Sunday in churches across America you'll hear fund-raising appeals similar to these:
young people are hosting a bake sale next Saturday. And, hopefully, this year, nobody will break a tooth on any nutshells
in the brownies. Bring all your friends and family.
young people are holding a rummage sale the following Saturday. Please see Sue if you'd like to donate any household items
or used clothing. All proceeds will go toward our world peace project. No army
jackets or shotguns, please. Bring all your friends and family.
holding a raffle. Tickets are ten dollars each. Our young people will meet you
after the service with tickets for sale. An inflatable camping tent is the prize. All
proceeds go to the building fund. Bring all your friends and family.
young people will be holding a bike-a-thon next Saturday. All proceeds are earmarked
for "Pastor Appreciation Week", when we will surprise Pastor Bill with a newer model of Lexus. Please ask your friends and
family to sponsor one of our fine young athletes, so that they may run the race and win the prize.
young people will be putting on a big spaghetti supper next Saturday. Tickets
are five dollars per person. Proceeds will go toward the mission fund, which is currently operating on a shoestring budget.
Please bring your friends and family. Come
hungry, and don't forget your bibs!
month your faith needs to be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d-! We're two months behind
in the mortgage. Prove God by going the extra mile. So you say you haven't been
rewarded yet for last month's test of faith? All we need is a little more "stick-to-itiveness"
around here. When the trial gets tough the tough get going! Onward Christian soldiers! We're building God's House and
it must not be neglected. So get
those checkbooks and debit cards out right now. Keep up the good fight of faith. A dollar a day scares the devil away! After
prayer our ushers will take up your special "Prove the Lord Once More" offering. God is patiently waiting to see whether YOU
will give in to discouragement and be a quitter or prove your trust in Him and surrender all!
Valentine's Day to all our sweethearts out in the congregation! What a perfect opportunity to give Jesus a special love gift! Instead of wasting money on roses that are gonna wilt anyway, help us with a one-time
offering to buy new rose bushes for our landscaping.
Saturday our youth will go door-to-door selling Church's Chocolate Bars to help raise money for our Nutrition Awareness campaign. Stay tuned for more details.
I appreciate last week's effort, but our church property tax is due. Next Saturday
the young people will be holding a big car wash at Jerry's Truck Stop to help wash away some of the red ink in our books. Bring all your friends and family.
So the pastor pretty
much has Saturdays all tied up for the youngsters of the church. A wonderful way to keep them out of trouble (or turn them
into burnt-out backsliders)! Now it's time to put the squeeze on the oldsters out in the congregation.
next Sunday we've set aside as a special day to thank God for all the grandpas out there.
We'll be holding a special banquet at Suzy's Chicken Shack to honor everyone who's a grandpa. It's all you can eat, too. Tickets are ten dollars per person. And…cough! We will be holding a
special prayer ceremony for all our grand ol' grandfathers. It will be an opportunity
for Gramps to lay a gift on the altar of the Lord in honor of the occasion. Suggested
donation is one hundred dollars.
you still haven't gotten your harvest in for your "Put God to the Test Offering?" Well, take heart, saints. God's workload
is piling up every day just like everybody else's. But He's good at multi-tasking! He hasn't forgotten any of you! He's
probably preparing His payroll for all your deeds of love right now. Payday can't be far away! Keep looking up, saints, and
expect a miracle! It's Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection hope. Resurrect your faith by planting a springtime seed above and beyond what you did last Sunday.
It's already Mother's Day, isn't it? Whether your mom is still living or gone
to be with the Lord, this is the day we remember the precious example of faith she set for you as you grew up. Show your appreciation for the godly upbringing she gave you. Your mom doesn't need any of that sentimental
junk you buy her every year. So instead of giving her something she'll put out
at her next yard sale, just take your mom out for a burger and show your thanks to the Lord for this wonderful woman by making
a sacrificial gift in her honor. Brother Simon here, he just lost his mom five months ago.
