Say “YES” to God

Are you saying “no” when you could say “yes”?
Each year it seems that winter makes a serious attempt to kill us. We’ve all enjoyed the welcomed relief of a few warmer days. Even the snowstorm that starts to melt away the same day announces the inevitable change towards spring, and the promise that life will go on.
However, with the warmer weather comes my guilt about not being in shape. At some point in the next few weeks, on a reasonably mild day, I will lace up my shoes, throw on a hoodie, and attempt what barely resembles running.
The first half mile will be the worst. I will say to myself “I can’t do this. Why not just stop. Good enough – at least I tried. I can’t keep going because I’m too old, and it hurts my heart, and my will is not in order. etc” Yet somehow in spite of the fear and discouragement, I will keep going. And I will be glad I did. I can already anticipate the delight of my body getting stronger, increasing my heart rate, stretching myself, and being glad I did power through the objections. Knowing that I could have said “No” makes the “Yes” even more powerful.
In this series called “Outsourcing” we are talking about all the says we can say “YES” to God. So far we have talked about the importance of owning our worship life, being present to God’s presence, as well as the need to grow in wisdom, to discern what to do when we do not know what to do. We are also inviting each person to say yes to trusting God, to “try the tithe” during Lent as we build towards Easter.
For each of these habits, generosity, worship and wisdom, we have the chance to say “no”. We can each believe the voice of the enemy that inevitably tries to prevent us from moving towards a better, more abundant life with God. Just as I hear when I attempt to run, we will likely each hear these lies, “stop, why try?, this is too much, you can’t do it”. Yet when we break through that fear and choose trust in God, it makes the “yes” we give to God all the more satisfying.
This week offer God a big “YES”. It may be in worship, wisdom, or generosity. It might be in taking up the courage to invite someone to worship and faith. You likely know what it is already from that still, small voice within. Push through the resistance and trust in God who is ready to join us and strengthen us in the exercising of our faith.

Testing the Tithe

Why not try the tithe?
That was my encouragement this past weekend as we move into Lent, which started . Lent is the 40 day period leading up to Easter. For hundreds of years the church has used this as a time of spiritual preparation for celebrate Easter. Many people “give up” something, like meat on Fridays, coffee, chocolate or reruns of the Bachelor. I want to encourage you to do that if it is meaningful to your faith, while also encouraging you to “take up” something. For the next six weeks why not “try the tithe?”
Tithing is the biblical practice of giving 10% of what you make to God. If this is new to you, here is how you start. Take 10% of what you take home after taxes and place that in the offering each week at a gift to God. If you bring home roughly 600 dollars a week, a tithe is 60 dollars. If you make 2,200 dollars a week, a tithe is 220 dollars. If you make 10,000 dollars a week, please contact me personally. If you try the tithe for the next six weeks several things will happen.
First, you will feel the stretch and likely a dose of fear early on. Just like the first few steps of a jog or a workout you will wonder “should I even try this?” And the enemy will try to convince you the numbers won’t add up. This is natural.
But second, you will start to see God at work. God has a habit of taking full responsibility of the lives that are fully entrusted to him. Generosity is the toughest arena of life for many of us to trust God. Tackle this one and you will be amazed at the work of God – you will get to see God’s work in your day to day life in the most obvious ways.
Third, after a little bit of seeing God at work in your life and finances, you will want to do more – very few people who tithe JUST tithe. That is the secret of the Christian model of generosity. Nothing feels or lives God’s power better than out-giving where you once were – and no one believes it until they experience it!