Get Out Of The Trap | FreedUp Week 3

“If I only had a little bit more.” It’s the promise every ad makes, right? Just buy this one more thing, and then you’ll be happy. A new coffeemaker, a better job, a nicer car, a bigger house—they all make the same promise, and they never deliver. We’re just as unhappy as we were before. But what if God never meant for us to find financial happiness and freedom in getting more stuff? Join us today as Kyle talks about the path to real, guaranteed financial freedom.

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    So I know how this is about to sound,
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    but I'm going to say it anyway,
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    if you watch the rest of this episode
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    and you try what you hear, your life will get better.
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    That's not my promise. That's God's.
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    And I'll prove that to you in just a minute.
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    But you have to decide to watch
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    the entire episode right now,
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    otherwise you will miss it.
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    Why? Because if you're a normal person,
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    there's going to be a moment
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    when a voice is going to shout in your ear.
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    "This guy's trying to trick you.
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    He's trying to take something from you.
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    You need to turn this off, tune out, do anything else.
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    You'd be tempted to judge me and my motives.
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    And so you have to decide right now
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    that you want to stick around
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    and hear the entire story.
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    At the end of it,
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    you can still decide whatever you think.
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    But I believe the path to a life
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    free from financial stress
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    is 20 minutes away if you want it.
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    Now to get there, we have to start at the beginning.
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    See, the whole freed up series is about
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    getting on God's plan with finances.
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    And as we've established, God's plan brings freedom
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    while have the world's plan brings bondage.
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    So what is the world's plan?
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    The world's plan is what I like to call
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    the myth of bigger barns.
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    It's the idea that if I just had more stuff,
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    I'd have less stress and therefore more freedom.
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    The problem is it's not true.
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    Jesus addressed this in Luke 12.
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    He told a parable about a guy who was trying to get
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    to financial freedom to be freed up.
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    And so he did it by accumulating
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    and holding on to more and more and more.
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    There's a moment in his life where he had some extra
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    and he decided to do the world's plan.
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    This is how Jesus told the story in Luke 12.
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    The man said. "I know what I'm going to do.
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    I want freedom.
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    And so I have some and I have a bit more.
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    I know, I'm going to build a bigger barn.
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    There we go. A little bit more investments.
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    Now I feel, honestly, not quite free.
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    I must be -- I need a bigger barn, more stuff.
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    I still don't feel free.
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    Bigger. Let's make it bigger.
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    No, not enough. More.
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    If I just hold onto it and have more,
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    then I feel free."
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    The problem is this doesn't work.
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    Doesn't work.
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    God's plan does.
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    And so what is God's plan?
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    God's plan of how to get freed up
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    has three big ideas
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    that we've been unpacking in this series.
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    And it all starts with this one.
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    We are free when we are faithful stewards.
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    What's a faithful steward?
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    Well, a steward is somebody
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    who simply recognizes that what they have isn't theirs.
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    They're not an owner, they're a steward.
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    Therefore, they manage everything
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    according to the owners plan
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    and give him the return he's after.
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    Now, you could be any type of steward.
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    You could be a good steward, a bad steward,
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    unwise steward, you could be
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    a Mary Steward, aka, Mary Queen of Scots.
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    But God says be a faithful steward.
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    He says this in 1 Corinthians 4:2:
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    So how would you prove to be a faithful steward?
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    Well, a faithful steward is both
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    a diligent earner and a prudent spender.
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    This one's about money coming in
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    and this one's about money going out.
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    Chuck talked all about a diligent earner
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    in our last episode.
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    So today we're starting into a prudent spender.
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    So what's that?
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    Well, a prudent spender is a generous giver first,
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    a wise saver, second in a cautious debtor third.
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    We're going to drill in on this one right here.
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    Before we get to the word first,
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    I know the word generous sets off all the alarm bells.
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    I get it.
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    This is not a message you want to hear.
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    It's probably right up there with
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    how to have a worse sex life
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    with five keys to meditative quilting.
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    Like, no thanks, Kyle.
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    I'm not interested in any of these messages.
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    This sounds like how to have less.
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    I get it.
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    Here's the thing, it's actually
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    the only way to have more.
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    The only way to have more freedom.
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    See, I can't possibly help you be freed up
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    if I don't talk to you about generosity.
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    It's the very foundation.
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    Now, one that's not my idea. It's Gods.
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    I'm going to take you on a very candid
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    and very thorough look through the Bible today.
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    To sugarcoat it or to gloss over pieces
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    would be to serve you poorly.
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    And I will not do that.
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    Two, you need to know that
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    this is deeply personal to me,
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    maybe more so than any other topic,
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    because what I have seen,
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    what I have experienced of God through generosity
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    is at the very foundation of my faith
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    and my wife, Sarah's faith.
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    See, I followed what I believe
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    Scripture says about generosity,
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    and God has blessed me with freedom.
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    I'm not fearful about life the way that I used to be.
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    Why? Generosity.
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    I have peace in turmoil and I know that God is with me.
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    Why? Generosity.
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    I have joy when I think about the future.
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    I'm free from that kind of fear.
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    Why? Generosity.
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    I know it's maybe the most misunderstood,
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    sometimes even honestly abused topic in the entire Bible.
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    In fact, you may have had someone
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    try to manipulate you on this topic before,
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    trying to guilt trip you,
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    or maybe even try to get you to purchase
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    giving as a promise that you get rich.
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    I'm not going to do any of that,
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    but I am going to start with this basic assumption
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    that you want more of God
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    and the freedom that is only found in and through Him.
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    If that's true, there's a simple
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    but critical question you and I have
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    to ask ourselves about our heart:
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    who will I thank first?
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    Now, I intentionally put that in the first person,
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    who will I thank first, because this is a question
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    that I have to ask myself every single day.
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    In fact, it's a question we actually
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    get asked every time we get paid.
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    Do you have any reoccurring dreams in your life?
