Why Independence Day is a Good Day for Christians

By Zack DeBerry

Why Independence Day is a Good Day for Christians

There are several holidays through the year that can carry weight for a follower of Jesus Christ.  Easter, Christmas, and…Independence Day? At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Savior and King. At Easter, we celebrate the end of the reign of death and sin for the believer. And Independence Day can be a great reminder of the freedom that we have as followers of Christ.

We celebrate our independence as a country on July 4th every year. It is a time to celebrate the sacrifices that have been made to keep us free from tyranny; it is a time to gather with family and friends; it is a time to reflect on what it means to be a citizen and have certain rights that others in the world long for.  I want to propose that as great as Independence Day is for us as Americans, it can also give us a deeper appreciation for what it means to be free from sin and death. 

There are many parallels between Independence Day and the freedom that Jesus Christ gives us as followers of Christ. Just as we celebrate and honor the sacrifices that keep our country free, we should also take time to celebrate and honor God for the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus gave to give us freedom from sin and death. Just as we celebrate the rights we have as Americans, we should also celebrate the incredible power and rights we have as followers of Christ. Just as we celebrate with family and friends with cookouts and fireworks, we should celebrate the fact that we have been adopted into an everlasting family through the work of Jesus Christ.

One of the more popular verses of scripture as it pertains to freedom in Christ is found in Galatians Chapter 5. As we enter into a study of Galatians as a church, it’s important to remember that even as we have been set free from sin and death, many folks still live as though they are still trapped in the bondage of slavery. The church of Galatia was caught in this trap. Rather than celebrate the freedom that existed because of the work of Jesus Christ, they continued to strap weights on bondage through rules and regulations. Paul goes on a teaching tirade about what Christ really did, and begins to close his thoughts in Chapter 5.  Verse 1 of Chapter 5 is timely for us on this Independence Day. Paul writes, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”

So, let’s celebrate our freedom as Americans today, but more importantly, let’s never forget the ultimate freedom we have in Jesus Christ.  Happy Independence Day…from sin and death.

Why Do Men Find Their Identity in Work?

By Ryan Weber


As a Youth Pastor, I’ve come to realize that most, if not all, students struggle with their own sense of identity. It’s a huge issue. Who am I? Why am I here? We’ve talked about issues of identity a lot at Journey over the past couple months, and there has been some common threads that I’ve noticed through it all:

  • Identity vs. Behavior
  • Who I am vs. What I do

The problem with this tension is that we believe one is a byproduct of the other. I am who I am because I do what I do. I play basketball so I am a basketball player. I crunch numbers so I am an accountant. I dislocate my shoulder on a blob so I am a Youth Pastor, etc. We start with our activity and let that inform our identity.

This carries over to men and the intrinsic value they find in the work that they do. We as men not only feel a burden to provide for our family, but I believe that an essential characteristic of God is exhibited in men’s desire to create. God worked for six days and created the universe. We work from 9-5 and we want to create… insert the reason you do what you do here.

This goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve first sinned. When Adam cursed man (as in the male, not mankind), He said this:

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19).

Notice that God’s curse didn’t bring on work. It brought on toil and sweat. It made work harder. The necessity for Adam to work, create, tend, care for, oversee, lead, etc. was an intrinsic part of who God created him to be. He was made to create, just like his Father. Our curse is that work is difficult. We deal with sweat, difficult people, deadlines, budgets, deals, you name it as a result of this curse.

So our difficulty as men comes from this innate need to reflect this creative characteristic of our Heavenly Father. We work because He works.

However, our issue stems from the fact that we carry this innate need over to an identity. We take what we do and we morph it into who we are. I guarantee that when you first meet someone, one of the first questions you will ask is: “So what do you do?” This is a huge part of what makes us, us. And because our work becomes our identity, we throw ourselves into it as much as possible. If you are a success at work, you are a successful person. If you fail at work, you are a failure.

