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POAK! (you’ll get it if you read this whole thing)

January 13, 2010

you all know i do not do long posts. and i understand if you move along and dont read this. but i had to put it out here. i’ll keep this bit short. basically…joshua white and i had a fairly deep discussion wednesday afternoon and thought we’d share it with you. we talked about the issues most arent talking about right now re: haiti and helping. so here you go – our chat….

josh: there is a personal struggle as well. I think fear does still hold me back. For as “radical” as I want to be and can be sometimes, I still retreat to comfort. And I think the opposite of you, I think “generally” people could care less. Maybe I’m a pessimist, but the circles we run in AREN’T a reflection of society as a whole, you know?

tam: yah…i think we all want comfort. and i wouldn’t even call it our sinful nature. i think its natural…how life was intended during creation…but what i think we’ve done to it, with it, is hid behind it. we talk a lot. we promise a lot. but we do little. because if we actually do…we’ll have to follow thru. so, i think its less about comfort and more with laziness.

josh: You’re probably right

tam: i cant hide behind fear…none of us can. especially when it comes down to finances (for most of us) i cant say i cant give anything. i can go a week without buying mochas and give 15 bucks right there.

josh: I mean, I get being responsible, but is it more important to pay a bill on time or help others? Gah. So many questions.

tam: yes. both.

josh: I just need to get out of debt =)

tam: its important to pay your bills because thats your responsibility. God is not calling you to go back on your word and not pay your bills that you owe. but if you can be creative with cutting back a thing or two for a season, so you can give more, then do it. period. i don’t think its as difficult as people make it out to be

josh: Oo, I’m going to make you eat those words in a moment =)

tam: ok

josh: If someone in your family was sick and needed every ounce of money you had, wouldn’t you let a credit card bill or two go?

tam: i have. and i’ve regretted every day since then that we put ourselves in the position that we even had a maxed credit card we couldn’t pay because our kids got sick. ya see… it goes much deeper than just wanting to help. we need, and have needed to be, a lot more proactive and prepared for these times than we are.

josh: YES!!! That we definitely agree on

tam: i think this is a wake up call for believers world wide to get their junk together. while i’m certain that self reflection during these times is healthy and in order…we need to be careful that we don’t make it all about us. either in how we cant give or how much we can and do give. this isn’t about us. its always about others. and not in a ‘point out the log in the others eye’ kinda way. but about…really serving and sacrificing for others. and by sacrificing i don’t mean, and do not think God would support, we default on our responsibilities…at all…but if there are ways to sacrifice comforts without putting your own family and self in a similar predicament, then i say…do ALL you can.

josh: yeah. the bigger story here definitely seems to be to get our junk in order so we can be better equipped to be the Church we need to be

tam: yup. fully agree! like, a million percent. we all definitely need to do some housecleaning in all areas of our lives. so…you wanna start a mission to do that? maybe…a challenge – a call out?

josh: hell yeah =)

tam: lets do it! what a perfect time to bring self awareness to people.

josh: i couldn’t agree more

tam: i think the number one question to ask people is…are you prepared, personally and as a family, financially to help in times of crisis like this in haiti? why or why not? what can change? do you think there needs to be change? is it your responsibility? do you feel its a part of the great commission?

josh: I think we stumbled upon something so very important

tam: whats that?

josh: The idea that most people, at least those in our circles, WANT to do SO much, and it breaks their heart that they can’t for whatever reason (mine included). But they’re stuck in something, whatever it is, that keeps them from being able to act in a radical, Christ-centered way.

tam: so…in bringing awareness to others on how to recognize what is preventing them from helping?

josh: And by the way, your number one question was like five questions =) Yeah, I think people are content to continue living their lives, in the case of being financially chained down, people who will continue to use their credit cards to get points, yet never pay them off, have bill after bill after bill and never be concerned because they’re making it month to month… but when tragedy arises they’re left scratching the heads and butts… saying “I can’t do anything.”

tam: i know. shut it. and also… lets not discount those who pray. there are those who are called to be prayer warriors and those who honestly can do nothing more than pray.

