Friday, January 29, 2010

Why I Give Online

One of the best kept secrets around jubilee for the past few months is that you can now give online (see the main page of either the City or Wentzville). For many, this is long-awaited and good news because everything else you do is online and perhaps the only reason you even write a check is to buy girl scout cookies and give to jubilee. OK, I will admit it, we were slow adapters on this one.

Now for some of you, you may not like the idea of giving online because for you, the moment you drop the check or the cash in the basket is the moment when when giving becomes worship for you. I have to say, that is a great moment. Especially, on Gift Day and the band is playing an update, God-centered's a great moment. However, to be clear and to guard from false thinking, the real moment of worship is when you (and your spouse if you are married) are sitting at the dinning room table with all your bills and account statements in front of you, and you first make the decision in faith to give a certain amount/percentage to God. It's God-honoring worship when it is pre-determined and is amount that represents sacrificial and generous giving. What is not worship, is last minute giving that is more of an after thought after you paid the rest of your bills. That, perhaps (emphasize perhaps) is giving done more out of compulsion rather than worship. Of course, spontaneous giving is great and is also God-honoring, but should not represent the bulk of our giving. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 that our giving should be off the top, regular and generous.

You can accomplish this kind of giving whether you give by check or whether you give electronically. Now my wife and I give online (auto debit from checking not recommend using your credit card) because it helps us stick to our predetermined amount and keeps it regular (it's automated) because to be honest with all that I do on Sunday morning, I can forget.

The point of this post (if you're beginning to wonder) is to say that whether you give by check or online is not the determining factor in whether you are worshipping God in your giving. The determining factor is 1) the first spending decision you make? 2) is it sacrificial and generous? and 3) Is it regular? After those questions are answer, quite frankly it is just a matter of preference.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Donate your Facebook status and Twitter tweets to Jubilee!

So as you likely already know, Jubilee Church is launching a new series this Sunday (Jan 31) that has already produced quite a buzz. We’re advertising on billboards, bus stops, passing out postcards out all over our college campuses (recycle please!) and we’ve relaunched a website with a great new video we produced.

As great as all of the promotional stuff is, chances are you know people in St. Louis that we may not reach… but you can! So we’re asking you to help us out by donating your Facebook status and Twitter tweets to Jubilee for one day between now and Sunday to help us ramp up to the XXXposed series starting this weekend. We want as many people as possible to post one of the following:

So that’s it! Easy! If you’re up for it, post that for 24 hours and then you can get back to using your status to tell the world that you ‘have a lot to do today’ (don’t we all?) or that you ‘can’t wait till Friday’ (everyone loves Friday! That isn’t news!).

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thank You

I think my family and I are on the road to recovery after an intensely crazy week. January is by far my busiest month for a few different reasons: 1) Taking care of end of the year and beginning of the year church business, 2) Gearing up for a new trimester of Action Tracks (if you go to Jubilee, sign up today!!), 3) Gearing up for our February sermon series (this year: it's, and Mobilise USA (a conference for 400 students and twenties).

This year, God added a twist to our month: the birth of a precious little girl named Josephine Rose Mowrey. We had expected her to come around February 8th, but she came a month early. This put us in a bit of a tail spin, but we have been so blessed by all the prayers, good wishes, gifts, meals and much more. The outpouring of support for our family has been overwhelming and humbling. I want to thank all of you and say how blessed I feel to be a part of such a great community. Love you guys!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Life Change

In my recent blog series, Looking Back at a Decade, I recounted all the life change that has occurred because of Jubilee's ministry. Here is an example from a wonderful family that used to attend Jubilee, but has since moved to North Carolina.