This line of thinking leaves you in the precarious situation that your identity is contingent upon your own performance. And this has the dangerous tendency to produce two things: A successful person who has no need for God because he is his own god. Or you are working so hard for something just beyond your reach that you believe if you work just a little bit harder or longer, you’ll attain that something that you’re looking for.

Your identity has nothing to do with what you do. Your behavior is a reflection of who you are, but who you are is found in Jesus Christ. The value He places over you, the purposes that He has called you to. Are you to work? Absolutely. Colossians 3:23 says that, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” We were created to work, but our work should be a reflection of the identity we have found in Jesus Christ, and it should produce fruit for the glory of God.

So I will encourage you to remember why you work. You work to reflect an essential characteristic of God. You don’t work to prove to anyone, yourself included, that you are worth it. Jesus has already done that. You work to bring glory to His name.

Great Sex

By Don Gentry


Warning this is a PG13/R blog. The rating depends on how comfortable you are talking about sex. Let me start by saying sex is an amazing gift from God. A few Sundays ago, Matt even alluded to sex being an expression of our worship. If you are married and have not had amazing sex, then let me strongly suggest that you have a problem with your greatest sex organ. Let me also suggest that while you can take this advice and apply it to any illicit sexual relationship, as defined by God, we should only be engaging in sexual relationships between husband and wife. Outside of a heterosexual marriage relationship, you are already living outside of God’s best ideal for humanity.

It is fascinating to me that every culture and every period in historical studies has had, or does have, a fascination with sex. There is a lot of information out there designed to help us find that erotic moment that we long for. Just read the magazine covers at the grocery store or listen to the radio. Let me strongly suggest that we are being fed horrible sexual advice.

Whether you are male or female, it is not a position or a partner problem that you are having. It is an organ problem. Men your greatest sex organ is not what you may be thinking. What we need to think about most in the realm of our sexual organs is our brain. Your brain is your largest sexual organ and the most neglected. Great sex is not defined by ecstasy or eroticism. It is defined by intimacy. Intimacy is only created between the ears not between the sheets.

So how do we address our minds as we look at creating intimacy? That is a great question. The only person that can address our minds, is the individual. If you are harboring bitterness, resentment, unmet expectations, insecurities, disgust, frustration, anxiety, disappointment, disillusionment, poor self-esteem, and I could literally list a hundred more “brain distractions,” then you will have intimacy issues. If you take any of these intimacy issues into the bedroom, then you are going to have sexual relationship issues. You don’t have a penile or vaginal issue. You have a brain and intimacy relational issue. I have never counseled a “sexual organ issue” in 25 years of ministry.

So how do we have great sex? Let me give you the number one rule for great sex. 1. What can I do to help fulfill my partner’s emotions outside of the bedroom? (I say “help” because you will never be all that your partner needs. You can only be a “help.”) If you wait until you get to the bedroom to experience mind blowing sex then you have watched too many movies, listened to too many secular songs, watched too much porn, or read too many romance novels. You might argue you have experienced true eroticism, but I will argue you have not experienced true intimacy. Having a strong, Godly, monogamous marriage combined with amazing sexual fulfillment is only achieved when we have put our spouse first.

Great sex is about me; incredible intimacy is about my partner!

If you are experiencing less than satisfactory sexual relationship with your spouse, then you need to start looking at what is going on between your ears. The most common enemies of intimacy are anger, bitterness, resentment, un-forgiveness, self-esteem issues, and selfishness. There are other issues, but almost every couple I have ever counseled that has said they need help sexually, really needed help in one or more of these areas.

Men if you want great sex, then I strongly encourage you to find some help dealing with intimacy issues. Women the same advice goes for you too. Sex is amazing, God made the sexual parts; they have the incredible abilities to reach heights of extreme ecstasy, but we often don’t communicate about the correct issues. Love you all and hope you all can experience what God really defined for the marriage bed!

