Generosity: Machine Gun Givers

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In 2010, Rianne and I joined a couple friends of ours for a stroll in a mall in Ilo-Ilo. We came across a car display in the center of the mall, and being young couples, we took time to look at the cars and we quickly made our picks. We then laid hands on the cars we wanted and prayed and claimed it for ourselves. We went out that place with grin on our faces. I thought that was just another episode of a young couple’s adventures. Three years after, our friends are now driving a brand new Ford Everest! I took time to contemplate on it as we celebrated with them.

No doubt about it, their Everest can be attributed to their rich generosity. Inspired from watching the movie, The Machine Gun Preacher, I call people like our friends, The Machine Gun Givers (They don’t give out guns, they just give like guns).

What are Machine Gun Givers like?

1. Machine gun givers are radical givers.

I have to further explain this because radical generosity has become a cliché instead of an everyday practice. Generous people are people richly blessed because money is not their God. If something is not an idol (god), it’s easy to give it away. Their thoughts are not on the next meal, but it’s on the next giving opportunity! Every time they come in a coffee shop, a party, a meeting, their giving antennae is already up. The opposite of that is someone who always wants to be on the receiving end. If you are someone like that, haven’t you wondered why you have always been on the receiving end for the longest time now? Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

2. Machine gun givers give a lot even when they have little.

Even if they are low in ammunition, they give generously. And because of that, they don’t run out of ammunition. Generous people live lives that are not dictated by the abundance of money or the lack of it. They give sacrificially, joyfully. Mark 12:41-44 records the offering of a poor widow. You get to understand one thing in that story: sacrificial giving does not escape the eyes of God. When we give to people, we give the best. Why? Because we are to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1), and we all know that He has given the best.

3. Machine gun givers’ giving is not calculated.

I’m not suggesting that giving should not be thought upon. But calculated giving is giving within the means, there is little or no faith in that. Of course, I am for practicality, but at the end of the day God is pleased with faith (Heb. 11:6). So our measure of faith is what matters. Again, I’m talking about machine gun givers. If you’re a caliber .45 or a pistol, I know you would protest. I can be a reckless giver. My wife can be reckless giver. I do believe that when we give beyond what is comfortable and easy, we are putting our trust in God and we are moving in faith and not in fear. I calculate on God’s mathematics, not on my own.

Stories of Machine Gun Givers:

My brother could have easily been a millionaire at the age of 23. He gave away so much to so many. He lost parts of it, but I never saw him in lack and I never saw him deprived. I never saw him lack the wisdom in producing wealth!

At age 18, my sister has bigger savings than any teenagers her age. She has started her own business with her own money, that way she could help out my parents. One thing my wife and I noticed about her, she is a relentless giver! She fights for her giving.

My pastor falls in the same category. I’ve worked with him for several years and I know their travails as a family, but he surely is one of the most incredibly generous people I have ever met. The times I got a rebuke from him were the times I would insist on paying for meals.

On a side note, the best fights I have ever seen are fights as to who pays for the meal. If there is no fight, one thing is clear, no one on the table is generous. There are creative ways in outpointing your opponent in meal paying (there’s the under the table style, glance and wink at the waiter style, C.R. muna ako style,…). It sure is fun!

Another guy: Ted Tiu. A 72 year old retired pensioner. He is an epitome of generosity. He knows one thing: stewardship. He is a vessel of God’s blessing simply because he has proven himself very faithful in that.

Another thing I’ve noticed with Machine Gun Givers is that they enjoy their provision. They enjoy their blessings. These people with all discipline absolutely store up food in summer (Prov. 30:25), no question about that, but they also understand one thing: that God’s rich blessings are for their enjoyment. (1 Tim 6:17).

So, having said all of these, here’s my prayer for all of us: Bratatatatatatatttt!!!

Prayer & Fasting 2013

Our annual 5-Day Prayer & Fasting at our local church here in Dumaguete culminated last Friday. Through the 5 days of soaking in prayers, we have seen how God moved in the lives of the people in the church. There were stories of broken relationships being restored, a lady desperate of money being provided abundantly at the very hour she needed the money. There is a story of a young man being given a platform to preach the gospel in ways like never before. A young student testifies of losing the appetite to lust. Another story is that of a mother being miraculously healed of cancer. One hour of just listening to stories was not enough. Indeed, God is at work in the lives of His people. Miracles happen to those who believe!

Check out our church’s Facebook page by clicking this LINK.

Money Talk

Why blog about money?

1. A lot of young people are ignorant about finances.
2. Many broken marriages point to finances as a major contributor in household strife.

In the Philippines, the name of the game is SAVINGS. Older folks teach you to save and save and save. If you are someone who want to retire in style, your lifetime savings might disappoint you. If you are convinced that your SSS pension and Senior’s discount is good enough for your life ahead come to think that you will still live a good 20 or so years after retiring.

