To kick off the new year, the current sermon series going on at Oak Hills Church is called The Blessed Life.  It’s based on the book (and sermon series) of the same title by author and pastor Robert Morris.  As divine intervention would have it, Trey and I happened to receive a copy of Morris’ book from Mama Jane for Christmas.  If it weren’t for the sermon series kick-off (message delivered by Robert Morris himself), I probably would have filed the book under “Morris” on the bookshelf and not given it much thought until I stumbled on it again in a few months – after I’d read all the other books that are currently in my pending stack.

But Morris’ message clicked with me.  More than clicked…it resonated.  So I opened the book.  By page five I was moved to tears.  So much so that I put it down immediately, went online and cancelled our Recurring Gift (the auto-draft we’d set up to take our tithe out every pay period) and made a One Time Gift of our tithe.  The Recurring Gift was great, but it took about 5 days to process, which meant it wasn’t the first money to leave our account.  The One Time Gift, however, is drafted immediately.  Oh – I guess I should mention that I happened to pick up the book on a pay-day.

Now, with only one chapter left to go (please take it as the highest compliment that I decided to go ahead and post this now so I wouldn’t forget rather than diving into the last 20 or so pages), I have been inspired.  Not just “oh, what a neat principle” inspired…but inspired to ACT!  And that, dear reader, is what good books are all about.


“The Blessed Life” is a pretty balanced combination of novel, devotional, and instructional writing – it draws you in, lifts you up, and sets you on the right path.  The book is Morris’ attempt to show Christians what we’ve been doing wrong all these years in regards to our finances.  The principle is simple (and is literally written THROUGHOUT the ENTIRE Bible – testaments old and new):  give to God what is God’s (your tithe – the FIRST ten percent of all of your gross income) and He will bless you & your finances; don’t, and you (and all your moolah) are cursed; give above and beyond your tithe and your blessings will be multiplied.  It’s that simple.  And it makes perfect sense.  Caine killed Abel because he was jealous that God looked favorably on Able’s offering and not on Caine’s.  Why?  Because Caine just gave what he felt like when he felt like it and Abel gave the first fruits.

I know what you’re thinking: Um, I already tithe and my bank account is definitely not blessed.

To that, Morris would ask if you tithed FIRST.  Before the mortgage, the groceries, the power bill…before putting a dollar in a vending machine – did you tithe?  If the answer is no, yer doin’ it wrong.

But let’s say the answer is yes – then give more.  Instead of 10 percent, give 15 and just see what happens.

And finally (and this is the tricky part), you have to tithe and give with a cheerful heart.  You can’t do it because you’re supposed to or just to get blessed in return.  You have to tithe and give out of the overwhelming gratitude for what God has already blessed you with.

I know some of you may be skeptical, but I guarantee this book will change the way you look at money and impact your life (and your wallet) for the better.

It’s not just a change of habit, it’s a change of heart.


A story:

When Trey and I were in San Antonio with his family over Christmas, Trey had lunch with a friend who mentioned he was trying to get out of the database world and into music ministry.  Later that night, when our neice Makayla would crawl out of my lap she would say “I coming back, I coming back.”  And I cried when we left because I was afraid it’d be so long before I saw them again that that sweet little girl would have forgotten me.

In early February Trey’s friend got a job as a music minister leaving his Database Director position at Oak Hills church.  Trey filled out an application and submitted his resume and a week later had a phone interview.  A few weeks after that, Oak Hills flew us both out to San Antonio.  Trey spent the whole day in interviews and I spent the whole day apartment hunting.  And later that night, when Makayla crawled out of my lap she said “I will be right back.”  And I cried when we left because she had grown up so much in such a short time and because that sweet little girl hadn’t forgotten me.

Last week, Trey was offered the job at Oak Hills church and accepted it Friday evening…just in time for his birthday.  On Saturday, Trey’s sister Robin called  to wish Trey a happy birthday and the girls (Mary Beth – 6, Isabella – 4, and Makayla – 2) all sang to him.  And when they had finished singing “Happy Birthday,” little Makayla just kept on singing.  About 30 seconds after he got off the phone with them (after much persuasion because Mak didn’t want to say goodbye), Robin called back because “Makayla didn’t get to talk to Aunt Leslie.”  While listening to that sweet little voice tell me she had to drink her apple juice and that she wanted to sing me a song, Trey and I both started crying. 

The first and only time we’ve cried about this move was because we can’t wait to go. 

So that’s it.  As of mid April, Trey and I will be residents of San Antonio, Texas.  I’ve lived in South Carolina my whole life, and every time I’ve moved in the past, I’ve done it begrudgingly behind a veil of snot and tears.  But not this time.  Sometimes, when God has a plan for you, a plan for great  change, he just opens your heart right up and all the sudden, something that used to be so scary and horrible, seems like the best thing that could ever happen to you.

San Antonio, here we come.