First Fruits, Gleanings and Jubilee

Everything belongs to God (Leviticus 25:23). We are responsible for returning to Him a portion of what He has given us. What am I doing with what He has given me (Deuteronomy 26:1-11)? Do I put God first, or am I keeping back for myself what belongs to Him (Leviticus 19:9-10)? Today’s teaching is a gentle reminder that we are to honor the Lord from our resources (all provided by Him: our money, time, heart, and mind—Proverbs 3:9-10). It also presents new insights into how we can do that, not just with our money and possessions but also with our time, talents, and abilities. Chapter 25 of Leviticus discusses the benefits of observing God’s statutes and keeping His judgments, especially regarding sowing and reaping (gathering) and giving and giving back (redeeming).

153 Fish

Pastor Daniel Brown reminds us that great kingdom breakthroughs are accomplished through ordinary men and women who choose to make decisions that align with the purposes and plans of God.  Yet Jesus is never surprised when we fail Him, deny Him, or when our lives take an uncertain turn and we don’t know where to go.  Jesus wants to focus us back to the one thing that is the answer to our soul--the one thing that will settle us once and for all:  Jesus tells us, “Tend my sheep.” Take care of others.  When we give our lives for the sake of others, we will experience a dimension of life that is fulfilling and satisfying beyond our wildest dreams.  Scripture references are from John 21:12-18. 

Why, Where and How Should I Tithe?

In the conclusion of the series on Tithing, Pastor Evan Brown discusses some of the common and practical questions we may have about this subject: What should I tithe on? To whom should I tithe?

As a few people gave their testimony how tithing changed their perspective and solidified Kingdom principles in their lives, it became more and more clear: Tithing is a way for the Lord to get at deeper issues in our hearts and lives: issues about faith and trust in God's provision.

Scripture References:

  • Deuteronomy 14:28-29

  • Numbers 18:20-22, 31

  • Numbers 18:26

  • Matthew 23:23

  • Matthew 22:31

Altars and Doorposts

One of the ways the Israelites commemorated specific victories, visions, or miracles God had done for them was to erect an altar. Joshua built an altar of uncut stones to celebrate Israel’s victory over Ai. Jacob set up a stone and anointed it with oil to mark the place where he encountered God in a dream. God also instructed the Israelites to remember His Law: to talk about it, to teach it to the next generation, and even to write His words on the doorposts of their homes. Drawing from these ancient patterns, pastors Evan Brown and Kevin Kammerman invite us to contribute to a physical foundation for the spiritual work God is doing in us and through us as a church and as individuals.

Scripture references, Altars: Joshua 8:30-35, Genesis 28:10-22. Doorposts: Deuteronomy 6:6-9

The Test Of Tithing, Part 2

Evan continues the series on tithing from Malachi, Chapter 2, where God addresses the actions and attitudes of Israel: “What is the point of serving God?” and ”I keep seeing people who don’t serve God prosper.”  God answers Israel in Malachi 3, when He announces His master plan for the salvation of the world, and how He will prove His plan true.

We are often like the Israelites thinking, “I know better!” or “If I were God, I would do this or that differently.” Like a young hungry child that keeps saying “I'm hungry” as the mother is trying to make lunch for the child, Evan cautions us in making judgments against people or God in our situations, because our view and understanding are so limited. 

God is not after our money, He is after our heart and our trust. God wants us to test Him, just like He asked Israel to test Him -- with giving back the first 10% of our resources and watch what He does with our time, energy and finances.

The Test of Tithing

In a continuation of a study on tithing, Pastor Evan takes us to the final book in the Old Testament, Malachi. The book is a statement of who God is and how He is working in our lives. The prophet Malachi begins his message with God’s proclamation of His great and perfect love for His people (1:2). He then continues with a series of rebukes from God to His unfaithful followers, who in turn ask God, “What are You talking about? What do You mean? How have we dishonored You?” God’s reply: You doubt My love (1:2), despise My name (2:7), give Me blemished offerings (2:7-8, 10, 12-14), and rob Me of My due (3:8-9).

Malachi’s message in chapter 3 about tithing includes how God’s blessing in honoring Him (3:10-11) is embedded in His broader message of His faithfulness versus the consequences of the faithlessness of His people in not giving Him their best.

Note especially some of Pastor Evan’s practical parenting analogies regarding authority, obedience, discipline, patience in explaining with love the consequences of disobedience and the advantages of obeying authority.   

Abram, The First Ever To Tithe, Part 2

Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series on Tithing.  We find the first mention of tithing in the scriptures in Genesis 14-15.  After Abram miraculously wins a battle to rescue his cousin Lot from captivity in Sodom, Abram gives Melchizedek, a priest of the Lord, one-tenth of everything he had in acknowledgement that God gave him this unlikely victory. Tithing began in this moment when Abram was beginning to experience the unfolding of a promised-based covenant relationship with the God of heaven and earth.  Tithing is a life-giving principle that continues today. It is a statement about God’s faithfulness to His promised-based covenant relationship with us.  It is an acknowledgement of our reliance on God’s strength and what He can do, which is more than what we can do our own. It is a beautiful reminder of our own lack of capability and our dependence on God alone.  For some, money represents security, protection, identity, success, and status.  But God wants to be those things for us.  Like the promise given to Abram, God tells us, “Fear not, I am your shield and your very great reward.”

Abram, the First Ever to Tithe, Part 1

The first mention of tithing in the Bible is in Genesis chapter 14, when Abram voluntarily gives a tenth to the high priest. Why would he do that? When God called Abram in Genesis 12, He promised to make him a great nation, even though his wife was barren, and bless all the families of the world through him. There is an instructive pattern for us in Abram’s behavior: when he tries to preserve his own life, things don’t go well; when he comes back to the place of God’s promise, he prospers.