Brother Simon, you're a real credit to your mother up in Glory. I just
know you'll do her proud when the offering plate comes around. She's got her eye on you, boy, and you'd better cough up the
cash or she'll get the fly swatter after you when she meets you at the Pearly Gates someday!
the Lord, saints, it's Father's Day! I know y'all never forget to give good old
dad a new pair of sox or a tie on his special day. So how about making an extra-special
offering to your Heavenly Father? Your Father in Heaven needs to have that new kitchenette finished in time for the big fasting
seminar next month.
Saturday the young people will be mowing grass to raise money for the big hay ride we're having in the Fall. Please tell your friends and your family. My, grass grows fast in the summer, doesn't it? And I bet your
seed faith is growing like a weed too!
official, folks! Next Saturday our young people are hosting our annual hay ride
to raise money for the church drama club. We'll be taking an exciting horse-drawn
tour of the city reservoir. Tickets are five dollars apiece. Bring all your friends
Saturday we're having a special treat. Dr. Bones from Bigwig Seminary will be
giving a lecture on "Treasures of the Promised Land." Genuine archaeological artifacts will be on display, including Samson's
Jawbone of an Ass, David's slingshot and Delilah's barbering kit. Suggested donation is five dollars per head. Bring all your friends and family!
everybody! Time for announcements. Now I don't mean to scare ya but could you please dig a little deeper into your pockets
this week? My wife is having reconstructive surgery on her nose, and the insurance won't quite cover it. Next Saturday is HELL-oween Day, tee hee hee! But we can turn
it into Heaven-ween, can't we? At seven-thirty on Halloween night the young people
will be putting on a puppet show entitled: "The Horrors of Hell". Tickets are three fifty apiece. Please bring your friends and family. Ice cream will be served afterward.
ladies of the church will be holding a big Thanksgiving Feast in the fellowship hall.
Tickets are fifteen dollars per plate. Proceeds will go toward reducing
the expenses of the upcoming ladies' diet club seminar. Even if you think it's
a sacrifice, it's nothing compared to all the trouble God has gone to on your behalf. So show your thanks to God by forgoing
all the expense and messy preparation of cooking the turkey meal at home and chow down with
us in the fellowship hall at six o'clock on Thanksgiving evening! Bring your friends and family. That reminds me, the devil
sure has been hindering our evangelization program. I swear, it's like preaching to a brick wall when you try to share your
faith with your relatives. I know some of y'all are sowing on stony ground where
it concerns getting your friends and family to join you in church. But maybe
you can persuade them to come help us eat some of Sister Sue's succotash and Sister Jen's turkey hash. That's food for thought.
how did the year whiz by so fast? The wife and I sure did get a nice sun tan on our Caribbean cruise, but it's great to be
back to enjoy the snow with everyone. Why, it's almost Christmas already! Remember
Whose birthday it is. When your own birthday rolls around isn't it YOU who gets the gifts? So if it's Jesus' birthday, He
should be doing the receiving, not you. You don't really need that new juicer you were going to waste money on this year. You can make your old baseball cap do an extra year, can't you? So take the money you would have been selfish with and instead give sacrificially to help build the House
of the Lord. Jesus was born in a stable, but it's up to us to see to it that
He doesn't have to stay in one!
already January, folks. Time to make a new beginning in your faith pact with
God. Time to be firm in keeping old resolutions and time to covenant with Him
to make new ones. We're still behind the eight-ball in our mortgage payments,
saints. Not only that, the parsonage
needs a little DIY work on some faulty electrical wiring, as well as some roofing. And a new nursery needs to be built onto
the house to accommodate pastor's growing family. To curb the cost of these renovations, it would be a blessing if any of
you brothers skilled in this type of work could donate your time and labor this Saturday. Still, tools and materials would
be needed and a special offering will be taken to offset this need. I know y'all just got over Christmas and pockets tend
to be empty in January, but we see by faith and not by sight. We CONSIDER NOT
the emptiness of our pockets, but focus instead on God's ability to provide. So
even if you're broke today, make a pledge of faith. Fill out one of the pledge
cards our ushers are passing out. You could take an even bigger leap of faith
and borrow against your credit card. Ah…my glasses are fogging up and I can't read what's next on my notes. Ahem! Let us pray…
* * * * *
though! Anybody with spiritual eyeballs to see will have to admit that today's institutional churchianity is a big money-making
racket. Wealthy pastors imposing on poor craftsmen for free labor (see Jeremiah
22:13); Bake sales, rummage sales, "faith" pledges, sponsorships, raffles, "prove God offerings" to pay the church mortgage.