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    I do, and there's never good ones.
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    I wish they were.
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    I wish I had a recurring dream that I could dunk,
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    you know, Yes, I had the dunk dream again last night.
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    It was awesome. What an amazing night.
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    Never happened to me.
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    The one that I have the most
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    is a dream that I'm back in college.
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    It's the end of the semester
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    and I just discovered that I'm still in a class
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    I thought I had dropped
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    and the final is in ten minutes across campus.
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    And it just produces this like immediate
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    stress and anxiety and panic in me.
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    It's awful to have a test you didn't know about
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    and you weren't prepared for.
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    You know, there's a test you're taking right now,
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    and I want you to know about it
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    because I want you to ace it.
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    It's a test that God gives each of us
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    and our answer goes directly to Him.
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    The only question on the test: Who will I thank first?
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    By the way, this is a show your work kind of test.
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    I hated those in school.
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    In college they made me take
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    calculus based physics for my major.
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    And I got to the final,
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    and I was not good at it, by the way.
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    I got to the final and I sat down
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    and I saw there was multiple choice
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    and I was like, "Yes, multiple choice.
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    Worst case, I can just guess in the answers."
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    And then I read the instructions
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    and I saw the dreaded phrase:
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    you are required to show your work.
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    I said, "Crap. This is awful."
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    Now this is the same and the work
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    you'll have to show is what you did with your money first.
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    Generosity is a test of a grateful heart.
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    Now, what does gratitude have to do with money?
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    Well, Jesus said that your heart actually
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    has a little string on it
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    that goes straight to your wallet.
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    The two are attached.
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    And if you want to know who has your heart,
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    all you have to do is look at who has your money.
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    Jesus said this in Matthew 6:21:
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    No one knows, generally speaking,
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    where your money is except you and God,
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    and probably also Turbo Tax.
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    Now, this is the moment, by the way,
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    where we show God I'm on your plan, not the world's.
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    Because everything else we've talked about
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    up to this point in this series
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    an atheist could get behind.
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    It's really just sound financial advice.
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    This is the moment that we show God
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    we are on Your plan
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    and we want You active in our lives, or not.
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    See, generosity is about the belief
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    that lives in your heart.
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    A generous heart is a grateful heart.
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    And gratefulness comes from recognizing
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    what's been given to you.
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    One of the most fascinating stories in the Bible
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    takes place exactly 7 days before Jesus was crucified.
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    A woman shows up and took
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    a jar of perfume worth a year's wages.
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    She broke it and she dumped it all over His feet.
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    Here's what the story actually says in John 12:
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    She breaks it open and she takes her actual hair
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    and she wipes this expensive perfume,
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    a year wages, all over his feet.
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    Why would she do that?
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    Why make such an extravagant gift?
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    It's because exactly two months before this
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    her brother Lazarus had been raised from the dead.
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    The story says that he had been in the tomb,
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    laid out for four days.
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    He was stinky, he was smelly, it was over.
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    And Jesus was walking into town to come visit the family.
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    Mary, in this moment, she ran out to Jesus
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    full of grief over her brother.
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    And the story says she actually fell at His feet weeping.
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    And she covered his feet in her tears of grief.
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    Then two months later,
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    she takes the same exact posture
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    and she gladly pours out an extravagant offering
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    on this man whose feet she had covered with tears,
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    she covers with an offering.
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    Why? Out of gratitude.
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    Grateful people are generous people.
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    Let me ask you a question.
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    I know that seeing this coffin
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    could be a traumatic experience
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    because for some of us, we've had family members die,
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    some of us recently.
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    My aim here is not to traumatize you,
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    it's to try to help you.
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    I want you to see something.
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    How grateful would you be if
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    one of the members of your family
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    was raised from the dead?
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    Do you think that might change how you give to God?
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    Well, let me just remind you
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    that all of you who believe in Jesus,
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    you've been raised from the dead.
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    Scripture says that you were dead,
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    you were Lazarus, you were laid out, you were smelly.
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    There was no hope of getting out of here on your own.
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    Nothing, nothing you could do.
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    And yet He made you alive.
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    This is what Ephesians 2:1 says:
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    And you He made alive,
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    who were dead in trespasses and sins.
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    My theory with Mary here,
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    that she had in her grief gone out
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    and bought this perfume two months earlier
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    when her brother was dead.
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    She thought she was going to pour it out
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    on her dead brother to anoint his body.
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    But before she could even crack it open,
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    Jesus showed up and brought him back to life.
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    And that changed her life
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    and it changed her attitude
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    towards everything that she had.
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    See instead, two months later, she took that same perfume
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    and she poured it out on the feet of Jesus,
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    the one who raised her brother from the dead.
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    Friends, don't miss this. Don't miss this.
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    She was going to pour out a year's wages
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    on something that was destined to decay.
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    And instead she gave it to the only one on earth
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    that would last forever.
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    And when that happened, Jesus knew
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    with absolute certainty that He had her heart.
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    So what about you?
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    Does God know with absolute certainty
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    that He has your heart?
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    This isn't a subjective thing.
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    This is an objective question.
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    There's a test, I'm telling you,
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    He looks at what you do with your money.
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    He says, "Do you thank me first?"
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    First. Now, why the emphasis on first?
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    Why not, I'm generous out of gratitude when I have extra?
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    You know, when there's money left at the end of the month.
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    Or I'm generous once I've saved 10%
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    or once I've done my retirement.
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    Everyone's always talking about
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    how important it is to retire.
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    Isn't that the most important thing?
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    Why does first matter?
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    Well it matters because God says that you have
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    to be in order with His plans for life.
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    What do I mean by that?
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    I mean that you are literally aligning
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    with the order that God has established for the universe.
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    If you look at creation, you study science,
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    what you see is a God who loves order.
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    And when you get in order with God,
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    it opens the door for Him to come in and bless you.
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    Out of order equals no blessing.
