Bahamas Harvest Church (BHC) co-pastors Mario and Erika Moxey decided to start Bahamas Harvest Church because of the “why” that he says exists within him – which is to see life change take place. Moxey wanted to see souls translated out of the darkness and into God’s kingdom of light.
“When we started this church it’s because we wanted to see life change take place. That something would be tangibly different about their behavior and their actions. When we first started the church, I was wearing a suit with suspenders and everything – and then we changed. We dressed down because our ‘why’ was conflicting with everything else we were doing. Until we realized that life change wasn’t actually taking place and what needed to happen was maybe we just needed to dress down, so we could connect, and the ‘why’ drove the decision.”
According to Moxey, he and his wife did not start the church so they could construct multi-million-dollar buildings, to become popular, or because they wanted a paycheck.
“As a matter of fact, when God really confirmed to me that he wanted me to be a pastor, I sat down and said God, if that’s the life you want for me I guess I’ll have to do that. I’ll have to figure out a way to feed my family, because I want a family. I didn’t know I could get a paycheck. I just thought I’d be suffering for the Lord.”
Moxey shared this story during his Sunday sermon as he encouraged his members to give more during the fourth week of their “New Year New Me” series which focused on creating the narrative for healthy lives in 2019.
Whether emotional support, volunteering, or donating to charity, the pastor said giving helps. Also that it not only helps the people they’re giving assistance to, but it also helps the giver as the giver/donor experiences many different blessings. He said this includes: lowered blood pressure, raised self-esteem, less depression and lower stress levels, according to the “The International Journal of Psychophysiology”.
“If you’re stressed out, you may need to give something,” said Moxey.
He further cited a University of California Berkley study which showed that persons who are 55 years and older, and who volunteer their time had a 44 percent chance of living longer than their counterparts that don’t volunteer – and that’s after considering their age, health condition, exercise, and bad habits like smoking.
The pastor said giving is God’s equality system.
“We all probably heard at some point in our life that we ought to give of our time, talent and treasure.”
He said God leveled the playing field where everyone can give equitably as everyone is allotted the same amount of time in a day, but some people are wiser than others with their time whereas the unwise or foolish make the worst of time.
Moxey also told them that they have to give of their talent and that God has given every person a gift – and based on their gift, there are certain things that they can do well.
“If God has given you the ability to prophecy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly,” said Moxey.
He noted seven motivational gifts – perceiver, server, teacher, exhorter, giver, administrator and the compassion person.
“My gift is that of an administrator; my wife, Pastor Ericka, her gift is that of a server. It’s important for me to know her gift as well as know my own gift. Because of our gifts we see things differently. As an administrator I think long-term; as a server she thinks short-term – so when we’re having a conversation and talking about one thing, I immediately know that we may not be on the same page. For example, when she says we need to clean this room, I’m thinking next year some time we’re going to schedule this; she’s thinking in the next hour.”
He told the members that both he and his wife both like to congregate people together, and that with his gift, there’s a task to be worked on until it’s finished. His wife on the other hand he said likes to get people together to show them hospitality. Referencing meetings he may host at their home, he said he would have been speaking with people for an hour, and never offered them something to drink, but as soon as his wife walks through their door, he said that’s the first thing she does.
He said their gifts are just different, and he’s not “wired” like that and he keeps messing up in that area.
“It’s not that I don’t welcome them, we’re here to get something done, let’s get it done.”
Moxey told the Bahamas Harvest Church members that their gifts impact the ministry they are serving in and also how well they will do in ministry. Not knowing their “gift” he said means they will be misunderstood, abused and misused.
As an example, he noted that people that have the motivational gift of compassion are drawn to the hurt and the wounded – love to care for people and to nurture people; and want to bring the stray dog home. But he said sometimes people of the opposite sex get the wrong signal and think that there is some romantic interest and there’s not.
A perceiver he said is a person that has great perception, but they tend to say the wrong thing at the wrong time – or that’s how it feels.
“They’re the ones that can be very brash and harsh, and can hurt you with their words. You have to understand that’s not their intent. Their intent is to see you change, but they’ll beat you up verbally. It’s not that they’re saying the wrong thing … usually what they’re saying is on point, it’s just that they don’t say it at the right time or the right place.”
Moxey said it’s important for persons to learn how to handle their gift.
He also encouraged them to give of their treasure.
