We all need it. We all want more of it. It consumes most our thoughts whether we have a lot or a little. Even Jesus spoke of money in nearly half of all his parables. One in every seven verses in the New Testament deals with this topic. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 verses on faith, and more than 2,000 verses on money. In fact, 15 percent of everything Jesus ever taught was on the topic of money and possessions — more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined.

Why such an emphasis on money and possessions? There is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money.

It was Martin Luther who said, "There are three conversions a person needs to experience: The conversion of the head, the conversion of the heart, and the conversion of the pocketbook."

Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

I truly believe we will never be truly free or experience God's blessing until we are obedient to God's call to give. Living an open-handed generous life is very freeing. Whether you call it a "tithe" or "giving" or "generosity" it's the same idea. Unfortunately when some people want to argue about the "tithe" not being a New Testament requirement it's just to justify their lack of obedience to God's word.

Let's not live in bondage to fear when it comes to money. Trust God with a portion of what He has given us the ability to earn!

I recently taught at Mercy Church on the subject of money, here are the cliff notes:


1) Our HOPE should be in God.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 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. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 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. 

2) Being GENEROUS shows our gratitude.

2 Corinthians 9:11 “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

3) You will be BLESSED when you give.

Acts 20:35 "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'."

4) WEALTH comes from God.

1 Chronicles 29:10-13 David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, LORD, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

5) Giving is a matter of the HEART.

Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

6) GIVING helps us keep things in proper perspective.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

I am always open to questions and feedback ... thank you!

Understanding God's Will

I have been teaching a series called, "Understanding God's Will" at Mercy Church on Sundays for the last several weeks and it's been fabulous! Not because I am teaching it, but because we are all in search of "God's Will" and this series is helping us understand better what God's Will is everyone AND how to better understand God's Will for our personal lives.

God is interested in every facet of our lives, and He will lead us and guide us ... are we listening? I hope so!

What series on our VIMEO page! I really do think it will shed some light on many misconceptions in making sense of God's Will, and how He works in the world today.

Trust Overcomes Stress

One of the things that we all face is stress! Financial stress, family stress, relational stress … ugh! Sometimes it can almost be overwhelming. Have you ever felt stressed? Have you ever had that sinking feeling that made you wonder, “Are we going to make it?” Are you dealing with those feelings now?

These feelings plague us all; I hope it is of some comfort to know that you are not alone! I know, I know, sometimes that is no comfort, but if you apply it correctly it is. Here is what I mean; God is with us in those darkest moments of stress! We are not alone!

I believe that biggest and most important key to overcoming stress is trust! Total and complete trust! I know one of the biggest stressors for most of us is financial stress. It was strange for me to find this true for even the wealthiest friends I talked to. They even claim having more financial stress as they have more to be worried about. More people counting on them, depending on them and their wealth to care for so many people. So how does “trust” help us overcome “stress”? I find it here in my favorite scripture of all time …

Proverbs 3:1-10 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a] 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

It’s right there, v. 5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart …” v.6 “in all your ways submit to Him …” and one way we TRUST the Lord is to v.9 “Honor the Lord with your wealth …” many people hold tight to what they have and don’t even trust a portion of it to the Lord.

Now I am not talking about giving God what you might give a homeless person on the street corner, but really honoring God with a portion of your wealth. Many debate this, but I see the Bible teaching the principle of giving a tenth (tithe – 10%) to your local church (the community that you benefit from). Some interpret it different, but there is no interpretation that teaches stinginess. The Bible clearly teaches generosity!

One way I measure this in my own heart is by asking myself several questions, like, "If what I give to God was to be made public, would I be embarrassed about it?” I mean, “ … in proportion to what I earn do I feel good about what I give to God through my local church?” Another question I consider is, "if everyone in my church community gave like I did, how well would it be funded, if at all?" Not always an easy question, but again if we truly want to Trust and Honor God, then we must ask ourselves these questions. The last one I ask, because I enjoy coffee is, “Do I spend more at Starbucks each month, than I give to my local church?” Ouch! I wouldn't feel good about coming to the end of a year and having spent $500 on coffee, and only contributing $250 to my church.

Challenge: Trust God with your finances! Begin supporting the church community that you are a part of and that you find meaning from and in; contribute. Start where you can with what you can this Sunday, and I promise you will be so thrilled you did. And not only that, but when you begin to give to your church it will actually increase the love you have for the church you attend! I know at the church I pastor those who give are the ones who not only seem to be the happiest members, but the most interested in seeing it do well and fulfill God's purpose. Giving shows your love and gratitude.

