The diversity of this church is wonderful. We come from many nations, cultures and religious backgrounds. We also have a wide diversity in economic situations, from those living on disability to company owners and entrepreneurs. With such diversity come many ideas and attitudes toward money, debt and giving. Here is a brief explanation on our position regarding finances, the church and discipleship.
We believe that the Bible (Old and New Testaments) teaches believers to invest financially in the kingdom of God via the local church. For Israel this was via the Temple in Jerusalem. All our tithes and offerings should be given with joy, out of love for God and with sincere generosity. It is not a donation to a charity but an act of worship to God our Savior (2 Corinthians 9:6-‐7).
At CalTab we believe that the only way to understand life and our discipleship is to view it through the lens of the gospel. Generosity is a standard by which the kingdom of God operates. “…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Mark 6:38
In 2 Corinthians 8:9, Paul discusses the effect the gospel should have on the way Christians understand our spiritual wealth: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” This wealth is not money, but rather the richness of our salvation. In light of this new state, we view all material things differently.
Christ’s sacrificial love for us and His gift of eternal life helps us develop a healthy attitude toward our material possessions, and become people who are both generous and joyful. The love of Christ towards us, so powerfully demonstrated on the cross, motivates us to invest in the eternal kingdom of God and His mission. “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35
The gospel calls us to recognize that everything we have is a gift from God — and that those gifts are to be used for His glory and to further His kingdom. Disciples are caretakers of God’s gifts and truth (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 4:1). At the core of our discipleship is a stewardship of our material possessions and finances.
Ways to give.
Sunday services. Each Sunday you have an opportunity to give during the service. The use of the provided envelopes helps the church administrator record your giving. Without your name no giving record can be made for tax purposes.
Online giving (eGiving) is encouraged as this saves on time spent on counting and banking the Sunday offering. It is safer than handling checks and cash on the premises. Online giving offers a secure and seamless way to give from wherever you are. No need to be in the service. You just need an Internet connection. You fully control your giving, you have options as to which account to draw the funds from and you can print your own giving records. Sign up at www.caltabag.com/giving.
Text giving will soon be available. This allows you to give directly from your smart phone.
The advantage of electronic giving is that you do not need a checkbook or cash with you at church. Forgetting these at home in the rush to church means that you can still tithe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is generosity?
Generosity is about being kind, giving with abundance and without selfish expectation of anything in return. Being generous involves us investing in others by giving money and material resources to God. It is motivated by what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross. As God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32), so our attitude toward God and our neighbors should be one of cheerful generosity, often involving some degree of sacrifice on the part of the giver. It is not only the wealthy that are called to generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:4
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 1 John 3:17
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Acts 4:32-35
Generosity in giving is an attitude of love practiced towards God via God’s people in the local church. Tithing is an act of worship. It should not be confused with donations made to charities, such as an animal shelter. Donations are good, we call that philanthropy.
What is stewardship?
God created Adam and Eve to be for stewards of Paradise (Genesis 1:28). A steward is a person who has been entrusted with, and who manages, another’s resources according to the owner’s vision and values. The last part of that sentence is very important. As the church belongs to God, not the members, His vision and purpose for the church drives both our giving and our use of His resources. Stewards have authority to manage the resources of God and are also accountable to God (1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Peter 4:10). We are stewards of the gospel and we are mandated to GO, tell, share and otherwise partner with God in the building of His church.
What is the basis for the tithe?
In the Old Testament, believers were required to give a tenth of their income to the support of the ministry (the Levites) and the needs of the poor (the widows, fatherless and orphans). The New Testament teaches that we should give as we are “able and even beyond our ability” (2 Corinthians 8:3). At CalTab we use the word “tithe” to refer to 10%, but we also use it as a goal for all disciples to reach for, and even exceed. A tithe may be more than a tenth (10%) and in the spirit of the early church, this desire to give generously included people selling homes and bringing some or all of the proceeds to the church leaders to finance the mission of the church (Acts 5).
Tithing began long before the Ten Commandments were given to Moses. Tithing originated in the Bible with Abram, later called Abraham. Abram’s tithe predates the Law and the beginning of Israel by some 420 years. This is important as it shows us that tithing was an ancient practice some 420 years before God required it of the Jews. Abram was not a Jew although His descendants became the people of Israel (Genesis 14:17-24). In simple terms, the gap between Abram and Moses is 420 years.
Tithing is a response to a relationship we have with God not an obligation, a tax or debt we pay.
