Simply put, this BLOG is all about: LIFE STEWARDSHIP. Below you will find notes from Bible studies that cover basic stewardship principles and how to apply them to our lives.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stewards of Our Job

Hello again Friend, it's good to have you back!  I was thinking about my current, primary job, and wondered if I was being a good steward?  Please take a few minutes and take the poll at the top of the blog.  I appreciate your honest and anonymous feedback!  Well, back to the post....
If all we have is from God, and it is!  

And, all that God gives us we are to exercise stewardship over, which we are to do!

Then it certainly falls true that I should exercise stewardship over the job that God has given me!

So, how do I do that?!  Here's a few Biblical guidelines for us:

> Do your job 'heartily, as unto the Lord' - Colossians 3:23

The encouragement here is this, your boss should never perceive you as being a 'sloth' when it comes to the work you are being paid to perform.  The word 'heartily' means to work 'with good will' and not out of some sense of necessity.  Have you ever said to yourself, or worse out loud to others, "the only reason I'm doing this job is because I have to"?  Your attitude toward your job will directly influence and impact your performance in that job.  Friend, look at your job as a God-given job.  Do every part of your work as unto Him.  Treat your job as if God were your boss!  After all, the money you get from your job really doesn't come from your earthly employer.

> Knowing your payment is 'from the Lord' - Colossians 3:24

These truths help me understand better how to be a good steward of the job God has given me.  I trust they will help you too!

hat's all for now but check back soon for more REDD-INK!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stepping Closer To The Savior - A Great, Practical Book

The greatest challenge most of us have is connecting with God and deepening our relationship with Him.  We feel the need to know Him, but then the waves and roar and crash of life pull us into pitching tides, and before we know it, the time we'd set aside is gone.  But deep beneath the frenetic pace and pull, is a place of quiet peace.

Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages and Love as A Way of Life recommends the book, Stepping Closer To The Savior, "We all recognize that conversation is the life-blood of relationships.  Melanie Redd applies this reality to our relationship with God.  God speaks and we respond.  Melanie encourages the reader to keep the conversation going...."

These excerpts were taken from the back cover of Melanie's new book.  I have read it several times now and can personally testify that this practical study will live up to it's title!  You can order the book by clicking on the link in the left column of my blog.

Read it and be blessed!

That's all for now, but check back soon for more REDD-INK!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Understanding The Bible, God's Word

Q: Are you a new Christian trying to understand the Bible?

Q: Do you have trouble understanding what the Bible would say to you today in a more contemporary culture?

Here is what Dr. Adrian Rogers used to tell us:

"Start in the Gospel of John.  It is easy to read.  There will be some things that you understand and some things that you wont understand.  If you will obey the things you do understand, it wont be long before you will begin to understand those things that you didn't understand before.  Understand?"  (I can hear him saying that!)

He was right!  God will continue to reveal more and more from His word to your life as you commit more and more of your life to His Word!  Be a good steward of the life God has given to you!  Be a good steward of His Word, the Bible!

That's all for now but check back soon for more REDD-INK!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

INSPIRED GIVING - Herschel H. Hobbs

This is a story that is one of Herschel Hobbs favorite illustrations.  I hope you enjoy it!

A pastor wrote the president of a seminary to inform him about a man in his church who was capable of giving the school $50,000. The president invited the man to visit the campus. After showing his guest around the campus, relating what the seminary was doing, and feeding him a sumptuous meal, the president took the man to his office to attempt to sell the man on the idea of giving a donation.

On the way they met a professor of preaching who was a personal friend of the potential donor. After a brief chat the man asked the professor what he would do if he was able to make a gift to the seminary. The professor said he would give $500,000 to endow a chair of preaching.

The president cringed, fearing the professor had ruined everything he had been trying to do. He was right! The man did not donate $50,000. Instead, he gave the seminary $500,000. He had been inspired to give.

  • Q: Have you ever been inspired to give like that? 

