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Tithing 101: Why is Tithing Important?

TITHING 101

Tithing: Let’s talk about one of the historically most uncomfortable & avoided topics amongst friends—money. While 1 Timothy 6:10 reminds us that the love of money is the root of all evil, the evil is not in the money itself. God isn’t disgusted with money. He doesn’t ask His children to abandon the concept of money all together.  He doesn’t ask us to live outside of the culture in isolation and poverty. Rather, Yahweh shows that His heart for us is fruitfulness. He shows that tithing is the pathway to financial fruit. Let’s start with some of the basics.

WHAT IS A TITHE?

The word Tithe means 1/10th. Biblically, tithing is the practice in which we give 10% of our income back to the Lord through our local congregation.

WHAT ARE TITHES USED FOR? 

Historically, tithes were used to support the livelihood of priests in order to make room in their daily schedule to serve Yahweh and His people. Today, not much has changed. Churches use tithes to support pastoral staff and maintain the church building. Often tithes are used in conjunction with projects/programs to support the Church’s mission.

WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD TO TITHE? 

We have all been in that spot when it seems that our money is spent before we even get it. In such cases, it is easy to assume that God’s heart for us is to reduce the financial strain and thereby release us from our duty to tithe. But the reality is that God promises provision and abundance through tithing, not by avoiding it.

In Malachi 3:10, the Lord says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

That is a pretty powerful promise. But the Lord’s goodness extends far beyond the surface. The phrase “open the window of heaven….and pour down for you a blessing” reference the opening of the heavens and the pouring out of rain that came down during the days of Noah. With that in mind, go back and read His promise.

That’s a lot of rain! And coincidentally, that’s a lot of blessing!

God’s storehouse is so much bigger than we can even fathom. By trusting Him with our finances, He promises to take care of our needs. And by tithing, we are invited to witness His generosity and faithfulness in new and practical ways.

Proverbs 3:9-10 reinforces this idea, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with your first fruits of all your produce. Then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

IS IT GENEROUS TO TITHE?

No. Tithing does not indicate a generous heart on our end. Rather, tithing is done out of obedience to Yahweh and His instruction.  And it is through obedience with our money that we are able to receive His financial fruit.

And that brings us back to 1 Timothy 6:10 where we are reminded that the love of money (not money itself) is the root of evil. The love of money would keep us from being obedient. The love of money would keep us bound up in the infertile soil of self-sufficiency rather than trusting Yahweh. That is the root of evil. And through it we receive counterfeit abundance, outside of God’s plan for our lives.

Yahweh’s heart for us is made evident in these two verses. His desire is not for us to live in lack, demanding poverty in return for salvation. On the contrary, He indicates a desire for us to walk in true abundance as we worship Him, rather than our own means. He invites us into a relationship in which we are a son or daughter, walking in the love and constant provision of a Father.

So if you are new to tithing and a little nervous, we want to encourage you to taste and see what a good, good father we have. Put Him to the test if He will not pour out his provision on you until you have no more need.

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Why is Music Important During Quarantine?

The Power of Music

 

A guitarist in New York writing songs and lyrics about the coronavirus. Bono writing songs about the illness and its effects on society. Italians in the balconies of Rome lifting each other’s spirits by joining together in song and music daily across the country. Music has forever been a part of every culture. In a sense, music is the only language that every culture across the world speaks. Music speaks to the soul of a person far deeper than anything else. “The language of music is common to all generations and nations,” Gioachino Rossini, the virtuosic opera composer, once said. “It is understood by everybody, since it is understood with the heart.”

So, during the quarantines being set across the world, people are taking advantage of the time at home to write songs and cheer each other’s spirits through melody. Musicians across balconies found connection with their neighbors and filled the silence of seclusion with tunes and melodies. In a sense, people across the world, whether musician or not, are embracing music as a common language to beat the quarantine.

 

How Does This Apply to Us?

 

Music is an opportunity for us to step into new areas of creativity in our life. Have you always wanted to play guitar, but never took it up? Have you always loved singing in the shower, but never got the courage to sing in front of other people? Have you thought about songs and poetry, but been too afraid to write the lyrics? Have you wanted to learn how to read music, but never took it on? Find a guitar! Watch Youtube videos on vocal lessons! Find songwriting tips online and pull out the pen and paper! All the resources we need are online, and the only thing holding us back from learning about it is ourselves.

We can use the melodies and songs we learn to glorify God and bring community together. How amazing is it to see people posting online about how they are taking up music? Does it make you excited to see people praising God in their living rooms? We can use the talent and skill God gives to us to bring people together in community. Bring people into your new musical journey and use the songs you learn to bring hope to the others around you.

