Tag Archives: Giving

First Gift at Christmas

Dear Origin Friends,

Thanksgiving is behind us, December is here and Christmas is around the corner.  We’re entering into that festive, yet frantic time of the year–the holidays.  We will be bombarded with Christmas advertisements, decorations everywhere and reminders that, “Tis the season to be jolly.” Most of us will respond to the season by giving presents to our loved ones.

And why not?  It makes great sense to give during the holidays.  After all, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”–John 3:16

But too often we forget the real meaning of Christmas.  We forget whose birthday it really is.  We can easily forget that Jesus is the reason for the season.

This Christmas season I’d like to encourage you to keep in mind that it is Jesus’ birthday.  Let’s all keep Christ as the center of Christmas.  So, how can we do that?  Instead of getting wrapped up in wrapping and baking and feasting and traveling, how can we keep Christ in the forefront at Christmas?

Here’s a suggestion.  Let’s make our first gift this Christmas a gift to Jesus.  It is His celebration.  Let’s make sure we start off the holidays right by giving to Jesus first.  If we do that, it will be a great indication that Jesus really is first in our lives, and it just might set the tone for a more spiritual season this year.

At Origin Church we’ll be taking a special “First Gift” offering this December.  We’re going to try to give as Jesus gave.  He gave sacrificially (He gave up heaven to become a man).  He gave unselfishly (He was born in a humble stable).  He gave to those who couldn’t give back (He came to seek and save the lost).  And he gave first (We love because He first loved us).

At Origin we’ll be using the offering for several projects:

Helping start a new church on the Las Vegas Strip- $1,200

Continuing to upgrade our children’s ministries with new state of the art video/audio, and props – $2,000

Upgrading the audio/video system for adult worship with some new speaker monitors (currently don’t have any)- $10,000

Winter outreach, service projects, and experiences for January and February- $2,000

Helping with a local homeless outreach (You can also help here by giving coats. blankets, socks, ramen noodles in the cup, and hot chocolate packets)- $2,000

You are welcome to send it in via mail to the church mailing address, or give online at http://www.originchurch.tv anytime during the month of December. Additionally, you can go to www.originchurchchristmas.com and view our 2009 Christmas catalog.

Regardless of how you give, let me encourage you to join Kim and me as we put Jesus at the top of our Christmas list this year.  Thanks for responding to God’s gift by giving.  And let me be the first to wish you an early Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Mythbusters

In planting a new church, I’ve discovered there are some common misconceptions worth “busting:”

1. Myth: Outside friends and organizations cover all expenses for the first couple of years.
Fact: There are a few visionary families around the U.S. who will partner with launching churches like ours serious enough to leverage their own relationships, time, and resources. They are generous, to be sure, but there is a limit to their resources.

2. Myth: God would never allow a new church to close.
Fact: 80% of new church plants do not make it.  Number one reason?  Underfunding.  Others and the local church body have to be ready to make huge sacrifices to make it work.

3. Myth: Staff salaries at Origin are paid by individuals and other organizations.
Fact: Each staff member at Origin depends on the generous giving of this local church to provide for their family and if that funding is not available, they have to raise their own support from outside sources and generous friends, and/or work another job to make it all work.

4. Myth: A handful of generous benefactors are all that are needed to sustain the church.
Fact: That would not be healthy for the church or for the benefactor.

5. Myth: My tithe doesn’t make that much of a difference.
Fact: It makes a huge difference in your spiritual life and in the financial health of our church. If we had 75 families at Origin tithing 10%, we would not need any additional funding!

6. Myth: Now that we’re about to be up and running, our environments are relatively inexpensive to maintain.
Fact: Much of our equipment is rented, or leased-to-own. Our ongoing expenses for equipment, facilities, and personnel run about $30,000 per month. Holding services every Sunday will increase that number.

We would love to have you join us on this journey! It’s been exciting to see a number of families make commitments to join this journey and we’re looking forward to a strong 2009. Please consider what you might be able to give!

