Clippings, comments and advice collected from the news pages.
BY VISION OR BY NEED?
What is happening this month is that because of the global crisis many pastors who were never enthusiastic about creating work for their people or creating income for their activities are now asking us for help to get business started. The big problem is that these applications are driven by need not by vision, gifting or God's call. Pastors who are good with the Bible are not necessarily good with budgets and competence in church does not always translate into competence in commerce. Actually, the man who is gifted by God to make money for mission might well be in the congregation not in the pulpit.
GOD'S PROVISION IN CRITICAL MOMENTS
In Genesis 22 when Abram and Isaac were walking up one side of the mountain with heavy hearts, at the same time on the other side of the same mountain and completely out of sight, the Lord was also making the ascent. He was leading a ram which he tied to some bushes at the top because he got there first, as he always does. The ram was left in position ready to meet the need of Abram and Isaac who arrived a little later on. But as they walked upwards expecting the worst they did not know that out of sight their need was already met. They could not see God's provision until the critical moment when the angel of the Lord called out to them and showed them where to look. Then they discovered that their need was met, and it always had been. And as yours will be also. In Matthew 26:32 Jesus said, "After I have risen, I will go ahead of you." In order to keep this promise to his followers Jesus had to pass through crucifixion, death, hell, rise from the dead and move a ton of stone from the empty tomb, so do you imagine that anything today can stop him being there for you?
WHO ARE WE?
DCI has never been a fund-raising organisation, no appeals, no magazines, no offerings, rather we are a gathering point for givers who want to bless the lost, the last and least of the world. Today our Money Forum has two new pages, one for people who want to avoid the traps in giving, and the other is advice for people who are fundraising on the Internet.
THE DO'S AND DON'TS OF INTERNET FUND-RAISING
If someone from another country, a man that you had never seen before knocked on your door and without any explanation asked you for money, and probably quite a lot of it, what would you say to him ? Correct! So rule number one is to find out who you are writing to, greet them courteously and introduce yourself properly. Then ask for permission to make an application and if the answer is yes, ask what information they would like to know.
If you ask for a hand-out don't be surprised if people walk by you. Luke 16.22 says that the time came when the beggar died, which is something that needs to happen again in the Internet shops around the world. Don't ask for a hand-out because next month you will be just as poor again and still begging. Think about applying for a hand-up, that is finding capital to make money long-term through work.This will take you out of poverty and into prosperity, that is having enough for yourself and plenty to give to others.
HOW MUCH IS A TRILLION DOLLARS?
The USA and Europe are creating trillions of dollars to boost the world economy but how much is a trillion dollars? Click here to see scientist Chris Martenson demonstrate how a stack of a trillion dollars would reach 69 miles into the sky, truly an out of this world solution! Don't miss his other brilliant short videos.
A WAY TO BLESS THE POOR
One of our friends who lives in the very heart of the Arab world has found a way to bless the poor knowing that it is better, as Jesus says, to give than to receive. He said to me yesterday that sometimes when he meets lowly people like toilet cleaners he senses that God has something to say to them so he shows them a cross that he wears discreetly on a chain, points skyward and says "Issa," that is Jesus. Then he blesses them with some money and often the reaction is priceless. He says that doing this is not difficult and the warm feeling he gets from having obeyed God is worth more than any amount of money.
ASK THE RECENT VALUE
The falling value of the pound and the dollar is significantly reducing the value of gifts sent overseas. In Japan, the £1 they had a year ago is only worth 62p this month, the equivalent of a 38% pay cut! If you are supporting people in mission, they will probably never say anything so why not ask how they are doing ?
DON'T SELL YOUR CHURCH TO THE WEST
One of our readers in Nepal writes to say that the money he was receiving from the USA is coming to an end, for him and for many others, and asking what he should do? For 25 years I have said that it is a mistake to sell your church, your vision, your call and even your soul to the West in exchange for a few dollars because a final day always comes and then what happens? I have always liked Paul's example in Acts 20,34-35 when he says that the work of his own hands provides for his own needs, the needs of his companions and gave him money to help the weak, because it is more blessed to give than to receive. See Kingdom Business in The School of Money and Money Page for more ideas.
