Newsletter December 2019

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Our year end Christmas party

Dear family and friends,

Please enjoy our news as the year ends and we once again take time this Christmas to reflect upon the greatest gift ever given – Jesus Christ, Emmanuel.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Big news and 2020

We’re moving! After nearly three years living on the South Coast, God began giving us clear notice that a move was coming. Following the unexpected departure of our managing couple at Orchard Manor, and having a strong team in Durban to continue the work, we have chosen to relocate back to the Berg later this month.

Interestingly both of our sons’ births will herald major relocations, having moved to Durban weeks after Russell’s birth, and now returning after our second son’s birth (due any day now!).

We feel 2020 will have us settling in to being a family of four while enjoying the support of our extended family in the mountains. We will be encouraging the local church there, building community and ministering to our guests, and foresee a fair amount of travel as we support the team continuing the ministries that have been established in Durban.

We have also been building relationships in a small inland town called Weenen and with a pastor in Swaziland who we will visit. Shannon won’t be committing to any YWAM teachings next year as she settles into motherhood of two and invests fully in establishing a godly worldview in our boys.

Ministry news

Our move is possible due to the people God has blessed us with in team here in Toti/Illovo. The church, the children’s ministry, and the mission base will continue in the care of godly men and women who are devoted to Him and seeking His purposes.

Recapping 2019

2019 was a very busy year for us;

  • Mission trips included: Uganda (Shannon teaching two books at YWAM Jinja and Glenn doing ministry in the north with Redefined Ministries), Weenen (Glenn 5 trips and Shannon 2), Cape Town (Shannon teaching on two schools with YWAM Muizenberg), and Durban (teaching Bible Overview together with YWAM Durban).
  • Over the last three months we have been blessed to host friends visiting from Australia, Holland and the UK.

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Our friend Stephen Hertzig out visiting from the UK

  • Beyond this we’ve had a great time hosting more individuals, couples and families on our mission base this year than I can list here, who have either given out in ministry or received ministry.
  • Two short term mission groups came through, one from YWAM and another from a church in Ireland. Both groups enjoyed meaningful times with us, were a great encouragement to us, and added value to the work here.

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The Irish team ministering in eziMangweni

  • Over the last year and a half the mission base has transformed from predominantly hosting short term missionaries, to become an intentional Christian community with long term missionaries. It is a wonderful experiment in communal living where we can grow in our faith through daily fellowship and encouragement (see Acts 2:42-46).

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Our current base family

  • Work on the base buildings continue as we have the means. One of our values is self-sustainability. Currently we are preparing a larger chicken/duck coop, and a space for a second garden enclosure (necessary to protect crops from monkeys). Rudi’s addition to the base has seen the vegetable garden take off, providing three families with fresh vegetables and even some strawberries. The papaya/pawpaw and tree tomatoes are also starting to fruit.

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Ongoing DIY upgrades

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Working in the vegetable garden

  • The ministry in eziMangweni continues to go through changing seasons. While we continue with Sunday celebrations and home groups, our primary focus now is the children’s ministry. From just a handful of children we now have over 80 who attend our kids’ ministry each Saturday. We care as we can for their physical and emotional needs in addition to teaching them about faith in Jesus.
  • After a busy year and with our baby approaching, we took November mostly for ourselves and to focus on our leadership team. We were able to get away down the coast for a week as a family. It was raining most of the time, but that didn’t keep RM out of the pool (and thus Mum!).

Testimonies

  • This year we gave the children of eziMangweni a Christmas party. It was the first time that Glenn and I weren’t the primary contributors – in fact, we didn’t contribute! This gave us great encouragement to see that this ministry is God’s work. We were able to give the children gifts that included an item each of clothing, hygiene, toys, food, and stationary. They also received Bibles, and the older girls received further hygiene bags. There was a jumping castle, games and plenty of food.
  • We were also gifted with items to make up Christmas hampers for the faithful attendants of our church. The families received food goods – staples, and Christmas luxuries – as well as a small gift, toiletries, and hygiene products for the ladies.
  • A continuous stream of donations for our “Bible Bucks” shop – the children earn paper “money” through arriving on time to kids’ ministry, doing kind deeds, listening well, bringing recyclable goods (for activities such as making toys), etc. They then use this “money” to buy from the shop once a month – toys, stationary, toiletries etc. The ministry team hopes to have a special stationary shop in January to help the children with items needed for school.

Prayer requests

  • Birth of our beloved second son to be easy, healthy and without complication. He is due anytime in the next two weeks.
  • For South Africa – politicians to come to know Christ and pursue righteousness, the end of corruption in politics and the police force, against crime (especially violent crime) throughout the land, and improvement in basic services (road fixtures, electricity, water supply, rubbish collection etc).
  • The big transitions occurring through December and early next year – for us as a family and the ministries here on the South Coast.
  • That we will continue in God’s perfect will. We have an idea of where He is leading next year, but do not want our ideas to cause us to miss what His actual intention for us is.

Love and blessings,

Glenn, Shannon, RM and little one xx

Newsletter August 2019

Dear family and friends,

Let’s try getting some news out sooner this time, so that it can be shorter!

God is impressing upon us the need to allow Christ to be Lord over everything in our lives. It is when we live in complete submission to His headship that He can work most mightily in and through us. He is also impressing upon us that worship is to be our greatest focus of spiritual warfare in this season.

Some treasured verses from this season:

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2Co 4:5-7).

Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Php 3:7-8).

I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God (Act 20:24).

Mission trips

Shannon had a wonderful time ministering in Cape Town at Youth with a Mission (YWAM), Muizenberg. She taught on two schools – closing the School of Biblical Studies in the book of Revelation and commencing the Discipleship Bible School with the topic of Worldview and Origins (books of Job, Genesis and Exodus). We again travelled as a family and RM returned with an addiction to packet chips – oh, mission life fare! He also loved the beach playground and special daddy and gogo (granny) time.

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Shannon’s DBS class

We were home for one week, and one church service, before Glenn headed off to Weenen, in rural KwaZulu Natal, for a men’s weekend mission and camping trip. He had a great time building relationships with men who came from our own and two other churches, as well as speaking God’s purpose into the local church community. We foresee further partnership into the Weenen area.

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The team in Weenen

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Reunited with Qwawe! (We went to Uganda with Qwawe in Feb)

Shannon will teach at YWAM Durban in September on the topic “Bible Overview” on their Discipleship Training School. We will go as a family and Glenn will also minister during the teaching.

Luke 4:18 Missions

Our first year of pioneering into eziMangweni involved much tough, ground-breaking labour. While we are grateful for the remarkable demonstration of God’s power among us throughout this time (in physical healings, divine protection, provision, connections and the multiplication of food), we are yet more thankful for the team God has been establishing around us.

We have been amazed at how our Father is suddenly honouring the word he gave Glenn last November that ‘help is on the way’. Over the last three months God has increased our missionary team (with us included) to ten.

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Having some of our missionary family over for a meal

Power of God Assembly

Three of our missionaries are also deacons in Power of God Assembly, our church in eziMangweni. They have been doing wonderful work: growing in the Lord, serving the church body and loving the community. They have been enjoying intense home meetings over the last two months, with the Holy Spirit pouring Himself out in wonderful ways. Glenn felt when we appointed our deacons that they would go out as Phillip did in the book of Acts, seeing God’s mighty hand at work.

Our last two Sundays have also had the pleasure of deepening, glorious worship.

Mission base

We continue to enjoy hosting many visitors. In the last two months we have had saints from Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland come through to encourage us and the church.

We were uplifted by Kathy de la hunt who come through bringing accurate prophecy, targeted counseling, and laying a rich deposit into our foundations.

Our Swazi visitor, whom we met on the plane back from Uganda, has been a particular divine connection. At the age of 72, after a career in law, serving twice as Swaziland’s Minister of Justice, and two decades in ministry, he has on his heart to establish a mission station in Swaziland. We look forward to a fruitful partnership with him, as we aim to take teams there and likewise them here.

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Our Swazi guests

We are also excited to host a church team from Ireland coming next week. They are our seventh short term mission team since August last year (when we purchased the base), and represent visitors from our tenth foreign nation.