5 Guidelines to Be a Man

By Chris Denning


This Sunday is Father’s Day (heads up for all you late planners) and we’re also starting a new series called How to Be a Man. Fortunately for all of you reading, I’m quite literally the manliest man of all manhood than mans have ever manned up to man about . . .

Ok, that’s dumb. But part of what we’re trying to do with this series is help to dispel the myth that there is a one-size-fits-all picture for what a man should be. Instead, we’re going to talk about how God defines manhood and some principles that can help guide us to be more godly men.

With that in mind, we thought it might be interesting to start the conversation with some guidelines for being a man. And in this context, when I say man, I mean a godly man, or a man that is following God.

Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list or even a definitive list, just some guidelines that jumped to the front of my mind. Also, I’d love to hear YOUR THOUGHTS on guidelines to being a man in the comments for this post on Facebook.

Without further adieu, here’s 5 Guidelines to Be a Man:

1. Submit to God in ALL Things

This one seems like a no-brainer, but who knows now a days. To be a godly man, one must submit to God . . . in ALL things. It might be easy for you to submit to God when it comes to your spiritual life and maybe even on Sundays. But what about your money? Or in a situation where you can compromise your character?

As men, before we lead or take charge or do ANYTHING, we have to learn how to submit to God in all things. Why? Because that’s what Jesus did & continues to do, and he’s the son of God, so there’s that. Not only that, submission to God is the beginning of understanding and wisdom, so if we want to be wise, we need to start with submission.

2. Take Ownership in Your Circle

This next one is about learning how to take responsibility for yourself & those closest to you. More than that, it’s about taking ownership. Note that I didn’t say take control. Control & ownership are 2 different things. We can’t control everything, but you can take ownership of something without having complete control.

Taking ownership means that you’ve got a vested interest in the outcome or well-being. This might mean owning your wife’s needs during a crazy season, or owning a project at work, or maybe even owning those in need around you. Either way, seeing things through the eyes of an owner changes the way you interact with the world, and that’s what men of God do.

3. Express Strength Appropriately

Strength is a quality often associated with men. Don’t get me wrong, women are just as strong as men. All I’m saying is that strength is something that men need to understand and express appropriately. In the family unit, men are often a place where the family looks for stability and strength, much like the mother.

However, men (and women too) can misinterpret how to express strength. For instance, if you are too enthusiastic or oppressive with strength, it can be expressed as anger or machismo. Or maybe you undervalue the importance of expressing strength, and can be seen by your family as a passive or disinterested leader. Either way, men should understand how to express strength appropriately, that encourages and supports their family.

4. Express Humility & Gentleness Appropriately

Equally as important as strength, men need to understand how to express humility and gentleness, appropriately. This may seem off, but as a father of two young girls, I’m only just beginning to understand the importance of this.

I started to really understand the importance of humility as a husband. I married a strong woman who keep me honest, and I’m grateful that I have a partner who helps me to see how I need to pursue humility. Humility doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it, and I have to work at it all the time. But humility can save a marriage, if expressed appropriately.

Gentleness is also important for men to understand. It’s not about being that warrior 24/7, 100mph at all times. While that gear has it’s place and is important, try coming at your 2 yr old daughter with that kind of intensity when she is throwing her 400th tantrum of the day. Men should understand how to be gentle, in the right way, at the right time, with the appropriate people. Gentleness is one of the fruits of the spirit for a reason, because we need it.

5. Lead Your Family Well

Finally, men should understand how to lead their family well. This means knowing when to keep pushing for a goal. When to ease up and have fun. When to let your wife take the lead. How to motivate your family to meet a goal.

I think most importantly, a man needs to understand how to lead his family spiritually. Every family is different, so maybe you won’t be leading a nightly devotional before bed time. And that’s OK. You need to know YOUR family and ask the Holy Spirit to help you lead them well. Be proactive. Your kids WILL NOT disciple themselves. Lead your family well.

