Thursday, July 24, 2008
What I try to remember is that this idea of Sacred vs. Secular is man’s construct, not God’s construct. God created the world and everything in it; all of us and all of our talents are useful by God and for God.
Often, people think of certain occupations as being sacred or secular. People will often say they are “in ministry”, meaning their occupation. Actually, God looks at everything that we do as being of importance and potentially honoring to Him. This concept of being “in ministry” is actually a carry over from what the Apostle Paul struggled with in the Hellenistic world. The Greeks held to a view of “dualism” where there was a dichotomy or a separation of the spiritual and the material. That carried over into the early church where we ended up with the enlightened and holy “clergy” and all the rest, the great unwashed and the unholy.
However, that is not how it is meant to be. Throughout the Bible, the Hebrew culture described the earth, morality and righteousness not as separated experiences, either good or bad, but only from the perspective that man was either following the path established by God or had turned to follow something that was evil and perverted.
Everything, including your occupation, is actually to be sacred, or worthy of God. Ministry therefore is that which engages a broken world and restores everything to be completely conformed and transformed into the Kingdom of God.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Thursday, July 03, 2008
"Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all
things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good
work. As it is written: "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his
righteousness endures forever." (2 Cor.9:8&9)
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Note this is a 16% increase since the beginning of the year and not at all typical for the IRS as they usually updates the mileage rates only once a year in the fall for the next calendar year. One exception was recent, in 2005, when the government raised the rate in the middle of the year, because of the gasoline-price hikes related in part to Hurricane Katrina.
While many can take advantage of the higher rate (thank you IRS for feeling our pain), many of my pastor friends may not. In working with churches and ministries, I've noticed that many will establish a specific reimbursement rate, likely the rate that the IRS prescribes, but do not update it frequently. I've seen rates posted on reimbursement forms that are a few years old or even significantly less than the maximum that the IRS allows (i.e. 25 cents a mile).
One of the ways to avoid this issue is to have a policy (remember the 3-P’s - Policies, Procedures and Practices that need to be aligned and appropriate for the ministry) that the church or ministry will “reimburse employees for mileage at the IRS rate as established from time to time.”
Simple and pain free.
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