God’s Money Test | The Blessed Life: Week 2

We’ve all been there. Sitting in class when the teacher says, “Okay, get ready for the test.” Test? What test? Truth is God is testing us every time we get paid. How we respond to that test really shows us how much we trust God and just how much he can trust us.

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    Last week on The Blessed Life.
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    - So I just want to be real clear on this: This is not a campaign.
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    No campaign.
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    Not release your sphincter, relax your sphincter.
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    Rain forests are what it is like to live the blessed life.
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    The blessed life is understanding where it is that the most moisture from God is.
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    The blessed life is about understanding, understanding is where do I go to sense God more?
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    It's more blessed to give than receive.
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    So when I am a giver, there is moisture, there is a presence of God.
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    He is a giver and so I have to be a giver.
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    And we know what has our heart based on what we're giving ourselves to,
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    based on what's on our calendar
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    and based on our credit card statement or our bank statement.
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    Take an inventory of what God has blessed you with.
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    What is God done in you?
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    Because I promise you, you might not have all that you want to have.
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    But I promise you, you have more than you could have on your own.
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    He's been forming you.
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    I believe you have been in a construction process where God has been working on you
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    and doing something for you for a long, long time
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    and in you for a long, long time.
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    He wants to mold your heart.
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    He wants to develop your heart for the purposes that He has for you.
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    - Well, hey, I'm Lena Schuler, I'm the Crossroads Anywhere Community Pastor,
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    and we're so glad to have you joining us for church today from anywhere you might be.
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    We're in a series right now called The Blessed Life that we kicked off last week.
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    And I just felt so refreshed and invigorated
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    to be more generous after experiencing last week's service.
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    I don't know about you, but man, it just felt good
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    to think about the ways that God has been faithful
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    and the blessings that He's given me.
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    And it made me want to be a giver like Him.
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    And so I know that there's so much more He has for us in this series.
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    I'm excited to experience it alongside of you.
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    And before we go any further, we're going to spend some time worshipping together.
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    And this is a way for us to declare to God that we're thankful
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    for the ways that He's blessed us and to prepare us to receive something good
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    that He wants to give us in the rest of this hour.
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    So why don't you sing with us?
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    Well, we're going to sing a new song together.
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    We introduced it last week, but it does this.
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    It tells a story about a God who comes down to us
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    and a God who has power like no one else does.
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    Thank you, Lord.
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    Yes, he does.
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    Thank you, God.
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    When we stand here,
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    some of us wrecked by shame and worry and doubt.
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    And for those of us who know You, we know that You're a God with kindness,
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    deep, deep kindness and power that comes down to us to lift our heads up,
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    to break out of the mess and step into life.
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    Thank You for giving life so freely like You do.
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    I pray all this because of You, Jesus. Amen.
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    It's a sweet, sweet time.
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    Thank you for singing with us, bringing your heart into the place.
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    Hey, let's make this big place feel a little smaller right now.
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    Turn to somebody you've been singing with and give them your name and smile.
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    - Well, my hope for you is that this week
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    you actually get to experience the God who overcomes
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    maybe in a fresh new way that you have your head lifted up
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    and God meets you in a powerful, refreshing, joyful way this week.
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    You know, maybe in the midst of that time you were multi-tasking just now.
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    I see you doing the dishes at home.
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    I see you because I am you.
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    I have totally been there.
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    And, you know, there are ways for us to worship all week long,
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    not just in this one hour experience.
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    And so if you want to worship through Crossroads music,
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    there's a playlist on Spotify and all kinds of Crossroads original songs
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    like the one that we just sang on Spotify and Apple Music
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    and YouTube and wherever you normally listen to music.
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    So head there and maybe practice worshipping this week in a new way.
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    You know, one of the reasons that we worship is because it helps us get closer to God.
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    I don't know about you, but I felt closer to God
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    after hearing Michael Junior a few weeks ago.
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    There were tons of people all across our church
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    and all of our locations and all of our communities
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    who either raised our hands or who silently said to God,
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    "I want more of you and I want to give you full access to my life."
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    If that was the first time you've done that
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    or you did that and you've never been baptized,
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    you've never publicly declared your faith in Jesus,
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    now is the time for you to do that.
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    We have baptisms coming up in a few weeks at Crossroads.
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    And we want to give you the opportunity to declare your faith in Jesus,
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    to declare that you want to follow Him all the days of your life,
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    the way that followers of Jesus have been declaring that
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    since He was walking around the earth with them.
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    And so whether you live near Crossroads location
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    or you're in a city in California or in Boston or Philadelphia,
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    we want you to get to experience baptism as a next step in your faith
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    if you've decided to follow Jesus and haven't done that yet.
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    So you can chat with us on the Crossroads Web site
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    and we'd love to help you get started, get you signed up
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    and help you figure out how to make that happen anywhere you might be.
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    You know, on Sunday nights I often go to dinner at my family's house.
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    I don't know what your Sunday nights look like,
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    but we're often sitting around the kitchen island at my parents house
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    and there's laughter and sometimes there's challenge.
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    Lots of times because that laughter
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    or that challenge comes directly from the junior high humor of my father
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    or the encouraging question that he asks us
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    that probes something good from what we experienced at church that week.
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    My dad happens to be Brian Tome
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    and I want you to get to experience what I experience
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    around his kitchen island on Sunday nights.
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    I want you to get a weekly push from Brian Tome in the Crossroads app
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    in the midst of your group chat
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    to help you process the weekend a little bit further,
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    to maybe laugh around some junior high humor
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    and to be challenged to do something during the week
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    with what we experience in the midst of this church service.