When I graduated from college, I started a small business called Busogsilog. The money that was used to start the business was the small savings I pooled together with two partners. The business faired well but later on died down also.

Any way, since I am NO EXPERT on finance, I will not intend to speak as one on this blog. Instead I will just share the ways at which my wife and I are directing and handling our finance.
Because money is a real deal, we have invested quite an amount of time and money to learn how to manage it well.

Random thoughts about money:

I. Mentors

You have a gym instructor, a grammar teacher, a theology buff, a marriage guru, a K-pop god. If you have subscribe to mentors for every passion that you have, how come you don’t have anyone to teach you about money (savings, banking, investing, making money, business, tithing, charities)?

For me and my wife when it comes to faith and finance, I love listening to Ptr Juray Mora (You can catch him on podcasts) Dave Ramsey is a good pick on financial management and getting out of debt. When it comes to business, I always catch lengthy talks with my brother who has become well versed in the world of business. I’m not a person who’s into stocks, but we Iisten to people who’s good at it. A good friend, Migs Quirante is on it and I keep asking questions.

Surround yourself with achievers and not day dreamers. Day dreamers take you to the clouds to marvel at it while achievers take you to the same clouds to teach you how to make much of it.

Have someone coach you in the area of faith and finances. Trust me, you’re gonna love me for giving this advise.

II. Emergency Fund & Savings

That’s our ATM card on a picture frame and that is our emergency fund. My wife and I are still funding it until we reach the goal that we have set. I don’t bring the card with me to reduce the impulse to use it, but at the same time we don’t make it hard for us to withdraw from it in case we really need it. Thus the picture frame.

An emergency fund as its name suggests, is for emergencies. Meaning to say you use it only for emergencies and emergencies only. Promo fare is not an emergency neither is 50 % mall sale.

Emergency fund should be liquid. It will be used and replenished upon using. Ideally an emergency fund should have funds enough to sustain you for at least three months in case you lose your job or something bad happens.

Qualifying what an emergency is is also a good thing. We haven’t sat down and talked about that yet. Next time the tires burst or someone is hospitalized, you have stored enough for these rainy days.

Credit Card is a good companion during emergencies but it can turn against you when billing comes.

Regarding savings, BPI offers a Save Up account wherein your account is automatically debited to fund your save up account.

III. Debit Card over Credit Card

It’s simple. With a debit card, you do not get yourself in debt whereas a credit card gets you in one. I’ve gotten into debts with my credit card back in college and post college years. It stings hard. My wife and I both own our individual debit cards. That way, it helps us discipline ourselves to plan our spending well.

People say that they need credit cards for plane fare purchases. Your debit crad can do just about anything your credit card does. Another thing regarding plane fares, we have made it a practice to buy tickets online and choose payment centers in the payment options. I buy tickets at night and pay at Robinson’s the next day.

I own a credit card with a very minimum credit limit. It’s safer that way, at least for me.

IV. Investments

Savings is not really an old wineskin. But if you are keen on making your money grow at least bigger than how much your savings generate annually, then investments is a good option.

What do you do with your 13th month and bonuses? It’s great to reward ourselves with new gadgets and stuffs, but I would want to suggest something. Try setting aside an amount that you can INVEST.

My wife and I are just starting but we do not have to wait to be rich before we start investing. Investing is for everyone whether you are a student or single mom. We have invested a small amount in UITF (Unit Investment Trust Fund). UITF is simple. It’s pooling altogether people’s money and an investment expert does his thing. BDO offers low minimum amount for UITF. Mutual Fund is also a good option. My wife and I have tried Variable Linked Insurance wherein you pay for insurance that is coupled with investments. All these you reap years and decades from now.

When is the best time to invest? Now.

Magazines like Money Sense will help you get it right with your finances.

But nothing beats the Word of God in its timeless principles and promises.

OF COURSE if you are a tither and if you live a lifestyle of generosity, the blessings of God will surely overflow your cup and fill your barns. No practical tips from any sage will work unless you align your heart in the will and purposes of God for you. Jesus himself talked about money more than any other topic in the Bible. It clearly shows us that money can be such a god in our lives. The things that I shared above are mere practices that we do. Those pratices can help us become better stewards of God’s blessings in our lives. At the end of the day if we are good stewards of what God has given us, He always prove Himself faithful. If you are in a tight situation right now, I say unto you, Shalom. Peace is not found in your wallet, peace is found is
n the person of Jesus. Believe that He will cause you break through and prosper. Be in faith to believe, really believe God for greater things! My wife and I do not have our own car yet. Our faith is not hinged on the money we make, but on the goodness of our Father. Our faith is that we will get our car without us spending a peso for it.

This new year, I pray that God will bless you abundantly in the area of finances and provision!

Philippians 4:19 ESV
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.