Tag Archives: Giving

One of the reasons I’m careful about choosing which charities to support

Once you are on their mailing lists, it is hard to get off!

I donated money to a Campus Crusade guy about 15 years ago.  I was the leader of the Christian Employee Network Group at Compaq (and subsequently HP) and we met on several occasions.  But I eventually stopped the support because I wanted to channel it elsewhere.

But I’m still getting updates from him in the mail!

I contacted him twice to have him remove me from his distribution list.  Nothing happened, so I started just throwing them away unread.  We moved in 2003, but he somehow got the new address (I didn’t give it to him).  Then we moved in 2009 and the mail still kept coming.  We moved this year and I just got an update.  Argh!  What a waste of stamps.

This is why I primarily support our local church and then a handful of other carefully-selected charities.  I’d rather give more to fewer organizations than a little to many of them.  I am good at saying “no” to the little requests (grocery store checkout suggestions, general solicitations, etc.).  I treat it like I do my retirement investments:  I want to diversity a bit but not too much, and I want to ensure that my money is going where it can do the most good.

So my advice is to do the same: Give, because giving is fun*, but do so with discernment.

2 Corinthians 9:6–7 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

*Oh, and give because Jesus promised rewards, and He has the most credibility of anyone in the universe to back up his promises.

Matthew 6:19–21 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

King David vs. the theological Left

If you ask the government to take from neighbor A by force to transfer to neighbor B, then that is not charity on your part, and certainly not something Jesus taught. He said to give your own money.  Yet the theological Left and its false teachers do this endlessly.

These people, who claim the name of Christ, should follow the example of King David when he was making an offering to the Lord: 1 Chronicles 21:24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

David wouldn’t even take the offerings that were given freely.  He didn’t want to just re-gift something to God.  The theological Left does something far worse than re-gifting: They advocate taking from others by force to “give” in their name.  They are greedy (wanting to keep what they have) and covetous (jealous of what others have), not generous.  Don’t let them fool you, and don’t be a part of it.

Give generously, but give your own money.

2 Corinthians 9:6–7 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

I’m with Bono on this one.

Via Bono: Only Capitalism Can End Poverty.

This is a great day. For years, Bono has been something of a pain, banging on about the need for billions of dollars in Western foreign aid to Africa. I have criticized him for ignoring the real source of African poverty – lack of capitalism – on numerous occasions.

But, unlike many who hate capitalism without reservation, Bono is open to changing his mind. Here is Bono giving capitalism its due recognition during a recent speech at Georgetown University. As the musician put it, when it comes to poverty “free enterprise is a cure.”

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming.

According to the World Bank, global poverty is declining rapidly. In 1981, 70 percent of people in poor countries lived on less than $2 a day, while 42 percent survived on less than $1 a day. Today, 43 percent live on less than $2 a day, while 14 percent survive on less than $1. “Poverty reduction of this magnitude is unparalleled in history,” wrote Brookings Institution researchers Laurence Chandy and Geoffrey Gertz in a recent paper. “Never before have so many people been lifted out of poverty over such a brief period of time.”

Yes, we should still share with the less fortunate — preferably out of our own wallets.  But we must use good discernment with giving to ensure that it isn’t counter-productive.  Know the charities you support and ensure that they are really making a difference and are run efficiently and effectively.  Use good discernment and pray for wisdom!  But don’t forget that making people more self-sufficient may be the greatest gift.

For example, one of the reasons we love and support the AIDS Orphan mission in Kenya is that it doesn’t just cost effectively (literally $10/child/month) feed, clothe and educate these orphans (and the widows who take care of them), it also gives them life skills.  We met many kids who baked bread, sewed, did hair care, planted trees, etc. and made such good livings that they supported themselves and their siblings.  Their joy was contagious.  We feel blessed to be a small part of that and feel confident in giving to the program because we’ve seen it first hand many times and have gotten to know the leaders well over a number of years.

Discernment in giving

It isn’t enough just to donate money.  We need to be good stewards of what God gave us and ensure we are donating to trustworthy and effective organizations.  I was encouraged by this article by Kevin DeYoung on Help for the Poor that Really Helps.  The ministries we’ve supported in Kenya, Honduras and elsewhere do these things well.

