THE FAITH PROMISE WAY
With the approval and urging of our Oregon District Board, it was my privilege to attend the Foreign Missions Western Roundtable in Mesquite, Texas last month. About 35 pastors, 7 or 8 District FM Directors, and the office management team of 4 men from the World Evangelism Center in St. Louis gathered at Emmanuel Pentecostal Church with Pastor Richard Flowers. Brother Bruce Howell, our General Director, fed us with a wealth of information about the operation of our Foreign Missions Department, gave thrilling reports of revival overseas and led the discussions.
We mostly talked about ways to help our missionaries shorten their time traveling stateside to raise the necessary funds for their overseas budget. It would be such a blessing if those who come back on furlough after serving a four-year term could have more time just to visit family and rest from the demanding rigors of missionary work. Brother Bryan Abernathy, who is in charge of arranging the deputation itineraries, has a plan in mind that sounds very workable but may take up to 5 years to fully implement because of the transitions it would entail. If this is approved by the General Board, we will learn more about it in the near future.
Endowment giving to fund the administration of foreign missions has recently been launched. As the interest accrues in these accounts, the controversial 10% now taken from PIM accounts for this purpose will gradually decrease and eventually be eliminated.
Despite rising inflation around the world, the church has a commission to reach every nation. “Go ye…” is still a commandment, not a suggestion. Regardless of other means that may be utilized to fund missions efforts, “the faith promise way” has a proven successful track record. Dr. A. B. Simpson, a Presbyterian minister, probably organized the first faith promise offering. He was greatly concerned about world evangelization. The Christian and Missionary Alliance churches established the system and led the way for the rest of us in this kind of giving for missions.
One of the revolutionary things about the Alliance conventions was that they dared to urge their people to give directly to missions. They were willing to take this sort of risk, knowing that more might be designated for missions than for the local work. To this day, the majority of UPCI churches are not willing to take this chance, fearing, I suppose, that the local church may suffer.
My experience over nearly forty years of personal giving “the faith promise way” and of promoting this method in the thirty-four years I served as a pastor has proven to me conclusively that God always supplies every need. As our missionary budget rose, our local income increased. We had to be very careful, or course, with our local spending and strivefor functionality rather than ‘plushiness’ in the matter of our personal and church assets. This has also been the experience of many other churches that have dared to adopt “the faith promise way” of giving to missions.
This is not a pledge one makes to his local church; rather, this is an agreement between the giver and God that, as He provides, the money promised will be given. This has a very solid basis in the Bible. A working example is seen in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. There, an offering was raised to
give relief to suffering and impoverished believers in the church at Jerusalem. It was a missionary offering in the sense that it was not raised for the needs of the local church; it was carried to Jerusalem and used for others. Regardless of its use, the method remains valid. It does not have to be restricted to world missions; it can be used for giving to other departments as well.
Paul wrote, “Your zeal hath provoked very many” – 2 Cor. 9:2. There are two ways that we can provoke people. We can make them angry. This is not the purpose of this article! I want to provoke you to love and to good works; I want to inspire you to do more for the cause of Christ. I want the monthly faith promise offerings from your church to make all the other Oregon churches look in your direction and say, “If that church can do that, just think what we should be doing.”
I fear that too many saints have never been released to give “the faith promise way”. We rejoice over Jesus’ reminder “freely ye have received,” but have not been too concerned about the enjoinder to “freely give” – Matt. 10:8. The three men who went to Corinth were there to tabulate the offering that was promised. They were there to find out what people were planning to give when the time arrived. Perhaps
Titus wrote this information on some first century faith promise tablet with a stylus and the trio left rejoicing at the faithfulness of God and the generosity of each saint. All they had however were some faith promises based on the peoples’ confidence in the power of God to help them keep them. Brother Jones’ corn was still green. Worms might destroy it before harvest time. The bottom might fall out of the market and make it impossible to sell. Maybe the farmer would be too ill to work by then, or he might even be dead. All he had really said was this: “In dependence upon God I will endeavor to give the proceeds of a ten-acre field of corn.” Brother Jones had made one of the first faith promises. AA’
(NOTE: This article to be continued, by faith, next month.)
Rev. James Bigelow
INVITE A GUEST TO A MISSION Y SERVICE AT YOUR CH CH!
Charles & Charlotte Stovall
Missionaries to Germany
Peter & Robyn Grafion
Missionaries to Papua New Guinea
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Faith Promise Giving…Is it a Venture,
a Peradventure, or an Adventure?
Some of you who read that question might perceive it simply as another of Brother Bigelow’s plays on words. Admittedly, some of our English words intrigue me, especially in the matter of how prefixes and suffixes can give an entirely different meaning to a root word. In fact, now that I look at the words ‘prefix’ and ‘suffix’ on my PC monitor, I wonder to myself, “Is a prefixed word one that has been fixed in advance?” If that is true, could it be that a suffixed word designates one that has been sufficiently fixed? Seriously, though, what is your take on faith promise giving? Some See Faith Promise Giving As A VENTURE.
I think most of us consider a venture as a scheme, gamble, or risk. Some may think of it as a business enterprise. Because I buy used books and sell them online, I need to complete a Schedule C tax form.
Whatever loss I incur is limited to the amount that I have “at risk” in the business. This means that the IRS will not allow a deduction for a loss that is greater than the amount of money that I’ve actually put into the business. Let me assure you upon the authority of the scriptures and the very nature of God that when you promise to give x amount of dollars each month by faith to foreign missions, that money is not “at risk.” God does not operate a saint-funded lottery or casino. By nature, God is good; he is beneficent; he is charitable; he will not be a debtor to anyone. Besides, when you understand that everything you possess actually belongs to God, how could giving be a gamble? Ps 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Some See Faith Promise Giving As A PERADVENTURE.
“Well,” they muse, “I suppose there’s a possibility that if I write in $50.00 a month on my Faith
Promise card, God will come through for me. but I don’t know; it seems pretty chancy to me.”
Excuse me, but that’s not my idea of living by faith in the fullness of His promise; that’s living on a peradventure. If there is the slightest doubt in your mind of God’s faithfulness, I urge you to lean toward the positive aspect rather than the negative. Give Him the benefit of the doubt.
2 Timothy 2:25-26
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Some See Faith Promise Giving As An ADVENTURE.
Living for the Lord is meant to be adventuresome! I often say that we ought to go through life on tiptoes: always anticipating something exciting just around the corner. Did not Jesus promise to give us life more abundantly? I’m talking about Life with a capital L. I’m talking about Life! with an exclamation point after it! This kind of person muses, “I wonder what new method, or which person, or what kind of miracle God will employ this month so I can give the amount of money the Spirit nudged me to promise?” Even though you may never see a tangible kickback in this lifetime from your investment in the harvest, I urge you to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give han to receive” (Acts 20:35). One thing you can count on is this: “God is faith” (1 Corinthians 1:9). AA’
Rev. James Bigelow
PASTORS: Missionaries coming through Oregon on deputation can now be scheduled online
by clicking on the Foreign Missions Department link at www.orupc.com
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