Worship is Always & Everything

By Matt Dawson

One of the many books that I don’t have time to write is called “Measuring the Mess.” It will be all about our worship and intimacy with Jesus that is eagerly waiting those who stop evaluating and measuring the mess in their lives with the end of goal of simply a less messy life.  Measuring our mess is NOT the path to deeper worship & intimacy… it’s just the path to try to have less of a mess.

Chris kicked off our new series “More Than Sunday” last weekend and shared this statement at the beginning.  Nobody Does Not Worship!  Whether we recognize it or not, whether it’s intentional or not, worship is ALWAYS happening and it’s in EVERYTHING we do. Chris did an excellent job describing how this plays out on Sunday mornings – but it’s SO MUCH MORE than just Sunday.

Here’s a small list ways we can all worship GOD, all the time!

Eating, Resting, Laughing, Singing, Praying, Crying, Serving, Leading, Helping, Playing, Working, Loving, Caring, Jumping, Smiling, Competing, Winning, Losing, and Chilling! (just a sample list)

Here’s a small list of ways we all worship OURSELVES, all the time!

Over Eating, Worrying, Working, Shouting, Fighting, Crying, Helping, Playing, Drinking, Loving, Hurting, Lying, Hating, Stressing, Arguing, Crying, Competing, Cheating, Winning, Losing, and Chilling. (just a sample list)

Worship is Always & Everything. The act of worshiping doesn’t change based on our activity…the OBJECT of worship changes. Some activity might even LOOK the same, but the object and the reason WHY is very different.

More to come this weekend…today I want to give you 3 examples of how we GET to worship God ALWAYS and in EVERYTHING.

Eating & Drinking
Believe it or not, there’s a LOT of FEASTS talked about in scripture.  Not only in the old testament with Kings and festivals, but even the PROMISE of a feast with Jesus when we see Him again in Heaven.  There was so much done around “the Table” that we cannot ignore the WORSHIP that is happening when we eat and drink.

Now, many of us don’t realize that we EAT and DRINK while worshiping OURSELVES.  This is why most of our eating and drinking is done in excess! Gluttony and Drunkenness are not simply SIN, but the results of having the WRONG object of worship! 

Just think about it.  God gave the average person around 10,000 taste buds.  Just so we could ENJOY the flavor of all God has blessed us with. I know it’s easy to “thanks Jesus for this food and the hands that have prepared it” for a moment before a meal, but to understand that our EATING AND DRINKING is just ONE of the ways we are always worshipping in everything!

When you eat more than you need – WHO are you worshipping?  When you NEED that “glass of wine that turns into 4 when you get home at night – WHO are you worshiping?

Working (Even at a Job We Hate.) 
Not everyone is as fortunate as me (having the best job, leading the best people, at the best church in all of LKN)! Many people actually HATE what they do for a living. Some don’t hate their jobs, but they certainly don’t LOVE what they do or who they work for.

You may not believe this – but OUR WORK IS WORSHIP!  It doesn’t matter WHAT WE DO, we are doing it in RESPONSE to something – that’s worship!

Maybe you work just to provide money to live the life you want to live. That’s fine… you’re worshipping YOU! Just recognize that.

When you understand that God is the provider of all things in your life…you’re free to work in response to HIM. To pray that God would empower your sales presentation…to ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment about a meeting with an employee…to find JOY in our work because we have a God who loves us!

If your workplace or the work you do in this season is less than desirable…let it be a megaphone for even more gratitude to God. God often uses “the rock and the hard place” to create even more dependence on Him as your Provider!

At work, you’re Always engaged in Worship.  It’s in Everything you do! The question is simply WHO is the OBJECT of YOUR WORSHIP at WORK. 