We can take this time to allow music to fill us up with new gratitude and joy for the God we serve. Ephesians 5:19 says “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” Now is your opportunity to learn a new skill and glorify God with your talent, skill and worship!

So what are you waiting for? Pick up that dusty guitar, and pull out the journal and pens. Let creativity be your guide, and praise the Lord with your heart, soul and mouth.

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Sixteen Ways to Flourish While Quarantined

Flourish While Quarantined?

Let’s face it, being stuck in our homes for the next several weeks because of coronavirus is not going to be easy. We don’t just want to cope during this time and leave our homes at the end of two months full of cabin fever and swear it was the worst time of our lives. With a little bit of conscious investment and a lot of fun, we can flourish while quarantined! Here is a list of some practical ways you and your family can enjoy this time of rest and take advantage of the situation.

Cultivate Your Emotional Health

  1. Take some time to journal. Step out of your life and reflect. Take these evenings at home captive as you write out what God is doing in your life during this time.
  2. Make time for unscheduled creativity. Turn off social media and entertainment and give yourself and your kids time to be creative. Get the legos out! Get the paints out! Make playdough and mud pies! Kids need time for unfettered creativity so their minds can grow in imagination and new ideas. Start up one of your own hobbies again. Maybe now is the time to learn to play that instrument you have always been wanting to learn. Maybe you will finally get around to learning how to sketch. Be creative and take the time you need to do it.
  3. Read books that nourish your heart and mind. Reading is a wonderful way to open up our worlds. Whether you choose non-fiction or fiction, every book will add to your life. Bring out new books for you kids, and better yet, read a classic book with your kids aloud.
  4. Declutter. Complete house projects. Give stuff away. We are stepping into the spring, so what better time to clean house! Clean out those empty shelves and complete the Honey-do list. Give away the things you don’t need, and refresh your house and mind with simplicity.

Cultivate Your Physical Health

  1. Start a new exercise routine. We all tried that New Year’s resolution to get more fit, but for most of it, it didn’t stick. Maybe now is your chance to workout, clean up our diet, and get back into healthy routines.
  2. Rest and sleep. What better time to rest and refresh ourselves? Most Americans barely sleep 6.8 hours a night! Now we can take the time to get the sleep our culture sorely lacks.
  3. Take time to prepare your food. Nothing is more exciting than learning a new recipe and eating something you made with your own hands. Pull out recipe books and teach your kids how to cook!
  4. Go to the great outdoors! Go for walks in your neighborhood, plan hikes, and ride bikes! No one told us we couldn’t be outside, so take advantage of it and get some fresh air!

Cultivate Your Spiritual Health

  1. Spend time reading and studying God’s Word. Everyone tries to make time for Bible reading, what better time to do it? Pick up on that book of the Bible you have been studying, or memorize scripture.
  2. Pray. Consider this season as a time to fast and pray for your life, family, church and city. Our nation and our cities need prayer right now in the midst of an unstable economy, and sickness. Teach your kids to pray for others during this time, and encourage them to see how God answers prayer when we call out to him.
  3. Review your personal life goals. Go back through the journey of your life and create an identity statement for your life. Reorient and recalibrate your mind and heart. You may find that the next several weeks will drastically change how you see your life.
  4. Take up a new spiritual discipline. Meditation, Lectio Divina, fasting and simplicity are all forms of spiritual disciplines that will change your life and habits if you let them.

Cultivate Relational Health

  1. Connect with your family and friends. Though we are encouraged to avoid those who are vulnerable, this is a great opportunity to spend time with those who you need to reconnect with. Make phone calls, FaceTime calls, email, or even write a letter! Remember, others need to flourish while quarantined as well.
  2. Spend extra time with your family. Have meaningful discussions with your spouse and kids. This is a great time to give your energy and support to them as much as you can.
  3. Find ways to serve and give to those in need, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Take care of those who are quarantined and reach out to your neighbors. Find people who need help in this time and find a way to support them as much as you are able.
  4. Reconcile relationships. If you have experienced conflict or tension with someone else, do what you can to reconcile the relationship. Being in a hard emotional and economic situation makes people rethink their relationships, and it is a good time for you to evaluate your relationships as well.

You Can Flourish While Quarantined

Despite the difficulty of the times we are walking in, we can use this time of rest to reevaluate and thrive! If you have ideas, share them with others and support their growth and refreshment in this time. Together, with a little bit of help, we can all flourish while quarantined. Have a lovely next few weeks!

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