Note how low fair-trade coffee is relative to other endeavors.  Oh, and note how clicking the “Like” button on Facebook isn’t on the list.

Christians can too easily settle for good intentions. We usually support programs that make us feel good without considering whether they actually do good. We need to be smarter about actually thinking through which poverty strategies are most effective. “To answer this question” Wydick writes, “I polled top development economists who specialize in analyzing development programs. I asked them to rate, from 0 to 10, some of the most common poverty interventions to which ordinary people donate their money, in terms of impact and cost-effectiveness per donated dollar.”

These were the results:

1. Get clean water to rural villages (Rating: 8.3)

2. Fund de-worming treatments for children (Rating: 7.8)

3. Provide mosquito nets (Rating: 7.3)

4. Sponsor a child (Rating: 6.9)

5. Give wood-burning stoves (Rating: 6.0)

6. Give a micro-finance loan (Rating 4.2)

7. Fund reparative surgeries (Rating: 3.9)

8. Donate a farm animal (Rating 3.8)

9. Drink fair-trade coffee (Rating. 1.9)

10. Give a kid a laptop (1.8)

Of course, we want to ensure that these ministries are sharing the Gospel with people as well.  Poor people without Jesus go to Hell just like rich people without Jesus do.

Thoughts on tithing: Something to offend everyone!

money2.jpg

It is stewardship campaign season so I wanted to rerun this post from 2008, which had an interesting comment thread.  I’m also adding this link describing a plan for giving generously.  The four suggestions were simple and excellent.  One that has worked well for us is the Lifestyle Cap:

Lifestyle cap.  As we earn more, we should give more. If you are wealthier than you used to be, have you done more to increase your standard of living or your standard of giving? 

Living below your means — not just within them — is a great place to be.  As you cap your lifestyle in terms of cars, housing, clothes, vacations, etc. you’ll be amazed how much more you have to give and save.

—–

I have mixed views on the Biblical concept of tithing.  On the one hand, I think 10% is a nice, round number and a great amount for people to give.

But I don’t see New Testament support to make it a requirement for Christians, and I see many preachers take Old Testament verses that were just for the Israelites and project them onto the New Testament.  The only NT passage that I am aware of that mentions tithing is Matthew 23:23, and that was to point out the hypocrisy of the listeners (“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cummin. 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”).

Also, 10% was not the upper limit for the Israelites.  My guess is that many of the people reading this could give more than that.  We’re in the richest 2% of people who ever lived, and I think that as a country we’re wasting a huge opportunity to put our wealth towards advancing the Gospel and his kingdom around the world.

Some think they can’t afford to tithe, though God expected the poorest Israelite to give 10%.  If you really want to give 10%, you can find a way.  Think of it this way: If your boss cut your pay 10%, what would you do – die?

And the hypothetical wage cut figure really isn’t 10%, since your contributions are tax deductible.  Roughly speaking, going from 0% giving to 10% would reduce your spending by roughly 8% or less.  And if you are already giving, say, 5%, then it would only impact you by 4% of your income.

Most importantly, I really don’t like to over-emphasize anything that might turn giving into a legalistic enterprise, because that can take the fun out of it.  Giving should be joyful!

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Yet if we really believe what Jesus said and don’t consider this next passage just a sound bite, our giving habits will reach into eternity.  Right after we die I think we’ll have some serious regrets about how we handled our money much of the time, and some serious joy over the good decisions we made.

Matthew 6:19-20 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Is that enough of a contradiction for everyone?  How do you help turn people on to the joys of giving without making it legalistic and burdensome?

Don’t be slaves to the 10% target, but don’t assume you are limited by it, either.  You may be able to give much more.  Are you taking advantage of the opportunity you have in this life to help advance God’s kingdom?

And when you give, give intentionally and give to God first.  Don’t give him what is left over.

P.S. Here’s a good article on why the often-used example of Abraham is not a good justification for requiring tithing.

Ann Coulter on giving

See Scrooge Was a Liberal – Ann Coulter – Townhall Conservative, where Ann does a nice job highlighting some facts about giving.

