Am I Generous? | The Blessed Life: Week 5

Generosity is a word that often gets misused. What does it really mean to live a generous life?

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    Hey, my name is Justin, and for the last several weeks
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    we've been in a series called The Blessed Life.
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    And for me, it's been all about gratitude.
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    It's been a process of gratitude and reminded me
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    of all the good things God has given me
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    and that everything I have is His
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    and every thing I do flows from a heart of gratitude.
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    So that's where we're gonna start with a simple chorus to sing together of gratitude.
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    So I invite you to stand.
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    And if you're joining us online, sing with us.
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    And here's the deal. I'll sing as loud as I possibly can
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    so you can too. Deal?
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    All right.
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    So it goes like this:
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    One more time.
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    God, we thank you for sending Jesus.
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    our living hope.
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    He's snatched away the keys of death and hell and the grave
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    and gave us a reason to hope and live.
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    And for that I am forever thankful.
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    We have an opportunity to worship, you God, for who You are,
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    and that is good and we thank You and we praise You.
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    In Your name we pray, Amen.
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    Well, Crossroads, thank you.
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    Thanks for singing with us.
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    Hey, if you're watching at home, we appreciate you.
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    Let's make this place a little bit smaller.
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    Introduce yourself someone that you don't know
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    and then you have a seat. We're so very glad you're here.
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    - Well, happy Thanksgiving, almost.
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    Thanksgiving is quickly approaching.
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    And there are two family traditions that I had in the Tome family growing up
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    and now being a Schuller, my family,
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    my husband, my son, my future kids and I will have together.
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    And I want you to get to experience some of the things
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    that have made Thanksgiving really special for me over the years
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    and have shaped who I am and how I interact with God
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    in the midst of this holiday season.
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    So the first one is the Thanksgiving Food Drive.
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    And this is a way for us to say thank you to God
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    by blessing other people in our city who might not have another experience
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    for a Thanksgiving meal or an intimate conversation
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    and good food around the table at Thanksgiving.
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    There's over a 100,000 people who are going to get to experience
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    a better Thanksgiving because of the Thanksgiving Food Drive.
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    And so if you want to participate in that,
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    you can do that from anywhere you might be.
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    If you live near a Crossroads location,
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    you can head to that location to get a box
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    and fill it up and return the box.
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    If you don't live near Crossroads location,
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    then it is really simple to do this and we want to help you do it.
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    So chat with us on the Crossroads Web site.
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    We'd love to get you started and get you the things you need
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    to be able to participate from whatever city that you're in right now.
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    The second family tradition that we have is that
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    we get together with the church on Thanksgiving eve.
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    You know, we have a traditional Christmas Eve service.
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    We also have a Thanksgiving Eve service, a Thanksgiving Eve experience,
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    because this holiday is one that is core to our belief
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    as followers of Jesus that we are to be expressing thankfulness
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    and expressing gratitude to God on a regular basis.
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    And so in this holiday weekend of Thanksgiving,
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    we're reminded and we actually our permissioned by American culture
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    to pause and be thankful.
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    And we want to express that thankfulness to God together.
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    And so if you want to experience Thanksgiving Eve,
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    you can check out if that might be happening at a site near you.
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    Or you could join us right here online
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    for a special Crossroads Anywhere Thanksgiving experience.
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    It's going to air at 7:00 p.m.
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    So hopefully you'll join us for that.
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    And one of the ways that I like to express thankfulness to God is through giving.
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    If you want to do that, you can do that by heading to
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    And we're going to continue on today with our series The Blessed Life.
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    - Hey, welcome to week five of The Blessed Life.
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    I'm pretty excited about next week, kind of do a traditional speaking role,
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    but this week I got more good stuff because
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    you got me and you've got Kyle coming up
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    and you've got Robert Morris right here in the studio with me.
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    I'm doing a podcast with him right now and we're going to clip some stuff out
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    and he's gonna be talking to all of us as a church, as Crossroads
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    about what it means to go to a new gear in giving.
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    It's a huge, huge step when we give God the first 10% of everything He gives us.
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    It's a whole new other frontier and a lot of fun
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    to go beyond that with what's known as offerings
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    or even being extravagant.
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    So Robert's got some stuff to talk to us today about that.
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    - All right. You said a lot of people shut you when you talk about generosity.
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    I think what they shut down is when they hear a preacher
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    talking about giving money because they think he has an ulterior motive.
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    And many of them do. Many of them do.
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    But when they talk about generosity,
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    I think every person has something in his heart or her heart
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    that would love to be generous.
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    When we see these refugees, when we see people in trouble,
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    when we see the homeless, when we see poverty,
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    we want to do some to help.
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    So I actually think we all would love to be generous.
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    - If we just knew how to be generous.
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    - It's the step, though, isn't it?
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    That's what makes it so difficult.
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    That is true.
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    I think that's why we all believe that we're generous
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    is because we all know in our minds and hearts
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    we want to do something, but we're stuck.
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    - So you say if we want to go beyond where we are,
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    do your math. What else would you say?
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    - The second thing is to obey the little prompting
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    that you get on the inside of you.
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    And you know, if you're a Christian, you can talk about it's the voice of God,
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    if you're not a Christian we all have these little promptings
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    to do something like to pay for the meal for a family
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    that we see that they can't afford it and you know they can't afford it.
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    Or if it's to just help pay for gas.
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    - Did you always plan on being a pastor?
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    Have you always been a pastor?
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    - Yeah. No, I wasn't.
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    And as I said, my dad owned a company,
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    so I thought I would one day, you know, take over his company and do that.
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    And after I gave my life to the Lord, I started speaking at youth events.
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    And young, you know, all these things where churches would gather young people.
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    And I just started sharing with them about how I gave my life the Lord.
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    Pretty soon I start traveling around and speaking.
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    And that's what I'm doing full-Time for a job all of a sudden.
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    I'm traveling around doing youth revivals we used to call them.
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    And but the Lord spoke to me very, very clearly and said,
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    "I don't want you to -- you say from now on, when they say,
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    'What are your financial requirements for coming?'
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    you say, 'I have no financial requirements for coming.
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    You don't even have to pay my expenses.'"
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    And I remember this guy said when I said that to him,
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    the pastor of a small church said, "Well, that's good,
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    because I'm not even sure we could pay your gas."
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    On the way up there, I stop and get gas.
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    I walk in to pay for it and the lady said it's taken care of.
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    And I said, 'What do you mean, it's taken care of?"
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    She said, "Well, I own the gas station
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    and God told me to fill your car up with gas."
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    And the guy said like we can't even afford the gas, you know?
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    So anyway, I go to this small church to preach.
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    And I tell him, you don't have to give me anything.
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    But he gets up and says, "He told me this.
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    Nobody's ever told me that.
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    Let's give him an offering."
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    And that was the only meeting I had for the whole month
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    and we had no other income.
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    If a church gave an offering or an honorarium, that's how we lived.
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    And so I go, but I don't require anything.
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    And so they bring him the amount.
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    They bring him the check at the end of the service to give to me.
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    And he says, "Look at this.
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    Look at this.
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    This is -- this is the most we've ever given."
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    And I looked down and it's enough for our whole month.