Maybe not that amount, but inspired nonetheless!  Friend, be inspired to give back to God from all that God has given you!  Start with your local church first, then as God enables, support other Biblical, evangelical ministries!  Not just money, but give of your time too!

That's all for now, but check back for more REDD-INK!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why Should I Be A Good Steward...of Creation?

Since we are God’s stewards over His creation, what should be our motivation?

Q: Are we good stewards for pragmatic reasons or for moral reasons?

A1: The pragmatic view would suggest that we should be good stewards over God’s world because our survival depends on it. For example, if we start killing snakes to the point of extinction, we could cause an overpopulation of rats and other vermin that snakes have as their normal diet. 

A2: The moral view would suggest that we should exercise good stewardship over the physical world because to do so demonstrates honor and respect for God and His created order.

The Bible endorses A2  for good stewardship.  Having God’s perspective, we would not destroy snakes to the point of extinction, but we exercise discernment in protection of ourselves and our families from the danger that some snakes impose. Francis Schaeffer said, 'We show honor to the physical world with which God has a covenant relationship. Christians should exercise God-given wisdom as we exercise dominion over His created world.'
Whether money or life, we are to be good stewards because it honors God.  I've seen Him bless such obedience.

That's all for now, but check back soon for more REDD-INK!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lead Others In Worship Through Giving - 1Chronicles 29:1-6

According to this passage, the Chronicler explains how David exhorted the assembly to follow his example of stewardship.  Verse 6 states plainly that the leaders of the tribes of Israel followed David's inspiring leadership.  Verse 9 relates that the people rejoiced when they saw their leaders give willingly and liberally. 

So, how is the giving going in your church?  Has the 'economy' impacted your personal ability to give?  I pray that God will miraculously bless us with jobs, crops, etc. in order that we might have the joy of leading others in worship through giving back to Him!  David led Israel in worship, praising God for His greatness and acknowledging that the gifts came from the Lord Himself.

We don't know what others give, but just seeing folks put something in the offering plate encourages me to worship in like fashion.  (They usually have a smile on their faces too!)  :)

That's all for now, but visit again soon for more REDD-INK!

Monday, May 3, 2010

To Tithe or Not to Tithe - Matt 23:23

There was a time when I thought the teachings of the New Testament included a freedom from tithing, that is, under grace, Christians were not required to give a tenth or 10% of their increase to God through the local church.  I have friends that hold to this and we just agree to disagree and continue to have sweet fellowship.  I do feel that I should explain my position.  It's really basic and simple.  I wanted to see if Jesus had anything to say about tithing and if He did, what it was and how I might apply it.

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 23 and verse 23, in the middle of the 'Woes' to the Pharisees we see the following: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
The New King James Version. 1982 (Mt 23:23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Many times I've read through this passage and concentrated on the negative of tithing legalistically.  To do justice to God's Word, in fact, Jesus' own words here, we must look at the full context.  Do you see the last part of the verse?  "These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone."  Jesus never said, "Thou shalt no longer tithe."  In fact, He really endorses tithing by stating in effect, "you should have not only tithed of these herbs, but also you should have not neglected weightier matters."

  > I respect counter views to mine, and would never make less of God's amazing grace and the freedom we have been given in Christ. 
  > I have been blessed by giving a tithe off of my gross and gladly share that as a testimony of His grace!

Well, that's all for now! Check back later for more REDD-INK!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Excuses for NOT Giving

Have you ever heard, or maybe you yourself have said, "I'll wait until I have more money before I tithe or give an offering to church."  They look at their checkbook and decide they barely have enough to live on so how could they make it through the month if they gave away 10% of what they make!

I remember Herschel Hobbs relating a story of a guy who was known for his generosity.  The man was asked how he became such a big giver.  He replied, “By tithing my first week’s salary of $2.50.” Then Hershal said, "Few people learn to tithe the much if first they have not learned to tithe the little."

