By: Mike Kuhn
Mission funding is a powerful force flooding the Middle East like a sudden storm in an arid desert. It changes the entire environment - sometimes doing great good, but with the potential to do great harm.
By: David Hull
Philanthropy is motivated by a mutual love of humanity. Stewardship is based on an allegiance to God who has entrusted us to manage all that belongs to God. Too often, we confuse the two.
By: Dennis Bickers
Churches are in transition, similar to a trapeze artist who has let go of one swing and is suspended midair while the next swing approaches. Here are 7 changes the approaching future holds.
By: Chuck Summers
So many of the environmental problems we face today have resulted from our failure to understand or remember that the earth is not ours to do with as we please. The earth belongs to God.
By: Chuck Summers
We need to be good stewards of God's creation, but we often forget that includes our own bodies. When we don't take care of our bodies or the earth, we will eventually pay the price.
By: Colin Harris
We stand on the shoulders of rigorous work and often hard-fought struggles of generations before us. Will we be stewards of those resources or squander them on superficial things?
By: Dennis Bickers
Nothing's wrong with a church having money in savings. When that church has large sums of money it never intends to use for any purpose other than ensuring its own existence, then there's a problem.
By: Martin Accad
With a passport, the world is yours - at least that's what the slogan claims. After all, the world belongs to the Lord, and we are to be stewards. And many are denied the benefits of citizenship.
By: Matt Sapp
As more middle-class families feel the economy's squeeze, giving to church becomes a greater challenge. Sometimes, church leaders need to stop asking and start saying thank you louder and more often.
By: Larry Eubanks
Care for the earth is a part of biblical theology, but somehow it doesn't find its way into a lot of Christians' theology. If we are going to get our lives in line with the plans of God, we must recover this emphasis.
By: Nathan Napier
We all behave as if we don't have enough. However, if we live our lives under the conviction that the common good trumps individual benefit, we would discover that there's plenty to go around.
By: Bill Wilson
Much of what we call faith and commitment is actually a thin veneer of religious ritualism that withers at the first hint of stress. To hear the Spirit's voice, we need to go deeper. Like Paul, we need to go to Arabia.
By: Terry Austin
Stewardship used to be about living with an open hand. Today, under the direction of Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey, it's been watered down to merely getting out of debt.
By: Larry Eubanks
While the Lord is happy when we give generously to support the church, the message of Malachi reminds us that we cannot forget the poor when we give our tithe to the Lord.
Too many of us believe the Earth belongs to us and we can do what we want with it. That arrogance is precisely why we face so many environmental woes. We're stewards, not owners.
Today is All Saint’s Sunday on the Christian calendar. It is a day for remembering and giving thanks for all the saintly people both living and dead whom God has placed in our lives and in the history of University Baptist Church. I would like for you to imagine with me Paul, Silas and Timothy writing a letter to University Baptist Church based on today’s passage. On this All Saint’s Sunday, perhaps this is what they might have to say to us this morning.
Keep Calm and Stand Firm in the midst of a war that the apostle Paul talks about elsewhere in Scripture, where we do not fight against flesh and blood, but we war against principalities and powers. In the midst of this war, we can keep calm because Christ’s death on the cross has broken the chains of these powers in our lives. We can keep calm because God’s Spirit will not abandon us; instead, God’s Spirit will dwell within us to fight against these powers so that we may become more and more conformed to the image of Christ.
Very few U.S. Christians are not affected by materialism. The need for "stuff" controls many of our lives. We must decide if we possess our possessions or do they possess us?
We throw away absolutely everything in which our food is served, and virtually none of it is recyclable. While we love our convenient lifestyle, we forget all that trash is accumulating somewhere.
I want us to focus on the idea that a part of our stewardship is the notion that we have great power when we join together as Christ’s church. But where there’s great power, there are responsibilities. Stewardship is the key to acknowledging those responsibilities. When we are God’s stewards of the gifts of God, we will become God’s partners in the world.