Our current focus with renovations is building bunk beds. The Irish team will see us host a record 20 souls (including us) in the main house, and 23 on the property.

We continue to be wonderfully supported by Seabreeze in Amanzimtoti, who have generously helped us out on material costs since last year.

God’s current direction for us is to focus on prayer, worship, discipleship and service.

We also feel God calling us to “militarise” our mindsets and terminology, in order to remind ourselves that we are His soldiers, engaged in a spiritual battle. ‘No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.’ (2Tim 2:4).

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Out and about scouting in eziMangweni for a forward mission base site

Family life

We look forward to meeting our next little prince soon with baby boy Tungay due mid Dec. RM has come around to the idea of a brother after initially desiring a sister.

Praise points

We are enjoying a season of health! Thank you for your prayers in this regard;

Fruitful mission trips;

Opening doors in eziMangweni for us and our church family;

Fruitful labour;

Shannon’s spousal visa renewed for a further 3 years (we hope she can be approved for permanent residency before this one expires).

Prayer points

Land in eziMangweni to further God’s work through community development projects and employment initiatives, and also to serve as a mission base to allow short term teams to stay amongst the people.

Baby and RM to continue in health, good growth and knowledge of the Lord.

Speedy set up of Luke 418 Missions as a non profit company.

Specifically young Zulus to join our mission team.

Love and blessings,

The Tungay tribe

Walking in good works

‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’ Eph 2:10

The word workmanship from the Greek means ‘fabric, product, something that is made’. It carries the implication of an artist or artisan intentionally creating an item for a specific purpose. Thus the ISV translates the word as ‘masterpiece’.

This is in line with the scriptural portrayal of God being a master potter and us the clay. He intentionally shapes, molds and sculpts us. The potter starts out with a lump of clay, yet from the beginning works to a pre-determined design.

As individuals we are God’s greatest work. We are an object being created for both His pleasure and purpose. His delight is in both the vessel and the right functioning of that vessel.

In the natural as the spiritual, a beautiful vessel is pleasing both for its form and its function.

Importantly we are first His workmanship before being His worker. He works in us in order to work through us. Good works flow out of good being. Christian fruitfulness is always both internal (character) and external (action). It is both our will and our works given over for His good pleasure.

‘for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.’ Php 2:13

We are not saved to simply be recipients of God’s favour and salvation, but to be co-laborers with Christ in this fallen world. To that end we need to learn to devote ourselves to others welfare, in particular the poor, marginalized and oppressed. This has to be learnt because apart from the few naturally compassionate and justice orientated individuals in the world, it is not a natural inclination.

And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. Tit 3:14

Our good works will vary according to the gifts and faith God has given us, and the circumstances He engineers around us. How what the good works prepared for us are, is not as important as having the willing heart to do them.

May we all learn to walk in God’s workmanship and good works.

Newsletter June 2019

Hi everyone,

Time goes by: the first year since planting our church has passed, and two years in Durban.

From Shalack to Luke 418 Missions

Following the merging of the church we had been supporting at the beginning of last year with two other local congregations, Glenn was invited to help lead a non profit company (NPC) called Shalack International Ministries. The intention was for us to pioneer our township church (Power of God Assembly) and community development projects, while our ministry partner focused on teenage sports development and training soccer coaches in the township.

However over the course of this year, in particular with our mission base coming on line, we came to the conclusion that it would be best for both parties to rather work alongside each other with two separate NPCs.

To this end we are now in the process of setting up ‘Luke 418 Missions’.

Luke 4:18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed”

Our key principles for the mission are;

  1. Recklessly follow the Holy Spirit (live out obedience)
  2. Love the poor and make disciples (live out truth)
  3. Do good works (live out kindness)

Power of God Assembly

As we expected, our church has decreased in size over the year as we have preached the uncompromised message of the gospel – calling saints to seek first the Kingdom and turn from witchcraft, superstition, drunkenness and all other works of the flesh. God does not only love and save us, He desires to transform us! We are, however, enjoying the smaller fellowship as we grow into a closer knit family.

We have had many wonderful people come through from South Africa and other nations to encourage the church, joining with us in our Sunday celebrations, and at a few mid week evening meetings.

We started two home groups this year. These have proven fruitful, bringing life and change to the households hosting them. Fortunately, we were able to appoint our first deacons who are carrying these ministries.

We took time at our one year celebration in May to share testimonies and encourage each other with how much God has done in and through us as a family. Not only have minds, lives and relationships been in the process of transformation, but we have also been thankful to see a fair share of physical healings. Glenn for one was totally healed of a very painful hand that he thinks was the onset of arthritis.

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Testimonies at our one year celebration.

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Praying for our first deacons.

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Building Kingdom family.

One continuing encouragement over the year has been the multiplication of food. On several occasions our pots of food have stretched miraculously to feed the soccer teams or our congregation. In all cases the food has run out only once everyone is satisfied (after handing out heaped plates) and the last person has come for seconds. The last instance of this was our one year celebration, with the rice even stretching to send a few ladies home with extra in containers.

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One exceptional multiplication highlight of our first year was a Wednesday evening meeting with a YWAM team where we had over 90 adults and children gathered together. We brought three packets of biscuits on a whim (about 40 biscuits) and resigned that they would have to only serve the first handful of people.

Glenn watched the first person take three and Shannon saw one man take five. Ministry continued with the team for the next forty minutes. When everything was coming to an end, a plate was brought around still piled with biscuits. Glenn asked Gertrude, who managed the tea, if others had brought any – but no one had.

Those remaining tried to empty the plate, but despite taking handfuls we just couldn’t finish them! God must have multiplied upward of four hundred biscuits that night. We count ourselves blessed to have eaten heavenly treats not made by human hands!

Vocational Ministries

Last year we handed over the sewing ministry, and continue to partner with Val – mainly through the passing on of donations or suggesting ladies.

Our main vocational ministry at the moment is assisting the set up of two small businesses – one in the sale of take-away snack food and the other, the sale of donated goods. These businesses will hopefully help to support the families of two faithful ladies in the church.

We continue our planning towards a crèche and a sustainable agricultural initiative, but we are very much dependant on God sending extra hands to help in the implementation.

Mission base

Our aim of having a mission base is to create an intentional space for Christian community and spiritual development.  In our experience, discipleship happens far more rapidly and with a greater depth of sincerity in close residential community. One of the biggest draw backs of traditional, event based church is the inability of people to ‘do life together’, rarely being able to see each other more than a few hours a week.

It also provides a platform to send out and more ably support missionary activity in the surrounding communities. This includes both long term missionaries heading up various projects, and short term missionaries coming through from partnering ministries for outreaches and events.

Renovations on the property continue primarily downstairs, and the space is now liveable. We have completed a bathroom and the kitchen, and three bedrooms are functional, but still await ceilings and carpets. We are also putting labour into the forested area below the base to create spaces for prayer and private worship.

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Tiling the deck to waterproof rooms below.

Shannon’s garden, enclosed with wire to protect against monkeys, is starting to take shape. We are hoping in time to provide most of the base’s basic fruit and vegetables from here.

In the last month, two families have moved in, one down stairs (South African) and one in the cottage (Australian), to serve with us as they are led.

We have been praying for Zulu missionaries to join us as there is a real need for interpreters and workers who understand the local culture better than we do. For them to be young and male would be an additional bonus, as there are far fewer Christian Zulu men compared to women, and we have yet begun to reach the needs of the Zulu youth.

We have had six short term mission groups, five from YWAM and one from an independent ministry in England, come through since God opened the way for us to buy the property ten months ago. Every group has been a blessing in its own unique way. They have all been an encouragement to us, the church and the eziMangweni community.

The last YWAM group went out with Glenn to pray and do evangelism at a local school with 1000 students. While there they stumbled upon a satanic temple in an abandoned building. After praying they felt led to come back the next day and worship, clean the walls, declare God’s power and love, take communion and anoint the doors and windows. When they were done the spiritual atmosphere had changed completely. A few days later we discovered a news article discussing a satanic scandal at the school that had happened a few months previously.

