71 thoughts on “A Tiny Christ”

    1. When I was in Bible college a teacher said us students should send the pastor a thank you card for his allowing us to help out in the Big Day and for letting us serve in ministry

  1. Actually, I have about a million snarky comments for this, because its one of my buttons.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If Christ can use a donkey, he can use a human… money notwithstanding.

  2. I believe God works in a way explained by Mordecai in Esther 4:14: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

    In other words, God’s purposes will be fulfilled, whether or not I participate. God will simply use someone else, not me, and I will miss the joy of being used by God in that instance.

    The poster uses fear and guilt as motivation. I want to be motivated by love and joy.

    1. Totally agree! Just like the Ezekiel standing in the gap guilt trip. Yes, If God wants me to do something or go somewhere and I don’t, I lose blessing but people are not in hell because I didn’t go or do something. God will simply use someone else. People are in hell because they rejected God, not because of me or anyone else. God is not so weak that he is reliant on sinful men to accomplish His will. Even though He does use us, which still amazes me.

  3. My post from the forum. (Like Natalie this is a real hot button issue with me)

    OY!
    “And the only way Christ can do that….”

    What a weak god statements like that promote. What kind of god depends on his creation for anything?
    “I sure am glad I created you so you could provide for what I cannot do. Especially since, I can only do what you allow me to do and provide for me to do.”

    We are privledged that God does see fit to use us in his plans but what arrogance to think the creator God of the universe is hindered or thwarted by our actions or decisions.
    It all goes back to your view of God. The god portrayed above is one of those mythological “hope-so” gods of someone’s imagination.

    1. Don, that’s another one of my fundy buttons, when they say that we can hinder God.

      Um, no.

      Stand on the crest of the Grand Canyon, or on a ship in the middle of the ocean (my favorite..tee hee) or on the mountain top of the Great Smokies and TELL ME if man can hinder God.

  4. I didn’t think this was news. Jesus has always been tiny in the fundy world. I mean, after all, there he is, impotently knocking at your heart’s door…pleading…crying…begging…just open, please and let him in so he can do something.

    1. It’s not just fundies. I keep hearing pastors of large, evangelical churches claiming how people can limit God. I personally don’t want their weak and pathetic god that can be limited my humans. If god is so weak we can limit him, how is he supposed to save us from anything?

      1. Today was Mission Sunday at my church and one missionary said that “he couldn’t just sit around and build up his vetenariany practice while all those people in the world went to hell.” While that is true, I have to say that God isn’t saving any more or any less souls because that man choose to quit taking care of animals and start training preachers to go out into the mission field. That man gets to partner with God and share in the joy but it was going to happen whether that mortal choose to quit his practice or not.

        the main speaker today also said that God can’t be heard/can’t talk because of all the stuff in our life. While I believe we can become to busy and need to slow down and just listen to God, this pastor was just guilty us for keeping God from speaking.

        Let’s just say, I was about to have an anxiety attack all during the service. Fortunately, my pastor got up and clearly presented the love and grace that my soul badly needed but still challenged me to deepen my understanding of God.

        1. “the main speaker today also said that God canÒ€ℒt be heard/canÒ€ℒt talk because of all the stuff in our life.”
          That right there gave me so much guilt until a few months ago. I honestly believed that God would not hear my prayers unless I confessed everything to Him before. So if I needed a specific need filled I always had to ask for forgiveness and then ask for that need because he wold be unable to hear me if I just asked for the need.
          Then I realized that God really was a God of love. Not some exacting, legalistic record-keeper of all my offenses. He kept my offenses and died to pay for them. Yes He is a just and righteous God. But He is a just and righteous God who forgave me.

  5. This is a touchy subject for me, too. Hearing fundraising from the pulpit gives me the Fundy twitches. The pastor at my current, non-IFB church only mentions the offering when he asks the ushers to come forward to collect it. No guilt trips. No long messages about why the church needs our money or God needs our money or how we should give our last bit of grocery or gas funds to the church’s parking lot fund.

