Friday, May 4, 2012

The Generous Life

Photo shoot at a nearby estate this spring
I really have not been on the blog much these days! I am going to preface that the pictures in this post have nothing to do with the blog title. I'm just uploading new photos that I finally downloaded from the past month! We have had lots going on around here lately. Including a big trip for Casey and I this past week. We had the privilege of attending a conference with his boss and his wife and several other employees and friends of them as well. This was unlike any other type of conference I have ever been to before. In fact in hearing we were going to a "giving conference" I really had no idea what this would be like. Now I know that we have been truly blessed since making the move from full-time ministry to this new job that God provided swiftly for Casey.

He first met his new boss through some of our dear friends (who were on CO staff with us). Shane, one of Casey's best friends, met Casey shortly after Casey became a believer in college. He then continued to pour into Casey's life and disciple him over the next 4 years. So when we first started dating they were the couple I was most intrigued to meet. But I quickly fell at ease with both Shane and his wife, Brittany. I spent many weekends at their home while we were dating, we spent a weekend prior to our engagement doing some pre-engagement counseling with them, and over the past  8 years they have become dear friends to me as well! So when Shane left CO staff last spring to begin a new season as a pastor at nearby local church (though about 45 minutes away from where we are) we were glad to know they would still be close! Shane was the one that introduced Casey to his new boss, as he is an active member at their church. So we know we are greatly blessed to have left full-time ministry only for Casey to enter into a new community of believers and who want to make God known and bring Him glory in the business world!

Easter morning 

So when Casey told me his new boss was paying for us to attend this conference I wasn't really quite sure what to expect. Though I know this man is passionate in his love for the Lord, and such a generous and giving man as well.......but still didn't quite know what this whole weekend would be like.

The conference is called Generous Giving.....on their website they have this brief description: "The story of Generous Giving began in the 1990s when five friends came together, challenged by the question of what could happen if Christians weretruly generous with their resources, living out the joy of giving instead of the duty of tithing. They talked with a handful of people who were already experiencing this joy and asked them to share with others how living in faith-driven generosity had brought extreme transformation to their hearts and lives."  
So after arriving in Colorado first trip to Colorado ever! I was very much encouraged, convicted, blessed to be with my husband for 3 days and attend this very unique conference. We heard speakers, worshiped, and heard personal story after story of God's people sharing how the Lord had lead them to give abundantly and sacrificially to His people and for His kingdom out of a generous and humble heart for all the Lord had done for them! I was seriously in awe to realize I never seriously thought about money and the luxuries of the life we all live here in America! We are wealthy and live very well. We indulge our children, we tend to think 90% is ours and the 10% in tithe is the Lord's, we get a salary increase and think that means we increase our standard of living---buying new and bigger cars, houses, vacation homes, designer this or that! And when we truly look at what God's word says about how we are to view money---we come to realize that this American dream we all get so easily swept away with is not at all biblical! For all of what we have--all 100% of it belongs to the Lord!! Mark 10 tells us "how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" One pastor put it that as we increase and feed this deadly desire for possessions/this materialism......well, it's like drinking sea water. The more we drink of the sea water (which is salty as we all know) the more thirsty we become! 

Some of the stories we heard people share varied from men selling off portions of their businesses and giving away the money to someone in need or to a ministry; buying a new car for a woman in need who worked at a local bread store; families who continued to increase their income to triple digits really determining what their needs vs. wants were and caping their lifestyle! One story that really impacted me was a single doctor, who felt after paying off her debt that the Lord told her she needed to work like a doctor but live like a nurse---so living on a nurse's salary and giving away the rest of her income!!! I know to the world all these things would sound extreme and crazy---but as believers we know our joy and our treasure is not found here on earth! All the money and possessions we could possibly attain will never satisfy or fulfill us like our hope found in Christ alone! As CS Lewis said "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

I loved hearing the stories too of how parents were beginning this journey of giving together and working to teaching their children the joy one receives by giving and not the getting. A 15-year-old girl stood up and shared how after a mission trip to Haiti with her parents at age 11, she was so impacted by what she saw and wanted to help the poor and impoverished there in Haiti. So over the past several years (and of course after the earthquake in Haiti) she has since written a song called "Heart for Haiti" and raised $80,000 which is funding the building of 4 orphanages in Haiti!!!! Truly and utterly amazing! And there were many other stories such as money gifts given to children at Christmas to be used to give to others in need---then come to the family Christmas ready to share the story of how your money helped someone else in need. 

Easter morning outside our church

It is interesting coming out of a life of full-time ministry. We all too well know what it is like to be the ones asking those to give, depending on and trusting that somehow God would raise our support and provide for our family. How refreshing for all those in missions and ministry to know those who they were seeking support from had a heart shift of truly desiring to give (and give abundantly) to grow the kingdom! My husband has a big heart to give and always has......but I think this conference was so good for me for my heart to grow in this area as well. One I really just didn't give much thought too except for just following his lead. As Jim Elliott said "He is no fool who gives what he can't keep and keeps what he can't loose." May our family desire to ultimately be satisfied by the one true treasure that is eternal, and grow as we learn to live the generous life!


  1. Beautiful words! Makes you think especially when the Lord gives you more. Thanks for the encouragement in giving sacrificially!

  2. great post Erica, such an encouragement to live like Jesus and not fall for the trappings of the world around us. Blessings friend.