Thursday, February 26, 2009

March Bible Reading Plan

For those following our Bible reading plan, click here for March.

Some of you may have noticed that we skipped the book of if Job hasn't had a hard enough life that I had to exclude him from our reading plan. That was a mistake. After we get done with Psalms and before Proverbs, I will include Job in our schedule...sorry for the oversight.

On another note, Matt Sweetman has put together a website called that you can check out and become a subscriber. The first bog post will be released the week of March 1. I will be a guest blogger on that sight once a month.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Money Series Leftovers: Salary Capping Yourself

At Jubilee Church St. Louis City, we've been talking about money. As with all messages, there are always points, stories or illustrations that don't make it to Sunday morning. I wanted to pass along this example of salary-capping yourself for the Kingdom.

John Wesley was one of the great evangelists of the 18th Century, born in 1703. In 1731 he began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor. In the first year his income was 30 pounds and he found he could live on 28 and so gave away two. In the second year his income doubled but he held his expenses even, and so he had 32 pounds to give away (a comfortable year's income). In the third year his income jumped to 90 pounds and he gave away 62 pounds. In his long life Wesley's income advanced to as high as 1,400 pounds in a year. But he rarely let his expenses rise above 30 pounds. He said that he seldom had more than 100 pounds in his possession at a time.

This so baffled the English Tax Commissioners that they investigated him in 1776 insisting that for a man of his income he must have silver dishes that he was not paying excise tax on. He wrote them, "I have two silver spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate I have at present, and I shall not buy any more while so many round me want bread."

When he died in 1791 at the age of 87, the only money mentioned in his will was the coins to be found in his pockets and dresser. Most of the 30,000 pounds he had earned in his life had been given away. He wrote,

I cannot help leaving my books behind me whenever God calls me hence; but in every other respect, my own hands will be my executors.

In other words, I will put a control on my spending myself, and I will go beyond the tithe for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. (Quotes from Mission Frontiers, Sept./Oct. 1994, nos. 9–10, pp. 23–24.)

Good to Be Home

I had a great time in the UK, but it's good to be home after 8 days away from my family. I joined John Lanferman to northern England to be with the elders of Jubilee, Teesside and the leadership team of Newfrontiers UK North. I was very encouraged and challenged to be around such great men who are aggressive in planting churches and seeing the gospel spread to the ends of the earth. I went there to give, but found myself receiving as well. I feel fresh in our vision to influence St. Louis with the gospel, and through St. Louis, our nation and the world.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jubilee's Facebook

If you're not a fan of Jubilee's facebook page, you should check it out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Going to the UK

This Thursday I will be joining our own John Lanferman for an eight day trip to the North of England in a county called Teesside. John and I received an invitation from Jeremy Simpkins who was with us this past September along with his wife Anne Simpkins and Julian Adams. Jeremy leads a church there also called Jubilee and has oversight responsibility of about 40 churches there in the north of England. John will speak to the church on Sunday and I will be speaking to their leaders later that night. The rest of our time there will be spent with his elders and his translocal team in strategic meetings. Please pray for us that we will serve well.

David Herrington will be speaking at Jubilee Church in St. Louis City this Sunday (Feb 15) on the subject of fear. I will finish our series Money Myth$ on Sunday, Feb 22.

I've enclosed video footage of last Sunday's baptism for those who missed it or just would like to see it again. It was quite a day!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Getting Rid of Greed

This past Sunday, at Jubilee Church in St. Louis City, I spoke on Greed as a part of our Money Myth$ series. To spare you the suspense, I voted against greed and showed us how we can rid ourselves of it. We get rid of greed by first understanding God's grace and realizing that it is His good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. We don't buy it or borrow it. We don't even have to beg for it. He gives it to us when we trust Jesus to save us from our sin and be the leader of our life. When we see that we possess the Kingdom, being generous is easy. In fact, it's quite natural to be generous.

To give us practical help on giving, I gave us these three principles:

Make it a priority: I Cor 16:1-2, “1Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income...” This appears to be Paul's command not just for one church, but for all the churches (at the very minimum two) make giving a priority ("first day of every week"). This idea was demonstrated in the OT as the people of Israel gave their "first fruits" to proclaim who was truly God. Practically speaking in 2009, this means your decision to give is made prior to making any other financial decision. It means it's the number one line item on your budget (you do have a budet, right?). Rachel and I make our giving decisions at the beginning of the year as to what we'll give, keeping our eyes open to more opportunities to give throughout the year.

Make it a percentage: You'll notice in that passage above that Paul says to set aside a sum of money "in keeping with his (or her) income..." Paul is communicating to us the idea of making our giving a percentage. Making it a priority and making it a percentage...not just giving out of a knee jerk reaction, but making a decision to give regularly in proportion to our income. What percentage should you choose? I think 10% is a good place to start. I'm not saying that 10% is a rule, but it's a good place to start. Here's why. God asked the Israelites to return to Him 10% (a tithe) of the money He gave to them (they also gave an additional 10% to the festivals and 3.33% to the poor). When Jesus came on the scene, He didn't abolish the tithe, but called for something more. In Matthew 23, he gets on the Pharisees's case not for tithing, but for ONLY tithing (he actually commends them for tithing). Jesus' gripe was that they were fulfilling their religious duty, but they were not generous to the poor. It makes no sense that now that we are in the new covenant with greater revelation that somehow we should give less. Luke 12:48 says to whom much is given, much is required. So 10% I think is a good place to start. But whatever the percentage, the NT guide is that it's generous and sacrificial (read 2 Cor 8:1-7).

Make it progressive: The more we experience God's grace, the more we'll want to give. Luke 7:47 says he who is forgive much loves much and he who is forgiven little loves little. Jesus said this after a "woman of the city" (probably a prostitute) just poured out a year's worth of income in the form of perfume all over Jesus' feet. The point here is that the more we realize how merciful God has been to us in light of His righteousness and our sin, we will naturally give more. Progressive giving flows out of the assumption that you are growing day by day in your relationship with God and in your understanding of His grace in your life.

To listen to this message, you can download it off our website.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Video on Website

On Jan 4, I gave a message on prayer and showed a video about why we love st. louis. It is now posted on our website.

Action Tracks Begin

Jubilee's Action Tracks got off to a great start last night. I am hearing a lot of good reports. In my track (Connect), everyone really enjoyed one another, which was a thrill for me. Connect is our membership track and it has a large teaching component (unlike most groups which are discussion based), but even still, I can tell that the people in our group will experience community and have already.

If you're not in a track, it's not too late. Register today!