Why Do Churches Always Ask For Money?

 

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This is a question many people ask; why does the church always ask for money? After all, God has no need for money. I’m sure that many Christians have wondered why they should tithe and give to the church. We must remember, though, that we live in the world, even though we are merely visitors who are just passing through. The world is driven by money and money is required to do almost anything. Even Jesus needed money in order for he and the apostles to do their ministries.

Consider this, though; do you think that you would be making money without God? He makes it possible for you to earn every dime. Moreover, if Jesus is our Lord, he owns us, right? That means that He owns everything we possess and every penny we make. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we give everything to our church. We have to survive, too. Still, amazing things happen when we have faith and listen to that inner voice that tells us that we really should give. That is God speaking and if it comes from God, it comes with certain promises and guarantees. One of those is that He will provide for us. For everything we give, He gives us many times more in return. This is a testimony to show how this happens. This is only one example.

Recently at our church, we had a guest speaker; an evangelist named Ron. Ron travels the world in his ministry and that isn’t cheap. However, he is bringing the word of God to people who have never heard it. This is what we are told to do. Now, it costs money to even come to our peaceful backwoods town and it certainly costs a lot more to do it in places a person couldn’t find on a map. On Sunday, we had two offerings. The money for the first one goes to our church and most of that is returned right back to the community via many programs we have; clothing bank, food bank, wood ministry, Agape Christian school, etc. The money brought in for the second was to help with the cost Ron incurred when he came here.

I am a poor person. I had exactly three dollars in my wallet and had intended on buying a light bulb. That might sound frivolous, but a bulb had burned out and we needed a replacement, if I could scrape up enough pennies to go along with the three bucks, as light bulbs cost something like $3.27 around here.

God takes precedence in my life, though. I also trust Him implicitly and had that voice in my mind saying that I should put money in both offerings. I gave a dollar to each offering, leaving me one dollar. Two-thirds of what I had at the beginning of service, I didn’t have at the end of service. A light bulb wasn’t as important as spreading God’s word and we have a flashlight if we need it. I wasn’t bothered by the giving at all. I wasn’t giving the money, I was returning it. Jesus owns it, after all, since He is the Lord.

It was a great service and I very much looked forward to the evening service. Amazingly, at the evening service, a lady came up to me and gave me $10 to pay in advance for some gardening I’d agreed to do. Wow! What a return on the money that I’d invested in the church. The evening service got over a little early, too, so the store was still open. I was able to get the light bulb and still had money left over.

This is only a very minor example. God knows what you need and why. When you put Him first, He provides. It doesn’t sound like much, as it was only a couple of dollars. However, my immediate need at the time was for that light bulb. By putting God first, I ended up with much more than enough to get the bulb. God is always there to provide for the major needs and the minor ones and it shows that there is no need too great or too small to merit His attention.

It is always a good idea to listen to that voice or urge that says, “You really should make an offering.” Think of it this way; how much is God’s love and grace worth to you?


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What Amazing and Impeccable Timing

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My experience has been that many Christians are disappointed when they pray for something and God appears not to answer. This is very sad, because it is an error in thinking. To begin with, God does always answers our prayers. Sometimes the answer isn’t what we’d hoped for, sometimes the answer isn’t what we’d expected and sometimes we may not understand. Sometimes the answer is even “No”. However, there is always an answer from God, for everything we pray for.

Quite often, too, another thing that comes into play is the timing of God. We should all know that God doesn’t do anything at all without a purpose. Just as important as that purpose, He also does things exactly on His perfect schedule. The timing is always right on the dot. Let me expand on that for a moment.

Have you ever been depressed or sad about something, and at exactly the right time something happens or is said that is precisely the right thing to lift you out of the depression? It has happened to me so many times that I can’t count them. That is the timing of God. If the happening occurred earlier or later, it wouldn’t have had the same impact. Sometimes the happening can even precede the event and it is clearly an instance of perfect timing. I’ll give an example of God’s timing.

