Saved By Grace

Saved By Grace

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tithing in Today's World

My pastor, Rich Redinger spoke about tithing today. I believe, as he does, that thithing still applies to us even though the New Testament does not use the word as it was in the Old Testament. This reminded me of a story that I read and it is said to be true.

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one-hundred thousand, and one- hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six-hundred thousand dollars to the Church.
  He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, "This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six-hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!"
The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, "What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?" "No," said the minister. "I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!" 
It's easy to see where this man's heart was.

I believe that you can include several things into what we call "tithing". Of course money, volunteering time in direct service to others in the name of God, charity with your possessions, performing normally monetary services and doing it free of charge.
I think that this is partially explained in this New Testament Scripture.
1st Timothy 6:17-21
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
Much Love, Dennis

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Funny Football

Saturday was a rough day for Oklahoma's 2 major college football teams. I like to see them both win and on the occasions that they play each other I normally have a favorite. OSU forgot to tell their offense what time the game started. They struggled all day with their offense and were only able to score with 3 field goals.

The OU Sooners didn't play terrible, most of the time. However they had their moments of "DUH".  The field-goal kicker could've tied the game in the 4th quarter, but the PAT was blocked. The Sooners had an opportunity to take the lead with 3:53 left in the game. The kicker, arguably the best in the big 12 missed a 19 yard field-goal that would have given OU a 2 point lead. It's a tough loss, but it is college football. It's not the end of the world. I looked at twitter on Sunday and found out that there are many people who are blaming the kicker. I understand that some people are going to be Monday morning quarterbacks, but resorting to using Twitter to convey death threats is just despicable. I now have noticed that some of the comments on twitter have been removed. It would be nice to know who removed them and their reasoning for doing it.
Much Love, Dennis

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Public Speaking

There was an old country preacher who had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought along the line of choosing a profession. Like many young men, then and now, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do- and he didn't seem overly concerned about it. 

One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. What he did was, he went into the boy's room and placed on his study table these three objects: a Bible, a silver dollar, and a bottle of whiskey.

"Now then," the old preacher said to himself, "I'll just hide behind the door here, and when my son comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which of these three objects he picks up. If he picks up the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be o.k. too. But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a drunkard - a no-good drunkard and Lord, what a shame that would be."

The old man was anxious as he waited, and soon he heard his son's footsteps as he came in the house whistling and headed back to his room. He deposited his books on the bed, as a matter of routine, and as he turned around to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table.

With a curious set in his eye, he walked over to inspect them. What he finally did was, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink...
"Lord have mercy," the old man whispered, "He's going to be a politician!"

I have friends who are politicians and I hope they don't think this is directed at anyone in particular.

I am beginning to feel very comfortable speaking in public, sharing my faith and explaining my circumstances. There are occasions when my voice will become very weak and I really don't understand why. Fortunately, I have never had a problem on the occasions where I publicly share. A couple of times at our weekly FCA meetings, my voice has diminished. That is not too much of a problem because I am in a secondary leadership position. Linda is the sponsor and the primary leader.
I recently spoke at an event sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It was a collaboration of several FCA groups from different towns and it was also open to the public. The day before I was to speak, my voice began to deteriorate. I prayed that I would be able to be understood and just before I was introduced, my friend Max prayed over me, asking for my message to be heard and understood.
As I began to speak, my voice was not any better. I can normally stringing together 4-6 words before taking a breath. That night for most of the time 2 words were all I could put together. I had to cut short much of what I had planned on saying.
I really felt like I had let down the Lord, the people in attendance and those who are part of the group that I help with in Fairview. When Cheri and I returned home, I told her that I was very disappointed in myself.
I'm very thankful to have a wife who listens to God. She reminded me that as Christians we have an enemy, Satan.
 John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that you may have life, and have it to the full

I was actually allowing Satan to steal my joy and it was my decision whether or not to accept my attempt at speaking as a success or a failure. I had spent many hours composing and revising what I had planned for that evening. I did my best and that is what God was expecting me to do.
It was kind of like I was standing at the edge of a tall building, getting ready to jump into a huge pity party. I thank God for my wife and her advice in this situation. There was no pity party that night or any time since then. I did my best and I am counting on God to handle the things that I could not do that evening. I am going through the valley, but I'm not setting up camp and staying in the valley. I continuing my journey on through.
Much love, Dennis

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

I had the opportunity to listen to a young man this week, Dillon Zimmerman. He graduated from Fairview High School in 2005. He is now a pastor at the Sojourn Church in Enid. I've known him since he was in Junior/High School. He has always been a quiet, unassuming and polite individual. Dillon excelled in all of his sports endeavors and was an excellent student.

I had played pickup basketball many times with him. Pickup basketball is sometimes used as an opportunity to talk trash with your opponents. I can't remember a time that Dillon took advantage of that opportunity. I think it was something that he learned from his parents.

The Fairview chapter of the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes (FCA) sponsored an event where I was able to listen to someone who had been molded and used by God to Pastor a church. He was no longer the quiet young man that I remembered, but someone who was on fire for God. He still had that humble spirit, and competitive fire in his eyes but now there was a more focused vision in those eyes. I know that in the future I will be hearing more from Dillon and his family and by more I mean good things. You can find more information about Dillon and the church he pastors at
Much love, Dennis