Good morning everyone! Well, believe it or not yesterday morning I was in Antigua, Guatemala with our clean water team, but I couldn’t wait to be back here with our Hope City Family.
I’ve got to stop and say thank you to my friend, and brother Pastor Brian Yost. Didn’t he do an incredible job last week preaching? I knew you guys were going to be in for a treat. I love that guy. He has such a heart for God’s church, and for pastors.
Well, we continue in our series Survey Says today as we dive into some of your toughest questions. Today we have a fascinating question, that I spent a great deal of time thinking through. Survey Says… “Why does the church talk always talk about giving?”
This is such a great question! I love it on so many levels. I love it because I know that there are so many people who are cynical when it comes to organized religion and money, there are people in this room right now who would fit in that category. For too long the church either didn’t talk about money at all, or it talked about money too much. And the pendulum has swung back and forth. I love this question because money is not a topic that we should shy away from. Many people think that Jesus was against money, or that it is wrong to have a lot of money. That isn’t true. Jesus was always concerned with money being in it’s proper place. So, why does the church always talk about giving? I hope this morning to help us have a framework so we can understand what it means to be generous people.
Generosity has not always been easy for me!
Dating story at Red Robin – we can be stingy
Not just stingy with our food but also our time and finances. I’m not the only one.
Irony of the stinginess at Red Robin is that they are Bottomless fries.
Sometimes We view our resources in the same way that I viewed steak fries. As if they belong only to me, and what if I’m unable to enjoy them. The more room you make on your plate the more God can fill it.
Why do we talk about giving so much here at Hope City? Not because we want to build a wealthy church but because I want you to experience the joy of being a part something God is doing. If you are not giving here at Hope City, you’re missing out. There is a joy that can only be found in giving. Seems backwards right? But God interned it to be this way. He built us to be caretakers of what he’s given us, or stewards of what we have. And he intended for us to give to others.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3
1- You’ve been blessed to be a blessing
Story- Clean water team financial gift to Giovanni, Rudy, Cassi.
What a joy that was to give them a gift in Jesus name and pray for them and bless them. Giving moves our heart to action and inspiration. No one has ever said man I regret giving that away! But I can think of countless things that I have purchased that I instantly regretted.
Double Kayak purchase.
I’ve never given money or resources away and regretted that.
Story- Beef Jerky for the team. Rudy giving Jerky to Pastor Miners son. They took the Jerky and mixed it with rice for lunch that day. Rudy went on to tell us that Pastor Miner then saw a woman who was not able to eat lunch that day and invited her to join them at his table to have what little they had.
Chris Wright has said, “Its not so much that God has a mission for His church in the world but that God has a church for His mission in the world.”
How do you view what you have? It’s either yours because you’ve earned it, or it’s Gods and he is allowing you to have it. The way you view your resources will impact what you do with them. How do you view all you have?
Jesus story of the widows mite…
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” He said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4
Irrational giving. This woman had a plan and she put it into motion.
2- Plan to be Generous
Generosity can be In the moment but you have to plan for it. You have to live below your means to be able to have anything to give away. The Bible talks about the Tithe. The tithe literally means 10%. Gods guidelines on generosity is to give 10% to the local church. In order to do this you need a plan.
Story of Liquid and not Tithing. Dave shepherded my heart and challenged me to incrementally give.
“For many of us the obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money but in our fear – fear of insecurity.” C.S. Lewis
Tiffany and I tithe to Hope City and it’s an act that we learned along the way.
Intentional giving is better than aspirational giving.
When I hit the lottery I’ll give. Why would you give away large chunks of money when you are unable to give away small amounts now?
One of the habits that we’ve set up in our lives is recurring giving. This is a plan that we have set in motion. We have gone on Hope City’s website and set it up so that on the very day We get paid, the first transaction on that deposit is given to God!
What’s your plan for generosity? Do you have one? Would you consider incremental giving. Maybe for you that is giving 2% more than what you’ve been giving. Or maybe you are convicted as we have been to start tithing, giving 10% to the church. What’s your plan for generosity? Maybe you’ve been challenged to increase your impact, or catch up on your giving you can do that today. Or maybe you want to put a plan of generosity in place today and set up your recurring giving. Whatever you are doing, being generous is not something that we do, it is something that we are.
I love this story of the widow… Look back here… Jesus says,
“Truly I tell you,” He said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4
The incredible thing about this story is not the amount of money this woman gave but rather the impact it had. People are still talking about this woman’s generosity.
3- Live a life that outlives you
There are few things that you will do that will outlive you. Find those things and do everything you can to go all in.
Here at Hope City we talk about giving a lot because we want you to live a life that outlives you. We want you to experience the joy of giving and being a part of a move of God like you’ve never experienced before. We know that God has placed us in this world for a little bit of time to do what Matthew 28 commands…
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Story about OSCAR from the Village. Joy sneaking in to his life. Learning about Christ and what He has done for him. Changing the village one generation at a time.
Ruth- 13 year old girl who has said, Church is a waste of time. In the beginning of the week. By the end of the week she wouldn’t leave Ginny’s side.
Thomas- Lost his child one month ago. His family had no access to clean drinking water. On Friday his wife called Rudy, and said that she’s never seen him this happy in a long time. He worked alongside of us everyday all week long.
Live a life that outlives you.
“Live your life with the end in mind and you will live your life well.” ~Billy Graham
We want to do everything we can. In fact this morning is a bit of an exciting moment because we are taking bold steps forward as a church. As many of you know we have been in late stage conversations with a youth pastor candidate. I am excited to share with you that in a little over a month Justin and his wife Amanda and their daughter Rowan will be joining us full time here at Hope City. We want to live a life that outlives us. We want to see ripple effects in the generations to come.
We are #ForTheNextGeneration and we are going to do everything we can to ensure that they know Jesus.
Why do we talk about giving a lot? Because God uses your giving to change you and the world around you.
Let me tell you how grateful I am that I learned my lesson quickly. That girl who was stealing my fries has stolen my heart and my life has never been the same. I love my wife Tiffany and I couldn’t imagine leading our church without her by my side. Imagine all I would have missed out on had I not made it past that date.
Imagine what would happen if we recognized that God’s supplies are limitless. I wonder how we would live and give differently.
Whatever God is leading you to do, i would encourage you… imagine what we could do together.