First off, we don't have formal membership. People join our groups more like family. We don't have a house repair committee or anything like that. A person in one of our meetings may have a neighbor who needs his roof fixed and hears the Lord speak to his heart to help. He would simply contribute the amount needed for materials, ask for a little help in labor and fix the roof. If there was a project that needed to be done and we didn't have the skills, we might then hier it out. A person with plumbing problems wouldn't be ignored. We can only do what we have means to share. Our assumption is that they would fix their own plumbing if they had the ability. If not, we would do our best to help. Our focus is on family and we happily sacrifice for family. To date, we have had only thankfulness and no disgruntlements. While our widows and elderly need more extended care, we help those capable to find employment so that they can help themselves. To date, we have not had any roofing or plumbing projects. We have provided food and clothing, paid utility bills, mowed lawns, painted a house, found employment, purchased a used car for a single mom so she could get a job, provided free child care, and a host of other items for truly needy families. So far, most of the major giving has come from four different families, all of whom have greatly simplified their lifestyles so they could help other get on their feet. I cannot speak for the other three families, but I can tell you that my wife and I gave 5/8 of our total income to family needs last year. We have not suffered one bit for doing this. We live in a small two bedroom cottage and drive a Corolla. Our needs were met and we have the joy of watching family grow and people coming to Jesus. Our expressions of love have been contagious in those whom we bless as they too are able to share what God gives them. As far as horror story headlines, I doubt you'll see any. Those sorts of stories usually come from welfare programs and entitlement mentalities. We have neither. Our needy families are all getting better, God is blessing them so they can bless others and we are not producing welfare dependents. Our meetings are joyful, worshipful, and we pray for and care for all family and extended family needs as God gives us the ability. In short, we have found joy in sharing life where we once collected status and comfort. This is not our home and so we are banking all our treasures for eternity and taking as many family as we can with us.
Hope this answers some of your questions. If you're ever in our area, please join us for a family meal. Father's rich blessings to you.
Howdy brother Mike,
Enjoyed your sharing about letting LOVE flow and then reach out to those that are immediately around you that need help.
I've seen this spontaneous love giving, and when its over, you can't honestly say who has been blessed more. Because both the giver (s) and the receipient are both super blessed.
As Shakespeare said "It is twice blessed".
No obligation, No stress - only love flowing!
I love that church, and I'm sure that Jesus does as well. I am praying regarding restarting our mostly closed down house church, La Roca. A few years ago, my wife and I had left an institutional-ish church of some 12,000 members having been hugely put off by their "Sex and the City" sermon topic, which included one of the pastors cross-dressing, and acting like Dr. Ruth. There was a mass exodus from that congregation, like 40% of the long-time members. So we felt we needed to hit the road, and go home. We quickly had around 30 folks, half American, half Hispanic immigrants. That went on for around a year, and then I was asked by a friend to come and help him with a budding Hispanic congregation at that same old church. For several reasons I eventually agreed, mostly because he is a much more "successful" guy than I, and so I doubted my calling, and yes I did feel called, to start house churches.
So here we are, about three years later. I'm on staff, volunteer, at the Cincinnati House of Prayer, and I'm still feeling the urge to start a network of house churches. My wife is not so sure. I have somewhat continued ministering to Hispanics, though somewhat less at the moment, but like I said, I'm feeling the urge to dive back in.
My point is, please pray for God's sovereign hand to guide us and provide for us as we make our decision to move forward or no. I believe my urge is from God. I also believe that it was the enemy who lured me out of that place I was in before. The friend turned out to be a control freak. He was trying to shove the G12 concept down the throats of all the Hispanics in Cincinnati. He has since had the rug pulled out from under him by God. It was all an amazing occurrence, but sad as well.
I thank you for your prayers and covet your input.
(Pardon my English, I'm Cuban)
The question of finances brought much debate and even away from the truth to many believers. The beauty and wonder of life in the body, is that the need of one is the need of all. It is sad to see how many twist the scriptures for their own benefit without the slightest fear and reverence to God.
In the scriptures we find answers to all questions. The word of God is the only insurance for the handbook that should guide us to direct our lives. Here are some passages which show plainly, what is the way of giving to the work of God may be sustained and expanded.
1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all Jews to leave Rome. He went to them, 3 and as it was the same craft, he abode with them, and worked together, as the occupation they were tent.
Priscilla and Aquila were elders who shepherded a local church that met in his house. They were faithful collaborators of Paul and sought their support with their own hands.