 

I’d been working at a job that wasn’t a good one and that I didn’t enjoy, for a boss that made employees feel miserable, making barely enough to live on. I prayed to God for a raise, so we wouldn’t have to struggle so badly and would have a little more money to work with. I’d specifically said, “Lord, even a dollar an hour more than I’m making would set my mind at ease.”

Two days later, the company shut down and closed its doors with no warning to any of us employees. That definitely wasn’t what I had in mind and it wasn’t what I asked for, or so I thought.

At first, I was bitter and I’ll admit that many of my thoughts weren’t very Christian-like. Yes, they were worldly based and it wasn’t until I realized it that I decided to just put all my trust in the Lord, as I should have done to begin with. On the way home to break the news to my family, I saw that there was a car broken down beside the road, with its hood up. I didn’t even think about it, I just pulled in to see if there was anything I could do to help. The guy, wearing an expensive business suit, was practically beside himself. His radiator hose had blown apart and he was afraid that he was going to be late for an important meeting.

As it happened, I’d just replaced the hoses and belts in my car about a week earlier and had tossed the old ones into the trunk, intending on throwing them away later. The cars were different makes and models, but when I retrieved the old hose, I found that it was simply a little two long for the man’s car. It was a simple matter to cut it down to size and to then put it on the car as an emergency repair. I didn’t care if I got dirty and there was no sense in the man getting filthy when he was wearing a suit. I no longer had a job and I could wash up when I got home.

In the 10 minutes or so that I worked on the car to get the hose connected, he and I talked and he asked where I worked. I told him about losing my job due to closure. Later, as I filled the radiator (he happened to break down right beside a little stream), he asked me to write down what part to get when he got to an automotive store after his meeting. Again, without thought, I pulled out a business card that I had for a computer consulting business I’d started but had done nothing with. On the back of the card, I wrote down what he needed and handed it to him. I could have just told him to ask for a radiator hose for his car’s make and model, but that didn’t even occur to me.

As soon as he pulled out, I got in my car and drove on home. I broke the news about my job to my family and told them that things might get a little tight, but that it was in the hands of the Lord. A few hours later, I got a phone call. It was the man I’d helped and he’d gotten the number off the front of the business card. He said that he noticed that I was a computer consultant. I told him that I was. He said that the computer engineer who worked for him had just quit, then he offered me a job. He about floored me when he told me the rate of pay. It was one dollar an hour, to the penny, more than I’d been making at the job I’d just lost!

There are too many things that happened for it to have been coincidences. It was the work of God. The chance of it happening as it did was nil, but God always has a purpose and does nothing by chance. The timing was perfect and He really had answered my prayer, right down to the amount of money I’d specifically mentioned. He simply didn’t answer the prayer in the way that I’d expected. In fact, God’s timing was also perfect for the gentleman. If I hadn’t lost my job when I did, I wouldn’t have been there to help him with his car and he wouldn’t have found a replacement for the guy who quit. He also broke down where there was water to fill the radiator. It wasn’t lost on the man, either, and he ended up being one of the best employers I’ve ever had, as well as becoming a good friend.

Is God’s timing amazing, or what?

One last thought to leave you with. Sometimes God doesn’t answer immediately. However, consider that the time might be right for you, but others who will be involved might not be ready yet. His timing is still perfect.


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The Amazing Power of God

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There are those among us who don’t believe that God speaks to us. Others, like me, believe that He speaks with us regularly, if we choose to listen. I have a wonderful testimony to share in regard to this and it has to do with some of the ‘little things’ many people wouldn’t have even thought twice about.

BeforeEarly this year, I noticed that the flowerbeds at church were in a very sad state of affairs. The flowerbeds border two buildings; the old church and the new sanctuary. The total length is about 200 feet and the flowerbeds by the new building weren’t even landscaped, they were just filled with rocks. Appearances mean nothing to God, however people react to appearances and God of course knows this. I got it in my mind that with enough effort, the flowerbeds could be made beautiful again, which would then help to get some of the more worldly people into church to hear the good news of the bible. That, in turn, might open more hearts to God’s word and bring them back to Him.

