Show me da money!!!

The Lord has really been speaking to me ever since we sold our restaurant about simplifying materialistic things in my life. I have come to the conclusion that the restaurant was actually a bit of a hinderance when it came to my trust and faith in God.  Since selling the restaurant I have had to learn a whole new way of budgeting and living.  Something I am and have been learning is the principle of tithing.  Now, I know what you are thinking, “Uh oh, she is talking about money and what the Bible says about it…gonna make me feel guilty about the whole 10% thing.” Honestly, tithing is between you and God and no one else.  I just wanted to share what I feel He has really deposited with my spirit lately about how I spend money.  The principle of tithing though, is much deeper than just the concept of 10%.  This principle has everything to do with your DAILY relationship with God, plain and simple.  Romans 8:5-8 states:

 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”

Back in the day when my mind was completely flesh driven I spent my money on frivolous, temporary, fading secular things and the more my mind is being renewed as I spend time in prayer and in the word, the Spirit is driving the way I spent His money..my perception of how to budget and spend His money has really began to change and I am seeing my “secular” view take a back seat.

For example, a little over 2 months ago we moved into a new home where the only things we were able to spend money on was painting the walls and on curtains in our master bedroom so my youngest could take naps.  Every time I have gotten the “I wants,” which unfortunately is frequent, He keeps reminding me of His calling He has placed on Jerry’s and my life into children’s ministry and to the mission field…that His money needs to be spent on kingdom work and that all those “I wants” will be taken care of in their own way.

Recently the Lord has called me to go to Brazil in October and I was sharing this with my mom.  She asked about the details and the costs and she had said “You know you could take that same amount money and time and get the things you need for your house and get your house in order before you start going on all these mission trips.” I know she means well, as all moms do, and she is right according to how the world sees the stewardship of money.  I could spend paycheck after paycheck making sure I am keeping up with the Jone’s and building myself a nice “pad”, but that is not what God has called me to. He has called me to a level of trust and faith I have never known.

So, a couple of weeks go by and guess who cleans out her house and begins to provide all the things my home needs?  My mom! My hairdryer broke and guess who brought me one that she had bought for a trip and never used? My mom!  Lately my youngest daughter has been growing so quickly and the Lord spoke to me to just be patient and get the full use of all her clothes before going out and spending money on new ones. Guess who went out and bought her clothes while I patiently waited? My mom! I also received a bag of clothes out of the blue from a friend whose daughter had grown out of her clothes as well. Our lawn mower broke and as my husband was out attempting to fix it, our neighbor who had just got back in town from living in Canada half the year, came over and they began to talk and introduce themselves.  My husband told of his dilemma with the lawn mower.  My neighbor said his farewells and then came right back with a lawn mower and gave it to us and quoted Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Also, a friend of ours called my husband out of the blue, who partnered with him for his trip to Africa, last week and said, “Whatever you guys are doing with missions, I want to partner with you financially and prayerfully.” That is just plain God!! God is using my mom along with many others to confirm His call on our lives into ministry and to continue growing my faith and trust in Him.

As God continues to call my husband and I onto the mission field and into children’s ministry, He has been giving me this unique perception of waiting on spending things for our lives on this earth. My home will always need “things”, my wardrobe will always need “updating”, my transportation will always need “style”, my guitar will always need strings, but the need to reach the lost is NOW, here and in other nations.  I realized when my husband went to Africa the money spent sending him and the money we tithe at our church does greater things in this community than my money could ever do at Wal-Mart, Wallstreet, a car dealership, the movie theatre, and eating out.  To me the real principle of tithing is being so aligned with the will of God in your life that you begin to see going without “things” is really no big deal so that someone else doesn’t have to go without eternity! Your money, talent, and treasure given to God gives better returns than any worldly value can equal!

I want to encourage you if you have had a hard time tithing or giving to people in need to really look at the way you spend you money.  It will show you what your “treasure” is.  Ask God to help you align yourself with His will for your life and His “economy.”  I promise once you do that all other things will seem pretty meaningless and you will start to perceive things the way He sees things and be interested in the people Jesus was interested in…Jesus was interested in three kinds of people: the least, the last and the lost. Which ones are you interested in?

supply every need

The Greatest Ministry….People

There seems to be a whole mess of hurt out there.  Everywhere I turn I see people struggling with depression, people dealing with addictions, people lost in their idols, and couples giving up on their vows.  I drive down the street and literally feel the hopelessness on people’s faces.  This past week as God has been quiet, I have sat and asked for His heart, to see people the way He sees them.  That maybe too great of a request…would a human heart be able to handle seeing people the way He sees them? I am unsure, but I am willing if God is….are you?

Jesus’ greatest ministry wasn’t His power to heal the lame, sick, and leper.  His greatest ministry wasn’t casting our demons or giving to the poor.  His greatest ministry wasn’t proving the Sadducees or Pharisees wrong. No, His greatest ministry was people….serving the needs of people and not just the elite.  He served the needs of all who came to him.

As Jerry prepares to head to Africa these next couple months I realize this isn’t just a “mission trip” anymore, but a “people trip.”.  For the first time since I laid my eyes on Jerry I now understand the feeling I had about the call of God on his life that I felt the day I met him.  As those that know my husband he is a unique individual where when he meets someone he makes you feel like you are the only one in the world to him.  Throughout our marriage Jerry always refers to people he meets as “my friend,” not “that guy” or “that person,” but “my friend.”  He genuinely has that “everyone is my friend” perspective, unless given discernment otherwise.  When we owned our business people would come all day into the kitchen just to say hello.  If we would be out in public and he would see one of his “friends,” he would stop and catch up on their life.  Some wives may get annoyed thinking their husband is a social butterfly, but as I remember that feeling I got when I first met Jerry about the call of God on his life, I am given revelation as to why he has such a people focus mentality.  He has been prepared this whole time for what God is now finally calling him to do and that is nothing more than building lasting relationships that will have an eternal impact!