Perhaps the greatest testimony around the mission base (purchasing and renovating it aside) has been having missionaries and mission groups coming so soon, when we purposely do not advertise or promote ourselves. When something is God’s plan, He will work to bring it about. It is ironically more difficult to rest in our Father than to keep busy trying to make things happen in our own strength for Him.

Mission trips

Our two week Uganda trip in February (wow, what an age ago!) was a fruitful time of ministry. We travelled with Russell; Glenn’s mom, Lynn; and a Zulu friend and missionary, Qhawe. Shannon enjoyed catching up with friends in Jinja and teaching Exodus and Leviticus with the YWAM SBS (School of Biblical Studies). Glenn travelled across the country with Qhawe to serve with Redefined Ministries (Shannon helped co-found this ministry that started in the DRC but is now in DRC and Uganda). They ministered to leaders in Paidha, on the North-eastern border of the Congo, for a week and visited a YWAM base in Arua.

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Our rest day seeing the source of the Nile.

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On the Jinja YWAM base with Innocent the leader of Redefined Ministries. 

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In the neutral zone between Uganda and the DRC with elders from the DRC.

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Shannon’s SBS class.

Subsequent to the trip, Glenn has stepped onto Redefined Ministry’s board for Australian Mercy. 

We head to Cape Town for 2.5 weeks on the 20th June where Shannon will teach on two YWAM schools – the book of Revelation and Origins Week (Job, Genesis, Exodus).

Family life

We have had several health ups and downs (colds and flu) mostly due to being two introverts trying to live an extroverted lifestyle. But as we are labouring well beyond our own resources and abilities, this keeps us pressing into God and allowing Him to manage and carry His work.

RM continues to grow and mature. He eats like a horse and plays like the energiser bunny. He loves having two more boys on the property to play, argue, and get up to mischief with.

We had Shannon’s parents out visiting us for a month in April from Australia, which was a special blessing for Russell who loves his “Papa” and “Nan”.

Russell’s other favourite, Gogo (“Grandma” in Zulu; Glenn’s Mum), has also made an effort to regularly drive the three hours from her home to visit us.

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Russell enjoying time together with the grandparents.

We are also continuing renovations on our house in the Drakensberg. We are not going up as often now as our Father has provided an amazing couple to manage it in our absence.

We also praise God for his protection over us as a family. We had two incidents with our truck over the space of two weeks – both of which could have been fatal. In one case He exposed potential sabotage on the vehicle around the diff being drained of oil, and in another our front wheel fell off as we drove out our gate due to a nut being over tightened and the pin holding it in being damaged. We were all in the vehicle about to head onto the highway.

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Our front wheel fell off as we were leaving the base.

That’s all from us for now. Please send us your news – or come for a visit!

Love and blessings,

The Tungays

Praise points

  • Ongoing miraculous financial provision for ministry and renovations
  • A greater sense of purpose and freedom
  • For short term and long term missionaries
  • Developing intentional community
  • Divine protection

Prayer points

  • Health
  • Travel grace
  • Cape Town teaching to be Spirit led
  • Spirit led discipleship and ministry
  • Young Zulu missionaries
  • Continued financial provision
  • Continued protection from malicious attack, especially witchcraft

 

 

 

Newsletter January 2019 (Shannon and Glenn)

Hello everyone,

Here is a summary of the last six months of happenings in our life and ministry.

Europe trip

September was a month of preparation before our Europe trip. We had a testimony of RM’s Australian passport arriving last minute – God is never late, but He seems to enjoy cutting it too close for our comfort!

The trip was initiated by Shannon’s long term South African friends, the Swarts, inviting her to teach on their School of Biblical Studies in Norway. She went to teach the book of Deuteronomy. It was an encouraging time equipping the body of Christ, and hearing the testimony of God’s miraculous provision: the base was bought with its large farm and many buildings by missionaries with nothing! YWAM has an amazing history of purchasing extraordinary assets by faith (A cruise liner, castle, hotels and so on), without financial backing, or even paying jobs.

 

YWAM Grumerud

We really enjoyed Norway; the lack of fences and the sense of complety safety was always a delight, given the constant awareness one has to live with in South Africa. Norway is one of the wealthiest governments in the world and has a very small population, and thus people lack for nothing. Norway is as close to a paradise as one will find on this earth (in appearance), but Glenn was very unsettled by how all-powerful the state is, and Shannon how easy it is to have one’s children taken off you without due evidence, and also the soceities fall in morality (an example is a book that was brought out on why pornography should be shown to children. Thankfully a YWAMer released a book fighting against this).

From Norway, we flew to Germany then drove to Switzerland and back (3000km trip) via Bavaria and Lichtenstein, following God’s leading. The Bavarian detour allowed us to visit Shannon’s family-heritage town, Buchbach, and to visit Berchtesgaden and see the infamous Eagles Nest (a long time desire of Glenn’s).

We stayed at as many YWAM bases as could host us en route and enjoyed many divine appointments. We are excited to see what will eventuate in time from the relationships we made during the trip, but good seeds were planted for friendship and future ministry. We were also blessed to catch up with some very dear friends – Jules in Germany, and John-Mark and the Latola’s in Switzerland.

The Kehlsteinhaus (or Eagle’s Nest)

YWAM Hurlach Castle

It was an interesting transition both going to Europe and coming home. We saw many of the flaws of Europe, and the need for more missionaries on that side, but also the appeal of life there. We were hit with culture shock on our return and it took us the better part of a month to settle back into life in South Africa. All being said though, we would not leave South Africa with all its troubles for Europe unless God specifically sent us there.

Church (Power of God Assemblies)

We left our church in a good place and felt it was an opportunity for them to grow in our absence. The Spirit has laid two Scriptures repeatedly upon us in regards to the church:

  • 1Co 14:26  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.
  • 1Pe 2:9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

All believers are called as priests, and thus can and should all minister. Overall we feel many in the church are stepping into this truth slowly. However, we did notice a “dip” in the church’s momentum in November after our time away, which flowed into the December holidays. Fortunately, the year has started well and a passion is reawakening in the family. We have also seen a purification take place in the church, with a smaller, core group of regulars solidifying now the excitement of the church plant has died down.  

The church predominately ran two weekly meetings in its first 6 months – a Sunday morning and a Wednesday night. The Wednesday night often ended up being the larger event and was where some deeper teaching took place. It eventually morphed into more of a youth meeting. The Sunday mornings have continued as they started – a beautiful time of congregation led, Spirit filled worship, body ministry and family time.

Sunday in eziMangweni

Our kids out at night

As of this year, we are focusing on fellowship and discipleship, replacing the Wednesday night meeting with two home groups. We are praying into continuing something for the youth on Wednesday nights as most of the youth sit around on the road sides in the evenings, but as always the availability of human resources is the hindering factor.

Drug abuse and prostitution among the youth are also challenges that, at this point, are out of our reach to affect, but we trust that as God adds people to us we can see what strategies He gives us to start addressing them.

Mission House

Renovations continue. Surprise, surprise. Don’t these things always take longer than expected? But we have made good progress and downstairs is nearly ready to host teams without needing to use the facilities of the main house or cottage.

When completed it will have two dorm rooms, a family room, lounge, dining room, scullery/pantry, two bathrooms and an outside braai/cooking area.

In time we will put an internal stair case in to make one large six bedroom facility. The plan down the road is for us to occupy the cottage.

God has been faithful to meet the daunting financial needs of our personal and ministry life. We have also been blessed with a local hardware store providing us with materials at cost due to our focus on community development. This generous assistance has greatly helped us get to where we are as fast as we have.

Mission teams

We have had several teams through for short time periods. These teams really bless the work in our community. It gives us the “workers for the harvest,” which is ripe! Through the love of God that goes with them in home visits and evangelism, their acts of service in the community, and the occasional miraculous healing we have seen quite a few people come to salvation, or infrequent, on the fringe believers coming to a deeper, consistent faith. Send more, Lord!

Shalack Ministries

Shalack Ministries is the NPO (non-profit organisation) our church is affiliated with and that we do community development work through.

