The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who is a fairly new Christian. She is at least fairly new to being a serious Christian. She told me that she was getting really frustrated because she wanted to know more about Jesus’ disciples, but that she couldn’t find anything about them. She said she wanted to know why Jesus chose those particular twelve people to be His disciples. And she wanted to know way more than the tiny bit of information that the Bible gives. I thought that her quest was a pretty good one, but that maybe she was going in the wrong direction. Before I even knew it, I had said, “Well, I think the reason we don’t know anything about them is because they were nobody.” I went on to say that they weren’t important or rich or “known” because God wanted to show us that He can use anyone. As soon as I said it, it made a whole lot of sense, but I don’t know if I had thought about it in such plain terms before. That conversation has stuck with me all week!

My friend is an average, twenty-something adult. To me, she signifies a good portion of the population. I come from a very “churchy” background and sometimes, many times, I am out of touch with real life. Things that seem super obvious to me, so much so that I don’t even stop to think about them anymore, are not even understandable to most people. This friend has really opened my eyes recently. Continue reading…

EDIT: (11/1/07) These were my initial thoughts on the subject of tithing in the New Testament and I have written a new post clarifying these thoughts. Please read it as well. It really does clarify my jumbled thoughts!

Last night, I had quite an interesting conversation with my mom about tithes and how much our district officials get paid. Then I read this post by Travis Seitler. He has done research on tithing. His post shook me. I’ve grown up with the focus always being, “give your ten percent.” I knew, of course, that more is better, but still the focus is on that tithe. In his post, Travis tells that what he has found is that the tithe was Old Testament law and therefore not applicable to us today. Now before anyone cries, “heresy,” he is NOT saying that you should not give. He says we should give more and sometimes less than 10%. His post is very well thought out and backed by scripture. I tend to believe that he is correct. He also wrote that the tithe was in food, not money. Therefore, we should be giving food if we are going to follow the Old Testament law; we should be creating food banks to help feed the poor.

The last important point I found that he made, was that tithe, since it was always given as food, was not created to support the priests’ pockets (ministers in our day) or church buildings and bills. If this is so, I wondered how would these be supported? Well, basically he believes that we should cut down on these expenses and focus on the poor. The remaining should be paid for by offerings. That makes some sense to me. That post has shaken me in changing the beliefs that I have held for so long, but after talking it out with my hubby, it makes sense to me never to preach on tithing the same again. It makes sense to me to never use that word again. The New Testament requires much more of us than the Old Testament. Jesus tells the rich man to sell everything and follow me.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22 NIV (more…)

Last Sunday I preached on The Lord’s Prayer. It was a rather hard subject for me. This is mostly because I don’t pray enough and I know it. God helped me to write a very good sermon, but through it I felt compelled to commit to pray more. I pledged to God that I would read a chapter of a book, that makes me think more about God, every night for a year. I also pledged that I would do this reading before I read my nightly fiction. So, I started reading “Listening for God”, by Marilyn Hontz again. I started reading it a while back, but never finished it. I like the book. Through reading that, I pledged to also read the Bible at the same time and pray. Now I don’t really have time for the fiction at night! Somehow, that doesn’t bother me. Which makes me very happy.

I have a new friend who is struggling to read the Bible. She has a hard time understanding it. (Any ideas or suggestions for her are appreciated.) But I found something in Marilyn’s book that might have helped some. She wrote, “Since the Bible was written under inspiration, I need to ask the Lord to help me read it by that same inspiration.” Doesn’t that make a LOT of sense? I had never thought about it exactly like that before. I hope it helped her. I enjoyed being used by God to show someone else something.

I think I will grow a lot because of my pledge. I’m ashamed at my lack of having done these things regularly before, but I know God is continually working in me. And as long as I am willing to learn and be molded, I don’t need to feel ashamed. Thank you God for molding me!