Scriptures: Genesis chapters 12:-1-13:18

Living in Joy

Does your life seem harder at times, that people who do not know Jesus? 

How can we respond when things are not going the way we want? Steve Shober offers some insights and suggestions from Psalms 37 to help us combat the fear or envy that can try to chip away at our faith during hard times.  Steve encourages us to ‘cast our cares on Him’ (1 Peter 5:7)  and ‘not to get tired of doing good’ (Galatians 6: 9-10), because trusting in the Lord is the remedy for worry.

RFS Sunday: Revelational Frameworks Summary

Pastor Evan wrapped up the Revelation Framework Series by listing some observations he has had about our church. Pastor Evan asked,  “Which of these do we want to grow in?” He also expanded on the areas he sees our church body giving abundant life to:  discipleship and counseling (Acts 9); deliverance ministry (Is 61:1); prophesy, and discernment.Pastor Evan wrapped up the Revelation Framework Series by listing some observations he has had about our church. Pastor Evan asked,  “Which of these do we want to grow in?” He also expanded on the areas he sees our church body giving abundant life to:  discipleship and counseling (Acts 9); deliverance ministry (Is 61:1); prophesy, and discernment.

RFS Sunday: But We Have The Mind of Christ

This week, Pastor Evan Brown teaches from 1 Cor. 1:18-2:16 as we continue in the series, “Revelational Ministry.”  We learn that God deeply loves us, and He wants to reveal Himself to us.  Worldly wisdom, human philosophies, and intellectual pursuits cannot help us come to know God.  God kindly seeks our affection and invites us to know him by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the scriptures.   All worldly wisdom and earthly authorities will eventually pass away.  Yet God has powerfully overcome death through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, God can set us free from horrific afflictions that assault our minds and help us navigate any of life’s challenges. God freely gives wisdom, salvation, and rescue to all who seek Him in spirit and in truth.

RFS: Unpacking The Spirit of the Occult, Part 2: Behaviors That Open The Door

Various behaviors can open the door to the occult in our lives—many are seemingly harmless. However, the effect of those “seemingly harmless” behaviors have a significant read-out in the spiritual realm. We will be specifically identifying many of the workings of witchcraft, rebellion, and sorcery, because they are likely not what you may think!

RFS: Unpacking the Spirit of the Occult, Part 1: Fantasy, Regret and Divination

Understanding the spirit of the occult takes a lot of unpacking, then a redefining, of the many misconceptions around it. There are multiple components to it, as well as several different spirits connected to it. This first night of two, we will focus on fantasy, divination, and regret.

RFS Sunday: A Brief Glimpse of Some Spiritual Gifts

In the continuation of our Revelational Frameworks Series, our founding pastor Daniel Brown explains and defines some of the Spiritual Gifts, as noted in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.  These gifts (or "spirituals") are given to us by the Holy Spirit "for the common good", which means these "sparks" are not for us to keep, but to pass on to whomever they are meant for, and everybody in the Kingdom is a candidate for those deliveries!

Isaiah 60:21-22
Isaiah 61:4-9
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Luke 22:31-32
Acts 20:29
John 4:16-18
Acts 11:23-24
Hebrews 5:14

RFS: The Destructive Work of Lust and Its Counterparts

The workings of a spirit of lust are very often misunderstood, and this spirit can thrive in the obscurity of that lack of understanding. However, God’s Word reveals the fullness of the true nature of this spiritual force. It’s much broader than you think and you’ll be surprised to find out what is really going on!

RFS: The Kingdom of Self

Self-righteousness, self-justification, self pity and self-preservation: once we open the door to one of these, the rest so easily can enter and align themselves to form a prison of “The Kingdom of Self.” This kingdom is full of our own isolation, our own deception, and our own bitterness. That can sound so intimidating and immovable! Yet, Jesus always has a way! This evening, we will dive into scripture and identify the Biblical truths that can obliterate the tangled mental and emotional web of these snares!

RFS Sunday: The Diligence to Keep Our Hearts From Hardness

Today Pastor Lindsay Brown expands on an earlier teaching (7.17.18 podcast) in which she summarized various aspects of breaking free from that which hinders our walk with God and keeps us from entering His rest (the promised land). Her focus today is the heart. Since God knows what is in my heart, where is my heart for God? And since God goes before me, do I trust Him and am I willing to follow Him? Or am I suffering from hardness of heart? Pastor Lindsay takes us to the book of Hebrews, in which the author is reminding Jewish believers about God’s faithfulness in offering His rest and warning them to be careful not to let “an evil, unbelieving heart lead them away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12 ESV). If you want to enter [God’s] rest, He says, “Do not harden your hearts” and do as the Israelites did (Hebrews 3:8–11, 15–19, 4:1–13).

Pastor Lindsay covers a variety of aspects of hard-heartedness (what that means, how to guard our hearts against it, how to identify hard-heartedness [for example, through pride, fear, unrepentance, unbelief, rebellion]). Her teaching encourages each of us to answer the following questions: how do I break free of it and enter God’s rest? (Hebrews 4:1–11, 12:1ff). And how do I apply the Word of God to my life? (Hebrews 4:12, which emphasizes our innermost being). Pastor Lindsay also points us to our Great High Priest (Hebrews, chapter 4 and 8, and Hebrews 10:19–22) as a reminder of whom we serve: a God of compassion, a God who has made a way for us to enter His rest, and a God who is with us through it all, God of hope. 

RFS: The Religious Spirit and Its Many Faces

Legalism, double-mindedness, selfish ambition, pride, judgment, a critical heart: all of these can be manifestations of a religious spirit’s influence in our hearts, minds, and actions. Let’s recognize these for what they are, and learn what truth the Bible gives us about this multifaceted foe.