Category : A Letter to RLC

tithingh
A Letter to RLC, Leadership, Read Everything
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Is Tithing New Testament?

Recently, I was reading an article in CharismaNews.com which I hear all too often, “Is tithing a New Testament thing?” I believe it is. Here is a great article about this very interesting topic:

Question: One area that I am researching is the Tithe and offering. I know very well what Malachi 3:7-12 teaches that according to the Law if a believer falls short then they have robbed God and fall under a curse. Paul wrote to the Galatians in Galatians. 3:13 telling them they had been redeemed from the cruse of the Law.

The main point of Malachi 3 is often overlooked. The prophet was telling the Jews to turn their hearts to God and give with love so the ministries would be fully supplied. I know that God wants us to give—and I believe in the law of reciprocity—and I know we need to support our local church, orphans, widows, etc. Here’s my question shouldn’t support and giving be from the heart and not because we are under a mandatory legal system? What are your views on Tithes, offerings and giving? —Brother Keith

Bible Answer: You asked a great question. I get this question all the time.

Tithing began before the law was introduced. The Law simply regulated the tithe. Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, 400 years before the time of Moses and the Law, and according to Romans 4:12 we are to walk in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham. If tithing was good for him, it should be good for us, too.

We give tithes like Abraham gave them—not by the Law but by faith. And beside that, if the people of God paid 10 percent before the Law, and 10 percent under the Law, shouldn’t we, who live by grace, be doing any less when we have a better covenant (Heb. 7:22)?

There is a passage in Hebrews, which deals with this issue directly. It is Hebrews 7:8:

In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living.

Melchizedek received Abraham’s tithe. The Hebrew writer shows that Melchizedek is a prefigure of Christ. We can conclude that just as Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek, we give a tithe to Christ who is declared to be living.

Some people think this is a new issue. It is as old as the second century when more and more Gentiles were being converted. The early Jewish believers had no problem with tithing since they had done it under the Law and gave it to the priests. They simply gave their tithe to the elders of the church and did by love. However, as the church became less Jewish this issue came up to the church fathers. They answered the question of tithing with Matt. 23:23: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Notice Jesus said, “You should have practiced the latter (justice, mercy and faithfulness), without neglecting the former (tithing).” The fathers argued, and rightful so, that Jesus word ends the discussion. Since Jesus said not to neglect the former—being tithing—then no believer should neglect tithing. I wholeheartedly agree!

Some argue that Jesus words are not applicable to us today, because Jesus was under the Law and spoke to those under the Law. Their theory goes something like this: Jesus was giving an instruction to the Jews, so His words are not binding to us.

The problem with this interpretation is that these teachers are bringing Christ down to the level of a Jewish prophet or Teacher of the Law. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, so this means every word that comes out of His mouth is eternal. He cannot say anything without it being “spiritual law” and everlasting. Jesus emphasizes this point by saying, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

These supposed Bible teachers are making the words of Jesus pass away—obsolete and out of date. Besides, these same teachers pick and choose which teachings of Christ in the gospels they believe are applicable to us. I notice that even these teachers agree that most of Christ’s teachings are for us; however, because they are predisposed against tithing, they have had to come up with an excuse for not obeying the clear word of Christ in Mat. 23:23.

As a believer, you have to show who your Lord is! Is it the teachers who tell you tithing is not New Testament and who tell you that Jesus word on the subject is out of date; or is it Jesus who clearly told us not to neglect tithing? No modern teacher has the right to tell you to disobey Jesus instruction on tithing. Period!

Even if the only passages in the New Testament was Jesus’ word, then that would be sufficient, however, I want to present other New Testament passages on the subject. Let’s look at Paul’s teaching on giving.

Paul also uses the pattern of tithing under the law in 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 and says, “Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”

Paul argues that just as the priests got their food from the tithes of the people, so the preachers should live the same way. This passage clearly shows the mentality of the apostle and his understanding of carrying over the concept of tithing into the church. The passage often used to contradict this is 2 Cor. 9:7: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

The argument goes something like this: “Each believer has a right to decide for himself what to give and should not be told what percentage he should contribute.”

