Category: theology

First Fruit Giving not Hand Me Down Left Overs

It all boils down to the same kind of thinking: those who labor in spiritual fields are merely charity cases who should be happy with whatever they get, even if they be scraps. Your local United Way offers you no service or benefit. That’s a charity. Your ‘spiritual worker’ is by your side through thick or thin and has taken the time to educate himself so he can be there in a meaningful way. That’s a benefit you receive, a service rendered to you. You have an obligation to render to the worker his wage.

There is much more to be said on the issue and certainly there are a lot of generous people out there. However, I wonder how the dynamic would change if many of those generous people, instead of thinking that the organization was obligated to them, because they were generous with them, understood that they were obligated to the organization. I just wonder.

The next time you hear that your church or favorite ministry needs a new printer don’t eye your old piece of crap. Go buy them a ‘first fruit’ printer. 😉 You know, one that works. And tells them that you value what they’re doing for far less than they rightly deserve.

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Barna Reflects on 6 ‘Megathemes’ Killing the Church

HT Lenny Esposito Not too long ago I created a website called The Death of Christianity.  Its intent was to distill into one place my thoughts regarding the crisis facing the church today.    These thoughts have developed after almost 20 years of Christian apologetics, but I bring to bear numerous studies to show that my […]

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Why Christians Should Donate Money

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:19-21)

How many times have you heard someone complain that their congregation talks about money way too much? You may have said the same. Your complaint may very well be valid, and yet the congregation’s need is probably genuine. Probably, in most churches, the leadership would much rather not lodge any requests at all. Ideally, people would be ‘Gospel motivated.’ When it becomes difficult- or impossible- to meet the payroll or pay building expenses, the leadership has to bite the bullet and issue the plea(s).

What is really going on is a lack of familiarity with what the Scriptures say about money and a lack of courage or foresight within the leadership to teach about money. Actually, a lot of it is that some folks don’t even care what the Scriptures say on the issue. Their views on money, like so many other views, are born of one’s own ‘natural reasoning.’ This post is not about them. This post is about folks who do care. Let me share some of my experiences leading a ministry that relies a great deal on donations. But first, let me state plainly what I hope this post will accomplish:

The reader will open up their Bibles for themselves and study what it has to say about money (time, talent, and treasure) from beginning to end.

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Introduction to Ayn Rand’s Anthem Excerpt

The greatest guilt today is that of people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing to admit to themselves the nature of that which they are accepting; the people who support plans specifically designed to achieve serfdom, but hide behind the empty assertion that they are lovers of freedom, with no concrete meaning attached to the word; the people who believe that the content of ideas need not be examined, that principles need not be defined, and that facts can be eliminated by keeping one’s eyes shut. They expect, when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps, to escape moral responsibility by wailing: ”But I didn’t mean this!”

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Apologetics is the Answer to Everything

Some Christians will begin seeing red just from reading the title of this entry.  They will be angry and annoyed and may even jump up out of their seats.  Therefore, let me say it again:  apologetics is the answer to everything. Whether it be the rapid decline of the Christian Church in America, the brisk […]

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On Heroes and Dignity and Slavery

A friend of mine posted something recently that I thought really hit the nail on the head. I have pasted it below for your reading pleasure.

I would like to add my own thoughts to what she calls the “Katrina Problem.” Our reliance on ‘heroes’ also has an impact on our own perception of ourselves. There are a lot of people out there who, in the name of love, stoop low to help others. When you do this often enough in an all encompassing and pervasive way, the people cannot help themselves any longer. (You could ask: So, did you really help them?). When people can’t help themselves, they become demoralized. When you tell them over and over again that they can’t help themselves, and constantly reach in to ‘help’ them, all you’ve done is strip them of their dignity and enslaved them- to you. If we want free men and women in this country we must actually treat them as free men and women. When we help them, we must not enslave them. And, as Americans, we must ask ourselves how much of the ‘help’ we are receiving actually has the net effect of enslaving us…

Here is my friend’s post….

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I watched a special on Katrina a while ago–all this crazy behind the scenes footage of what was going on in the streets while all of that was happening. People laying and dying on curbsides. Bodies floating by. People gathered into the big arena and not given enough food or supplies. People stuck and no one helping them. I tried to imagine how it would feel. How helpless. And how confused I would be at why no one was coming to help. Where was the government or the armed services? It would have boggled my mind if I had been there.

