Posts by Jonathan

Husband. Father. Friend.

My Approach to Giving

Our church is in budget review season and today is pay day for me so as I was scheduling payments for the month I was thinking about giving and thought I would share my approach to it.

Now it should be said that I am discussing giving, charitable giving, as a Christian. I do believe that as believers we are invited into a life of reordered priorities and most often this will mean financially partnering with others to see the gospel go forth.

While I don’t think there is a rigid guide in the New Testament on giving specifics, I do think there is an expectation of a sacrificial life as we live from the gift of grace we have in Christ. There is also meant to be a mentality that even the money in my bank account is not my own, it all belongs to the Lord and he has given me stewardship of it as he determines.

With those thoughts out of the way here is how my family approaches giving.

To start we prioritize giving to the local church. While that seems like common sense because I work for the church it has been a priority for us since before I was in vocational ministry. It is usually the first payment that goes out after I receive my monthly income. We do this as an act of obedience to what we feel God has directed us in.

The amount we give to the church is more than ten percent of my income but not by much. I don’t think a tithe (or tenth) is mandatory but it has always been a good rule for us. We make the church the first and most significant receiver of our giving because just as Scripture has the church as the conduit of mission and care of the local community we think it should be in our day.

Beyond that initial tithe we also have individuals and couples that we support each month along with a child sponsorship. While the tithe to the church is non-negotiable for us, in deciding on these other places to support we evaluate our budget with prayer to determine what we can give. We are currently doing just that as we are praying about how to support dear friends set to take the gospel to a really hard place.

Stacy and I have had a few conversations about giving in our nearly 13 years of marriage but mostly we established a rhythm of it and have kept going. In each season of life, with large salaries and with small, the Lord has provided for us and we have never gone without. Sometimes it has felt like we need more faith for it but we have always preferred being desperate for Jesus to work than not. Because he does!

So that is my approach to giving. Feel free to ask questions if you have any and I hope this encourages you to trust in the Lord.

Worthwhile September 27, 2019

First off this week is the fact that on this day in 1979 my love was born. She has done quite a bit of growing since then and for that I am thankful. Happy birthday Stacy!

It has been a full week of exciting ministry but I did come across a few important bits for you to peruse.

Tackling acedia. The ancient category of spiritual boredom, or worse, sinful apathy. I think we probably diagnose differing layers of issues but for Christians, and as this article suggests pastors, acedia is a terrible root cause if it exists. Harold Sankbeil has a full article on Gospel Centered Discipleship about it.

Acedia means a lack or absence of care. And that’s deadly. Whenever we grow numb to Christ’s saving work and the Father’s gracious gifts by which he makes us and preserves us, spiritual boredom takes hold, followed by apathy and subsequent despair.”

As you can imagine, when this happens for those responsible for the spiritual health of others, things can get sketchy. Sankbeil gives some good clues to combat acedia and warning sings to watch for.

“God your Father in heaven for Jesus’ sake will take care of you, of that you can be sure. He is the almighty Maker of heaven and earth, and yet at the same time he is your true Father. That means you are his true son, dearly loved. He is guardian and keeper of all his beloved children. He guides you waking and he guards you sleeping. Under his protection you can safely rest even in the most distressing hours of your life.

“So call upon him in every trouble, won’t you? Pray, praise, and give thanks to him. He is good, and his mercy endures forever. Whenever you are at the end of your rope—mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted—he will then be your strength and stay.”

Read the whole thing here.

Going back then a couple of years, after a few questions about the Passion translation of the Bible, and as a local church plant posted a verse from it that I thought was a terrible misreading of Scripture, I wanted to get to the bottom of its dangers or value.

Andrew Wilson does not disappoint as he gives some good guardrails. Essentially the Passion Translation is no translation at all and for that reason we should steer clear of it.

Read Wilson’s thoughts here.

Finally, last week I had some questions on our Church’s view of the gifts of the Spirit and how we desire them today. I have always found resources from The Village Church helpful and thought you might too.

Check out their page of talks and articles.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the first days of fall. Nebraska is hosting ESPN’s College Gameday on Saturday so you should watch that! GO BIG RED!

God at Work

Last week David Platt hosted a simulcast to promote the launch of his new book and communicate the urgent need for gospel-spreading ministry to happen in our day.

I haven’t watched the whole video yet, but there was one key story with a brother in a restricted country a buddy shared with me. It is so stirring and leaves me praying “do it again Lord!”

The story begins at 1:02:53 of the video if the link doesn’t play from there.