The problem with this argument is that the above passage is not dealing with giving to support the church, but rather giving to the poor. Under the Law, giving to the poor was a freewill offering. The Law commanded freewill offerings as well as tithes: “But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks” (Deut. 12:5-6).

It is quite inconsistent for people to appeal to freewill offerings yet claim that tithing has been abolished. Both tithing and freewill offerings were incorporated in the Law as the above passage shows, but they preceded the Law, thus they both should be practiced. The burden of proof is placed on those who teach that tithing has been abolished. If so, where in the New Testament does it clearly say that tithing has been abolished?

One last thing, notice the resemblance of the language Paul uses in the first passage in Galatians and compare it with the Old Testament passage about tithing:

“Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor” (Gal. 6:6).

“And you and the Levites and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household. When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied” (Deut. 26:11-12).

Galatians 6 is dealing with giving to the teacher of the gospel and he uses the same language about the Levites receiving the tithe of the people and he calls it “all good things.” This is pretty good internal evidence that the early church tithed to the ministers of the gospel, although, I admit it is not explicit evidence.

Tom Brown is the founder and pastor of Word of Life Church in El Paso, Texas. He and his wife, Sonia, host a weekly television program, The Bondage Broker, available online.

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fear
A Letter to RLC, Leadership, Read Everything
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Feeling Afraid, Worried, or Unsure?

Feeling afraid, worried, or unsure? God’s Word has a little something to say about it…

33 Verses to Remind Us – We Do Not Have to Fear

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19

“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:22-26

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

“Immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’” Mark 6:50

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“’For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:13-14

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” Psalm 118:6-7

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:39-40

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7

“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” 1 Peter 3:14

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22

“Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’” Revelation 1:17

“Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” Mark 5:36

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38-39

“The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…” from Psalm 91:1-16

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A Letter to RLC, Leadership, Personal Development, Read Everything
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The Election Is Over, Now What?

The election is now over. No matter who you wanted to win, it is now over. So, as a Christ follower, what do we do now? Here are a few steps to begin to move us forward:

HONOR.

(2 Timothy 2:2) “Prayer …for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

We have had our chance to vote now our job becomes to pray. Respect is earned but honor is freely given because it is something God has asked of us. It ultimately comes down to a question… Do you really think God is in control? If so, trust Him and honor the new elected incumbent and honor one another.

CONTENTMENT.

(Philippians 4:11) “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

As I said above, it comes down to trusting God. No matter who was going to win, we still have a God in Heaven who loves us. Contentment is a matter of trust, not in our government but in our God.

PRAYER.

(2 Chronicles 7:14) “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Prayer changes things. Prayer changes history. Prayer changes people. Prayer should be our first response not our last resort.

WORK.

(Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV) And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9 ESV) Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.

(Colossians 3:23 ESV) Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

Put feet on your prayers. It’s time to work to build bridges between those you have disagreed with. Be the change you want to see. The church is God’s plan to reach the world. It is time for us to unify and reach our world for Christ.

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A Letter to RLC, Read Everything
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A Weekend Wrap Up>>>

Hello RLC! We had an amazing weekend at RLC and I wanted to share with you a few things to celebrate!

1. SATURDAY SERVE DAY. This past Saturday we had a great time serving our awesome city. We serve breakfast to the homeless at the Salvation Army, served at the Family Enrichment Center, sang to and visited people at Fern Terrace, and did landscaping at Hotel Inc. Al these organizations are constantly serving our city and it was an honor to serve them. You are never closer to the heart of God than when you are serving someone else. Thank you to everyone for helping RLC make Saturday such a special day.

