Jeff grew up in the Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian and Baptist churches. One grandfather was a Presbyterian Pastor, and one a Methodist Deacon. Jeff now attends Vista Community Church, a non-denominational church in Temple/Belton, Texas.
Kevin grew up in the Methodist and Catholic Churches and now attends Grace Bible Church, a non-denominational church in Killeen, Texas. He told Jeff to read his bible and took Jeff to his first Christian men’s conference in 2014.
Tom grew up in an Independent Baptist Church and is currently a Trustee and Deacon at Parkview Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.
Here are some beliefs and values that we share.
- First do no harm. The last thing we want to do is give people too much money, or saddle them with debt. We start low and go slow.
- Hands up, not hand outs. We believe that much of the trouble with giving is the creation of expectation, dependence and entitlement, If you give people a bag of rice every week, they begin to expect it and become dependent on it. If you loan them money, they become the enabling force to grow and excel.
- Giving should be based on principles from Christ and the early New Testament Church. It should be personal, build relationships, and should focus primarily among followers in need. We try to learn from those who were closest to Jesus in the bible.
- Giving should not just be about money. It should be “Whole Life Generosity”. Every Christian should give not just financially, but of their time and talents. You can always tell what people’s priorities are. Don’t ask them; watch them. Where they spend the 3 Ts: Time, Talent, Treasure.
- HE gave so that we too may give. It’s HIS money anyway. And GOD doesn’t need us to pay HIS bills. HE needs us to learn and grow and give. HE needs us to be an example. Others will see our love for one another. GOD uses giving to change us. To teach us to love. GOD entrusted us with HIS money to be a blessing to others. See John 3:16, and 1 John 3:16.
- We know the richest “man” in the universe, we belong to Him, and He lets us use His money.
- Somehow our giving brings God glory. Others see our giving, and their hearts turn to God. We give, and He gets the glory.
- The best giving we can do is to point people toward Him.
- Financial gifts can be generous and yet not glorify God-they can even undermine His work.
- Jesus used His time on earth to not just reduce human suffering, but to welcome lost people into His family. The healing was not the point; the Healer was. Physical healing was not Jesus’ purpose. His purpose was to preach the Good News. He did works in order to point to God. He healed to point to the Healer. He gave to point to the giver.
- Meeting physical needs is good, but physical healing is not the heart of God’s purpose. A good gift meets a need; a great gift leads someone to thank God and seek to know Him.
- Rich fools just build bigger barns to hold their stuff. Luke 12
- “Make friends for yourself by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when wealth fails… “ Luke 16:9. Notice it doesn’t say “if”, it’s says “when” it fails.
- God loves a cheerful giver.
- Every commitment needs community. That’s why we make marriage vows publicly. That’s why a contract involves signatures. “Iron sharpens iron, as one person sharpens another.” Prov 27-17. Isolation is not good. Isolation is even dangerous. We are always better walking together in the light. In the beginning everything that God made was good. Genesis Chapter 1. But in the second chapter the first thing that wasn’t good was that man was alone. Genesis 2:18. By going it alone, the loner misses the chance to build community, to partner with others who share his passion, and to experience joy and sorrow together. New flash: your dog is not your best friend. He’s a dog. You have to regularly fellowship and pour into people.
- There are more ways to be a missionary than to quit your job and move to a foreign land. There are tons of opportunities and needs beyond that. Pray. Read. Share/Speak. Make friends. Use your talents. Encourage. Learn. Support with time and talents while still here. Travel for brief trips. Connect others. Teach. Within God’s purpose, you can find amazing ways to put your passions to use.
- The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now. The time to give is now, with what you have now.
- The giving question is not about what you give, but what you keep. David Green from Hobby Lobby “tithes” 50% of his earnings. He says ”God owns Hobby Lobby, not David Green.” Jeff has a friend who made a deal with the Lord years ago that if God would just get him out of his mess then he would ”tithe” 90% to the Lord and keep just 10% for himself. The Lord has blessed him tremendously since then.
- In the Old Testament we learn about tithes. 10% is the standard minimal offering. Be we know that gifts are above that number. In one place a Jew gave 23.34%. An interesting number (See Luke 23:34)
- If a person’s giving doesn’t somehow point people to Jesus then it doesn’t truly solve a problem; it merely postponed the problem. Focusing on spiritual needs doesn’t mean that we’re ignoring immediate needs, but we are approaching them more holistically.
- The Lord doesn’t just care about your money’s destination; He cares about its journey. We need to follow His priorities both in where we give and how we give.
- We believe that the causes that matter to our friends should also matter to us. We use this to build relationships. We believe that this is an example of loving the people close to you. If a cause matters to a person I care about, why not show them I love them by giving to their cause?
- The Great Commandment and the Great Commission don’t just guide us to the right people; they also guide the way that we express generosity. We can make disciples as we give by bringing others along and disciplining them in the grace of giving.
- Be bold.
- The early church gave to 3 causes: The Church, The spread of the Gospel, and those in need in their Church family.
- Have you ever thought about those who brought you to this point in your walk? Whose giving led you to meet Jesus? How can you 1) learn from them, 2) give to their ministry, and 3) include them in this ministry. Don’t focus so much on yourself as a giver, but remember you too are now, and once were, a receiver.
- Paul encouraged the Church to pay elders with double honors, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. “The laborer deserves his wages.” 1 Tim 5:17-18. “Those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” 1 Cor 9:11
- The local church is the hope of the world. We ensure that our giving is connected to a church in each region. They have the God-given authority over people’s spiritual lives.
- “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from death, then you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths to say that we believe, and so we are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed,’ That Scripture says ‘anyone’ because there is no difference between Jew and non-Jew. The same Lord is the Lord of all of us, no matter who we are, and He gives many blessings to all who trust in Him. The Scripture says, ‘Anyone who asks the Lord for help will be saved.’ “
Romans 10:9-13. ICB
- “But before people can trust in the Lord for help, they must believe in Him. And before they can believe in the Lord, they must hear about Him. And for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them. And before someone can go and tell them, he must be sent. It is written, ‘How beautiful is the person who comes to bring good news.’ “
Romans 10:14-15 ICB
- New believers are passionate about spreading the Good News and enthusiastically support programs that bring Jesus to even more people.
- Common problems:
— Our wealth isolates us. It makes us unsure of who we can trust. Just to have the conversation with your Pastor about what to do with your money can change your relationship.
— How can our wealth and giving point people to God?
— How can we help without hurting?
— “There is just too much need; I don’t know where to start.” Do you know the story of the starfish?
THE TALE OF THE STARFISH
IT ALL STARTED WHEN…
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement. She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, ”Well, I made a difference for that one!” The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
— Is this a perfect system? Is there too much risk? Is it a quick win?
— Is this the best use of His money and time?
These concepts of christian giving are best expressed in the book “Joy Giving”, by Cameron Doolittle (2018)