Category : Read Everything

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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Book Reviews, Leadership, Read Everything
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Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code: By Sam Chand (Chapter One Review)

At RLC, our staff is currently reviewing the book “Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code” by Sam Chand. It is important to step back from working in something to work on it from time to time. Here are some of the statements which stuck out to me in the first chapter.

CULTURE TRUMPS VISION

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes . . . but no plans.  —Peter Drucker

Culture—not vision or strategy—is the most powerful factor in any organization. It determines the receptivity of staff and volunteers to new ideas, unleashes or dampens creativity, builds or erodes enthusiasm, and creates a sense of pride or deep discouragement about working or being involved there. Ultimately, the culture of an organization—particularly in churches and nonprofit organizations, but also in any organization—shapes individual morale, teamwork, effectiveness, and outcomes.

The fact is, culture eats strategy for lunch.

You can have a good strategy in place, but if you don’t have the culture and the enabling systems, the [negative] culture of the organization will defeat the strategy.

Seven keys of  GOOD CULTURE:

  1. Control
  2. Understanding
  3. Leadership
  4. Trust
  5. Unafraid
  6. Responsive
  7. Execution

Many leaders confuse culture with vision and strategy, but they are very different. Vision and strategy usually focus on products, services, and outcomes, but culture is about the people—the most valuable asset in the organization.

To see a few snapshots of a church’s culture, we might ask these questions:

  • Who are the heroes? What makes them heroes? Who determines who the heroes are?
  • When someone inquires, “Tell me about your church or nonprofit,” what stories are told?
  • How much does the average staff member feel he or she has input into the direction and strategy of the church or nonprofit?
  • Who has the ear of the top leaders? How did these people win a hearing with the leaders?
  • What are the meaningful rituals? What message do they convey to those in the organization and those outside it?
  • Who is rewarded, and for what accomplishments?
  • What is the level of loyalty up and down the organizational chart? What factors build loyalty?
  • What is the level of creativity and enthusiasm throughout the organization?
  • When an objective observer spends an hour watching people interact in the offices, what mood does he or she pick up?
  • How are decisions made, deferred, or delayed?
  • Who are the non-positional power brokers, the people who have authority based on the respect they’ve earned but who don’t have authoritative titles?
  • Where are control problems and power struggles most evident?
  • How is “ turf ” defi ned and protected?

The shape of an organization’s culture begins at the top levels.

Culture Is the Most Powerful Factor in Any Organization

Culture Is Usually Unnoticed, Unspoken, and Unexamined

Culture Determines How People Respond to Vision and Leadership

Culture Most Often Surfaces and Is Addressed in Negative Experiences

Culture Is Hard to Change, but Change Results in Multiplied Benefits

Culture problems, by their nature, are never solved quickly.

The intangibles of respect and trust transform a church culture into a beehive of thinking, creating, and working together to accomplish grand goals. When staff members feel valued, they far more readily embrace a leader’s vision. Even if they disagree or don’t understand, they are more willing to give the benefit of the doubt and pitch in.

A positive culture will act as an accelerant for your vision.

Changing your organization’s culture will be one of the most challenging processes you’ve ever implemented, but I guarantee you, you’ll be glad you did.

Think About It . . .

  1. Do you agree or disagree with the premise of this chapter that culture trumps vision? Explain your answer.
  2. Describe the most inspiring organizational culture you have experienced as a staff member or ministry leader. How did the senior leaders treat people? How did they impart vision and strategy? How did people respond?
  3. Why did you pick up this book? What do you hope to get out of reading this book and implementing the steps of change?
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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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now-what
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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chase
Book Reviews, Personal Development, Read Everything
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Book: Chase the Lion (By: Mark Batterson)

I’ve just started a new book called Chase the Lion by one of my favorite authors Mark Batterson. So far, I love it. This is his sequel to In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.

Here are some great quotes I have encountered so far:

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