Gracious Theology

I, like many pastors and religious teachers, have a theological position; which is what we believe about God, the Bible and Religious Faith in general. And we all differ a bit here and there.

Augustine of Hippo defined the Latin equivalent, theologia, as "reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity."

In my 20 years of ministry I have become more and more gracious in my Theology (study of God.) I would say that GOD crawled out of the BOX that I had Him in years ago.

I find it strange that we humans have God all figured out. I think we should be a bit uncomfortable when we think we’ve got God and his ways confined to a humanly derived theological system of thinking. We have constructed a systematic theology that we feel good about, or can defend rather then allowing ourselves to follow a mysterious, frustrating, seemingly contradictory God who “sent us His spirit” to lead us into the knowledge of truth ... and we do this by living by faith. Mind you, I love theology, I love to study, debate, ask questions ... I guess over the years I haven't had to have all the answers anymore.

I will be honest, I have an answer to most questions because I am opinionated (my wife can tell ya!) But my heart always speaks up within me and reminds me that I am not all-knowing!

So, there you go ... I am not God, nor are you.

Is The Bible True?

Steve Falkenberg, professor of religious psychology at Eastern Kentucky University, says, "I've never met anyone who actually believes the Bible is literally true. I know a bunch of people who say they believe the Bible is literally true but nobody is actually a literalist. Taken literally, the Bible says the earth is flat and setting on pillars and cannot move (Ps 93:1, Ps 96:10, 1 Sam 2:8, Job 9:6). It says that great sea monsters are set to guard the edge of the sea (Job 41, Ps 104:26)..."

Q: So, is the Bible true?

A: Yes!

The Bible being true (inerrant or infallible) doesn't mean (at least to me) that some stories are actually just that, stories told to communicate deeper truth to help mankind.

So was Job a real guy who suffered greatly and never turned his back on God? I believe he was a real guy, who really lived and really didn't turn his back on God during his suffering. But, even if it's a made-up story to communicate a deeper truth about suffering, that doesn't bother me. Now, some people (right-wing-conservative-fundamentalists) think that to believe Job (or any other story, i.e Noah & the Ark, Jonah & the Whale) to be just a made-up story is to discredit the entire Bible. I don't see it that way and I would probably be considered by some to be a conservative fundamental Christian (usually it's the super-liberal crowd who would see me that way.) I believe I am a moderate ... meaning I am in the middle on many issues facing Christianity. And I also am, for whatever reason, gracious towards others positions on scripture and I believe that that is a position we as Christ followers should all have towards on another.

I have met many wonderful Christians with different views then me, and we could cuss and discuss the issues and walk away friends. To me that is a true sign of Christianity at work.

So back to the question at hand; I do believe the Bible to be truly the word and work of God through human-beings inspired by the Holy Spirit and that the Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

All that said, let's be intelligent thinking people here ... the Bible doesn't need to be defended when there are apparent errors (and there are) or inconsistencies (which there are) translation problems (which there are) ... we do not need to hide those things or explain them away or try to cover them up for fear of the whole thing coming apart. It's still the living breathing word of God, and it speaks for itself.

Just my thoughts!

Gracious Disagreements

There are not too many things in this world more Christ-like then handling disagreements graciously. This is not the norm in the church world, from my experience.

I believe Doctrine to be vitally important in the life of a Christian, and in the life of a church. But what I have seen the more I study the scriptures is that there are many ways to interpret scripture and still love Jesus with all your heart. The more I study and read I am surprised to find out that not everyone believes just like I do, wow amazing! How can this be? How can people survive in this world not seeing everything as I see it? Lol!

I am in my 20th year of ministry this year and I am coming to understand God more and more, and at the same time coming to understand how much I do not know, and how much I yet to learn about Him! 20 Years ago I had God all figured out, knew all that I needed to know to take this world on single-handedly ... and win! Youthful bliss!

There is an area that I think all Christians can grow in, and that is how to handle disagreements graciously. I not only think this impacts our fellow Christian brothers and sisters (wow, that sounded churchy! And a little cult-like) in a positive way, but most importantly when people who are investigating Christianity see Christians getting along. When Christians are fighting or divided I know that the devil is in the middle of it ... loving it! The devil loves division, fighting, envy, strife, gossip and backbiting. I can and do have fellowship with many Christians who see life differently then I do ... this is good and healthy!