    1. Our pastor specifically notes that visitors need not feel like they need to give something, but that it is simply our church’s chance to worship the Lord for what he has given us.

      I really appreciate that balance.

    1. Perhaps the poster was thinking of the poem by St. Teresa of Avila?

      Christ has no body now but yours
      No hands, no feet on earth but yours
      Yours are the eyes through which He looks
      compassion on this world
      Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

      Nah. Fundies don’t do saints.

    2. Emily, another good type of giving is when you give because you love your ministry and not because a pastor puts you on a guilt trip our tries to scare you with stories of disasters of those who did not give.

      And you are right. Giving is so much more than money. We can give our time, food, etc.

      I wish more pastors would stop trying to modivate their members through guilt, fear, getting a windfall from God or a desire to be noticed.

    3. I wish a pastor would once, just once, stand up in front of the congregation and say, “You know, the church here has utilities to pay for, it has to pay the salaries of those of us who work here full time, and we support lots of missionaries around the world. If our ministry benefits you, please support us,” and just leave it at that. That’s really all that needs to be said.

  6. I have always found it interesting that when Jesus was confronted by the “Rich young ruler” he said “go and sell all that you have and give it to the poor”. Not give it to the temple, or give it to Judas so that we can continue our ministry, or give it to me so I can build a cathedral.
    Somehow I’ve never heard a message on this passage that didn’t focus on giving to the church.

  7. In my large IFBc when money was urgently needed for the building project…the MOG would ask for a show of hands of how many could give $200.00? Then $100.00? Then $50.00?…etc. …. counting the money in his head. An attorney at the church told me, “I won’t let them know how much I give or even if I give…When I see those hands go up I think to myself ‘they just lost their reward'”

    Matt.6:2, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

        1. I never gave a dime to the bus rallies. In fact I avoided them if I could much to the disdain of my division leader.

        2. OMG! They harass the poor college students they are already guilting into wasting their times on the buses for money while they are in meetings about doing the buses?

    1. @setfree, that was a major complaint I had about the fundraising at my former fundy church. They started the hand-raising pledges at $5,000 and went all the way down to $1. That way no one had an excuse (according to the mog) not to participate. The Bible says the left hand should not know what the right hand was doing, but at this church we were trained to give to be seen of men.

    2. My husband and I attended Christmas Eve services with his parents, who now attend a non-denominational church (he and I are Catholic). I was beyond irritated when the pastor asked for a show of hands on who was willing to fight for Jesus (the war metaphor, of course, being totally appropriate for Christmas…)

      He was a very nice man, but I am incredibly anti-raising-your-hand-in-church. It was like he was conducting a poll or something and encouraging us to not consider in our own hearts what was best and what we needed to do, but just confirm that he had gotten us passionate enough throughout the course of the evening. It just struck me as crass. I can’t imagine someone asking about financial matters in this way in front of the entire congregation. Yuck.

      1. It is crass…it’s hard for an outsider to understand the mentality of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church, but it’s also hard for the life-long IFB’er to see why these things are wrong…it’s all they have ever known. Good comment!

  8. Oh I get it the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent creator of the universe can’t do anything unless we empty our wallets first. Glad they could clear that up for me. This whole time I thought God was all powerful. Good to know.

  9. Yeah man! What kind of puny god is it that needs us to do stuff? who can’t get His ends accomplished without our participation? Well.. I mean except in salvation. Of course then he cannot act without us because in that whole salvation thing he clearly has no plan, just an opportunity, and if any of his wishes (not plans) are going to be fulfilled we MUST act in faith!…. but yeah! in everything else he can get ‘er done!
    :mrgreen:

  10. It must be the season. At my church this morning the assistant rector preached (among a few other things) about tithing. I just can’t find where Jesus talks about tithing.