The soccer and netball teams continue to impact the youth of our community. Our youth soccer teams in particular, organised by our ministry partner Wayne, did very well last year, with several talented players coming through. The under 15 team took part in a large regional tournament at the end of the year where they got through to the quarter final.

Our under 13 team playing on their home field in eziMangweni

The sewing ministry ended the year with approximately 20 consistent students. This first group will complete another semester, during which we hope to be able to have them “buy” (at a token price) a sewing machine at graduation, allowing them to start small businesses such as tailoring, curtaining, garment modifications or mending.

The feeding program continued on a Sunday. We were able to arrange Christmas hampers of food, clothes, and toys to bless our poorest families.

God has also been busy networking us with likeminded believers who are also seeking to impact the community and we are partnering together, brainstorming for projects for 2019 and beyond (more of that later).

Our new website is up, although still under construction. If you want to read more see; www.shalack.org

Our personal life

RM is growing quickly. He is a movement-orientated little guy and will even bounce on the lap reading stories, or move around when drawing. Needless to say, Mum and Dad are exhausted at the end of each day trying to keep up with him!

Whenever we hit a patch of tiredness or discouragement, God sends someone to uplift us, pray for us, minister with us, or otherwise encourage us. It is a joy to see God’s faithfulness in caring for our physical, mental and emotional needs, just as He does our spiritual needs. This season continues to stretch and grow us in the Lord, for which we are grateful.

Heb 12:11  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

1Co 9:23-27  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

We were able to celebrate both our birthdays and wedding anniversary during our Europe trip, so we enjoyed our various tourist sites as our special treats.

The Berg

Apart from Durban, we live a parallel life in the Drakensberg, trying to drive the 600km return trip once a month. We use this time to manage our accommodation business, including constant maintenance and renovations on our house.  It also gives us a welcome break from the city, and some valuable time with family – Russell especially loves time with his Gogo (Granny Lynn). 

Family time with Gogo

The beautiful view from our berg house.

What’s next?

We continue to work towards household sustainability, which we see as a blessing for visiting teams (fresh, free produce) and a model to those we minister to. The veggie patch is growing and producing really well. We are currently building a chicken coop and tunnel (needed for the monkeys – I’m currently picking green tomatoes!).

We continue to feel that a crèche is on God’s agenda for eziMangweni (meaning: place of mangoes). We are exploring other crèches in the area and working with a couple of other NGOs with understanding of the laws and standards involved. There is a member of our church who we feel is right to be trained for the business and she is in agreement with this, and joining us in the planning process.

We have made a friendship with a couple involved in Farming God’s way who hope to help us begin teaching and implementing this agricultural model soon.

In April we will receive longer-term missionaries with three internationals planning to join us this year for six months, and another in prayer about such. This will enable us to further walk out what we feel God’s heart is for the church this year, especially one-on-one discipleship. We also look forward to more short term mission teams visiting us.

Next Friday (8th Feb) we fly to Uganda with Glenn’s Mum, Lynn, and Qhawe, a fellow missionary, to serve for 10 days. Shannon will teach Exodus and Leviticus on the YWAM Jinja base, whilst Lynn helps with RM. Glenn and Qhawe will travel to the western border, and potentially into the DRC, to serve with contacts from Shannon’s former ministry, Redefined Ministries International.

Thoughts from the last few months

Some passages of Scripture have stood out to us:

  • 1Co 3:16-20 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
  • Rom 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

How we have been living over the last year, and the choices we are making, do not make sense from a worldly perspective. We have been challenged to lay down our all, and live recklessly by faith according to the leading of the Spirit, to see something of the Father’s purposes brought about around us in this little corner of Africa.

Bit by bit the Spirit has been helping us let go of common sense (the ‘wisdom of this world’), to shift us out of living from a place of middle class self interest.

This is the foolishness of God – putting our lives, our health and our future in the hands of an invisible Father who truly cares for us. It is the foolish desire to give one’s all to know Him and to see His will be done on earth through us, and despite of us.

It is hard to walk by the Spirit, in complete surrender, but this is the only way to live as the revealed sons of God – that is living daily with the evident testimony of God’s supernatural hand and favour in our lives.

Prayer needed for the nation

The national elections are scheduled for THIS year and it will be a major one for SAs future direction. Please invest time interceding for this nation, and for its future leaders. We desperately need righteous governance.

Praise Him

  • Finance for house renovations to create a mission house;
  • New friends and ministry networks;
  • A productive and encouraging Europe mission trip (yes, it was for missions, not a holiday :p);
  • Growth in individuals in the church;
  • Helping us emotionally with travel transitions;
  • Wisdom with the ministry as we move forward – what to do, when; how best to use finance; etc;
  • Long term missionaries on their way – this has really bolstered our mental state!!
  • For our continued protection as we work into eziMangweni and other townships in this region (spiritual and physical).

Prayer points

  • Weaning the darkness remaining in the church – syncretism with ancestral beliefs and magic.
  • Favour for land for agricultural and community projects.
  • Shannon’s visa is due for renewal this year. This sounds like an easy process (renewing a spousal visa), but is often not. Please pray for favour and all the documents coming together easily (2 months later I am still awaiting my Australian police clearance to arrive).
  • For our nation’s future, in particular for righteous men and women to rise up in government;
  • Same as last time for the church: For the saints of Power of God Assembly – that the Spirit’s work in their hearts will be deep and enduring. Jealousy and witchcraft have been the biggest stumbling blocks we have encountered. Alcoholism is another issue.
  • Favour for our renovation project and in buying our church building;
  • Our continued protection (spiritual and physical);
  • Our ministry trip to Uganda.

Loaves and the fish

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In the wilderness on the shores of Galilee, Jesus posed an impossible challenge to his disciples. “You give them something to eat” he commanded them of the thousands spread out between them and the sea shore.

Phillip looked at the material need before him, immediately calculating the absurd cost required to meet it – at least half a years wages to buy that much bread. Others protested there was nothing to be done but send them back to the towns they had come from before it was too dark.

Andrew found a young boy who had some food left over. “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”

Jesus took this insignificant offering of five rough loaves and two small dried fish, blessed them, broke them and gave them away.

When the multitude was satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” From the fragments of the five barley loaves they filled twelve large baskets.

One of the remarkable aspects on the journey of discipleship is learning the faithfulness of God’s supernatural provision. And here I mean not only those occasional and wonderful times one sees food supernaturally multiply, but in seeing His supernatural multiplication of the little we have to offer Him to bring about the great purposes He assigns to those who seek Him in Spirit and in truth.

God’s purposes for our life should scare us because they are so much bigger than our own ability and provision.

It seems to me that believers who try with one hand to live for this world, (for their pleasures and security) and with the other seek to experience God’s kingdom and supernatural favour, inevitably find themselves living out the former while seeing very little of the latter.

Jesus taught that we can only love God or money, and commanded us not to build up treasures for our self in this life, that we were to pursue first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

The measure by which we are willing to do this, to offer Him our all and everything; our right to ourselves, to physical and sexual pleasures, to a desired future, to our finances and investments, to status, or to our safety, or our lives – will be the measure by which we can be useful instruments for His kingdom purposes. And it will determine the measure of His supernatural provision that we encounter.

The great joy in our partnership with God is experiencing the impossibility of what He can bring about despite us, with the insignificant little we have to offer Him.

We may look at our abilities, or our finances in the face of the impossible commission of God and say as Andrew did, ‘what good are they among so many people’, but Jesus can take the little we surrender to Him and multiply it, to bless a great multitude.

We must not be surprised when Jesus asks of us “You give them something to eat”. Whatever the context, impossibility is the requirement of faith, and walking by faith is the path of the saint.

Nor should we be surprised when like bread he breaks up our hard heart and gives us out in service to others faith.

In the end we will not only have the testimony of God’s supernatural provision in this life, but we will one day find a treasure laid up for us that makes our earthly sacrifices pale into insignificance.

Newsletter August 2018 (by Shannon)

IMG-20180527-WA0044Looking over eziMangweni township from Power of God Assembly.