Did Jesus mention tithing?
Jesus did not specifically reject the practice, nor did He preach or teach against it. Jesus did make a point of preaching and teaching on a number of specific issues, for example, divorce, remarriage, prideful prayer, adultery, anger, unforgiveness, but tithing He mostly left untouched. In fact He validated its practice for the Jews of His day while teaching that salvation was not in tithing or other similar religious acts (Luke 11:42+18:12).
Do I give 10% of my gross or net income?
Scripture teaches that we are to give back to God our “first fruits” (Exodus 23:16, 19). Proverbs 3:9 encourages us to “honor the Lord with our wealth, with the first fruits of our crops,” meaning the primary and choicest of our possessions. God has modeled “first fruits” by giving us His son, Jesus Christ. Our response to God should reflect our love of and devotion to Him. The idea of “first fruits” comes from an agrarian economy (farming). Income in the form of crops or new born animals would be seasonal, as when a harvest was gathered. Most of us live in cities and earn wages paid on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. We need to translate this “first fruits” principle into our contemporary economy without robbing God.
It is true that some people are compensated both in cash and benefits. In some cases those benefits can add up to a good deal (as high as 50%) of the total value of the compensation. To tithe on the total (gross) out of the cash income (net) can put disproportionate pressure on a person’s disposable income. Tithing for Christians is not in our view meant to make people poor or result in guilt. It is not about performance. It is not a religious duty, which if done well becomes a source of pride. Tithing on the gross is the goal, but as discussed below, may for some, take a while to achieve.
What if I am unable to give 10% right now?
Everything has a beginning, even faith. Each person who comes to the place of following Christ does so at an economic stage of life. God not only redeems my soul, He also redeems my finances! We all have financial responsibilities we should meet and so we encourage new believers to ensure that their financial affairs are well managed, as this is part of our witness, our testimony that Jesus has saved us from our sins. For some people, 10% is too low a starting point. For others, giving even 3% is a big sacrifice. The goal of discipleship is to increase one’s commitment up to and above 10%. The point is to start where you are and grow in your giving as you increasingly manage your finances in a way that honors God.
Does all of my tithe and offering go to CalTab?
Your gift is an act of personal worship to God in response to His grace in your life and the gift of His Son. If you consider CalTab to be your “home church,” you should consider allocating a significant portion of your tithe and offering to the community where you invest most of your time and where others are investing in you. We encourage you to first invest in the ministry of CalTab, and then beyond that to other opportunities as God leads you.
Can I give time or other material things instead of money?
Disciples serve the vision of God by serving in the local church and beyond in our cities and in the nations. We do this with our time and abilities. This is normal Christianity. Serving is not a substitute for tithes and offerings.
How does CalTab fulfill its vision?
A missionary established this church in 1922. Through all the ensuing years, it has been able to fulfill the command of Jesus to be a witness in this city and far beyond the borders of the United States. This has been possible because of the tithes and offerings of the people who have loved God and invested in the ministry of this church. Starting in 1922, the income of CalTab has come from individuals who gave on a weekly basis. The giving of each person enables us to build the faith community we call our spiritual home here at CalTab. It enables us to fund mission here locally and in countries God has led us to invest in. Our mission activities are funded through mission pledges made in October of each year.
Does the church report individual giving records to the IRS?
No, the church does not report individual giving to the IRS. If we have your name and address, you will receive a record of your giving at the end of the year, which is for you to use in your tax return, should you wish to do so.
When is the best time to tithe?
Make it a personal discipline to tithe the first Sunday after payday. If you tithe electronically, do this the day you get paid (usually a Friday). Pay this first before anything else. You will not grow your kingdom generosity if you put your giving last in your spending / budget. If you do this it means that your giving comes out of what is left over. This is not the right way to manage your giving When developing a budget, put giving at the top. Pay it first.
Use this chart to calculate your giving. It assumes monthly giving.
- Where are you now on this chart?
- Where do you want to be?
- Where does God want you to be?
- List several action steps you are willing to take in the next 30 -‐ 90 days that will help you move in the right direction.
- Consider some changes you need to make to your spending / budget.
- Shift your giving to the top of the list.
- Calculate this as a percentage of your income (gross or net – just start the journey). Use the chart to help you.
- Identify what you can reduce or even do without in your budget. Put this into action. This can be simple things such as:
- Brew coffee at home instead of stopping in at __________.
