The 501c3 middleman can be a tremendous hindrance to blessing hurting people one-on-one. Personal ministry requires personal finance. For the most part, institutions aren't in touch with those within your spheres of influence. You are!
Money is a great way to show Love and Hospitality, but it's hard for many to bless their neighbors when they are living paycheck-to-paycheck and the religious system is sucking their "expendable" income dry. Wealthy people have "neighbors" (see Luke 10:25-37) that the middleman doesn't serve well either.
I'll save the blog entry about people constantly "sowing their best seed" under fear, guilt, compulsion, and the guise of a guaranteed "100-fold return" for another day.
The New Testament does not teach that the institution is "The Best Ground for your Best Seed", nor does it teach that a building is "The House of God", or that the "tithe" for an expired Levitical Priesthood belongs to a special, modern class of holy men and the upkeep of holy buildings.
Tithes are mentioned by Jesus only once (Matthew 23:23 & Luke 11:42- Same Story), while He was addressing people who were still functioning under the Old Covenant (before the cross), and by Paul in Hebrews 7...as he was speaking of an old system which was passing away, and would be completely non-existent once the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and Herod's Temple in 70 A.D.. In his epistles, Paul encouraged Loving, Spirit-led, generous giving, but never "tithing" of fruits, vegetables, grain, wine, money, or anything else.
Added Note: This blog entry is meant to promote GENEROSITY and Loving our neighbors. Stinginess and selfishness most certainly aren't Christ-like traits. I'm also not saying that tax-deductible donations are inherently evil...or anything like that. We give to 501c3s that are reaching people in places where we can't go. They have their place, but they're most definitely not the automatic, Biblical default setting.
Peace & Love!
Luke 2:14 (Passage in the picture) has no "You'll need to wait for over 2,000 years for this to even begin to unfold." caveat! We have been called to actively participate in its unfolding!
Isaiah 9:7 "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
The Cross didn't end or pause any of this. It expanded it!
That's right! What the manger initiated, the cross expanded!
Blessed are the Peacemakers!
Peace & Love to All!
Our Love for one another, the quality of our friendships and our willingness to include others into such deep Koinonia will produce greater, lasting results than marketing, lectures, fear, and programs ever will.
People hunger to belong to a FAMILY, where they can be fully functional members whose words, thoughts, and actions contribute to the family's purpose and well-being, transform their communities, and ultimately change the world.
"I give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other."
It's strange that "The Fruit of the Spirit" is seldom mentioned when "Great moves of the Holy Spirit" are being discussed.
Imagine a MOVE of Love, Joy, Peace, Perseverance, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, & Self Control!
I'm no Cessationist, but if our "Charismatic Moves" haven't greatly impacted the world with these beautiful expressions of the Nature of Christ, then perhaps we've missed something really BIG.
It might also be a great idea to focus more on the Beatitudes than "Who's Who in the Five-Fold Zoo", and our "Special Meeting" goose bumps which had no lasting impact beyond the "church" parking lot.
Peace & Love!