Don't fool yourself.  If you are not willing to give 10% or more to God from what you  make now, it is very unlikely that you will give 10% of a larger amount later in life.  Such a person has no idea what they are forfeiting by holding on to that tenth.  Oh how blessed it is to give God the first 10%!

  • How much more would you need to increase your offering to get to 10%?
  • Would you pray and ask God to show you and help you learn to tithe?

That's all for now, but check back soon for more REDD-INK!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Giving Enriches Us - 2Corinthians 9:10-11

The American Dream may involve a number of accomplishments, but there is one that usually makes everyone's list:  "To become really rich."  Do you want to be really rich?  I'm talking about 'rich' in the fullest sense of the word!  If so, then you should start giving!  What?  You may think that's not logical, or a paradox at the least.  According to our passage, the Bible says to be truly rich you must be a giver, sharing joyously what God has given you.  (vs. 11) "You are enriched in every way for all generosity."  Smart farmers would not sell all of their harvest.  They would set back a portion of their crop as seed for the next season thus helping to enrich their household for the future.

When you give more, you create the possibility of gaining more.  What are these 'gains'?  Here are few for your consideration:  more personal satisfaction / knowing that for once you thought about somebody else's needs and not just your own / a greater sense of fulfillment / a deeper sense of belonging in the body of Christ.

  • How does your life change when you give to the needs of other Christians at your church?
  • What are some 'non-financial' ways you can give to the needs of other Christians?

That's all for now check back soon for more Redd Ink.  <)))><

Friday, April 2, 2010

Giving Comes From What God Has Given to Us - 2 Corinthians 9:8-10

We can give to others because God has already given to us.  For the Christian, giving is simply sharing with others what God has given to us.  God does not expect us to give what we don't have!  God does want us to live in such a way that we can always have something to give others around us.  We know this because verse 8 states God wants us to have "everything we need" and He wants us to "excel in every good work" that is, to use all our God-given resources, including money, to help accomplish God's kingdom purposes in the lives of others!  Paul goes on to say that God will "provide and multiply" the resources of the Corinthians so they could accomplish all God desired for them.  The good news for us today is, GOD NEVER CHANGES!  It is still His desire to accomplish these things in the world today through His children.

Don't view your paycheck just as wages from your employer.  See it as a gift from God!  Good stewardship mandates that you pay your bills from these wages, but also to set some aside for the future as well as to have some to give to the poor and needy among us. (verse 9)  When many Christians work together to give from what God has given them, it strongly resembles a concept called 'UNITY' and God blesses unity!  That is a big part of seeing God accomplish great things through local churches.  Maybe you've heard about the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention?  Do some research and see for yourself what God has done when Christians give from what God has given to them!

  • What is a practical way to show your family the truth that all we have comes from God?
  • How have you given to God's kingdom?
  • If you haven't given, how can you start giving to His kingdom?

That's all for now, but check back soon for more REDD-INK!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hazardous Giving! - (2 Corinthians 9:7b)

Do you write your tithe & offering check at the same time you pay you bills?  If so, that could be hazardous to your giving!  I don't know anyone that cheerfully pays bills.  I think many of us make out our tithe & offering check at the same time we pay bills and never stop to get a Biblical perspective or allow time for our heart to change.

I had the great privilege of serving with Dr. Adrian Rogers at Bellevue Baptist Church for a number of years.  Known for so many wise quotes, one that fits today's BLOG is, "God loves a cheerful giver.  That which is not given joyfully, God neither wants nor needs."

God is pleased when we take pleasure in giving our money back to Him out of love and obedience.  When we bring 10% of our gross income back to the church as a tithe, with love for Him in our hearts, asking Him to bless and use the tithe for His Kingdom work through our local church, it BLESSES Him!  It makes sense, after all, that is the attitude God took when He gave us the greatest gift of all; Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice for us all 'because of the joy that lay before Him'. (Hebrews 12:2)  Hmm, when you think about it, when we give to God with joy, we are being imitators of God.

