Daily Devotional for Monday March 10, 2008
The Money Dilemma
The money dilemma. I will never forget the first years of my ministry in the early 90s. Preaching in over 500 churches around the country, many of those churches around Chicagoland and northwest Indiana. The pastors of the churches I preached in loved me except for one thing. There were many services where I forgot to take the offering. I would begin to minister, preach the message God gave me to share, give the invitation for people to accept the Lord, open the altar for prayer, and after it was all over remember that I forgot to take the offering. I also didn't have any books or tapes to sell, which I found out was unheard of for a visiting evangelist. You see, I wasn't there to collect an offering or to sell books and tapes, I was there to minister to the people, to see people get saved, to see lives impacted for Christ! Yet it still took money to get from church to church and to survive.
Over nearly 2 decades of ministry, I can honestly share with you that the one thing I despise the most is having to raise the money to operate. Many years ago I came to accept it as part of the work that was necessary for the ministry to continue. I am fully aware that every day people are out raising money for lost cats, trees, seats in performing arts theaters, and a host of other things. I had to come to a place where I believed enough in the work God called me to, to take on the incredible burden of raising the money it took to operate.
After being involved for many years in Christian TV and seeing the gross excess and the unbridled greed that existed in that world, I realized that much of the criticism about money stemmed from people who raised dollars for things that had nothing to do with the work of God. Mansions, new luxury cars, private jets, lavish offices, huge staffs, is where too much of the money being raised went, under the guise of doing the Lord's work. I had lived a very lavish lifestyle for many years when I was in the world before finally answering God call to the ministry. Yes it was nice, but it never brought any real peace or joy.
I eventually came to a place years ago through my study of the Word that yes, it takes money to operate, and yes, it takes money to live, after all, Jesus had a treasurer to deal with the monetary needs of his ministry and Paul raised the money he needed for his various missionary journeys and to support the various works he helped to start, but my only financial goals became simply to take care of me and my wife and our basic needs and to cover what it costs each month to bring God's Truth to the lost and hurting in the world so souls could be won to Christ. I don't need a ministry that owns buildings, has huge staffs, or all of the toys of the world. I just need enough each month to effectively compete in the marketplace with satan for the hearts, minds, and souls of men!
Over the years, many have emailed me and accused me of only caring about money. If that was true, I would be doing what everyone else is doing and just preaching to the choir, or preaching a watered-down, feel-good message, instead of leaving the comfort and safety behind the 4 walls of the church and going into the marketplace each day with the uncompromised Truth of the Bible to battle with satan for souls. If all I cared about was money, after nearly 9 years, Liveprayer would have millions in assets and reserves, not walking by faith each month just to survive so we can minister the next month.
Over the past 5 years, the TV show alone, even on secular TV, could have generated $5 million plus. However, I chose to never ask for a dime from my TV audience, and that is why so many lost and hurting people have watched the program, had their lives changed by the power of God, accepted the Lord as their Savior, since they knew I was not there for any other reason except the fact I loved them and cared about them. Even the lost understand I am hustling for souls, not dollars!
I take the same approach to raising the funds needed for Liveprayer as Moses did when he raised what was needed for the tabernacle, and David for the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. I simply share exactly what we need each month, and by faith trust God to move on people's hearts to give. Throughout the month I try to keep people updated where we are at, and while it upsets some, the vast majority thank me for the transparency we operate under, something very few ministries and even churches are willing to do.
That is why I make copies of our last 3 years of audited financial returns available to anyone who requests them. People who give to God's work here, or people praying about supporting Liveprayer have a right to know how their dollars are being spent. I can assure you that no major ministry reaching the number of people we do each day, does it on less money, or has more of what they raise going to the actual work and not eaten up in payroll, administration, and other costs.
One of my big goals for the past several years is to generate enough revenues though advertising dollars that I don't have to depend on the monthly gifts from so many faithful people just to survive from one month to the next. There are more than enough corporate dollars to cover what we need to do the work God has called us to. In 2005, we expanded the TV program to all of the major markets in the state of Florida for a year, than in 2006 went nationwide for 4 weeks, than 6. For those who have been with me since that time, you will remember I told you there was a very small window to do what we were doing on secular television that would soon close. Due to the great sacrifice of many, we were able to impact millions of lives across the nation.
However, God orchestrated events that eventfully led us to move the program to the Internet this January, and has given us the opportunity to eventually reach even more people, not just in the United States but all over the world, with His Truth and hope. The move to the Internet has also opened up the door for us to tap into the billions of ad dollars that have shifted from the traditional media to the Internet over these past several years. The beautiful thing about the Internet is that advertisers are not worried about your content, only your traffic.