Resting
People really underestimate the value of resting.  And by people…I’m talking about ME!  I’m a bit of a DOER by nature. I’m married to a DOER that lives by the motto “if you’ve got time to lean…you’ve got time to clean.” We both have had season where we’ve struggled to see RESTING as a productive part of our lives. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve been able to take “moments” of time during the week and understand the VALUE and WORSHIP that happens in moments of REST! Sure, we can REST because we’re worshiping ourselves and “need our beauty sleep” OR simply are overworking ourselves so hard that rest is forced upon us because the object of our work and rest is US.

However, resting is such a huge part of how God designed us to connect with Him. To find quiet moments, to carve our time to just “Be Still and Know that He is God!” Resting gives us an opportunity to thank God for all He’s done, is doing, and will do in our lives no matter the circumstances.

Is rest something that is seen as a GIFT FROM GOD or is it forced upon you as a result of not knowing when to slow down? Both are worship…WHO we are worshipping is what matters!

This weekend, we’re going to spend some time talking about the BIG IDEA that Worship is MORE THAN SUNDAY! I hope you’ll join us and start living in a way that because of God…Worship is ALWAYS and EVERYTHING

Why 62.5% of Men Don’t Sing on Sunday

By Chris Denning


Yup, that’s right. 62.5%.

Ok. Maybe I made that up, but still, you get the point.

On the whole, a majority of guys don’t enjoy singing on Sunday. Trust me, I’d know, because I can see your faces each week from stage. #Busted

Now, if you don’t like to sing, don’t feel bad. I’m not into bashing people because they don’t like to sing at church. Mostly because I was one of you growing up. I didn’t start singing until later in high school and I used to think it was THE WORST.

The question still remains: Why? Why do a lot of guys not like to sing on Sundays? Here’s the Top 4 reasons guys don’t sing on Sundays:

1. They don’t like to sing . . . period.

Most men don’t really enjoy singing, especially in public. Maybe they enjoy singing the right song in the car by themselves, or maybe they can knock out a tune or two at karaoke, but singing around a bunch of other people isn’t the most relatable thing. This one makes sense to me, so one for the guys.

2. They don’t like to express themselves in that way.

Unless you’ve found yourself in a musical, most men don’t express themselves in song. Maybe Lin Manuel Miranda sings a song when he’s got something to say, but that’s definitely not what most guys do. Also, many of the songs we sing on Sunday express some pretty rich and deeply held beliefs, which can make one feel vulnerable when singing. That’s a good thing, but I can understand why some guys feel this way.

3. They don’t like the words.

This one is a song-by-song situation. There are some lines in songs that we sing that can make people uncomfortable with the intensity of emotion or faith that they convey. It could be that the line feels too flowery, or maybe that it expresses a belief/feeling that they don’t fully feel. I can respect this one, because I have felt a little phony before singing lines that I don’t fully believe in my heart. There’s something to be said about singing things in faith, but that’s for another post.

4. They don’t like the music.

Maybe they’re a country guy. Or a metal guy. Or an Eagles fan. Or . . . a million other things. I’ve been at concerts where the band isn’t quite my cup of tea, and even if they dropped into a cover of Purple Rain, I’m prob not gonna sing. (I mean, who am I kidding, OF COURSE I’m singing Purple Rain.) The music on Sunday might not be their favorite, which can lead to less singing.

These are all valid reasons but . . .

It doesn’t matter.

I really doesn’t. No matter their excuse for not singing, guys shouldn’t feel bad about not singing on Sunday. However, they SHOULD feel convicted about not engaging in worship.

Engaging doesn’t equal singing . . . necessarily. If singing isn’t your thing, guys, then pray the lyrics. Consider what the sentiment of the song is and try to meditate as the song plays. Find a way to engage your heart and mind with what is happening in the room.

You can be led in worship even if you don’t sing, but it’s up to you to allow yourself to be led. This weekend, I want to challenge you to take a step, however small that step is, to engage more in worship, in your own way. Consider what speaks most to you and make the choice to engage this Sunday.

What do you think about…

By Don Gentry

What do you think about self-driving cars?  What about Nano-technology?  What about Transhumanism?  What about AI? What about IOT?  What about bio-ethics?  Why do I even ask?

