Apr 27, '08 5:10 PM
Thought I was going to get today's Coffee Break out in the last couple of days, but Embarq has been having some server issues during the past week or so, and yesterday someone cut a fiber optic cable near the Columbia River, and that shut us down for nearly 24 hours.
Well, now! All my previous talk and apology about getting windy in K-E-XXI and then I go off and get even windier in K-E-XXIII! Guess I oughta just keep quiet about it and write. You know how it is sometimes? Open mouth. Insert foot. Shut. OWW!!!
We won't go back there, today. Just grab that French Press -- assuming you make your coffee the right way (Hehehehehehe.............) -- and pour that really good cup of coffee so's we can get started.
We've been talking about the principle of seed-sowing, and I'd like to finish up that topic today, if possible so we can get on with the concept and principle of first-fruits.
Tithing. Seed Sowing. First Fruits. These are all critical truths specific to Kingdom Economics. Once we get these principles and truths locked under our belts, and begin to practice them faithfully AND in faith, our lives are headed for dramatic change.
I'm not ashamed or embarrassed to tell folks that Della and I are multi-millionaires. Just because we don't always have lots of cash on hand doesn't change the fact. But we didn't get to this place overnight. We've lived and learned the truths of Kingdom Economics. We've made some colossal blunders along the way. We've made some really good investments at the direction of the Holy Spirit, and we've made some really bad investments because our eyes and hearts were mis-directed by our own fleshly desires or human compassion. By the blessing of the Lord, we've acquired some rather spectacular assets throughout the years. We've also gotten ourselves head-over-heels in debt several times and wondered how it happened. Through it all, the Lord has corrected us, and prospered us.
We're still learning and putting into practice the principles God has taught us from His Word. What I've been sharing in this series of Coffee Breaks comes directly from what Della and I have learned and experienced firsthand and put into practice -- with mistakes and all -- along the way. I'm careful to say that the Holy Spirit is still bringing revelation and enlarging our understanding. If I were to re-write this series ten years from now, I'm sure there would be a lot to add.
One thing that has been consistent for all of our married lives is that we have been, and are, givers. Even when I royally screwed up in my understanding of tithing and ceased to practice it for a number of years, we still gave and gave generously. Della and I have been seed-sowers from the get-go. Even when our understanding of seed-sowing was imperfect (and we're still learning some things about seed-sowing as the days, weeks, months and years continue), we sowed non-stop into the Kingdom of God.
For years, I misread -- like so many of God's people still do -- Matthew 6:19-21. It reads as follows:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
The way I read those verses and interpreted them, it was wrong to even think about making money or earning lots of money here. If I did, I was laying up for myself "treasures upon earth." But that's a twist on the truth. What Jesus was getting at was the focus of our hearts. He wasn't for a second saying that it is wrong for Christians to make and have lots of money. What He was getting at was the fact that money is simply a tool -- a medium of exchange -- that can be used for Kingdom purposes.
There isn't a ministry on this planet that can operate without money, and depending on the nature of what God has called people to do, the costs can run into hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. Every dollar invested along the way by individuals who partner with these ministries and sow seed into them is in a very real sense, "laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven."
It costs us thousands of dollars every month to operate River Worship Center and Capener Ministries. Every dollar that comes into this place is used exactly as directed by the Holy Spirit for Kingdom purposes. Though we are entitled to do so according to the Word, Della and I have never drawn a salary or even a single paycheck from River Worship Center or Capener Ministries. (That doesn't mean it will always be that way. But RWC and Capener Ministries are not our source: God is!) Our first and highest priority has always been to fulfil the calling and the mission that God has given us with this ministry. We don't just sow money into this ministry; we sow our lives, our activities, everything that we have.
Della and I always have financial needs. That may sound like a contradiction to what I've already shared so let me share with you a recent experience that will clarify this.
The other day, I was walking out of Bank of America, and as I stepped out onto the street, the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to me. He said, "How much money do you need?" I thought about it very quickly and said, "I need about $220,000."
My first thought, of course, was the purchase and clear title to the building we now occupy. We've been believing God and declaring clear title to this property before 2008 comes to an end.