- Get a cheaper entertainment package (TV). Do you need ALL those channels?
- Eat in more often.
- Eat out less often.
- Sell the junk you have and don’t replace it with other junk you don’t need.
- Think three times before just buying that new set of wheels, or clothing based on desire rather than need.
- Get out of debt! Pay off all credit cards. If you use a credit card be disciplined about your use of the credit you have. Build a good credit score. This will save you money when you do need to borrow such as for a car or home.
Mission First Involves the Proclamation of the Good News
- All mission activity is to be gospel centric. This means that we proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ as salvation by and through the atoning death of Christ. This is the crowning purpose for which Christ died. We do mission with the intention of leading people to faith in Christ.
- As a Kingdom Resource, we bring the Kingdom of God to Earth. This requires us to do acts of mercy and compassion for the widow, the orphan, the fatherless and the alien (the exploited and disempowered).
- The gospel of redemption through the blood of Christ and acts of compassion are not mutually exclusive, meaning, they belong together. Redeeming grace and Christian love are to be delivered as one seamless missional movement – in alignment with our vision, values and strategies as a local mission active church.
Mission and Partnerships
- We primarily partner with churches with whom we have a sound relationship. This essentially starts with and certainly involves leadership to leadership connection.
- As regards compassion and mercy, in the absence of a church partner, we engage with established and reputable ministries that we are confident will deliver the outcomes we believe God wants from the resources He entrusts to us at this church.
We fund / resource leaders or initiatives that aim at church planting or expansion. Support is not open ended but is subject to annual evaluation.
- Malawi. In central and northern Malawi, we partner with Vision Ledd (Jim Cantelon). In southern Malawi and Mozambique we invest in ministry leader development including an adult literacy project.
- Bangladesh. We send teams to Home of Hope orphanage to work with the children and the house parents.
- Bulgaria. We support a full time couple, Gayton and Amanda Liter, who work with orphans and Roma (Gypsey) communities. We support the church planting ministry of The Bible League (Peicho Muhtarov).
- South Africa. We feed 5 child headed homes in Masoyi, working with Liberty Church (DJ McPhail). We also partner with the Worship Centre Church (Yamunga Munga) in Durban, resourcing their leadership development as well as church growth and evangelism initiatives.
- We will launch the Light the City Network in October 2014. This network will provide a citywide platform for a host of local, reputable ministries and churches to share a common kingdom commitment to impact the city for Christ.
- On our own campus, mission will generally be expressed through our Journey Ministries (youth and children), small groups and large events. Our goal? Every member mobilized for mission, across the street, the city, the world.
The Infilling of the Holy Spirit
Here at CalTab we believe in what is known as the “infilling of the Holy Spirit.” We believe that this can and should be a separate and individual experience after salvation. The Holy Spirit is God and as such has as His purpose, the mission of God. The Holy Spirit does not come upon me or enter me for the purpose of my entertainment or so that I can simply get lost in some kind of Christian version of an “out of body” experience. The Holy Spirit has come from Heaven to build His church and empower His mission. He does this by giving us spiritual gifts.
These gifts, once received, are to be used for the glory (honor, fame and mission) of God. Not my glory, not my fame and certainly not my mission.
Now, if we live a life that honors God, makes Him famous and which furthers His mission, we will feel good about our faith. Our witness will have integrity and our lives will be fruitful for His kingdom. Note that the Holy Spirit has not come to make me feel good. He has come to empower us for His mission. The feel good part comes when we live a life that is fruitful for God. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is not barking, it is love. It is patience and kindness. The anointing of the Holy Spirit does not teach or require us to live in rebellion to the authority of God’s leaders. That is another spirit. The fullness of the Holy Spirit in my life produces good fruit just as sure as the sun rises after the night. So when we have had a good prophetic time, we should look for the lasting fruit of a transformed life. God knows us by our fruit not our experiences.
In the process of producing good fruit, He (the Holy Spirit) will work in me to challenge me (bring conviction) and change me (make me a disciple.) If this is true of our lives, we will therefor make progress as Christians. If we continue to claim to have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit but am neither convicted nor changed, our experiences were carnal or in the flesh, meaning the experience had more of me in it than God.
Prophets have one primary responsibility; a prophet is one who brings understanding.