    I do read in 2 Corinthians 9 “So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you, and arrange in advance for this bountiful gift that you have promised, so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion.

    The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”

  11. So the One who created everything and owns it all can’t do anything without our cash?

    You know, if I hadn’t been in Christian education all those years I might have deeper pockets to dig into. πŸ™‚

  12. I enjoy giving at my non-fundy church because like many others have stated our pastor doesn’t push giving. We do have a faith promise once a year or a special project but usually that has to do with the betterment of the building e.g. we put in a elevator so the elderly could have easy access. The fundy school that I go to on the other hand wanted me to give money for their pastors birthday present.

  13. “How refreshing to find you don’t need me. How amazing to find that you want me.”

    Statements like this are the reason that Casting Crowns often serves as a gateway to nonfundyland.

    1. LOVE that song.

      re: Casting Crowns slippery slope
      And it’s true! They’re considered contemporary, but their lyrics are sooooo good. It’s a wakeup call, “hey, there IS good modern music!!” Then you get into Jars of Clay, and Switchfoot, and–

      My preacher actually used them as an illustration of the kind of music that wouldn’t be heaven πŸ˜† But then he said “Casting Crowns will be in Rev. 20” (lake of fire) which just about made me blow my top. I’ve been trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he means their music, but I really don’t think that’s what he meant….

      1. It infuriates me when people condemn other believers over extrabiblical standards. Only God knows someone’s heart, but certainly “by their fruit, you shall know them” and “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” So what is Casting Crowns saying? Their proclamation of Biblical truth is clear. So who am I to judge their heart? I can have preferences about their style of music or I can disagree with certain lyrics (not that I do!), but I can’t say they’ll be in hell because I don’t like drums and guitars. πŸ˜₯

  14. My former church before I moved didn’t ever take an offering. They had a discrete bin where offerings could be given near the entrance to the auditorium. Otherwise no offering, and they never asked for money. The only time finances or money ever came up was in business meetings. Somehow, they always made their budget and without ever guilting their congregation into giving money. Amazing how that works. God really can provide.

    1. Is true. I’ve never heard a word said about giving at my current church. And there’s always a surplus at the end of the year that we often use to help out other churches or ministries. They just burned their 20-year mortgage… 7 years into it. Preaching the gospel (including the bits about generosity and material things’ place in life) seems to be more effective than guilt.

  15. Psalm 78:41, “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”

    I heard this verse preached at Fundy U a couple years back. The man preached on how we can limit God through prayer, so I guess his conclusion was that it most definitely is possible to limit God.

      1. It reminds me of Luke 13:34 – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”

        Blessings, comfort, and closeness were all offered but rejected.

        1. I can hear a Fundy saying that this shows that we can miss ‘God’s perfect will’ for our lives. Because I missed his blessings, I must resort to His permissive will now….

  16. “Probably the hardest thought of all for our natural egotism to entertain is that God does not need our help. We commonly represent Him as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world… The God who worketh all things surely needs no help and no helpers.”

    A.W. Tozer – Knowledge Of The Holy

  17. Don’t you all know that Christ can’t do ANYTHING without our money??? He NEEDS it. I know He created the world and all and He owns the cattle on a thousand hills but still….
    Truth is IFB churches don’t use the money that is given for outreach. They use it for their own programs. Not feeding the poor etc…

  18. Gah this annoys me so much!

    We were encouraged to make faith promises of so much extra a week to pay for new bus routes and Sunday School classrooms, because “you don’t want blood on your hands from not giving to things that will see people saved.” Major eye roll. REALLY? Verse and chapter please.

    1. SFL: Put your head down, cast aside all doubts/thoughts, ignore reality, and stick to your guns as you circle the wagons and condemn anyone you adore regardless of facts.

    1. For some reason when I saw the tagline for the video I could hear the song in my head. I don’t know when I heard it or how long ago, but the video matched what I remembered of the song.

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