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    And it's the only meaning I have that month.
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    So God is teaching me if you do it My way, I'll take care of it.
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    So I look at it and I think, Lord, that's great.
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    And while this pastor is talking to me, I look over his shoulder
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    like I'm kind of looking over your shoulder now.
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    And at the back of the church was this missionary
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    that gave a report right before I spoke.
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    And this voice said to me, give him the check.
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    And I remember exactly what I thought, "Get me behind me, Satan.
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    You know, that's the devil. That's not God.
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    That's not you. God," you know.
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    But I couldn't get away from it.
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    So I endorsed the check, waited till everyone was gone.
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    Went up, gave the missionary the check.
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    Said, "Don't look at it until after you leave,"
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    because a very large amount.
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    And said, "But God told me to do this."
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    We walk outside and there's this guy standing there
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    and he said, "Hey, we're going to go get some pizza.
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    Do ya'll want to come."
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    And we said, yeah, because, you know, we were broke.
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    So if someone's buying pizza, we're in.
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    And so we go and we're sitting at the table and there's six guys, six ladies.
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    All of a sudden, these four guys decide to start talking.
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    The guy right across the table from me about this far
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    says to me, "How much was the offering?"
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    Just like that.
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    And so I told him the amount.
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    And then he said, "Where's the check?"
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    And I know you're not supposed to lie,
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    but I didn't want to say we gave it away, you know, and brag.
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    So I said, "Debbie has it."
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    And he said, "Go get it. I want to see it."
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    So I went down to Debbie and I just bent down.
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    I said, "How's your pizza? Is it good?"
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    You know, because there's no check.
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    So I go back to him and again, I lied again.
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    I said, it's in the car.
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    And the guy said, "It's not in the car."
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    And so I said, "Well, where is it?
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    Since you're so smart, you know."
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    And he said, "You gave it away, didn't you?"
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    And I said, "Did you see me give it away?"
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    He said, "No." I said, "How do you know I gave it away?"
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    He said, "God told me."
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    And in the Bible there is a gift, seven spiritual gifts in Romans 12,
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    seven what we call motivational gifts, they motivate us.
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    One of them's giving.
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    So probably one out of seven people listening right now
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    have a gift of giving. They'd love to give.
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    If someone would just teach them how to give.
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    This was the first guy I ever met with the gift of giving.
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    And so he reached in his pocket and pulled out a check
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    made out to our ministry.
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    He held it out.
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    It was exactly ten times the amount of the check we just given away.
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    And the check we had given away had dollars and cents.
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    It was not around amount.
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    And the check he had had dollars and cents, exactly 10 times the amount.
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    - He had previously written it out?
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    - He wrote it out before he came to church because God told him to.
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    - So God, at that moment I remember God saying,
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    "Son, you can never out give Me and you just obey Me,
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    when I tell you to give you give.
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    I'll take care of the rest."
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    - Yeah, yeah, that's great.
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    - The Blessed Life, by the way, is the zone where you and I
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    can see and sense God's presence and power in our lives.
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    And I want to be very clear from the beginning,
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    The Blessed Life is not the problem-free life.
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    It's not.
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    Jesus actually said: in this world you will have trouble.
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    But the question is, would you rather
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    go through that trouble with the blessings of God
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    or without the blessings of God?
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    We're talking about The Blessed Life.
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    Now, how do you get The Blessed Life?
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    Well said very simply, God, when you give God your heart,
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    He gives you The Blessed Life.
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    It's kind of how it works.
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    And if you want to know who has your heart,
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    you look at who has your money.
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    Jesus said this in Matthew 6:21, He said:
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    It will be, not might be, but will be.
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    That's why we're talking about money.
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    And I'll just say up front, I know it's weird when a church talks about money.
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    I know it's -- I know it's strange.
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    I totally, totally get that.
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    And if you feel that way, that is OK.
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    I'm glad you're with us.
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    Just hang just hang with me.
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    But we know this.
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    We're so convinced that this is true.
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    This is the way that it works,
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    that God will give you The Blessed Life
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    that we've actually invented a money back guarantee of sorts.
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    In week two of the series,
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    we launched something called the 90 day tithe test.
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    And we just said, "Hey, if you'll try tithing, the baseline of giving,
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    if you'll do it will just try giving 10% of your gross income to your local church.
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    If after 90 days you have not experienced the blessing of God,
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    just tell us and we'll give all your money back.
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    We'll give it back. It's amazing.
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    By the way, if you want to sign up for that,
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    if you feel small prompting like Robert Morris and Brian talked about,
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    if you feel that today you can still do it.
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    You can go to
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    So, you know, you'll be joining hundreds and hundreds
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    and hundreds of other people who've already signed up
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    and are experiencing amazing things.
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    More things than I could ever share with you up here.
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    But I do want to read just one story.
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    I found this just incredible.
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    This is from a guy who started the tithe test.
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    He said, "My fiancee and I had been thinking about doing a tithe test.
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    We did the math and figured it would cost us
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    about $12,000 between now and when our wedding is next October,
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    which will end up being close to that amount, $12000.
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    I decided I would talk to Matt Castleman, West Side community pastor.
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    Our meeting went really well and I came to the conclusion
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    that God laid this on our heart for a reason
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    and we should follow through.
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    Literally, no sooner had I got up from the chair in Matt's office
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    then my fiancee texted me and said,
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    'Hey, I just want to let you know my work has decided
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    to give me a $12000 bonus.'".
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    He says, "Are you freaking kidding me?"
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    That's his quote, not mine.
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    "I was blown away. I know God was confirming our decision.
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    To be clear, we weren't giving to receive,
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    but God sure does seem to show up in ways we never expect when we do."
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    It's an amazing, it's incredible
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    Listen, I want you to know if you sign up,
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    it doesn't always work that way.
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    It's not always that fast.
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    Sometimes it actually gets harder, I want to warn you.
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    Sometimes it gets harder.
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    But it is always, always worth it in the end.
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    I promise it's worth it in the end.
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    See, for me, this topic, this series, this message
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    I'm about to share with you is deeply, deeply personal,
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    because if you were to find me on the street and to say,
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    "Hey, Kyle, why do you believe God is real?
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    What's the foundational evidence of your life
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    that leads you to believe He's actually real?"
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    You know what I'd talk about?
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    I'd talk about what I've experienced of Him,
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    the ways He's blessed me when I've been generous.
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    It's just my story.
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    Today, we're gonna spend our time asking one question.
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    I'm gonna make this assumption about you, by the way,
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    that if you're listening, you'd like more of God.
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    That if there's a thing called The Blessed Life, you would like it.
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    You want more of Him.
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    And if that's true, then there's one critical,
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    simple but critical question you and I must ask ourselves.
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    And the question is this: Am I generous?
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    To start to answer that question, I just want to pray
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    and invite God in the conversation.
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    So would you pray with me?
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    God, that's a big question and it's one we need Your help answering.
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    I ask that you would open up all of our hearts,
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    that we'd be open minded and open hearted today.
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    That if there's more of You, we would get it,
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    that you'd give us each The Blessed Life.
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    Am I generous?
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    Now, that is intentionally in the first person.
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    It's not are you generous?