All on top of enforced tithing on money and regular offerings expected by church leadership. Car washes, white washes of unscriptural
ways to get gain in the name of Jesus. Special days to "honor" granmmas or grampas
of the congregation by expecting "special" offerings out of those supposedly being honored. Well, you can keep that kind of
honor. I for one, can't afford it! I can worship God perfectly well beside a
mountain stream or even in the privacy of my own home. The institutional church is way too rich for my blood. It costs way
too much to belong to, both financially and spiritually. Even unpaid homemakers and people on welfare are exhorted to "sow
a seed to meet your need." The most shocking thing I read is that the poorest of the poor will get so desperate for a miracle
they'll even mail in food stamps to slick religious showmen on TV! How can people
be so blind? I get the feeling that the very worst prosperity pimps now have
a dead conscience (I Tim.4:2). How can God get through to them if these greedy
wolves don't even care that they're living a lie and putting Christ to an open shame in order to get a quick buck! There are
many Judas Iscariots running around today selling their Lord for a bag of silver!
miracle is God has been so patient with spiritual hitmen who push just the right buttons of guilt, greed or softsoap sentiment
to railroad suckers into swallowing the religious rot which passes for Christianity today.
What makes me especially mad is that the holiness of the Lord and the holiness of Old Testament ceremonial laws are
being forged into spiritual chains to bind God's own dear children whom Christ
said ought to be free of tribute (Matt.17:24-26). In that context Christ spoke of the half shekel Temple Tax, required of
all Jewish males aged twenty and above for the maintenance of the Temple (Ex.30:11-16). This small tax was a fixed rate, and
was not to be increased, even if the individual happened to be wealthy. It was paid only when the census was taken to number
the males of the Children of Israel. The Levites (priestly tribe) were not to
be numbered among the children of Israel when the count of all males twenty and upward was made (Num.1:47; 2:33). It is important
to pay the secular government what you owe. But under the New Covenant God does
not tax His own born-again children!
then, were devout Jews required to pay this tax? Jesus sanctioned the observance of Mosaic ordinances BY THOSE OF THE JEWISH
NATION before His death on the Cross rendered them obsolete (Eph.2:15; Col.2:14; Heb.8:13). Old Testament saints lived before
the Cross. They were not spiritually regenerated with Christ dwelling in their
hearts by faith, as we are. Nor were they seated with Christ in heavenly places,
as we are (Eph.2:6). Old Testament saints had to offer up temporary animal sacrifices
until Christ could come and offer Himself up as the final Atonement for sin. Most Israelite males did have to pay the temple
tax. It was even expected of Jesus, Who lived under the Law as a member of the Tribe of Judah (Luke 2:27; Gal.4:4; Heb.7:14),
which was not the priestly Tribe of the Levitical system.
New Covenant Priesthood after the order of Melchisedek has taken the place of the Levitical Priesthood (Heb.7:17). Even tithe-taking
prosperity preachers will admit that where Christ's church is concerned, the new Testament believer offers up spiritual sacrifices
in a priestly function before God (I Pet.2:5). But they still demand literal
tithes out of Christ's own priesthood! Even under the dispensation of Law the
Levites were not to be charged custom, toll or tribute (Ezra 7:24). Yet today,
under a far better covenant, males and females of all ages are being exorbitantly taxed each and every Sunday "in the name
of the Lord" by religious profiteers who hang religious guilt trips on them so as to squeeze more blood out of already dry
how you'll hear Prosperity churches teach choruses about all Christians being a Royal Priesthood and a holy nation in Christ. Yet those privileged characters in the pulpits have the gall to still fleece the flock
for tribute and unscriptural money tithes under the New Covenant. Even under the Old Covenant this sort of exploitation was
never inflicted on God's priesthood. All members of the Tribe of Levi (Levites) received tithes, but only of the fruit of
the land (Lev.27:30; Deut.14:23; Num.18:21-24). Any Levites who weren't born into Aaron's priestly line paid ten per cent
of the tithes they themselves received from farmers and herdsmen (not from fishermen or sandalmakers) TO THE HIGH PRIEST (Num.18:25-28). Those who belonged to the actual priesthood (and their families) did not pay any tithes.