  • When is the best time for you to fill out your tithe & offering check to your church?
  • What can you do each time you write that check to put a godly smile on your face?
That's all for now, check back soon for more REDD-INK!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Christians Should Give Voluntarily - 2 Corinthians 9:7a

Paul had been raised in a strict Pharisaical home (Acts 23:6), and was taught to practice the Jewish laws meticulously, including laws concerning the tithe.  The Torah required Israelites to give a tenth, a tithe, of their income to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30; Deuteronomy 14:22).  When Paul became a Christian he learned the difference between following the letter of the Law of Moses and following the liberating Spirit of God.  Giving to the kingdom of God was not to be driven by a sense of regret, "Oh, I wish I didn't have to give THAT", or motivated by some fear-laden sense of necessity, "God will punish me if I don't give Him this."  Instead it was to be based on what a person "has decided in his heart" (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Likewise, Christians today are just as free in Christ as the redeemed Paul was.  Since we have died to the Law, with all its requirements, we are not bound to the law of the tithe.  Something much greater is to motivate us to give - Christ's love for us, which brought us out of death into life.  God's great gift of love on our behalf compels us to give generously and gratefully.  Rather than give only a tenth of our income, many of us are blessed enough that we can give more than that.  In hearts transformed by the blood of Jesus we are to decide what we can give as an expression of our love to the One Who gave Himself for us.

Question:  Do you think that we who live under grace should give less than what was required of those who lived under the law?  For the Christian, the tithe, 10% of gross, is the starting point!  Something to think about until next time!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Christians should give generously - 2 Corinthians 9:6

Taking an analogy from the grain fields that surrounded the city on three sides, Paul reminded the Corinthians of two of the most basic truths of farming: If you want a harvest, you must first plant seed, and if you want a large harvest, you must plant much seed. With these words Paul was instructing the Corinthians in two profound truths about the Christian life: first, giving should be as much a part of a Christian’s life as sowing seed is a part of the farmer’s life. By definition, farmers are seed planters; just as fundamentally, Christians are to be givers. Jesus said that we could give something as small as a cup of water in His name and it would someday be rewarded by God (Matt. 10:42). Secondly, Paul tells the Corinthians that Christians should share their money as well. And just as truly as with the farmer’s seed, a Christian’s generous use of money to support godly causes produces a generous harvest of blessing.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Principle of Thankfulness

I want to thank God for the life of Timothy Biggers King. He died this week at the young age of 48. A godly Christian husband and father, friend and a hard-working steward at Brookshire’s Food Stores headquarters in Tyler, TX. Even though it was a short life, it was well lived. He will be missed. I give God thanks for what He accomplished in my friend’s 48 years here on earth and I look forward to an eternity of fellowship with him in the eternity of heaven with Jesus Christ.

We are still looking at Matthew 25 verses 14 to 30, where the Master has entrusted 3 stewards with certain amounts of money to take care of while he goes off on a long trip. When he returned, he called the 3 stewards to give an account. Two were faithful in the task, while the third was not. The text does not specifically give the reactions of the faithful stewards when their master complements them "Well done" and blesses them with greater responsibility. But put yourself in their place for a moment. Have you ever been highly praised at your work for a job well done? Have you ever experienced the exhilaration of completing a task to the full expectation of the one who assigned it? If you are a good boss, you should extend your gratitude to those who work with and for you or your department. Don’t just let them hear about it when they fail to meet up with your expectations. Tell them ‘thank you’ and when possible, the verbal thanks should also be rewarded with additional responsibility and rank in your organization. In this passage, the Master rewarded each of the faithful stewards with more.

The bottom line on this is that we need to thank the Lord for whatever He puts into our hand. Sometimes, we act as if we have a right to a certain standard of living. No. If it all belongs to God, only God has a right to any of it. You know when you think about it, all we really have are responsibilities. Therefore, whatever God gives us is more than we deserve. For what He gives, may we be truly thankful!