josh: Absolutely. And I hope nobody thought I was today. My whole thing about saying “prayer isn’t enough” was indeed, solely about me.

tam: got it.

josh: I am not a prayer warrior, I’m a man of action =)

tam: because you know you can do more…i get that. totally.

josh: Because to me, saying “I prayed about it,” when I just spent money on coffee and an itunes album, is like saying “you’ve got this God… I’m cool here.”

tam: right. that makes sense. and thats what started that gut check…because i totally believe God was grabbing you and going, “nu-uh…not you!”

josh: I think god is up there wanting to become flesh again just so he can come down here and kick me in the junk

tam: nice!

josh: it’s like that conversation we had so long ago… God gives us abilities, gifts, and the heart to DO things

tam: that we have more power than we believe or use?

josh: yup

tam: yah…i “think” about that one all the time 😉 alright then…lets do some ass kicking…starting with our own first. which i think we’re doing quite well already

josh: haha. We can be the People of Ass Kicking

******************************************

and lastly…a charge from josh…

If you are anything like us, then you feel this holy discontent to act. You may feel like you are being held captive by something in your life that is preventing you to be a radical change in the lives of people who need it most, I know I do. These things that hold us back are very real, and we have the responsibility to deal with them. Would you join me in dealing with them, so next time something like this happens, we can be better equipped to be an amazing agent for Christ? Let’s be the Church God so desperately wants us to be. Whether it’s financial, or something else that CAN be dealt with, let’s all pledge right now, right here, to start down the path to deal with it. Let’s not let another massive tragedy like this happen with us still unprepared. Let’s not let another child on a street downtown in your city go hungry another night because we didn’t have enough cash in our pocket to buy them a meal. It’s time we as Christians rise up, and make changes in our lives, correct the mistakes we’ve made in the past (in my case, financially), so we can finally be mobile and have the freedom to react.

A side note – I understand that some people truly cannot do much more than pray, for whatever reason. Understand I’m not calling you out, rather it’s the people who do have things in their lives that are holding them back from radical generosity that CAN be dealt with. There are some of you who are called to be prayer warriors, and I am so very thankful for you, because I am NOT one of those people. So thank you, and keep on praying. Add some prayers for the rest of us who feel a need to act into the mix, that we can get our households in order and be ready next time.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2010 11:18 pm

    we’re kinda funny!

    srsly though. call to arms here on my end. i hope others have their eyes opened as well

  2. January 13, 2010 11:46 pm

    I wanna be a POAKer.

    You’re so right – as believers we need to live well within our means, so that when people need help, we’re in a position to do something. If we don’t act when we have $5, we’ll not do anything with $5M.

    You know, when I think about it, I feel that this is what God was getting at when He came up with tithing. Not so we could feel good about ourselves or necessarily fund a new lighting rig (no, I’m not knocking it), but so there would be ample in the storehouse FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. We’ve made giving money to God (or not giving money to God) something that it’s not, and we seriously need to repent of that. Not saying I have it nailed, but I feel my eyes are being opened.

    I really think you two are getting to the heart of the matter here.

    • January 14, 2010 9:18 am

      SO right here!

      if we don’t act with our $5.00… what makes us REALLY think we’ll act with our $5 million.

  3. January 14, 2010 12:07 am

    i need to be a POAKer. i am a “failed” prayer warrior at this moment. i have the gift of prophetic intercession…and last week while fasting & praying God said “earthquake…start praying”. i thought to myself…if i told anyone this…no one is going to believe me. i didn’t take it seriously. i prayed about an earthquake ONCE. i said God pls don’t let it be here in LA. how selfish of me right?

    yesterday when i heard about Haiti…i cried my eyes out. seeing all those people hurt & pained showed me the importance obeying right away. i have no money to give (coz im a struggling single mom) and God knows that…but He gave me a responsibility to pray… and i didn’t do it to the best of my ability.

    it broke me, but it taught me BIG a lesson. the next time, when i hear Him, i wont second guess it…now i know it’s always better to just obey, even if i feel like no one will listen…because i know that He always does.