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    My wife, Sarah, her biggest pet peeve out of anything,
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    I'm pretty positive, is when she goes to Chipotle
  • 00:14:10
    and she orders her burrito
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    and she orders her Diet Coke and a hand her a cup.
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    And then she turns the soda fountain and she goes,
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    and there's the dreaded little sign
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    right over top of the Diet Coke spout
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    that says, out of order.
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    It's awful. She hates it every time it happens.
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    Let's just say I hear about it.
  • 00:14:29
    Also, why don't they do that on the door?
  • 00:14:30
    You know, it'd be so much better if you just walked in
  • 00:14:32
    and they were like out of Diet Coke.
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    Cool, now I don't have to pay.
  • 00:14:35
    It's always after you pay. No, tell me before. Before.
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    See when you're in order,
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    it means that you are able to receive blessing.
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    You're lined up,
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    you're able to get what God wants to send your way.
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    But when you're out of order, even though
  • 00:14:48
    God wants to send goodness and blessing your way,
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    you can't receive it because you're out of order.
  • 00:14:55
    And here's the thing, how could we ever expect
  • 00:14:58
    a god of order to bless our finances
  • 00:15:01
    when they're in disorder?
  • 00:15:03
    So how do you get in order with God?
  • 00:15:05
    Well, you get in order with His reality.
  • 00:15:08
    And His reality is simple:
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    He's first and the first is His.
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    God is very clear throughout all of scripture
  • 00:15:18
    that the first belongs to Him.
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    Let's go all the way back to
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    the very beginning of the Bible,
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    to the Old Testament in Exodus 13.
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    Hear God speaking to Moses, it says this:
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    Now, in the original language, mine is emphatic.
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    It implies absolute ownership.
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    See, the first of what you have, isn't yours.
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    God says it's His.
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    Now we call it giving, but more accurately it's returning.
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    This principle, by the way, is called tithing.
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    It's returning the first 10% of all of your income to God.
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    And so people will say,
  • 00:16:07
    "Kyle, you just pointed to the Old Testament.
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    It's part of the Old Testament law.
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    It no longer applies, just like we can eat bacon now."
  • 00:16:14
    Praise God for that, by the way.
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    "Similarly, we don't have to tithe. It's in the past."
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    The problem with that, it's not remotely true.
  • 00:16:23
    The principle of tithing is one of God's ordinances.
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    What's an ordinance?
  • 00:16:27
    A principle of ordinary behavior.
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    Not murdering is another one.
  • 00:16:32
    Is it in the law? Yeah, absolutely.
  • 00:16:34
    It's in the middle of it, in the Ten Commandments.
  • 00:16:36
    But the idea of not murdering predates the law
  • 00:16:39
    and post dates it too.
  • 00:16:41
    It's a principle of ordinary behavior
  • 00:16:44
    for people who follow God.
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    It's not OK to kill people.
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    Tithing is an ordinance as well.
  • 00:16:50
    It predates the law and it's in the law
  • 00:16:53
    and it comes after the law.
  • 00:16:55
    In fact, Jesus talked about it in Matthew 23. He said:
  • 00:17:14
    Jesus says, "Hey guys, you missed some things.
  • 00:17:17
    Justice and mercy and faith, and you tithe.
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    That's good. You should have done all of it. All of it."
  • 00:17:23
    Jesus affirms the tithe.
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    Now let's go way before the law.
  • 00:17:28
    Way back, back, back, back, back
  • 00:17:29
    to the beginning of the Bible.
  • 00:17:30
    Genesis 4, this is the story of Adam and Eve
  • 00:17:33
    and their sons, Cain and Abel.
  • 00:17:35
    Let me just say, you might consider the story
  • 00:17:37
    of Adam and Eve a symbol or a metaphor or an allegory.
  • 00:17:41
    That's totally OK, doesn't bother me one bit
  • 00:17:43
    because the principle here is the same
  • 00:17:46
    no matter how you view the literalism of the story.
  • 00:17:50
    On the story Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd.
  • 00:17:55
    Cain came to God and he offered God fruit
  • 00:17:57
    and God rejected it.
  • 00:17:58
    Abel came to God and offered him livestock
  • 00:18:01
    and God accepted it. Why?
  • 00:18:04
    Well, let's read the story because
  • 00:18:05
    the answer is right in there. Genesis 4:3-5 says:
  • 00:18:30
    So what happened here?
  • 00:18:32
    Simply, Abel gave the first.
  • 00:18:36
    Cain gave something at some time,
  • 00:18:39
    in the process of time an offering.
  • 00:18:43
    Here's the point: It's not that God
  • 00:18:45
    didn't want to accept Cain's offering
  • 00:18:47
    and didn't want to bless him.
  • 00:18:49
    It's that he couldn't.
  • 00:18:51
    People say, "Whoa, hold on, He's God.
  • 00:18:52
    He can do anything.
  • 00:18:53
    Are you saying he couldn't do it?"
  • 00:18:55
    Yeah, I am.
  • 00:18:56
    See He actually can't do everything.
  • 00:18:58
    Let me give you an example before you say I'm a heretic.
  • 00:19:01
    God is love.
  • 00:19:03
    Therefore, He cannot be unloving.
  • 00:19:07
    It is impossible for Him.
  • 00:19:09
    Something else God cannot do, God cannot be second.
  • 00:19:14
    Theologically, this is called the preeminence of God.
  • 00:19:16
    It means that He's higher than all.
  • 00:19:18
    He's first of all. He's above all.
  • 00:19:20
    He comes before everything.
  • 00:19:22
    He's first and He can never not be first.
  • 00:19:25
    We preachers will say stuff like, you know,
  • 00:19:27
    "You should put God first in your life."
  • 00:19:29
    And the principle there is good,
  • 00:19:31
    but let me be abundantly clear,
  • 00:19:32
    whether or not you put Him first,
  • 00:19:35
    He is first in the universe.
  • 00:19:37
    You do not rearrange the order of the cosmos.
