Tag

finance

Pass the Gravy!

By Envision

This is the best gravy I’ve had since Thanksgiving at our friends Rick & Shari‘s place. Ok, it’s not really gravy, let me explain…

My colleague Rick and I are back in Haiti and within hours of arrival the trip has been more than worth it. I turned and said to him, “from this point on, it’s all gravy.” Well, the truth is that we’re now getting saturated in it. God is so good…

In the process of spreading the Gospel to more and more Haitians and training leaders to share Christ and disciple those who have placed their faith in Him, we have included strategies to accelerate the ministry through meeting physical needs of the communities in which we labor.

In the last six months, we have been piloting micro-credit loans to launch entrepreneurship, enabling responsible locals to start business that will feed their family while learning stewardship and responsibility. Our test program has focused on a handful of trusted individuals to explore transportation and communication industries as we look toward a broader expansion of teaching people how to work hard, feed their families, give back to the Lord and save for the future.

Our first conversations on the ground this visit were with these pilots, making adjustments, encouragements and admonishments. It was the result of that dialogue that spurred the “gravy” comment. But within a few hours we were already into more wonderful teaching opportunities, bringing two brothers together to reconcile their differences in a God-honoring way.

Today we will be continuing to disciple our brothers and sisters in Christ here, all the while looking to preach Him and introduce others to the family of God. And we pray that every new opportunity on this outreach trip will be rich and fulfilling, a great spiritual blessing topping a foundation in Christ.

So today as we continue preaching the Gospel, and teaching on stewardship and leadership, working with clergy and the community, it’s my prayer that God continues to bless our labor. I’ll have another helping today, Lord!

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My Part, God’s Part

By Envision, Headfirst, Personal

A hinge can only function with two engaged and matching halves

There are many theological dynamics to the concept of “My Part / God’s Part” –  after all, if God the Father planned salvation, God the Son accomplished salvation and God the Spirit applied salvation, then my part is simply to receive salvation.  Easy enough?

So once I’m saved – by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone – what’s the division of labor between me and God as I step into the good works created beforehand for me to walk in? (see Ephesians 2:8-10.)

I’ve been thinking about this for a very practical reason – trusting God to provide for our family’s financial needs.  That’s something pretty much anyone can relate to, especially right now in the world economy.  For our family, the nuance is that all of our funding comes from God through His people contributing to our ministry.  I have a job, and it doesn’t matter how many hours I work – if people don’t give to the ministry, there’s nothing for me to be paid.  So fundraising becomes a spiritual endeavor, much like evangelism: it’s my part to initiate with people and tell them the news (e.g. God loves them, Christ died and rose again to forgive sin, you can be our partner in bringing the Gospel to those who’ve never heard) and it’s God part to move in their hearts and reveal who responds.  I have no control over who receives Christ, nor over who chooses to join with us and give back to the Lord through our ministry.

Here’s where I recognized a rebuke from the Holy Spirit – I decided that God wasn’t providing adequately for our needs, and I became frustrated and angry with Him.  After all, wasn’t I doing my part?  I’d been inviting people to join us as ministry partners.  So if I was doing my part, and we still had such a significant need – that meant that God wasn’t doing His part.  (My guess is that you can relate to getting frustrated or mad at God for your circumstances.)  After all, Moses raised his staff and the sea parted, right?  Elijah called down fire from heaven and the offering was burned up.  Hey God, in case You hadn’t noticed, I’ve been sitting here and praying and I’d like to see some supernatural action, okay?

The truth is that I wasn’t doing my part.  As my heart was convicted, I asked myself: have you truly done everything in your power or ability?  Or have you only done what you were willing to do, and then blamed God for not responding?  Could He be waiting for you to step out in faith, to go beyond your comfort zone, to truly trust in Him alone for your needs?

So it became much clearer who I should be frustrated and angry with – me.  I haven’t been doing my part.  Once I’ve done everything within my power, everything humanly possible, I can go back and seek Him out and…  give thanks for the ways He has answered and provided.

P.S.  Your equation of “My Part, God’s Part” may not be financial, it may be something else.  I expect that the principle still holds true in your circumstances.