Hello everyone,

I am sorry that my communication has been slow. However, the reason for it is that the ministry is kicking off in a way only God could orchestrate!

What’s happened recently?

From last April, we supported a couple Glenn has known for over 15 years lead a local church in Amanzimtoti, near Durban. This church merged earlier this year with two other churches. Shortly after the dust had settled, we planted out with our pre-existing Zulu congregation into a neighbouring inland township called Ezimangweni (place of Mangoes).

Our church plant, called ‘Power of God Assembly’, happened at the end of May and has been one of God’s accelerated works. We continue to partner in ministry with the church we planted out of, but are now an autonomous church falling under the broader banner of Shalack Ministries International, a non-profit company that Glenn has become a director of and I a co-worker in.

The heart of Shalack is to recklessly follow the Holy Spirit, and to share God’s love with the poor, helping them bring about spiritual, social and economic change in their lives. We aim to impact as many spheres as possible (education, agriculture, business, sport) in addressing poverty, as the Spirit opens doors of opportunity.

God has led us into pioneering “simple church” that focuses on the priesthood of all believers, with no worship band and an active body ministry on Sundays.

Co 14:26 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.

This approach, focused on the Holy Spirit’s leading and presence, has been well received by the congregation, and we are enjoying great times of congregational worship, followed by body ministry that can last up to an hour. As everything is interpreted, meetings usually last around 2 hours, but with every Sunday being a bit different, we are loving the experience and finding it very life giving.

Fortunately we have a strong core group of believers with us and many new Christians have been drawn in over the last two and a half months. Our ministry partner, Wayne, has established five local boys soccer and two girls netball teams through faithful work and love the past two years, and we are seeing many salvations amongst these youth. We have also seen salvations through evangelism and healing ministries.

A lot of our time is being invested into one-on-one discipleship as well as generally getting to know everyone in our congregation. We really need to learn Zulu. I am trying for a word a day, but even that sometimes proves too much amidst the rest of our work, and my greatest job of being a mum.

20180524_155752Glenn and Zamisa did a lot of work to get the property ready for the plant, including the driveway and banks.

20180812_110446A Sunday meeting with a visiting team from Cederhill church

20180822_192335Home group on Wednesday nights has become another church service

SaturdaySaturday children’s ministry after the feeding (our church space isn’t big enough for Sunday kid’s ministry and the children love being in the service).

IMG-20180722-WA0000Recent baptisms

IMG-20180703-WA0061One of our boys’ soccer teams all kitted out thanks to a local sponsor. They are doing really well in their tournaments.

Outside of the church ministry I was blessed to be asked to teach in Cape Town in June. We went as a family and loved reconnecting with the Muizenberg YWAM base. I taught on John’s literature (Gospel, epistles and Revelation). It reminded me of how much I love to teach and how much personal growth comes from it!

Our personal life (is a continuation of ministry)

Glenn and I have both been sick on and off this year. It always comes after a time of busyness or tiredness (which I feel is our continual life at the moment – first with a toddler and then from the ministry!). Yet we are constantly encouraged by the blessing we have to be in full time ministry and to run a business from home. What a joy to be able to focus on the things of the Kingdom!

Php 3:7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Glenn and I moved into our new spacious wooden home three weeks ago. It is a huge relief to leave behind the confines of our two bedroom flat for this spacious house God has given us.

Russell loves his new home, it has grass to run around on, dogs to chase, and a sloping driveway to speed down on his motorbike scooter! He is an active boy, loving to climb, jump, run, and move, move, move! He is talking well, gaining words and speaking in two-word sentences. He also loves to draw, make puzzles, build towers and play with cars.

The Spirit has put in on our hearts to use our new house as a mission base for short term missions groups and long term missionaries. He has provided us with the finance (again, totally God; we love watching His supernatural provision!), to begin converting the downstairs: a 2 car garage with work area, plus a games room will be turned into a backpacker style area that will be able to host around 14 people. We will convert it in stages as it is a big project, involving a new kitchen, two bathrooms and three bedrooms.

Our main missions connection at this time is with YWAM (Youth with a Mission), and we are hosting our first YWAM mission team this week. Thankfully YWAMers are used to roughing it, as we are continuing with reconstruction around them.

We’ve also been blessed to have a couple of special overseas visitors this year (Fiona, Leanne, we love you!).

We now have PLENTY of space for visitors so PLEASE come for a visit. Feel free to come with a team, too, if you’d like to help with our work for a week, or two, or 6 months . . . !

What’s next?

We want to start household sustainability projects to help with hosting the teams and also so that we can replicate it in our ministry (do first, then teach). This means starting a small veggie patch and getting some laying hens. We also installed a 300L solar geyser to help with teams.

I have felt God placing the commencement of a crèche on my heart for eziMangweni. One large need in the Zulu townships is teaching the importance of early childhood stimulation. Research shows that early stimulation can affect IQ by several points, not to mention the social, physical and emotional benefits of it! However, this is not something I could do myself at this time. So I am investing a lot of prayer into it and trusting that God will bring the right people on board – just like He did for the sewing ministry (I don’t even attend the sewing any more – it has been completely taken over).

The ladies are learning to sew cloth menstrual pads as well as various clothing items and garment alterations. Many ladies struggle to buy disposable pads so whilst the pads will provide our ladies with income, they are also a form of ministry.

We are praying into buying the township house where our church meets, that is currently rented. This would enable us to do more permanent work there – build a green house, a crèche, cement the church floor, build a storeroom etc. The current owners want about 1.6x times what a property in the area is worth because there are Europeans involved. Please pray for them to be reasonable or for God to confirm that we should pay the inflated price and bless them.

We will be travelling to Norway and Germany in October. I will teach on the School of Biblical Studies in Norway and then we will go to Germany to keep some personal connections and make more ministry connections. We feel it is important to travel as a family unit as much as possible when one of us is invited to minister away from home.

Prayer needed for the nation

South Africa continues to experience great political unrest and soaring crime levels. The national elections are scheduled for next year and it will be a major one for SAs future direction.

Praise Him

 Many of our congregation have found jobs since the church plant commenced;

 Our HOME (this is a HUGE testimony; the bank didn’t want to give us a loan because we are self-employed. Through various miracles – quite a collection – over 5 months, we are now moved in);

 Changing hearts and growing character – ourselves and those in our church;

 For what God is doing to bring hope in this present darkness;

 Wisdom with the ministry as we move forward – what to do, when; how best to use finance; etc;

 For our continued protection as we work into eziMangweni and other townships in this region (spiritual and physical).

Prayer points

 For our nation’s future, in particular for righteous men and women to rise up in government;

 For the saints of Power of God Assembly – that the Spirit’s work in their hearts will be deep and enduring. Jealousy and witchcraft have been the biggest stumbling blocks we have encountered. Alcoholism is another issue.

 Favour for our renovation project and in buying our church building;

 Our continued protection (spiritual and physical);

 Our trip to Norway/Germany – the teaching, visas and passports beforehand, connections in Germany.

Water to wine

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John 2:6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

Why did Jesus choose stone water jars used for Jewish rights of purification for His first miracle?

There would have been many empty wine amphorae available at the wedding, as these  clay vessels were the standard means of storing and transporting liquids in Jesus day.

The stone jars chosen by Jesus were vessels set aside for sacred purpose (ceremonial washing) according to the traditions of the Jewish elders. To use them to hold wine at a wedding feast would have been the height of sacrilege to any pharisee attending, or later hearing of the miracle.

Was this part of Jesus’ intention, to offend the pharisees and openly defy the traditions of the elders with his first miracle?

Is there hidden symbolism in purposefully using vessels related to the ceremonial law?

Consider that following this miracle Jesus and his disciples made a practice of opposing the traditions of the elders (that is the Rabbinical traditions of the Talmud) regarding ceremonial washings.

He purposefully used opportunities around food to provoke the religious sensibilities of the pharisees so as to rebuke them about their own lack of inner purity.

Luk 11:37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also.”

Mat 15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?

Mar 7:1 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders…) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands? 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

Remarkably He even went a step further in not only apposing the food laws of the Rabbinical tradition, but apposing the very food laws of Moses.