I know that scads of people blamed President Bush’s administration for this because most people don’t realize that he kept asking the governor to let the armed services come in and she kept putting him off.

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Christians in the Voting Booth should First Not Steal

Just posted this on my blog at Christian Post.com In this election season it seems like there is a fair number of the American electorate that needs to be asked:  “What is it about ‘Thou shalt not steal’ that you don’t understand?” Now, there is little use putting this question to secular humanists and atheists.  […]

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Recording of first KnightCon Debate

A couple of nights ago I hosted the first of what I hope will be regular, bi-weekly discussion events using real time video conferencing software. The recording of that event is available here. Note, it is unedited and is a very informal setting.  You can fast forward, and I suggest you do.  Length is about […]

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Book Review: “Story Craft” by John R. Erickson

Story Craft, John R. Erickson Book Review by Debbie Thompson, ACM Volunteer If you have 8-10 year old children you may already know John Erickson. He is the author of the popular Hank, the Cowdog stories. Hank is such a delightful doggy character that almost any child or animal loving adult will shake their head […]

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Knights of Contention Semimonthly Philosophical Free for All

Those who know me know that I like a good scrap. Well, I thought it would be fun to host a bi-weekly event where people from across the spectrum of thought can get together and converse in a chat/voice conference format on topics of interest and importance.

So, I have set aside the second and fourth Tuesday of every month, at 9:30 p.m. CST, to hold this discussion. Expect each session to go from 90 minutes to 2 hours. Allowed to speak: atheists, theists, cynics, skeptics, knuckleheads, and the rest. Basic rule: behave as though you were in a public diner with friends and people they brought along but are strangers to you. It’s a little ambiguous, but if you can’t be courteous in your passionate discourse, we just won’t allow you back.

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Distinguishing between the Organic Church and the Organizational Church

A pastor in Nevada chastises me, “The little old ladies in our congregation are extraordinary in their faithfulness. They do everything in the church. They run the committees, their generosity pays the bills, they tend to the facilities. My congregation is 95% filled with these little old ladies who are lions in the faith.”

No doubt, they are the lions in the faith. Yet in under 10 years they will all be dead from simple old age. 10 years from now, when they have all passed to be with Jesus in his glory, and there are just 10 people left in the congregation, might we stop to wonder if the reason for this is not because the church is being faithful to its principles, but because it is not?

How can we call it faithful if the youngest person in the congregation is 40 years old? Does that really sound consistent with the Scriptural vision for believers? Seriously?

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In Defense of the Arts: Article in ChristianVideoMag

I was recently invited to submit articles for consideration in a mag called Christian Video Magazine. I was delighted to take them up on the offer. My first article was published today in their August edition.

Interestingly, our online apologetics conference presenter Robert Velarde also appears in this edition. Check his article out. It’s worth it.

Excerpt:

“He has set eternity in the hearts of men…” So begins chapter three, verse eleven, of the book of Ecclesiastes. I bet everyone sometimes falls into the habit of thinking that the only real things are those things we grasp with our five senses, but I would also wager that we have all experienced the angst and restlessness that shows that our rat race lives cannot provide us all the satisfactions we need. Christianity would offer another interpretation for that unsettled feeling: it is homesickness.

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Liturgical or Contemporary Worship- Which one from God?

If our gatherings are not marked by love- that is, attending to the genuine needs, desires, and wants of those around us, rather than seeking our own fulfillments- they are ‘nothing.’ As far as I am concerned, I would be happy to endure just about any kind of ‘worship’ form if I saw a community that was geared to look out for each other, even to the point of laying down their lives for each other (1 John 3:16).

Now, of course there is some attending to needs in the way gatherings are structured. It isn’t an entirely loveless endeavor, and of course the whole work of the Church does not occur one hour on one day a week. You wouldn’t know this from listening to those engaged in the ‘Worship’ Wars, though. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read something by either side where ‘love’ was mentioned at all.

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Three words Christians abuse: church, worship, love

The title of this post does not do the matter justice.  The word ‘abuse’ is too mild, and it might be even more accurate to say that in actual fact the sweeping trend within Christendom is that there is outright plain ignorance on what these terms mean.  The charge only matters at all to those […]

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