Dear blog readers,
Welcome back to me after a wonderful trip to Canada, Dominican Republic, and Haiti! Highlights of the southern leg of this trip included a beautiful Caribbean wedding, a Haitian airline that took our money and
flew ran, visits with Open Hands groups and national leaders in Haiti, and losing my glasses in the ocean.
Since this is not a travel blog, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination–except to say that our trip brought opportunities to ponder churches and money in more contexts. I learned anew, for example, that nationals often learn church giving patterns, for better or for worse, from foreign missionaries. In Haiti I heard of one foreign mission agency whose primary work, I understand, is to go around building churches buildings for Haitians. What do you think? Is this helpful? Sometimes? Always? Rarely? And in the Dominican Republic I listened as the wife of a long-time pastor described how nationals in their local church went about starting an evangelistic outreach in a neighboring town: they assumed that they should build a church building for the residents of the town and send them clothing. They did this, I understand, before many converts had even been won to Christ. Evidently they learned well from the foreign missionaries who helped start their own church. What are we teaching, intentionally and otherwise?
I also rejoiced to see Haitians providing for themselves with responsibility and dignity through the Open Hands program, and heard Christian workers from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico describe an urgent need for similar financial teaching in their own nations.
I do not mean to be critical in my questions above. Even our best efforts often have unintended negative consequences. And thankfully, God takes even our imperfect efforts and wins children for himself! That said, this might be a good place to plug a book on missions and giving that many are finding helpful: When Helping Hurts, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.
I enjoyed reading your comments on my series about church giving. I’ve responded to each in the comments threads and will consider this series done for the present. Thanks for your interest!
Now, as my title promised: The ESV Hear the Word Audio Bible is on sale at ChristianAudio.com. Since this website exists to build up the Church of Jesus Christ by helping her listen carefully to the Scriptures, I thought you’d like to know. This is my favorite audio Bible, and it comes on sale for this price only once or twice a year. (Many other audiobooks are also on sale.)
You can download it for only $7.49 here: http://christianaudio.com/esv-hear-the-word-audio-bible-audiobook-download.
If you’ve never used an audio Bible, I encourage you to try it. I’ve found that listening to the Bible provides some benefits that reading doesn’t (and vice versa). In most historical periods, including biblical times, more people have heard the Bible than read it. God’s Word is designed to be heard!