  • 00:19:40
    He can never be second.
  • 00:19:42
    So Abel brings a first offering,
  • 00:19:44
    God says, "I can accept that, that puts Me first."
  • 00:19:47
    Cain brings an offering in the course of time
  • 00:19:49
    and God says, "I can't be second.
  • 00:19:53
    I can't accept that."
  • 00:19:55
    It's not about animals versus fruit.
  • 00:19:56
    It's about first versus not first.
  • 00:19:59
    Exodus 23:1 says:
  • 00:20:07
    First fruits always go to the house of God
  • 00:20:10
    in our context right now,
  • 00:20:12
    that's the church that you're a part of.
  • 00:20:14
    By the way, God never says give the tithe.
  • 00:20:17
    He says bring it, bring the first.
  • 00:20:20
    Why? It's because you can't give what's not yours.
  • 00:20:24
    Remember, God says this is Mine.
  • 00:20:27
    And when you have something in your possession
  • 00:20:29
    that belongs to someone else,
  • 00:20:30
    you can either return it or you can keep it,
  • 00:20:33
    which, if they've asked for it back, is called stealing.
  • 00:20:37
    And I know, I know that sounds severe. I know.
  • 00:20:40
    But I'm not doing you any favors
  • 00:20:41
    if I don't tell you the clear truth,
  • 00:20:44
    because this is still how God views it.
  • 00:20:47
    How do I know?
  • 00:20:48
    Because God specifically said, "I do not change."
  • 00:20:51
    And he said it right before He made
  • 00:20:53
    the most compelling plea to have the tithe,
  • 00:20:56
    the first of all of your increase in the entire Bible.
  • 00:20:59
    It happens in Malachi 3. God says:
  • 00:21:10
    I do not change.
  • 00:21:12
    It's like God knew that someday 21st century Americans
  • 00:21:15
    would be telling each other that God changed on this.
  • 00:21:17
    So several millennia ago, He made sure
  • 00:21:20
    to drill at home from the beginning of this passage.
  • 00:21:22
    "I do not change.
  • 00:21:25
    This still applies.
  • 00:21:27
    It always will."
  • 00:21:29
    Then he goes on to say:
  • 00:21:58
    God says, "When you don't give to Me your first,
  • 00:22:02
    you are robbing Me."
  • 00:22:04
    But then look, He doesn't stop there.
  • 00:22:06
    Look at the incredible thing He says next. He says:
  • 00:22:37
    Amazingly, God says, "When you do what I've asked,
  • 00:22:40
    when you just return to Me what is mine,
  • 00:22:43
    I will bless you."
  • 00:22:44
    See, here's the thing, tithing is a test.
  • 00:22:48
    Giving your first is a test,
  • 00:22:49
    but it's actually a two way test.
  • 00:22:52
    God says, "Give Me the tithe, the first 10%
  • 00:22:54
    and see if I don't bless your life."
  • 00:22:56
    What does that mean?
  • 00:22:58
    What it says, see, you can go through life
  • 00:23:01
    with 100% of your money on your own,
  • 00:23:04
    not blessed by God, or you can keep 90% of it
  • 00:23:08
    blessed by God with the promise attached.
  • 00:23:10
    There is no third choice, by the way.
  • 00:23:12
    And God says, "I'll know I'm first in your life
  • 00:23:15
    when you return to me the first of your increase.
  • 00:23:17
    And Ill bless you."
  • 00:23:18
    I took the test 16 years ago,
  • 00:23:22
    for the first time I started tithing,
  • 00:23:24
    giving 10% of my income away to my church.
  • 00:23:26
    I was living with my parents when I started.
  • 00:23:28
    And me making that decision to tithe meant that
  • 00:23:32
    I couldn't move out, which was not exactly what I wanted.
  • 00:23:36
    But I did it anyway, took God at His Word.
  • 00:23:39
    When Sarah and I got married, we started tithing together.
  • 00:23:41
    That was 15 years ago,
  • 00:23:43
    despite, by the way, having debt to pay off.
  • 00:23:46
    We've never stopped since.
  • 00:23:48
    We didn't stop when she got laid off
  • 00:23:51
    during the Great Recession, even though
  • 00:23:53
    she was the main breadwinner in our home.
  • 00:23:55
    We didn't stop when we had double mortgages
  • 00:23:57
    for almost a year.
  • 00:23:58
    We didn't stop when God also called us
  • 00:24:00
    to give above and beyond our tithe
  • 00:24:02
    to help friends and other organizations.
  • 00:24:04
    We didn't even stop when God called us
  • 00:24:06
    to give away the majority of a year's salary
  • 00:24:08
    to the last Crossroads capital campaign.
  • 00:24:10
    That was on top of giving God the first.
  • 00:24:14
    I don't know what's going to happen in my life,
  • 00:24:16
    you know, like everybody. I've no idea.
  • 00:24:18
    But I do know this,
  • 00:24:20
    I will never stop giving God the first.
  • 00:24:22
    It's not because I work at Crossroads,
  • 00:24:24
    not because I'm a pastor.
  • 00:24:25
    It's because I want God to know
  • 00:24:28
    with absolute certainty that He is first in my life.
  • 00:24:32
    There is nothing, literally nothing
  • 00:24:34
    more important in my life than that. Why?
  • 00:24:37
    It's because I'm so grateful for how God has saved me.
  • 00:24:41
    And I want him to know that He has my heart,
  • 00:24:43
    that He is and always will be first
  • 00:24:45
    in every season of my life.
  • 00:24:46
    The good ones, the bad ones,
  • 00:24:47
    the times of plenty, the times of want, all of that.
  • 00:24:50
    And friends, when you do this, you will experience
  • 00:24:52
    what the Bible calls a blessed life.
  • 00:24:54
    Not a problem free life.
  • 00:24:56
    Some people want to manipulate you.
