The Tithe – God’s Choice

Tithing is a principal that I have applied in every era of my life.  Applying this principal has proven to be one of the most beneficial decisions of my life.

Since I was taught to tithe and give since I was a child, I have given thousands of dollars to the kingdom of God and the local church, and I don’t regret one dollar given.

God has designed in His wisdom a number – a specific percentage.  He knows that our heart has a tendency to horde money and withhold giving.   So he has established a number, and has attached his blessing to this particular percentage.

Tithe = 10 %

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. – Malachi 3:10

Sundays’ Message on MLK Day Revisited

I have received a lot of good feedback from the sermon God’s Plan For Racial Unity that I preached in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. As I stated in the sermon, we don’t want to use a church service to glorify a man.  However, Dr. King personifies million of people in America who decided that it was time to change, thus birthing the American Civil Rights Movement. This movement was based off non-violent protest.  This movement was birthed out of churches and by the involvement of ministers.  As I mentioned in the sermon, 24 ministers in Montgomery, Alabama, were arrested in 1956 during a non-violent protest. 1

In my sermon I believe I mentioned that Dr. King was a Harvard graduate.  That is incorrect.  He actually graduated from Morehouse College (1948), Crozer Theological Seminary (Chester, Pennsylvania, 1951) and a Ph.D in Systematic Theology from Boston University (1955). 2

At the conclusion of my sermon, I summarized King’s conclusion on the nature of sin in relationship to his liberal theology. Here is the actual quote that I find remarkably clear:

It was mainly the liberal doctrine of man that I began to question.  The more I observed the tragedies of history and man’s shameful inclination to choose the low road, the more I came to see the depths and strength of sin . . .  The more I thought about human nature the more I saw how our tragic inclination for sin causes us to use our minds to rationalize our actions. 3


1  King, Martin Luther, and James Melvin Washington. I Have a Dream : Writings and Speeches That Changed the World. 1st ed. [San Francisco]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992, 11 .
2 King and Washington, xxiii and xxiv.
3 King and Washington, 56.

MissionSHIFT – Part 1

I am participating in a conversation about missions based around a new book called MissionSHIFT: Global Missions Issues in The Third Millenium.  This book is a collection of essays on the church’s role in mission and is put together by David J. Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer.  Ed Stetzer spoke at CIL in August, and just started a new church in Hendersonville called Grace Church.

MissionSHIFT was written from an academic standpoint, and I am enjoying it very much.   Today, I’m responding to only Part 1, as the authors have requested.   In part one, we are discussing an essay that was written by Charles Van Engen, and responded to by Keith Eitel, Enoch Wan, Darrell Guder, Andreas Rosenberger, Ed Stetzer and David Hesselgrave.

I loved Van Engen’s historical journey through the definition of missions.  I especially appreciated his connection of Constantine and the state-initiated missions that happened through colonialism.  Still, I don’t understand why the term “missions” has become so complex.  I agree with Van Engen, that the term “missional church” in his words, “has now been used in so many ways as to become almost meaningless.”  I honestly thought Ed Stetzer had coined the word “missional” (ha!), so the history lesson on that phrase (p. 9) was good for me to read.  I disagree that there is an incredible vacuum in a workable definition of the word missions.   In my estimation, missiologist may be over thinking this definition.

There is a fear in Van Engen’s writings of the social gospel.   He doesn’t want to see the church follow the direction of the World Council of Churches since the 1960’s.   I understand that history repeats itself, but it’s hard for me to believe that a commitment to “humanitarian and compassion ministries through agriculture, education, medicine, AIDS-related ministries, children-at-risk movements (p. 20),” as a bad re-definition of missions.   The work of Jesus is involvement in issues such as these.   I don’t think a church who is uninvolved in these issues has the moral authority to share the plan of salvation through proclamation alone.  The evangelical church’s past disinterest with these social issues is hard for the world to understand.

I read all the responses from the other authors, and benefited from them all.   Yet, as much as I enjoyed this conversation, both Stetzer and Hesselgrave’s responses resonated with me.   Both of these authors brought us back to the practical application of these definitions and analysis.

