29 July 2012

Show Your Church The Money!

I am convinced that the modern-day church is completely out of touch with God and simply following old religious traditions. So much of what they do is still operating under the Law of Moses and the Old Testament system that Jesus, already, completed (Jer 31:31-34).

As time goes on, I will slowly show you how bad it's gotten and how blind we've been for centuries. Although most Christian leaders have the best intentions, they don't have a clue who God is or how he operates. I don't care how gentle or loving they appear, good intentions mean nothing. God is building up real leaders who have real faith in their Father.

Now, let me ask you a question. What's the most uncomfortable moment in any church service? That's right! The tithes and offerings has to be the least experience to look forward to. I've grown up in church all my life and I've always felt uncomfortable about monetary sacrifices. However, I was instructed to suppress these "evil" feelings because a true Christian is always a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9). Yet, no matter how hard I tried to ignore my instincts, these uncomfortable feelings would eventually creep back in (Rom 2:14-15).

Honestly, there's just something extremely wrong about passing a collection around and expecting something in return. It doesn't matter if you pass a bucket or expect your congregation to walk to the front/back of the building to drop off their money, it still doesn't sit well with me.

Anyway, here's the problem I have. For one, show me where Jesus collected money. Nowhere does it say that God's Son collected tithes or offerings. Remember, the Houses of God were still collecting their sin/praise offerings during Jesus' day so he would have been justified to do so. Instead, not only did he hang out with the very poor, we also know he hung out with the filthy rich, scumbag, tax-collectors and rich young rulers. Maybe they hooked 'em up. He certainly didn't chill with the religious churchy people; they hated him with a vengeance. So, this means one of two things. Either the non-churchy folks gave him money, or God supernaturally provided all the money Jesus needed (Luke 9:1-6).

You see, real leaders provide for their followers and not the other way around. Kids don't provide for their parents, however parents provide for their kids (2 Cor 12:12-18). A parent who persuades their child to provide for them, should be dealt with harshly. This is wrong. No father, in his right mind, would ever solicit his child to pay for the overall family's needs. However, this is exactly what your church is doing.

Let's discuss how to do it right. We know that Jesus fed about 4000 followers twice (Mat 14:13-21, Mat 15:32-39). He also provided everything his disciples needed on a daily basis. He even paid their taxes (Mat 17:24-27)! Jesus had so much that he entrusted his good friend Judas with the money - knowing he would betray him (show me a pastor who does that). Even Paul repeatedly mentioned that he didn't want to be a burden by taking the church's possessions (2 Cor 11:7-9, 2 Cor 12:13-18, 1 Thes 2:7-9, 2 Thes 3:6-10). Paul worked as a tent-maker and provided for himself (Acts 18:1-6). Then, he used his income to provide for his disciples. Seems to me that Paul saw Jesus doing it differently (Acts 20:33-35).

You might say, "Dathan, you're such a fool. It clearly states that the early church in Acts brought all their money to the disciples." And, you'd be absolutely correct! But, what happened after that? The disciples, in turn, provided for every single need of their flock. No one went without anything. Those who gave, also received (Acts 2:42-47). The difference is that when the disciples started this church they actually had a real relationship with Jesus for 3 years and witnessed a true Son of God...doing it right.

However, leaders of churches insist on you paying them for their services. Pastors feel that providing you a "holy temple" for you to give your sacrifices of praise will please God, but sacrifices are an Old Covenant and God is, already, extremely happy with us because of Jesus. And, since no one seems to want to have a real relationship with Jesus, the congregation keeps sucking on their leader's breast milk like blind sheep. Shepherds should teach you how to hear God's voice for yourself (Mat 16:13-20). Then, the Spirit will teach you everything you need to know (John 14:26, 1 John 2:26-27). A real leader helps you get to know the Spirit intimately.

One day, I finally had enough after hearing ministers brag about how much money they collected and gave to the mission field or how many cars were given to people who had no way to get to work. I decided I no longer would let someone else decide where my money went. He wants me (and you) to decide exactly where the money goes. God called you to feed his sheep and he didn't mean through your church's offering basket. The Spirit prompts you when to give, who to give to, and how much. And, rarely, if ever, does he tell you to give to a church. Honestly, I hate leaving my money in the hands of someone else to decide what to do with it!