  • 00:24:58
    They want you to believe that there's a promise
  • 00:25:00
    of a problem free life out there. No, there's not.
  • 00:25:02
    Jesus said in this world you will have trouble,
  • 00:25:05
    but you can either go through that trouble
  • 00:25:08
    with the blessings of God or without them.
  • 00:25:11
    Me, I'd rather go through it with His blessings.
  • 00:25:14
    And by the way, I want to be clear,
  • 00:25:16
    this isn't a give to get message.
  • 00:25:19
    Some preachers will try to spin it that way.
  • 00:25:21
    You know, the problem is that's not giving.
  • 00:25:23
    That's called purchasing.
  • 00:25:25
    I pay you something and then I expect a return.
  • 00:25:28
    That's selfishness.
  • 00:25:29
    It's when you give and think God owes you something.
  • 00:25:32
    But generosity is when you give out of gratitude
  • 00:25:35
    to get nothing back.
  • 00:25:36
    And amazingly, God always rewards that.
  • 00:25:41
    Hebrews 11:6 says:
  • 00:25:43
    But without faith it is impossible to please Him,
  • 00:25:46
    for he who comes to God must believe that He is,
  • 00:25:49
    and that He is a rewarder
  • 00:25:51
    of those who diligently seek Him.
  • 00:25:52
    Now rewarder comes from a Greek word
  • 00:25:56
    that is only in the Bible this one time.
  • 00:25:58
    It's five syllables long,
  • 00:26:00
    and nearly every one of those syllables
  • 00:26:02
    means to pay what is due.
  • 00:26:03
    But there's one syllable in there
  • 00:26:05
    that changes the meaning, and it actually means
  • 00:26:08
    to reward with extravagance, to pay more than what is due.
  • 00:26:14
    That's God. He always rewards.
  • 00:26:17
    I'll say this way, He can't not reward.
  • 00:26:21
    Being a rewarder is something God is.
  • 00:26:25
    He can't live because He is truth.
  • 00:26:28
    He can't not reward because he is a rewarder.
  • 00:26:31
    He will never ignore generosity.
  • 00:26:34
    I'm telling you, I've seen that. I've experienced it.
  • 00:26:36
    I know it sounds like the prosperity gospel,
  • 00:26:39
    but it's true.
  • 00:26:40
    Here's the thing, God may reward you with money.
  • 00:26:43
    That may happen for you,
  • 00:26:45
    but the real reward is what I call true riches.
  • 00:26:50
    True riches are not financial.
  • 00:26:51
    It's the kind of stuff that
  • 00:26:53
    no matter how much money you have, you could never buy.
  • 00:26:56
    The things that only God can make happen in your life.
  • 00:26:59
    True riches are the riches that last.
  • 00:27:02
    Those you love being saved, made whole and growing in God.
  • 00:27:06
    True riches are a stronger faith
  • 00:27:08
    that you have that no one can take away.
  • 00:27:10
    Genesis 12 actually says the reward is God Himself.
  • 00:27:14
    Now, I have to be honest, I have in my life
  • 00:27:16
    seen God reward me materially and in ways
  • 00:27:19
    that I would absolutely tie back to generosity.
  • 00:27:22
    But the true reward was something
  • 00:27:24
    that I could have never made happen.
  • 00:27:27
    You know, and when we gave to
  • 00:27:28
    the last Crossroads campaign,
  • 00:27:30
    I talked about that just a minute ago.
  • 00:27:33
    God rewarded me.
  • 00:27:34
    And the reward He gave me was during that time
  • 00:27:37
    both of my sons on their own
  • 00:27:40
    came to me and asked to be baptized.
  • 00:27:43
    Said, "Daddy, we want to be with Jesus foreve."
  • 00:27:47
    By the way, I didn't try to convince them.
  • 00:27:50
    I didn't sell them on.
  • 00:27:51
    I actually did the exact opposite.
  • 00:27:52
    When they came to me and said this, I raised the bar.
  • 00:27:55
    I said, "Hey, son, I want you to know
  • 00:27:58
    what you're saying is that this means
  • 00:28:00
    you'll follow God no matter what,
  • 00:28:02
    and you will put Him first in your life.
  • 00:28:04
    That means giving Him the first of what you have.
  • 00:28:08
    Are you willing to do that?"
  • 00:28:10
    And they said, "Yeah, we will, daddy, we will.
  • 00:28:13
    We want to follow Jesus our whole lives no matter what."
  • 00:28:16
    And on November 19th, 2017, both of my sons,
  • 00:28:20
    Ben and Eli, gave their lives to Jesus.
  • 00:28:23
    That's a reward. It's a reward.
  • 00:28:27
    But listen, you don't get the reward
  • 00:28:31
    without the gratitude part.
  • 00:28:32
    And the first fruits must be offered.
  • 00:28:35
    This is why a prudent spender is a generous giver first.
  • 00:28:39
    You must put Him first.
  • 00:28:41
    And when you do, He will abundantly blessed the rest.
  • 00:28:44
    Proverbs 3:9-10 says:
  • 00:28:46
    Honor the Lord with your possessions,
  • 00:28:48
    and with the first fruits of all your increase;\
  • 00:28:51
    so your barns will be filled with plenty,
  • 00:28:53
    and your vats will overflow with new wine.
  • 00:28:56
    Listen, people get caught up on the money part.
  • 00:28:58
    I get it, but this isn't about money.
  • 00:29:00
    This is about who's first in your life.
  • 00:29:02
    And I want you to ask yourself,
  • 00:29:03
    really ask yourself right now:
  • 00:29:06
    Is God really first in your life?
  • 00:29:10
    And remember, Jesus said,
  • 00:29:13
    "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
  • 00:29:17
    You want me to tell you who's first in your life?
  • 00:29:20
    All right, let me log in
  • 00:29:21
    and take a quick look at your bank account.
  • 00:29:23
    It'll take two seconds, I can tell you.