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    It's am I generous?
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    So that when I say it, I am asking myself.
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    And when you say it, you are asking yourself.
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    And I mean that I'm still asking myself this question: am I generous?
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    Because the truth is, sometimes I am and sometimes I'm not.
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    Just two days ago, I was out with some buddies.
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    We were drinking beers and God gives me this small prompting.
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    I go to get my second beer and my buddy's in line behind me.
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    And I feel like this small little prompting in my head says buy his beer.
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    Now, I know I'm about to talk to all of you people in two days about generosity.
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    And, you know, I think in my head,
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    "Like I don't want to buy his beer.
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    That guy makes way more money than me.
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    And God, he wants a $9 beer.
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    That is sinful. It's ridiculous."
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    I still battle this.
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    A cool story by the way, the keg blew
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    and so he got a $5 beer, which helped a lot.
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    And, you know, helped in the decision making a little bit there if I'm honest.
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    There's no question.
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    Am I generous?
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    Now to help us answer this we're going to spend a lot of time
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    examining one particular powerful story in the Bible.
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    I spent a lot of time on this in preparation for this message,
  • 00:26:04
    maybe more than any other story in the whole Bible.
  • 00:26:07
    It's an amazing story because I think I'm in the story.
  • 00:26:13
    And I want to suggest something to you, I think you're in this story, too.
  • 00:26:17
    Now, on the surface, there's only five characters in the story.
  • 00:26:21
    It's a simple scene with five characters.
  • 00:26:23
    There's Jesus, there's Judas.
  • 00:26:26
    Yes, that Judas, the one who would betray Jesus.
  • 00:26:28
    And then these three siblings.
  • 00:26:30
    There's Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha.
  • 00:26:34
    That's what's in this story.
  • 00:26:35
    And you got to know, this happens exactly six days before Jesus is killed.
  • 00:26:40
    It comes from John 12, it says this:
  • 00:27:02
    It's like a perfume.
  • 00:27:24
    That's a year's wages.
  • 00:27:26
    You know, just why wasn't this sold and given to the poor?
  • 00:27:41
    You knew Judas was bad.
  • 00:27:42
    Did you know, he stole from the money box?
  • 00:27:45
    He stole from the offering.
  • 00:27:47
    Now there's two important questions to ask about the story.
  • 00:27:49
    One, why would Mary give such an extravagant gift?
  • 00:27:55
    And two, why did it make Judas so upset?
  • 00:28:00
    We need the answers to those questions
  • 00:28:02
    to answer our question: Am I generous?
  • 00:28:05
    Now, I want you to notice there are two hearts on display here.
  • 00:28:08
    There's the heart of generosity in Mary.
  • 00:28:11
    And there's the heart of selfishness in Judas.
  • 00:28:13
    And these hearts are opposed to each other.
  • 00:28:16
    This is because generosity has an enemy.
  • 00:28:19
    The enemy of generosity is selfishness.
  • 00:28:22
    They're in conflict with each other.
  • 00:28:25
    Now this question: Am I generous?
  • 00:28:29
    I think everybody in here wants to be generous.
  • 00:28:32
  • 00:28:33
    I want to be generous.
  • 00:28:34
    I do. I want to be generous.
  • 00:28:36
    Sometimes the moment comes and I, ugh, get a little bit.
  • 00:28:39
    But overall, I want to be generous.
  • 00:28:41
    I don't want to be a selfish person.
  • 00:28:42
    I think you're the same.
  • 00:28:44
    But the problem is we are each born selfish.
  • 00:28:48
    We're not born generous, we're born selfish.
  • 00:28:50
    Brian talked about this in week one.
  • 00:28:52
    You know, a child's first word is mine, isn't it?
  • 00:28:57
    You don't have to teach them how to be selfish, they just say mine, mine.
  • 00:29:00
    And Brian said that like 100 times about that level.
  • 00:29:02
    It was just it was awful.
  • 00:29:04
    When he said it, I immediately flashed the scene in my house
  • 00:29:08
    because I have small kids and I just went to this scene
  • 00:29:10
    that happens all the time.
  • 00:29:11
    I'll be sitting on my couch watching college football or whatever,
  • 00:29:14
    and I'll hear that sound, "Mine."
  • 00:29:16
    When it happens, it's like someone poured ice water straight down my spine.
  • 00:29:20
    I'm just like (sound effect).
  • 00:29:22
    And it gets me up and I have to go find that sound.
  • 00:29:27
    And when I do, usually what I find is this.
  • 00:29:29
    I find my five year old daughter, Gracie,
  • 00:29:31
    and she's holding a Lego that belongs to her older brother, Ben, who's 9.
  • 00:29:35
    And she's saying, "It's mine."
  • 00:29:37
    And he's saying, "No, it's mine."
  • 00:29:39
    And when I walk in the room, Ben's excited because he wants justice.
  • 00:29:45
    And here I come.
  • 00:29:46
    Unfortunately for him, I want quiet.
  • 00:29:50
    That's what I want.
  • 00:29:51
    So what I do is I just say, "I don't care who it was
  • 00:29:54
    because you know whose it is now? It's mine.
  • 00:29:56
    Bye bye. Have a good time.
  • 00:29:57
    Figure it out. See ya."
  • 00:29:59
    I don't know if that's good parenting advice, bad parenting advice.
  • 00:30:02
    I'm just telling you what I do there, just end it.
  • 00:30:05
    It's mine.
  • 00:30:07
    Now God says mine when he talks about the tithe.
  • 00:30:13
    He says, "It's mine," the first 10% of your income, He says, "It's mine."
  • 00:30:18
    Now, let me ask you a question.
  • 00:30:20
    This is never -- this is totally hypothetical, never happened before.
  • 00:30:23
    But imagine with me the glorious moment that would happen
  • 00:30:26
    if I went to my children and in this moment,
  • 00:30:29
    Gracie says, "It's mine." And Ben says, "No, it's mine."
  • 00:30:31
    And she goes, "(gafaws) Amazing, but dearest brother, I did not know.
  • 00:30:36
    Here have you Lego back."
  • 00:30:39
    Just imagine with me that happy moment, let's pretend that happened.
  • 00:30:41
  • 00:30:42
    My question for you is this, go with me here for a second.
  • 00:30:46
    If she were to do that, would Gracie be generous?
  • 00:30:51
    No, she wouldn't be.
  • 00:30:53
    For very simple reasons, see, you can't give what's not yours to begin with.
  • 00:30:59
    You can return it.
  • 00:31:01
    You know, she should give it back to Ben.
  • 00:31:03
    She could return it to him.
  • 00:31:04
    "Here's what's yours."
  • 00:31:05
    And Ben may even, go with me, bless her with a thank you.
  • 00:31:09
    But that's different than generosity.
  • 00:31:13
    Am I generous?
  • 00:31:16
    See, generosity is what I choose to do with what is truly mine.
  • 00:31:23
    Now in the story, Judas is holding the money box.
  • 00:31:25
    You know, he's holding the money box.
  • 00:31:26
    And what's amazing is that he actually attempts to appear generous.
  • 00:31:33
    Did you see it in the story? She pours out the oil.