Finally, the more I get to know my Father, the more I see him providing for my every need (Psa 23). You see, Jesus didn't do anything he didn't see his Father doing, and he's taught me to do the same (John 5:19-21). I always see him paying my bills, mortgage, insurance, food, gas, movies and even Nancy's Italian Ice. Do you see him providing these things in your life? Then, do the same for others.

Know that God is calling YOU to be a leader and he's called you to make disciples. He's also wanting you to cheerfully give to specific people in your life that need your help. He blesses you so you can bless and lighten the burden of others around you (2 Cor 9:8).

Remember, your Father owns everything and you have access to all the Kingdom's wealth as his son or daughter - a true heir to his throne (Rom 8:15-17).
"Feed my sheep." Your shepherd already has enough.

Just think about the greater impact we can make by giving our tithes and offerings to the people we come in contact with everyday. These are the ones that God has personally entrusted to us. Changing the lives of those around you makes a much bigger difference than giving to your church. Honestly, we need to start doing things that have our names on it, and not our church's logo.

Lastly, I don't think your pastor really believes in you very much. If he did, he would personally ask you where to invest the money he collects. But, that doesn't happen, does it? You want to know who your pastor believes in? They're employed by the church and receive a salary.

Now, tell me again who told you to pay your tithe? Oh yeah, it was your religious church leaders and their religious Old Testament ways (Gal 5:11-14). The way I see it, pastors have had their chance with the millions of dollars they've collected from us over the years. It's time we show them what true faith looks like. It's time we truly change the world around us.

Real shepherds feed their sheep (John 21:15-17).

12 comments :

Anonymous said...

WHAT?!?! No comments on this one? Woah - what's up with that? Your blog here hits a raw nerve for me... very raw indeed.

drew said...

i'll admit, I always enjoy reading your text about your perspective. but as an artist nothing makes more of an impression on me than an image. look at those sheep! they look so dependent. regardless of why, how many leaders truly know the individual needs of all their people? yet we can know the needs of our friends and even strangers. what an opportunity we have every day to give. my thoughts were as simple as "whoa" and "woe". thank you for the truth.

Dathan Ellis said...

I mean, who doesn't think those little lambs aren't cute?!

Anonymous said...

I usually enjoy your posts but this one does not sit well with me. I really dislike the part near the end where you say we need to be doing things in our names instead of under our church logo. Basically, it seems you are saying we need to get the glory for our giving.

Dathan Ellis said...

I want you to be responsible for feeding God's sheep. God called you to touch the lives he has entrusted to you. He didn't say feed your church organization. He told you to feed his sheep. You are an ambassador of God and not your church. He wants you to be responsible for carrying his name.

Anonymous said...

Straight from the source, Jesus himself:

Matthew 6
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.


Luke
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”


I agree with "anonymous" on 08/07...sounds like you want the glory for yourself. "Let Go and Let God". Trust in the Lord that he has plans for the money that you give, whether it be to the Church or to the person on the street, but don't delude yourself by thinking You know what is best.

Dathan Ellis said...

So you're saying you're fine with giving your pastor and his church organization the glory even after he demands or persuades you to give to him? And, at the same time, you think it's selfish if I give to someone else directly?? I think you're confused. Actually, I do know what is best. I have the Holy Spirit and trust him to direct my path. He shows me what I should do next. I don't use a pastor as a mediator for where/who I should give. I can go to God directly now for guidance. I'll tell you what. You do what your pastor says and I'll do what the Spirit says.

Anonymous said...

You know what is best, for you and for everyone it sounds like. My pastor and my church doesn't get any glory. Do you think they post signs in third world countries 'another dream made possible by xyz church'?The glory goes to God by those who help the people with the least. You think one bad apple ruins the bunch, that since there are churches that don't follow the path the whole lot of them are corrupt....what a sad world to live in when you have no faith.

Dathan Ellis said...

Faith is actually believing you're a little Christ and can make your own decisions through him. Your pastor asks you for money, correct? Does Jesus ask you for money? Do you do what you see your pastor doing or do you do what you see Jesus doing?

Anonymous said...

Correction:

Hebrews 11:1
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Dathan Ellis said...

You should have kept reading.

Hebrews 12:2
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; ..."

Anonymous said...

Good advice.

Hebrews 13:15-17
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you."


James 1:27
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."


And I'll add this...

James 1:22-25
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."

To reiterate this...

Matthew 6:1-4
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

We're not meant "to start doing things that have our names on it, and not our church's logo" as you put it.

I feel quite certain that no matter what you will have the last word, and therefore I have said my peace on this matter.