We are driven by opposing forces. Small lives are ordered by the surface winds of selfishness, fear, and negativity. They are also driven by ingratitude and stingy spirits. On the other hand, great lives, gigantic in character and moral stature, are not affected by the surface concerns, but are driven by the deeper movements of God and the currents of faith. Those great souls are steered by a belief in God who always, always provides and who is calling us to be God’s partners in the kingdom God is seeking to bring.
Trust must extend to every aspect of the church, including the character and commitment of the pastor, staff and others who manage financial resources.
Many churches seem to model their stewardship after the parable of the farmer building bigger barns for his possessions. Here's why a table is a better metaphor.
May we invest in God’s future and offer our best and our all to our Master, so that one day, we may hear the joyful commendation of our Master: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Put plainly, everything we have comes from God – not just to our hands, but through our hands as we, like God, continue to be givers.
The politics of God’s Kingdom proclaims that the right Man has already been crucified, resurrected and ascended, so that all powers and principalities are under His control, and that the eternal destiny of the saints and the cosmos are under His control.
If we can accept that God is always creating, always renewing, always redecorating the world, can you also accept that God has made room for a vigorous partnership with us in order to do these things? The question is, “Will we be God’s partners?”
So consider, if you will, that anything we give – money, effort, time – to the ministry of Christ in this church is not simply giving. It is giving back to the One who gave everything to us.
Do you really believe that God knit you (literally “crocheted” you) to be as you are today, with a particular plan for your life that matches you and only you, recorded in the Book of Life before you were even born?
Imagine the impact on your life and on our church if our individual and collective desire was the same as Jesus’—to know and do the will of God?
The good news of the gospel is that there is an antidote to our addition to things, a cure for our greed-sick souls. That antidote is the spiritual discipline of generous giving.
The Bible talks about our gift to God as a “first fruit.”
There is more out there for us to hold in our hands because God, in his eternal wisdom and grace, wants to give it to us. The question is, will we receive it? And if so, what will we do with it then?
God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us, and I want to express my love back. What would be a fitting gift for a God like that?
Every year, studies show that people who are generous are happier, feel more connected to people around them, and have greater life satisfaction. All of these things is a work of the spirit that produces those things that we always wanted, but we think it is a bunch of hokum. But it is true.
Like Jesus' parable of the tenants who refused to pay a landlord the profits from his vineyard, do we have more in common with the current tenants or the new ones?
The Shakertown Pledge, a response to the unequal distribution of global wealth and resources, was written 38 years ago. What impact would these nine declarations have if you followed them?
(RNS) Almost all U.S. churches witnessed a change in the financial giving they received in 2010 compared to 2009.
Does the biblical teaching that humans have dominion over the earth give us a license to exploit the planet? Nine themes from the pages of the Bible refute any such claim.
With churches struggling financially in these challenging financial times, many plan a single Sunday when members are urged to give sacrificially to catch up on the budget. It's a bad idea for several reasons.
Paul makes it clear that many of the myths we have about money are misguided. Paul’s emphasis is not that we should give because of guilt – because we have to. Not with a grudge – because we ought to. But with grace – because we want to.
You don’t need me to tell you that you can make scripture say just about anything you want it to say. People often turn to the Bible to back up their arguments, as if that is what the Bible is for.
Welcome to the hard sayings of Jesus where Jesus pushes hard against a common sense level of faith and demands more than any of us are willing to give. What you do with these words is up to you, but I doubt you feel comfortable with them.
The idea that smell and memory are powerfully linked prompted pastor Beth Sanders to wonder, “What does God’s love smell like?” For some, there are smells that draw you back in memory to the church of your childhood.
Of course, the key to it all is that members of generous churches give themselves first to the Lord before they give a dime to anybody else. They understand that commitment to Christ is the foundation for everything in the Christian life, including giving. Without that prior commitment to Christ, even generous gifts are ultimately hollow.