Religious conservatives, the largest group at about 20 percent of the population, gave the most to charity — $2,367 per year, compared with $1,347 for the country at large.

Even when it comes to purely secular charities, religious conservatives give more than other Americans, which is surprising because liberals specialize in “charities” that give them a direct benefit, such as the ballet or their children’s elite private schools.

Indeed, religious people, Brooks says, “are more charitable in every measurable nonreligious way.”

Brooks found that conservatives donate more in time, services and even blood than other Americans, noting that if liberals and moderates gave as much blood as conservatives do, the blood supply would increase by about 45 percent.

They ought to set up blood banks at tea parties.

On average, a person who attends religious services and does not believe in the redistribution of income will give away 100 times more — and 50 times more to secular charities — than a person who does not attend religious services and strongly believes in the redistribution of income.

Secular liberals, the second largest group coming in at 10 percent of the population, were the whitest and richest of the four groups. (Some of you may also know them as “insufferable blowhards.”) These “bleeding-heart tightwads,” as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof calls them, were the second stingiest, just behind secular conservatives, who are mostly young, poor, cranky white guys.

Despite their wealth and advantages, secular liberals give to charity at a rate of 9 percent, less than all Americans and 19 percent less than religious conservatives. They were also “significantly less likely than the population average to return excess change mistakenly given to them by a cashier.” (Count Nancy Pelosi’s change carefully!)

Secular liberals are, however, 90 percent more likely to give sanctimonious Senate speeches demanding the forced redistribution of income. (That’s up 7 percent from last year!)

Needless to say, “religious liberals” made up the smallest group at just 6.4 percent of the population (for more on this, see my book, “Godless”).

A lot of people would like to have your problems. And mine.

A friend was once mentioning some problems with a house he was building, then caught himself and said, “A lot of people would like to have my problems.”  He meant it in a humble “maybe I should stop whining” way.

I often recall that when I start to grumble about things that aren’t that important – such as, hypothetically, a dishwasher that appears to be broken only it turns out it wasn’t but in the mean time you wasted hours trying to buy a new one and cracked the copper tube while investigating it so you had to fix that and spent waaaaay too much time on the whole thing.  Being blessed to have a dishwasher, dishes to put in it, food to put on the dishes, a house to put it all in, and so much more should put me in a constant state of gratitude.

So we should all remember that on most days there are about 6.5 billion people who would love to trade places with us.

P.S. Little known fact: Home builders pour a foundation, then set a dishwasher down, then build the house around it.  At least that’s what it seems like when you go to pull one out.

Number of things Jesus said about giving away your money: A lot.

Number of things He said about petitioning Caesar (i.e., the government) to take from neighbor A to “give” to neighbor B and considering it charity on your part: None.

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is a professor and former President at Chicago Theological Seminary and she wrote the piece below.  As I think you’ll see, it is more evidence that a seminary designation means nothing until you peel back the layers to see what people believe.  She is a prime example of a false teacher.

Her premise is that in the passage in Luke 18 about the rich young ruler Jesus was telling us to redistribute wealth via the government.  Here’s the passage in question.

Luke 18:18–30 (ESV) 18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

This was timely considering that at lunch today a non-believing friend asked me about the basics of giving from a Christian worldview.  Now on to her analysis, which is basically the opposite of what the Bible teaches.

Jesus to the rich young ruler: “distribute the money”

She fails from the title onward.  Jesus said for the young man to distribute his money, not someone else’s.

A deal President Obama struck with Republican leaders last week will extend tax cuts across the board including, controversially, to the richest Americans.

While it may indeed be “controversial,” is it that illogical that if tax cuts are extended then all who pay taxes would receive the same extension?

Some politicians argue that religious values should be reflected in the public square. Should this faith-based view of politics be applied to the economy? Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Right.  He said, “Whatever you did to the least of these . . .”  He didn’t say, “Whatever you asked Caesar to do by taking from others . . .”

Also, as we’ll soon see, Ms. Thistlethwaite is pro-abortion.  I wonder how she reconciles that with her “least of these” theology?

. . .

Once a rich young ruler came to Jesus, wanting to know what it took to be “good.” ‘I’ve kept all the commandments since my youth,’ the young man said, bragging a little.