2. ONE DECISION FOR CHRIST SUNDAY! The first part of our vision is for people to “KNOW GOD”. Without knowing Him, nothing else works. Jesus said that a good shepherd will leave the 99 and go looking for the one lost sheep. Then, when finding it, will rejoice more over the one than the whole other 99. We celebrate every time someone takes that first step in their faith journey. Praise the Lord!

3. BAPTISM SUNDAY. I had the honor of baptizing three amazing people yesterday afternoon. We believe that salvation is a personal, private moment between you and God. However, at some point that decision needs to be public. That’s what baptism is, going public with your faith. Such an honor to celebrate with these amazing people and their families.

4. BABY DEDICATION. Did you see that precious family on stage Sunday during the second service? RLC loves the Brooks family. We were able to enjoy the special moment of dedicating their newest addition, Mia Charolette Brooks. It was a beautiful moment and one of my favorite things to do as a pastor. Thank you Brooks family for the opportunity.

5. LIFEGROUPS. I am hearing so many great reports of our LifeGroups. Thank you to everyone of our leaders for working so hard and to everyone who attends each week. God is at work in your life and you are going to take some amazing next steps in your walk with God this semester.

THIS WEEK>>>

1. GET IN A GROUP. It is not too late. Check out the RLC website here to learn more>>> www.experiencerlc.com/life-groups/

2. GET INVOLVED IN NEXT STEPS. Have you been to next steps? What are you waiting for? It’s one of the main things we do at RLC and happens every Sunday during the first service in Hope Cafe! Next week is week one and is the perfect time to get onboard!

3. ONE THING TO STOP. In our message yesterday, we talked about “Stopping” one thing that was hindering you from telling the story God wants you to tell. The best way to make that stick is to tell your LifeGroup this week. Find some accountability and encouragement from those closest to you.

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pete
A Letter to RLC, Leadership, Life Groups, Read Everything
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Why Pete Wilson is Rocking the Ministry Community

If you have not already heard, Pastor Pete Wilson of Crosspoint Church in Nashville, Tn resigned just a little over a week ago. What made this resignation so unique was why he resigned. It was not due to an addiction, moral, or ethic failure. It was something that most people ministry are familiar with but rarely talk about, burnout.

Nine days after his public announcement, I have personally talked with six different ministers who have been rocked to the core by what Pete did. The reason why is simple but staggering, because they are in the same boat too. Pete has thrown the curtain back on something that has become an epidemic among leaders today. We know how to lead churches and businesses well but have no idea how to lead ourselves. Our churches and businesses are growing and thriving while we are slowly dying and wondering if the pain will ever stop. I applaud Pete’s willingness to confront such an issue. I believe God is using this difficult moment to reveal the hearts of so many who are hurting and desperately need help.

The purpose of this blog is to be a sort of online mentor for anyone wishing to grow in their lives. Because of this, I talk about various random topics that I hope will cause you to think, be encouraged, inspired, and maybe even grow in your pursuit of excellence. That being said, many people are on the brink or have already fallen overboard into the sea of burnout. You know it. It is time to come clean.

Here are some of the signs that you may be experiencing burnout or emotional exhaustion:

  1. Chronic fatigue. In the early stages, you may feel a lack energy and feel tired most days. In the latter stages, you feel physically and emotionally exhausted, drained, and depleted, and you may feel a sense of dread for what lies ahead on any given day.
  2. Insomnia. In the early stages, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep one or two nights a week. In the latter stages, insomnia may turn into a persistent, nightly ordeal; as exhausted as you are, you can’t sleep.
  3. Forgetfulness/impaired concentration and attention. Lack of focus and mild forgetfulness are early signs. Later, the problems may get to the point where you can’t get your work done and everything begins to pile up.
  4. Physical symptoms. Physical symptoms may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting, and/or headaches (all of which should be medically assessed).
  5. Increased illness. Because your body is depleted, your immune system becomes weakened, making you more vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related medical problems.
  6. Loss of appetite. In the early stages, you may not feel hungry and may skip a few meals. In the latter stages, you may lose your appetite all together and begin to lose a significant amount of weight.
  7. Anxiety. Early on, you may experience mild symptoms of tension, worry, and edginess. As you move closer to burnout, the anxiety may become so serious that it interferes in your ability to work productively and may cause problems in your personal life.
  8. Depression. In the early stages, you may feel mildly sad, occasionally hopeless, and you may experience feelings of guilt and worthlessness as a result. At its worst, you may feel trapped, severely depressed, and think the world would be better off without you. (If your depression is to this point, you should seek professional help immediately.)
  9. Anger. At first, this may present as interpersonal tension and irritability. In the latter stages, this may turn into angry outbursts and serious arguments at home and in theworkplace. (If anger gets to the point where it turns to thoughts or acts of violence toward family or coworkers, seek immediate professional assistance.)