Mar 7:15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean)

Paul echoes Jesus words in Romans;

Rom 14:20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.

We can see that not only was Jesus starting His ministry with a display of the superiority of the Spirit over the law (the new wine created in ceremonial washing jars), He was apposing and showing the inferiority of both the rabbinical law and the ceremonial law of Moses.

The author of Hebrews shows us that the law was an attempt to ‘perfect the conscience of the worshiper’ through ‘the purification of the flesh’ (dead works).

As Jesus came to be the final sacrifice who through His blood would ‘purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God’, He used every opportunity to display this purpose and appose the works of the law.

Heb 9:8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section [the Holy place of the tabernacle] is still standing 9….. According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

Heb 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent [tabernacle]… 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Just as the Jews assumed natural water could sanctify them before God, Jesus was also displaying in this moment that His blood was the only true force that could cleanse man.

Thus the wine can also be seen as a picture of His blood, contained in and fulfilling the law of Moses.

Mat 26:27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to destroy them but to fulfill them..

We can see then that Jesus’ miracle of the water turned to wine is symbolic for reasons around the law’s impotence, but there is a clear case to be made that Jesus was also presenting Himself as a stumbling block to the Jews who sought a righteousness by the outward works of the law.

Rom 9:30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone..

 

 

Being led by the Spirit in finances

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‘For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.’ (Rom 8:14)

Some years ago, I became convinced by scripture that in the area of my finances and in particular my giving, I needed to be led by the Spirit of God alone, and not by percentages of the law.

While I knew ‘that no one is justified before God by the law’ (Gal 3:11), rewiring my brain was no easy task. Giving a tenth made me feel justified and secure before God, thinking (as I had been taught) that my obedience would obligate Him to protect and bless me financially.

More importantly it took a few years for me to completely overcome the fear of punishment drummed into me over years by the church of what would happen if I failed to give my 10% to the ‘storehouse’.

I can only shake my head when I think of how often I’ve heard Malachi proclaimed over the church – that God will withhold His blessings on our finances and the devourer would be free to bring ruin if we robbed Him (that is the church) of our tenth.

I’m sure a psychologist would label such teachings as group control – that is using fear and reward to bring about desired behaviour. But praise God I not only still believe in the value of local church, I have the privilege of pastoring one.

God has been so much more faithful and generous to me than I could ever have imagined since I gave up tithing a few years ago, and with it my reliance on Old Testament promises, for the higher road of being led only by the Spirit in my giving.

How grateful I am to be part of a New Testament, with a new priesthood and new law, established on better promises.

Every year He has stretched me (now with my wife’s help) to give more, and to trust Him more. And every year He increases the measure back to me in remarkable ways.

I’ve lost count of all the testimonies of His amazing and bountiful provision. Year on year He has made a way before me where there seems no way to do the things He has called me and my wife to undertake, and go to the places He has sent us.

Every year my financial out flow has considerably increased, far exceeding my set passive income from my family’s resort business (over 2.5 times last year). Yet somehow there has always been enough to cover needs and even at times an abundance.

I say all of this because I want to give testimony to His goodness and generosity. In particular the last two months have been the hardest financial test I’ve faced in my years as a Christian.

With the planting of our township church in May the Spirit challenged me to give freely towards the church’s set up. He told me to do so without measure, to delete my budget and not to define my generosity by the boundaries of my limited supply.

Somehow, primarily with the generosity of those in the church, and despite the church being as poor as churches go in South Africa, it got set up in time for the celebration and God still made a way for our personal bills and staff to get paid. But both my wife and I had empty bank accounts by the beginning of June.

To add heat to the test of being obedient to the Spirits leading, we had lawyers fees to pay for a house God had enabled us to purchase through two separate loans (another miracle), a ministry trip to Cape Town to pay for and only one booking in our berg house to show for the entire month of June.

July didn’t look much better with only four bookings to show. Given that our home in the Drakensberg is an important income source for us through Airbnb beyond our passive income from the family holiday resort, we were facing a barren financial desert ahead of us. Certainly far less income than we needed to cover all of our bills.

I considered short timing our maid and even started considering looking for part time work as both my wife and I are involved full time in our missions and pastoral ministry. To say I hit a faith low would be accurate.

Seeing the lack ahead, with the Spirit and my wife’s help I did the only thing I could, I prayed, fasted and warfared (for good measure), knowing that God has called us to full time ministry, and his word promises He will provide ‘all sufficiency in all things at all times, [so that] you may abound in every good work.’ (2 Cor 9:8).

As we walked ahead in faith, despite what was a general dip in hospitality bookings in our area, the most remarkable miracle happened.

We started seeing a wave of bookings come in. June picked up as we went, nothing explosive but sufficient to pay the bills. But July just went crazy. Although not yet started it is up 34% in bookings as I write this. *

The scripture is true that ‘whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully’, and ‘give, and it will be given to you. A 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.’

Trusting the Spirit in finances, especially when He calls us to give over and beyond what we are comfortable with, and which by sight exceeds our limited supply, is one of the hardest faith tests we can face. I don’t feel like I passed it well, but it has been an amazing learning curve.

*At the end of July our bookings were 96.6% up on last July. It has set a record for the busiest month (by bed nights) for our business to date.

 

Deconstructing the tithe

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  • The tithe in the law
  • The tithe and the patriarchs
  • The tithe in the New Testament
  • The tithe and Jesus
  • The tithe and the apostles
  • Why the tithe is proclaimed in the New Testament church
  • Conclusion

The tithe in the law

‘And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham.’ Hebrews 7:5

The tithe is a commandment of the law. From the outset we must, along with the author of Hebrews, himself a Jew writing to Jews, acknowledge this fact.

It was given to the descendants of Levi as an inheritance, the son of Israel from whom came the priesthood.

‘To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting……. 24  For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.’ Num 18:21 

The Levites received the tithe because they were chosen out of Israel as God’s portion in place of the firstborn sons.

‘Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the people of Israel. The Levites shall be mine, 13 for all the firstborn are mine.’ Num 3:12

This occurred because they proved faithful in the incident with the golden calf.

‘Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the LORD’s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him……. 28 And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. 29 And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.’ Exo 32:26

The Levites were to be unlike the other tribes receiving no land after the conquest, as the Lord was to be their inheritance. This meant they had no means to provide food for themselves.

‘Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers. The LORD is his inheritance..’ Deu 10:9 

‘The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the LORD’s food offerings as their inheritance.’ Deu 18:1

‘To the tribe of Levi alone Moses gave no inheritance. The offerings by fire to the LORD God of Israel are their inheritance, as he said to him.’ Jos 13:14

They were to be completely dependent on God and the obedience of their brother Israelites, set apart to serve the temple and be wanderers in the land.

Because of this dependence, and because the Levites were God’s portion, He made it clear that failure to provide for them was a serious infringement. To rob the people He had set apart for Himself of their provision was indeed to rob God Himself.

Those who blessed the Levites would be blessed, and those who failed to supply their needs as He had commanded would learn to fear the Lord.

‘And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.’ Deu 14:23 

‘And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.’ Deu 14:27

 ‘And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.’ Deu 14:29

Israel’s failure to provide the Levitical priesthood with food in the time of Malachi not only brought a curse on the nation, it gave the devourer access to those areas the tithe came from; their crops, orchards and vineyards.

‘Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9  You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10  Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11  I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts.’ Mal 3:8 

The curse attached to Israel’s refusal to tithe, and the invitation for Israel to test God for provision and blessing by giving their tithe, were both for Israel alone, and only for the time period of the old priesthood.

When the old priesthood came to an end, the tithe that supported that system also came to an end.

‘For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.’ Heb 7:12

It is worth highlighting before moving on from the law that the tithe was only ever given in the form of food, never money. It had absolutely nothing to do with the Jewish peoples general wealth, money or income.

Where ever tithing is mentioned in scripture it is only in the form of food. It was only ever a produce offering. Those Israelites who did not produce food, did not tithe.

