Category Archives: God Stuff

The Tithe Experiment – 1 Year On

This post is part of the Tithe Experiment series

Back in January 2010 Sam and I began our tithe experiment – it was an experiment that we felt God was calling us to, to tithe more and trust God to provide for our needs. Sounds a bit cliché but this was something we felt called to do and knew that God would teach us through the experience. Going into it we really had no expectations other than to be obedient and to allow God to work in our lives. The plan was to give as much as we could from our income and trust God to provide for our needs.

It’s now 1 year since we began and I’d like to share with you what God has taught us through the experience.

Right from the start this was an experiment and in any good experiment you must test and try different ideas in order to find the most effective and sustainable results. We found that our tithe experiment needed regular revision and adjustment.

Initially we decided to tithe as much as we could and to trust God for the rest. We found that this was sustainable for a while but that it led to a point where we were heading towards debt as a result. We felt that debt was not what God wanted for us so we adjusted our tithing to accommodate our new budget and our second child.

Through these adjustments God was making it clear that it was more important for us to maintain an attitude of generosity rather than attempt to stick rigidly to the “rules” we had set for ourselves. While it was good to put aside the tithe each fortnight we found that it wasn’t actually helping us to tithe “better”. For us, it simply became a cash reserve, another savings account that was saved for a rainy day or for an emergency. Sure it was excellent to have this account but it did very little in terms of helping us change our mindset towards our finances – and that’s our biggest lesson here.

We learnt that God didn’t want our “tithe” – the mandated 10% that we were required to set aside, what He wanted from us was to change our thinking to one of constant generosity towards whoever may need it at the time. The Book of Malachi spoke to us, God didn’t want our lip service and duty tithe, He wanted us to love Him and to love others and express that love through generosity.  For our family, we needed to be generous whenever the opportunity arose, to whomever that might be.

During the last year God has provided for us in ways we could never have imagined. Reading back over the posts on this blog I can see time and again a need we had and how God has met that need for us.

Let me be clear here though, we believe that we can never out give God, but we also believe that God is under no obligation to respond to our giving. We give because God first gave to us and calls us to love others and to be generous, not because we expect anything in return simply for being obedient. We found that often God gave back in ways that didn’t match our giving, i.e. not monetary or even in “goods” but with opportunities and relationships that have been exactly what we’ve needed.

The biggest lesson we’ve learnt is that God wants us to be generous at every opportunity rather than give because we have to. I’ve felt that the 10% tithe might be outdated or that it’s used as an excuse not to be generous, but these thoughts require more reflections, a future post perhaps ;).

God is faithful and forever generous and we have never lacked anything we have needed. We have had to wait upon God for our needs and often He has met them in ways we haven’t expected – there have been tough times (and continue to be) but we have seen God’s faithfulness and that deepens our trust in Him to provide in the future.  God is more interested in our attitude, than our time, money or our felt obligation to tithe.

We no longer have a ‘tithe’ account but are working hard to be more in tune with people’s needs and to respond quickly and generously when the opportunity arises (which we find is almost weekly). We feel this is the way God would have us live.

It’s been an interesting year for us and the journey of course doesn’t end here. Generosity is our focus for 2011, to give our money, time, talents or whatever else is needed, when it’s needed and as we have opportunity to do so

What do you think about tithing/giving? Is generosity the key or tithing or…?? Please share your thoughts with us.

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Filed under About Me, Family, God Stuff, Tithe Experiment

Making Changes in 2011

I’m excited about 2011!

This year I’m taking a risk, following my dream and stepping out to make things happen.

For a long time I’ve been seeking opportunities to live my passion, to do what I love and be able to make a living from it. I’ve decided that the time is now, if I’m going to be true to myself and true to my value of living an authentic life, then I need to challenge myself, confront my fear and step out and give this a red-hot go.

So, I give you Edwards Coaching!

Coaching, mentoring and facilitation have always been my passion and where a lot of my strengths are. I long to see people, businesses, churches and organisations living their lives to their fullest potential, excelling in what they do, and living with Purpose, Direction and Meaning.

Edwards Coaching is the result of over 12 years of experience helping people find purpose, direction and meaning and helping them to achieve their goals.

This is me, following my passion and seeking to make a difference in this world.

It’s exciting and its daunting, it’s a world full of unknowns but it’s one that I’m ready to embrace because I want to build the life I want to be living!

I’d really appreciate your support in this venture, please visit the website, pass on my details to your networks (twitter, Facebook, etc, I would REALLY appreciate this!) and let me know what you think! 

I’m more than happy to chat with anyone interested in reaching their goals or wanting facilitation or workshop services, the internet means nowhere in the world is out of reach and that’s exciting!

I’m especially interested in helping Churches and Not for Profits so please drop me a line so we can chat about how I can serve you. 