    • January 14, 2010 4:36 am

      wow, i love your heart and your honesty here! THANK YOU.

      • January 14, 2010 5:09 pm

        extremely humbled by this experience.

        but i’ve learned my lesson.

  4. January 14, 2010 4:40 am

    tam, tam, tam…ouch! loved every word of this. God gave me a heart to give. i mean He gave me a heart that when i hear a need i am compelled to give. here is the BUT. i now have myself in a position where it is impossible to give unless i don’t pay bills. that is NOT what God planned. i can plan, put away, be prepared. you (and josh) have officially kicked my a$$. thanks. i mean that.

  5. heidi permalink
    January 14, 2010 5:56 am

    WOW…. I gotta tell ya you guys pushed some envelopes here:

    First: I have a cousin his name is Evan, he is in Haiti. He is accounted for thank God. But his bunkmate is not his name is Sam.
    Sam went to the grocery store for the house.

    We pray and we give.

    Secondly: I am a prayer warrior.One of my giftings is this. I believe God has placed me in certain people’s life and certain roles to be JUST that. Understand me, I am not a holy roller and pray 24/7, 365 times a year. BUT I do believe entering my throneroom and PRAYING specifically. That’s where there is a lack.. O’ I’ll pray for Haiti. But HOW are you praying for Haiti. I believe there are things you need to put in a God box, a God box is immense you can even see the ends of it to close it. Then there’s your box, it’s the size of the jewelery box your engagement ring came in. Are you going to put your finances, your kids, your marriage, your church, or the island of Haiti in a jewelery box?? your choice

    Thirdly: I don’t know where my rent is coming next month, I’ve been the sole supporter of my family for a long time and it’s catching up. But I do know, if I pay my tithe, give to causes like this enormous event in Haiti, give to the family next door like I did last night with groceries. My rent will be paid.

    I am a woman of action… won’t you be!!

    Love this Joshua and Tam!!!!

  6. January 14, 2010 9:26 am

    so… do i get extra points cuz i read this on my iPhone in bed late last night without glasses? seriously…

    what’s really strange (or not) about this whole thing is brian and i have been talking about really attacking our budget and being “nazi-ish” about our finances because we’ve been careless. we’ve cut down a LOT on our spending… we eat at home a lot more, don’t buy new clothes all the time, etc… BUT, even with that, we are NOT good stewards of our money at ALL.

    then… haiti happened… and we couldn’t give as much as we really REALLY wanted to. well… i guess what i REALLY want to do is hop on a plane and go over there to PHYSICALLY help. and this got me thinking: if we had been better stewards, the way God has called us to be over our finances, what could we be giving and providing for just ONE more hurt person right now.

    THEN… i stopped feeling sorry for myself… lesson learned and decided: responsible stewardship begins TODAY so that tomorrow, we can be more prepared and available to do what NEEDS to be done.

    loveyouboth!

    • January 14, 2010 9:28 am

      oh… and btw… i’m pretty sure God is NOT okay with us “giving” from credit cards or giving out of debt. that is NOT our money to give.

      that’s all.

    • heidi permalink
      January 14, 2010 10:42 am

      Amen

  7. January 14, 2010 10:32 am

    i also feel i need to say this…just because you can give money, does not make you somehow supreme or an ‘out-doer’. that is also not what this post is suggesting or implying. giving money is no greater than giving physical labor or time in prayer. its a heart matter, really.

    • heidi permalink
      January 14, 2010 10:42 am

      very true….

      But we shouldn’t use “i’m praying” as an excuse not to give money also.

      • January 14, 2010 10:50 am

        totally agree with you. but IF they can give money.

        • heidi permalink
          January 14, 2010 11:41 am

          I totally agree… Your home is the first place of stewardship.

          My 9 year old told me something yesterday that his teacher told his class.

          “You can either be a noun or a verb”

          A noun is a thing and a verb is something of action.

          Praying
          fasting
          is also action.