As we have seen so far not a single passage in the Bible to endorse the collection of tithes in money of any believer. But the principle of Christianity is to give, so each believer must be willing to give as his heart. The Bible from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant we find many passages which show how we are giving to the work and that this God is pleased.
The people bring the offering
20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel from Moses. 21 And they came every one whose heart stirred, and every one whom his spirit made willing, offering to the Lord for the work of the tabernacle of meeting and for all his work, and for the holy garments. 22 came, both men and women, all volunteers at heart, and brought brooches and earrings, rings and armlets, all jewels of gold, and all had an offering of gold unto the Lord. 23 A man with blue, purple, fine linen, goats' hair, rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, brought them. 24 Everyone who offered an offering of silver and brass brought Jehovah's offering, and everyone who had acacia wood for any work of bringing the service. 25 And all the women were wise-hearted spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun, the blue and purple and scarlet and fine linen. 26 And all the women whose heart up in wisdom spun goats' hair. 27 The leaders brought onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod and the breastplate, 28 and the spices, and oil for lighting, and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 The children of Israel, both men and women, all who had heart willing to bring for all the work that the Lord had commanded through Moses they did, they brought a freewill offering unto the Lord.
1 Chronicles 29
1 Then King David said to all the congregation, Solomon my son only has God chosen, he is young and tender age, and the work is great because the house is not for man, but for the Lord God. 2 I with all my strength I have prepared for the house of my God the gold for things of gold, silver for things of silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for iron, and wood for things of wood and stones onyx, precious stones, black stones, stones of different colors, and all manner of precious stones and marble stones in abundance. 3 In addition to this, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine, of gold and silver, plus all the things that I have prepared for the holy house, I have given to the house of my God : 4 three thousand talents of gold, gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses, 5 gold, then, for things of gold, and silver for things of silver, and for all the handiwork of craftsmen. And who wants to make a freewill offering to the Lord today?
6 Then the family heads, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, heads of thousands and of hundreds, with the administrators of the estate of the king, volunteered. 7 And gave for the service of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand drams of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and five thousand talents of iron. 8 And they with whom precious stones gave them to the treasure house of the LORD into the hand of Jehiel Gershonite. 9 And the people rejoiced for having willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to Jehovah.
10 And the king was delighted David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed art thou, O Lord God of Israel our father, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and power, glory, victory and the majesty: for all things in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; in your hand is power and power, and in your hand to make great and to give strength to all. 13 Now therefore, our God, we praise and we praise your glorious name.
14 But who am I and who are my people, so we could offer as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and what you received from your hand give. 15 For we are strangers and sojourners before thee, as all our fathers: our days on earth are as a shadow that does not last. 16 O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have to build a house for your holy name of thy hand, and everything is yours. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness, for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things, and now I have seen with joy thy people, sitting here now, has given to you spontaneously. 18 Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the hearts of your people, and prepare their heart to you. 19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all things, and to build the house for which I have made.
5 in addition to this, the continual burnt offering, the new moons, and all the feasts of the Lord, and sacrifice all spontaneous, all voluntary offering to Jehovah. 6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord, but the foundations of the temple of Jehovah was not yet laid. 7 They gave money to the masons and carpenters, and food, drink and oil to the Sidonians and Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon by sea to Joppa, according to the will of Cyrus king of Persia about this.
24 I moved then to twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and with them ten of their brothers, 25 and weighed them the silver, gold and utensils, offering for the house of our God had offered the king and his counselors and his princes, and all Israel there present. 26 I weighed, then, in their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels a hundred talents, and a hundred talents of gold, 27 besides, twenty bowls of gold thousand drachmas, and two glasses of very good bright brass, precious as gold. 28 And I said, Ye are holy unto the Lord, are holy utensils, and silver and gold are a freewill offering unto the Lord God of our fathers.
1 So Bezalel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how all the work of the sanctuary service, will do all things which the Lord hath commanded.
Moses suspending the offering of the people
2 And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every wise hearted man, in whose heart Jehovah had put wisdom, every man whose heart moved him to come to work to work on it. 3 And they took from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the sanctuary service, to make it. And they kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning. 4 Both, who came all the teachers who did all the work of the sanctuary, each of the work he did, 5 and spoke to Moses, saying, The people bring much more than what is needed for the work that the Lord has commanded that is made. 6 And Moses sent a proclamation throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more for the offering of the sanctuary. This prevented the people to offer more, 7 because they had plenty of material to do all the work, and too much.
