Friday, January 4, 2008

Faith and Church Budgets

At Celebration we are considering the budget for 2008. I noted in a church e-mail that church budgets are different from a family budget or a business budget. In a family budget you must stay within the boudsaries of your income. In a business budget yoou worry about the bottom line.

In a church budget you have to consider faith. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. If we don't plan a budget with faith then our stewardship will not please God. In that light I want to share with you some basic ideas on faith, ministry, and budgets. I'm going to share with you an article Rick Warreen, minister at Saddleback Church, wrote on faith and ministry. What does it mean to have a faith budget?

1. Believing When I Don't See It.
Hebrews 11:1 says faith is being certain of what we do not see. it is visualizing the future in advance. The world says, "Seeing is believing." God says, "Believing is seeing."

2. Obeying When I Don't See It.
Has god ever told you to do osomehting and it just didn't make any sense? This is the essence of Noah's story. Noah was told to build a boat in a world where people have never heard of a flood. Noah didn't understand it either, but he built the boat anyway. I betcha he was glad he did once the flood began to rise.

3. Giving When I Don't Have It.
(11:4b) “In faith Abel was commended as a righteous man and God spoke well of his offering.”
Isn’t that interesting? Giving and faith go together. God uses money to test our faithfulness. God watches the giving of a Christian. The Bible says if you have not been faithful with unrighteous mammon, who will entrust you with true spiritual riches? There is a direct relationship between how I use my money and how much of God's power I experience in my life. It influences how much God can bless my life. I think God expects leaders to take the lead in giving. You cannot out give God.

How do you develop persistence? How do you develop the kind of persistence that keeps you in a position when God has put you there, when every bone in your body says, “Move or quit the ministry!” Where do you get that kind of persistence?
(v. 27)“It was by faith that Moses left Egypt and was not afraid of the king’s anger. He held onto his purpose like a man who could see the invisible.”
Notice the key to persistence is that last phrase – he could see the invisible. Only as we see the invisible can we accomplish the impossible. The key to persistence is to keep your eyes on God. Keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Corrie Ten Boom says, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” It all depends on where you’ve got your eyes.

A good illustration for this is Joshua. By faith, the walls of Jericho fell after the people had marched around them for seven days. Jericho was the most fortified city in the world at that time. God said, “There’s no way a bunch of slaves are going to take this thing, but here’s what I want you to do: March around the city seven times a day for seven days and then I’ll cause a miracle.”
What were they doing seven times a day for seven days? Thanking God in advance. Praising God in advance. Faith doesn’t mean you believe God can do something. He can do it whether you believe it or not. Faith doesn’t mean believing He will do something. That’s hope. You hope He will. Faith is believing He’s doing it! That He’s already doing it. That the answer is already on the way.
(Mark 11:24) “When you pray believe that you have received it and then you’ll be given what you’ve asked for.”
Don’t beg. Just thank God in advance. Make your request and then be continually thanking. If I were to write out a check for $1000 and give it to you, would you wait until you’ve cashed it to thank me? (You might!) No, you’d thank me the moment you made the request and the check was offered.

Ministering by faith does not exempt you from problems. We all know that from personal experience. (Hebrews 11:39-40) Anybody can trust God in ministry when things are going great. Big deal!
Real faith is developed in the valleys of ministry, when the situation looks impossible, when the people look hopeless, when the tide has turned against you, and when you’re tempted to ask yourself, “Why is this happening to me?” This is a test!
Faith is trusting that if you don’t get it, God has a better idea -- a far, far better idea. In Abraham’s case, it took God five more years to reveal the better idea, but He did. And don’t you think there were some real questions during those five years?
Faith is trusting even if you don’t get it. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” If you’re not ministering in faith, then you’re not pleasing God, and if you’re not ministering in faith, then you’re ministering in sin.

I'm excited about what God is going to do at Celebration in 2008!

Have Yourself Committed!


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