What About Stewardship?
At Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida we have a Mission Statement: Giving ourselves daily to help each one live in the rescuing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is a significant part of the definition of stewardship. Stewardship is giving ourselves daily as a living sacrifice to God, giving our heart, soul […]
Giving Wisely in a Confusing World
The 2019 alleged scam on GoFundMe by a homeless man in Philadelphia and a New Jersey couple has highlighted one problem with generosity; there are a lot of liars and cheaters out there. That is nothing new, just an additional example of a well-established fact. Avoiding that type of scam is relatively easy – avoid […]
Be Generous and Live Well
One of the more striking statements that I have read is “I’ve never met an unhappy generous person.” How true that is! If people would just focus on that idea alone, they would realize that generosity is a very good trait to have. No one transforms from a miser to a generous person in one, […]
It All Belongs to God
It is often said that we are just stewards, not owners, of what we have. Is that really true? If it is true, what does that mean for me? I had heard that I am only a steward and not an owner many times, but I had never checked it out or thought about the […]
Be Generous and Live Well
One of the more striking statements that I have read is “I’ve never met an unhappy generous person.” How true that is! If people would just focus on that idea alone, they would realize that generosity is a very good trait to have. There are many other good reasons for generosity aside from happiness. And […]
What the Love of Money Means
John Piper in his book Money, Sex & Power makes an interesting observation. He asks, “Have you ever pondered the possibility that the first and the last Commandments are virtually the same, and function as kind of an enclosure, or bracketing, that makes the other eight commandments in the middle possible?” I had never thought […]
Can Generosity Be Contagious?
One of the real problems of early winter lies in the spread of contagious diseases, especially the flu. Closed spaces, colder temperature, lower humidity, runny noses and the rest of what comes with the start of winter brings some nasty illnesses to disrupt the holiday season. There is one other contagious condition that also spreads […]
What Is Legacy Giving?
I once received a legacy gift. Actually, I have received more than one, but one in particular stands out in my mind. I had been out of school about two years. My wife and I wanted to buy a home, but we did not have enough saved to even come close to being able to […]
It Isn’t That Hard to Give
Let’s imagine a man who wanted to save time and money but still be generous and let’s call him John Doe. John had a 401(k) and non-qualified savings and investment accounts he had built up by being a good and wise steward during his working years. The 401(k) rolled over into an IRA upon his […]
What About Generosity When Money Is Scarce?
Many people have written that money can’t buy happiness and have joked about it. Here are few examples of sayings, most anonymous, relating to money’s power and its ability to deliver happiness: Money can’t buy happiness; it can, however, rent it. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, didn’t know where to shop. All I ask […]
Hope for the Forgotten – the Least of These!
There is a fundamental question every believer must face, “If we don’t care for those Jesus described as ‘the least of these’, then how are we doing as believers?” In Matthew 25 Jesus said it twice in different ways. First, He said in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of […]
The New Normal
What Can We Learn from This? One year ago, if someone had asked me, “Would you like to see your world, including your church world and church life, completely disrupted so that you would have to search, hope and pray for a ‘new normal’ to life?” I would have laughed at that question. The answer […]
The Will of the Lord
One of my favorite memory verses is Micah 6:8: Micah 6:8 8 He has shown you, O man, what is good. and what does the Lord require of you To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. That verse says so much about the heart of God that it is virtually bottomless in […]
Being Cash Poor Does Not Mean You Can’t Give
But I can barely pay my bills! How can I possibly give? The answer is at the same time both simple and complex – in a thousand different ways (and maybe more than that)! Many people misunderstand what true generosity is and only think of traditional giving, money. For a full explanation of the important […]
How to Give and Keep at the Same Time
A Gift That Can Provide You with Income for Life The tax laws of the U.S. are a mystery to almost all U.S. citizens. Their complexity is so great that even tax lawyers end up arguing the fine points. But there are many opportunities that are clear, and one of those opportunities allows you to […]
The Poor Will Always Be With You …
To really answer the responsibility God has placed upon followers of Jesus, the best starting point is, as always, the Bible. A Listing of every verse dealing with God’s apparent focus on the poor and those in need would be very lengthy because this is a common topic in His Word. Nevertheless, I start with […]
God Loves a Cheerful Giver – So Be One!