Here we see in this passage that when people give of the abundance and goodness of his heart, it is necessary to impose laws to force him to God that is His
Of how we give or offerings is also widely exposed by God in Paul's letters to churches, see:
26 For Macedonia and Achaia to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 For it seemed good, and they owe it to them, for if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, they must also minister of the materials ...
(1st Corinthians 16:1-4)
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, do ye even so I ordered the churches of Galatia. 2 Upon the first day of the week each one of you lay by him, as God hath prospered him, that when I come no collections will offerings. 3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall by letters, them will I send to bring your gift to Jerusalem. 4 And if it be meet that I go also, go with me ...
(2 Corinthians 8:1-24)
1 Moreover, brethren, we make known the grace of God who has bestowed on the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they have welcomed to their power, and even beyond his strength, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of participating in this service to the saints. 5 And not as we hoped, but that first gave themselves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God, 6 so we urged Titus that as he had begun, also finish among you this work of grace. 7 Therefore, as you abound in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love toward us, abound in this grace. 8 I speak not by commandment, but to test, through the diligence of others the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who for your sakes he became poor, being rich, that ye through his poverty might become rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to give but also to love, since last year. 11 Now, therefore, carry it out also, that as there was ready to love, so also you are in enforced in accordance with what you have.
12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted as one has, not according to what has not. 13 For I mean not that other men play, and you burdened, 14 but that at this time, with equality your abundance may be a shortage of them, that their abundance also may supply the need of yours to that equality, 15 as it is written, He that gathered much had nothing over, and that little had no lack. 16 But thanks be to God who put in the heart of Titus the same earnest care for you.
17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation, but being more forward, went willingly to come to you. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but he was also appointed by the churches as a companion to travel with us this gift, which is administered by us for glory of the Lord Himself, and to show your good will, 20 preventing anyone should blame us about this offering abundant administered, 21 trying to do things right, not only before God but also before men. 22 we have sent with them our brother, whose diligence we have seen repeatedly in many things, and now much more diligent for the great confidence you have in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you: and as for our brothers, are messengers of the churches, and glory of Christ. 24 Shew therefore to them before the churches the proof of your love, and of our boasting about you ...
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 And continuing daily in the temple, and breaking bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people ...
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul: neither said any of his own that had nothing, but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34 So there was not a needy person among them, for all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales, 35 and laid at the feet of the apostles, and they distributed to each according to his need ...
35 In all I have shown that by so toiling one must help those in need, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, who said he is more blessed to give than to receive ...
13 Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality ...
(2 Corinthians 9:1-15)
1 As to the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write unto you, 2 for I know your good will, which I glory to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready last year, and your zeal has encouraged most. 3 But I sent the brethren, that our boasting of you should be vain in this part, so that as I have said, you are ready, 4 lest if some Macedonians come with me, and find you unprepared, we are ashamed of us, if not you, of this our trust. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren who were first to prepare you and your generosity before first promised to be ready as of generosity, not as of covetousness. 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap. 7 Every man according as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work, 9 it is written: He gave away, gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever. 10 And he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 so that you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us produces action thank God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God, 13 for the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and by the liberality of your contribution for them and for all, 14 also in their prayer for you, they love because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thank God for His indescribable gift! ...
15 Therefore, let us continually offer to God through him, the sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 But to do good and help forget not: for with such sacrifices God is pleased ...
"In all the above passages we have as a common denominator that offerings to the saints in Christ Jesus were regarded as pleasing to the eyes of God. We do not see any passage reference is made mandatory.
Sadly we see that speaking in the Christian institutional churches is very different from the way in which the apostle Paul spoke to the first church.
Many of the sermons are full of threats convictions. Most of the money raised based on the tithe is given the use to which these leaders say are supposedly intended.
The principle of Christianity is giving and not conceived a good Christian who does not ofrende. But these offerings are intended to help the needy, widows, orphans, foreigners and to support the work of ministry. Always giving with joy of heart and not out of obligation or other law than that the grace of God in us. "
Because I do not desire sacrifice, or I would. You do not want Holocaust. The sacrifices are a broken spirit and a contrite heart thou wilt not despise, O God.
It pleases God more than a contrite heart that the fortune of this world.
Thank God because we are the victors and follow his preseptos as he taught. I commend the work they are doing precious brothers and sisters of different local churches, because this is the will of God. May our Lord continue to prosper the work of your hands.
The Spirit and the Bride say come ... Yes come, Lord Jesus.