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Yet, many believers see the tithe as the minimum to give — a demonstration that everything we have belongs to God.

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So, the first part of the challenge is to make the tithe your starting point for giving. This verse suggests that our giving should go to the local church the storehouse where we are taught God's Word and nurtured spiritually. If you're not currently giving to the Lord through a church home, begin by making a commitment.

Give something faithfully and regularly. God promises to bless your commitment. If a tenth seems too overwhelming, consider making it a goal. Giving might feel like a sacrifice at first, but soon you'll discover its rewards. God wants believers to be free from the love of money, as the Bible says in 1 Timothy We may experience times of financial hardship when we can't give as much as we'd like, but the Lord still wants us to trust him in those times and give.

God, not our paycheck, is our provider. He will meet our daily needs.

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Share Flipboard Email. Mary Fairchild is a full-time Christian minister, writer, and editor of two Christian anthologies, including "Stories of Cavalry. Updated April 26, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

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James , NIV. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

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Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke , NIV. One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. Proverbs , NIV.


Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. We find at least three important keys to giving in this story of the widow's offering:. Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.

Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on. In God's eyes, the value of the offering is not determined by its amount.

The passage says that the wealthy gave large amounts, but the widow's "fraction of a penny" was of much higher value because she gave all that she had. It was a costly sacrifice. Notice that Jesus did not say she put in more than any of the others; he said she put in more than all the others. The text says Jesus "watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. If we give to be seen by men or with a stingy heart toward God, our offering loses its value. Jesus is more interested and impressed by how we give than what we give.

We see this same principle in the story of Cain and Abel. God evaluated Cain and Abel's offerings. Abel's offering was pleasing in God's eyes, but he rejected Cain's. Rather than giving to God out of thankfulness and worship, Cain presented his offering in a way that displeased God. Maybe he had hoped to receive special recognition. Cain knew the right thing to do, but he didn't do it. God even gave Cain an opportunity to make things right, but he refused. God watches what and how we give. God not only cares about the quality of our gifts to him but also the attitude in our hearts as we offer them.

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At the time Jesus observed this widow's offering, the temple treasury was managed by the corrupt religious leaders of that day. Yet Jesus did not mention anywhere in this story that the widow should not have given to the temple. Before we get into specific suggestions for finding a church, it will help to look at two common Christian distinctions of the word. The Christian church is both visible local and invisible universal. The visible church consists of physical gatherings, usually in church buildings, while the invisible church consists of Christians throughout the ages.

The invisible or universal church is one, while visible local churches are many. Every Christian is a member of the universal church because by definition Christians are believers in Christ. Therefore, they are members of His body — the church. The Bible, in fact, offers a number of images of the church such as calling it the "body of Christ": "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it" 1 Corinthians The church is also called "the people of God" Hebrews ; 1 Peter Christ is the head of the church Ephesians ; While the visible and local church consists of organizations or institutions, the invisible and universal church consists of all Christians united under Christ.

God's church has many purposes such as evangelism, edification, worship and social concern. Matthew provides the mandate to spread the gospel. This means that every church needs to be involved in some form of evangelism , reaching out to non-Christians with the truth of Christ.

The church is also to edify Christians. To edify means to build up, equip, improve, encourage or support. Gathering together with other believers, as in attending church, is one important way to be edified as a Christian.

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We can also be edified by teachings in a sermon, Bible study or small group. There are other ways the church provides edification, but the point is that another purpose or role of the church is to edify. Worship is also a key function of the church. It is where we gather with other Christians and worship God. This does not mean that a church building is the only place we can worship it's not , but it is something the church is to do regularly.

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Although different Christian churches have different forms of worship styles or music, the purpose is to worship God, not to entertain or amuse the congregation. Another purpose of the church is social concern. This means we are not just to gather together on an intellectual level, spend all our time in worship or evangelize without humanitarian concern. While evangelism, edification, and worship are important in the life of any church, it's also important to go out into the world and do something positive to help others just as Christ called us to do see, for instance, Matthew Social concern was a key part of the early Christian church and has continued to be a central component of Christianity.

Keeping in mind the purposes of the church, we're now ready to get into some specifics about finding a church. What church should you attend? Sometimes Christians spend a lot of time trying to find just the "right" church. Unfortunately, this method is rarely successful. Instead of concentrating on finding the "right" church for you, concentrate on finding a church that honors God's truths as expressed in the Bible and throughout the history of the church.

One thing to keep in mind is what a particular church believes and teaches. We might call this "doctrine. Have a clear idea of what kind of teaching you want.