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June 2010
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August 2010

Money

I wrestle with money. 

I struggle with the concept of it, the need for it, and at times the desire for it.  There are personal desires, but mainly I'm talking about ministry and missions.  I am not sure WHY, but it is always hard for me to ask for money, even though I don't profit from it!  I could raise a million dollars and I wouldn't get anything more.  I don't work on percentages!

But there are things that need money, and I know that next month will require more.

My random thoughts today:

  1. God is our provider for everything.  Can I still believe that and share about the need?  Is proper to share what our specific needs or it is better to say nothing and let God speak?
  2. I want to be totally ope and honest about our finances, especially for things like Freedom Home (formerly Home of Hope) and our church construction or planting endeavors.  I TRY to get 100% of the funds, even if AGWM takes their 5%.  Not always, but at the minimum, 95% of every dollar goes to the need.  Often, I pay the %5 from my account just so 100% can do to the site.
  3. I don't want to exploit a story of a trafficked girl or a village child for the sake of money.  I really get irritated at people that have a girl stand in front of a church and tell their horrendous story in order to move hearts.  I wish more pastors would ask the tough questions as well.
  4. I don't have enough finances.  I don't have enough for next month's expenses at Freedom Home.  I do not have enough for the 4 church projects that I am staring at.  I really would like God to do something big.
  5. I want to learn to live both generously and conservatively.  I want to be generous in the right areas, but still remember that every dollar is someone's sacrifice.
  6. WHY is it hard for me to talk about money?  I know that it is merely giving people a chance to build God's kingdom.  Why is that hard?  
  7. Why do some pastors avoid me out of fear I'm asking for support or money?  Do I ask for it too much?  Or not enough?
Jesus talked about money a lot--our struggles with it, our desire for it, the ways we can use it in worship of Him.  I'm just trying to get my mind around it.

Kids and Camps

DSC_2833It seems like my life in Moldova has slowly evolved, with certain tasks of leadership absorbing many more hours that I imagined.  It is always a lot of work at the beginning to help get others set up for life and ministry here, working with interns, or leading our AGWM team.  At times, it seems like I'm more busy coordinating construction and repairs (at our house, at church construction, or at the Home of Hope, newly renamed Freedom Home) than doing "ministry." 

So I thoroughly enjoy the time out with people, with my friends in the cities and villages of Moldova.  Last week, we had a youth team from Willmar, MN here.  They spent 4 days up at a camp near Ribnitsa, having lots of fun with the kids there.  I was up for a day, loving the time I had to talk and joke with the kids.

After all, what we DO is all about people. 

DSC_2799A well isn't for just clean water, but a way to help people.
A construction project isn't to just put up a building, but to create a place to touch people.
A translation project isn't about curriculum, but it's about the women it will help.

Too often we think about the project, the school building, the ministry center.  We need to think about the people: the kids, the youth, the elderly.

Our neighbors.


Who Am I?

“Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"  2 Sa 7:18

I read this verse today and it caught my attention.  King David had the desire to build a permanent temple, a place for the ark and the people of God to worship.  Yet the prophet Nathan had nixed the proposal, stating that God had different plans.  The Lord had a deep relationship with David, and David's heart was after God's.  But it was not to be David's blessing to be the one to do this great task.

But it is interesting that David did not begrudge or grumble to God about it.  He didn't pull out the "why me?" card, throwing himself a small pity party.  His words were instead, You have blessed me so much, Lord, more than I or my family deserves."

His heart was that of appreciation and humility. 

I feel like I too have been blessed beyond measure.  I have been blessed with a wonderful wife and 3 great kids.  We have been overall blessed with decent health.  We have been blessed with enough financially.  We have been blessed with unique opportunities to see the world.  We have been blessed by God and His Church to have enough support to do ministry, start churches and the Home of Hope.

I've been blessed with a few talents and abilities.  I am SO blessed with gracious friends and family.  I feel like I should be saying, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"

God has brought me so far, through so much.  None of which I deserve or have earned, but simply because of His grace.  So how, Lord, help me live my life with such humility that I keep them all in perspective.