Of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” and Matthew 6

icebucketbreeBy now everyone knows and many have participated in the so called “Ice Bucket Challenge” with the intent to help charity.

It is absolutely wonderful that someone helps charities and, often, the motivations and ulterior motives for one doing so, are ignored on behalf of the end result of an act of charity, regardless as to whether such act is sincere or just a stunt.

One of the greatest marketing campaign in my opinion, in the field of charity as a skillful way to make people publicly demonstrate their charity by using the proverbial “blowing the trumpet” through getting an icy self inflicted shower, this cleverly planned campaign made people who otherwise are not attracted to charitable giving finally show some interest in altruism.

Now, even if one for the gift sake, or the cause it benefits, may ignore the fact that self-serving, opportunistic giving is not “real” giving, I really can’t say that the benefits of genuine Christian charity can be ascribed, to those who participated in such a public manner. Jesus told us to practice our charity in private. As God privately rewards those who pray in private, He will reward those who give in private; as men reward with accolades and recognition those who do it all in public, no reward will be left to those who find public approval and acceptance.

I know that, for many the Bible is a book to be questioned, ant it is only a part of other sources of religious authority, but, if these apologists of plurality of Christian authoritarian teaching could tell me, I would like to see any of their own para-sources of authority that teaches that our charitable acts should be practiced in public… Oh, but it is all for fun, intended to combine charity with fun… I’d say that I own a company, inactive at this moment, called “FunRaisers” whose slogan is “We put the FUN on FUND RAISING”, so, I am for having fun in giving, but, when the fun of giving becomes a buffoonish way of being ostentatious about your giving and attracting the attention to you more than to the cause you’re giving, then, YES, giving can become and exercise in the futile violation of Matthew 6.

Am I splitting hairs? Am I being demanding and legalistic? Well, saints, the little foxes spoil the vines, and often the things that we consider to be unimportant, and faddish, perhaps even innocent, but massively practiced, are the ones that will ultimately water down and dissolve good and traditional Christian teaching and trivialize the cause of those who truly depend on charitable donations. It will be not so far fetched for me to say that henceforth it will be very hard to motivate people to give to a great cause without somehow affording them some type of public recognition even if it includes something as innocent and clownish as wasting cold water! It is already happening! People get naked in the streets for the protection of animals, radio stations offer donations for each cockroach one can eat (as it happened in So. America) etc. So, where is the good old secret and worshipful giving?

I congratulate all of those who risked so much with a bucked of iced water being poured over their bodies, specially in summer, who sacrificed so much for the cause of charity. I give you my recognition and so do many Facebook and Tweet readers and the overwhelming majority of the population. Now with mine and the world’s recognition, plus the thrill of the cold water suddenly changing your body temperature, “you have received your reward”; expect none other!

I.R.S. to monitor sermons now? Yoohoo, they may be saved!

Read here

If the article linked is true there will be many interesting and rather unexpected results. The immediate one is that some black churches will be hurt the most as they are the ones who invite candidates that not necessarily share their faith,  but promise (and never fulfill) to fight for what African Americans consider to be their issues. However, if this becomes a manner in which Pastors will dedicate their very short time with their congregation to the exposition if the Gospel exclusively, it may not be such a bad thing. The problem is that most pastors who resort to political speech from their pulpits often choose to do so because of their lack of theological preparation to do anything other than to rant on Sunday mornings against issues that are not exactly leading to “eternal life”, and do not pertain to “life and Godliness”.

The poster of the article on Facebook, makes the following pertinent comment, to which I agree:

This whole article is based on the assumption that 501c3 is even necessary for churches. As the author noted but didn’t fully explain, churches are automatically tax exempt. But they don’t need to file for 501c3 status. The disadvantages are they there is not certain “liabilities protection” that come with the 501c3 status since they would not be a “non profit organization.” The other disadvantage is there is no “tax exempt number” to allow the churches to not have to pay sales tax on purchases. Everything else is the same including the right for congregants to deduct their tithes and offerings if they qualify for itemizing on their annual tax returns.”