‘Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD’s; it is holy to the LORD.’ Lev 27:30

‘And every tithe of herds and flocks..’ Lev 27:32

‘…the tithe of your grain or of your wine or of your oil, or the firstborn of your herd or of your flock..’ Deu 12:17

‘You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year.’ Deu 14:22

‘you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock..’ Deu 14:23

‘When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce..’ Deu 26:12

‘And the people of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of cattle and sheep, and the tithe of the consecrated things that had been dedicated to the LORD their God, and laid them in heaps.’ 2Chr 31:6

‘…The tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites…’ Neh 13:5

‘Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.’ Mal 3:10

Beyond this, the tithe was every tenth, not ten percent of the total. This is minor but instructive. If someone produced nineteen lambs, he would only tithe one lamb, not one and nine tenths of another.

‘And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the LORD.’ Lev 27:32

The form the tithe took developed over time from the desert tabernacle through the conquest and kingdom periods to become primarily about the daily sustenance of the Levitical priesthood and the temple system.

More can be said about how the practice of the tithe was also for the care of the alien, stranger, widow and orphan, or how Jews could sell their produce and again buy offerings for the tithe in Jerusalem if they lived far from the storehouse.

But it always remained a food offering, held in the storehouse, which from Solomon onward was the temple in Jerusalem. Here it was distributed out to the priests for their sustenance.

It never provided priests with monetary income, a monthly salary or a stipend, only their daily food.

The tithe and the patriarchs

One of the primary defenses for continuing the practice of tithing in the church is the claim that the tithe predated the law. That it was a general practice of the patriarchs, in particular given by Abraham to Melchizedek, and thus continues ‘through the cross’ into the New Testament as a principle of giving to God and the church.

Let us first remind ourselves that the tithe is unequivocally and inseparably part of the Mosaic Law. It cannot and does not exist apart from the law. This is clearly stated by the author of Hebrews as we have read above.

‘those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people…..’ Hebrews 7:5

‘But Abraham was before Levi and the law!’ Indeed he was, however the author of Hebrews continues to state in the same passage that Abraham tithed on behalf of Levi and the future priesthood to Melchizedek.

‘One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10  for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.’ Heb 7:9 

The author clearly links the Levitical tithe here to Abraham’s offering to Melchizedek, making it impossible to argue that Abraham tithed before the law.

Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek  was a prophetic picture of the future priesthoods (Levi and Jesus) and their position to each other.

But let us persist further and look at the two accounts of patriarchs tithing given in the Old Testament.

In both Abraham and Jacob’s cases both tithed after and were in response to exceptional and supernatural circumstances. Neither supports the argument that giving a tenth of one’s wealth to God was a common cultural practice of that time.

In his encounter with Melchizedek, Abraham made a once off thanksgiving offering of a tenth of his war plunder taken after his miraculous victory. Nowhere is he recorded giving a tenth of his general wealth.

‘After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abraham at the Valley of Shaveh..18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.’ Gen 14:17 

The author of Hebrews confirms that Abraham’s tenth was only war spoils.

‘See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils!’ Heb 7:4

Regarding Jacob, he had an encounter with God at Bethel in which the Lord made a covenant with him. Jacob responded by making a conditional covenant in return, offering back a the tenth of what God would give him, so long as God led him, provided for him and protected him.

‘And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21  So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: 22  And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shall give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.’ Gen 28:20 

Clearly these two events are responses to specific circumstances, and the stories differ in the purpose behind each giving a tenth.

That is to say they are not equivalent to each other, nor are they equivalent to, or even remotely related to, giving ten percent of ones income to a church.

The tithe in the New Testament

With the arrival of the New Testament, the Old Testament and its law came to an end.

‘(Jesus) Blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross..’ Col 2:14 

‘For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15  by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances…’ Eph 2:14 

‘..now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.’ Rom 7:6

‘For truly there is a putting away of the commandment which went before, because of its weakness and uselessness. 19 for the law made nothing perfect..’ Heb 7:18

‘Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?’ 2Co 3:7/8

‘But (the Jews) minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.’ 2Co 3:14

‘Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.’ Gal 5:4

Jesus said that he did not come to destroy the law, but fulfill it. Once He had fulfilled it, it was abolished, that is brought to an end.

“Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to destroy them but to fulfill them.” Mat 5:17 *

Because the law has ended, the priesthood that served that law is also brought to an end, along with the temple and all of its required offerings and sacrifices.

The law, the Levitical priesthood and the temple now represent the old wineskin which could not contain the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

‘And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.’ Luk 5:37

We the saints made righteous in Christ, hidden in Him as co-heirs of the new living way, are now the living fulfillment of the law.

‘For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.’ Rom 8:3

We have a new High Priest, a new priesthood and with it a new law has been established, the law of the Spirit.

‘Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.’ Heb 7:11

‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.’ Rom 8:1

In this new royal priesthood, every believer has become a priest, replacing the Levites as God’s own possession.

‘But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…’ 1Pe 2:9

And we also replace the Levites as God’s firstborn portion.

‘For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.’ Rom 8:29

‘and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.’ Heb 12:23 

Not only do believers now replace the Levitical priesthood, we also replace the physical temple, receiving the honour of becoming the dwelling of the Holy Spirit.

‘Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”’Joh 4:21

‘Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.’ 1Co 3:16

Because the law, Levitical priesthood and the temple are now not only set aside but fulfilled in us, it should be obvious that the tithe and every other offering based on the old law are now also rendered completely void.

To take the tithe argument to its extreme – as believers are now both priest and temple, and the tithe was for the sustaining of the old priesthood and stored in the temple – if we were to continue tithing in the New Testament, believers would have to tithe to themselves.

For those Christian leaders who don’t believe in the priesthood of all believers, they still have no claim on the tithe as it was given to the Levites only as an inheritance. The burden falls on them to somehow prove there is a transference of the tithe from the Levites to those employed by a local church.

As churches (in the form of organizational entities) are not the replacement temple, they cannot claim to be storehouses as some interpret Malachi 3:10.

The true storehouses of the New Testament are believers since as the temple they must also by definition be the storehouse, whose treasure and provision is now the Holy Spirit.

Hopefully it should be clear to the reader that the tithe served a different covenant and a different priesthood, and both are no longer active.

Whenever the tithe is demanded in churches – or even used as a recommended guide or principle for giving, we resurrect a past covenant that legally has no hold on New Testament believers.

Beyond this, we are no longer called to measure what is God’s by percentages.

Under the New Testament, everything we have, all of our finance, all of our possessions – our very lives – belong to Him and are for His use as He asks of us. In Christ we are all called to give everything we have to God, not just a portion.

And the Holy Spirit is now our only guide, measure and rule in giving. Only in following Him can we find true freedom from obligation to a written law.

‘For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.’ Rom 8:14

Any prescriptive principle is by definition law and the opposite of freedom, which is defined by the absence of obligation.

‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’ 2Co 3:17

‘Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.’ 2 Cor 9:7 

The tithe and Jesus

But didn’t Jesus agree with tithing since He was a Jew?

Jesus commended the Pharisees for tithing as teachers of the law, but only as part of a rebuke. That is they tithed the tenth of their herbs (the only food they produced), yet forsook the righteous principles of the law.

‘But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.’ Luk 11:42 

But Jesus never taught tithing to His disciples.

Some argue this was because they were all Jews who tithed and thus He took teaching the tithe for granted. This argument clearly lacks a historical understanding of the tithe and the exact purpose of Jesus’ ministry.

Regarding the tithe, as we have seen it was a produce offering, thus many urban and most professional Jews never tithed as they had limited space or time to grow anything. And in all likelihood neither did Jesus or His disciples during their wondering ministry years.

But far more importantly Jesus never taught tithing because He was to become the high priest of a separate priesthood to the Levites which demanded a new law. This new priesthood had no more need of the tithe or any other offering commanded by the old law.

Indeed the tithe not only has no more reason to exist in the New Covenant, it was contrary in nature to the new priesthood Jesus instituted, as the tithes entire purpose was to sustain the old priesthood.

Further, because the tithe is law, Jesus never taught it because He was the seed who came to end the law.