  • 00:29:25
    Listen, if He's not first, I want you to know
  • 00:29:27
    you're missing out on freedom.
  • 00:29:30
    Why? Because when God's first,
  • 00:29:32
    it means He's your first protection,
  • 00:29:34
    He's your first provision,
  • 00:29:36
    He's your first line of defense.
  • 00:29:38
    And when that's true, when He's first, guess what?
  • 00:29:41
    There's no need for a second line of defense.
  • 00:29:44
    There's not.
  • 00:29:45
    Do you know how incredibly freeing that is?
  • 00:29:48
    I was on this video shoot a few weeks ago,
  • 00:29:50
    and the woman who was the location rep
  • 00:29:53
    for where we were filming came up to me
  • 00:29:56
    and started preaching this exact message to me.
  • 00:29:59
    I never met her before in my life.
  • 00:30:01
    I did not ask her to start talking about this.
  • 00:30:03
    She just out of out of the joy in her heart
  • 00:30:06
    and the freedom she's experienced
  • 00:30:07
    started telling me her story around generosity.
  • 00:30:11
    And it was so amazing I actually said,
  • 00:30:12
    "Hey, will you just pause for a second
  • 00:30:14
    and let's turn the cameras off of me and put them on you.
  • 00:30:17
    I would love for you to share your story with me
  • 00:30:19
    and just a couple of friends."
  • 00:30:21
    Amazingly, she said yes.
  • 00:30:24
    Let's listen to Miranda's story right now.
  • 00:30:31
    – So I want you to meet Miranda. Say hi, Miranda.
  • 00:30:34
    – G'day, everyone.
  • 00:30:35
    – So Miranda's story changes dramatically
  • 00:30:39
    when she met Jesus 18 months ago.
  • 00:30:42
    Take us back, what did you believe about Jesus
  • 00:30:45
    before this transformation?
  • 00:30:48
    – I thought Jesus was a nice story that people tell.
  • 00:30:52
    And the people who believed in Him seemed to be like
  • 00:30:55
    they were following their own set of rules.
  • 00:30:57
    They seemed peaceful and happy,
  • 00:30:58
    but they were part of a cult. Right?
  • 00:31:00
    And I need to be free, so I don't need, like,
  • 00:31:03
    God's rules and all this stuff in my life.
  • 00:31:06
    And then I came to church.
  • 00:31:08
    I came to Crossroads
  • 00:31:09
    and I realized the exact opposite is true.
  • 00:31:12
    – You would have said prior to meeting Jesus
  • 00:31:15
    18 months ago that if you came to God,
  • 00:31:20
    what you would get is less freedom.
  • 00:31:22
    – Oppression.
  • 00:31:23
    – More restriction. – Yeah, absolutely.
  • 00:31:25
    – Is that what you found?
  • 00:31:27
    He just wants to take all your burdens.
  • 00:31:30
    So submitting your life to Him is not like,
  • 00:31:32
    "Oh, now I must bow down. I have to do all this stuff."
  • 00:31:35
    It's a life of of gratitude and praise
  • 00:31:38
    and love for your fellow human beings, no matter what.
  • 00:31:42
    When you mess up, He gives you a hug.
  • 00:31:44
    And sometimes He says, "You really needs to be better."
  • 00:31:47
    And sometimes He's like, "That was a rough day."
  • 00:31:49
    – There's a freshness in you.
  • 00:31:51
    It's unfathomable to me that kind of --
  • 00:31:54
    that kind of love for us.
  • 00:31:56
    – So you told me that you decided to start tithing.
  • 00:32:01
    – So, I didn't decide to start tithing.
  • 00:32:03
    God decided for me.
  • 00:32:04
    I'd been going to church for about a year.
  • 00:32:06
    I was giving every week at church.
  • 00:32:08
    And then I actually stopped
  • 00:32:10
    when we were just watching it on TV.
  • 00:32:11
    But then I lost my unemployment.
  • 00:32:14
    I work for a theater. We were shut down in March.
  • 00:32:16
    We were supposed to open in September,
  • 00:32:18
    but I've been on unemployment
  • 00:32:20
    and for some reason my benefits stopped.
  • 00:32:22
    And I was praying to God about it.
  • 00:32:24
    And He said, "Well, I think it's time to start tithing."
  • 00:32:26
    And I was like, "Are you serious?"
  • 00:32:29
    – Seems like a bad idea. – Right now?
  • 00:32:31
    Like I used to be employed and you didn't ask me then.
  • 00:32:34
    But then I very clearly heard, "Do you trust me?"
  • 00:32:39
    And I said, yes.
  • 00:32:42
    And I think the first thing I typed was $6,
  • 00:32:45
    because that's how much I had that week.
  • 00:32:47
    Ever since I've started tithing, it's been amazing.
  • 00:32:51
    I want to say the next day
  • 00:32:52
    after I'd been praying for my finances,
  • 00:32:54
    every single claim,
  • 00:32:55
    the weeks that had gone by with unemployment,
  • 00:32:58
    it was all paid all of a sudden.
  • 00:33:00
    And then amazingly, somebody sent me
  • 00:33:02
    their stimulus check in the mail
  • 00:33:05
    and it just came from an anonymous donor.
  • 00:33:07
    I don't know who sent it.
  • 00:33:08
    And they said, "This is for the good hard work
  • 00:33:10
    you've done and will continue to do."
  • 00:33:13
    The most important thing about tithing I found,
  • 00:33:15
    is you really realized that the money isn't your own.
  • 00:33:19
    So like, it doesn't matter.
  • 00:33:21
    With that comes the most incredible freedom.
  • 00:33:24
    I thought tithing was going to be
  • 00:33:26
    like an impressive thing again, like,
  • 00:33:28
    "Oh, I've got to give You 10% of everything."
  • 00:33:30
    How wonderful to know it's not mine
  • 00:33:32
    and He will provide for me. I have no doubt,
  • 00:33:35
    – Because he has.