I heard the Holy Spirit sigh, and He said, "Come on! Get real with me! I asked you how much money you need. Where's your vision, anyway?"
Ooops! OK. "Uhh, let's see, Lord. If I purchase the properties you instructed us to purchase for the building and construction of the new worship center, and pay cash for them........Hmmmmm.......guess I need roughly a million dollars."
"You're not even warm, yet!" the Holy Spirit responded. "What have I instructed you to do? Where's your vision? What have I put in your heart to accomplish? Come on! Let's get real, here!"
The picture of the new worship center flashed before my eyes. I saw the new prayer tower, and the education facilities. "OK, Lord, guess I'm really selling you short. It takes no imagination whatever to see a need for $250 Million."
I heard the Holy Spirit start to laugh. "Now you're starting to get the picture," He said. "Keep going! You're actually getting warm."
Many of you have heard me talk about my years in international banking and the transactions I was involved in where hundreds of billions of dollars were exchanged. Those experiences really changed my perspective of money. Those transactions and business deals took away the intimidation of large numbers where money was concerned and started me on a trek of deliverance from a poverty mindset.
Now it was my turn to begin laughing. "OK, Lord! There's the broadcast center, the communications operations, the satellite launch and operation, the homes for needy families, the distribution centers, and more. I can use a billion dollars without blinking."
"That's more like it," I heard the Holy Spirit say. "And I'll give it to you. But this is only the beginning. There's a lot more to do than that. Just don't box me in with limited vision and small numbers. Think with the limits removed! Think with faith."
Understand? The reason so many of God's people live in such limited conditions and circumstances is that they have a phobia of money. Money has become something to be afraid of, something to fear, something dreadful that God's people just shouldn't be into.
Folks, it's not the money. Money is here today and gone tomorrow. Money is only a means. When Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," He was commanding them to think, AND pray, AND function globally: with vision, with purpose, with the objective of bringing the world back into subjection to His Kingdom.
Bill Winston, who pastors Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park, Illinois, frequently says, "We're not here to take sides. We're here to take over." Folks, THAT is Kingdom thinking! That's exactly what Jesus was talking about when He instructed folks to pray, "Thy kingdom come."
Bill Winston's comment is worth a lot of discussion, and I'd sure like to take the time to talk about it, but it will take us off course for where we need to go today. Maybe we'll be able to take it up in some future Coffee Break.
As I said, money isn't the issue. And God has absolutely no problem with His people being the richest people on earth. In fact, that's the way it is supposed to be. The problem is that when folks get their eyes and thoughts focused on money and possessions instead of the Lord and His Kingdom, they lose sight of the source of our blessing and prosperity.
Let me take this discussion on a slightly different trek.
Money can't buy God's power. Money can't buy God's authority. Money can't buy salvation. Money can't buy peace. Money can't buy deliverance. Money can't buy your health or your healing.
Now. Here's the funny thing. God wants His people to have lots of money. Scripture contains more than 900 references to God prospering His people and making them rich. Why? Because money can be used to enable the takeover that Bill Winston frequently talks about. Money can be used to propagate the Gospel. Money will provide the means for pastors and church leaders and worship leaders to devote themselves to their callings. Money will pay for buildings and facilities. Money will buy properties. Money will pay for expensive broadcast time so that the message of Jesus Christ -- the Gospel to the poor, the message that the curse has been cancelled -- can reach folks that never darken the doors of churches.
On and on and on and on it goes. Do you see where this is going?
And the Lord WANTS to provide the means for His people to do these things. But He WON'T give it to folks who have a poverty mindset. Folks who have a poverty mindset cannot be trusted. A poverty-stricken, cheap-minded, money-grubbing man or woman will use money just like the individual Jesus described who was given "one talent." They either heap it on themselves, use it as a stash "for a rainy day," or bury it in fear so nothing will happen to it.
God entrusts wealth and riches to folks who aren't afraid to give it all away, but who -- at the same time -- won't throw it away irresponsibly just because "there are needs."