  8. January 14, 2010 10:45 am

    I am a doer. I want to fix things. I see injustice – I want to end it. But. I’m beginning to realize (as you guys are) the practicality of being a good steward. We’re still living on just my paycheck. School loans are knocking on our door and we’re trying to be active in paying off our credit card bills that have skyrocketed with grocery trips and poor spending decisions. Truth: even in our little, we have so much more than others. Truth: our talents and passions are meant to be used for his glory. Truth: this aching in my heart to play an active role in His compassion is a mixture of my realization of the discrepancy of my life vs. life in Haiti and my desire to use my passion to urge others forward.
    Which leaves me my only solution for now: besides praying – besides letting my heart weep with these people – I can rely on story. I may not have a huge audience, my blog may not get a lot of traffic – but that doesn’t matter. But, it does matter if I’m using my abilities. And if I can open the eyes of just one person who HAS the ability to do something I can’t – well then. I’ve played an active role in His story of compassion.
    Thanks for the arse kicking. This is definitely something I will be chewing on for awhile…

  9. Pat Callahan permalink
    January 14, 2010 10:51 am

    Great thoughts on stewardship and how what I invest in today, either wisely or unwisely, affects my ability to invest in something tomorrow.

    I love how Jenni put it: “responsible stewardship begins TODAY so that tomorrow, we can be more prepared and available to do what NEEDS to be done.”

  10. January 14, 2010 11:14 am

    Wow! Joshua and Tam, thank you for sharing your conversation with us. This SO hits me right where I am. Because of stupid choices, we are in a ton of debt. And so I am constantly (or at least, often) so sad that we can’t GIVE more. Well, duh! Get yourself out of debt!! And I’ve thought about this several times before, but nobody else has ever really mentioned it to me. So even though I know what you guys are saying, it’s good for me to get a kick in the butt. I mean, call to arms. 🙂

    To get specific and personal (because what’s a blog without oversharing? Oh, wait…), I’ve been struggling with working vs. staying home. It’s possible that my husband’s job is going to change soon and he’ll make enough that we could squeak by without my salary. He wants me to keep working so we can pay off our debt, though. After being annoyed that he didn’t automatically agree with me and say “sure, quit your job,” I realized last night – and again today – that we have a responsibility to pay off what we owe. (Although, to compromise with my need to spend more time with our daughter, we decided a 4-day work week would be good instead of working full-time.)

    Sorry. I know you didn’t need all that. But it’s my life, and what you’re talking about is part of how we’re making choices about our life right now!

    • January 15, 2010 12:34 am

      thank you for sharing this. im glad you knew you could.

  11. January 14, 2010 11:53 am

    Amen to Heidi’s comments specifically about prayer .

    And re: Josh’s comment about NOT being a ‘prayer warrior’, is that a different ‘category’ than just a regular, run of the mill, ‘pray-er’?? Is not ALL prayer to be about enabling God’s purposes in everything (Eph. 6:12 & 18) via spiritual ‘warfare’ ??

    Yes, action is a worthy pursuit, but not until HIS wisdom and provision for it is requested, I believe. So, why not pray for the MEANS to act as He desires (even if ALL He wants is for us to recognize our total dependence upon Him through prayer?) and see how He responds? Who knows, but He might just use it to change US more than the ones we are wanting to reach out to!?

    This is not meant in any way to be a criticism, but rather an observation from the perspective of a prayer ‘warrior’ who, in the past 10 years or so, has come to value that spiritual discipline more than all the ‘godly actions/ministry’ of the years prior. It is all about HIM and what HE can do when we ASK according to His will (1 Jn. 5:14-15 & Eph. 3:20-21).

    D-

    • January 14, 2010 12:56 pm

      D –

      I think people have different gifts. Prayer isn’t one of mine.

      JW out.

  12. January 17, 2010 4:30 pm

    When they post Pete Wilson’s message from today…you guys need to go listen. It was about being wise about your finances. Rocked my world. I was convicted.But I got really excited about that being responsible about my finances would bring.

    Thanks for sharing the conversation. Glad I’m not the only one asking these questions.

    • January 18, 2010 11:37 pm

      lindsey…i actually saw your tweet about it and how inspired you were. im really looking forward to hearing his sermon!

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