My Tithing Testimony

Really, I do not remember when I began tithing, but I have no memories as a young Christian in college when I was not tithing. Since the beginning of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I was convinced that tithing – giving the first ten percent of my paycheck back to the Lord – was “the right thing to do.” At some point, people modeled and taught this to me, and their examples, coupled with the truth of Scripture, were enough to convince me. I praise God for that because, like most people, I have always struggled with at least some sense of entitlement, pride, selfishness, and greed.

This is mine. I worked hard for this. No one else can tell me what to do with my money!” Those words, whether said out loud or not, have been spoken by all of us at least once (if not many times), right?

Yet, as is clear in 1 Chronicles 29 and throughout the Bible, God is the owner of everything, including our time, money, gifts, resources, and lives. Thus, we own absolutely nothing. With that right, biblical perspective, giving back to God at least the first ten percent of anything we make is really quite simple. By the grace of God, I have believed that since the very beginning of my Christian walk, and by His grace and mercy, I have been a tither, convinced that I should honor God with at least the first ten percent of every paycheck, and give more, when possible, for the sake of missions, helping the needy, etc.

Please realize, I do not share this to boast, as I know that I would be completely incapable of this kind of commitment if left up to my own selfishness, stinginess, and foolishness. But, God – in His mercy and grace – saw fit to convict me of this from the beginning, has demonstrated His faithfulness, provided me with a wife who has the same convictions, and overwhelms me with the continued desire to give.

Not tithing (as a bare minimum) has never been an option. Marsha and I have never entertained the idea, and I sincerely believe that is due to God’s provision – not only God’s provision for us to have our physical needs met but more importantly to have our spiritual needs met. Not honoring Him with at least our first ten percent has never been an entertained thought because He has protected us, by His grace, from having such a desire.

When I was a young, immature follower of Jesus in college, I had a conversation with a friend about tithing. He said that, because we had very little money and made very little money, surely God did not expect us to tithe due to our financial strains. I was not convinced that my friend’s argument was right, so I decided to keep tithing from my gross income (gross, meaning pre-taxed amount and gross, meaning most would be less than impressed).

Thanks be to God, I made it through college with no loans and no debt. Times were often tight, but God certainly met all my needs, and then some. Not coincidentally, I believe, my aforementioned friend struggled a lot more than I did.

When I was getting my master’s degree in seminary, Marsha and I were newly married and had more financial struggles. Again, though, we believed that if we continued to honor God with at least the first ten percent, He would meet our needs. We definitely wanted more at times, but we never needed more than we had. In fact, we often had (and still do have) more than we need/ed. Praise the Lord!

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching from Hebrews 7:1-10 on the first recorded tithe (as explained first in Genesis 14:17-24) and why honoring God with at least the first ten percent is biblical.

Health and wealth are never promised to us by God, not in this life. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (Matthew 6:33). When Jesus said that about “these things,” He was referring to our needs according to God’s perfect plan and provision. Trust and depend on Him by honoring Him with your first fruits, your best, your life. As has been shared by so many others, including some recent Sunday morning testimonies by our church family, you will never regret obeying the Word of God.

Before you can obey the Word of God, you have to know the Son of God. To learn more about having a personal relationship with Jesus, check out The Story.

Silas and Sahari follow Jesus!

This past Sunday morning, I had the amazing privilege of baptizing our son Silas and niece Sahari. Praise the Lord! Also, our dear friend Preston Thompson got to baptize his daughter, Charli. You can watch the testimonies and baptisms below (or skip ahead to any particular one by clicking HERE and following the linked notes from the video)…

The Visible Difference between the Righteous and the Wicked

There are several differences, of course, between those who know God and those who do not. God points out a very distinct difference, for example, in Malachi 3: “So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (verse 18).


Many claim to serve God but really just go through the motions, not really serving Him at all. What a dangerous trap that is, especially when people assume they will be counted as righteous, only to find out they are among the wicked.

When I was a teenager, for example, I considered myself to be a Christian. In fact, I considered myself to be a devout Christian. I was in church services every Sunday and Wednesday. I was actively involved with our church youth group. I read my Bible often. I prayed even more often. I talked and sang about Jesus.