A little over a year ago, the Missions Committee offered a small way we can impact our community. They sponsored "piggy banks" for each Sunday school class asking for loose change offerings to benefit God's Pantry.
People sitting in church pews with knowledge about complicated social issues but who use it only to enrich themselves are a wasted resource for the Kingdom of God, a former tax lawyer turned fair-tax activist told a Baptist Center for Ethics audience last week.
Accra's National Arts Centre had everything an American could want as a souvenir--wood carvings, talking drums, colorful clothing, leather goods, glass jewelry and masks.
Scientists are in wide agreement that global warming is real. Carbon dioxide and methane gases have increased in our atmosphere over the years and scientists believe these are mostly to blame for the warming phenomena which are causing more frequent extreme weather, disappearing glaciers and ice cover in both the Arctic and Antarctic Sea regions, and a rise in the ocean's temperatures.
Just ask Kermit the Frog, who sang about it. Or the Jolly Green Giant, about whom the following was sung:
I had the pleasure of hearing former Vice President and Nobel Prize recipient Al Gore speak in January at the New Baptist Covenant Celebration in Atlanta. The presentation he delivered to his fellow Baptists was one of stewardship of the earth. Caring for God's creation and its inhabitants was a responsibility first given to Adam. We still have that responsibility today, although the effects of our negligence are leaving behind some irreversible consequences.
TheGreenBible.org is now online. The site, from Baptist Center for Ethics and EthicsDaily.com, is a warehouse of information on the biblical mandate to care for the environment--and what people of faith can and should do.
I recently preached a sermon on environmental stewardship based on the familiar John 3:16 passage.
Church members across America will hear sermons this Sunday on climate change on Earth Day Sunday, which is celebrated in houses of worship on the weekend closest to Earth Day on April 22.
There's a valuable teaching tool for pastors and religious educators willing to take a little political risk: Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," say two congregational leaders who have shown the film in Baptist churches.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, former President Clinton, reported late Friday afternoon that they made since 2000 more than $109 million and gave $10.25 million to charity.
Back in November of last year Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent letters for financial information from six of the countless mega-church television preachers. The senator was widely portrayed as persecuting these millionaire preachers. The offended preachers surrounded their auditors with lawyers and let the senators, IRS and anyone interested know that they were not responding to such insolent questions.
Every year at Christmas I take a week of vacation either before or after the holiday. This year I took off the week before. Knowing that things might be hectic in the church office I thought I had everything lined up and taken care of related to adopted Christmas families, the weekly food program and everything else that takes place during the week. I really needed a break to get myself ready for Christmas.
The good news is, if you're awake, you're alive. The bad news is, you have to get out of that comfy bed, find something to wear, and at least try to be someone who is pleasant to be around.
In many churches, food is as commonplace as pews, choir robes and altar calls. In fact, potluck is as much a part of the Christian vernacular as prayer, peace and pastor. Therefore, the call to eat for the benefit of others is an important one in the life of a Christian and a Christian community.
'Tis the season to go crazy.
Christmas is not your birthday--unless you're Jimmy Buffet, Clara Barton or Jesus, that is. But you already knew that.
Thanksgiving trumps Christmas. Cultural fundamentalists and sentimental Christians may read that statement as heresy.
Did you hear the one about the Christian going into the coffee shop?
Economics is like a game of musical chairs. There are not enough chairs in the world for everyone to have as many as they would like. But rather than play music and race to the nearest chair, we have an auction, and those with the most money buy their chairs while those without are left standing.
When Jesus uses the word Mammon, he gives it a nearly demonic connotation--or at least a spiritual connotation distinct from simply "cash"--that sets it up as an alternative to God in a way that Caesar, for example, doesn't have to be.
Despite popular parlance, consumerism is not a problem of how much one consumes. No, it is a problem of why one consumes: that is, in a consumerist society like ours, we buy things to tell others, and ourselves, who we are.