Signs of Cynicism and Detachment

  1. Loss of enjoyment. At first, loss of enjoyment may seem very mild, such as not wanting to go to work or being eager to leave. Without intervention, loss of enjoyment may extend to all areas of your life, including the time you spend with family and friends. At work, you may try to avoid projects and figure out ways to escape work all together.
  2. Pessimism. At first, this may present itself as negative self-talk and/or moving from a glass half-full to a glass half-empty attitude. At its worst, this may move beyond how you feel about yourself and extend to trust issues with coworkers and family members and a feeling that you can’t count on anyone.
  3. Isolation. In the early stages, this may seem like mild resistance to socializing (i.e., not wanting to go out to lunch; closing your door occasionally to keep others out). In the latter stages, you may become angry when someone speaks to you, or you may come in early or leave late to avoid interactions.
  4. Detachment. Detachment is a general sense of feeling disconnected from others or from your environment. It can take the form of the isolative behaviors described above, and result in removing yourself emotionally and physically from your job and other responsibilities. You may call in sick often, stop returning calls and emails, or regularly come in late.

Signs of Ineffectiveness and Lack of Accomplishment

  1. Feelings of apathy and hopelessness. This is similar to what is described in the depression and pessimism sections of this article. It presents as a general sense that nothing is going right or nothing matters. As the symptoms worsen, these feelings may become immobilizing, making it seems like “what’s the point?”
  2. Increased irritability. Irritability often stems from feeling ineffective, unimportant, useless, and an increasing sense that you’re not able to do things as efficiently or effectively as you once did. In the early stages, this can interfere in personal and professional relationships. At its worst, it can destroy relationships and careers.
  3. Lack of productivity and poor performance. Despite long hours, chronic stress prevents you from being as productive as you once were, which often results in incomplete projects and an ever-growing to-do list. At times, it seems that as hard as you try, you can’t climb out from under the pile.

 

 

1. Take an inventory. Make a list of all the situations that cause you to feel stressed, anxious, worried, frustrated, and helpless. Don’t rush through it. It’s not a race; it’s a process. Also, you cannot move forward until you know where you are.

2. Locate. After taking an inventory, locate the highest stress options and eliminate.

3. Just say “no.” While you’re “recovering,” avoid taking on any new commitments or responsibilities.

4. Delegate as many things as possible, even if the person you’re delegating to may not do them as quickly or as well as you would.

5. Control your devices. Gadgets, such as iPads, computers, and smart phones, can consume large amounts of your time and energy. Turn them off as much as possible.

6. Socialize outside your professional group. This can provide fresh perspectives, stimulate new ideas, and help you discover previously undiscovered resources.

7. Resist the urge to take work home. Enough said.

8. Get a better view of counseling. Gone are the days of misguided views on counseling. Have a professional counselor in your life is a very healthy thing to do.

9. Rediscover your passion. How long has it been since you did something purely for the joy of it?

10. Rest. It took you a long time to get this way. I will not get better overnight. Embrace the process and rest, rest, rest. The world will keep spinning, I promise.

So, where do you stand with all this?

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