I was serving God, right? No, I was not. I was not following Him and thus certainly could not be serving Him. Sure, some people may have thought I was. I even thought I was. But, everything I did was for myself. I was going through the motions in hopes of impressing girls, pleasing my parents, and getting what I wanted from God (not what God wanted from and for me).

Really, I was worshiping myself and my happiness. The lords of my heart were my pleasures and my dreams and my goals. All the while, I claimed to be a follower of Jesus and claimed to belong to Him. I did not, however, “fear God and have high regard for His name” (Malachi 3:16). Rather, I feared what others thought about me and had high regard for my own name.

Although I thought I was considered righteous by God because I was a “good person,” I was headed straight toward hell with no earthly idea.


Living in mid-Missouri, I do not often see many of the people I knew as a teenager in north central Iowa. I cannot help but wonder, though, who knew I was living a lie? Who knew I was going through the motions? How many people did I actually fool?

Of course, I cannot accurately answer those questions, but I am confident that any genuine followers of Jesus who truly knew me then surely knew I was not who I claimed to be. I wonder why no one told me, though? Why did no one challenge me with the truth? Perhaps they tried, and I just would not listen.

One who definitely did know that I was counted among the wicked and not among the righteous, was God Himself. He knew, and, thankfully, He put people in my life during my college years to reveal His Truth to me. For the first time, as a sophomore in college, I heard and understood the gospel. I turned from my sins and asked Jesus to forgive me and take over my life.

Finally, I was made right with God in and through a personal relationship with His Son.


The truth is that none of us is righteous. Not on our own anyway. None of us can do a single thing to make ourselves right with God. “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

This is terrible news! And, the terrible news is for all of us.

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8). That is the good news.

Jesus is the difference-maker. He is the One who made a way for us to be righteous – counted righteous today and made righteous for eternity. If you have yet to experience the joy of knowing and following Him, would you consider surrendering your life to Him today? Check this out for a helpful summary of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

There are very few things I believe differently today than what I believed as a selfishly wicked teenager on my way to hell. What I do and how I do what I do with my beliefs, though, are drastically different. Not because I “have arrived” or figured out the tricks. No, I am different because Jesus is the difference-maker. Jesus has changed me.

I am no longer content to go through the motions and call that “serving God.” If and when I do go through the motions, God’s Holy Spirit convicts me to repent and follow Him faithfully. Daily I need His help, His guidance, His provision, His leadership, His grace, and His compassion.

On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I hope to preach on our “Great God of Compassion” from Malachi 3:13-18. I pray that I can encourage and challenge you to believe in and be changed by the Greatness of God.

The orphans blessed us!

During our mission trip to Guatemala June 1-8, we expected to be an encouragement and blessing to the children of Casa De Mi Padre, an orphanage and ministry of Child Rescue. Well, we might have been somewhat of a blessing, but it truly was the orphans who were a blessing to us. This was the common sentiment among our team of 17 who went on the trip. Praise the Lord for how he has delivered these children from some horrifying situations and placed them into a Christian home with people who love them, care for them and disciple them in Christ!

You can see photos from our trip HERE and even more HERE.

This past Sunday, Noah shared a brief testimony during our morning worship service, explaining some of the highlights from our trip. You can listen to the testimony HERE (best sound quality) or watch the video below.

Are you interested in going on a mission trip to Guatemala June 1-8, 2019? If so, you will have the amazing privilege of ministering to orphans, doing evangelistic outreach in public schools and the local community, worshiping and serving alongside a local church, and growing in your faith in Jesus Christ. Contact Richland Baptist Church for more information.

Noah & Levi’s Baptisms

In the past year, Noah and Levi have both publicly professed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Although the gospel and discipleship in Christ have been regular discussions and processes since they were little, Marsha and I made clear that they each had to make individual decisions of faith and repentance. Because they made those decisions, have a clear understanding of what it means to follow Jesus and expressed their desire to be His disciples, I (Nick) had the incredible privilege of baptizing each of them in our local church.

Below are their short testimony videos and baptism videos. Praise God for His work of salvation in their hearts!

Noah’s Testimony

Levi’s Testimony

Noah’s Baptism

Levi’s Baptism