Book Notes | How to be Rich

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How to be Rich: It’s not What You Have. It’s What you do With What You Have by Andy Stanley is not your average financial or giving book.

It makes the point that if you live in America, you are rich. You part of the top 4% earners on the planet. The problem is that our culture has no idea “how to be rich.” We don’t know what to do with what we have. Stanley writes to a “bunch of have’s who live like have not’s.”

The problem he says is:

Examples we read or hear don’t really prove you’re rich, they only serve to convince you that you’re not poor. My hunch is you’re a lot richer than you realize. It just doesn’t feel like it. So let me give you a few more scenarios to consider. If I told you I was offering you a job with a salary of $37,000 a year, would you feel rich? Probably not. Chances are, you wouldn’t even be interested. A salary of $37,000 would represent a pay cut for most Americans. But for 96 percent of the world’s population, $37,000 a year would be a significant increase. Maybe there was a time when that sounded like a lot of money to you. And it should. In fact, if you earn more than $37,000 a year, you are in the top 4 percent of wage earners in the world! Congratulations! You are in the 4 percent club. You are rich! Yet I’m guessing this startling realization didn’t cause you to leave the comfort of your couch to dance around the room. But you should have. On the world’s scale, you should have no problems at all, other than a handful of rich-person problems. Problems that the majority of folks on this planet would love to have. Bad cell phone coverage? That’s a rich-people problem. Can’t decide where to go on vacation? Rich-people problem. Computer crashed? Slow Internet? Car trouble? Flight delays? Amazon doesn’t have your size? All rich-people problems. Next time there’s a watering ban in your neighborhood, just remember that many people, mostly women, carry jugs on their heads for hundreds of yards just so they can have water for cooking and drinking. They can’t imagine a place where there’s so much extra water that house after house just sprays it all over the ground. Feeling guilty? I hope not. That’s not my purpose. On the contrary, I’m hoping our time together leaves you feeling grateful.

This book is a great resource for that.

Here are some things I highlighted:

  • We always had enough. But rich is about having more than enough. We had what we needed. But rich is about having more than you need. Rich is about having extra. Isn’t it?
  • Rich is the other guy. Rich is that other family. Rich isn’t just having extra. Rich is having as much extra as the person who has more extra than you do. Rich is having more than you currently have. If that’s the case, you can be rich and not know it. You can be rich and not feel it. You can be rich and not act like it. And that is a problem.
  • Most rich people aren’t all that good at being rich.
  • The richer you get, however, the more your priorities begin to separate from actual needs. When all of our basic requirements are met, our appetites for progress don’t turn off. We simply turn from the things we need to the things we want. And that’s when we enter the world of the subjective. Wants are harder to define. And easier to confuse.
  • We’re so absorbed in the effort to get rich, we no longer recognize when we are rich.
  • In our Western culture today, we observe a five-day workweek. Think about what that means. Most people have to work only five days in order to have seven days’ worth of food and shelter and clothing and health care. We take it for granted. But that’s unique to our little window in history. And it’s still not the case everywhere. What’s more, there are households of three, four, or more people that send only one person out into the workplace to earn money. And with that one person’s earnings, the entire family can amass enough money in five days to give them food and shelter for seven days. In many cultures, that’s inconceivable. Outside of work, that leaves at least fifty hours per week for nothing but leisure.
  • “Rich” is a moving target. No matter how much money we have or make, we will probably never consider ourselves rich. The biggest challenge facing rich people is that they’ve lost their ability to recognize that they’re rich.
  • People who are good at being rich are the ones who are willing to admit they are, in fact, rich. Until you relax into the reality that you are rich, you will never become intentional about getting good at it.
  • Simply possessing wealth doesn’t make you good at managing it.
  • Being good at being rich is not just a matter of deciding what to do with your money. You must also concern yourself with what your money is doing with you — or, more accurately, to you.
  • Money has an effect on its owners. And that effect, in turn, alters the way they see and handle not just money, but everything else as well. Everything. And while we’re at it — everybody.
  • The key, as the old saying goes, is to possess money without it possessing you.
  • Wealth has its own gravitational pull. It will always draw those who have it in the direction of those two things. It is in this way that wealth eventually possesses its possessors.
  • The problem with a word like generosity is that it’s as hard to define as the word rich. In fact, just as nobody thinks he’s rich, everybody thinks he’s generous.
  • When you make giving a priority, something happens inside of you. Especially when it’s financially challenging to do so.
  • Without a plan, giving is sporadic at best.

I was really challenged by this book and how I look at what I have. Good heart work for me.

To see other book notes, click here.