  • 00:31:36
    She does this amazing thing of extravagance.
  • 00:31:38
    And Judas is standing there and he goes, "That's a waste.
  • 00:31:42
    What a waste, that should've been given to the poor.
  • 00:31:44
    It should've been given to the poor."
  • 00:31:45
    You've never said that?
  • 00:31:49
    You ever heard somebody say, you ever said it yourself?
  • 00:31:51
    I have. I actually said it the very first time I ever walked into Crossroads.
  • 00:31:57
    It was 2002.
  • 00:31:59
    My parents brought me.
  • 00:32:00
    And you've got to understand,
  • 00:32:01
    back then TVs were basically perfect cubes stuffed full of anvils.
  • 00:32:05
    They weighed like a thousand pounds.
  • 00:32:07
    They were awful to move.
  • 00:32:08
    But I walk in the Crossroads and I see something
  • 00:32:11
    I've only seen pictures of and never seen in real life,
  • 00:32:14
    flat screen TVs. There were six, I counted.
  • 00:32:17
    They are expensive.
  • 00:32:19
    And I said to my parents, "What a waste.
  • 00:32:23
    That money should've been given to the poor."
  • 00:32:26
    I did not know I was quoting Judas.
  • 00:32:28
    I didn't. But I was.
  • 00:32:30
    Now at that point in my life, do you know how much money I was giving?
  • 00:32:37
    None. Nothing.
  • 00:32:39
    But see, if you had to ask me this question, are you generous?
  • 00:32:43
    I would've said, "Yeah.
  • 00:32:45
    Yeah, I'm generous.
  • 00:32:46
    I think about generous things.
  • 00:32:48
    I do.
  • 00:32:49
    I think I'm a generous minded person."
  • 00:32:52
    The problem is when it comes this question, Am I generous?
  • 00:32:55
    We can't answer it for ourselves because our heart is deceitful.
  • 00:33:00
    Jeremiah 17:9, says:.
  • 00:33:07
    See our heart plays tricks on us.
  • 00:33:09
    It uses -- objections like that should have be sold and given to the poor
  • 00:33:14
    as smokescreens so we don't point the finger at ourselves.
  • 00:33:16
    You point the finger at other people and their extravagance.
  • 00:33:19
  • 00:33:20
    And extravagance, by the way, is just the person who has more than me.
  • 00:33:23
    That's who's extravagant, because see I only have what I need.
  • 00:33:26
    That's all I keep, just what I need.
  • 00:33:28
    Them, they have more than me.
  • 00:33:29
    That's more than is necessary.
  • 00:33:31
    That's extravagant. Shame on them.
  • 00:33:33
    That's the way that this works.
  • 00:33:35
    Our hearts deceive us so we don't see our own selfishness.
  • 00:33:40
    Now I told you this, Judas is holding the moneybox, which is the offering box.
  • 00:33:44
    It's very clear from scripture that Jesus received offerings from people.
  • 00:33:48
    So people gave money to Jesus.
  • 00:33:50
    Jesus put it in a box.
  • 00:33:52
    And He handed the box to Judas.
  • 00:33:55
    You go, "Are you sure it was Jesus who handed the box to Judas?".
  • 00:33:58
    Well, yeah, he's in charge.
  • 00:34:01
    People gave him the money, so yeah, He handed it to Judas.
  • 00:34:05
    OK, but do you think Jesus knew that Judas was a thief?
  • 00:34:12
    Yeah, of course He did. It's actually recorded in the Bible.
  • 00:34:15
    Two years earlier Jesus says, "Did I not choose you twelve.
  • 00:34:20
    And one of you is a devil."
  • 00:34:22
    He knew. He knew.
  • 00:34:25
    So the question is: why would Jesus put his money
  • 00:34:29
    in the arms of a thief, who he knew to be a thief?
  • 00:34:34
    Well, listen, He was not trying to tempt him in hopes he would fail.
  • 00:34:42
    He was giving him a test in hopes he would pass.
  • 00:34:47
    See the Bible says God tempts no one.
  • 00:34:49
    James says that very clearly. God tempts no one.
  • 00:34:51
    But do you know He will test you and Jeremiah
  • 00:34:55
    right after he says your heart is deceitful, it can't give you the answer.
  • 00:34:59
    The very next verse, he says, I test the heart.
  • 00:35:05
    I test the heart.
  • 00:35:06
    See, God says He wants to test us.
  • 00:35:08
    He'll test us and our finances to get an answer to this question.
  • 00:35:11
    Now, I want you to think about this for a minute.
  • 00:35:15
    You and I are in this story.
  • 00:35:18
    Think about this.
  • 00:35:19
    Do you know Jesus, according to the Bible, has also given us His money box.
  • 00:35:28
    He's put it in our hands.
  • 00:35:31
    And similarly, I don't think it's because he's trying to tempt us
  • 00:35:34
    in hopes it will fail. I don't think so.
  • 00:35:36
    I think He's giving us a test and hopes we will pass.
  • 00:35:41
    That's His greatest, greatest hope.
  • 00:35:43
    He's put what's His in our hands and hopes that we will pass.
  • 00:35:46
    I'm going to read a scripture from Malachi.
  • 00:35:49
    And I want to warn you, this is gonna sting in the beginning.
  • 00:35:51
    It starts out very stingy, very stingy.
  • 00:35:54
    But hang with it. Don't give up on it because
  • 00:35:56
    you get the blessing, you get the heart of God at the end.
  • 00:35:59
    I want us to see this. This is Malachi 3, it says:.
  • 00:36:21
    Test me in this.
  • 00:36:35
    Hear me clearly in this message.
  • 00:36:37
    I'm not trying to condemn you.
  • 00:36:38
    I'm where you are.
  • 00:36:39
    I've been where you are and I am where you are.
  • 00:36:41
    I'm not trying to condemn you.
  • 00:36:43
    There's a difference between conviction and condemnation.
  • 00:36:46
    God will convict, but He doesn't condemn.
  • 00:36:48
    Even in this situation, see, He doesn't say,
  • 00:36:52
    "You are robbing me. Therefore, I condemn you.
  • 00:36:53
    You're done. Wham, gone."
  • 00:36:55
    He doesn't say that.
  • 00:36:57
    He says, "You're stealing from me, therefore I'm going to entice you."
  • 00:37:01
    He says, "You know what? I'm giving you a test,
  • 00:37:03
    but I'm going to flip it around.
  • 00:37:04
    You test me and see if I don't throw open the floodgates of heaven,
  • 00:37:09
    throw down so much blessing. See if I don't give you The Blessed Life."
  • 00:37:14
    There was a moment in my life, see, I had to come to,
  • 00:37:18
    say I'm in this story and I'm Judas right now.
  • 00:37:22
    I'm holding the money box.
  • 00:37:23
    I'm refusing to let it go.
  • 00:37:25
    I'm taking what's not mined from it.
  • 00:37:27
    And I had to humbly say that's not who I want to be, and change.
  • 00:37:31
    And so I did. I started to give, started to tithe
  • 00:37:35
    for the very first time, 10% gross income to my local church.
  • 00:37:38
    And can I tell you, it was hard.