  • 00:33:36
    – And there's the misconception that, like,
  • 00:33:39
    the church just wants your money because
  • 00:33:40
    it's this like religious system
  • 00:33:43
    that wants to keep you under control.
  • 00:33:44
    – Did you ever feel that way?
  • 00:33:45
    – One of the first services I went to,
  • 00:33:48
    it was about tithing and I was like,
  • 00:33:50
    "See, this is exactly why I don't go to church,
  • 00:33:52
    because you're just going to take my money.
  • 00:33:53
    What are you going to use it for?
  • 00:33:55
    To pay your salaries?
  • 00:33:56
    Yeah, I bet like that goes to God."
  • 00:33:57
    It's not even about giving the money,
  • 00:33:59
    it's about teaching you that it's not important
  • 00:34:02
    and I gotcha.
  • 00:34:03
    – The sense of freedom that you have now with money,
  • 00:34:08
    even as nothing's certain.
  • 00:34:11
    You said your theater hasn't reopened yet.
  • 00:34:13
    – We're hopefully opening in September, that's --
  • 00:34:17
    – So you feel so much stress right now,
  • 00:34:18
    but you don't feel that way.
  • 00:34:20
    – I don't.
  • 00:34:21
    – You feel secure and you feel free.
  • 00:34:24
    Can you put a price on that feeling?
  • 00:34:26
    – I think it comes down to there's going to come
  • 00:34:28
    a point where God literally says, "Do you trust Me?"
  • 00:34:33
    And if your answer is yes, then you're free.
  • 00:34:38
    – Awesome.
  • 00:34:42
    I just love her story, I mean,
  • 00:34:43
    you can just hear the joy
  • 00:34:44
    and the freedom in her voice, can't you?
  • 00:34:47
    Here's the thing, tat's that's my story, too.
  • 00:34:50
    I don't have money stress. I'm free from it.
  • 00:34:53
    And it's not because I'm sitting on a pile of money.
  • 00:34:55
    You guys know that.
  • 00:34:56
    Crossroads pays me a fair wage.
  • 00:34:58
    My family is grateful, but it's not what I could make.
  • 00:35:01
    There was a time I was once offered
  • 00:35:02
    three times the salary I was making at Crossroads.
  • 00:35:06
    And I said no.
  • 00:35:08
    See, I could have more money.
  • 00:35:09
    But here's the thing,
  • 00:35:10
    more money doesn't equal more freedom.
  • 00:35:14
    That's the lie of the world.
  • 00:35:16
    Build bigger barns, keep adding on,
  • 00:35:18
    bigger and bigger barns.
  • 00:35:20
    Financial freedom will come when you hold on to
  • 00:35:22
    and hoard what you have.
  • 00:35:24
    No. Freedom comes from a grateful heart
  • 00:35:28
    that thanks God first.
  • 00:35:30
    Being rich towards God starts with a tithe.
  • 00:35:33
    It's not about legalism.
  • 00:35:34
    It's about where your heart is.
  • 00:35:35
    First doesn't mean, by the way, nanosecond first,
  • 00:35:37
    the second leaves your account.
  • 00:35:39
    It means first in priority.
  • 00:35:41
    Most important, most unchangeable.
  • 00:35:44
    Now remember earlier we talked about Exodus 13,
  • 00:35:47
    the spot where God said to Moses, "The first is Mine."
  • 00:35:52
    God went on to say, "If you do this,
  • 00:35:54
    if you bring God your first, there'll be a day
  • 00:35:58
    when your son is going to figure this out
  • 00:36:01
    and he's going to come to you
  • 00:36:02
    and he's going to ask you
  • 00:36:03
    why in the world you're doing it."
  • 00:36:06
    This is how God says you should respond, Exodus 13:14:
  • 00:36:41
    God said, "One day your son is going to come to you
  • 00:36:45
    and he's going to ask, 'Why are you doing this, Dad?
  • 00:36:48
    Why are you killing all these animals?'
  • 00:36:50
    And when he does, you're going to take your son.
  • 00:36:53
    You're going to say, 'Son, something I need
  • 00:36:55
    to tell you about Daddy that you do not know.
  • 00:36:58
    Our family wasn't always in the ranching business.
  • 00:37:00
    In fact, we didn't own any animals or any land.
  • 00:37:03
    We were enslaved people.
  • 00:37:05
    Our family wasn't always free.
  • 00:37:06
    And son, I wasn't always free.
  • 00:37:09
    I was in bondage and no matter what I did,
  • 00:37:12
    I could never get out on my own.
  • 00:37:14
    But God with a mighty hand delivered us.
  • 00:37:18
    Therefore, we gladly give to God
  • 00:37:22
    the first of all of our increase
  • 00:37:24
    because we wouldn't have anything without Him.'"
  • 00:37:27
    Friends, I know there'll be a day
  • 00:37:29
    when my son's Ben and Eli come to me
  • 00:37:32
    when they realize how much money our family gives
  • 00:37:35
    and they're going to ask, "Dad, are you crazy?
  • 00:37:38
    What are you doing?"
  • 00:37:40
    And in that moment, I'll say, "Son, I need to tell you
  • 00:37:43
    something about daddy that you don't know.
  • 00:37:46
    See, I wasn't always free.
  • 00:37:48
    I was in bondage to a whole host of sin.
  • 00:37:51
    Son, the truth, the truth is, I was dead,
  • 00:37:55
    like stuck in a casket, dead.
  • 00:37:59
    But God with a mighty hand delivered me,
  • 00:38:04
    He raised me out of that death to capital I Life,
  • 00:38:09
    therefore we gladly give the God
  • 00:38:11
    the first of all of our increase because,
  • 00:38:14
    son, we wouldn't have anything without Him."
  • 00:38:17
    Friends, there's a test:
  • 00:38:20
    who will be first in your life?
  • 00:38:23
    When you make it God, everything else falls into order
  • 00:38:28
    and you will experience freedom like never before.