So this is my challenge for 2011, to work hard and follow my dream to establish my business helping others.

What are you going to achieve this year, what are your goals? Let’s share them and help each other to achieve them!

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Filed under About Me, church, Family, God Stuff, leadership, Life Coaching, Random

Keep it simple – lessons from my children

I love my children, they bring so much joy into my life, I am truly grateful for them and so blessed to be a father.

Anabelle and Levi amaze me everyday – sometimes it’s the big things like learning to use the “big toilet” but most often it’s the little things, the everyday things that if you weren’t looking for them you’d surely miss them.

Anabelle is becoming a little girl in every sense of the word. She’s taken to toilet training like a star (and the credit goes to Sam who’s doing an amazing job ‘training’ Anabelle) and we couldn’t be more proud. I know that talk of bodily functions isn’t very PC but all you parents out there know what a big step this is in a child’s development so thank’s for indulging me 🙂

It’s also the little things that amaze me with Anabelle, her outlook on life is a constant reminder for me to keep things simple. Children are often carefree and easy going, Anabelle certainly is. It melts my heart every time, out of the blue she will say “I love you daddy” or “I love you mummy” and “I love you Levi” followed by a hug and a kiss – such a reminder about the simple things in life!

Levi is growing in leaps and bounds – he’s such a happy child, smiling and waving and loving life. He’s already showing signs of being a social little guy, he loves it when the room is full of people and doesn’t like being left to himself. He loves his sister, he’ll follow her around the room with his eyes, smiling and squealing as she goes about her play. You can tell he’s itching to be able to crawl around after her – he’ll be three months on Nov 2nd so a little while to go before the real fun begins!

So keep life simple, remember the simple pleasures and always take the time to enjoy the little things because before we know it they’re gone.

Here are some photos of Levi and Anabelle – I LOVE these two! 🙂

Anabelle in the flowers

I LOVE Levi’s expression here so priceless!! Yes Anabelle is quite “loud”

Helping mum bake 🙂

Smiles all round

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Filed under Family, fun, God Stuff, Humour, Parenting

When things don’t go to plan…

Last weekend I attended the Global Leadership Summit here in Canberra. This was my fourth year attending this conference and as always it was a time to challenge myself, my thinking and be taught by some of the world’s top church and business leaders and innovators.

This year was no different, I was challenged in my thinking and behaviour, I learnt new things about leadership and met some great people. This was the first year I attended without being in a formal church leadership role, in fact the first time that I havent been in any formal leadership role and as such I was approaching this Summit with a fresh perspective and new eyes.

I had a list of things I wanted to “get out” of the Summit this year, particularly in relation to a new business venture I’ve started (more on that soon) and was eager to see things from this new perspective. What I discovered was something more powerful than I could have prepared myself for.

As it often happens, I had a set of goals and plans for the Summit and God also had a set of goals and plan for me too. They aligned in some places but in others I was taken completely by surprise by the things God was revealing in my life.

As many of you know, the last 2-3 years have been difficult for me in relation to my employment, service and attendance at a church. In short I left the church I was attending and havent been going anywhere regularly since. I thought I was fine with it, I’d moved on, but in reality I havent and it’s something God made really clear to me.

I had my plans for the Summit but God had his plans for my life. 

I’m grieving for a loss in my life – a loss for what might have been. I had to walk away from things that I had invested huge amounts of time and energy into, where there was promise for growth and empowerment of others and a chance to make a real difference – because the support systems that were promised never materialised. I was challenged to my core and found that I could no longer continue to pursue that path with integrity and needed to walk away. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was naive to think that it would be easy to move on without a need for healing.

To be honest I was really surprised to find that I had these issues and so was Sam when I told her about them. I don’t think its going to be an easy process, in fact I’m not really sure where to start but I’m really grateful that God took the time to reveal these to me, because they are things that will only hold me back and I don’t want anything to get in the way of what God has for my future.

Often we complain when things don’t go to plan in our lives, but often, if we look under the surface we’ll see that it’s for the greater good, that there’s always something to learn from it and the opportunity to become a better, stronger person for it.

I’d appreciate your prayers as I walk this path to healing and would love to hear any advice you may have. Have you travelled a similar path, what helped you get through it?

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Filed under About Me, church, God Stuff, leadership

Welcome Levi Quinn Edwards!!

Hi World, meet Levi!!

At 8:30am, Monday 2 August 2010 Sam, Anabelle and I were blessed with the safe arrival of our son, Levi Quinn! He was 4.18kgs (9.2 lbs) and 50cm long.

That makes him slightly smaller than Anabelle, which was a surprise because Sam was really big and everyone, including our doctors, thought he was going to be a big one. Anabelle did however spend an extra two weeks “cooking” so Levi had the potential to be bigger than her but not the opportunity I guess. Either way what’s important is that he’s finally here!!