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Christmas Offering Starts This Sunday @ Revolution

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Every year at Revolution Church we do a Christmas offering. This is a chance for our church to give above and beyond what it normally does and give it away to bless others and move the gospel forward in Tucson and beyond.

In years past, we’ve helped to build wells in Africa, help fight homelessness and sex trafficking in our city, and helped to plant churches in Tucson and around the world.

So far, we’ve given away over $20,000 away.

This year, we are hoping to raise over $10,000, which would be our largest Christmas offering ever.

Here are some things it will go to:

  • It will go to helping church plants in Tucson and beyond through Acts 29 (the church planting network we are a part of).
  • It will go to helping us as a church get closer to planting Revolution Church | Midtown. Lord willing, we will begin preview services in the fall of 2014 and officially launch in January 2015.
  • We will continue to fight sex trafficking in Tucson through Sold No More and around the world through A21.
  • We will continue to be a blessing to Magee Middle School (the school we meet in). So far, we’ve been able to do teacher appreciation lunches, new student lunches, bought them over 170,000 sheets of paper when they ran out and TUSD wouldn’t buy more paper and stock every teacher with markers for their classroom because the school couldn’t afford them.

You can give online here to it or on a Sunday morning by marking your giving envelope “Christmas.”

Generosity is Motivated by Gratitude

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Generosity. Money. Tithing. Serving. Stuff.

All are things we have opinions on but few pastors move into the realm of preaching about them. I know when I started Revolution Church, preaching about money or asking for money in campaigns was difficult for me. Not because I was worried about what others would think, but because I didn’t have the healthiest relationship to money and stuff. Truth be told, I loved money and stuff a little too much when we started 5 years ago.

In John 12, we see how we are supposed to think about money, stuff and generosity through two women: Mary and Martha.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. -John 12:1-2

Mary and Martha put on a dinner to honor Jesus. Martha however is not at the table, but serving. It is interesting that John points this out, but I think he does so because Martha is serving, worshiping and honoring Jesus as best as she knows how. She is using her gifts, using the talents God gave her to honor Jesus. Often, we want someone else’s gifts, someone else’s talents. We wish we could have a more upfront role when God has designed us to be in the background. We wish we had the boldness someone else has, but God designed you the way you are so that you can honor and worship him that way.

If you don’t use your gifts, everyone loses.

Mary however is not cooking or serving in this way, she honors Jesus in another way.

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” -John 12:3-8

Mary takes perfume that is valued at 1 years salary, this is not a simple generous gift. This was her security.

There is no mention of a husband, so if Mary was single, this was her fall back plan for a rainy day. This was her retirement, her nest egg. This was the ball game. She put it all on the line to honor and worship Jesus. Was it crazy? Yes. Did it honor Jesus? Yes.

Now, does this mean you and I should give everything we make in a year away? Maybe. God calls people to give away things they aren’t even sure they can afford.

What it shows us though is the relationship we should have with our money, stuff and talents.

For Mary and Martha, they didn’t worship or honor Jesus to get something from him. They didn’t give so that God would give back to them. They did this out of gratitude. In John 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This was their gratitude for how Jesus has worked in their lives.

When we have a proper relationship with our money, stuff, calendar and relationships, we are motivated by gratitude, because of what God has given to us.

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How to do a 90 Day Giving Challenge

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Twice a year at Revolution Church, we do a 90 day giving challenge. This isn’t a new idea, in fact, churches have been doing it for years. Here’s how we set it up:

If you aren’t giving back to God at Revolution Church, today is the day to take that step. For the next 90 days, give. See what God does as he expands your faith and works in your heart. Malachi 3 tells us to test God in the area of our finances. If over the next 90 days you don’t see God move in your life, expand your faith, then let us know and we’ll give back all the money that you gave. No questions asked. You should know that since our first giving challenge in 2008, we’ve never had anyone ask for it back.

As people take this step, we send them a book, a note about what is ahead and then throughout the 90 days I send them 7-8 emails with stories of God’s faithfulness, verses and other encouragement to continue in this challenge.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are going to do this at your church:

  • It needs to come from the lead pastor, someone else can’t do it. The vision starts at the top, he has to communicate it.
  • It can’t feel like an add on, it must be a specific next step from the sermon and passage.
  • This can’t be the first time you talk about generosity or giving. This must be part of your DNA, otherwise it will feel like a beg for money.
  • If you are behind budget, you must explain why this isn’t a money grab. One of the things I’ve always done is tell people, “Don’t believe me, give to another church for 90 days and see what happens, but we won’t give your money back if you do that.” Perry Noble says this principle is telling people “you want something for them not from them.”
  • Be clear about how they join the giving challenge and have your resources and emails ready to go for the following days. I send out 7-8 emails to everyone who does the giving challenge over the course of 90 days.
  • Use a story from someone who has done it before. This is always golden to have someone share how God moved in their life during the giving challenge.