That is why God led me to put a plan together with the help of a major venture capital firm late last year, to create an investment opportunity where we could quickly raise $1,250,000 through 50 units of $25,000. Those funds would give us the capital we needed to advertise and brand the TV show and 24/7 network on the Internet in the marketplace, driving traffic to the program, enabling us to tap into the advertising dollars to sustain the program and network as it grew. Obviously, the spiritual byproduct of all of this would be the people we reach with the Truth of God's Word and the souls that would be won for Christ. My goal is to have the entire amount raised by the end of this month. To date, we have 21 1/2 units committed, meaning we still need to bring in 28 1/2 more.
A very small percentage of those we minister to each day ever give. Each month, we have right at 500 people who contribute to Liveprayer at an average of $50 each. That generates $25,000 of the $40,000 we need each month to pay all of our Internet related costs. The other $15,000 is made up from 4-5 people who God moves to make significant contributions of $1,000 or more. You can see how much I depend each month on those 4-5 people to be obedient, since without them we end up the month with a shortfall. For 102 months now, God has used the few who give to feed the many, just like the boy who sacrificed the fish and a few loaves to feed the 5,000. If God has blessed you through Liveprayer and you have never given, pray about doing so this month. Someone gave so you could be blessed, now you can give to bless someone else.
It is the obedience and faithfulness of those who make the sacrifice to give to Liveprayer that enables us to minister for free to over 2.4 million people worldwide each day through the Daily Devotional and personally minister daily for no cost to the 40,000 who email us for prayer. While the TV program was on secular TV the past 5 years, it was a small group of people God used to cover those expenses each month, just like God has raised up small groups of people who faithfully gave over the years for us to accomplish all of the special things we have done like the Florida State Fair, the Interactive Evening of Faith last year, and other special ministry events we have done over the last 9 years to effectively reach invade the lives of the lost masses and bring them the hope and love of Jesus Christ.
Getting these last 28 1/2 units in this month will enable us to be in a position by the end of the year to have ALL of the expenses of Liveprayer covered through the advertising revenues the TV program and network will generate. After that, my plan is to several times a year take a special offering for projects that can be an immediate blessing to people in need, like we did for those 100 single moms at Christmas last year. I am asking you today to really pray about helping me and be part of this special group of people who are investing in these 50 $25,000 units. Your investment will be paid back in 12 months along with 10% interest, and the investment is secured by the stock in the corporation. This is a great opportunity to let some of your money work for the Kingdom while earning a nice rate of return. There is no better investment you will ever make than in the eternal souls of men.
*If you are interested in being part of this special group God is putting together and would like to get a copy of our Business Plan, Investors Brief, Equity Report, Vital Statistics, and our Power Point Presentation, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I love you and care about you so much. Even though raising the money to continue the work is a necessity, after 102 months God has shown me a way to take much of the monthly pressure off of this aspect of the ministry, freeing me up to focus even more on bringing His Truth to this lost world and bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone can pray for me and Liveprayer and that will always be the best gift of all. Most can send something each month or as you are able, and that takes loads of pressure off of the monthly budget we need simply to operate.
I know in my heart there are at least 28 people who can take one of the $25,000 units, and I am sure some can take more than one unit, and someone who can pick up that half unit. Again, your investment will be repaid in 12 months along with 10% interest, making it a great opportunity to help the work of God here and get a nice return on your money over the next year. These funds will enable me to drive the traffic we need to the TV program and network on the Internet which will bring in advertising revenues, that by the end of the year, will not only cover the costs of the TV program and network, but also our monthly Liveprayer.com budget. It is ad revenues that provide the bulk of the revenues for all the major sites on the Internet.
For those who have been part of the Liveprayer family for a while, you know my goals and desires have nothing to do with money. I have literally overseen every aspect of this work every day for nearly 9 years. My commitment, my only goals and desires, are to compete in the marketplace with the world for the hearts, minds, and souls of men. My greatest joy is seeing people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In this world we are passing through, that does take money.
As I told you often last year, you will see as 2008 continues to unfold, that it will be the most important year yet in human history. This nation will go through much upheaval before the year is out. Satan is operating virtually without opposition. It is very much like many times when Israel turned from God and joined with the heathens in rebelling against the Almighty. There is coming a great persecution on Christians like we have never seen. Terror will once again visit our soil before the end of the year. Our next President will not be a friend of God or champion the great spiritual issues facing our nation. However, amidst all of this, there is a remnant of faithful followers and I see revival coming. Not one of those manufactured revivals that is confined to the Christian community, but a real revival outside the church that sees millions of souls coming to Christ.