In Israel prophets existed to describe a future that was inevitable based on the actions of the people in their present. It seems that many people are unable to connect their present choices with future consequences. So a prophet was in many ways a declarer of the obvious. Obvious to God and His prophets anyway. If a nation sinned, it would reap the judgment of God. If a nation repented and turned to God and did righteous things, it would be blessed. Not that complicated. A prophet was not a person with a crystal a ball knowing the unknowable. Yes God would “show” prophets things hidden to the average person, but the purposed was always for them to find and enter the purposes of God.
In the early church, there were prophets in the churches in Jerusalem and Antioch (Acts 11:27 and 13:1). In one case they knew that a famine was coming and they warned the churches to prepare. This is an instance of foretelling although we have no idea as to how they came by this knowledge, so we assume it was by divine revelation. This is one instance in the early church and the Bible does not make this a significant pattern of prophetic ministry. In the other instance (Acts 13:1) the knowledge of the will of God for Paul and Barnabus came through prayer and then revelation. Yet we should note that the prophets worked in conjunction with teachers.
What then do we mean by the word “prophetic” – when we use it in the local church? This refers to a ministry environment or meeting in which the Holy Spirit is at work. In these meetings many of the gifts may be at work.
The Holy Spirit works through the gifts, and here we have to recognize, for example, gifts such as a “word of knowledge” (Acts 13:9-12). In this passage we find a very good example of a prophetic moment leading to a clear missional experience for a Roman government representative. In everyday evangelical language, he got saved. This is again a clear example of the missional purpose for which the gifts were given. Jesus had told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. Once received, they would become gifted witnesses (Acts 1:4).
Returning to CalTab
As a church we desire the presence, ministry and power of the Holy Spirit. To understand how we are to proceed, experience and keep ourselves from error in this, we need to turn to other scripture for some guidance.
- Gifts flowing in a meeting can be impressive (or disturbing), BUT love remains more important than gifts.
- If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but have not love, I am a noisy cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2.
- Consideration for one another remains a reflection of love.
- So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-3
- Submission to those in authority remains a key kingdom operating requirement.
- Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17.
To Be Practical
- When it comes to the “laying on of hands.” Men pray for men and women for women. An exception to this is that elders and those properly approved by the elders may pray for people of the opposite gender. Another exception may be when a group prays for a person. Visitors are asked not to lay hands on anyone during the moving of the Holy Spirit. There is deep spiritual significance in the laying on of hands and this is for the protection of our members. The apostolic authority of leadership is used by God to impart gifts.
- Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. 1 Timothy 5:13.
- Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 1 Timothy 4:14.
- Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:17.
- Should a person become in some disruptive sense, ‘out of control’, elders may remove that person to different environment for further ministry.
- Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner. 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.
- We believe in being open to the leading of God. Nevertheless, order is also a biblical value. This includes the arrangement of our time into a schedule or liturgy. God detailed the entire set up of the Tabernacle and the orders of the priesthood. It was while Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father was serving with his “division on duty” (Luke 1:8-9) that the Lord spoke to him about the miracle that would be his son. Routine, planning and regularity of divine service are not God’s enemy and certainly do not work to dampen the Holy Spirit.
- The perception that to plan a service is somehow unspiritual is proof that one has not read the Bible.
- What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. 1 Corinthians 14:26 and 33.
We desire God’s presence and leading in our meetings. Our elders will be intentional about being sensitive to this. They will also be mindful of the purpose to which He has called us as a local church. The Holy Spirit will not work contrary to God’s purposes for us. It is the task of the elders to discern the connection between these two.
March 10 2014
If you were asked to take 3 minutes and describe the Bible to the neighbor sitting next to you I wonder what you would say? On the surface it seems like a simple and straightforward question. However, when pressed to actually give them an explanation beyond “well, it is God’s Word” can be challenging!
When it comes to God’s Word we find ourselves faced with many questions: Why is the Bible important? Who wrote the Bible? Can we trust the Bible? Is it full of opinions, myths, and nice stories or is it something more?
The general perception of the Bible today can take many forms. For some it is seen as a totally irrelevant and archaic book which is full made up stories. To others it is offensive and full of contradictions. Some see it as a book with some basic stories worthwhile or akin to other historic and or holy books. Many do not see it as having authority in their life so it is certainly not a guide for life nor does it have any special purpose. We can read the latest magazine to glean wise words for life. Even more alarming then the disregard of the Bible can be those who seem to use the Bible for their own purposes. The kind of people who take parts of the truth weave them together and turn it into their own. Those who on the surface seem to know the Bible but have decided that there is a need for something more.