I love science and I believe Christ followers need to be leading the way in all the above listed technological advances.  I would bore you to death if I talked about each of them, but let me just talk about IOT.  Better known as Internet of Things.  If you don’t know what it is then you better start studying it because it is changing the world you live in.  You think our world is digitized now, according to a business insider they are predicting that by 2020 there will be 24 billion IOT devices on the face of the earth.  4 devices per human being.  24,000,000,000 devices.

The question is, does it matter to the average follower and or should it matter?  Self-driving cars are all driven by IOT. Insurance premiums and risk management are going to be driven by your web bed searches and health habits that you willingly up load on your personal devices that are constantly monitoring your activity levels and even your sexual activity.  Let’s not mention the new web based information that is mandatory for the medical community to upload and share with one another.  Those key tags you scan to get the sales at the grocery store, yeah, they are tracking your monthly cycles.

Do you care yet?  How about AI (Artificial intelligence)? Should we be doing research and creating computer devices that can think and interact with humans at an emotional or even sexual level?

I hope you now have IOT on your radar.  If Christ followers don’t start researching and engaging in discussions on what are the practical and ethical implications of these discoveries we are going to have an interesting society.

Here is my formula for engaging in all things science related.  My faith informs my science, but for many people, including Christians, their science informs their faith.  I obviously think my bias is correct, but it doesn’t really matter what I think.  When we engage in discussion we just need to know our own biases.  Whether you want a bias or not, you have one.

I believe we can be very relevant and engage in cutting edge technology and discovery, and still have the bias of faith informing science; however, many in the western church would disagree with me.  My challenge to you is for you decide what you think.  What is your bias?

We live in a world that is changing before our eyes because of computer science. I haven’t heard many, if any, Christians discussing articulately or intelligently how our faith should influence these incredible inventions.  Let’s be on the cutting edge of discussion.  Inform yourself as to your bias, inform yourself on the different scientific topics, and then engage in discussion.

I hope you find tension as you answer does your faith inform your science or does your science inform your faith.  Because, as Matt says, “the power lies in the tension!”  Love you all and hope to see you Sunday!


A Home Divided? What to Do When Family Challenges our Faith

By Matt Dawson


In preparation for this week’s installment of “What Happens When…” I want to point you to a PODCAST that Tracie and I did last year concerning this topic.

If this doesn’t happen to be an issue for you or anyone in your family…then it’s hard to understand how the tension around faith plays itself out in a family.  Although we will tackle this from a broader spectate this weekend at Journey, this podcast dives into the issue of husbands and wives who have different beliefs.

3 Practical Ways to Grow as a Disciple

By Chris Denning


In our series Am I Christian, we’ve been talking about what it looks like to be a follower of Christ. The Bible calls those who follow Jesus disciples, and not just the 12 guys who he started with. Disciple is a pretty loaded term for most and might seem weird to you, but being a disciple simply means that you recognize Jesus as who He says he is and you want to grow to be more like him.

This begs the question: How Do I Grow as a Disciple? In this post, I want to share 3 practical ways that you can grow as a disciple.

1. Get in Community

If you’ve been around the church for any length of time, you’ve likely heard about the importance of community in the life of a believer. Even the Bible talks about the virtue and importance of community when it comes to our spiritual growth.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” – Proverbs 27:17

In community, we find others who are willing to walk the same road we’re walking, hold us to our word, and share the burdens we all carry. Being in community magnifies what we need to work on and gives us the tools to grow in them. If you’ve not tried it before, take the time to check out the Life Groups at Journey and see what might be the best place for you to grow.

2. Start Volunteering

Just like Groups, finding a team to volunteer with at Journey will bring people around you to help you grow in your faith. Actually, a lot of people who serve on a team at Journey find that those people become like another family and are friendships that truly last.

