Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; Participant's Guide ed. edition (September 1, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #122,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #212 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Education > Adult #598 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Living > Marriage #28017 in Books > Religion & Spirituality
There are a couple of topics I absolutely HATE hearing sermons on. One is marriage (primarily because I'm single and intend to stay that way) and the other is money.I've heard many sermons on the topic of stewardship, and most of the time, I cringe inwardly the entire time. I've even read a few books on stewardship. I've found that most Christian pastors and authors approach stewardship in one of two ways.First, there is the Prosperity Gospel camp. These folks typically say that God wants all His children to be rich and that financial blessings are the primary way God blesses faithfulness. In my opinion, this teaching doesn't square with the whole of Scripture, especially the teachings of Jesus Himself. It reduces God to a genie. If you send in a large enough donation, pray the right prayer, or claim the right verse, then God has no choice but to bless you financially. If you are poor, it's your own fault because your faith is too weak and you aren't trusting God to provide. Proponents of the Prosperity Gospel also frequently twist Scripture and quote it out of context.On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who try to use guilt and intimidation in regards to stewardship. People of this persuation usally put a lot of emphasis on tithing (giving God the top 10%) and frequently quote Malachi 3:8. It is implied (and sometimes directly stated) that believers who don't tithe are robbing God. If you are bold enough to question, why you should tithe, you will probably not get a straight answer. You will probably just be told the Bible commands it and that's it. But in my opinion, it's not quite that simple. I believe that it is possible for someone to tithe regularly out of less than pure motives. It can lead to legalism.
My wife and I lead a small group of newly married couples. Our next topic is finances. So when I was offered this book to review I read it with that in mind.This book was written by my pastor. So I am not completely unbiased and I have heard much of this content before in sermons or other teaching.But the thing that most struck me here is that in spite of the fact that Health and Wealth gospel preachers misuse scripture on giving, God still is interested in how we think about and use our money.Andy Stanley starts with the fact that we often think about giving wrong. It is not 'God gets this amount and everything else is ours'. It is God have given all of it to you and you are merely a steward of it all. So God wants us to invest it. That investment should be in God's kingdom. This does not mean that we can't use money on things we need, but that if we have the right attitude toward the money, those things that we really need are far less.Andy starts with saying that he is not interested in the money as much as our heart. If we cannot give, that says something about our heart. And when preaching this at our church he says clearly, do not give here if you are concerned that we are teaching this to get your money. Give somewhere else where your heart will be right.He does not concentrate on whether we should tithe or give some other amount. Instead her has four Ps. He wants us to think about making our giving first Priority, to make it a fixed Percentage of income, even when it is hard, and then Progressively increase the percentage over time. And then finally be open to God Prompting you to give for special needs.
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