“For God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) is foundational and is used in some way in almost every sermon or lesson on giving, tithing or generosity. The entire verse is: 2 Corinthians 9:7 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, […]
What Happened to the Joy of Giving?
I have had the pleasure of asking numerous small groups what the best “giving” verse is in the Bible. I have had the almost indescribable pleasure of hearing almost all groups quickly zero in on John 3:16. John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that […]
What About Wise Giving?
What if the gift may or even be abused or wasted? The excellent book Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton makes a solid point, that at times doing good really isn’t a good thing. Lupton doesn’t leave us with a negative conclusion, instead he offers established strategies and models for making charity helpful instead of […]
What About The Gift of Giving?
Romans 12:6-8 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then […]
What about Generosity?
A Christian world view is, or should be, odd enough in the world’s eyes that the believer is thought of as odd. It is not necessary to walk around either naked or in rags like St. Francis, depending upon others each day for every bite to eat and having no place to sleep on cold, […]
What About The Heart?
The Chronicle of Philanthropy has made the state of giving in the U.S. dismally clear and the news based upon their studies is that Millennials are hardly giving to charities at all and are even more restrained in giving to religious or faith-based charities. The actual numbers are: • Religious giving made up 32% of […]
What About Helping Those in Need? Part 1
But there are too many needy! I can’t make a difference. Wrong! A little boy was walking along the beach, watching the waves, sea gulls and looking for shells in the surf after a big storm. Every once in a while, the boy would pick up a sand dollar lying at his feet and he […]
What About Helping Those In Need – Part 2 – What We Miss If We Don’t Give
In Part 1 we looked at giving to help those in need, the natural struggles about not being able to make a real difference and not wanting to waste hard-earned money. We saw the absolute clarity in God’s Word about our duty to help those in need. No, we can’t solve all of the problems […]
What Is Your Passion?
It has been suggested that until you find something worth dying for, there might be doubt that you are really alive. I don’t think I would go quite that far, but I could not agree more that our goal should never be to just ease into a coffin after a long, calm, and safe life, […]
Does the New Testament Teach Tithing?
The New Testament does not explicitly say believers are required to tithe. That aligns with some element of common sense because the law which was so central to the Old Testament has been fulfilled in Jesus. But does that mean New Testament Christians shouldn’t tithe or are freed from tithing? Absolutely not, not any more […]
The Gospel of Grace and Your Heart
I recently read a book by Ron Blue (Never Enough?). In the very first chapter he referred to a conversation he had with a pastor from Kenya. He asked the pastor to identify what he thought the greatest hindrance was to the gospel in Kenya and he answered, “materialism.”
What Can I Do?
During the Coronavirus pandemic, that is a question I have heard from a number of people. “I am only one person, what can I do?” But you aren’t just one person, you are one of many asking the same question. There is strength in numbers – a lot of strength! Here are a few ideas […]
The Apostle Paul on Money and Generosity
Peter was an amazing Christian. Timothy, Barnabus, and even John Mark were great evangelists, but as a traveler, evangelist, preacher, teacher, writer, and all-around Christian, no one has been greater than the Apostle Paul. His perseverance was perhaps even greater than his writing. 2 Corinthians 11: 16-29 16 I repeat: Let no one take me […]
Science Proves That It Is More Blessed to Give Than to Receive
Jesus told us clearly and unequivocally that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35. Personal experience has proven Paul’s quotation of Jesus to be truthful, at least for me. I have experienced it on Christmas morning with children and others I love, I have experienced it at church as I am […]
Don’t Just Settle for Good
There are likely very few Christian articles that will start with a quote from, of all people, Hunter Thompson. For those not familiar with him, Hunter S. Thompson (1937 – 2005), was an author and journalist who hated authority and made many outrageous statements like, “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to […]
To Live Generously
Life is short. As I have reached well-past the mid-60’s, the shortness of life is a fact that has become at times painfully obvious to me. The old joke about the four stages of life has a solid element of truth (and nearness) in it: 1. You believe in Santa Claus. 2. You don’t believe […]
Stop Tithing and Become Generous
I love people who shape an argument so they can “win” rather than honestly ask the right questions and risk getting an unwelcome answer. During my legal career we referred to that as raising the straw man argument. The technique was simple. Misdirect the opponent from the real issue and instead address a slightly different […]
Why Should I Give?