Judas was poverty-stricken. He had a poverty mindset. Despite the fact that he carried "the bag" which contained a pretty fair chunk of money and served as treasurer for Jesus' traveling entourage; despite the fact that during the three-and-a-half years that he walked with Jesus, none of them ever had a need that wasn't met and met in great abundance. Jesus had even sent them all out and instructed them to "Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece," (Luke 9:3) and then later after they had returned asked, "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?"
The disciples' response was, "Nothing." (See Luke 22:35)
Judas had experienced the continuous and miraculous provision of the Lord for every single need, and yet he couldn't see past the money. People like Judas who can't see past money often become thieves because of their poverty mindset.
Consider the situation that occurred when Jesus was at the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. (John 12) Mary takes a pound of spikenard and uses it to anoint Jesus' feet. A pound of spikenard by the value of the day was valued at nearly a year's wages (and more, by some accounts) for the common working man. Judas sees this selfless act on Mary's part, and the only thing he gets out of it is the monetary value. The only thing Judas can see is that Mary is wasting this valuable commodity.
His gripe is the same gripe we hear today from poverty-minded people. "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence (roughly a year's wages), and given to the poor?"
John's Gospel tells us that "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein." Understand? Jesus had a thief in his midst. Judas was stealing from the funds that he was supposed to be responsible for.
Jesus knew the mindset and heart of Judas, and His answer to Judas is revelatory. "Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always."
Get it? No matter how much money you throw at poverty, it will never relieve the situation. You will always have poverty around; and the reason is because of the curse that came upon the earth with sin. That's why when Jesus came and began His preaching ministry He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel (euangelizo -- good news) to the poor."
What was the good news? That He had come to redeem those in poverty who would receive Him. He had come to deliver them from the curse that brought poverty. You don't deliver folks from the curse of poverty by throwing money at them or their needs: you change their mindset from a poverty mindset to the thinking of giving and abundance. People who are in need rarely see the fact that if they will simply give, and give to the Lord, they will very rapidly come out of their poverty.
The way out of poverty is giving. (You'll recall that in our previous Coffee Break I told you about Dr. Leroy Thompson's book, YOU'RE NOT BROKE, YOU HAVE A SEED.) The title of Leroy's book tells it all: there's no such thing as "broke" for folks who get the revelation of seed-sowing and of giving.
Are you in debt? Do you have lots of needs? Then begin to give your way out of debt. Give your way out of need. Give your way out of poverty. And while you're giving, make sure you are sowing the Word Seed. Earlier, I said that there are more than 900 references in Scripture to God's people being rich and living in overflowing abundance. Everyone of those references are seed that you can sow in the midst of your situation.
It's important, however, in the midst of the declarations of the Word that you don't compromise the sowing of that seed by then turning around and speaking something contrary to God's Word. Doing so is roughly analogous to digging up the seed you just planted. It renders all your effort, your giving and your speaking null and void. It cancels out the Word Seed.
I had a story I wanted to share with you today that relates to what we've been discussing, but it would turn today's Coffee Break into another extra-windy session, so I'll save it for next time.
See you in a couple of days.
Poverty is a form of Hell caused by man's blindness to God's unlimited good (and blessing) for him. God's plan for man is the prosperity that comes by living in divine favor. Living in divine favor is the product of direct and committed -- covenanted -- obedience to Him and His Word!
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow! (Proverbs 10:22) Be blessed!
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
Email Contact: Admin@RiverWorshipCenter.org
Coffee Break articles are copyright by Regner A. Capener, but authorization for
reprinting, reposting, copying or re-use, in whole or in part, is granted
–provided proper attribution and this notice are included intact. Older Coffee
Break archives are available at http://www.RegnersMorningCoffee.com. Coffee Break
articles are normally published weekly.
If you would like to have these articles arrive each morning in your email, please send a blank email to: Subscribe@AnotherCoffeeBreak.com.To remove yourself from the mailing list, please send a blank email to Unsubscribe@AnotherCoffeeBreak.com.
CAPENER MINISTRIES is a tax-exempt church ministry. Should you desire to participate and covenant with us as partners in this ministry, please contact us at either of the above email or physical addresses, or visit: http://www.RiverWorshipCenter.org.