A little?! How about, “That was a spectacularly wild lie on his part.”

Well, Jesus replied, “there is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money.” But the young man, “who was very rich,” turned away. Jesus’ comment? “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18: 21-25)

Note how she stops at verse 25.  If she would read the rest of the passage she would get a better idea of Jesus’ point: “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”  He also answers the “Who can be saved?” question, which I assume that Thistlethwaite and similar false teachers ignore.  After all, if Jesus answered who can be saved then that means some are unsaved.

All too true. It’s also easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a bill with the rich paying their fair share of taxes to get through Congress. Not gonna happen.

Was that Jesus’ point?

But that’s the moral thing to do. Our tax policies in this country are a way to help our neighbors who are the “least of these,” as Jesus also notes.

How outrageous of her.  That isn’t what Jesus noted.  He did say one thing about taxes in a separate passage, which was basically, “Stop whining and pay them.”  Matthew 25 had nothing to do with taxes.

We “distribute the money” so that we can help those who are the most vulnerable like children, the sick, those with handicapping conditions, and the elderly. It’s a way to “distribute the money” to those of our citizens who want to work and can’t find it. We give unemployment benefits to people thrown out of work while they struggle in hard economic times to find another job. We pay taxes to educate our young, keep our bridges from falling down, and support our troops.

But that isn’t what Jesus addressed in the passage.  If it was, why didn’t He force the rich young ruler to give?  The young man walked away and Jesus let him.  And Jesus didn’t go forward with a fundraising campaign or any lobbying of Caesar to get to the young man’s money.  The passage wasn’t about taxes and “giving” the money of others.

Politicians love to pontificate on how we need to restore “Christian values” in the public square, but that’s mostly limited to denying equal civil rights for gay Americans, or controlling women’s bodies. When it comes to what the bible says about wealth and poverty, however, you’ll never hear that touted as morality in the public square. No, no. That’s “private.”

Note the multiple fallacies and her true religion: Liberalism.  No one is denying civil rights for gay Americans.  They are welcome to marry someone of the opposite sex.  Whether they want to or not is their problem.  Skin color is morally neutral; sexual behavior is not.  She mocks black Americans with her civil rights blather.

And the “controlling women’s bodies” bit makes for a good bumper sticker, I suppose, but is easily disproven.  Pro-lifers want to protect the bodies of females and males in the womb.  Thistlethwaite thinks the mother should be able to have them crushed and dismembered.  Got any Bible verses for that?  It is a scientific fact that they are human beings and a theological fact that they were created by God.   This isn’t science versus religion.  Theological liberals oppose science and religion when it comes to life.

Baloney. The bible is filled with references to the religious imperative to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10) and “the worker deserves his pay.” (Luke 10:7)

Yep.  What workers have not been paid?  And yes, there are imperatives for believers to remember the poor with our money. It doesn’t say, “Remember the poor with your neighbor’s money.”

When Jesus went to Jerusalem, he “sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury.” (Mark 12:41) Jesus watched what people did with their money. He sees the money-changers in the temple charging pilgrims an exorbitant rate of exchange and he turns over the tables in anger, saying, “‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13)

So?  If this is going on in her church then the church should do something about it.  What a non sequitur.

For those who have eyes to see, the real moral values in scripture are about loving God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves, and that includes what you do with your money.

That includes what you do with your money.  Is this so hard to understand?  Your money, not your neighbors’.

Even though it’s harder for Congress to pass through the eye of a needle than to pass legislation that will “distribute the money” in a fair way, I hope and pray they will. That’s real Christian values in the public square.

No, that’s her politics disguised as religion.

And one more thing: I don’t want my grandchildren saddled with paying off a huge deficit caused by giving more tax breaks to the very wealthy.

Boo-hoo.  I don’t want mine saddled with paying off Obama’s stimulus bill (mainly paybacks to his cronies) and his un-Constitutional health care bill, among other things.

If she wants to take the passage literally, why hasn’t she sold all her possessions and given the money to the poor?

And as Stan noted in his post, why do people like her ignore passages like this one:

I prefer to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord (Philemon 14).