This may shock some of you, but we (Mercy Church) have conservatives and liberals attending our church ... I know, I know ... crazy! But it's true! We have all come together to worship God and celebrate His Son Jesus Christ.

"The ground is level at the foot of the cross" - unknown

Challenge: I hope that you are a Gracious Christian. I hope that you do not feel that you have the corner-market on all truth and can learn from others as well as teach others. I hope that you can love those who do not see the world as you do. And I especially hope that you can love those who disagree with you.

Much love and grace!

Who is Right?

This is the question I get most often not only from secularist, or people who do not claim any kind of belief or faith in God, but also "religious" people; "so, who's right?" they say. And what they are referring to is; what religion is right? What is THE WAY to God?

That's a great question! I recently had a person, who I would call a Universalist (he believes ALL roads lead to God) tell me that he believes there are "many ways to God" and there is no "one way."

Though many would call me a Conservative, there are just as many who call me a Liberal; it all depends where you land personally and in how you see me and others. I like to consider myself a Moderate, or a person who is balanced, or centered. I like to be compassionate and sympathetic to others beliefs, ideologies, philosophies, experiences, faiths, heritage, religion, etc. I teach and preach from what I know and believe to be true - and that is the Jesus of the Bible... BUT that shouldn't mean we can't LOVE EACH OTHER and GET ALONG. Right?

I can hear you saying, "but Timmy what that means is that you secretly believe that what others believe is wrong, and you are right?" Don't we all? Ha Ha! I mean seriously, let's be honest with ourselves! But in reality what I believe to be true does not make ME right, but God's plan for saving humanity right, and I just believe what He said He did, He did. It's not anything that I've done or can boast about doing ... I haven't saved anyone, Jesus is the one who did it, not me. So I don't consider it prideful or arrogant or narrow-minded to have stumbled onto the truth. That would be like saying that someone who stumbled onto mathematical truth was being prideful, arrogant or narrow-minded for discovering "mathematical truth" and then sharing those truths with others. The truth is the truth ... is it not? And wouldn't or shouldn't LOVE compel us to share that truth? In a loving, humble and gracious way? I think so.

Here is how I look at it, when we get to Heaven I really believe there are going to be people there that we would have guessed wouldn't be. I believe that God is more loving, gracious, kind and forgiving then any Fundamental Christian out there! Trust me, there are NOT only going to be Southern Baptists in Heaven, despite what they may think! Maybe they're the ones who won't be there? Lol!

But I would challenge us all with this scripture: Proverbs 22:2

New International Version (©1984)
"All a man's ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart."

New Living Translation (©2007)
"People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart."

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
"A person thinks everything he does is right, but the LORD weighs hearts."

King James Bible
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts."

Bible in Basic English
"Every way of a man seems right to himself, but the Lord is the tester of hearts."


The Beatles were Right

All we need is love ... 1 John 4:7-8 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Love is the #1 trait that should be present in a Christian's life.

Also, just FYI ... if you ever see a person holding a sign that says, "God Hates ..." and they are claiming to be a Christian ... they are nuts!

Angels & Demons The Truth

I did a message entitled Angels and Demons The Truth on Sunday, November 8, 2009 that you can view or look for it on our iTunes account under "Mercy Church KC". I did the message because of the popularity of the low budget movie, Paranormal Activity.

I always talk to my Jana (my wife) after my talks to see what she thought about my delivery, content and what I could improve and she said I should have (or could have) better clarified my statement that "we open ourselves up to the devil by sinning." I agree, so here is my clarification on that statement.

I believe that statement to be true NOT in the sense that if I sin, the devil can or will come in and make my car break down or something like that... what I mean by that statement is that when we open ourselves up to sin we open ourselves up to feel more comfortable with continuing to sin, for example: If I (as a married man) allow myself to think (or dwell on) about other women in an improper way, that could lead me to looking at porn, which then leads me to look at more porn, then this could lead me to improper interactions with women, then ultimately lead me to having an affair. There is no married person on planet earth who has ever had an affair without FIRST thinking about it! You don't trip over a shoe and fall into bed with someone! Hello!

So, all that said... THAT is what I was saying when I said that when we chose to sin when are opening ourselves up to further sin and being comfortable with making bad choices. I believe we become hardened towards God when we RESIST GOD and His leading in our life.

Side Note: Every human (that would be me and you) have a good side and a bad side ... we must FEED THE GOOD side in us and the best way to do that is to follow God's will for your life. Doing good is addictive ... the closer you draw to God, the closer He draws to you.