The last few days . . .

have been eventful.

– Saturday I spoke at The Blend Conference held at Christ Church in Nashville.   I was really privileged to speak on the subject of  “How to Influence By Believing in People.” I look forward to sharing that teaching this Wednesday at CIL.

Allen Jackson

Before I spoke at a “break out” session, Allen Jackson (see pic) of World Outreach Church did an incredible job sharing to the entire conference participants.  This is the second time I have heard Allen, and I am becoming a big fan.  He is a hidden treasure right in our backyard of Murfreesboro.

– Some of the best desserts of the year were at the Lifetime (Age 50 +) Cook-Out on Saturday night.  Fun night!

ireland-flag– Gary Davidson inspired and blessed us during Sunday morning’s sermon.   Gary is an incredible church planter from Ireland. We were honored to have him in, and I know everyone enjoyed him.

242 - color– We launched our 242 Groups Sunday night with great success!   Our groups were full, and newcomers to the church were in every group.  I know that participation in these groups will be the key to our growth this fall.

– One of my heroes, Earl Blythe passed away on Friday at age 99.  Brother Blythe influenced me greatly as a young minister.   He was a retired minister who served on staff with me at Cornerstone during my first staff position.  He was a class act, and I am blessed to have known him.

Tithing Going Out of Style With Younger Generation

Tithing is going out of style, but it shouldn’t.  I am concerned with the attitude towards tithe that people under the age of 45 seem to have.  Tithing is seen as optional, not a command from the Lord.   Statistics show a decrease in tithing from Generation X and Busters.   Like all giving, members of these younger generations don’t like giving to a general pot, but they want to have more control over their giving.  This is a very beneficial attribute when it comes to donations and causes.   However, the tithe is not like charitable giving or an offering.  A tithe is obeying God by giving to the local body you are assigned to.   How will that church spend the money?   Important to know, but ultimately it’s not your entire responsibility.   Your responsibility is to obey.

Tithing is a New Testament Principle

People will often state that “Tithing isn’t New Testament.”   I reject this notion for several reasons:

1.  Jesus specifically said we should tithe – that should settle it  (see Matthew 23:23)

2.  Most of the New Testament Christians still were practicing Jews.   As a practicing Jew, they no doubt would tithe.

3.  If we really want to practice New Testament Christianity, we would go beyond the tithe.  The New Testament Christian would give all their extra money in a general benevolence fund (see Acts 2:44-45).   It does not appear that they accumulated wealth.  Instead, they had a common fund to help those in need.  Therefore, the New Testament takes us way beyond the tithe.

4.  When it comes to the law, the cross absolves, re-defines or leaves unchanged God’s decree.  I see no evidence that the work of the cross changed the principal of tithing.

Why 10% ?

God has attached his blessing to a percentage (10 %) – or the tithe.  Why?  There may be more interesting reasons, but in short – We give 10% because God told us to.   If he left it up to us to decide how much to give we would probably pick a much lower percentage.   We would pick that lower percentage until we figured out someone gave more; then, our pride would want us to beat the other giver!    Competitive giving produces wrong motives.   Our stinginess and pride keeps us from giving with pure hearts.   Therefore, God established a specific percentage to test our obedience.   Everything we own is his, yet he asks for 10% from us as a test of obedience.

The Tithe Works

During Sunday’s service, Dan Linz bravely shared a testimony of God’s faithfulness to his family during a period of unemployment.  As soon as the Linz’s faced unemployment, he and Angela evaluated their life and committed to be faithful in their tithe (giving back 10 % to God).  The result of this action was unexpected miracles of provision in their lives.   With all the great things Dan mentioned, he forgot an important part.  The very week I asked him to take up the offering was the week he got promoted to a full time job with benefits.    God is faithful in responding to the tithe!

This week I am going to write about tithing.  I hope we can look at some angles to this important truth, and all choose to be more obedient followers of Christ.

Sunday Recap – August 23rd

Sunday’s water baptisms were so special.

– It was the first time I baptized someone in goggles – thanks Zach Weddle!

– My special friend Max Barnett took a brave step like he always does in the cold baptismal water. He is an eight year old stud!

