Right now. Stop it. Because you’re probably not doing it anyway.

The average “tithe” in America is 2.5% of one’s income.

Don’t we know that tithe means ten percent? We must need pastors to teach us math because clearly we can’t figure this out on our own…

Except, many of us already know that it’s supposed to be ten percent. The reality is that we don’t care.

We care that our bills get paid and our families have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. But we American Christians are far from minimalists.

No, we also care about our latest fashions (we have to dress like the pastor, right?), our (probably too many) Disney vacations, and wait… don’t forget the Starbucks.

Maybe if there’s something left over after we gorge ourselves on the temporary things of this world… we will give a percent of that.

So what kind of sermons do we really need to hear? What is the word of God that will break this selfishness?

Well it’s not a math equation I’ll tell you that. It isn’t “give 10% and the heavens will open.”

Our leaders have been asking for too little of us for far too long and now 10% has become 2.5%.

We’re not robbing God. You are… every time you tell us to follow some archaic rule that is only fulfilled properly in a Christlike generosity. A generosity that gives everything.

What we ought to be hearing is more sermons on selflessness and giving that hurts at least a little bit. But to effectively preach on a topic one must live it first.

So, Mr. Pastor, it might be time to donate your new jays to another pastor who wears expensive “gifts” and practice what you preach.

We don’t want to give you 10%. Because it looks like that’s where it’s going… to you.

If you’re honest with yourself, you might begin to see that you have set an example as a consumer who gives “generously” more than a generous giver who consumes modestly.

Remember when Jesus talked about the rich who gave the required amount and believed it was sufficient?

Don’t be that guy.

We’re just following in your footsteps. We don’t need math lessons. We need a resurgence of generous, humble pastors.

We need you to live and breathe generosity, not preach tithing and call it generosity.

So long as you’re doing the bare minimum (and maybe a little over sometimes so you can keep that humble facade), that is exactly what your people will do.

Toxic pastors have toxic churches.

Healthy pastors have healthy churches.

Selfish pastors have selfish churches…

And generous pastors get the privilege of seeing a move of God on the financial front.

But don’t take my word. “Test God” and see what happens, since you believe in that so much.

Your sister,

Monica

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Have you ever wasted time trying to help people make sense of a calling God gave to YOU?

Maybe after prayer and confirmation all we need to do is get to work.

What are you going to walk boldly into that God has called you to do?

Your sister,

Monica

I want to write. I miss blogging. But seasons change and I’m doing more talking than writing these days.

I love sharing the Word and breaking down difficult topics, now I just do that differently.

My days are spent caring for six children on my own, sermon prepping, hosting community events for the church, and in discipleship meetings/calls.

It’s all I’ve ever wanted. And yet it’s SO tough.

“When you know you are called, quitting is not an option. Nothing can deter you.”

So let’s about dreams today.

What does it look like to actually walk in your calling and see your dreams come true?

Defining what you want to do is important.

Understanding what you are called to do is more important.

And knowing you are called will sometimes be the only thing that keeps you going.

There are days I wake up and the enemy is in my ear with a megaphone before I open my eyes.

But his words fall on deaf ears.

I’m deaf to the sound of lies because I’m filled with truth. Still, sometimes the lies seem like they’re coming from my own mind. I am that entrenched in battle right now.

So what do you do when your dreams are coming true but it doesn’t feel like they are?

Keep trusting the Lord.

Keep walking.

Don’t.

Ever.

Quit.

When you know you are called, quitting is not an option. Nothing can deter you.

At least that’s my humble experience today. I hope it is helpful and please keep me in prayer.

I’ll try to pop in and drop a blog post more often now that things are leveling off a bit.

In the meantime, head over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel where I post weekly messages from New Wine Community Church!

Thank you all for taking the time to read what God puts on my heart and letting me speak into you life. I consider it the greatest honor.

Praying for you all as you walk out the dreams God has called you to give birth to.

Your sister,

Monica

Read all about it!

Yes, I know I’m being totally “extra” right now, but it’s also totally warranted!

All in ONE MONTH…

I have been invited to speak (plans changed but you still NEED to check out this conference),

launched our home church,

got an AMAZING coach & new friend to walk with me during this church plant,

shared on the Third Millennial Church podcast about my passion for people and social media,

finished an e-book (I’ll post the link as soon as it published)… and SO much more incredible stuff I can’t even share yet!