This weighed heavy on my heart, so I talked to our pastor, Pastor Jim, about it. He loved the idea and told me that I could do anything I wanted to do in the flowerbeds. I gathered up my garden tools, noticing that my shovel had a crack at the base of the handle. The shovel would need to be replaced, but for the time being, I began work with what I had. I’ve been spending one to three hours a day working on it, except on Tuesdays and Sundays, because it is always so busy then and I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way.

That brings us to today. Last night, it rained hard all night long and it continued to rain hard this morning. I have a baseball cap in the car, so I headed to church to work on the flowerbeds. Amazingly, the moment I pulled into the parking lot, the rain totally stopped. I gave thanks to God for that mercy, then started working away.

I worked for about two hours and was almost done for the day when the handle of my shovel broke. I didn’t get upset, since I was almost done for the day and had known that the shovel needed to be replaced. When I got everything into the car, though, I had the thought that I might as well go by the hardware store to see what price they had on shovels. I’d looked at shovel prices just a few weeks ago, so there really wasn’t any reason to go to the hardware store. I already knew that they were $18. I went anyway, thinking that if I could find anything that was only $10, I’d be able to afford a new shovel. If they were still $18, I wouldn’t have enough to buy one for a couple of weeks.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that they were on sale for $5.97 and the sale started today! I bought the shovel and just as I got back into the car to come home, it began to rain hard again.

To some people, all of this would just be a series of unlikely coincidences. To me, it was God speaking to me, telling me that He approves of the work I’m doing in the flowerbeds and that He wants me to continue. I believe that He put it in my heart to work on the flowerbeds to begin with. He knows that I love to garden and grow plants. So I believe that he arranged for the series of events; the rain stopped at the right time, the shovel didn’t break until I was almost done for the day, it broke only when there was a special on shovels so I could afford to replace it and it started raining again at the right time.

Jesus, you are AWESOME!


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When Prayers and God’s Will Coincide

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Note that this isn’t our church, but it is a country church like ours is

There is little doubt that there is enormous power in prayer. Prayer is our means of telling God what we want and need. He knows better than we do what we want and need, however, just like children, we aren’t likely to get things if we aren’t willing to ask for them. Nothing is impossible to God and we should always know that. The bible says it, and nothing in the bible has ever been disproved, so it is something we can believe in. However, truly amazing things happen when what we ask for happen to be God’s will. I want to tell you about one such event that happened recently at our church.

Ours is a small rural town and there are several churches in town. There is no competition, naturally, since all the churches lead people to Jesus and our salvation through His sacrifice. However, our pastor, Pastor Jim, has had something weighing heavily upon his heart for some time. You see, there is another even smaller town about 30 miles from here, on the other side of a mountain pass, that is in dire need of God. There is a severe drug and alcohol problem in that town, named Hot Springs, and crime rates are through the roof. Fights, violence and lawlessness is constant. It is largely an American Indian town and in fact, the town is owned by the Indians. The tribal council is every bit as aware of the issues in their town as anyone else is and they have been unable to stop the problem from getting worse.

Pastor Jim had a sort of revelation and he discussed it with the dozen or so people who make the trip from Hot Springs to here for church services on Sunday every week. That isn’t easy in the winter, when the road is snowy and icy the whole way. So Jim’s idea was that perhaps a way could be found to video tape our Sunday sermon and play that in Hot Springs. The group who travel every week were all for it, and one of them, a pastor named Shawn, said that he’d help in any way he could. Shawn lives in Hot Springs, and is willing to take on the pastoral duties there.

