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Loren Cunningham and Worried Birds

“Have you ever seen a worried bird? One who had deep wrinkles in his brow? Perhaps his eyes were bleary and bloodshot with circles underneath from many sleepless nights? Somehow you knew he had been trying to keep a stiff upper beak as he worried over how he would pay the mortgage on his nest!

Jesus was the One who used birds as an example of the way we should face the subject of finances. He said in Matthew 6:26:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

No, you haven’t seen a worried bird! We can learn from the birds the secret of living like this. Jesus told us we were not to be anxious for what we would eat or drink or for the clothes we needed. In fact, He said our lives should be different from those of unbelievers who run after these things. We are to be as carefree as the birds of the air.

Is this true of most of the Christians you know? Is this true of you?”

Loren Cunningham in Daring to Live on the Edge: The Adventure of Faith and Finances (Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 1991) 19-20.

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Charles Cloughen, Jr.: Communicating stewardship

“The teaching of stewardship is actually the making of faithful disciples of Jesus Christ…The value of the kingdom of God requires everything. Our possessions–our houses, cars, clothes, and computers–are not going to make it to heaven. We must leave those things behind for others. Only people are going to heaven. Through the god of materialism, our world tells us to use people and acquire money and wealth to buy things. Jesus calls us to do the opposite: give and invest in our children, our young people, our adults. Love people and use things!”

The Rev. Charles Cloughen, Jr. One Minute Stewardship Sermons: Communicating the Stewardship Message Every Sunday of the Year (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse, 1997) xiv, 7.

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Richard Foster: God’s ownership and giving

“God’s ownership of everything also changes the kind of question we ask in giving. Rather than, ‘How much of my money should I give to God?’ we learn to ask, ‘How much of God’s money should I keep for myself?’ The difference between these two questions is of monumental proportions.”

Richard Foster in The Challenge of the Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex & Power (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1985) 42.

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Didache: Giving in The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles

“There are two paths, one of life and one of death, and the difference between the two paths is great. This then is the path of life. First, love the God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself. And whatever you do not want to happen to you, do not do to another. This is the teaching relating to these matters: Bless those who curse you, pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For why is it so great to love those who love you? Do the Gentiles not do this as well? But you should love those who hate you—then you will have no enemy. Abstain from fleshly passions. If anyone slaps your right cheek, turn the other to him as well, and you will be perfect. If anyone compels you to go one mile, go with him two. If anyone takes your cloak, give him your shirt as well. If anyone seizes what is yours, do not ask for it back, for you will not be able to get it.”

Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) 1.1-4.

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Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians echoes Paul’s First Letter to Timothy in Ephesus

“The love of money is the beginning of all difficulties. And so, since we know that we brought nothing into the world and can take nothing out of it, we should arm ourselves with the weapons of righteousness and teach one another, first of all, to walk in the commandment of the Lord…I am extremely sad for Valens, once a presbyter among you, that he should so misunderstand the office that was given him. Thus I urge you to abstain from the love of money and to be pure and truthful. Abstain from every kind of evil. For if someone cannot control himself in such things, how can he preach self-control to another? Anyone who cannot avoid the love of money will be defiled by idolatry and will be judged as if among the outsiders who know nothing about the judgment of the Lord. Or do we not realize that the ‘saints will judge the world?’ For so Paul teaches.”

Letter of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and Martyr, to the Philippians 4.1; 11.1-2

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge ment into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:7-11

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Ravi Zacharias: The Corrosive Power of Wealth

“Wealth and enterprise have so woven themselves around the message of Jesus that popular models of Christianity appear as nothing more than self and greed at the center, with strands of Christian thought at the periphery.”

Ravi Zacharias in Jesus Among Other Gods (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 200) viii.

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Os Guinness on Doing Well and Doing Good

“The previous readings should have helped us reflect on our own settled convictions about money and giving. One obvious consequence of such conviction is that giving–however we are motivated and whichever avenue of expression we choose–is not a matter of impulse or spur-of-the-moment responses. It is a way of life that issues from a commitment and a plan. Only such planned giving creates the opportunity to address and remedy human needs constructively. Only when giving is a commitment and part of our life goals in this way does it reward the giver as much as those to whom it is given.”

Os Guinness in Doing Well and Doing Good: Money, Giving and Caring in a Free Society (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2001) 280.

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Larry Burkett on Helping the Needy

“God’s Word says there will always be needs in the world around us, and God expects us to help those in need. The needy are those who are doing the best they can with what they have, but what they have is insufficient to meet their needs.

The first generation church set an example for us when they sold their assets and surrendered the proceeds to meet the needs of other believers. So the question is whether we will be doers of the Word instead of hearers only. With literally millions of people starving in the world, the rewards of giving to them are saved lives as well as saved souls.”

Larry Burkett in The Word on Finances: Topical Scriptures and Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994) 189.

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Warren Wiersbe and Riches in Ephesians

“Ephesians 1:3 states [the theme of Ephesians]: the Christian’s riches in Christ…The Father has given us every blessing of the Spirit, everything we need for a successful, satisfying Christian life. The spiritual is far more important than the material…The fact that Paul is writing about wealth would be significant to his readers, because Ephesus was considered the bank of Asia. One of the seven wonders of the world, the great Temple of Diana, was in Ephesus, and was not only a center for idolatrous worship, but also a depository for wealth…

When Jesus Christ wrote His last will and testament for His church, He made it possible for us to share His spiritual riches. Instead of spending it, Jesus Christ paid it all. His death on the cross and His resurrection make possible our salvation. He wrote us into His will, then He died so the will would be in force. Then He rose again that He might become the heavenly Advocate (lawyer) to make sure the terms of the will were correctly followed! In this long sentence [Eph 1:4-14], Paul named just a few of the blessings that make up our spiritual wealth”

Warren W. Wiersbe in Be Rich: Ephesians (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1984) 11-14, 29.

Over the next four days July 16, 17, 18 and 19 set aside time to read and meditate on the whole book of Ephesians once each day. Contemplate on the spiritual riches we have in Christ Jesus and consider the implications of that reality for your life.

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Thomas H. Jeavons and Rebekah Burch Basinger on Growing Givers’ Hearts

“Because of the lack of success in finding and articulating such moral authority in a way that has encouraged Christians to be more generous, the risk is that Christian fundraisers will resort to other approaches for motivating donors. Yet these approaches may not only fail to engage potential donors on the ground of faith but may, even worse, actually encourage attitudes toward giving and patterns of giving that are contrary to the teachings of the Gospel. And sadly, these approaches to fundraising, when taken to the wider public in attempts to solicit funds from them, will give a false impression of the faith and values of most Christians as well.”

Thomas H. Jeavons and Rebekah Burch Basinger in Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000) 67.

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