So, I’m super sorry I have been out of touch on the blog. Definitely thinking of you all and praying for you every day!

I’ll be back to posting soon about what God is doing in this next season of my life.

For now, check out this timely word on your social media use.

See you on the flip side 😉

Your sister,

Monica Gary

We have all criticized this man. Verbally or in our mind at some point. We would be foolish to never have wondered what is really up with him.

I have been an outspoken opponent of his ministry. Viewing videos made by other naysayers and dissecting them for inspection. I have shuddered at some of the misspoken words that have come from his wife.

But it doesn’t matter what I think. We all know the old saying about opinions.

What really matters is what does Jesus think?

I’ve only got partial information about Osteen because I’ve never met the guy. The best intel I have is from a trusted source (my own pastor) who is amazed by Joel’s heart for the lost. If that really is the case then we should stop badgering the poor man (haha, sorry I can’t help but laugh at the irony in what I just typed).

But seriously. For sake of argument, let’s assume that our worst fears about Joel Osteen and his ministry prove to be true.

Worst case scenario, what would Jesus say about him?

Let’s look at the book of Mark. Chapter 9, verse 38-40 says this:

John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.

Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name who can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us.

Notice the disciples were complaining that the people were not following them.

They had removed Jesus from the equation or He wouldn’t have had to remind them of the awesomeness that His name was being preached!

Jesus is far more concerned with us finding freedom than He is with how “right” our theology is.

He knows that in Him we find freedom so that relationship is always paramount to everything else.

A right relationship with Jesus will correct any faulty theology over time. Nevertheless, none of us can say we have it all figured out; “it” being a sovereign, Holy, incomprehensible God of the universe. (Please email me if you do because I would like to meet you, Jesus!)

Jesus says leave Joel be. Let him preach because, even if the worst suspicions are true, our Lord is being glorified and people are finding freedom and eternal life!

Is my opinion of a man’s bank account more important than your salvation? God forgive me that it has been. How arrogant I was.

God will hold every teacher accountable for how he has stewarded what was given to him in this world.

Our job is to love one another and be one. That includes the preachers we love to criticize and (let’s be honest) compare ourselves to.

Every preacher of the Word thinks he/she would be the best steward of resources like Joel has if we were blessed with them. We judge our hearts more capable of handling wealth than men God has chosen to bestow it upon.

I’m not declaring that you should start trusting every pastor that preaches the gospel. I’m simply saying we should trust God and be about our Father’s business instead of publicly calling foul every time we disagree with someone.

I’ll be doing exactly that today. Preaching through blogs and Instagram and phone calls… whatever it takes. Personally I’m glad someone like Joel is utilizing that massive platform to point to Jesus.

Your sister,

Monica

I sat in my husband’s office yesterday listening to him share about a church someone recommended to him. Being the vigilant theologian I am, I immediately knew what was off just by the denomination.

Extending the benefit of the doubt, I looked up the website anyhow. I was still kind of looking to prove myself right but I tried to be as non-biased as possible.

It didn’t take long to confirm that this church does not welcome women in their leadership.

” ________ churches are governed on the local level by “sessions”, a group of men that have been set apart by the local and regional bodies of the church”

My heart sped up a bit as I tried to convey to my husband that he had found yet another church that couldn’t get with Jesus’s position on the role women play in the body of believers.

His response? “Let’s try to keep an open mind”

O-kaaayy…

I moved on. At least I tried.

After about 15 minutes of trying to silently process what had just happened, he noticed my demeanor and asked our kids to step out of the room. He stared at me.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Then correcting myself I stated what I really believed:

You don’t want to talk about it.”

He already knew.

What he didn’t know was the pain it caused. That I could not wrap my brain around being “open minded” regarding such things.

“If the website said ‘churches are governed by a group of white people set apart by the local and regional bodies of the church’, we would immediately know something was wrong, not try to be ‘open-minded’,” I said angrily.

He asked why I was angry, assuming it had to do with what I want to do in ministry. I had to explain the greater implications of this type of discriminatory mindset in our churches.

The fact that I had to have this discussion with my own husband who loves and respects me (and whom I follow unashamedly), brought a harsh reminder that we need to keep talking about this.