My friend, Tim King, is no longer here on earth. His time to accomplish things here on earth is over. Take a moment right now and thank God for what He has given you: life, time, a family, a place to live, food, an opportunity to work, the privilege of giving, .... all things.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Work and Accountability

The people in Jesus' parable were expected to produce an increase with what they had been given. The master expected them to use what they had to produce more. That idea involves work. The Bible says that if we don't work, we don't eat. (2 Thess. 3:10)  In Prov. 18:9, the Bible condemns slothfulness in work.  (Also read 6:6-11).  What example does the Scripture use to describe how industrious we should be?
      To my brother pastors, I ask you to come up close for a minute.  Brothers, it is unfortunate that many in ministry today believe they should be paid for what they know rather than what they do.  Simply because you have gone to seminary does not mean that you will be paid for sitting around the office or the parsonage. Let your diligence in work be an example for the believers, rather than giving them cause to condemn you as a lazy person.  The most effective pastors in my life have been those who had a truly great work ethic.  Well, OK, back to the passage.
The stewards in Matthew 25 faced a day of reckoning. The master returned and demanded an accounting of their stewardship. He rewarded the faithful stewards and condemned the lazy steward. While we are saved by grace and can never face hell if we have received Jesus, we can and will be held accountable for our stewardship. Often the accountability comes in this life. If we are lazy, we might lose our jobs.  If we are big-spenders and squander what God gives us, we may end up in debt or, worse, bankruptcy. "Take that which he has and give it to another."
        Some people try to delay the accounting.  A person who has amassed a large debt and does not have the ability to make a payment might borrow more, but only finds that they are delaying the accounting.  As time passes and he continues this practice of borrowing to pay debt, his interest mounts higher and his debt accumulates and compounds, until he finds no way out but bankruptcy, which is not a biblical concept. Scripture says, "The wicked borrow and does not repay." Psalm 37:21.
Would those closest to you say you are a hard-worker?
Who are you accountable to regarding your finances?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Principle of Giving A Return

The Master was very pleased with the first two stewards who brought a return along with the original number of talents.  In fact, they both doubled what the Master had originally given.  Although the passage in Matthew does not specifically deal with the tithe, the expectation of a return suggests that God has a reasonable expectation of our returning money to Him. Why?
      First, the tithe is an acknowledgement of His ownership of everything. The example of first fruits in the Old Testament was an act of worship to thank God for all He has given and to acknowledge that it all belongs to Him.  The tithe is an act of obedience. His Word has commanded, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse..." Malachi 3:10. By obeying God's word we are being faithful.
        Next: the tithe is an act of obedience. In giving God the 10% of our income and one day a week of our time (the Sabbath) in special, holy stewardship (although remember we honor Him with ALL our time and material possessions), we demonstrate that we believe He will meet our needs with the 90% and the six days. Ron Blue says in his book, Master Your Money, “God meets our needs, not our greed’s.”
      The tithe is not just an Old Testament concept. Some people, including ministers, try to exempt themselves from the tithe by saying it is just found in the Old Testament. Read Luke 11:42. Jesus corrected the Pharisees for their lack of justice while they focused on tithing even the spices they grew. Notice He said they should do one, and at the same time not neglect the other. In other words, Jesus acknowledged that people should give tithes; He was merely emphasizing that we should also do justly in relationships with other people
        Next: the tithe belongs in the storehouse. We do not have freedom to give our tithe for benevolence, or to other good Christian organizations. Nor can we use it for personal matters. Some might argue that because we are in the ministry and the tithe is for the ministry's use, we are free to use the tithe for our own purposes. No, we bring ALL the tithes INTO THE STOREHOUSE -- that is the treasury of the church. Undesignated. I do not have the authority to tell the church what to do with my tithe. As a member of the church, I have the right to express my desires regarding the church's stewardship, but I have no right to designate my tithe. If I want to give benevolently, or give to another Christian organization, or give a designated offering, I must do so after I have given my tithe as an undesignated gift to my church.
        Last: the tithe is an act of worship. We do damage to God's intention when we talk of "taking up an offering." We also do damage if we diminish the offering by simply placing a box at the church entrance for people to place their gifts outside the service. Giving is an act of worship. It is not only for members, but for anyone who desires to worship through giving.  Still the tithe is for church members to their own churches.  In doing so, we should elevate the place of the offering in our worship services in order to help people worship the Lord through their giving.  

