over someone and chewing them out before rudely hanging up the phone
doesn't allow that person to see the beauty in something that they once
found ugly or indulgent. The fact that someone could be offended by me
laughing about a megachurch and saying that they should focus on helping
the community more than expanding is ridiculous. I did some research.
Looking for St. Stephen's in the news didn't turn anything up, so I
thought I'd look up their community services on their website. First
thing I clicked was "giving". Giving is good, right? Well, St. Stephen's
has a more important view on "giving"....
A quote from the "giving" section of the page says:
What is a tithe and how is it different from an offering?
The word, “tithe” literally means tenth or 10%. A tithe is the first
10% of your income. An offering is anything you give above and beyond
the 10%. Why do we tithe?
The Bible says, The purpose of
tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.
(Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB) Tithing is a reminder that God is the supplier
of everything we have. It is also God’s personal invitation to an
outpouring of his blessing in your life.
In Malachi 3:10 (NLT),
God says this: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there
may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and
see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so
much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” This is
the only place in Scripture where God tells us to put him to the test.
In other words, he’s saying, “Go ahead. I dare you. See if you can
out-give me.” Is God wise? Do you trust him?
These are two
fundamental questions behind the act of giving. If God is wise, then you
should listen to what he says about financial stewardship. If you trust
him, then you should trust him with all aspects of your life, including
your finances. So go ahead. Accept God’s invitation to put him to the
test. Start tithing faithfully and watch what he does in and through
So do you trust God enough to fork over your 10%...or your 20,30,40,50, etc.?
I guess guilt is the big drive, here....but you can take a look for yourself....
Oh, wait....you can pay by PayPal! or Mastercard! Visa, Discover, and AmEx is also accepted if you need some options. I noticed on the right hand bar of the page, it listed the addresses of the "campuses".....You can read into that how you like.
Some words on their "our history" section included:
The Family Life Center also underwent a $4.1 million expansion in 2001.
The expansion included two basketball courts, a bookstore, a café,
racquetball courts, saunas, a dance studio, a state-of-the-art fitness
center, and classroom space that will accommodate 2,500 people.
They also mentioned Hotel California which houses former addicts....
I was once a part of a mini church that was part of a humongous
church.......We didn't have all the snazzy stuff, but the tithe was
shoved down our throats then, too.
The church I attend doesn't
pass a basket. They don't push to you donate or offer. There's a box in
the back that you have a choice to put money into if you want.
My point is, you don't have to make it humongous and impressive in
order to make a difference. I get that more seats are needed if it gets
packed, but I sincerely doubt that God told them to make a fitness
center, bookstore, dance studio, etc. All that time and money can be
used elsewhere. I've been in and out of the system and in and out of all
the shelters in Louisville and can say I know for a fact that St.
Stephens never donated any clothes, time, food, etc. to those
places....and that speaks volumes. Where did Jesus go when he wanted to
help people? He didn't go to the church, because they were already
saved.....he didn't want any riches....he didn't need a big building to
make a difference.