  • 00:37:41
    I didn't have the story
  • 00:37:42
    where I just started farting gold dust everywhere immediately.
  • 00:37:45
    Whoo, money.
  • 00:37:46
    That didn't happen to me.
  • 00:37:49
    I didn't get $12,000 out of the sky.
  • 00:37:50
    It was hard.
  • 00:37:52
    I had to live with my parents to do it, I was 24 years old.
  • 00:37:55
    But I did it anyway, and I've never, ever regretted it, ever.
  • 00:38:00
    This message is personal because the foundation of my faith
  • 00:38:03
    is what's happened to me since I've stepped out and tested God.
  • 00:38:06
    He's shown himself to be real, like, really real,
  • 00:38:09
    like practically real and helpful.
  • 00:38:11
    It's amazing. It's utterly amazing.
  • 00:38:16
    The decision wasn't -- It wasn't easy.
  • 00:38:20
    It was hard.
  • 00:38:21
    But listen, it was very, very simple.
  • 00:38:24
    See, I just decided I would rather pass the test
  • 00:38:29
    than I wanted anything else.
  • 00:38:30
    That's just the thing that I wanted the absolute most.
  • 00:38:33
    I didn't want to be Judas. I wanted to be Mary.
  • 00:38:36
    See, we're all born in the same condition, selfish heart of Judas.
  • 00:38:39
    But we have a choice to make. We don't have to stay there.
  • 00:38:41
    We can grow into a generous heart, the heart of Mary.
  • 00:38:45
    Because in this story there is the deceptive,
  • 00:38:48
    deceitful heart of selfishness in Judas.
  • 00:38:50
    And there's also the extravagant heart of generosity in Mary.
  • 00:38:54
    The extravagant heart, because a generous heart is an extravagant heart.
  • 00:39:00
    Always. A generous heart is always an extravagant heart,
  • 00:39:03
    because God is generous, extravagantly generous.
  • 00:39:08
    It says He gave extravagantly.
  • 00:39:10
    He gave His only Son.
  • 00:39:13
    That's extravagant.
  • 00:39:14
    The Bible is full of people who've responded to that in extravagance.
  • 00:39:17
    Old Testament, New Testament.
  • 00:39:19
    In the Old Testament, King David gives in today's terms
  • 00:39:23
    21 billion dollars, billion with a B,
  • 00:39:27
    to build the first temple, an extravagant gift.
  • 00:39:30
    Do you know there's an even more extravagant gift in the Bible?
  • 00:39:34
    There's a moment where Jesus sees a widow.
  • 00:39:37
    She gives two mites.
  • 00:39:40
    Her very last two pennies.
  • 00:39:41
    And He goes, "Whoa, everybody stop and look at that.
  • 00:39:44
    That is amazing."
  • 00:39:47
    Extravagance is not about the amount, see,
  • 00:39:49
    it's about the heart behind the amount.
  • 00:39:51
    That's what makes it extravagant.
  • 00:39:54
    That said, it's not about the money.
  • 00:39:57
    But that said, can we all look at Mary's generous gift,
  • 00:40:00
    a year's wages and say, that's extravagant.
  • 00:40:02
    If you gave a year's wages in a lump sum
  • 00:40:05
    would that feel extravagant to you?
  • 00:40:06
    Yeah, right.
  • 00:40:08
    That's what she gives. She gives an extravagant gift.
  • 00:40:12
    Now it's Christmas time, I don't know if you noticed that yet.
  • 00:40:15
    It is Christmas time. I know it's not Thanksgiving yet.
  • 00:40:18
    But listen, Target already mailed their stupid Christmas catalogue
  • 00:40:21
    to my house and my kids found it.
  • 00:40:23
    It is Christmas time. OK?
  • 00:40:24
    And my kids, prior to this year,
  • 00:40:27
    they didn't know about extravagant gifts.
  • 00:40:29
    And it was awesome.
  • 00:40:31
  • 00:40:32
    If you have small kids, don't buy them anything more than $10.
  • 00:40:35
    You are wasting your money.
  • 00:40:37
    Like you could literally just give them an empty cardboard box.
  • 00:40:40
    Wrap it in wrapping paper, they'll open it.
  • 00:40:41
    They'll be thrilled.
  • 00:40:42
    They'l color on it. They'll sit in.
  • 00:40:44
    Pretend it's a race car.
  • 00:40:45
    You know, stand on top of it.
  • 00:40:46
    Hit the brother with it, whatever.
  • 00:40:48
    It will be great.
  • 00:40:50
    It doesn't last forever thought.
  • 00:40:52
    No one told me.
  • 00:40:53
    Because this year the dark cloud of the knowledge
  • 00:40:58
    of extravagant gifts has descended on my house.
  • 00:41:03
    And my kids want expensive crap and it sucks.
  • 00:41:07
    They want this thing, it's called a Nintendo Switch.
  • 00:41:10
    Anybody every heard of this thing?
  • 00:41:11
    Ever heard of it?
  • 00:41:12
    It does apparently all kinds of cool stuff.
  • 00:41:14
    I don't know all of what it does,
  • 00:41:15
    but I know it does this one amazing thing:
  • 00:41:17
    It is a vacuum cleaner for money.
  • 00:41:20
    Like just (sound effect)
  • 00:41:22
    If you have money, it will find it and suck it straight up.
  • 00:41:25
    It's three hundred bucks.
  • 00:41:26
    It doesn't come with enough controllers, so you've got to buy more.
  • 00:41:28
    That's another hundred bucks.
  • 00:41:29
    It's got a million games that are sixty dollars a piece.
  • 00:41:32
    It's awful. It's terrible.
  • 00:41:34
    When my kids open on Christmas morning and they go, "Look what Santa brought us."
  • 00:41:39
    I'm going to be like, "Santa didn't buy you that.
  • 00:41:41
    That old geezer's cheap.
  • 00:41:43
    Dear old dad bought you that.
  • 00:41:44
    You better thank me, put me in a good home when I'm old, you know?"
  • 00:41:49
    But here's the thing, I'm going to buy that for them.
  • 00:41:52
    I will. Please don't tell them.
  • 00:41:55
    Do you know why, by the way?
  • 00:41:57
    Because it's fun to give gifts that impress our kids, isn't it?
  • 00:42:01
    It's just fun to give gifts that are impressive.
  • 00:42:05
    So what about God?
  • 00:42:08
    Could you ever give God a gift that would impress Him?
  • 00:42:14
    I'm talking about God, by the way, the God who says,
  • 00:42:16
    "The earth and all of its fullness, that's mine.".
  • 00:42:20
    The God who said, "The cattle on a thousand hills, I own them.
  • 00:42:23
    I'm the world's best rancher."
  • 00:42:25
    The God who says, "In my city where I live, heaven,
  • 00:42:27
    I paved the streets with gold.
  • 00:42:29
    I just have so much of it.
  • 00:42:30
    I know what to do with it. Just pave the streets, I guess."
  • 00:42:33
    The Bible actually says underneath those streets, by the way,
  • 00:42:36
    the gravel that the street sits on, it's 12 layers of precious gems.
  • 00:42:42
    It also says it's 1280 miles deep of precious gems.
  • 00:42:47
    So what about Him? Could you give God a gift that would impress Him?
