This is part 2 in a series. To read part 1, go here.
I still didn’t completely understand why God has chosen to speak to me that morning in such an intimate way, back on October 6th. I didn’t think it was just arbitrary. But, if God wanted me to trust Him, then I would. I was tithing… and loving it.
Then Came November 2
I was out for a weekend with my son Josh (which I explain here). We went to the Gateway Church location in North Richland Hills. Pastor Robert was continuing his series on “Free Indeed,” and began addressing this topic of tithing.
This was one of the first times I had listened to a sermon on tithing or giving and not felt like mentally checking out or preparing a full rebuttal on freedom from tithing. I was eager to hear!
I felt good that I had been tithing since Oct 6th. When I say “good,” I mean that I had followed through to give and that I was trusting Him to take care of us. I felt more joy in giving that I had in a VERY long time. As he preached, he went through the three points of the message that make up the title to this blog post: greed, unbelief, and fear.
I knew I had been greedy by the definition that Pastor Robert described. I knew I had been full of unbelief, which I already mentioned in part 1 of this series when I claimed tithing was not a New Testament commandment. I knew I had been fearful. But the Holy Spirit was convicting me that I had not repented yet of these things. I had repented of my pride the previous month. And now specifically, God wanted me to repent of these things – namely my unbelief.
After the message, I went forward and met Brandon. I explained to Brandon why I was there, a bit about my journey, and that I had already been tithing the last month, but I had not repented yet, so I was coming forward to repent of my unbelief.
Brandon looked at me and got excited. He told me that he had been driving to the church that evening and had forgotten his name badge. I’m not sure if he thought about turning around to go home and get it, skipping the 4:00 service, and just come to the 5:45 service, but he said that God told him it was okay because he would meet someone who was coming for prayer due to unbelief…
I was stunned again. God had told Brandon to get to church to meet me – a divine appointment.
We talked some more and I told him all that was going on with my son and I out for the weekend. He prayed with me and for me as I repented. Afterwards, he said that God gave him a vision of seeing me down on one knee (almost Tebowing I guess), and that Jesus had His arms wrapped around me, holding me, and letting me know He was proud of me and would not let me go.
Brandon was extremely encouraging and called Josh up and encouraged him as well. Hugs, knuckle bumps, and an incredible presence of the Holy Spirit.
So… Here I Am Now
Where am I right now, and what is my response? It begins with an apology.
I sincerely apologize to my family and friends for my legalistic self-righteousness that had been my nature for far too long. I was wrong. I could reason with you all the ways that tithing was not valid, but in the end, I was wrong. Scripture proves I was wrong and God cared enough to speak to me in a very graceful manner that only He knew how to do.
Because of the situation with Google’s algorithm change, my heart was open. Because of the sermon on pride, my heart was open. Because God used Derek and Brandon, my heart was open.
I feel like I have surrendered a part of me that I have held back from God all my life.
Thank you Jesus for speaking to me – the least deserving. I am forever changed. Why God chose to speak to me so clearly and orchestrate people and events so He could speak, I do not fully know yet. I am listening.
I am very grateful for Pastor Robert and everyone we’ve met at Gateway over the last 7 or 8 weeks, and especially how God led us to this church!
(btw, if you want to see the message on tithing, you can view it here on the Gateway website)
I will finish with Part 3 soon. I am planning on it being a video for me to reason and explain some things as to why tithing IS a part of the Christian experience.