(Not surprisingly, I found the link to this at the site of false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie.)

Is this a bigger insult to President Obama or to the UCC? Maybe it’s a tie.

Race-baiting false teacher Chuck Currie provides a good chuckle with this post: “President Obama is a Christian, and a fairly typical United Church of Christ sort of Christian at that.”

Uh, is that some sort of defense?  Would Chuck also be a “fairly typical” UCC sort of Christian with his beliefs that:

  • Jesus is not the only way to salvation
  • Jesus is pro-abortion, including partial-birth abortion and taxpayer-funded abortion
  • the Holy Spirit told him and the other Liberals in the UCC that God has changed his stance on marriage, parenting and homosexual behavior (now that’s blasphemy!)
  • the book of John doesn’t belong in the Bible
  • the Gospel of Thomas does belong in the Bible
  • it is acceptable to lie and libel people on blogs as long as you think you won’t get caught
  • Christians  have as much to learn from other religions as they do from us (really?  I don’t remember Jesus saying that . . .)
  • and so much more!

Ultimately only God knows the hearts of Obama and everyone else.  But Jesus did say to be fruit inspectors — and it was even in the Sermon on the Mount that even theological Liberals claim to love (but don’t really understand):

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15–20, ESV)

Ann Coulter is much more likely than Chuck to be right in her Obama is Not a Muslim post (though Chuck will surely say how mean Ann is as soon and how we need to foster positive dialogue — that is, as soon as he is done calling her a racist KKK sympathizer).

The nonsense about President Obama being a Muslim has got to stop. I rise to defend him from this absurd accusation by pointing out that he is obviously an atheist.

Leave aside Obama’s fanatical opposition to allowing Illinois hospitals to save the lives of babies with God-given souls inadvertently born alive during abortions. Also leave aside the fact that neither of his parents were Christians. And leave aside his current crop of “spiritual advisers,” which is a collection of Mother Earth worshippers, polytheists and other nonbelievers.

Now rest from all that “leaving aside.”

The only evidence for Obama’s Christianity is that he faithfully attended the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years.

. . .

This was inadvertently admitted by Obama’s leading butt-boy, Richard Wolffe, on North Korean TV Monday night. Wolffe acknowledged that Wright’s liberation theology was not Christianity, but then forcefully distinguished Obama from the Rev. Wright –- i.e., Obama’s sole character witness for his alleged Christianity.

Of Glenn Beck’s denunciation of liberation theology as a false religion, Wolffe said: “Is he debating Jeremiah Wright or Barack Obama? They’re two different people. If he wants to debate liberation theology with Wright, he’s got something to talk about. But liberation theology hasn’t been anything espoused by this president.”

But it was espoused in the only church Obama ever attended regularly — for 20 years, no less — was married in and had his daughters baptized in. The title of Obama’s autobiography came from the title of one of Wright’s sermons and snippets from Wright’s sermons have appeared in Obama’s work.

So the sole evidence of Obama’s supposed Christianity is his longtime pastor, who everyone admits is a racist nut.

No sentient human is required to take Obama’s profession of Christianity any more seriously than if it were coming from a 1980s blow-dried, money-grubbing televangelist with a mistress on the side.

. . .

Former divinity student Al Gore famously botched a biblical verse, switching God’s instruction that we put heaven before earthly things (“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” Matthew 6:21) by saying we should make the Earth our treasure. (In the druidical religion of liberalism, not separating your recyclables is a sin, but abortion is just a medical procedure.)

Howard Dean told a reporter his favorite book of the New Testament was Job.

It took the Democrats’ born-again Christian Jimmy Carter three decades to announce, in 2005, that he didn’t think Jesus would approve of abortion (“unless the mother’s life or health was in danger or perhaps the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest,” etc. etc.).

Some highly relevant bonus comments from Roxanne (do not miss the closing line!):

Thee man who shrouds the actual Messiah and talks about parting the waters does not extend the same respect to his own family . While Obama became a wealthy nationally-recognised figure, his aunt was on welfare in Boston and his brother lived in poverty in Kenya (and still does) – like living on a few hundred dollars a yearabject poverty.  His brother’s keeper, Obama is not. Obama does not fare better with strangers: even the New York Times reported that Obama gave more money  to charity as he ran for President and most of those “charitable donations” went to Rev. Wright’s racist church:

“The Obamas’ returns are striking on a number of levels. They show that the couple made very few charitable contributions, sometimes less than 1 percent of taxable income, until Mr. Obama began his run for the White House.”