Do you see tithing as worship?  Why or why not?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Am I Responsible With What God Has Given Me?

2. BEING RESPONSIBLE -- God commits material goods, as well as such things as time, into our care. How we use money, property, time, and even our own bodies demonstrates whether or not we are good stewards. Still in Matthew 25, verses 14 to 30, we see that the first two stewards did not complain that they received different amounts even though the first received more. One could have complained 'Why do I have so much more to be accountable for?'  The other could have easily stated, 'Why does he have more than me to take care of?'  They simply used what they had been given faithfully and increased the goods proportionately.  They both doubled what the master had given them! (we'll come back to this in a later post!)
        The Bible teaches us how to handle His creation. Throughout Scripture we find principles of stewardship. Even in Genesis, God placed Adam into the garden to "tend it." From the environment, to the hours in each day, to the money in our pockets, Scripture is replete with examples of how to use what God has entrusted to our care.
You may ask yourself, 'how can I really know if I'm being responsible or not?  That's a great question, and one that most of us don't ask....BUT SHOULD!  Here are a couple of 'primer' questions.  These will get your heart and mind going so a proper personal assessment can be made:
        Q:  Would those around me say that I am careless with any of 'my' possessions?
        Q:  Do I spend 'my' time wisely?
OK, now that I know of some areas that I'm not being as responsible as I should, ask this: 'WHY' have I let these things go, or don't show the proper stewardship over.  Knowing What and Why will help you know the proper thing to ask God for help to answer the 'HOW'!!  How do I become more responsible for those God-given items?  We need His help...after all, they do belong to Him!
Well, that's all for now...until next time...be a good steward of what God has given you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I have some pastor friends who hate to preach sermons on stewardship. I know there are many reasons why they feel this way, but don't you think people today need to know the principles of stewardship? They apply to all of life, not just to our money. There are a number of successful financial counselors like Dave Ramsey, Crown Financial and Ron Blue, just to name a very few, who try to help folks understand the money side, and they use biblical references and principles to do so. Are you in a church where you never hear 'stewardship' taught or preached? I dare say most of us are more likely to hear it in the form of a joke, like this one:

"There were 2 men stranded on a deserted island, one is panicked and the other is calm. The frantic one gets mad at the calm one and asks, "Why aren't you worried, don't you know we're going to die out here?" The calm one states, "I told you I made $100,000 per week, didn't I?" The other replied, really stressed out, "Sure, but what good will that do you out here on this island?" The calm one replied, "Well, what I didn't tell you is that I always give a tithe each week at my church. I promise you my Pastor will find me before Sunday!"

OK, I know that's an old one, but still you probably smiled! :) The reality is many times we don't want to talk about the subject because we don't want to give anyone grounds to accuse us of giving sermons to bring more money into the church. You know, most of the Pastors I know are far more concerned with reaching out to folks in need and seeing people come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior!

So here's my BLOG. I'd like to start out with a quick principle from Matthew 25:14-30

1) OWNERSHIP - that is, everything belongs to God!

Q4U: Is there anything I have that I would not gladly give to God should He require it of me?

If so, you don't realize in a practical sense that God owns it and can do with it as He may.

If you are a Pastor, let me ask you straight up: "Do you tithe at your church?" Brothers, how can we expect others to tithe if we're not? You are the leader in your church, if you tithe, they will be more likely to. Why? Because, they are following you! They don't have to know what you give, but that you give! And by the way, you must give cheerfully as the scripture says. (More on that later!)

Enough for this time...see you next week.

gold party