How does all this relate to us?  I believe that is what God calls every believer to do.  “Well, I am not a people person and I have my own problems to deal with, you say?” I don’t necessarily think you have to be a people person to build relationships that are going to have an eternal impact.  I believe you can pray for God to help you see people the way He sees them or even better to have the desire to serve people the way He did.  I also know from experience that once you begin helping another person, your own needs not only seem less trivial, but God takes care of them in one way or another 🙂

Let’s be honest, people are annoying.  We are a fallen, lost, self-centered, self-righteous, prideful, corrupt, deceitful, and sinful people.  I know it isn’t easy loving on us, let alone wanting to build relationships, nonetheless, that is exactly what Jesus did.  He had relationships with the undesirables, the outcasts, and the unloved.  His ministry was people and it should be ours as well!

I want to encourage you to begin praying for God to allow you to see people the way He sees them and to be able to love them the way He loves them.  Pray He opens your eyes to their hurt and pain that no one else sees.  Once you begin to pray this you will be amazed at how your own needs are met as well.  Oh, and don’t take it from me… Philippians 2:1-4
If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Mark 9:35
“And sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.”

1 Peter 4:10-11 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Where is your “Great Commission?”

The last couple of days there has been an influx of things flooding my mind and heart…from broken marriages, answered prayer within marriages, our new home being built, Jerry’s trip to Africa, to my little one taking her first couple of steps.  Needless to say it has been an exciting first of the year for us as we really start to grasp this new world of missions.  I find everyday as we get closer to Jerry leaving American soil there is an earnest passion rising up inside me…as if I will be tagging along in his luggage. As we see God answering our prayers for people to partner with us in this vision, I am overwhelmed and humbled at this mighty call He has called us to.

I wanted to use this entry to share what Jerry and I are actually part of and how God orchestrated this entire plan.  Rex Briant, the man who founded the organization that Jerry will be going to Africa with and who joined us together in marriage 15 yrs. ago, was my youth pastor during my high school years.  We lost contact through the years, but with Facebook, re-connected about two and a half years ago as Jerry and I were right in the middle of the battle for our marriage. Through God’s grace we came out of it with a better understanding of what God intended for our marriage and ready for whatever God had next for us.  It is amazing to me how you end up going through something you think is going to destroy you, only to find out what you thought was going to destroy you not only made you stronger, but gave you a perspective on life you never had before!  With God’s perfect timing that next thing was bigger than we ever imagined.  As our marriage was continuing to heal, God told Jerry to sell our only source of income, a little cafe we had owned for eight years which pretty much ran itself.  How many people do you know finally get their business exactly the way it should be to where you barely have to work it and still make great money all to just have God say…”Okay, now let it go!” Well, that is the kind of God we serve.  Rex came for a visit in February of last year and had the chance to meet up with us.  It was there where Rex shared the vision God had given him for missions, his own heart, and it was there where something was lit on fire in the two of us…a passion to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Before he left we partnered with him financially because we felt if we couldn’t  “go” we would in a different way.  As we waited for the restaurant to sell Jerry was entering seminary.  Only through God’s timing,  and our patience and prayer we sold the restaurant after it being on the market for almost a year and half closing that chapter in our lives to enter a new one.  Not knowing we had just sold the restaurant, Rex emailed Jerry and I regarding prayer for his organization and the mission teams he felt God was bringing together. He he mentioned he felt Jerry & I part of the upcoming one, but was unsure because he still thought we owned the restaurant. As I read the email, all I heard in my spirit was “Go, go, go…this is the time, this is the time.” After Jerry and I prayed it was clear God was sending one of us to join Rex on one of the mission teams.  Rex had mentioned our destinies crossing in the future, but he didn’t know it would be this soon, but God knew 🙂

“So, what exactly is this organization? This vision?” Thought you would never ask 🙂 It is called Global Mission Strategies, a non-profit, global church planting and training organization.  Everyday they seek to identify under reached areas of the world to plant churches in cooperation with God, working alongside Believers to reach their own Nation. We connect resources and manpower with needs. Our goal is only doing that which can be re-produced by local Believers in any given field.  This isn’t “missions as usual.”  This is visionary missions where you are planting churches, not just building a church in hopes to fill it one day and having the church lean on the organization financially til they disciple their members to provide financially.  Global Missions Strategies sends the resources, like training manuals, The Word of God, and the people, to disciple the people who will be God’s church.  I have heard the statements before “We have a mission field right here at home. Why not just do that here?” Well, we should all be doing that everyday where ever we live! There should be no question as to where our “mission field” is whether it be in your home, your school, your place of work, and most definitely your extracurricular activities!  I will say though in Matthew 24:14 says “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” So every time we share the gospel it brings us one day closer to the Lord’s coming! That my friends is pretty exciting stuff 🙂

I want to encourage you that if you are not involved in some type of mission organization to get involved in one whether it be through prayer, financially, or getting first hand experience on the mission field in another nation.  Jesus said in Matthew “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” and in Mark he also says “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” If you cannot experience the mission field in another nation then partner prayerfully and financially.  My pastor pointed out recently that the United States makes up 75% of the missionaries in the world which is why he feels is one of the reasons the United States has been such a blessed nation…that and being an ally of Israel.  Be part of that 75% and decide in your heart to be kingdom minded and I promise you will start to see that you are part of a bigger picture than you realize!

For more information about Global Mission Strategies click on the link and be introduced to “The Great Commission.”  www.globalmissionstrategies.org

woe to me