I decided that my church that I pastored in the past would not apply for a 501(C3) because I felt that the government has no right to “recognize” an organization as a church when the people who congregate together calls their congregation a church; I also believe that the only motivation for a Christian to give to the work of the ministry must be exclusively the love and interest for the work of the ministry. Do not give to my church expecting a tax exempted letter at the end of the fiscal year. I also believe that it is not the role of the government or the I.R.S., or through the I.R.S. or any other governmental organism to police and censor what is said by a group when they decide to assemble enjoying the constitutional right to assemble. So, I have mixed feelings about this measure (if proven true, again I say) since I think that God prompts men to enact certain laws and rules when He feels that it is necessary to keep His people within the boundaries of that which they are called to do. Not everything that man does that appears evil is evil resulting… remember the story of Joseph… but let’s wait and see. What thinketh Thou?

 

Do something good with what’d you spend at McDonald’s this week @kiva

First, sign up here.

We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works.

Now look – many of you, like me, want to help others out – and not by giving them the fish, but by helping to provide a loan for them to buy the fishing pole… a loan they will pay back and you can loan to others.

Or not. Anyway, it is a really good thing. Check it out.

I did.

C S Lewis on thinking and atheism

 

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Uniess I belleve in God, I cannot belleve in thought. So I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” 
- C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity, p. 32

The Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund

Coat of Arms of Prince William of Wales Arms

Image via Wikipedia

This makes me pretty happy! Anything to support our newest royal couple!

Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton have created a charitable gift fund to help celebrate their wedding. The fund will focus on assisting charities which support the five causes chosen by the couple. These causes are close to their hearts and reflect the experiences, passions and values of their lives so far. Having been touched by the goodwill shown to them since their engagement, they have asked that anyone wishing to send them a wedding gift consider doing so in the form of a donation to the fund.

via The Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund.

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Let’s Help Nathan Out

By participating in Walk 4 Water, Nathan is helping raise funds to provide clean water for thousands of people around the world who currently have no source of clean water. By sponsoring Nathan, you can become a partner with him in this effort!

Nathan’s Fundraising Goal:
Personal Goal:
$50
Raised So Far:
$70

Nathan has reached his goal! Make a donation now to help him exceed his expectations!

Knowing the Poor vs Helping the Poor

“I realize that my first and primary role for the church is to figure how we can know the poor,” she said. “Once we learn how to do that, and do that in a different and mutual friendship…then we can also figure out how we can learn from each other…It’s not so much what we are doing. It’s being in friendship with them and knowing them. That’s a challenge for folks who aren’t used to that, but it’s also a calling.”

While we can clothe and feed and help the poor in our communities, I like Jaylynn Byassee’s take…

We are all in this Together | Duke Divinity School.

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Be Her Freedom

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and I thought that I would share -

Be Her Freedom is an initiative against human trafficking. It is about everyday around women around the world deciding to raise awareness, bring solutions, and make a united stand against the unacceptable crime of human trafficking. Their desire is to hear the cry of the captives, and with God’s grace, play a tangible role in freedom. It is an initiative birthed from the Colour Sisterhood’s mandate to place value upon womanhood, and The A21 Campaign’s mandate to proactively address and stop human trafficking.

When you join Be Her Freedom and become a sponsor, you are part of “their miracle story” and will receive monthly updates on the program and miracles taking place.

  • Becoming a monthly sponsor and donating $25 or more by clicking here.
  • Joining our prayer network by using the prayer guide: click here to download

The Colour Sisterhood realised that when women connect their hearts, prayer, strength and influence; we become a force upon the earth that can facilitate change. The Sisterhood embraces many churches, denominations, nations and individuals; and with an overriding spirit that “unites in friendship and cause”, we are proving that when we stand together against injustice, we accomplish more than when we stand alone.

The crime of human trafficking cannot be ignored! That is why The Colour Sisterhood is aligning with The A21 Campaign in helping raise awareness, rehabilitate rescued victims, change legislation and ultimately create models of solution to this very challenging issue.

