How much $$$ are we supposed to give God?

Some say we should tithe.  After all, doesn’t the Bible say, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse”? (Mal. 3.10)  Yes it does but have you ever thought about what the “Whole Tithe” was?  The word tithe means, “tenth part” and in Israel there were three tithes that together comprised the “whole tithe.”

The Levite Tithe: support for the priests (Num. 18)–10% every year

The Festival Tithe:  support for sacred services/celebrations (Deut. 12)–10% every year

The Poor tithe:  Support for the poor, orphans & widows (Deut. 14 & 26)–10% every 3 years

Average the three tithes together and God’s people gave approximately 23% every year!

In response to this some argue, “Tithing was for those living under law but we live under grace.”  I agree.  So here is the question:  Does grace inspire more or less than law?”  Law limits us.  Grace sets us free!  Thus we no longer are constrained by tithing…we can give more!

It has been widely reported that the average Christian in America gives 2.5% to God.  Why do you think this is?

Randy Alcorn writes, “I will listen to the point of view of the Christian who says, ‘Tithing is not meant for today’–provided that he gives regularly and that his giving exceeds the tithe.  But the person who argues against the tithe and proceeds to give less than a tithe is effectively saying God has lowered his standards of giving and that New Testament grace means reduced commitment.”

Amen!

I unpack the connection between grace and giving in this message on the Grace-Centered life.  It comes down to this:  How much do you want to give God?  Does anyone want to only give God one out of every ten dollars?

Grace-Centered: Part 5 (Pastor Robert Gelinas) from Colorado Community Church on Vimeo.

What would you ask Carlotta Walls LaNier?

This week, at The Sankofa Institute, I’m interviewing a living legend–Carlotta Walls LaNier.

Mrs. LaNier will forever be remembered as one of The Little Rock Nine.  She chronicles her painful journey in her powerful memoir, “A Mighty Long Way:  My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.”

Sept. 25th 1957 a young Carlotta Walls integrated Little Rock Central H.S. under the presidential protection of 1200 members of the 101st Airborne.  Hear that again, it took 1200 men to escort 9 black teens into a school of 2000 white students.  The Little Rock Nine went to school under war-like conditions and, sadly, Carlotta became the first integrating student in the nation to have her home bombed.  She was inside along with her mother and two sisters.

Why?  Mrs. Walls-LaNier says, “We were not interested in making history.  We simply wanted to attend the best high school and get the best education possible.”

If you were doing this interview, what question would you ask this magnificent person?

Statement of Faith

  • All 66 books of the Bible are the inspired, inerrant word of God. The Bible is the final authority for Christian faith and living.
  • God exists eternally in three equal, though distinct, persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He has revealed Himself as perfect in love and the creator of all.
  • Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Son – fully God and man. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified, died and was buried as a sacrifice for our sins. He rose from the dead and returned to heaven.
  • Created in God’s image, mankind followed Satan in rebelling against God. By personally receiving Christ through faith, we are forgiven our sins, reborn by God’s Spirit, and declared with assurance to be children of God.
  • The Church is the living Body of Christ on earth. All who believe in Him as savior are part of His Body. The Church’s mission is to grow the saved, help save the lost, and care for the downtrodden. The Church celebrates its Risen Savior through worship and the sacraments of baptism and communion.
  • We expect Jesus to return at any time to raise the dead, judge the world, and establish His kingdom. This encourages believers with the hope that we shall forever be with Him.

Pictures from Washington DC

Barry Black is the Chaplain to the US Senate.  He’s shepherd to our Senators, their families and staffers.  It was a privilege to pray for the man who prays for The Senate.

Joshua DuBois is the Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (Learn more here) Time Magazine called him Obama’s Pastor in Chief.  Joshua represents the administrations heart for orphans, fatherlessness etc. as related to the faith community.

The new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at night.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum & my daughter with two holocaust survivors.

Are You Consistent? (p5)

Check out this quote!