  • 00:38:32
    But it won't happen without a plan that you start working.
  • 00:38:36
    There's not an ask in this series.
  • 00:38:38
    This really is not a money ask.
  • 00:38:41
    But God may be inviting you to a new place of generosity.
  • 00:38:44
    And if you're feeling that, if you're sensing that,
  • 00:38:47
    friends, my encouragement is simple, just listen.
  • 00:38:49
    Just listen.
  • 00:38:50
    God doesn't want something from you.
  • 00:38:53
    Everything you have is His.
  • 00:38:55
    He doesn't want something from you.
  • 00:38:56
    He wants something for you.
  • 00:38:59
    He wants you to get in order with him
  • 00:39:02
    because that's where freedom is found. It is.
  • 00:39:06
    And listen, I know this can be scary to take the test.
  • 00:39:10
    It's terrifying. What if it doesn't work?
  • 00:39:11
    Well, what -- what?
  • 00:39:13
    And so we at Crossroads, we designed a way
  • 00:39:15
    to help serve you and follow through
  • 00:39:18
    on the invitation that God's giving you.
  • 00:39:19
    We called the 90 Day Tithe Test.
  • 00:39:21
    It's really simple.
  • 00:39:23
    If you want to, you can sign up for it.
  • 00:39:25
    And if you try tithing for 90 days
  • 00:39:27
    and at the end of that 90 days,
  • 00:39:29
    you don't experience more freedom in your life,
  • 00:39:31
    we will give all of your money back, all of it.
  • 00:39:35
    It's a way we're trying to serve you
  • 00:39:37
    and help you get what God has for you.
  • 00:39:41
    Now, I know before you do anything else,
  • 00:39:45
    the next thing for you is to sit with God. It is.
  • 00:39:47
    And we have an experience
  • 00:39:48
    that's going to start in just a second
  • 00:39:50
    that's designed to help you do that.
  • 00:39:52
    To take whatever you're feeling,
  • 00:39:54
    whatever you're thinking, whatever turmoil is in you,
  • 00:39:57
    whatever is going on in you
  • 00:39:58
    [ and just simply put it before God, ].
  • 00:40:02
    It's going to look like singing to Him a little bit
  • 00:40:04
    and listening to some folks do something called worship.
  • 00:40:07
    It's just telling God who He is,
  • 00:40:09
    a chance to say You're first.
  • 00:40:12
    We're going to be led in that
  • 00:40:13
    by my friends, Robbie and Amy.
  • 00:40:17
    Before we sing, I want you to take out
  • 00:40:20
    whatever it is you use to take notes.
  • 00:40:23
    James 117 says Every good and perfect gift is from above,
  • 00:40:28
    coming down from the Father of Heavenly Light
  • 00:40:30
    who does not change like shifting shadows.
  • 00:40:33
    Take a moment and write down places
  • 00:40:35
    where you feel God's blessing.
  • 00:40:37
    If it's helpful, think about the different areas
  • 00:40:40
    of your life, like your family,
  • 00:40:42
    your work, or your schedule.
  • 00:40:43
    How has God blessed you? Write it down now.
  • 00:41:11
    This song calls into question what we believe.
  • 00:41:15
    Aare the good things in our life from God or not?
  • 00:41:19
    If they are from Him then they're a blessing
  • 00:41:22
    and God's call to us is that count them
  • 00:41:24
    and to say thank you.
  • 00:42:41
    You're my strength, my hope for tomorrow.
  • 00:42:45
    Go back to what you wrote before,
  • 00:42:47
    we're going to add to it.
  • 00:42:49
    When has God been your strength and your hope?
  • 00:42:53
    Writing it down as a way to remember and thank Him for it.
  • 00:42:57
    Do that right now.
  • 00:44:25
    Read through your list again.
  • 00:44:27
    I want you to ask God if there's somethin
  • 00:44:29
    g in your list that he wants you
  • 00:44:30
    to approach differently with a heart of generosity
  • 00:44:34
    out of gratitude towards Him for giving it to you.
  • 00:44:40
    When you found that thing, go ahead and circle it.
  • 00:44:43
    Tell God it's His.
  • 00:46:09
    Interested by what you heard today?
  • 00:46:11
    Well a great next step for you is
  • 00:46:12
    to download the freed up app.
  • 00:46:14
    It's a personalized experience designed
  • 00:46:16
    to guide you to a new place of financial freedom.
  • 00:46:19
    Now, normally, it cost $100,
  • 00:46:21
    but from now until the end of May,
  • 00:46:23
    the Freed Up App is available to the Crossroads community,
  • 00:46:27
    that's you, for free.
  • 00:46:29
    Just head to Crossroads.net/freedup
  • 00:46:31
    to download it. We'll see you next week.
Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Weekend Follow-Up. The questions below are for the weekend of May 1 & 2, 2021.

  1. What memory of the first time you experienced something stands out to you most? What about that moment was meaningful for you.

  2. Read Proverbs 3:6. When we put God first in all the things in our life, he says we will experience freedom. Is this hard or easy for you? Why might we default to other solutions before God?

  3. Read Matthew 6:21. When we are generous it will lead us to a deeper level of gratitude. How have you felt after being generous or noticing when someone was generous to you?

  4. Read 2 Corinthians 9:7. To experience more joy in our life the first step is to think beyond ourselves. What’s one way you can practice generosity this week?

  5. Read James 1:17 then close your time in prayer. Say your own or use this one: “God we thank you for your generosity. We ask you to make a path for our ways to align with your plan. Jesus we ask you to deepen our hearts towards generosity & gratitude. Amen.

More from the Weekend

Download the FreedUp app today. This is a personalized experience designed to guide you to a new place of financial freedom no matter where you are financially.

Individuals and couples can use the coupon code to download the FreedUp app for free, a $99 value. Offer expires May 31st.

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May 1, 2021 46 mins 54 sec

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