When the New York Times calls a liberal out like that, you know it’s bad.  This is also the same Barack Obama who wanted to (or still wants to) put charities, many of which are religious, under the control of the federal government.   I’m sure that Mr. Constitutional Law is well aware that if charities were run by the government, the Establishment Clause would destroy their religious missions.

Could the man, despite all this, be Christian?  In a quantum-mechanical, “all things are possible depending on the probabilty density of the electron cloud” way, perhaps.  In a “Only God knows the heart of Man” way, perhaps.  In any way that is meaningful to Christians who vote their values?  Hell, no.

International Cooperating Ministries

I wanted to rerun this post about one of our favorite ministries.

One of our favorite organizations is International Cooperating Ministries, a “non-profit, trans-denominational Christian organization that works toward the mission of nurturing believers and assisting church growth worldwide. With our partners, we leverage simple church growth principles to see our vision of growth in the faith of individual believers, the number of people within each church, and the number of churches within a nation-truly actualizing Christ’s commission to “make disciples of all nations!””

They primarily build churches (roughly $7,000 each) and church/orphanages (roughly $25,000).  The church/orphanages are exciting projects because they not only help the local church and the orphans, but the widows who take care of the orphans as well.  Almost sounds kinda biblical . . .

Here is their basic model:

When a church is built in a poor village, it more than stands out among the surrounding mud and thatch huts … it shines!  And that’s just the beginning of the community’s transformation when a new church is opened…

• Worshippers abandon the shady tree that previously served as their Sunday sanctuary.

• Curiosity draws unbelievers to the new church and the congregation doubles.

• Weeknight small group Bible studies are started using the Mini Bible College.

• Church members share their faith with neighbors, citing God’s miraculous provision of a beautiful new church.

• Weekdays, the building is filled with eager children who now have a school.

• The village leader holds community council meetings in the place where Christians worship every Sunday.

• Visiting doctors and nurses use the church as a temporary medical clinic during their humanitarian missions.

Soon, the pastor is raising up young leaders and they each start new churches in neighboring villages where they meet under a tree – and the whole process starts over again.

When a church is built in a poor village, it more than changes lives, it transforms a community … and reaches a nation!

The transformation begins . . . with your help!

They use a “web” approach, so that each church that receives a building needs to help 5 other churches start in their vicinity.

They offer a “mini-Bible college” to help the churches have sound doctrine.

One of the things I like about them is that their administrative costs are paid for by a foundation, so 100% of what you give goes straight to the projects.

They build churches around the world, including many countries where persecution is rampant.

Check out their web site and see what you think.  You might want to donate or get a group to raise funds for a church.  Perhaps you’ve been seriously blessed and could pay for a whole church yourself!  Think about that for a while.  It is a great way to encourage other believers, help widows and orphans, and spread the Gospel!  Who knows, you might get to go visit them someday in this life, but if you are a believer you can be sure you’ll catch up with them in Heaven someday.

As Jesus said, where your treasure is there your heart will be also.  When you donate to projects around the world your heart will go there as well.

False teacher wants to force his false beliefs on others

See: “The faith community and public schools need to partner to help homeless students”.

Of course everyone opposes homelessness.  The rational approach would be to examine the root causes (primarily broken families) and work to address those while helping those in need in the mean time.

But what does false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie propose?  Some sound bites about the “faith community” partnering with schools.  Unfortunately, other than the usual blather he offered no concrete ideas.

For starters, he never demonstrated why we should listen to him.  Let’s look at some facts about Chuck’s professional religious experience:

  • Very Liberal “reverend”
  • Very Liberal denomination
  • Very Liberal city and state
  • Failed church

Hmmmm . . . see anything wrong with that?  How can orthodox pastors like Mark Driscoll preach long, “boring” (in the traditional, secular sense) verse-by-verse sermons in Liberal places like Seattle and grow their church attendance dramatically, while people like Chuck have every demographic in their favor yet produce an epic FAIL?  Must be those UCC ejector seats!  What is it that qualifies Chuck as an expert here?