If somebody is reluctant to support you, thank them, bless them and let them go on their way. This is especially hard to accept if you have invested time in making that relationship work, but you can't turn the fearful into the faithful because that is God's job. He had a water test to show Gideon who he could count on and who he could not. God told Gideon: "You have too large an army and they will take the credit, so tell anyone who is afraid that he may go home." At that 22,000 men left and 10,000 stayed but God said, "There are still too many so take them to the stream and I'll make a final cutback." When the opposition is marching in you can often lose the most support but don't worry, God is at work. The first cutback of 22,000 men, looked like a disaster but it was actually a test from God to see who was dependable. At the stream only 300 men drank from their cupped hands, while the rest knelt down to drink. God then said, "I will use those 300 to give you victory." The lesson is you need to be able to see the enemy approaching and those men who knelt down to drink, sacrificed their vision to satisfy their immediate need. Never forget that when it is God who reduces your support it is that He intends to show you that with Him you can still can lead and move forward even if you have lost everyone and everything. Are people around you cutting back? Let them go in peace, bless them and trust God who has something better in mind.
INVESTING IN HEAVEN
To update some investment advice from Jesus: 'Don't focus on investing in this world, living for today, chasing the next purchase or experience here, where banks go bust, house prices fall and stock markets crash. But focus on investing in heaven, where the bank will never go bust, the mansions will never lose their value and there is always a guaranteed eternal return. For where you put your investment shows where your attention, your commitment is. In the middle of the global money mayhem, we need to stand out as people who are different. Some things that have got blurred must come back into focus: God as our provider; the practice of trust and gratitude; God's glory as our primary aim, not our own comfort and financial advancement. Christians are not insulated from the economic freeze, but God is bigger than our financial difficulties and his perspective is Matthew 6:19-34. Global economic systems are built on shifting sand. God's economic systems are built on solid rock. They are immovable, eternal, often invisible and always focused on His glory which makes today a time to invest, not to back away, a time to renew support to mission, a time to care for those in need, a time to demonstrate a different Kingdom. More in the Money Page, Myles Wilson.
IN A RECESSION WE NEED THE SHELTER OF THE MOST HIGH
In a recession a thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but the promises of Psalm 91 are for the man or the woman who dwells in the shelter of the Most High. It will not come near you and even if it does in verse 14 there is a promise of rescue and an answer to prayer for the man or woman who loves the Lord. Like our friend and supporter Rocío in Peru who has been blessed with a promotion and a pay rise. Like our partner John in Liberia who lost his job and with 65% unemployment the outlook for his family of 11 at home, mainly adopted orphans, was bleak. After prayer he was given some land, his church stepped in and we are helping him with seeds and tools. If anything happens to you don't worry, don't be frightened by the TV news and don't be alone, tell people who will pray with you. Earn all you can, don't buy things you don't need, save all you can and go God's way of giving all you can, avoiding debt like the plague and trusting God instead to receive what you need, when you need it. For those who have cast their bread upon the waters in the past according to Ecclesiastes 11, 1-2, by giving to seven and even eight, don't be surprised if this year it all comes back to you after many days away as promised with God's interest on top, because He is faithful.
WHO SHALL WE CHOOSE TO BELIEVE? THE PRESS OR THE PROPHET?
Our friend and online pastor in Honduras is Pastor Ana Avilez who also has a very sensitive and well respected prophetic side to her ministry. Occasionally Ana sends us a very timely word, often without knowing what is happening on this side of the world. This week, quite unexpectedly Ana e-mailed to say she felt she had received a scripture for us from the Lord, from Leviticus 26, 9-13:
"I will look on you with favour and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last years harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling place among you and will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians. I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high."
Then Pastor Ana added this prophetic word, which we welcome and would now like to pass on you, so that by faith and patience you too may inherit the promises.
"I am the God who gives increase, I am the God who multiplies. Do not look with your natural eyes at what is going on around but walk in my supernatural promises for I have promised to bless those who favour my just cause. I shall take care of my plantation. You shall see the harvest I am about to cause. Trust me with all of your heart and your soul shall praise me for all the things that shall happen and for all the protection I have commanded on behalf of your people. Go onwards, no matter what you see or hear, trust in my promises, believe with all your heart and do not pay close attention to all the tribulation that the world shall suffer. I am with you and I shall surely care for those who love and care for the souls of the poor and the least in the world. Your offspring shall inherit what you have done and shall do in my holy name. Open heavens are upon you. I shall open unto you my good treasure to give rain on your land in my season and to bless all the work of your hands. You shall lend unto many nations and you shall not borrow." May it be so for all who believe.