Anywayyyyy, I resigned from my position as Lead Pastor back in the beginning of October at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, plus we face my wife's impending layoff of her job. (details here) So my salary and income ceased mid-October. Since then the only income I have had has been from a few speaking invitations at other churches and working at UPS in December (part-time for minimum wage). All of that totaling about 15% of of my previous income while factoring in the extra money needed for Christmas gifts, travel and other holiday related expenses. We have always lived a very non-extravagant lifestyle and also lived within our means. We have not made many cuts in lifestyle living since my resignation, because there weren't a whole lot of areas to cut.
The testimony part comes in the fact that since my resignation, not only has our savings remain untouched, but every time I go to pay the our tithes and the bills (in that order) I notice our checking account balance keeps INCREASING!
I wonder what would happen if we as the Church (and as a nation!) began trusting God and obeying Him again in the area of finances...
The point in all this is not the FORMULA of tithing, but rather the loving God behind the promises. He is our Father and will provide for us as we seek Him and His Kingdom first in our lives. But don't take my word for it...(http://bible.us/Matt6.19-34.NIV and http://bible.us/Mal3.6-12.NIV)
““Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."
““No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. " (Matthew 6:19, 24–34, NIV)