Back to the article . . .

The aim of this unprecedented gathering — which will bring together Christians, Jews, Muslims, government officials from the state of Oregon, and educators and families from across the state — will be to develop advocacy plans for supporting students who are homeless and for reducing family and childhood homelessness in Oregon.

And why is this “Christian” reverend partnering with Muslims and other religions?  Has he deleted the “unequally yoked” teaching from his Bible as he did with those 100 politically incorrect passages teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation?

In short, our schools need more funding, and more resources are needed to provide affordable housing and other supportive services.

Oh, they just need more money.  Shocking!  But wait — since Chuck insists that he has the whole “faith community” behind him, wouldn’t it set a great example if they ponied up some dough first?  If they are such a majority and so well aligned, they could fund most of the “needs” themselves.  Why all the extra work and bantering just to approve taxes to force those non-faith community types to take part?

I oppose homelessness, of course.  I just take a different approach, supporting my local church (which does much to help in this area) as well as directly supporting the Star of Hope mission (among other things).

And, unlike the average Liberal, I understand basic economic principles and support policies that don’t destroy jobs.

And I oppose Planned Parenthood-style sex education which increases the likeliness of homelessness.

The economic policies of the last decade created an explosion in poverty and homelessness after modest decreases in the levels of poverty in the 1990s.

Always be sure to remind everyone that it was Bush’s fault!  He fought the restrictions against Fannie and Freddie . . . oh, wait, that was the Democrats.  And the insane spending levels of Obama make Bush look like a tightwad.

Because without additional resources we will fail an entire generation of those Jesus would have called the “least of these.”

It wouldn’t be a Chuck Currie piece with abusing that verse.  Again, Chuck is pro-legalized abortion, a procedure which literally destroys 4,000 of the “least of these” per day.  He thinks Jesus supports abortion, so presumably Chuck thinks that Jesus viewed the unborn as even lesser than the “least of these.”

P.S. And where is the ACLU when you need them?  Shouldn’t they be hyperventilating over this intrusion of religion into schools and politics?  Oh, right, that is just the facade they use to silence the opposition.  They do and say nothing when they agree with the political agenda and they know this is just politics disguised as religion.

Good and bad news about that evil richest 1%

Good news: They sure are evil, and it is fun to covet their wealth and blame them for all the problems in society (even though they do pay loads of taxes and provide countless jobs).

Bad news: If you consider the whole world and not just the U.S., then you’re probably part of that 1%. (What makes you think you only get to look at the top 1% in the U.S.? That seems rather arbitrary, especially for open border social justice types.) Anyone making $47,500 or more is in the richest 1% of the world. If you believe in wealth redistribution and truly want to be average then give away everything except $850 per year.

Go visit the Global Rich List site to see where you fit in (be sure to update the currency to whatever you use — the default is pounds).

99% of the people on the planet think you are rich. They could take half of what you make, live within their means and be completely debt free while still improving their standard of living by more than 10 times.

I hope you are feeling a bit richer now. I think we should all give generously. I just don’t think that asking the government to take from my definition of the rich to give to my definition of the poor qualifies as charity on my part.

He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from his treasures. To him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he’s moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain. He who spends his life moving away from his treasures has reason to despair. He who spends his life moving toward his treasures has reason to rejoice.

Randy Alcorn – The Treasure Principle

P.S. In case you couldn’t tell, the first line was sarcasm. Yes, there are evil rich people. And evil middle class people. And evil poor people.

Jim Wallis & wealth redistribution

I don’t watch Glenn Beck but I am glad to know he was highlighting Jim Wallis’ false teachings.  Glenn is a Mormon but he knows the Bible better than Wallis & Co.  Here are videos of Beck talking about Wallace (Hat tip: Christine).

From a January 13, 2006 radio interview with Interfaith Voices:

Host: Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth in society?

Wallis: Absolutely, without any hesitation.  That’s what the Gospel is all about.