some minister pulls out the heavy religious artillery to make saints of God feel guilty for non-tithing, that is a grave offense
in the sight of God. That's being like the Pharisees who taught as doctrines
the commandments of men (Matt.15:9; Mark 7:7). Scripture plainly teaches that ALL believers in Christ, not just professional
pulpiteers, are part of Christ's Royal Priesthood. We been made members of God's Household of faith (Gal.6:10). Not only are we part of God's family, we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ our High Priest (Rom.8:16-17).
We are actually IN CHRIST, and we are one spirit with Christ through faith (Rom.8:9; I Cor.6:17; II Cor.5:17). If we are made
one spirit with our Great High Priest, then how can anybody dare presume to extort tithe money from us with threats of divine
Peter 2:5: Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar (special) people; that ye should shew forth
the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained
Gentile tithe collectors live high on the hog with the unscriptural tithes they take from "the laity" whom they have stripped
of the dignity of their God-given priesthood. Money-hungry preachers squander money on brick and mortar buildings, although
the apostle Peter was only interested in building God's spiritual house, comprised of all the members of the Body of Christ,
which is His true Church.
under the Old Covenant God wasn't all that enthusiastic about fancy buildings.
Chron.17:3 And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan,
4 Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, thou shalt not build me
an house to dwell in:
5 For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto
this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.
6 Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges
of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying, why have ye not built me an house of cedars?
7:47 But Solomon built him (God) an house.
48 Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the
49 Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: what house will ye build
me? saith the Lord: or what is my place of rest?
50 Hath not mine hand made all these things?
brothers and sisters, are God's true resting place. God inhabits praise (Psalms 22:3).
If you really want to bring God on the scene to deal with your situation, just start your own private praise and worship
session just like Paul and Silas did when satan had them bound in a bad situation (Acts 16:25-26). The mighty power of God came to break not only their own chains but those of other prisoners around them! Many churches spend vast sums of money on their choir and pay a professional musician
to cultivate fine singing voices. But it is all done for the praise of men, not
God, and He is nowhere to be found in such a pricey place. A well-orchestrated production might be staged in that fancy sheep
shed, but people leave the meeting just as bound by satan as when they came in.
the living stones of the Body of Christ, ARE God's true Temple (I Cor.3:16; II Cor.6:16). We are built together as a habitation
(dwelling place) of God through the Spirit (Eph.2:22). Modern ministers of Christendom are actually taxing the true Temple
of the Lord to construct monuments to their own greed! What Babylonish confusion reigns in organized christendom! Do you think a Holy God can bless such a mess?
Israelite in the Old Testament who did not farm or raise livestock was exempt from paying tithes. Hired field hands did not
have to tithe on their cash wages! And the only Levites in the Bible exempt from
paying tithes were those descended from Aaron the High Priest. Instead, the High
Priest received one tenth of the Levite's tithes. Professional ministers claim
that they themselves are the counterpart of the Old Testament Levitical priesthood, with all its perks and privileges, while
the rest of us are just "pray, pay and obey" lay Christians who ought to submit cheerfully to their demands for more and more
tithes and offerings. But the only High Priest of our covenant is none other
than the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose priesthood is unchangeable and eternal (Heb. 7:21-25). How dare any professional pulpiteer
try to supplant the position of our great High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ and demand endless offerings and unscriptural
money tithes in His name! The Bible specifically instructs church leadership not to act as lords over God's heritage (I Pet.5:3).