“The playing field is level for the first two [time and talent], but we don’t all have the same amount of treasure. There are some of us that have a whole lot of money, and some who don’t have any.”
But he told them God expects them to tithe, because tithing is proportional giving which he said levels the playing field.
“We all have 24 hours in a day, we all have a talent, and we all have a tithe, so we know what we ought to give.”
He said usually when there’s talk about giving, people automatically think about money, but money he said isn’t the only thing they can give. He said giving entails time, talent and treasure.
Reasons he gives
Moxey spoke to eight biblical reasons he gives. He said giving is an act of obedience, and he wants to obey God with his life and to never want to be outside of God’s will with anything he does; He said giving pleases God, and he wants God to be pleased with him; That giving is an antidote to greed, and that everyone has a bit of greed in themselves, wanting to horde it all. The antidote to greed he said is to give; He said he’s aware that giving helps others; That giving opens the door for more and to the extent he gives he will receive; He also said giving requires sacrifice, and that he’s aware that he has to be selfless and giving plants seeds for the future, and anytime he sows, he will harvest; Giving he also said stores treasures in heaven.
The pastor said his reasons may not be inspiring to someone else to give more which he said means they have to “unearth” their “why” and figure out why they’re here and why they exist. He said until they are able to clarify those questions for themselves, they won’t be motivated to do anything in life.
“I know why I’m here. I know why I exist. If you don’t know your why then what’s going to happen is eventually you’re going to be tempted to throw in the towel no matter what you’re doing. If you don’t know your why for getting up in the morning, eventually you’re going to feel weary and faint and tired and so will call in sick. If you don’t know the why you’re in your marriage, eventually you’ll be looking for the escape hatch out of your marriage. If you don’t know the why you’re coming to church and serving, then you’re only going to do it when it’s convenient for you. You have to understand your why. Sometimes it’s not always easy, but to discover your why, you almost have to go back to the beginning.”
He recalled the precursors that came before they started the church which included Jesus in the Park and Harvest Praise and Worship.
“We wanted to see people find Christ,” said Moxey.
The pastor told the members that the “why” is in them, and pointed them in the direction to discover it.
“It’s the thing that keeps you up at night. The thing when you open your mouth everyone hears you say the same thing over and again. It’s your passion, your drive, so it’s already in there.”
Also, he told them that when they discover it, nobody will have to motivate them to give more and that it would ooze out of them naturally because they would know why they are on earth.
“It’s surrendering to the person God created you to be, because God created you to do some things on this earth and he placed that on the inside of you. When I discovered my why, I didn’t need a life coach to tell me to get up out of bed. When I discovered my why, it fueled my passion. When I clarified my why, it was a catalyst for growth – spiritual growth, leadership growth, managerial growth, relational growth. When I clarified my why I know that I am making a difference in the world around me. But the same thing holds true for you. When you begin to clarify your why, and begin to give more, it fuels your passion in life. It becomes a catalyst for growth and inspires others around you – but more importantly you begin to realize you’re making a difference in the world, because you’re giving more.”
He told them they most represent the heavenly Father when they give.
“What did God do? What did Jesus do? For God so loved the world that he gave … You more represent him when you give your time, your talent and your treasure. Give as though you’re spending your last days on earth. Give, and don’t ever quit giving – and I’m not talking about money – I’m talking about it all. Jesus gave his life for us, and in return what do we do? We give our lives to him. It’s about us giving ourselves to him,” said Moxey.
As he concluded the New Year New Me series, members were reminded of the first three messages which focused on considering their ways in week one – evaluating life, establishing guardrails, setting goals and securing partnerships. They also addressed the development of seven aspects of life – spiritual, mental, financial, relational, physical, occupational and ecclesiastical (church). In week two, the message was for them to be whole. He reminded them that Jesus engaged in self-care and that it was important for them to engage in self-care and take care of themselves as well. Three key ingredients he said that were crucial in the ultimate self-care included sleep, exercise and meditate. Also, in week three the message centered around doing different and three things he encouraged them to do differently included entering another orbit, emptying themselves and facing the resistance.
Moxey said there is no pill for financial freedom and stability and that they have to work towards it. He added that there is no pill for relational stability, mental stability, or spiritual stability. He said they can’t find shortcuts and that they should stop looking for shortcuts in life and be prepared to do the work required of them in every aspect of their life if they’re going to develop as a human being.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.