That is classic false teaching.  I’d heed the words of Paul before the words of Wallis:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8–9, ESV)

Galatians 1:10 also applies to these world-lovers:

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10, ESV)

More background on Wallis here.  His politics are bad enough, but what really is deceptive about him is is faux centrism.  They milk the “God is not a Republican . . . or a Democrat” sound bite but they don’t believe a word of it.

He was a keynote speaker to the 2008 ACORN Convention.  In a great slip of the tongue, he is almost introduced as Jeremiah Wright.

You can’t change the politicians, you need to change the direction, and ACORN is an organization that can change the direction of the country by pressing from the outside and I have no doubt ACORN will be making their voices heard regardless of who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Lovely.

Social justice & Glenn Beck

From: Wesley Report: Alex, I’ll Take Social Justice For 500

Glenn Beck caused an uproar when he suggested that people should leave churches that talk about social and economic justice. Now Jim Wallis wants Christians to stop watching Beck, and Christian Post reports that Christian anti-poverty groups are up in arms. (This reference makes me wonder if there are Christian pro-poverty groups.)

The Wallis crowd is far removed from biblical truths. No matter what they read in the Bible they interpret it as a mandate for Christians to ask Caesar to take from neighbor A to give to neighbor B. It is all about income redistribution for them.  The average person in the world makes $850 / yr. I’ll be impressed when Wallis & Co. voluntarily give away enough to achieve that. After all, why do they just focus on the U.S.?

One “pastor” even claimed that Ananias and Sapphira were killed for not redistributing wealth, even though Peter explicitly notes the real sin (lying to the Holy Spirit) and that the funds had been theirs to do with as they wished. You don’t need to be able to dissect the Greek to understand that one.

And the Sojourners folks are mostly pro-legalized abortion, as if any serious notion of social justice could include the right to crush and dismember an innocent human being. This “minister” thinks the health care bill is pro-life, even though it most certainly will lead to taxpayer-funded abortions.  See Dems look to health vote without abortion foes for more on their deceptions.

Should Christians give generously? Absolutely! But it isn’t a virtue to give from your neighbor’s wallet.

Lobby for whatever political positions you like based on your case for why it is good public policy, but be very careful when you attach Jesus to your views.

Oddly, the social justice crowd does more to push their religious beliefs on the populace than anything the Right ever did. (We can argue the pro-life / pro-family case all day long with or without the Bible.) Why don’t the ACLU et al get mad about that? Oh, because they share the same political views.

It was also odd that they didn’t realize Beck was Mormon and/or that Mormons aren’t Christians.

P.S. I don’t watch or listen to Beck, Fox, Limbaugh, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .

Give with discernment

Many people are eager to help with the disaster in Haiti, but it is important to know whether the group you are donating to is legitimate and effective.  I prayed that many people would give to help with the disaster relief and to get more tuned in to how much they can help around the world all year long and how much joy there is in giving.  Many times disasters like this draw funds that would have supported other worthy endeavors, so it is important that collectively people give more in total than they had planned.

Verum Serum had a good list to start with:

  • Red Cross – You can donate via the website or by calling 1-800-733-2767. They also have a cell phone donation scheme. If you text “Haiti” to 90999, $10 will be charged on your phone bill and given to the Red Cross.
  • The Salvation Army is already committing $50K and more than 20 tons of food aid to Haiti. They have a blog about their efforts here. They are accepting donations here.
  • World Vision is a Christian aid and relief group that is already shipping 18 tons of supplies to Haiti.
  • I stole borrowed this about another good charity, Compassion International, from Edgar at the Christian Alert.  It is a good example of how far money goes in foreign countries. 

    Compassion International

    Join Compassion International‘s Diaster Relief fund:

    • $35 helps provide a relief pack filled with enough food and water to sustain a family for one week.
    • $70 gift helps care for their needs for two weeks.
    • $105 helps provide relief packs filled with enough food and water to sustain two families for two weeks.
    • $210 gift helps care for two families’ needs.
    • $525 provides relief packs filled with enough food and water to sustain 10 families for two weeks.
    • $1,050 gift cares for 10 families’ needs.
    • $1,500 helps rebuild a home.
    • $2,100 supplies 20 families with the basics for three weeks.