We have ONE Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph.4:5).
appeal to false guilt through resorting to religious mysticism woven from select Old Testament passages. Just misuse a few
sacred words to push the old guilt buttons, like "holy", "sacrifice", "devotion", "firstfruits", "consecration", "hallowed
things", etc. You do that and most Christians will be shaking in their boots, afraid even to question the validity of monetary
tithing, much less refuse to cough up the dough by the count of three!
will appeal to your sense of duty with statements like this: "The tithe is holy. The tithe is the Lord's (but who bought a
new car with it!). Does Jesus wear a Rolex? Does God wear thousand-dollar suits
and diamond jewelry? Where, oh, where in all of Holy Scripture are the tithes ever used to build buildings or temporal rewards
for "ministers of the Word"? You are accused
of"robbing God" when you don't fork over to the preacher ten per cent of your paycheck. Really? show me the scripture which
authorizes any religious official to garnish tithes from any poor laborer's wages! NOT
ONCE did Paul the Apostle EVER remind any Christian to "pay his tithe" or reprove anybody for failure to do so. Paul never
taught housewives or unpaid slaves how to tithe. He didn't even bring up that subject to Lydia, a merchant who sold fine purple
fabrics only the upper classes were allowed to wear in those days (Acts 16:14-15). If
ever there was a perfect opportunity for Paul to teach tithing, that was it.
Paul didn't like the fact that some Christians were stingy with freewill offerings for his mission work, but money freely
given to the true works of God is not the same as the Biblical tithe, which was required only before the Cross, and only required
of Israelites engaged in agriculture or animal husbandry. The last verses of Leviticus, the Book of the Mosaic Law, stipulate
that tithing is one of the Laws given BY MOSES TO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FROM MT. SINAI (Lev.27:30-34). Our Covenant is one
of grace through faith in Christ, and springs from Mt. Calvary.
was holy unto the Lord, in the time and in the place where it was required. So
was circumcision. So were animal sacrifices. So was the wearing of phylacteries.
Material tithes of an unscriptural type (money) are demanded of Gentile believers in Christ today. But do ministers of Christendom insist on physical circumcision today? I guarantee, if that ancient law were reinstated in churches across the land, part of the congregation would head
for the nearest exit and the women really would take over the churches!
pulpiteers count on the fact that few of the "laity" really do have the time (or energy) to study their Bible in depth. The
average churchgoing couple often have to work 2 or 3 jobs apiece just to make ends meet. People are rushed off their feet
these days and barely have the time to make it to church, much less consult the Scriptures to test whether the rhetoric being
preached from the pulpit is really sanctioned by New Testament teachings delivered by Paul and other apostles to the early
church. Don't forget, we are NOT under the Mosaic Law, we are under grace (Rom.6:14;
Gal.5:18). If we want to keep part of the Law, we must keep all of it (Gal.3:10-13).
And if we fail to obey perfectly even just one point of that 613-ordinance Law, our failure ministers death, not life,
and we come under the curse of the Law. It makes me shudder just to think about
Cor.3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the
letter, but the spirit: for THE LETTER KILLETH, but the spirit giveth life.
7 But if THE MINISTRATION OF DEATH, WRITTEN AND ENGRAVEN IN STONES, was glorious,
so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory
was to be done away;
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if THE MINISTRATION OF CONDEMNATION be glory, much more doth the ministration
of righteousness exceed in glory.
preachers try to bring you back under the Law or any part of it, they bring you back under its condemnation too. Preachers teach that it is an act of faith to tithe. Hardly. Tithings brings you back under bondage TO MEN.
Tithing strips you of the glorious freedom of your priesthood in Christ, hard won for you through Jesus' death on the
Cross. You are instead brought back under a spirit of fearful slavery, exemplified in the contrasting status of Abraham's
two sons, cited in Galatians 4:21-31. Isaac was the son of Sarah, the free woman. Ishmael was the son of Hagar, the slave woman. Sarah enjoyed dignity as Abraham's
lawful wife. Hagar was a concubine who was subject to being banished if she failed
to please her owners. Are you a free child of God with assurance of salvation, or do men of the cloth act like they own you,
your time and your pocketbook? Do you allow them to put you in slavish fear of God's displeasure whenever you fail to do everything
or give everything they expect of you?
the flowery religious rhetoric being spouted by preachers today, when you tithe under the New Covenant, you deny your own
priesthood in Christ and bring yourself back under the condemnation of the Law.