  • 00:42:54
    The answer is yes, absolutely you can.
  • 00:42:57
    You can give them yourself.2
  • 00:42:59
    2 Corinthians says:
  • 00:43:04
    Scripture says: God jumps up and twirls around when you give yourself to Him.
  • 00:43:08
    He's so excited when he has your heart.
  • 00:43:10
    He's so excited.
  • 00:43:12
    But listen. Listen, I just want to tell you.
  • 00:43:16
    Don't try to tell Him He has your heart if He doesn't have your treasure.
  • 00:43:22
    Don't try and tell Him that, because He said
  • 00:43:23
    where your treasurer is, that's where your heart is.
  • 00:43:27
    See, God doesn't need your treasurer.
  • 00:43:29
    He's doing fine. He's good.
  • 00:43:32
    He can pay the light bill in heaven.
  • 00:43:33
    It's amazing. He's fine.
  • 00:43:34
    He doesn't need your treasurer.
  • 00:43:36
    He wants your heart.
  • 00:43:37
    And He knows when you give Him your treasure, He gets your heart.
  • 00:43:42
    He gets your heart. It's the thing He wants the absolute most.
  • 00:43:46
    It's the power of giving.
  • 00:43:48
    Now, there are three levels of giving in scripture.
  • 00:43:52
    I want you to see this, Malakai hints at this,
  • 00:43:55
    talks about tithes, plural, and offerings, plural.
  • 00:43:58
    The first level of giving is tithing.
  • 00:44:00
    It's the place to start and it's plural, tithes,
  • 00:44:03
    because it's something you do again and again.
  • 00:44:05
    Every time you get paid, you give God the first 10% of it.
  • 00:44:09
    That's what He says is mine.
  • 00:44:11
    And then there's offerings.
  • 00:44:12
    Offerings are also plural.
  • 00:44:13
    The easiest way to think about this is
  • 00:44:15
    that there's kind of two levels of offerings.
  • 00:44:17
    There's normal offerings and there's extravagant offerings.
  • 00:44:21
    Normal offerings are things you might do on a continual basis.
  • 00:44:24
    An extravagant offering is something that
  • 00:44:26
    God might call you to do a few times in your life.
  • 00:44:29
    I actually believe it's something He calls
  • 00:44:31
    everybody whose heart He has to a few times in their life.
  • 00:44:35
    See, when God gets your heart, when you get to that first level of giving,
  • 00:44:39
    you get to the second and the third
  • 00:44:40
    because He breaks the curse over your finances.
  • 00:44:43
    He blesses you.
  • 00:44:44
    What happens when that happens is that you want to be so grateful
  • 00:44:46
    that you'll actually return to Him and go above and beyond.
  • 00:44:50
    See, for my wife and I offerings that look like many different things.
  • 00:44:53
    One of the things it's looked like is not stopping at 10%.
  • 00:44:57
    We've gone above and beyond 10% for years now.
  • 00:45:00
    We regularly increase the total percent of our income that we give away.
  • 00:45:04
    And here's the thing I want you to know.
  • 00:45:06
    We don't do that because God asked us.
  • 00:45:09
    We never heard a small prompt to say do that.
  • 00:45:13
    In the story there's no record that Jesus ever said,
  • 00:45:16
    "Hey, Mary. I'd like that perfume."
  • 00:45:20
    She just gave it out of a heart of gratitude.
  • 00:45:23
    She just gave it.
  • 00:45:25
    We've done that.
  • 00:45:26
    Now God has asked us, prompted us a few times in our lives
  • 00:45:29
    for extravagant offerings.
  • 00:45:31
    Again, it's not about the amount, it's about does it feel extravagant?
  • 00:45:34
    Which is another way to say, "Does it feel painful?"
  • 00:45:37
    When God asks you for it does it feel like,
  • 00:45:39
    oh, jeez, I don't want to do that?
  • 00:45:42
    That's an extravagant offering.
  • 00:45:44
    The first one was years and years ago.
  • 00:45:47
    We felt like God prompted us to give $500
  • 00:45:50
    to friends of ours who were getting married.
  • 00:45:51
    They we're paying for their entire wedding themselves
  • 00:45:54
    and couldn't afford invitations.
  • 00:45:55
    So we thought God said, "Hey, I want you to give them $500.
  • 00:45:57
    That'll cover their invitations."
  • 00:45:59
    Now, these were friends we met at Crossroads.
  • 00:46:01
    They weren't great friends.
  • 00:46:02
    We didn't even go to the wedding, by the way.
  • 00:46:05
    But could I tell you something amazing?
  • 00:46:07
    Those friends almost 15 years later
  • 00:46:10
    are some of our very best friends in the entire world.
  • 00:46:13
    We are so close with them our kids call them aunt and uncle.
  • 00:46:18
    Amazing. See God got rewarded $500 with 15 years of friendship.
  • 00:46:26
    That's incredible.
  • 00:46:28
    Another time God asks for an extravagant offering was 2015.
  • 00:46:32
    And He upped the stakes on us a little bit,
  • 00:46:34
    extravagant was a different thing for us at this point.
  • 00:46:37
    And we felt like he said,
  • 00:46:39
    "I would like you to give Me the majority of a year's salary."
  • 00:46:43
    We're a single income family, by the way.
  • 00:46:46
    And I'd love to tell you that we felt that from God
  • 00:46:49
    and Sarah and I went, "Yes, God.
  • 00:46:51
    Cool, we're in.
  • 00:46:52
    All right. Where do we cut the check?"
  • 00:46:53
    You know? That's not what happened.
  • 00:46:56
    Instead it was like, "Oh, jeez, man, we probably heard that wrong."
  • 00:47:03
    So we sat on it for days, days and days.
  • 00:47:08
    We finally came to this conclusion, we just said,
  • 00:47:10
    "You know, God has been so good to us.
  • 00:47:13
    Every time we've stepped out, He has met us.
  • 00:47:16
    He's given us far more than we've given away, far more."
  • 00:47:20
    So we said, "Of course, God, yes.
  • 00:47:23
    If that's what You want from us, our answer is yes."
  • 00:47:28
    So we did it, it took us a few years to pay off, by the way.
  • 00:47:31
    In those few years some incredible things happened.
  • 00:47:33
    See, when we gave that money away, we thought we were giving up on some things.
  • 00:47:37
    One of the things we thought were giving up was a vacation to Hawaii.
  • 00:47:40
    We had always wanted to go.
  • 00:47:41
    We hoped to go for our honeymoon, we couldn't afford.
  • 00:47:43
    Went somewhere else, and we thought this is the time we're going to go.
  • 00:47:45
    Then we give this money away, gone.
  • 00:47:48
    Do you know in the time we were paying that off,
  • 00:47:50
    somebody offered us a free trip to Hawaii?
  • 00:47:54
    They didn't -- we hadn't told anybody this was a dream of ours.
  • 00:47:56
    They just came up out of the blue and said,
  • 00:47:57
    "Would you like to go to Hawaii? I'll pay for it."
  • 00:47:59
    We're like, "Yes, yes, we would.
  • 00:48:02
    Whenever, we're in."
