OFFERINGS

Why Give?

Brother Brian teaching at Ascension Catholic School 2007-17 – In the Mark Walhberg School Lab

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Why give an offering to this ministry? After all this ministry is not an official church, I am not trained in theological studies nor carry any degrees in Religous Studies nor am I a theologian. What will these offerings be used for? How will you know these offerings are being used for the stated purpose?

So now listen, I agree these are all good questions and many of you worldwide have thought these things and rightfully so! In all my classes at the many different schools of which I have been so honored to teach at, I preach to my students relentlessly the dangers of giving information, money, and even trust to complete strangers you have never met on the internet. Ethics is part of my core curriculum as is using the computer as a tool. When I started Listening Faithfully Blog I wanted to bring people closer to God by reflecting on scripture and never thought about asking for donations. I did this because I really wanted there to be a pure no holds bar approach with no complicated roadblocks to helping people find God. But over the years since my first post in 2009, I can see as a community, there is an underlying purpose of giving monetarily even if it is a small amount which serves to bind us all together.  Therefore, I have given opportunities for all of you my brothers and sisters to help out with supporting inner-city education with such programs as my Summer Technology Team, Field Trips, and Book Purchasing all of which was spent on the students directly. For those of you who know me, I am all about the kids and what they need.

Supporting Gods children I think is a noble and honorable cause and one which I take great pride in doing. – Brother Brian Stark (2018)

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today. 

But I would be remiss if I did not tie this to our faith as well. So here is three reasons you should give whatever monetarily you deem fit.

Reason 1:

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.  – Saint Paul the Apostle

If you find value, strength, encouragement, and/or this ministry has changed your life or actually achieved part of its mission and brought you closer to God, then show your appreciation by giving monetarily. In this way, the ‘why’ and how the money was spent is answered. It was spent to further Gods mission through the Listening Faithfully Ministry. Thus, there is no difference to what the disciples had done according to scripture, (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).  Like Paul, I am evangelizing and with each post am giving all of you the opportunity to give of yourself in both words and in actions.

Reason 2: Giving makes all the difference in those who give and in those who receive it.

First Ascension Technology Team 2005 – Old Lab

Personal Story – When I was first hired as a teacher in the inner city of Los Angeles I had no idea how much the children needed. Tuition assistance was just one of the many things they required. But beyond that they all needed to hear how much they were respected so every now and them students would blurt out in class, “Mr. Stark do you know my name?” Then I began to notice if I did know their name they behaved better and performed better in school in general. This was the first emotional hurdle I crossed. The second hurdle came when one day my class got into this deep philosophical conversation about racism. This was a touchy topic because I am white and 95% of my students were African American. During this conversation, I heard in their voices the frustration, anger, and deep seeded resentment they had for other races particularly white people. So the more they talked and argued their points which mostly came from their parents and grandparents and generations back the Lord told me to tell them this one thing and when I did it changed how they perceived me and how I perceived them. I said with as much feeling as I could muster;

“I don’t care who you are, where you come from, or what you believe because each and every one of you including myself are all children of God, and God doesn’t make mistakes. He loves us all regardless, and therefore as my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus I love you all just the same and want all of you to succeed just as if you were my own child. I do not see your color but rather your hearts.”

From that day forward I had no more troubles with them, their parents, nor the community. Love won out! I gave not money but love in the beginning. This allowed me to begin helping those who really needed it the most. Later on, in my ministry with like-minded teachers, we would go shopping for our kids who did not have dress up clothes, we would shop for books, shoes, backpacks, and even one year we outfitted several students with classroom supplies because their parents just could not provide these things. I gave of my time and money for these children in my school who were in need. When I started the Technology Team I gave a $50 discount to ten children which lowered the tuition to $100 dollars, and one year I paid for two of my students to join the technology team because they just didn’t have the money and really wanted to go to this class over the summer months. In fact just last year I purchased the entire technology team and their parent’s tickets so we all could go see the exhibits at the Los Angeles Griffith Observatory. I did it because of this giving has now become so ingrained and each time I do it furthers the bond I have with my community of students and parents. But in turn, it inspires them to give to others in love i.e. following my examples, which in truth following Jesus’s examples. Many of my students have gone on to do some very touching acts of love for those less off in their community.

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today. 

Reason 3: Most importantly we give our offerings because it allows us to express our gratitude to God!

Psalm 66:5

Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man’s behalf.

Notice that the author did not praise God for monetary wealth or an easy life filled with comfort. But rather the author is praising God for His good works on man’s behalf. Many times those works are inspired by good deeds as God inspired one person to do to another. Jesus Himself said that the first commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. In this, I testify to you my brothers and sisters God has called me to educate our children and to raise them up in ways that will inspire them to do the same for others they encounter later on in their life. Many times this requires monetary funds, of which I simply do not have.

In short, what will I do with your offerings? First I will bless you for giving and thank God you were so inspired to give and to praise Him in such a way. Secondly, I will keep everyone in the loop monthly of how the money was spent. My oath to all who chooses to give will is to support the children in various ways, starting with tuition assistance funds so our children are assured to receive a good education. Because I am a teacher first I also pledge the money will be spent on the needs of the students in the classroom. An example of this would be computers, software, binders, books, and wherever there is a need which arises within the classroom. My hope is as the year’s progress we all can look upon the good works of God that which he inspired us to achieve together as one big worldwide community. To this end, it’s not just my students I want to help but students who really need the help no matter from where they come. But it starts with that first dollar you all send which will make this happen. Look at what we can all do if everyone just gives one dollar.

Be a part of spreading the word of God by giving what you can today. 

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Thank you for being a part of Listening Faithfully and I hope you decide to help our children in need.

God Bless,

Brother Brian

“Let’s grow together as children of God”

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018