I saw your post and felt inspired to write something. Jubilee Church will always hold a special place in my heart. I will always consider you guys family, even the new ones that I don't know. I look back at the past ten years and remember where I was emotionally and spiritually. Drugs, Insomnia, Rage, Anger, Pain. We had just lost my dad to suicide and had uprooted ourselves from "home." (Franklin NC 1999) My mother was falling apart and could not maintain employment. I was LOST! After many months of searching, God placed her with Pat Donjon, She will forever, in my eyes, be a "proverbs 31 woman". I remember meeting her family and going to Alpha at there home which consisted of the Poe's(senior) and Abbie, Dusty, Susan. I remember thinking I have never met people who really love like this. I want what they have. The way they interacted together, to their families, was something I had never experienced before. It truly drew me in. Steven was pretty much on the same path, the wide one. Even though the first few years of being saved we continued to mess up, but we were always welcomed. I remember being blessed at our wedding and having total support. I appreciate the leadership and elders who counseled us, it took us a while but we eventually got it. Many of those voices are the words of wisdom we still hear today. I know for a fact if it were not for Jubilee and prevalent truth that is preached on how to love some one, Steven and I would not be where we are today. We now have four children, I am able to home school them and we are both still desperately seeking the Lord. Our oldest Cora-8, was baptised this year and our second daughter, Lilly-6, was saved at VBS over the summer. Thank You Jubilee for your obedience in Christ, and your persuit of the Lost, because I know with out a doubt we were Found.
Much Love, Erin Willis

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Strategic Giving vs. Spontaneous Giving

The recent crisis in Haiti has got me thinking a lot about giving. Specifically, how Christians should give and for what reasons. There are really two different approaches that people have toward giving and I think both should be implemented in the life of the believer:
  1. Spontaneous giving: In Acts 11:27-30, a need arose (a famine) and the church quickly gathered funds to help.
  2. Strategic giving: 2 Corinthians 9:5 records Paul instructing the believers to regularly set aside money in advance to take care of the needs of the church in Jerusalem.
I think Americans are good at spontaneous giving. A need arises, a few movie stars are gathered and whamo!...millions of dollars are raised. However, the needs in a place like Haiti were there before the disaster (80% of the country lives on $2 per day) and the needs will continue long after the disaster has subsided. That is why strategic giving is so important.

While it is monumentally IMPORTANT that Christians are spontaneous givers to needs that arise unexpectedly, I believe that church ministry an the needs of the poor are meant to be primarily funded by strategic giving. Strategic giving is giving according to one's means (a percentage) and is given regularly.

At Jubilee, we employ this principle to both funding church planting as well as giving to the poor. Jubilee sets aside money strategically for church planting as well giving to the needs of the poor. Therefore, when a need does arise, we have it available. There are also, of course, other times when we also give spontaneously to a specific church plant or an unplanned need.

I want to encourage you that if your giving is only spontaneous, to consider praying about being a strategic giver.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Looking Back at a Decade: Part 3

Investing in Other Leaders and Churches

One of my favorite things about being a part of Jubilee (and something I find very humbling) is the influence we have beyond St. Louis.
  • Over the past decade, we have invested more than $300,000 in other churches.
  • We have trained 33 young men and women outside our church as a part of the FYT program
  • We have trained 85 men and women through the Trilogy Project...13 of which, went on to lead churches, 20 are a part of leadership teams and 8 were a part of church-planting teams.
You did this! You hosted them in your homes. You mentored them. You served them through setting up or feeding them meals. You released your leaders to devote time to teaching and inputing.

I am very proud to lead a group of people who think beyond themselves.

Monday, January 4, 2010

What Are You Doing With Your Extra?

This past Sunday, I started the year off with a sermon on money titled, The Purpose of Our Extra that challenged us to think about the extra we have and what we are doing with it. If you missed it you can download it off our website at

If you are a member of Jubilee, I do want to encourage you to give this serious thought and prayer to what you are doing with your extra. Are seeking the kingdom first in your finances? Are you making giving a Priority, a Percentage and is it Progressive?

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.

If you struggle in the area of finances, I want to HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you go to the Goodsense Action Track. It will give you some hands on practical help in developing a God-honoring plan for your finances.