‘Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made..’ Gal 3:19

And thus he only proclaimed the law or the prophets according to their relevance to His kingdom. The effective rule of the law ended with John, the last prophet of the Old Testament.

“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.” Luk 16:16 

This good news of the Kingdom is freedom from the letter of the law in every part, because the law only brings death and condemnation.

‘Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory…8  will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation…’ 2Co 3:7 

And lastly Jesus was the perfect fulfillment of the law and all its requirements, thus He has fulfilled the tithe. Just as the tithe to the old priesthood was their sustenance, provision and inheritance, so Jesus now replaces the tithe as the sustenance, provision and inheritance of His new priesthood.

What Jesus did command of his followers was living in abundant generosity, especially to the poor, and living by faith in the unseen provision of the Father. 

‘…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Act 20:35

“give, and it will be given to you. A 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.” Luk 6:38

‘Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”‘ Mat 19:21 

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Mat 6:31 

He also commanded that those who labour in sharing the gospel should receive material support, as seen when He sent out the twelve and later the seventy two disciples.

“Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the labourer deserves his food.” Mat 10:9

“And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the labourer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.” Luk 10:7

The tithe and the apostles

Like Jesus, His apostles never taught tithing.

It is conspicuous in its absence from early church practice and theology as recorded in Acts and the epistles.

Indeed the only time it is specifically mentioned is by the author of Hebrews as we have read above. This is incredibly relevant because we have a Jewish author addressing the Jewish Christian population (those who used to tithe), and he clearly calls the tithe law.

This counters the argument that the silence in the New Testament regarding tithing exists due to it being a common practice among the Jewish Christians.

Rather the silence exists because Jewish believers didn’t tithe. They understood that the tithe was part of the law, they understood that the temple and the priesthood were obsolete – and they understood that the tithe which served that priesthood and temple was also obsolete.

This is clear in the theology of the author of Hebrews.

Another supplemental argument against the proposition that tithing was a common practice among the early believers is the council of Jerusalem (which was held before the theology of the letter to the Hebrews was established).

Here the apostles and elders appealed to the law to enforced Mosaic food obligations onto the new Gentile believers, yet they made no mention of tithing – which is no small matter – given the importance the modern church places on it for the provision of ministers and the church organization.

‘Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20  but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.’ Act 15:19 

Regarding money the apostles simply taught what Jesus had before them; sowing and reaping, abundant generosity and faith in God’s provision, and generosity towards the poor without the compulsion of the tithe or any other fleshly coercion.

‘The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.’ 2Co 9:6

‘Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.’ Gal 2:10

‘Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.’ Gal 6:7

They encouraged the sharing of wealth and practical support among each other, especially giving generously towards brothers in need;

‘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 35  and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.’ Act 4:34 

‘And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.’ Gal 6:9

‘for the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.’ 2Co 9:12

They encouraged partnering with apostolic gifts;

‘And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.’ Php 4:15 

And willingly supporting those who labour for the gospel;

‘The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should live by the gospel.’ 1 Co 9: 14

‘Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.’ Gal 6:6

‘Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching. 18 for the Scripture say, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The labourer deserves his wages.” 1 Ti 5:17

Let us look finally at 1 Corinthians 9-14 which is sometimes also used in defense of the tithe.

‘Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? 8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the ploughman should plough in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.’ 1Co 9:7

Note that Paul quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain’ in both 1 Tim 5:17 and 1 Cor 9:9. In neither instance while building an argument for the church body supporting spiritual leaders financially does he refer to a scripture from the law about tithing.

One must ask why in quoting the law to support his argument, he chooses an obscure analogy regarding the care of oxen, rather than any number of scriptures about tithing.

Yes he certainly refers to tithing in 1 Cor 9:13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?

But he does so only as an analogous support for his broader argument that those who proclaim the gospel have a right to get their living by it.

Paul of all the apostles understood that the law is in every part ended. His appeal is simply what is stated – those who labour spiritually have a right to material provision – just as the priests of old could expect their material sustenance from the temple they served.

However, in the New Testament right to material support for ministers of the gospel is not according to the obligation of a law.

For freedoms sake we cannot bind people to give according to rote methods or principles of percentages.

The new and living way is found in the free will gifts of saints, according to their own consciences, as led by the Holy Spirit. This is the only way a congregation can be led into maturity, taking responsibility to hear God for themselves.

Why the tithe is proclaimed in the New Testament church

In modern law judges cannot rule over cases in which they have an inherent bias due to self interest. Such conflicts of interest involve any association with another entity in which there is a financial interest or benefit.

In the church its leaders are also its judges. Unfortunately those who rely upon the tithe for provision, and whose church structures are dependent upon the tithe for their financial survival, are inextricably compromised in their judgement.

That is to say leaders who are dependent on their churches for finance will lack objectivity due to their need. Thus despite the tithe being part of the law and contrary to our new priesthood and freedoms, and not being taught by our founder and apostles, it continues to be justified.

If church leaders do not stand in faith for God’s supernatural provision for their ministries, they will inevitably put the burden of that provision onto their congregation. This releases the work of the flesh (in strategies, programs and worldly principles) to draw people, keep people and ultimately grow the tithing base.

Obligated giving alone allows church leaders to calculate to some measure their church’s monthly income and plan accordingly, achieving a measure of financial stability and predictability – that is living by sight and not by faith.

It locks leaders and followers into a worldly mindset based on worldly principles, and robs them of a higher kingdom revelation, limiting freedom and spiritual development.

We cannot hold onto the law with one hand, and freedom in another. The two are opposed. You either trust in principles and percentages, or you trust in the Spirit. Either the Spirit is our guide, or the law is our guide.

Once we lay down our personal and corporate dependencies on percentages, we begin to understand more completely the liberty of walking in step with the Spirit and becoming a vessel completely poured out for His purposes.

Let us move on from the elementary principles of this world and the law, for they are weak and worthless, utterly unable to guide us towards perfection.

‘In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.’ Gal 4:3

‘But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world…’ Gal 4:9 

Conclusion

Jesus made it clear that men serve, love and trust God completely, or mammon. There is no middle ground – It is impossible to be a bond slave to both masters as both demand complete devotion. The degree to which we live for the world is the degree to which our service for God is limited.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Mat 6:24

Those who live according to the wisdom of the world are enslaved to what can be seen and measured. If we look only to our own limited supply and the provision of our circumstances, we will operate only out of that limited supply. We will live in the fear of running out and not having enough. Our obsession will lie in increasing our income, because our income is our security and our source.

We have to learn that God is our secure foundation and source of all provision.

‘John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”’ Joh 3:27

‘For us there is only one God, and he is our Father. All things came from him, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things were made through him, and we also have life through him.’ 1Co 8:6

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.’ Jas 1:17 

‘And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way..’ 2 Cor 9:8

The principles of Heaven are not those of earth. The world concerns its self with lack and receiving, heaven concerns itself with abundance and giving.

‘For He whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure.’ Joh 3:34

If the Spirit is our supply, then He is without measure. The vaults of heaven are always full; the great challenge is exercising the faith to rest in them.

There is a great difference between belief and faith. Our worldly desires for pleasure, success, power, significance and security always prohibit us seeing reality from heavens perspective.

‘For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.’ Gal 5:16

It’s through the child’s eyes that we rightly understand God and every other aspect of life, including finance.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Mat 18:3 

We must always remember that God sustains that which He commissions. Let Him move the hearts of His people to give as He leads, to whom He leads and as much as He leads. The burden of provision is always, only, on Him for our expenses and those of our ministry.

Let us constantly remind ourselves that the tithe is a work of the law and is thus not of faith (that is being led by the Spirit). To teach one law is to bring the church into the bondage and curse of all the law.

‘Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us..’ Gal 3: 11

Notes

* Some translations of Matt 5:17 read, ‘I did not come to abolish the law’. This creates confusion concerning the idea of the law being abolished. However the Greek word in Matthew is Kataluo – to demolish, destroy, dissolve, throw down. In Eph 2:15 the word abolished is Katargeo – to render useless, to end or make void. This same word is used in 2 Corinthians 3 and rendered ‘brought to an end’.