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Give Till it Hurts, and Then Give Some More

One of my desires is to lead the most generous church on the planet. You may say that this seems a little audacious, but with the Lord’s help it is absolutely possible.

I’m not sure about your experience with giving and tithing at this point; you may or may not be a regular giver. But either way, giving is about stewardship and Lordship.

We are called to steward the blessings of God well, for He is Lord and we are not.

Why does He ask for a portion?

He asks because He knows what money can do to our lives. As broken and fallen people we have become dependent on money, so much so, that it becomes an idol in our lives.

God knows the danger for us, and in His mercy He rightly and wisely puts a regular discipline of giving into the rhythm of our life.

When we refuse to participate in this discipline we put ourselves in a compromised position. We ultimately reap the consequences and miss the blessings.

I remember when I was in seminary several years ago; one year, I literally made $3000. My wife was working at a bookstore for minimum wage and we were basically “American poor”.

But even in the midst of that, we were blessed. It was a simpler time. We didn’t have much, but life was good.

I remember times during that season when we literally didn’t have the money we needed to pay the bills. I also remember the goodness of God when we needed $100 for some bill. But one day we opened our front door to find an envelope sitting there with the exact amount of money we needed.

I also remember the tension around tithing. When you have so little It’s really hard to step out in faith. God knows this. Trust Him.

We learn to be generous when our giving costs us something. If we have everything, then giving might not be hard–unless the Lord requires you to give everything like he did with the Rich Young Ruler. However, it is when we have little that giving begins to form a generous heart. God uses these times as a fire where our faith and trust in Him are forged.

Sometimes I want to go back to that time in seminary; God’s love for us was so real and tangible during those days.

But then I realize, the Lord is moving in the same ways all around me as we step out to plant this church. God is blessing this church.

The Lord is providing for His people.
People pray for jobs and jobs come.
People pray for houses to sell and be rented and that is exactly what happens.

I remember an old spiritual that went something like–“He may not come when you want Him, but He’s right on time!”

Be encouraged today. God blesses us to be a blessing. Give generously and watch God work.

I can’t wait to see what the Lord does in your life as you step out in faith to trust God with your money. Remember the word in Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Bring it in and watch God work!

Rain down your blessings, O God, so that we might be a blessing!

There is a button (Giving) at the top of this blog if you would like to start today! Gretchen and I use the online giving feature because it makes giving so easy to do. We just enter the amount and press a few buttons and you’re done; it’s ready to be used by God through the church for His kingdom’s expansion.

I also want to say thank you for your continued faithfulness and commitment to giving!

-Daniel

Launch Team Update

This past Sunday was a marathon day for the Launch Team.

We had the opportunity to attend a church in our area that meets in a movie theatre. It was extremely helpful to experience what they are doing; which really got the team thinking hard and dreaming big.

We were also given the opportunity to go to the Cardinal’s game that afternoon. We had great seats and were blessed to be in the shade for the entire game, while everyone around us was sitting on the face of the sun. We had a great time and met some amazing new people. Thanks, St. Luke’s UMC and Jim for the tickets! You guys ROCK!

Then, that night, we had a really engaged Launch Team Meeting. I love that every week we have continued to have new people. And what I love most is when people on the Launch Team invite them. God is moving and people are catching the vision. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen in the coming days.

One final thing…we are going to have our FIRST monthly worship gathering on August 21, 2011 at 9:30am. We are going to meet at the Great Escape Movie Theatre in the Gravois Bluffs shopping center. We are ridiculously excited to be at this point!

If you would like more information please contact us at info@elevationstlouis.com

-Daniel

Launch Team

Sunday night was our first Launch Team meeting for Elevation Church. It was a great night with an amazing group of people. Each of them is excited about reaching out and making a difference in this community.

It’s an honor to be a part of this new movement of the Lord.

GOD is on the MOVE!

If you are reading this and you live in St Louis, I would love for you to consider being a part of this new movement.

Maybe you are already experiencing a call to be part of this new church plant.

If so, take the step of faith…

CALL US!

E-MAIL US!!!

Send SMOKE SIGNALS if you have to!!!!!!

I would love to speak with you about being a part of this movement.

Our next Launch Team meeting is June 12, 2011 @ 6:00pm. Come check us out!

-Daniel

Why?

“It’s easier to give birth to a baby, than to resurrect the dead.”

Someone once said this in relationship to the church and the need for church planting.

Many people ask, “why do we need to plant churches when there are so many churches already?” The answer is that the church population continues to decline and yet the overall population continues to increase.

The need for church planting is critical. It is the single most effective way to evangelize. It is through starting new churches that we begin to make an impact on the church decline and begin to reach new generations.

Read over the following statistics:

• 84% of people live in urban areas or near urban areas.
• 70% of United Methodist Churches are in rural areas.

