** MEMBERS CHALLENGED TO LIVE ON TITHE FOR WEEK It is called Miracle Sunday--the day when the congregation of Life Center in Lakewood, California, takes a collective leap of faith. The challenge: to live on 10 percent of a week's wages while giving the 90 percent in a thanks offering. "We received a promise from the Lord: 'If you'll help water the deserts of the world, I will tend your garden at home,'" said Pastor Charles E. Atherton about the challenge God gave his church a quarter century ago. The Miracle Sunday offering collected each November is donated to a variety of ministries and outreaches, ranging from Teen Challenge to the nearby Westminster First Vietnamese Assembly of God. Life Center has collected more than $1 million the past 25 years. In 1978, Life Center needed funds to expand, but leaders sensed God directing them not to borrow. Instead, through the concept of reverse tithing, the church raised $79,984 for the building. By 1990, with the church's debts paid, Miracle Sunday became an outreach, with teenagers and children also contributing. "The idea is more about participation than amount," Atherton said. "It's equal sacrifice, not equal giving." Atherton said God enables church members to make the sacrifice. "Most people's budgets are already overextended, but when they give on Miracle Sunday, it's a miracle that they don't miss the funds," Atherton said. "God provides other ways. It's a whole way to demonstrate our trust, faith and confidence in God."

source: AG NEWS Service tags: Money, Giving, Tithing