The purpose of missions is so simplistic and practical, we need to apply missions before we define it.   A church that is outwardly focused will find a variety of missions expressions based off the context they live in,  the personality of the leadership, theology and the gifts of the people.   The conversation of MissionSHIFT is most helpful in that it creates the desire for more missions laboratories to apply theories.  These laboratories may be an evangelical crusade or a social initiative.  The important part is activity and action that points people towards Jesus Christ.

Don’t Miss This Weekend at CIL

This is a huge weekend at CIL!

Worship Night – On Friday at 7:oo p.m., we will gather for a night of Worship & Intercesssion.

242 Start – Saturday and Sunday, our 242 Groups start for the New Year.  There is one Saturday night group, and the rest meet on Sundays at 6:00 p.m.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, I’ll be preaching a message called God’s Plan For Racial Unity.  This will be an important message for your life, and our church – so don’t miss!

We’re on Day #5 of the Daniel Fast.  I trust your feeling better physically, and more spiritually focused.

Let’s have an incredible weekend!

Article about CIL by Upstream Collective

Our friends at “Upstream Collective” did a blog article about CIL.   I think author Natalie Bunch did a nice job re-telling my personal story, and sharing the small steps our church has taken since then.  Special thanks to Paul Jackson for being the one to challenge me during the fund-raising process, and Pastor Kim Driver for implementing our vision through Compassion Ministries.

Take a read at this link

“Daniel Fast” Day 1 – Tough Start

Being “snowed in” and having the College Football National Championship game on TV makes for a tough day to start the “Daniel Fast.”  However, it actually get’s better from here!  In the next couple of days, your body will stop craving the fried foods, caffeine and sugar.  Instead, you will be energized, and better able to focus on worship and prayer.

Tonight may be a great chance for you to write down what you want God to accomplish during the fast.   When your tempted to give in, focusing on what you are praying for – this will help you.  I know all of us a part of CIL are praying for the Holy Spirit to do a great work in our church in 2011.   We desire to see the lost come in relationship with Christ, and for all of us to know him better.  Remember, we exist to Know His Love, Share His Love.

The Food List for the “Daniel Fast”

At church this morning I encouraged people to participate in a “Daniel Fast” from January 10-30.   We are joining other churches across the nation in something called Awakening 21.    So you can start preparing for January 10th, here is a list of foods to use as a guideline.  This Wednesday (January 5th) I am going to share some insights and tips on this list.

Foods I can Eat

Whole Grains: Brown Rice, Oats, Barley

Legumes: Dried Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Lentils, Black Eyed Peas

Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Cranberries, Oats, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelo’s, Tangerines, Watermelon

Vegetables: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Gingerroot, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini

Seeds, Nuts, Sprouts

Liquids: Spring Water, Distilled Water, 100% All-Natural Fruit Juices, 100% All Natural Vegetable Juices

Foods to Avoid

Meat. White Rice, Fried Foods, Caffeine, Carbonated Beverages, Foods Containing Preservatives or Additives, Refined Sugar, Sugar Substitutes, White Flour and All Products Using It, Margarine, Shortening, High Fat Products

Moleskine and TCU

Have you considered using a journal as you go through the New Testament this year?  This has been one of the best exercises for me in Bible reading.   There are no rules to this, just write what you want to, when you feel like it.  It may be a response to the Scripture.  It may be a phrase in the passage, that you re-write.  It may be a question – I have lots of those when I read the Bible.  With the 5 x 5 x 5 Plan that we are using, there will be five days of reflection each month that a journal will be very useful for.

Grab a simple spiral notebook at the store, and give it a shot.  For those of you who want to invest in a nicer journal, I use a Moleskines notebook that I usually get at Barnes & Noble.

We have well over 100 people participating in the 2011 New Testament Bible Reading, and I believe we can reach 200 by the end of next week.  We’ll give a good push for this at CIL this Sunday.

On a different note, I am very excited about TCU playing in the Rose Bowl this afternoon.  My grandpa, who I adored, played football and basketball for TCU in the 1930’s.   We used to go to TCU football games in the 1980’s when they were horrible.   I never dreamed the team would be this good, much less play in a Rose Bowl.  I’ll be thinking of my grandpa today, and rooting on the Horned Frogs!