Some Questions:

• Where should we be spending our time and money planting churches?
• Does population matter? Why?
• Should we leave rural areas or come up with different models? Why?
• How many new successful churches do we need to plant to stop the decline?
• How could you support the starting of Elevation Church in St. Louis, MO?
www.elevationstlouis.com

-Daniel

Almost Famous

The Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church did an article on Elevation Church.  Check it out!

http://www.moumethodist.org/console/files/oFiles_Library_XZXLCZ/April1FullVersion_4SB2HYCL.pdf

I want to give props to Rachel Beise for the contribution of her photos.  Way to go!  Also, thanks to Dustin Keele for making our website look amazing!

-Daniel

BTW–If you would like to contribute to this new church start please go to www.elevationstlouis.com/give and make a one time gift or set up a recurring gift to help support this young church and ultimately change lives and impact the city.  All donations are tax-deductible.

A Prayer

A friend sent me this prayer as we start this new work in St. Louis, MO:

God of history and of our hearts,
Help Daniel and the new Elevation faith community to be a beginning for others,
to be a singer to the songless,
a storyteller to the aimless,
a befriender of the friendless;
To become a beginning of hope for the despairing,
of assurance for the doubting,
of reconciliation for the divided;
To become a beginning of freedom for the oppressed,
of comfort for the sorrowing,
of friendship for the forgotten;
To become a beginning of beauty for the forlorn,
of sweetness for the soured,
of gentleness for the angry,
of wholeness for the broken,
of peace for the frightened and violent of the earth.

Help Daniel and the new Elevation faith community to believe in beginnings,
to make a beginning,
to be a beginning,
So that he and they and we may not just grow old,
but grow new
each day of this wild, amazing life
You call us to live
with the passion of Jesus Christ. Amen!

I thought this was a great prayer and a very thoughtful gift. If you read this blog or this prayer, would you partner with Elevation and me and pray this prayer on our behalf for the next week. I am asking you to commit the next seven days to lifting this new movement up to the Father. Take the challenge and see what God does!

-Daniel

Abundant

I have officially taken the first step to living in a new area; i.e. currently sitting in the Fenton Starbucks.

I arrived in St. Louis at 6:00pm, after spending a few great days in Tulsa, OK, with family and friends.

It’s been amazing seeing people catch on to the vision for this new movement. At this point, a few churches have decided to partner with us in various ways. There is something so beautiful about churches helping other churches, even when they don’t have much.

Just like in Mark, when the widow gives all she had, which wasn’t much, yet it was EVERYTHING. Jesus praised her actions! She backed up her belief with ACTION.

We serve a God who has “cattle on a thousand hills”.

He has all He needs, and all we need. He is complete and in Him we can be complete.

So, why is it that many churches function with a theology of scarcity? Why do we see the glass half empty?

God is not bankrupt.

God is abundant.

Where is our faith when God prompts us to GIVE; when we are worried about money?

When we get to a point where we can’t loosen our grip on our resources, then they have become idols.

Andy Stanley talks about FEAR being at the core of our lack of generosity. We don’t give, because we are afraid.

Let me say it again.. We SERVE a GOD who has “CATTLE ON A THOUSAND HILLS!”

Followers of Christ Jesus should be ridiculously infused with this crazy kind of faith! Stop living “half-empty” and afraid!

Challenge: Step out in faith; give generously.

Lean into that fear that has held your heart tight and choose to GIVE. God will meet you; and He will bless you!

I want to create a community of people who have audacious FAITH. A Church who goes BIG!

Why?

Because I’m tired of little dreams that can be easily accomplished within our own power. I want to cast and lead dreams that are so BIG that the only way they could possibly get accomplished is by the PRESENCE OF GOD.

We serve an abundant God!

If you would like to GIVE to Elevation Church, please visit out website at www.elevationstlouis.com for more information, or email us at giving@elevationstlouis.com.

Blessings

-Daniel

 

Participate

As we venture into this new opportunity, we would like to give all who know us a chance to participate.  Listed below are multiple ways for you to partner with us:

*PRAY

Prayer is the engine that will drive all that Elevation Church is now and will be in the future.

We need people committed to praying for this new church and for our team.

If you feel led to be a part of our prayer team, email us at dtaylor@elevationstlouis.com; in the subject line write PRAYER TEAM and we will add you to our list of prayer warriors.

*REFER

Referrals allow us to contact people who may be interested in helping at Elevation Church or even participate through prayer, giving or even referring others.

They also put us in contact with those who may not currently have a church home or faith in Christ.

Just go to our website and under the “connect” link, click “re:fer”.

*GIVE

Resources are crucial to the launch of a new church.

Through our website, we have set up a link that provides an easy way for you to give. You can donate money, stocks and bonds, items, and whatever else the Lord is putting on your heart.

Remember that all of these donations are tax deductible.

If you are interested in partnering with us visit our new website where you will find all you need to get involved.

Our website is www.elevationstlouis.com

Also, if you have other creative ideas that would allow people to participate and partner with Elevation Church, please email us at info@elevationstlouis.com.

We are so thankful for the prayers, referrals, gifts and support that have already been poured upon us, and we continue to charge forward knowing that the Lord’s hand is in this new adventure.

-Daniel