’t HAVE to. But, giving is a form of worship and must be as natural as singing, reading scripture and prayer. There is a basket at the door and you can drop an offering of your choosing (if you so choose), on the way in or on the way out.

Ten percent is merely a barometer. Some choose that as their minimum offering to God, but it can be more or less. Plus whatever the Holy Spirit prompts.

There is SO much to say in this post, but it is better summed up in the book Cheerfully. A book prompted by this study after more research and a compilation of the findings.

Our pastor graduated as scheduled but completed the doctoral process a changed man.

Graduation

We each completed the study, experiencing a myriad of emotions with this new knowledge. Some anger, some acceptance, some struggling with sharing this information to their own congregations.

The TRUTH is what it is: God loves a cheerful giver! Giving to God based on love is Worship. A cheerful giver is motivated from within not based on any external stimulation.

SO, that thing about GIVING…? Make sure you do it CHEERFULLY!!! 🙂

Have a great week!

Blessings

JC

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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Love, Worship

 

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I’m nothing without You!

don't be a discarded clay jug...be fit for the Master's use..

don’t be a discarded clay jug…be fit for the Master’s use..

This morning I woke up to  Jason Nelson’s, ‘I’m nothing without You’, in my spirit. I couldn’t shake it so I decided to blog about it. I am nothing without You God!

Today is the 4th of July and the nation is celebrating independence and freedom. I remember us talking in bible study yesterday about how we love our independence. Most of us are taught to be self reliant and not to ask people for anything; get your own stuff. I would even say that as adults we celebrate our independence. But when God steps in and says “you’re NOTHING without Me”, we struggle. We have a hard time yielding our will to Him; to move from self-reliant to God-reliant. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Daily Inspiration, Love, Worship

 

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Why are you Afraid?

Lord, I love to praise Your name...

Lord, I love to praise Your name…

Dealing with the emotion of fear.

By definition, fear means an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. In some scenarios it is a necessary emotion because it keeps us alert as we proceed in different situations. It prevents up from walking thoughtlessly into danger and when warranted, it puts us in that ‘fight or flight’ mode that is necessary for survival. There is also the fear of God where we revere Him and repent from our sin for fear of punishment. But this is not the fear I want to talk about.

As I study the word of God, I notice that this is the greeting that angels gave to man when they came upon them; Fear not. I also noted that of all the emotions we have been given, God had to tell us that He didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). This reminder is actually crucial in our Christian walk. I say this because fear is the one emotion that paralyzes and cripples us. It causes us not to move. You never hear someone say they were paralyzed or crippled with love, or hate, or jealousy, or greed, or joy etc. Fear paralyzes.

The enemy is crafty and he knows this. He knows that as long as we are oppressed by the spirit of fear, and yes it is a spirit, we wouldn’t be effective for God. We wouldn’t want to go witness and evangelize because we fear rejection. We freeze walking in our spiritual gifts because we are afraid of critique and rejection. You see, most of us like to be liked and we like to have friends. So the thought of people not accepting us or what we have to say is a terrifying one. We are afraid that the plan God has shown us wouldn’t work. We see that as failure (we are afraid of that!). There are some of us who are afraid the plan of God will work; success (and we are afraid of that too!). This whole fear thing is a mess. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Daily Inspiration, Worship

 

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Not my Way…

relax and let God handle it...

relax and let God handle it…

Not My Way….

“From a young age, I learned to be self-reliant. When the adults in my life weren’t there for me, physically or emotionally, I survived by taking care of myself. This character quality was something I prided myself in for a long time because it made me feel strong and capable. When I became a Christian, I learned that God wanted me to trust in and depend on Him.

Surrendering my self-reliance has always been one of the hardest things about my walk with Christ. Unlike Hezekiah when threatened by King Sennacherib or Jehoshaphat when attacked by an army from Edom, it goes against my independent grain to ask God for help before trying to deal with my circumstances first.