Sam and Levi are doing well after a planned caesarean birth, which after the 10 hours of labor and emergency caesarean with Anabelle seemed like such a relaxed birth. Sam is recovering well from the surgery and Levi is sleeping and feeding really well.

Anabelle loves him dearly, she spent many moments tapping Sam’s tummy saying “hello baby brother” and her reaction to finally seeing him “on the outside” was priceless. Anabelle climbed up on the bed next to his crib, leant over and said “c’mon, wake up!” “let’s play!” She then proceeded to tap him and say “good boy”. I think these two are going to be as thick as thieves and certainly give Sam and I a run for our money – totally awesome!!

I think Levi looks a lot like my late grandfather, he certainly has his head shape and just quietly I’m really loving that I see Grandpa in him. If Levi grows up to be half the man my grandfather was he’ll be one amazing man!

The family will come home together on Saturday and from tonight (Thursday) I’ll be at home after staying at the hospital. Anabelle and I are having some daddy-daughter time and it’s great!

So enough from me, here are some photos from one proud dad!

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Filed under About Me, Family, fun, God Stuff, Parenting

Birthday Reflections

Last week I turned 31, I’m officially in my thirties now because, as I see it, the last year I was simply “thirty” 🙂

Each year around my birthday I like to take some time to reflect on the previous year, to remind myself of what’s happened in my life, to look at what I’ve learnt, achieved, failed at and where I’ve grown, learned new things and improved.

The last twelve months have been full of ups and downs – I’ve certainly learnt a lot about myself, my character and who I want to be and what I’ d like to be known for. I think the biggest insight over the last twelve months has been a redefining of who I want to be as a man, husband, father and follower of God. My life has been twisted, shaped, honed and reworked this last year; it’s been painful in places and joyful in others. Life is all about growth, we’re either moving forward or going backwards – there’s no standing still.

Some highlights from the last year include:

  • moving to a new work area and gaining a permanent promotion
  • growing as a father as I watched and ‘grew’ with my daughter
  • preparing to be a father for the second time – its really soon now August 2nd!
  • realising how little I know about life and that my greatest advances in knowledge always come as a result of my failures. Ironic but I love how it works!
  • That I need to watch what I say because my 2 year old picks up everything!
  • Going back to study, completing a unit and realising that I need to change focus slightly
  • Starting a Tithe Journey and learning a lot from God about how He wants us to manage our finances and our giving
  • Following a long held dream to launch a new business helping people build margin into their lives and pursue their dreams – more to come on this shortly
  • Learning that what defines me as a Christ-follower isn’t “where I go to church” but how committed I am to actively pursuing God with my entire life
  • Re-discovering that God wants me to be his witness no matter where I am – the opportunities He’s opened for me to minister at work have been truly amazing
  • Truly understanding Romans 8:28 in a fresh light “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Life hasn’t been peachy – far from it but in all the ups and downs, God is constant and I can see Him leading me and shaping my life through the good and the bad – Amazing!

One of the highlights of my birthday was a card I got from my brother Dan. Growing up as kids we were never into the same things but as we’ve become adults the bond between us has gone from strength to strength and I love him dearly.

Dan has a great sense of humour and his card to me is a great example. It was your average birthday card for a guy, with planes and cards on the front and a nice birthday verse inside. However Dan had decided that I needed an extra piece of advice, some wisdom from someone older and wiser than the both of us:

“It’s not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a young child, but somehow I still managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day” 

Do you make regular time to look back over the past year and learn from it? What have you learnt about yourself in the past year?

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Filed under About Me, Family, God Stuff, Worship

Happy Birthday Anabelle!!

Dear Anabelle

Today is your 2nd Birthday!! It feels like only yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital – so tiny, so precious – and yet it also feels like a lifetime has passed as we’ve watched you learn and grow.

We wanted to do something special for you today to give you a surprise when you woke up so mum and I decorated the lounge after you went to bed. We hung the balloons and wrapped your presents hoping that in the morning you’d be surprised when you ran into the lounge.

It worked perfectly! You ran to the door and stopped in your tracks, asking “what’s this?” as mum and I shouted “Surprise! Happy Birthday!!” You ran straight for the balloons you LOVED them and we loved watching you squeal with delight.

       

Then, as if you had somehow read the script, you saw your presents and began to unwrap them –

    

a cash register

and a shopping cart – how awesome!!

Then it was back to playing with the balloons – can’t wait for your party on Saturday!!

Mum and I love you more than you will ever know, you have brought so much joy and love to our lives, these last two years have been such a blessing and we look forward to many more happy times to come.

We thank God every day for you our beautiful little girl, may you know His love, mercy and grace all the days of your life.

God bless you Anabelle

Love Dad and Mum xoxoxo

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Filed under About Me, Family, fun, God Stuff, Parenting