Tag Archives: Giving

Buck-a-Hit Day at Bojack.org

It’s Buck-a-Hit Day once again over at Jack Bogdanski’s blog. Head over and shake a dollar out of him and into a needy charity’s pockets. http://bojack.org/2012/12/welcome_to_buckahit_day_6.html

You will also find an opportunity to give to some local Portland charities out of your own pocket if you so choose. Considering what our Lord gave to us this Christmas season, sharing a little of our own blessings is the least we can do.

Merry Christmas!

2 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Faith, Jesus, Life

The Blessing of Generosity

Today is the first day of the Advent season. This is the season leading up to Christmas when we look forward to the coming of the Christ child into the world.

This year my church put together an Advent devotional and I was asked to contribute two entries. I previously shared on of my contributions, and I decided for the start of Advent to share the other. The scripture readings this devotional article is based on were chosen by our pastor. I encourage you to click on the links to read them before reading my thoughts on how they are connected.

Scripture References: Amos 6:1-8; II Cor. 8:1-15

Devotion

The prophet Amos warned those who had plenty but failed to care for those in need. Though they enjoyed the lap of luxury, they would “be among the first to go into exile” because of their complacency.

By contrast, Paul writes of the Macedonian church that lived in extreme poverty and yet exhibited a generosity towards others that was beyond their own ability to give. He then urges the Corinthian church (and each of us), “as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

It is easy when we are blessed with material possessions to spend all our time enjoying them and forget about those in extreme need. Perhaps the reason the Macedonians were so generous is because they never forgot what it was like to be in physical need and had compassion on those in similar circumstances. As a result they were blessed with spiritual wealth and the grace of our Lord.

God is honored by our desire to give and to help those in need; He is honored even more by the fulfillment of that desire. He does not expect us to give beyond our ability, but to give out of the grace we have known in Christ. The spiritual wealth we gain through a closer walk with Jesus and sharing with others is better than all the gold and jewels in all the earth.

Thought to ponder/challenge

We must guard ourselves that we not allow wealth and material possessions to be our comfort, forgetting those in poverty. We must remember to always give out of the grace we have been freely given.

Prayer

Our gracious Lord Jesus, help us to not grow complacent because of the wealth you have blessed us with, but well up within us a desire to be generous and share your material and spiritual gifts with those in need.

3 Comments

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Service

Sending a Clear Message

Our pastor started a new sermon series this morning titled “Mixed Messages.” It’s a five-week series on how, as Christians, we sometimes send mixed messages to the world about our Christian faith. We some send mixed messages about Jesus.

The specific topic this morning was money, always a sensitive topic with most people. We really don’t like talking about money or about giving it away. We don’t like to be scrutinized in this area of our lives, because we all tend to like our own stuff and our own money just a little bit too much.

And that’s just the point. As Christians, we should have the extravagant and generous mind and attitude of Christ regarding our money. It isn’t really our money anyway – it is a gift from God – it really all belongs to Him anyway.

Pastor Dave encouraged us to send a clear message about who Christ is by the way we give to those in need and in how we use the money that God has blessed us with. We need to send a clear message so that non-believers will know who Christ truly is and what the Christian faith is all about.

As I pondered writing this post, I decided to reread the passages in Matthew that I read last week as part of my Bible reading schedule, because I remembered I was reading the sermon on the mount. Not really wanting to write about money and mixed messages, I was trying to find something else to write on.

At first I didn’t find anything that spoke to me, so I read the section that I should have read either yesterday or this morning but I skipped my reading time both day. Here is the very next passage on my reading schedule, Matthew 6:19-34 (NLT):

Teaching about Money and Possessions

 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

 22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Okay, so I get the message loud and clear! I need to pay more attention to what message I am sending to others in this area. Is it a clear message of extravagance and generosity in the image of Christ? Or do my selfish actions belie my words of faith? Where is my treasure stored?

I think these are questions we all need to ask ourselves periodically. We are human and are going to mess up sometimes; we are going to sometimes send the wrong message. But if we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and to correct us, to help us send a clear message, then perhaps the world will hear the truth of Christ loud and clear.

9 Comments

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life

Give Just by Visiting, Again

Check out this post — Buck-a-Hit-Day — on the blog of one of my law school professors, Jack Bogdanski. Just visiting the blog will cause him to donate $1 to charity, up to $5,000. He also has links to 6 charities that readers are encouraged to donate to, with a matching promise! This is the 9th year he has done this on his blog.

Jack’s link to my blog back in Oct. 2009 was responsible for my busiest blog day ever, though I’ve come a long way and hope to one day have 677 hits in one day on my own. I’m certain my link to his blog won’t generate nearly that much traffic for him because I average only about 90 hits a day and many of those are to older posts. But Jack’s got a good thing going, so check it out.

3 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Life, postaday2011, Service

Giving a Gift that Is Needed

Last week I wrote about my good advice to spend time each morning reading my Bible instead of getting online on my computer first thing and checking email, Facebook, and blog comments. I have been sticking to that plan, following that advice, every morning since that first one when my computer wouldn’t go to any of those sites. It has been wonderful! I finally finished Ezekiel and have moved on to other books of the Bible.

Yesterday morning I read chapters 5 – 8 of Zechariah. I am really enjoying this minor prophet so far, but in many respect it is still not an easy read. (Much better at 6:30 a.m. with a cup of coffee than at 10:30 p.m. all bleary eyed and ready for bed).

One passage in particular challenged me to think about whether I am doing all I can to please God, or whether I am more concerned about my own comfort.

Zechariah 7:4-12 (NLT)

 4 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply: 5 “Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? 6And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?
7 Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah were well populated?'”
 8 Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: 9 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.
 11 “Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. 12 They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.

As I read this, especially verse 6 (in bold), I wondered if we haven’t done with Christmas what the Jews did with their holy festivals while they were in exile. We focus so much on partying, on eating and drinking together, and on exchanging gifts, during this season. Do we do this just to please ourselves? Or are we doing it to glorify God?

The World Vision gift catalog has been on my mind a lot this Christmas season, and I’ve pondered giving to those in real need instead of to those who aren’t. If you aren’t familiar with World Vision or their gift catalog, let me explain what it is all about. Through the catalog, you can purchase a goat or chickens or a well for water or a yurt or any number of things for those in need around the world. And you can purchase these things in the name of a loved one and receive a gift card or small gift item that you can give to your loved one letting them know what you have given in their honor. I’ve actually done this before for my three college roommates one year, and they loved it!

Thank about it. How many people are on your Christmas list who really don’t need that sweater or tie or bottle of perfume or kitchen gadget or book that you were thinking about getting them? Wouldn’t they be better off with the warm feeling they would get from knowing they had helped someone in need? And wouldn’t that please God more because you would be showing mercy and kindness to widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor.

Imagine if we all replaced just one of the gifts we were going to buy for someone who didn’t need anything this Christmas and bought a goat for a poor family in Guatemala instead? Just one. Not your whole Christmas list, but just one gift.

7 Comments

Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, postaday2011, Service

Give Just by Visiting

Check out this post — Buck-a-Hit-Day — on the blog of one of my law school professors, Jack Bogdanski. Just visiting the blog will cause him to donate $1 to charity. He also has links to 6 charities that readers are encouraged to donate to, with a matching promise! This is the 8th year he has done this on his blog.

Jack’s link to my blog back in Oct. 2009 was responsible for my busiest blog day ever. I doubt my link to his blog will generate nearly that much traffic for him. But he’s got a good thing going, so check it out.

10 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Service