It is into these challenges that the Apostle Paul writes his letters to his friend and colleague Timothy. We see in 2 Timothy that there are people who have “swerved from the truth”, who “have an appearance of godliness, but deny its power”, and who put themselves in the place that only God can occupy (2 Timothy 2-3). But Paul’s message to Timothy is a charge to stay true to the scriptures he had been taught! We too must be a people who do not “swerve” from the truth but continue in the Word.
The Word is essential because it comes from God and is all about God’s son Jesus. As you take the time to read through 2 Timothy on your own notice all the implications to your Christian walk when we see His Word as ESSENTIAL!
This week we continue in the series, “Essence of the Faith” where we are looking at the essential ingredients to our Christian life. On Sunday we will look at one of the most important ingredients — The Bible. Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Does the Bible guide your life? In this first blog we will see that God has made himself known through his word.
“The Bible is the greatest book in the world because it is the special revelation of God”. By revelation I mean, the act of God that gave men knowledge about himself and his creation.
What is important to note is that revelation is an act of God and not man. 2 Peter 1:20-21 says, “…men spoke from God (not themselves) as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Revelation comes from God himself, and is about God. Man did not dream him up, nor create him. We can only know God because he chose to make himself known to us.
How has he chosen to make himself known?
In two ways: 1) General Revelation and, 2) Special Revelation.
The first way God reveals himself is through things like nature. For example Romans 1:18-21 exhorts us to simply look outside our window as evidence of God’s power and divine nature in his creation around us. General revelation is given to every person; whether they see it or not is the question. The second means of revelation is special revelation. “Special revelation comes to us from Scripture and through the revelation of God in Jesus Christ specifically (John 1:10).” The amazing truth is that God has chosen to make himself known through a book, namely the Bible! We have in our hands access to the very words of God. With this revelation we can know Jesus, know why we need Jesus, find the hope of eternal life, understand how to grow in our Christian walk, and find victory over sin and the enemy.
The Bible is God’s revelation of himself to us, if you want to know God and live for him then you must read his letter. As you read, pray to the Holy Spirit for help in understanding his words. You can also find great study resources which can help you dig in deeper to the word.
Reference: Towns, Elmer. “Concise Bible Doctrines”.
Fellowship and Voting Members
To say that one is a member of a particular church can mean different things to people. For some it is an identity that they inherited from their parents at infant baptism. By the way, infant baptism is not something we believe in or practice. This inherited membership, or identity (“I’m an Anglican”), is generally true of those in more traditional churches. But many Pentecostals have the same characteristics, for example, “I’m AG.” To others, membership has a much looser meaning; mostly as the place one attends church, regularly or not.
In the New Testament, it is quite clear that disciples lived out their faith in close proximity to one another. Only by being close to one another in real time relationships could the new nature of Christ in them grow into a maturity that would be evident to those around. Being actively engaged together with other disciples in a local church was normal church life! The advent of denominations changed that in a big way.
Here at CalTab we have two expressions (types or phases) of membership; Fellowship members and Voting members. Both have the same spiritual requirements.
Some (but not all) of these requirements are listed here – all membership journeys begins here!
- A clear testimony of being born again.
- Adult Water Baptism – sometimes called “believer’s baptism”.
- A commitment to the vision and values of this church.
- Practice consistent, proportional giving (tithes, offerings, missions pledges) that is true to scripture.
- Exercise gifts and talents in the service of this church as a volunteer.
The difference between Voting and Fellowship members is that Voting members are required to participate in the few formal business meetings we do have from time to time. In addition, certain positions such as elders, trustees and other key roles need to be filled by Voting members.
To become a Voting member, apart from meeting the requirements for Fellowship membership, anyone applying for Voting membership needs to have a clear record of giving that reasonably evidences a culture of tithing. It is illogical to have voting members who do not contribute financially or contribute so little that it is self evident that their financial discipleship is quite immature. Members who vote on a budget do need to demonstrate a financial commitment to the church that in reasonably biblical.
At the discretion of the elders, people need to have been in fellowship for a year before applying for Voting membership. During this time they should demonstrate good Christian witness in all aspects of their life. This would include serving in the congregation as a volunteer in some recognized and accountable capacity.
What if you are visiting, exploring, or just checking us out? Hey, that is fantastic. Visit all you want, come back often. We pray that God will meet with you and do a great work in your life right here among us. Our desire is that you will connect with God here. We see it is as part of our mission to do what we can to make that connection life transforming.