  • 00:48:04
    It's amazing the blessing of God.
  • 00:48:07
    Could I tell you one of the reasons it was so painful
  • 00:48:09
    is because we have three kids
  • 00:48:11
    and we hoped to be able to help them with college.
  • 00:48:13
    We may never be able to pay for all their tuition.
  • 00:48:15
    We just hope to be able to help.
  • 00:48:17
    And we -- when this started,
  • 00:48:19
    we had zero dollars in college savings for our kids.
  • 00:48:22
  • 00:48:23
    And so giving this money away was like, "Oh, God.
  • 00:48:25
  • 00:48:26
    Are you sure? OK, we're gonna trust you."
  • 00:48:29
    Can I tell you, by the end of the time we were done paying that off,
  • 00:48:32
    by that time, we paid it off we had a year's tuition in the bank.
  • 00:48:38
    I can't explain how that happened other than God blessed us, He blessed us.
  • 00:48:44
    See if God's prompting you to give extravagantly just to say yes.
  • 00:48:50
    You'll be so grateful you did.
  • 00:48:52
    You'll be so grateful.
  • 00:48:53
    You will never regret it.
  • 00:48:54
    You'll look back on that for the rest of your life
  • 00:48:57
    in thankfulness and gratitude that God gave you that opportunity
  • 00:49:01
    because you know Him better. You know Him better.
  • 00:49:03
    Your faith will be stronger.
  • 00:49:05
    He will absolutely show up, bless you and reward you.
  • 00:49:09
    That's what He does.
  • 00:49:11
    Now let's talk about Mary.
  • 00:49:14
    Why would Mary give her extravagant gift?
  • 00:49:18
    Why would she do that?
  • 00:49:20
    Well, the answer is pretty simple.
  • 00:49:23
    See two months before this scene,
  • 00:49:26
    Jesus raise her brother Lazarus from the dead.
  • 00:49:32
    Raised him from the dead.
  • 00:49:34
    And so she is grateful to Him, she is grateful to Him.
  • 00:49:38
    The story actually says that, this is John 11, one chapter before.
  • 00:49:43
    It says, Jesus, He was out of town when Lazarus died, by the way.
  • 00:49:46
    And so Lazarus was dead for four days when Jesus showed up.
  • 00:49:49
    He was dead for four days, dead, dead.
  • 00:49:51
    And Jesus starts walking up and Mary goes out
  • 00:49:53
    and she meets Him on the road.
  • 00:49:55
    And it says that she fell at His feet and just started weeping.
  • 00:50:00
    She just covers His feet and tears, just everywhere.
  • 00:50:05
    It says Jesus had compassion on her,
  • 00:50:09
    went and raised her brother from the dead.
  • 00:50:12
    So it's logical, two months later, the next time she sees Jesus,
  • 00:50:18
    she does the same thing. She gets down.
  • 00:50:20
    And rather than covering his feet in tears of grief,
  • 00:50:24
    she covers them in an amazing act of generosity,
  • 00:50:28
    out of a heart of gratitude.
  • 00:50:30
    See, a generous heart is always a grateful heart.
  • 00:50:34
    It always is. Always.
  • 00:50:37
    I want to ask you if one of your family members was raised from the dead,
  • 00:50:43
    would that change how you thought about giving the God?
  • 00:50:46
    Would it change it?
  • 00:50:49
    I just want to remind you, for all of you who believe in Jesus,
  • 00:50:53
    He's raised you from the dead.
  • 00:50:55
    Ephisians 2:1 says it this way, it says:
  • 00:51:04
    You were dead, He raised you to life.
  • 00:51:06
    Now I have this theory I can't prove.
  • 00:51:10
    I've just been thinking about
  • 00:51:11
    why did Mary have such an expensive jar of perfume?
  • 00:51:16
    Why did she have this in the first place?
  • 00:51:18
    Why would she have bought it?
  • 00:51:19
    What we know about this is that it was used for burial.
  • 00:51:22
    It's very clear in scripture.
  • 00:51:23
    This was something you would put onto a dead body
  • 00:51:25
    so it didn't stink so much.
  • 00:51:27
    We also know about Mary is that two months earlier,
  • 00:51:30
    her brother Lazarus had died.
  • 00:51:34
    And see I think in those four days, she and her grief,
  • 00:51:37
    she was so sad in her grief, she went out
  • 00:51:40
    and spent a year's salary on perfume to pour on her dead brother.
  • 00:51:46
    Think about this now.
  • 00:51:48
    Literally, she was going to pour it on a body
  • 00:51:51
    that was going to decay and turn into dust.
  • 00:51:55
    And instead, two months later, she takes that same year's salary
  • 00:52:00
    and she pours it on the feet of Jesus.
  • 00:52:04
    The only thing on earth that was full of life.
  • 00:52:11
    The only thing, the only thing that would ever beat death,
  • 00:52:15
    the feet of Jesus.
  • 00:52:16
    Now I've poured plenty of things, within a year's salary,\
  • 00:52:21
    on plenty of things that are gonna turn into dust.
  • 00:52:23
    I have. You have. There's nothing wrong with that.
  • 00:52:25
    Sometimes you have to, you've got to buy a house, right?
  • 00:52:28
    Things like that.
  • 00:52:29
    What about pouring a year's salary on something
  • 00:52:33
    that will last forever, not perish, like your house,
  • 00:52:37
    turn and dust rots someday, last forever.
  • 00:52:39
    It's extravagant.
  • 00:52:40
    And again, it's not about the amount.
  • 00:52:42
    It's about the heart behind it.
  • 00:52:45
    See, when when Jesus -- Mary does this for Jesus.
  • 00:52:47
    He's so excited because He knows He has her heart.
  • 00:52:53
    And then guess what he does? He rewards her.
  • 00:52:57
    See God always rewards generosity.
  • 00:53:00
    Did you know that?
  • 00:53:01
    Selfishness is when you give to get.
  • 00:53:03
    I'm not talking about that.
  • 00:53:04
    I'm talking about generosity.
  • 00:53:05
    When you give out of a heart of gratitude
  • 00:53:07
    to get nothing in return, God always rewards that.
  • 00:53:11
    It's amazing. This story also appears in Matthew and Mark.
  • 00:53:14
    And Mark adds this one detail, after she pours the oil on Jesus's feet,
  • 00:53:18
    Jesus says:
  • 00:53:26
    Like right here, right now.
  • 00:53:35
    He rewards her.
  • 00:53:37
    He rewards her.
  • 00:53:38
    She didn't come to get rewarded, but he rewards her.
  • 00:53:41
    Think about this, in this one scene are
  • 00:53:44
    the most infamously selfish person in human history, Judas,
  • 00:53:47
    who sells his friend Jesus for 30 pieces of silver
  • 00:53:50
    and Mary, the only person God's ever said,
  • 00:53:54
    "You, I'm going to make you world famous for generosity."
  • 00:53:59
    Judas and Mary.
  • 00:54:00
    Am I generous?
  • 00:54:04
    Am I generous?
  • 00:54:05
    She was rewarded.
  • 00:54:08
    That might seem like a strange thing to you.
  • 00:54:09
    But here's the deal, God is a rewarder.