The monetary costs of securing freedom for victims of human trafficking are enormous, but by becoming a BE HER FREEDOM sponsor, you will contribute toward the medical, legal and psychological costs associated with rescuing and restoring these beautiful and precious women. As a sponsor, you will become part of “their miracle story” and will receive monthly updates on the program and miracles taking

Be Her Freedom.

What Lindsey is saying

Start here, here, here, and here.

I know that the normal response is, and it isn’t necessarily wrong, that we have starving children here in the U.S. True. Christianity, however, teaches to love past those political boundaries created by us. Lindsey Nobles works for Thomas Nelson and is currently on a Compassion trip to Guatemala. Above, you will see some very unique stories and pictures of the trip. Consider the stark differences in what you see there and what you would see here in poverty ridden areas.

And then, read this.

Candy Christmas’ Bridge to the Homeless

Andrea Lucado has an interesting piece on Candy Hemphill Christmas in Christianity Today

In November 2004, Christmas founded The Bridge Ministry—named for its location under the Jefferson Bridge near the riverbank—after taking a pot of jambalaya to a group of homeless people on a visit with a local pastor. The Bridge is now a thriving ministry which includes a weekly church service on Tuesday nights to feed and preach to up to 500 attendees. Other local churches and ministries (including the Salvation Army) also reach out to these homeless. Some of those organizations use the Bridge’s 20,000 square-foot warehouse—a resource hub for nonprofits—which is stocked with dry goods, toiletries, and coats to pass out for the winter.

The shade is welcoming under the bridge in summertime, but with 200 plus people crowding around tables of food and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on plastic folding chairs, the heat is hardly escapable. Nor is the constant sound of rushing vehicles above. Tan, weathered faces line the crowd while a few toothless smiles and lots of laughter color the otherwise gray space. As soon as the music starts, the sound of shifting gravel stops, people still, distractions fade, faces turn, and everyone focuses on the group belting into microphones about amazing grace and how sweet it sounds.

As I was driving around on Saturday, I was able to listen to Daniel Britt‘s interview (via XM) with Candy about her depression and how she came out of it. One of those ways was to found this ministry in which by happenstance, she started to go with a pastor down to feed the homeless under a bridge in Nashville. According to her, by doing these good works, God brought her out of her depression. Personally, I enjoyed the interview so much and her new album, that I downloaded it.

Dr. McGrath highlights another Christian artist and her work against human trafficking – yes, it still goes on – which you may enjoy too.

Yesterday, I posted on Lady Gaga and our children. What about these artists as icons for our children? Nominations anyone?

Help Korah Child Sponsorship Initiative

Great news from Michael!!!

I mentioned a couple of days ago that in addition to the HelpKorah Bible Scholars initiative, that we also had a Child Sponsorship project & partnership in the works. I (Michael) cannot even begin to tell you just how thrilled I am to finally be making the announcement that our partnership for this has finally launched! 8 months after starting all of this and two trips to Ethiopia later, HelpKorah, in partnership with Transformation Love Ministries & Mekanisa Addis Kidan Church is finally able to help get children sponsored. Our hope for holistic ministry undergirds our entire approach here as we desire to care physically and spiritually for young boys & girls in Addis.

The majority of our children (we currently have 12 profiles posted), as you will see as you view profiles (click HERE or the “Child Sponsorship” tab above to see them), have lost the at least one parent to HIV & complications and may soon lose their second parent. Typically, when this happens, the child is left to the streets and left to fend for his or herself if no other family members can come to the rescue. However, you can help remedy this problem by sponsoring a child and providing them with food, clothing, shelter, education, teaching / introduction to the Church and more.

Today is much more than a GREAT DAY!!! I truly wish I had the words to express just how much this touches my heart. So, please, take time to browse profiles, read stories and let your heart be touched. And if you are moved, don’t hesitate to sponsor a child and give them an opportunity at life, even life in Christ!

Yes, I stole Michael’s post – but you can find the rest here:

HelpKorah Child Sponsorship Initiative.