There were obstacles, of course. We would need to have the okay of the tribal council, who historically weren’t fast to give an okay for things like this. We would need to find a place where the sermons could be played on a weekly basis and capable of holding a lot of people. We’d also need substantial funds for it to happen in the first place, since we had no video equipment at our church and there would also be other expenses. Many people in the community said that it couldn’t be done. However, Pastor Jim, Pastor Shawn and many in our congregation prayed earnestly for it to happen. Hot Springs has been foundering and it has been getting worse under the rules and laws of man. It was time to bring in the chairman of the board; God. Suffice to say that the prayers got results.

First, when Jim called the tribal office to discuss his idea, they welcomed him to meet with them. In that meeting, they were very happy with Jim’s ideas. In fact, they were thrilled with the idea. Jim hadn’t gotten around to explaining our need for having a place where it could be done, each and every week, and all he said was that we hadn’t yet chosen a good location. The council had a suggestion for that.

For the last few years, they’ve had a recreation center in Hot Springs that has been vacant. They said that they had just decided to fix the place up and reopen it, and they suggested to Jim that perhaps this would be a good location, since it could hold a lot of people and could be used every week. It isn’t just a good location, it is an ideal location.

Two of the three major obstacles were removed in rapid order, leaving only the money that was lacking, to make it all a reality. Actually, there was also another obstacle that hadn’t been considered, too. Part of the ministry of the church is based upon the giving nature of Jesus and how he taught that we should give to our neighbors, helping them in any way we can. Here in our town, one of the ways this is done is by the fire-wood ministry. That is, our church goes out and cuts, hauls, saws up and splits firewood. Needy people in the community need only call the church and explain that they are having trouble getting wood to heat with, and wood will be delivered to them. About 90% of the homes in this section of the state, which includes Hot Springs, heats with wood.

Well, the tribal council was aware of this and things fell into place for Jim to set up a wood yard in Hot Springs too, so there could be a fire wood ministry there, as well. This was unexpected, but was yet another obstacle that vanished. People even volunteered to help get, cut and split the firewood in Hot Springs, and some of those volunteers don’t even belong to our church. (This is appropriate, since the wood is given to those in need, regardless of their faith.)

Okay, that left only one huge obstacle. To make it all happen, we had to raise $10,000. The camera equipment, chairs and all the other things needed at the rec center aren’t cheap.

Three weeks ago, an anonymous church member gave a challenge; he would match, dollar for dollar, any donation meant for the Hot Springs project, up to $3,000. That meant that if people donated $3,000, we’d already be over halfway toward making the whole thing a reality.

Donations began to trickle in and last Sunday, the church prepared to kick everything into high gear, to get it all done. A chart was even made so we’d be able to track our progress. Jim made the statement to the congregation that he “had no doubt that it will happen, because this isn’t for us, it is to help the people of Hot Springs and to glorify God.” Now, how many of you know that God OCCUPIES our praises? Jim also said, “None of you are here by chance. God has a plan for you and you are here because of His will.”

Before the sermon actually began, a visitor went up and spoke with Jim. Nobody paid much attention until the singing was done and Jim got up to give his sermon. Tears filled his eyes and it took a moment to compose himself. Then he announced that a man had approached him, saying that he really didn’t know why he felt compelled to come to our church on that day. However, when he heard about the Hot Springs project, he knew what he must do. That man donated $5,000 to the project, right there on the spot!

With the dollar per dollar $3,000 match, that meant that in minutes, $8,000 had been raised for the project. It gets even better. Jim said that right after the man donated the $5,000, the church financial officer went up to Jim to let him know that a little over $2,000 had been raised for the project, to date. Of course, the financial officer knew nothing about the recent donation. Just like that, in this small community, the $10,000 goal was met and exceeded! Hot Springs will have their church, which will assist the couple of churches that are already there, struggling.

God is good and he wants the best for His children. He wants us all to pray to Him. When those prayers happen to coincide with His wishes, astounding things happen. Praise God for making all of this work out! God is amazing!


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