In HOPE 8.8 

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David Timms  

Ministry Resource

Barbara Brown Taylor's Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith (HarperCollins, 2006: 251 pages) provides compelling reading for anyone who has served in paid ministry. With humor, powerful insight, and beautiful writing, she describes her own journey both into ordained ministry and back out of it. It's neither syrupy nor preachy. If you've ever experienced vocational angst or burnout associated with ministry, you might find this book helpful. She remains strong in faith without dumping cynicism or criticism on the Church.

Hope Happenings

This coming Saturday, March 15, Hope International University presents Frontline: Training Leaders for Student Ministry. This one-day workshop is designed to help Youth Ministers, Adult Youth Leaders, and Student Youth Leaders recognize and address the many challenges faced in youth ministry today. For more information, go to .

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831


"We are what we are because of God, and whatever we have we receive from God and not by our own contriving. Therefore, God is not in the least obligated to us-neither for our deeds nor for our gifts." ~ Meister Eckhardt

Merchandising Truth

In a free-market economy, where society allows us to make as much as we can-and encourages us to do so-it takes very little to turn Christians into merchants, merchandising the truth. And few voices decry our illicit affair with mammon.


When a prominent Christian leader-already highly compensated for his ministry-receives $50,000 a year to lend his name to a Christian institute, is that greed or "good preparation for retirement"? When a renowned worship leader has a set fee for $1500 to teach a two-hour seminar, is that avarice or "a good gig"? When Christian networkers charge over $10,000 to help a church find a staff member, is that gouging or value-for-money?


If I'm stepping on toes, I'm stepping on my own. As a writer, I'm well aware of the large paychecks that successful Christian authors make. $1 per book adds up very quickly if you sell many copies. Writing (and the "conference circuit") can easily become driven by the dollar.


Merchandising the truth, however, tempts all of us.


If merchandising simply involves trading something we have in order to better our financial position, then many of us have become (perhaps unintentionally) merchants in the temple.


We negotiate with God. We make visits to His place on weekends, write Him small checks (or sometimes large!), and touch base with Him periodically throughout the week (not exactly phone calls but something a little shorter-prayer). In return, He's supposed to improve our lives -- our relationships, our resources, and our health. It's a bargain ... the cheapest life insurance, health insurance, family-protection and financial security available.


We merchandise the truth, trading our allegiance and service for various benefits.


Somewhere along the way we can lose sight of ourselves as "slaves of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:1) Slaves trade nothing. They have nothing to trade. Whatever they have belongs already to the Master. We may also lose sight of the Church as the Body of Christ. Our invoices and contracts treat it more like a business than a fellowship.


Dissatisfied with what we have-there's a faith issue-we respond to the gospel in the pursuit of material stability and trade in it largely to establish material security.


This week, as we reflect upon the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, we ought know that between that moment of glory and His death a few days later, He drove out of the temple all those who would "merchandise the truth."


May all of us cease to trade and learn to trust Him more and more.


In HOPE - 



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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.