Posted by: Ed | January 12, 2010

ANCIENT PRACTICES & The Weekend that Was

It was an intense weekend but a really good one! This was the weekend in which we lay out some tracks around

We talked about Ancient Practices for a New Me. This is a kind of repeating message. We do this message in one form or another every year. The idea is we lay out some basic areas of spiritual practices & then ask people to commit to practicing those this year. It’s kind of like agreeing together to launch out. As I said in the message, it’s the place where by our decisions we make our DECISIONS experiential.

The challenge is to not speak of spiritual practices or discipline in way in which it becomes law. Part of our flesh is hard wired to go there, so I always feel like I’m in a tug of war when I’m teaching about this subject.

OUR WORSHIP (I know I say this often) was amazing. I felt in an unusual way that God was at work during the music segment. It never ceases to blow me away how many people are carrying such heavy things into the room when we gather. I had this epiphany as we were singing: we really NEED to be here together experiencing His presence.

BECOME KNOWN IN A SMALL GROUP – We tried to wave like crazy the small group flag this weekend. Our leaders are wonderful & have a real passion that no one has to do this thing alone.

21 DAYS OF PRAYER & FASTING – This weekend we began a collective turning our hearts & minds to the Lord as we launch this year. The theme: LORD, HERE’S OUR YEAR!” The idea is that we do this together. You don’t need to fast all 21 days. We don’t even really want you to. This is an US thing. So grab whatever piece of this that you & the Lord would have you grab. You can email, facebook or Twitter me & pick a day or contact our offices. Remember too, PRAYER GATHERINGS EACH WEDNESDAY.

SELAH – I love how it worked out to begin our 21-Day prayer emphasis with a Selah. It’s great to see God moving, to hear of how He is touching, healing & delivering people as well as launching them into adventures that He has for people. Here’s an email I received about Selah, which I thought, was cool – his subject line was “Selah is Life”
Ed and Jason,
I know that I would survive in my walk with God without my monthly Selah “fix” but it sure would not be as abundant and rich! God does stuff in me that He does not seem to do elsewhere. Thanks to the two of you (and the many others!) that make this possible each month.
Blessings on all of you

I do think there is a something special about gathering, inviting the Holy Spirit to come, proceeding to worship & pray and then seeing what happens.

AN OC MOM RUN – On Saturday I made a run to the OC to see my mom. Bethany, my daughter, was able to go with me. She is so good with my mom.

One of the highlights of this week will be praying through all the cards that people filled out declaring their intention to practice some spiritual disciplines. I’m praying that we will be filled with GRACE at every turn.

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Responses

  1. My wife and I had a good discussion about tithing and the Christ follower. So reading your comment has prompted me to pose the following:
    First, Malachi 3:8-9 says:
    8″Will a man [a]rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In (T)tithes and offerings.

    9″You are (U)cursed with a curse, for you are [b]robbing Me, the whole nation of you!

    It seems to me that the context shows that it is the nation of Israel that is robbing God by not tithing and the nation of Israel that is being cursed. The verse is not talking to individuals.

    Next Malachi 3:10 says:
    10″(V)Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not (W)open for you the windows of heaven and (X)pour out for you a blessing until [c](Y)it overflows.

    From this verse it seems to me that if Israel tithes, then they will receive the blessing.
    Israel at this time is under the Old Covenant and compelled to tithe. If the do, they receive a blessing. It they don’t they receive a curse.

    So my question is, how do these verses relate to the Christ follower who is not under the old covenant but the new covenant? In the message, I got that tithing, as a spiritual discipline for a Christ follower, they would receive the blessing. But then does it not follow that if tithing is not done, then they the Christ follower would be under the curse? Your thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Manny, great question. Here’s a quick response:
    As you correctly observed, we taught tithing as a spiritual discipline. It is not a law that we live under. I think it’s an important distinction.
    Another consideration is that although tithing was a part of the mosaic covenant with Israel, it is broader than that. It predates that. It is a principle inherent in our relationship with God that Abraham somehow already knew when he met Melchizedek. Jacob had apparently been taught it when he met God at Bethel the 1st time.
    Finally, for us the standard that Jesus gave is that we let go of ALL our possessions.
    Early on, Christ followers figured out that it would be unthinkable for we who are under grace to do less than what was done under the law.
    The blessing is in “making sure our character is free from the love of money”. Heb 13:5. The curse is to caught up in greed as Jesus warned of repeatedly. So we give, regularly & systematically and sacrificially for our soul’s sake.
    Ok one more idea – it’s interesting in in the Torah how they are commanded to tithe. God says this 1st tenth is MINE, it is therefore holy. Unlike much of the other injunctions in the law, that does not strike me as specific to that time & that people.

    Hope this makes sense.

    I will be talking about this in a little more depth in a message in a few months.
    Thanks for the comment & Go Chargers.
    Ed

    • We have been tithers and givers for 31 years…..pretty consistently. And today we have every financial need met, no debt of any kind, cars and house paid for and still able to give. This is pretty amazing since I went into full time ministry in 1990 with out a congregation to support us! This is the bottom line for us about giving…..it blesses others and it comes back, pressed down, shaken together and running over to bless us….IT ACTUALLY WORKS!
      Here’s what I feel the Lord showed me about tithing……I see Jesus changing the OT Law of tithing into a new testament core value and principle of Giving…..Which He and His followers talk about alot. IE “Give, and it shall be given to you……” He who sows generously will reap generously…….” etc.
      I think 10% is just a good place to start!

  3. I’m grateful for the theme of the message to launch our year with the spiritual basics. I couldn’t have dictated a better message to meet what God is doing in my life right now. I’m excited about being part of the 21-day fast as well.

    I loved the worship music. The cello and violin added a lovely, rich element. I especially dug the “solo”. I can’t even remember the words of the song she sang, but it filled me with a longing and made me think about the beauty of the Lord.

  4. John, I think this expresses the spirit of the New Covenant beautifully. Ed

  5. Thanks for the input. I agree that the New covenant which we as Christ followers are under, promotes Charitable giving and not tithing that the nation of Israel was compelled to do under the Mosaic covenant. Giving with a cheerful heart and not under compulsion is what Christians ought to do. Why isn’t this view taught ? It seems that the new testament supports the view.

    God bless and yes, Go Chargers!!!!

  6. Manny, You are welcome.
    I think the view of tithing we are pretty much talking about is taught in most churches I’ve been exposed to. I’m not sure you and I are in the exact same place on the place of the tithe in the church. I think we’re real close.
    Shalom,
    Ed

  7. Karen, I first heard that song at the Hillsong concert last April and was immediately lost in the beauty of it. It is called Age to Age and is performed by Brooke Fraser on Hillsong’s album Faith + Hope + Love

    you can check out the video here:


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