And it’s not just about the community aspect of serving that will help you grow as a disciple. Volunteering on a team will provide you many opportunities to serve others and to respond to promptings of the Holy Spirit. If our faith doesn’t turn into acts of service, then we’re missing a large piece of what being a disciple is about.

Take the time to find the team that fits your gifting and your season of life. Finding a place to dive in and volunteer at Journey is sure to help you grow as a disciple.

3. Expand Your Giving

It might not seem like it, but how you treat your money is a big part of being a disciple. Jesus talked A LOT about the dangers of loving money more than God and how easily it can distract disciples from our true focus.

Our Lead Pastor, Matt Dawson, just delivered an awesome message series about how we should view our giving called Investors and Consumers. If you’ve never tried giving before, especially as an effort to grow as a disciple, you should go back and listen to part 1 called Why We Give.

Making the effort to trust God with anything will grow you as a disciple. This is especially true with money because of how quickly it can steal our hearts. In fact, at Journey we encourage new givers to try something we call the 90 Day Giving Challenge. We invite you to try giving, giving anything, for 90 Days.

If at the end of those 90 days you don’t feel like God hasn’t followed through with his promise to help you grow through that, then just let us know and we’ll happily give you your money back, no questions asked. The bottom line is this: Take a step in expanding your giving and see what God does.

How Do I Do This If I’m BRAND NEW TO GIVING?

By Matt Dawson

The theme of this blog is – KEEP IT SIMPLE!

The truth is, many folks feel like they are BRAND NEW to the idea of tithing to a local church and giving to non-profits. My goal today is to help provide you with some basics. I’ll continue to keep the inspiration on Sundays – but today it’s practical, practical, practical.

(2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-7) Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Paul was writing this to the church. It was his way of helping people remember and understand the importance of giving as well as HOW to give. With this verse in mind, let me walk you through THREE simple steps to start participating in GIVING.

1. It’s A CHOICE. Make Sure You Know WHY You’re Doing It.
Anytime we do something out of habit or obligation, we lose the WHY behind our actions. Paul starts off this section by saying “remember…” It’s important to remember the SYSTEM God has put in place FOR OUR GOOD. When we want God actively involved in our finances, we have to OBEY and RESPOND to the system He created. Tithes & Offerings is how we actively CHOOSE to let God do something supernatural in our finances. But it is always a choice. If we want to REAP generously the BLESSING (please refer to our sermons on how we define blessing) of God, we need to SOW GENEROUSLY into His kingdom.

2. PRE-DECIDE How Much You’re Going to Consistently Give.
I tell people to follow the THREE P’s of giving to help you pre-decide what to consistently give when it comes to tithe and offerings. Make it a PRIORITY (It’s the FIRST THING you do, every time). Pick a PERCENTAGE (start wherever you can). Make it PROGRESSIVE (your percentage is just where you start – I’ve moved past 10% and continue to challenge myself to raise that percentage). Generous people are NOT EMOTIONALLY MANIPULATED when it comes to money because they’ve already pre-decided to give back and be generous.

3.Give out of Gratitude (JOY)
Is it 10%? Is it before or after tax? Do I tithe on tax money? Does it all have to go to my church? Can I use some of my tithe to help with missions trips and offerings? These are many of the debates that happen in Christian circles that people use to make GIVING COMPLEX. I refuse to enter into these debates with people. God wants a CHEERFUL GIVER.

Here’s my basic opinion based off of what I read in scripture.
“The tithe is a tenth of our resources (money) and should be our first fruits (gross before tax). Missions giving, sponsorships, building campaigns, and benevolence are offerings above and beyond our tithe.”

Because I view my Tithes and Offerings as a way of GIVING BACK TO GOD in proportion to HOW GOD HAS BLESSED me and my family – my giving comes from a place of Gratitude and Joy!

I hope that this has been a simple way of helping you practically move to a place of GIVING in your life. Make the Choice, Pre-Decide, and keep Gratitude front and center.