Dave Ramsey on Practices

Dear Dave,

As a Christian, I always give to my church. I was wondering if you think it’s okay to also give to local causes, such as animal shelters, scholarship funds and other things.
Annie

Dear Annie,
Certainly, it’s okay. I think people should give to lots of different things if they’ve been blessed.

As a Christian, you probably know that you’re called to tithe. That means one-tenth of your income – off the top and before anything else – should go to your church. Beyond that, anything you give is an offering, which is over and above the tithe.

When it comes to offerings, our family picks several ministries and non-profit organizations around the community and gives generously to them rather than sending small amounts to more places.

Giving is a lot more than just moving money from your wallet to the collection plate or a charity. It’s a matter of caring, and realizing there are others who are less fortunate than you. Give freely of your money AND your time and talents, Annie. The more people you help, the more joy you will experience!
-Dave

Trying to Help

It’s been our pleasure this Christmas season at Origin Church to respond in generosity to a big need for a former Georgia State Highway Patrolman who lost his home two Sundays ago to a fire, while his family was attending church.  As we give, God lives more deeply inside all of us.  It always feels good to walk vicariously in someone else’s shoes.  Lift up this family this Christmas…it could have been you!

Shopping the Origin Catalog

We set out on this venture trusting and placing faith.  There are so many out there looking for a great place to invest in God’s work; this is ONE of them:  www.originchurchchristmas.com

You can help us make a difference even though you might not be able to be here physically.  All of the catalog is needed to make the biggest impact.  Only God can bless something like this and bring it to fruition…the good news is, He uses us!  Don’t miss an opportunity!

Recession Proof Yourself

The word “famine” in Genesis 26 literally means “recession.”  They are all throughout the scripture.  During economic downturns, we do one of two things: We hide and hold, or we face and place ourselves in a position to be blessed.  This is not time to hoard your “stuff.”  This is a time to give, sow seed, and invest into God’s kingdom.  Famine was in the land in Isaacs life.  God told Isaac not to bail out on Him but to stay put.  Notice what Isaac did during this famine: Isaac obeyed all of God’s requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.  He gave of himself, invested offerings in God’s work, and God blessed him a hundred times more than he planted, in the same year.  God can do and will do the same thing in today’s world!  Look at this downturn as an eye-opener and God’s free gift to you.  It’s to get yours and my attention.  It looks bad, but it’s really good if we allow it to drive us to faithfulness and obedience, because, on the other side, is his blessing.  This is the way God does things!  What about you?  Are you living in fear?  If so, stop today!  God has Genesis 26 in mind for you; He’s setting you up for success.  Now, go get to sowing seed in a ministry that God has His hand on!

Re-evaluate During This Economic Challenge

  • We must learn to be seed conscious, not need conscious.  Everytime God gives you the opportunity to give, He is giving you and opportunity to increase your income.  (Matt. 13:3-8)
  • You may be so far behind financially that you don’t believe it is possible to ever catch up.  But you are wrong.  (2 Cor. 9:8)  Your only hope of catching up lies in your willingness to plant your seed in the kingdom of God.
  • If you give nothing…you get nothing.  (John 12:24)
  • When what you have in your hand is not enough to meet your need, it’s your seed!  You can do three things with your seed: Eat it, feed it to your cows, or plant it.  There is no chance of increase until you plant it.  You many think you have nothing to give, but that is incorrect. (2 Cor. 9:10-11)
  • Learn to be patient-you must wait for the harvest.  (Heb. 10:36)  If you invest a thousand dollars in the kingdom of God by placing a check in the offering plate on Sunday morning, don’t look for your hundredfold return before you get to the lobby.  Impatience will kill your harvest.
  • The $64,000 question is this: Will you act on God’s Word and be given the power to get wealth, or will you continue whining in the wilderness and receive nothing?  
  • You and I did nothing to create this financial crisis and unrest; therefore, if we are following God’s economic system in His Word, we have nothing to fear.  God is on His throne and He protects His own!  (Ps. 37:23-26)

                                              -John Hagee, Financial Armageddon, 2008.