If you are curious, you can hear how I laid out at recently when we were going through the book of Ecclesiastes.

Money and the Vision of a Church

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Most pastors hate to talk about money. People also don’t like to hear pastors talk about money. Yet, money is a huge issue in people’s lives. They mismanage it, get divorced because of it and it often ruins their lives.

The reality for churches and pastors is:

There is a direct correlation between giving in a church and vision.

I was talking with some pastor’s the other day and the question of how to increase giving in a church came up.

Now, if you aren’t a pastor you may think this a coarse conversation to have. Why would a pastor want giving to go up? The reason is simple:

  • Giving is a heart issue. Jesus said as much in Matthew 6:21. If giving goes down, it shows that the heart of the people in the church aren’t there, their passion and worship is somewhere else besides Jesus. 
  • It shows that they might need to hear solid, biblical teaching on the topic.
  • It shows buy-in.

It was this last reason that struck me as I thought about.

While churches can increase giving and generosity by having a giving challenge (you can listen to me here giving our last giving challenge), or teaching on giving (which many pastors need to start doing).

What many churches need do a better job at is communicating a compelling vision. When the giving at Revolution has gone down it has been during the seasons where our vision was cloudy or if felt like our vision wasn’t going anywhere.

Tell stories. Show how your church is winning. Talk about how your vision is happening. Make videos, show people it is happening.

People want to be generous, they want to be part of something that is winning, something that is going somewhere.

Still Time to Give to the Christmas Offering @ Revolution Church

Every year at Revolution Church, we do what we call a Christmas offering. We ask people within Revolution to give above and beyond what they normally give so that we can give away 100% of what is given.

This year, we are doing a couple of things with our Christmas offering. First, the majority of our Christmas offering will be given to Streetlight Tucson. Streetlight is an organization that seeks to educate the public about sex trafficking, the dangers of pornography and its part in human trafficking, but to also rescue victims who have been trafficked.

They also are striving to help these victims understand who God has created them to be, to help them heal through biblical counseling and mentoring, but to also train them in life skills to be able to enter into life and not have to return to trafficking.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that over 300,000 American children are at risk for sexual exploitation, and that an estimated 199,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occur every year within the United States. The average age of entry into prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old. Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world.

The rest of our Christmas offering will go to benevolence at Revolution Church to help those in need with rent, groceries or basic bills. When we get these requests, we not only seek to help them financially, but also help them through biblical financial counseling to help them get back on their feet and to move forward and not continue repeating the same things that got them to where they are.

Ways to give:

  • You can give online by going here. When you do, simply put “Christmas” in the note section.
  • You can give on a Sunday morning by using our offering envelopes and writing “Christmas” on the outside.

You can help us to spread the word by copying and pasting this link: (http://www.tucsonrevolution.com/christmas-offering/) on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for being involved in bringing the gospel into the dark places of our world this Christmas season.

Still Time to Give to the Christmas Offering @ Revolution

Every year at Revolution Church, we do what we call a Christmas offering. We ask people within Revolution to give above and beyond what they normally give so that we can give away 100% of what is given.

This year, we are doing a couple of things with our Christmas offering. First, the majority of our Christmas offering will be given to Streetlight Tucson. Streetlight is an organization that seeks to educate the public about sex trafficking, the dangers of pornography and its part in human trafficking, but to also rescue victims who have been trafficked.

They also are striving to help these victims understand who God has created them to be, to help them heal through biblical counseling and mentoring, but to also train them in life skills to be able to enter into life and not have to return to trafficking.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that over 300,000 American children are at risk for sexual exploitation, and that an estimated 199,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occur every year within the United States. The average age of entry into prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old. Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world.

The rest of our Christmas offering will go to benevolence at Revolution Church to help those in need with rent, groceries or basic bills. When we get these requests, we not only seek to help them financially, but also help them through biblical financial counseling to help them get back on their feet and to move forward and not continue repeating the same things that got them to where they are.

Ways to give:

  • You can give online by going here. When you do, simply put “Christmas” in the note section.
  • You can give on a Sunday morning by using our offering envelopes and writing “Christmas” on the outside.

You can help us to spread the word by copying and pasting this link: (http://www.tucsonrevolution.com/christmas-offering/) on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for being involved in bringing the gospel into the dark places of our world this Christmas season.

Christmas Offering Starts This Week

Every year at Revolution Church, we do what we call a Christmas offering. We ask people within Revolution to give above and beyond what they normally give so that we can give away 100% of what is given. Our Christmas offering this year begins this sunday, November 18th. 