Over the years, as God has dealt with various sins in my life, I am always brought back to this theme of self-reliance. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Daily Inspiration, Worship

 

Don’t second guess the voice of God…

hear God in the stillness...

hear God in the stillness…

Don’t second guess the voice of God….

God communicates with us in so many ways. First and foremost, the beauty of it is that He wants to communicate with us. For some of us it is a feeling we get, perhaps an inkling, or we hear Him, or the usually ‘something’ told me. Well, the Holy Spirit is not a ‘thing’ or an ‘it’, but He does communicate with us. The trick is to be sensitive to the voice of God.

About five months ago I was leaving my office to go in the field to do some work. I had the thought to grab two pens, but I figured that I didn’t need two and I grabbed the one that had the most ink. Well, when I got out there, my partner forgot his pen and needed one. Needless to say, had I grabbed the two pens that the Holy Spirit was leading me to grab, we would not have been scrambling for another pen. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Daily Inspiration, Worship

 

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A Heart of Worship….

deny yourself....

deny yourself….

My first blog 🙂

Four months ago I went on a Minister’s Retreat with my church, Blessed Harvest Institute, to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The name of the retreat was the Ridgecrest Conference Center. It was nestled in the mountains and exuded serenity. We arrived at about 10pm or so on a Thursday night and then had our first session at 2am on  Friday morning. At the first session we were each asked what has our Ministry cost us so far.

My answer was ‘nothing’. I didn’t feel as if I had lost or really given up anything for Ministry at that point. We took part in some more sessions and activities. At the end of that Friday night, right before we went to dinner, we were each offered a stack of turned down words and asked to pull one. I pulled the word DEATH.

I wasn’t alarmed about my word because I am a homicide detective and I deal with death on a consistent basis. I actually thought my word would pertain to something about work. However, we were told not to assume we knew what the word meant and to be open. As we sat at dinner, God whispered in my ear that the word DEATH did not pertain to my job, it was about me.

Huh? He said I needed to die to me. Self had to die now! He couldn’t use me the way He wanted to because of me. I didn’t realize that I had become my own stumbling block. I had become complacent and didn’t realize it. Selfishness had crept in disguised as me. Me wanting Ministry to be comfortable, me not wanting to be rejected, me not wanting to be inconvenienced, me not trusting Him, me concerned about what others thought, me wanting my desires met; me me me. DEATH to me!

I was horrified. I was so sorry. My heart hurt because God has been beyond good to me. There is nothing that I need that He doesn’t give me. But I knew that I wasn’t giving God a 100% of what He wanted from me. I couldn’t hold back the tears at dinner. I had to let God have His way with my life! There was no other choice.

I prayed for God to continue to walk with me and speak to me. I asked Him to continue to love on me and commune with me. But my main prayer and desire was for God to cleanse my heart, renew my mind and to let the Holy Spirit sustain me in Him. Nothing else mattered!

I was always called Jackie. And as far as I could remember, I never really gave 100% at most things since I catch on quickly and didn’t need to give 100% for it to look good. At our circle time session, my pastor’s wife said that Jackie has died. Indeed. That day Jackie died and Jacqueline came alive. When God takes the time to inform us personally of our shortcomings, we have to take heed. I now strive to give 100% at all times.

I feel hyper in my spirit most times and so excited about the Word of God and the things of God. It is spiritual energy, and I pray that it will continue to fuel me right into my Purpose for God. But it is a constant surrender to God and many days when I want to go one way, He will say “That’s Jackie behavior”, and it reminds me of the DEATH.

What has ministry cost you? What is ministry costing you? Are you allowing God to use you like He wants to, or are you bargaining with Him as if you are at a flea market. Just like me, God wants to use you in a unique way on a path that He has already chartered just for you. Every experience, whether negative or positive, has stamped you in a particular way that He planned all along. Will you surrender your independence and your rights and give Him the right of way? Will you move to the back seat and allow Him to drive your life? He wants you to.

Be Blessed

JC

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2013 in Love, Worship

 

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