Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tithers, Retithers and Nontithers

There are three categories of people who gather at most church fellowships. Those who do not pay to be there, those who pay to be there, and those who are payed to be there. Generally speaking for each group there is a temptation to have one of three distinct attitudes.

The tither has a sense that they have some ownership in the organisation and ideally would like to see the fellowship in alignment with their convictions.

The retither relies on the income of the organisation to pay for for all their daily needs and wants and would like to grow it's income thus enabling them to retithe more and more as their personal income and standard of living grows.

The nontither is generally blissfully unaware. 

What happens when a fellowship is in debt and the current leadership is at odds with the the tithers? Chaos! The tithers can not be good stewards of their money and give to leadership who have chosen a direction that is contrary to the tithers convictions. The leadership needs the income to live on and begins a desperate attempt to get cash from anywhere and everywhere. The fellowship begins to be in danger of defaulting on the debt.

The leadership digs in as the tithe continues to shrink. Everyone is let in on the situation that has been obscured from the general population some times for years and everyone takes a side. The tithers demand new leadership. The retithers refuse to give up their income. This drags on in a most disgusting display until the retithers offer the tithers an opportunity to give them a large sum of money to vacate the heavily indebted property.

If they get their money they move on and quite likely repeat the cycle with another group. If they do not get the money they cause further chaos bringing everything to the brink of disaster. They are eventually starved out and end in disgrace while the people they were there to serve are left to salvage what they can and presumably try again with the hope of avoiding the same result.

Does the Gospel get out? Yes in spite of us it does, but in the process of all of our money grubbing we become a stumbling block to the community at large and all we had to do was serve others with our resources instead of serving ourselves. If we were doers of the Word we would never live outside our means. We would never indebt ourselves to move ahead of God's provision.

Leadership uses the old testament verse Malachi 3:10 to compel the faithful to give. The fellowship I used to attend uses it as well. The verse starts by encouraging people to bring the tithe into the storehouse. The modern church has taken a mortgage out on the store house and now they are in fear of losing it altogether. You do not have a store house if you do not have surplus.

Those who claim the God given authority (anointing) maintain they are always doing God's will. The issue always comes down to the followers who are never giving enough to meet the demands of the debt, salaries and last of all outreach.

Matthew 6 Give in secret and do not store up for yourself treasures on earth !

Friday, July 17, 2015

Diving the USNS Vandenberg

McDiving The Vandenberg

I am going to use this lead paragraph to put the information describing this adventure as concisely as I can so here goes:

On July 17, 2015 friends took me along for a dive on the 524' USNS Vandenberg lying in 140' of water seven miles south of Key West. We left the dock at about 8:15 for the two tank dive the first of which took place approx. an hour after leaving the dock. The first dive was about 29 minutes below the surface with a 32% mix 3000 psi nitrox mix in an aluminum tank. After a one hour interval aboard the "Emily Anne" it was back down with the same mix for approximately the same duration for a dive that started at the bow and ended at the stern. Truly a wonderful time for which I am humbly grateful.

McDiving The Vandenberg

This vessel is massive with it's best feature being more clean swim throughs than you could experience in a half dozen dives!

Our charter was with who were great. Thank you Capt. Jack and Kelly!

McDiving The Vandenberg

McDiving The Vandenberg

See you in the next post. Jesus loves you!

1Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.... 1 Corinthians 15:1-3

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Trilby Trip

Trilby Trip

I went on a little road trip to Trilby to revisit some hills I became acquainted with years ago on a Coast to Coast for Christ bicycle adventure organized by Kevin Miller. I think they still have yearly trips.

There are many picturesque back roads in Florida to explore. This area has quite a few.

Trilby Trip

Trilby Trip

Trilby Trip

Right in the middle of this route is a little restaurant by the name of  "The Black Eyed Pea" that offers great home cooked food. You can tell that many of the locals gather there to fellowship which makes it an even more attractive place to visit. The food is great if you ask me!

I had the Pork Chop special this time. One fried one grilled!

Trilby Trip

Get out there and explore it yourself with family and friends why don't you? It is not that far away and it will time well spent enjoying life together.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Skimmers of Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island 2015

A mile or so South along Gulf Drive on Anna Maria Island is a stretch of beach chosen by The Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) as a nesting site. They lay their eggs in depressions they make in the sand.

Anna Maria Island 2015

It is quite a busy place with constant squawking as adult birds come and go in a constant effort to supply the chicks with small fish.

Anna Maria Island 2015

Anna Maria Island 2015

There are many shore birds who lay their eggs right out in the open. I have even seen small shore birds with eggs right in the middle of railroad tracks.

Anna Maria Island 2015

The chicks seem very vulnerable out on the sand and their first instinct is to hunker down and hide. The parent birds will aggressively defend them if  you approach to closely.

Anna Maria Island 2015

There are casualties but they are far outweighed by the numbers that will survive.

Anna Maria Island 2015

This colony has grow over the last few years.
It is a delight to see them on the beach and observe their behavior! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Anna Maria 2015 half over.

We are at the half way day here at the beach. I feel so clean and brown like a fresh baked dinner roll.

This morning's swim included a visit from a lonely manatee who allowed me scratch it's back before continuing north to parts unknown. Always a joy to have one of God's creatures acknowledge my time on the planet with them.

The wild life is thriving around here. There are so many skimmer chick's the dead ones are out numbered 20 to 1.

Being here makes me think of all the people I have shared this time in history with these few decades. I have been blessed with so many souls to love over the years. I pray they simply walk in the Word and spare themselves any messes that are so easily made when we carelessly feed our lusts.

Psalms 119:105-106  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.