Wednesday, July 24, 2013

GIVING: getting things in order



Here is a great thought and principle that we ought to live by: God can do more with what I have than I can do with what I have.  Think about it for a minute.  Then lets turn to this thought.

One of the greatest preachers of our day is John Piper.  As I have been preparing to preach through our current series at The Community Fellowship, I have listened to and read many sermons on the subject of money and giving.  Piper shared the following verse in a sermon.

 I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.

God made us, saved us and keeps us going, yet so often we give Him nothing.  This isn’t about money.  This is about life.  He deserves my entire life.  That verse says I will give God all, and that includes myself being spent for Him or by Him.  Being willing to give all and to be all for God is a big deal.

The ESV version of the Bible says, “I will gladly spend and be spent for your souls…”  The most important thing in the world is the souls of people.  God loves people.  One of my closest friends reminds me that “souls are in the balance”.  The most important thing is knowing God and being known by God. 

Do we have the wrong thing as the most important thing?  Do we care that our family and friends won’t go to heaven?  The kingdom of God is about people, not possessions.  God sent Jesus for people, not for programs.

Live for what is essential! With passion, spend and be spent for the souls of people.  That is my thought as a pastor, and I really do love people.  I want to pour myself out in the ministry, reaching people and in prayer.  That's what I want to live for.

I desire to be a church that this cannot be said of,

Matthew 15:8 (NLT)
 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

I want people in our community to drive, walk or even crawl to us knowing that they will be loved from our hearts no matter what they have, and their needs will be met.  I want people not to talk about what we have or how big we are but about how good God is.

Piper also shared these incredible thoughts: How many marriages have ended in divorce because husbands do not hear the silent desires of their wife: "I don't want your money, I want you"?  How many parents have lost their children because they failed to understand the signs: "I don't want your presents, Daddy, I want you"?  And how many tithing and giving churchgoers will be lost because the Word of God never reached their hearts: "I will seek not what is yours but you"?  I don’t ask for or seek what you have but you.  My desire is to spend and be spent out for your souls, not your treasure.  Things don’t matter.  You matter!

If God is first in your life, everything will come in to order, but if God isn’t first, then you will never find order or peace.  What ever is first is where your heart is.  Think about this with your heart and with your checkbook.  This will change your life.  Giving or tithing brings provision and protection.  In Malachi 3 God says if you will bring the tithe to the storehouse then He will open the windows of heaven to bless you and He will guard you or rebuke the devourer.

Pastor Robert Morris said this: If God said to you if you give me the first of what you get, I will give bless you so you will make more money, and I will stand at the door of your house and keep Satan out.  If he said that, would you do it?  But he did say it.  It is in the Bible.

It is human nature to live in fear.  Yet God calls us to live with faith.  It doesn’t take faith to give the last 10%.  It takes faith to give the first 10%.  That takes faith.  What causes us not to give?  It is greed and rebellion.  It is we want more and we want to do it out way.  We will either serve and trust God, or we won’t.  We have been dictating to God what we will do.  But that has things out of order.  Do you want things in order?

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happy birthday, Julie

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