This year, we are doing a couple of things with our Christmas offering. First, the majority of our Christmas offering will be given to Streetlight Tucson. Streetlight is an organization that seeks to educate the public about sex trafficking, the dangers of pornography and its part in human trafficking, but to also rescue victims who have been trafficked.

They also are striving to help these victims understand who God has created them to be, to help them heal through biblical counseling and mentoring, but to also train them in life skills to be able to enter into life and not have to return to trafficking.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that over 300,000 American children are at risk for sexual exploitation, and that an estimated 199,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occur every year within the United States. The average age of entry into prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old. Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world.

The rest of our Christmas offering will go to benevolence at Revolution Church to help those in need with rent, groceries or basic bills. When we get these requests, we not only seek to help them financially, but also help them through biblical financial counseling to help them get back on their feet and to move forward and not continue repeating the same things that got them to where they are.

Ways to give:

  • You can give online by going here. When you do, simply put “Christmas” in the note section.
  • You can give on a Sunday morning by using our offering envelopes and writing “Christmas” on the outside.

You can help us to spread the word by copying and pasting this link: (http://www.tucsonrevolution.com/christmas-offering/) on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for being involved in bringing the gospel into the dark places of our world this Christmas season.

Christmas Offering Starts This Saturday

We’ve been talking about our Christmas offering for the past couple of weeks at Revolution. Every Christmas, we do an offering that 100% of goes outside the walls of Revolution. In the past, we’ve helped families in our city with less, we’ve helped to build wells in Africa. This year, we are going to use the Christmas offering to go towards church planting.

One of the heartbeats of Revolution from day one has been to plant churches in Tucson. In the next 12 – 18 months, we hope to plant a church in downtown Tucson. We will use the Christmas offering this year for that church plant and for benevolence. Our benevolence fund is to help those who call Revolution for help with food, utilities, rent and other bills. Part of the benevolence also goes to helping those who call Revolution for help to not only get back onto their feet financially, but to help train them in the area of finances so it doesn’t become a cycle.

Starting this Saturday, you can begin giving to our Christmas offering. I would encourage you as a family, couple or individual to pray about what God is calling you to give this year. Talk with your kids about giving less Christmas gifts this year to be more generous in moving the gospel forward in Tucson through church planting and helping those with less.

Our goal this year is to raise $11,000 for our Christmas offering. This is a huge prayer that we have as a church, but I believe God is going to do use this offering and us in some incredible ways because of the generosity of Revolution.

So, starting this Saturday, November 12th through the end of the year, mark Christmas on your check, giving envelope or when you give online to give towards our Christmas offering.

90 Day Giving Challenge

Tonight, we continued our series The Story of God and Mike preached on generosity from the book of Malachi. When it comes to the topic of money and giving back to God, people get very private and touchy about it. The Bible does not say that being rich is wrong or sinful, just how we get rich, what we do with it, what it says about us. One of the things we do twice is a year to help people in the area of money and generosity is what we call the 90 day giving challenge. I love seeing people take this challenge. When we did it back in March, we had 15 people take the challenge. Every time we give it, more and more people take it.

One of the things I have come to see in my own life and in the lives of others is the deep connection between our money, how we use it and God. I believe that God works through people who are generous with their stuff, time and money. For a few reasons:

  1. It gives God a chance to show His power.
  2. It shows God that we in fact trust Him.
  3. Generosity is the pathway to freedom.
  4. Generosity is evidence of a changed life.

While I don’t believe the Bible lays out a specific amount that we are to give (here is a great article that I pulled a lot of information from for tonight). I know many pastors point to 10% as the tithe, but the tithe in the Old Testament was actually closer to 22%. In the New Testament we are given principles when it comes to giving. They are:

  1. We should give.
  2. It needs to be systematic. We need to decide how often we will give.
  3. It needs to be generous and sacrificial. It should cost something. (Not giving will cost us something, but you’ll have to listen to my talk to here that part)
  4. It needs to be proportional.
  5. It needs to be intentional.

For Katie and I, we started at 10%. It was a round number, which helps. But when we began, it was sacrificial. As we have gotten older, God has blessed us with more, our giving has changed. I’ll post later about what that is.

Here is how how the challenge works. If you are not giving, start. If you are giving a little, move to greater generosity.

We don’t lay out a specific amount. Just look at the 5 principles above. For the next 90 days, give back to God through Revolution. If you feel at the end of those 90 days that it was a waste of time, you didn’t see God move in your life, you didn’t see God stay true to Scripture. Just tell us and we will give you the money back.

It is that simple.

Still not sure? Here is a video we showed tonight from Kat, a woman in our community.