The church is finally making moves to attain racial reconciliation and yet our homes are still afflicted with ignorance.

I am applauded for changing an alternator one day and the next I’m supposed to be open-minded about establishments (that are meant to reflect the heart of God) telling women that we are “valued and equal” in a tone like they are expecting to get a medal for being so progressive.

I don’t need you to tell me my value. My Lord told me who I am. Likewise, I look to Him to tell me what I can and cannot do in His Church.

I am deeply grieved by the number of women who have been conditioned to accept this treatment as tolerable and even ideal.

Women who have heard things like what I just read in this church’s belief statements:

“Doubtless the presence of women serving in positions of spiritual leadership can undermine the God ordained role of spiritual headship that their husbands (and other husbands) are to play.”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if a women serving in a spiritual leadership role undermines your “authority” and she’s not even your wife, you’ve got some other issues that need to be worked out with the Lord.

I’m not out here trying to gain support from our brothers to speak up against this disorder. I tried that already. It was ridiculously unsuccessful. (Likely because they are unaware of how bad it really is just like my husband was.)

This article is for us women.

Let this marinate:

There is only one teacher. That is God. If you are a willing vessel He will teach through you with all authority.

One of the most interesting, yet heartbreaking things I recently learned was the history of the deacons’ white gloves in African American churches.

The purpose of the gloves was to cover their hands as they served in white churches because they were not allowed to touch white people. To this day many churches still have their deacons wear gloves and don’t know the painful history.

Women who serve proudly in churches that relegate them to “appropriate ministry roles” are devastatingly similar to the deacons who still cover their hands.

You walk around in bondage to man-made rules oblivious to the freedom that is available to you, often doing so proudly.

That’s not your fault. Nobody told you how it got this way.

It’s time to take the gloves off.

Weather man or woman, if this article got your blood pumping and you need to decry the error of what I have written… I plead with you to first fully examine your own position in the presence of God.

Come correct and we can have a necessary dialog.

Worst case scenario, we disagree and I keep speaking truth because that’s what I was made for. Regardless, I’m going to love you all anyway… because I was made for that too.

May you be broken and blessed by this today.

Your sister,

Monica

I am not here to put my two cents in on what Cosby may or may not have done.

I trust the Lord will sort that out and work in our justice system as necessary.

I am, however, glad to hear that there is a retrial on the horizon.

Regardless of the outcome, the fact that this case is being given a retrial is a huge indicator of how far America has come in regard to treating women as fully human; a sentiment we have seen eerily echoing out from our past sins of racism.

(imagine the combination of both prejudices that “angry” black women have to deal with every day in America)

Women in general have had a rough go of it for centuries. We were reminded of this just yesterday as dialog about women being the first to preach a risen Savior flooded our social media feeds (mine anyway), and people lashed out in protest.

There’s a difference between preacher and pastor” one man commented, clinging to his superiority.

I kept my comments to myself and decided to enjoy Easter with my family, sans debate on church patriarchy. I have seen enough to know that God is at work (still) and there is no need to argue on the matter.

I believe however, that He is on the side of the oppressed and that our nation is now having to face the harsh reality women have lived for so long.

In the coming year, we will see one man (Cosby) held accountable for his alleged actions against women. America is finally moving in the direction of Jesus’s ideal of how we should respect and value one another as humans. We’ve got a long way to go, albeit, but it gives me hope nevertheless.

It gives me hope that the church will continue to lead the way for our equality despite the naysayers and power-seekers.

It gives me hope that this type of thing could be just what we need for whole church to begin realizing the lingering bias and ignorance.

It gives me hope that my daughter, who is 8 and wants to be a pastor someday, will not have her dream ripped away by some fool that worships law over the Lord.

So, I am grateful that the Lord works all things for good. All the horrible things these women have had to endure at the hands of politicians, celebrities, and for many of us, even our family members…

All these things are being worked together for our good. The world is taking notice of our struggle and God is on our side.

For my brothers and sisters, I ask you to decide where you stand.

Will you be on the right side of history when our nation looks back on these events? Will you bear the load of your fellow Americans when we could not speak for ourselves? Or will you turn your face away because it is just easier not to listen?

I pray your heart is softened and your eyes are opened to the struggles of those around you today and every day.

Your sister,

Monica