I teach on stewardship and generosity at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, and I ask one question in my initial stewardship lesson that always raises eyebrows and catches people’s attention, “Why give to the church?” I can also see that it makes some people uncomfortable. It isn’t a question that most expect since our […]
What About Giving and Generosity?
Looking at the words giving and generosity closely might yield some surprising results. Many times the two words have almost interchangeable applications. But there are a few hidden differences between true generosity and just giving. You can actually give, give often, and give a lot and still not be generous. You can also give little […]
More on the Tithe, Part 1
Tithes and Offerings – Is There A Difference? As I write this my church has just completed a capital stewardship campaign. At the same time, as Executive Director of The Idlewild Foundation, I have the responsibility (and great blessing) to teach stewardship lessons in different small groups. I have been asked one question several times […]
More on the Tithe, Part 2
Tithes and Offerings – Is There A Difference? In Part 1 of in More on the Tithe, we started looking at more on the topic of giving and tithing, focusing in on the difference between tithes and offerings, and on what we can give, including our time, our treasures and out talents. However, we saw […]
How to Give Wisely in 2023
The tax law enacted as a 2017 Christmas present to Americans by the administration and Congress, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, has had an impact on the structure and amount of charitable donations. That impact lingers on and is being discovered by more people even as they prepare their taxes for 2023. […]
Tax-Wise Charitable Giving
Giving to Charity Has Great Benefits Giving to your church is a call from God. There are many scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments that give us God’s direction to generously support His church. But the need for giving and for generosity goes much deeper. The call of God is also for believers […]
IRA Charitable Rollovers
Are you at least 70 ½ years old? If the answer is yes, you have the opportunity to make a gift of up to $100,000 each year from your IRA to a public charity by using a qualifying Designated Fund through The Idlewild Foundation in association with the National Christian Foundation (NCF). Please note, however, […]
Giving to Your Grandchildren
Many grandparents today ask themselves, “How much wealth should I pass on to my grandchildren? Will it be used for good, or for destruction?” Andrew Carnegie wisely said, “I not only ask, ‘Will my fortune be safe with my children?’ but, ‘Will my children be safe with my fortune?’”
IRS Charitable Deduction Tips
This is a document from the Internal Revenue Service with helpful tips on charitable deductions. Please click Download Resource below to access the helpful sites. Always check directly with the IRS at IRS.gov for any updates or changes. Go to www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/charitable-contribution-deductions.
The Really Smart Gift of Real Estate
Suppose Roy and Barbara invested in real estate 25 years ago by purchasing property for $5,000. Since then, the real estate has grown to have a fair market value of $250,000. A buyer has approached them to buy the real estate. But instead of selling the real estate to the buyer, paying the taxes and […]
Stop writing checks
Non-Cash Assets Are a Tax-Smart Way to Give Can you imagine a ministry refusing to accept a $50,000 check? Well, that’s exactly what happened recently when a generous giver presented his check to a Christian non-profit in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A staff member at the ministry, who had a long-time relationship with this earnest giver, […]
Innovative non-cash gifts
Checks, cash, simple stocks – by far, these are the three types of assets most frequently donated to Christian churches and ministries. But did you know there’s a smarter, more efficient way to give? There may be innovative non-cash gifts that are far wiser.
Giving Business Interests
A case study in tax-smart giving Jonathan began his company shortly after World War II with $500 in borrowed funds. Today, the company is worth $10 million. Every year, Jonathan gives 20% of his income. Therefore, he wishes to give $2 million to The Idlewild Foundation upon the sale of his business.
Giving before the sale of a non-cash gift
A hypothetical case study in tax-smart giving Katherine and Mark bought a piece of property 25 years ago for $50,000. This year, it was worth $500,000. Having a heart for evangelism, they wanted to sell the asset and then give the proceeds to The Idlewild Foundation. Doing so, however, would have sent tens of thousands […]
Give first, or sell first, then give
Consider these two scenarios and tell us which is wisest. (A) The giver donates an appreciated non-cash asset before the sale, thereby taking a $500,000 income tax deduction and receiving a $205,000 reduction in taxes. (B) The giver sells an appreciated asset first, and then gifts the proceeds to us, thereby taking a $405,500 income […]