– I have deep respect for Lori Singer’s heart and life – so baptizing her was both humbling and a privilege.

– My dear friend and neighbor Julie Scholl made her journey with Christ public. Beth and I have enjoyed our friendship with the Scholl family since they moved to our neighborhood from Australia three years ago. As we watch our kids grow up together on the neighborhood block, it is great to simultaneously see Julie grow in her faith in Christ.

We also had a great Newcomers Dinner on Sunday. I love hearing how people found CIL. It’s always a sign to me how God is moving in people as he brings them to our church.

No Excuse to Quit LogoGot a lot of good feedback from the “No Excuse” series.   “No Excuse to Quit” hit us all.   I hope you finish everything God has put in your heart to complete.

Spur Leadership Sneak Peek in Nashville

On September 16-17, Mac Richard is coming to The Church at Indian Lake.   On Wednesday, September 16 Mac will speak at our mid-week service.  The next day, CIL is going to host local pastors for a time to meet Mac, have a Q&A time, eat a free lunch and hang out with other pastors in the Nashville area.

A little more about Mac . . . Mac Richard is the founding pastor of Lake Hills Church in Austin, TX ( Since its birth in 199Mac Richard7, LHC has grown from 15 people to a regular attendance of over 3,000 people each weekend.

In 2008, Mac founded the Spur Leadership Initiative ( In its first two years, Spur has engaged more than 1,000 leaders and influencers to actively and deliberately begin calling out and raising up the next generation of leadership in ministry, the marketplace, families, and government.

Prior to the birth of Lake Hills Church, Mac served on the staff of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX.

Spur Leadership 2009

Spur Leadership

This has been a great year of learning for me as I have been working on my master’s degree.  I have avoided conferences this year because of this focus,  but I couldn’t resist registering for a unique leadership event called Spur Leadership.   My friend Mac Richard is hosting his second annual Spur Leadership Conference on October 1-2 in Austin, TX.

The line up for this is unique, creative and diverse.

  • Gov. Rick Perry, the current governor of Texas;
  • Gen. Tommy Franks, the Commander-in-Chief who led both the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns;
  • Roy Spence, chairman and CEO of GSD&M Idea City, a leading national marketing communications and advertising company;
  • Kem Meyer, former corporate spin doctor, who now leads the communications team at Granger Community Church;
  • Steven Furtick, the Lead Pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina;
  • Les T. Csorba, a Partner with Heidrick & Struggles
  • Courtney Spence, CEO of Students of the World, a ministry that enables college students to tell and share stories of positive change around the world;
  • Steve Price, Vice President, Human Resources for Dell’s Global Consumer Business; and
  • Mac Richard, the founding and Senior Pastor of Lake Hills Church in Austin, TX, the sponsor of the Spur Leadership Conference.

It’s not just the incredible line up that has me excited about Spur Leadership; it’s the heart behind the vision.   I have watched Mac Richard’s ministry for seventeen years, and I know he has the desire to encourage and invigorate leaders to succeed.   This is more than a conference, this is a leadership movement.

I will be there and hope to see you there as well!

Confirmation of Role of Risk in Public Moral Failure

I first heard about the concept of risk being a factor in public moral failures at least seven years ago when I heard John Ortberg speak at a Leadership Summit. Just last week, this concept was re-enforced while reading an AP article in the Tennessean about the moral fall of Tennessee Senator Paul Stanley. The article noted that University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato believes politicians are born risk-takers who have a propensity to stray (Mark Sanford, John Edwards).   I haven’t studied all the evidence to say for certain I agree with this connection, but it sure seems logical and obvious to me.  I am certain these same dynamics can apply to ministers who are not yielded to the Holy Spirit.

Risk Taking Can Lead to Public Moral Failure

Effective leaders are risk-takers.   It takes a lot of risk to start a business, plant a church or take over a congregation that is full of challenges.   Once the initial risk is over – the church is established, the building is built, the money is raised – a leader must make sure this risk-taking behavior is directed towards positive challenges.

This is not an excuse, but “risk taking” may help explain the behavior so many people find shocking and unexplainable.   Leaders are natural risk-takers.  Pray for your leaders that take great risk for God instead of those risks which lead to a public moral failure.