“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

— Hubert H. Humphrey

Currently listening to a panel on nourishing the Consistent Life Ethic in today’s political climate.

On the Panel:

Fascinating to hear the different struggles that all of these folks face as they try to live consistently pro-life.

Are You Consistent? (p4)

Our keynote speaker this morning was Dr. Catherine Meeks, the distinguished retired professor from Wesleyan College.  The core of her work has been with people marginalized due to economic status, race, gender or physical ability  and working so that they can have a more abundant life.

Her message:  Making it CLEAR–Consistent Life Ethic A Reality!

She has seen first hand what happens when life is not consistently upheld.  At the age of twelve her brother was refused treatment at a “Whites Only” hospital in Arkansas.  His father drove 75 miles, frantically trying to get help for his son.  On the way his appendix burst and he died.

She suggests that we all need a bottom line:  Let’s be humane.

Ultimately it begins with ourselves.  We can always see how someone else needs to change.  It’s easy to see the how others are inconsistent.  Our compassion grows for them only when we realize that we too have things that need to change.  Only after summoning the courage to change things in our own lives can we realize what we are expecting of others.

What I found most moving was her challenge to honor the elderly.  It’s one thing to be against assisted suicide but what about caring for and honoring the aged among us?  All too often we don’t honor our elders the way God calls us too.  A true pro-life stance will extend to seeing senior citizens as valuable and needed.

Are You Consistent? (p3)

Life Matters Journal truly believes that the pen is mightier than the sword.  They are using the virtual pen to make legalized violence a thing of the past through education and discourse.

Click here to view their latest issue here.

Life Matters Journal believes

that the right to life is primary and foundational for any other liberty to be granted; indeed we cannot act on our liberties if we do not first live! We therefore hold dear to our hearts the causes against abortion, unjust war, euthanasia, capital punishment, embryonic stem cell research, torture, domestic abuse, suicide, and human trafficking. We know that this is indeed a broad range of issues, but we firmly believe that they are all intertwined, and, like Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

We must realize that the most important issue of our day is the neglect of the dignity of human life. Those on all sides of the political spectrum, and from all angles of belief and religion should be able to put down their arms and join together on these issues. We must create a space for these issues to be discussed, for opinions to be delineated for the cause of life without the fetters of political parties or the leash of any one particular religion.

That being said, we at Life Matters Journal are a non-partisan, secular group dedicated to the cause of life. We are starting a journal to ignite discussion on our campuses and in our communities. In order to reach out to our peers, we cannot stand on religious arguments alone, and we cannot choose a political side. The consistent life ethic is not for any one group or for any one position.

I recommend this resource to you as a great way to wrestle with the question:  Are you consistent?

Are You Consistent? (p2)

Blogging from the Consistent Life 25th Anniversary Conference

The conference opened with a keynote message from Dr. Johnny Hunter.  This genuine man has dedicated his life to family, racial harmony, and the survival of children around the world.  He is also the National Director of the Life Education And Resource Network (LEARN).

Drawing our attention to Micah 6.8 (“What does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”) he remarked that, “You can’t have true justice without mercy.”

Ultimately his main point was this:  Life is devalued in our society and minorities are disproportionately effected.

The stats on abortion, death penalty, poverty Etc. all prove this out.

His call?  Be consistently pro-life on all issues.

Are You Consistent? (p1)

I’m in Washington DC at the Consistent Life 25th Anniversary Conference.

This is a group committed to the protection of life, which is threatened in today’s world by war, abortion, poverty, racism, capital punishment and euthanasia.  This group believes that these issues are linked under a ‘consistent ethic of life.’  It’s all about a cooperative spirit of peace, reconciliation, and respect in protecting the unprotected.

The question is this:  What does it mean to be pro-life?

Normally we think of being pro-life as being just anti-abortion.  However, abortion is not the only life issue.

Ultimately, the question is, “Are you consistent–consistenly pro-life on every issue?”