  • 00:54:12
    Hebrews 11:6 says it this way:
  • 00:54:15
    "But without faith" -- that stepping into the test --
  • 00:54:28
    He is a rewarder, see being a rewarder,
  • 00:54:32
    it's not an option for God because it's something He is.
  • 00:54:36
    It's just like God can't lie because He is truth.
  • 00:54:40
    God can't ignore generosity because He is a rewarder, He always rewards it.
  • 00:54:46
    But here's the deal.
  • 00:54:47
    The best rewards that God gives aren't financial.
  • 00:54:51
    They are true riches.
  • 00:54:54
    I told you a couple of the things that God rewarded us with
  • 00:54:57
    when we gave the last time extravagantly, a trip to Hawaii, money.
  • 00:55:01
    It was amazing.
  • 00:55:02
    Can I tell you, those weren't the reward for me.
  • 00:55:06
    See, true riches are is a true reward because
  • 00:55:08
    true riches are things you could never buy
  • 00:55:10
    no matter how much money you have, it's things that only God can do.
  • 00:55:15
    Like heal and save your friends and family who are lost.
  • 00:55:19
    Only God can do that.
  • 00:55:20
    When we were paying off that extravagant gift,
  • 00:55:24
    both my boys came to me separately on their own and said,
  • 00:55:28
    "Daddy, we want to get baptized."
  • 00:55:31
    Now, I know I'm a pastor, but you gotta believe me,
  • 00:55:34
    I did not make that happen.
  • 00:55:36
    That was not my doing.
  • 00:55:37
    I wasn't some amazing father who led to that.
  • 00:55:39
    No. God did that.
  • 00:55:42
    And when they came to me, I didn't lower the bar.
  • 00:55:45
    I actually raised the bar.
  • 00:55:46
    When my son Ben came, he said that, "Daddy, I want to get baptized."
  • 00:55:50
    And I said, "OK, son. That's great.
  • 00:55:52
    Do you know that means that you will give God your whole heart?"
  • 00:55:56
    "Yes, Daddy, I do."
  • 00:55:58
    "Do you know that that means you'll do whatever He says?"
  • 00:56:00
    "Yes, Daddy."
  • 00:56:02
    "OK. Let me just make this a little more tactile for you, Ben.
  • 00:56:05
    If God says He wants you to give away all your toys, would you do it?"
  • 00:56:10
    "Yes, Daddy, I would.
  • 00:56:12
    I want to follow him forever.
  • 00:56:13
    I want him to have my whole heart."
  • 00:56:16
    And on November 19th, 2017, I got to baptize both my boys.
  • 00:56:22
    They gave their whole hearts to God.
  • 00:56:25
  • 00:56:27
    That's the reward. [applause] That's a reward.
  • 00:56:32
    I was preparing for this message
  • 00:56:34
    and I knew I wanted a box to hold and something to pour in.
  • 00:56:40
    I remembered, see I had made boxes for my kids.
  • 00:56:43
    This one belongs to Ben.
  • 00:56:44
    And I said a couple of years ago, "Here's a box.
  • 00:56:47
    You can put your special things in here.
  • 00:56:49
    Put the most special things in this box."
  • 00:56:51
    And so I just needed a box to hold as a prop.
  • 00:56:54
    And so I went to Ben's closet, I found this on the shelf.
  • 00:56:56
    I opened it up.
  • 00:56:58
    And this was the only thing inside.
  • 00:57:01
    Do you know what this is? This is baptism water.
  • 00:57:05
    And he walked in the room and there I am holding his box
  • 00:57:07
    and I said, "Buddy, this is the only thing in here.
  • 00:57:11
    What is this?"
  • 00:57:13
    He said, "That's special.
  • 00:57:17
    That's from my baptism when I gave God my whole life."
  • 00:57:21
    That's a reward. That's a reward.
  • 00:57:24
    God can't wait to reward you.
  • 00:57:28
    He can't wait.
  • 00:57:31
    I want you to take a moment with me here as we wrap up
  • 00:57:35
    before you get up, before you run out.
  • 00:57:36
    Just take a moment.
  • 00:57:37
    Just still with me. I want you to sit.
  • 00:57:41
    We're gonna do a little exercise.
  • 00:57:42
    I want you to listen for a small prompt from God.
  • 00:57:47
    Just see if there's anything He wants you to do.
  • 00:57:51
    See if there's anything He might ask of you.
  • 00:57:55
    If there is, I want to encourage you to say yes.
  • 00:57:58
    Maybe it's start the tithe test.
  • 00:58:02
    Maybe it's an idea of an extravagant offering.
  • 00:58:06
    I know it's going to feel scary, I know it.
  • 00:58:10
    I'm telling you, you will never regret it.
  • 00:58:13
    Say yes.
  • 00:58:14
    Just take a moment.
  • 00:58:16
    Let's see if God says something to us.
  • 00:58:31
    Now, you don't have to stop asking that question right now.
  • 00:58:35
    I want to encourage you, if God said something, say yes.
  • 00:58:39
    And if He didn't, I want to offer an idea to you.
  • 00:58:44
    Maybe God didn't prompt you, if He didn't,
  • 00:58:47
    because He wants to give you an opportunity to just be generous like Mary.
  • 00:58:52
    He never asked for it. She just gave.
  • 00:58:55
    Maybe God's giving you an opportunity to step in the generosity that way
  • 00:59:01
    I do want to pray for you before you go, so let me do that.
  • 00:59:03
    Father, I thank You for everyone here.
  • 00:59:06
    Thank You for their willingness to listen.
  • 00:59:08
    Thank You for their willingness to engage.
  • 00:59:10
    I ask that You give us all the courage to do what You've asked us to do
  • 00:59:16
    and to step into generosity with You.
  • 00:59:19
    That You'd have our whole heart, God, and You reward us, You bless us, Amen.
  • 00:59:28
    Well, hey, listen, next week this series wraps up.
  • 00:59:31
    Brian will be back.
  • 00:59:33
    I happen to know what he's going to talk about
  • 00:59:36
    and you're not gonna want to miss it.
  • 00:59:38
    We'll see you then. Have a great weekend.

Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Post-Weekend Push with Brian Tome.

  1. Let’s get right to it. Are you generous? Before you answer, remember—there’s a big difference between being generous-minded (I think generous thoughts) and being actively generous (I do generous things).

  2. When was the last time you were generous? When was the last time someone was generous to you? Share how either one impacted you.

  3. Think about your life over the past week. One a scale from Judas (selfish) to Mary (extravagantly generous), where did you spend most of your time? Why do you think that is?

  4. God is a rewarder. It is part of who He is. He always rewards generosity… and His best rewards aren’t the financial ones. Take stock of your life. Where has God been generous to you?

  5. Imagine Jesus putting his moneybox into your arms. If you truly thought of your finances as being His, what would you do with them in the next seven days? Be specific.

  6. If you’re feeling like a loser when it comes to generosity, stop it. God doesn’t condemn us, but instead prompts us to change. Make a plan right now to practice generosity this week. What will you do?

  7. Pray: Everyone say a pray for each person in the specific areas they shared this week.

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Nov 16, 2019 40 mins 7 sec

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