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    And so you can subscribe to the Weekly Push from BT to get those questions
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    and that conversation starter in the midst of your group chat.
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    It will help your group go further
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    and will help you personally experienced more of God
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    and more of the church throughout the week.
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    And I want that for you.
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    Right now if you are part of the Crossroads team and you want to be generous,
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    we can do that by heading to Crossroads.net/give
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    and becoming a giver today.
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    And right now, we are in a series called The Blessed Life.
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    And I'm excited for you to get to experience the blessed life.
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    - So this is the day.
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    Just so you know, I'm just going to tell you what you can expect,
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    I'm going to put out front for you.
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    This is the day that you accused me of ulterior motives.
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    Seriously, this is that day.
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    This is that day where I say things
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    that I know is going to get under your skin
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    and I'm going to get more than my normal fair share of emails.
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    This is that day.
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    This is that day where it looks like I am being condemning and I'm not.
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    There may be some things that happen today where you might feel conviction,
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    but there is zero interest.
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    Zero interest to me to make you feel unworthy.
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    But this is the day where you may think that that's my point.
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    This is the day that I play into some of your fears
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    for what a megachurch pastor does, thinks and believes.
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    This is that day.
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    So I just want to state that upfront.
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    I know exactly what I'm walking into.
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    I know it and I welcome it.
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    Because to the core of my being and the core of my relationship with God
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    I've seen what I'm talking about over and over and over,
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    and I want you to have it.
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    I've seen what I'm going to talk about today happened
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    in hundreds of people's lives who I've personally counseled,
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    not just people I've kind of talking to,
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    but hundreds of people who I personally counseled
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    and followed up with and discipled.
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    And I'm excited to bring this in today.
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    Do you know that for everyone in here, there is a test that you regularly take?
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    Now, you might be going like this.
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    "What test?"
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    Yeah. That's exactly what I did all of my educational year: "What test?".
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    I hated that. I would go in.
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    I would go in and I would sit down at my desk
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    and the teacher would start passing out tests.
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    And I'd go like, "What test?
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    Is this a pop quiz?
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    What test? What test?"
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    And so many times it was, no, in the syllabus at the beginning of the class,
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    I just didn't pay attention.
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    There's a reason why in college I took accounting I three times, OK?
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    I didn't start get my stuff together educationally until I got to seminary.
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    But there is a test and I'm telling you right now,
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    not I'm telling you.
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    God is telling you.
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    He's going to tell you that today.
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    If you have any value or belief in the Bible,
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    there is a test that He gives again and again and again and again.
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    That test that He gives us it's called the tithed test.
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    It's the test of whether or not we will return to Him 10 percent of what is His.
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    Last week we looked at the fact that what all we have is all things God's given us.
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    We're born in a free country.
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    That's something God gave us.
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    We didn't choose it.
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    If we've been involuntarily inhaling and exhaling on our own,
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    we didn't choose that. He blessed us with that.
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    There's things that you and I have
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    that we only have because of the blessing of God.
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    And it's hard to say which ones come because we've worked for them
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    and which ones come because God just gave it to 'em.
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    But even then, when I worked for it,
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    God gives me the opportunity to work for it.
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    But there is a test where we are able and asked
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    and expected by our Heavenly Father, if He is your Heavenly Father,
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    to return to Him only 10 percent of what is His.
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    Let's read the book of Malachi 3:7.
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    I'm going to give you a lot of scripture verses.
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    Are you okay with that? I'm going to give you a lot.
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    I just want to make sure you understand this isn't my idea.
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    I want to make sure that you understand this isn't my idea.
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    This is a very, very heavy thread.
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    And here's the thing: Lives in here are going to be changed today.
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    There are people in here, you've been stuck.
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    I'm going to tell you why.
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    There's been some of us in here who just like keep hitting the wall.
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    And I believe God's going to reveal to you what that wall is
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    and you're going to have a breakthrough, you are.
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    Book of Malachi 3:10, God says this:
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    Pour down blessings until there is no need.
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    And He said bring the full tithe into the storehouse.
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    What is He talking about here?
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    He's talking about bring a tenth of your gross income,
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    or everything you get, a tenth to your local church.
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    That's what he said, a tenth of your gross income to your local church.
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    In the New Testament they come
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    and they bring it to the apostles at the apostles' feet.
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    It's a place where you surrender a tenth of what is actually God's.
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    Now, I know there's a lot of questions on this, there's a lot of stuff going on.
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    Let me make sure I understand here.
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    Today we're not looking at what The Wall Street Journal says about money.
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    This whole series, because The Wall Street Journal
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    is never gonna get you to get a sense of blessing, it never will.
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    We're not looking what Suze Orman says.
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    I don't care what Dave Ramsey says.
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    We're looking today what the Bible says.
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    And this is critical: tithing is a test.
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    You know the number 10 in the Bible comes up again and again and again.
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    God regularly tests in the Bible
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    or there's tests in the Bible surrounding the number 10.
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    When the nation of Israel was in bondage to Egypt, there were 10 plagues.
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    Ten plagues to test Pharaoh's heart.
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    The Commandments, there are 10 of them.
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    The Commandments not only are rules for lives,
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    they're test about whether or not we will obey who God is.
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    Israel in the wilderness, as they're wandering in the wilderness,
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    there are 10 tests, 10 times God tests them in the wilderness.
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    Jacob, one of the heroes of the faith.
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    Jacob is working for Laban in order to get one of his daughters.
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    His wants Rachel and Laban, his future father-in-law,
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    changes his wages 10 times.
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    He has a test 10 times whether or not he actually wants
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    to wait for the daughter that he actually is going to get.
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    Daniel in the book of Daniel,
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    he gives pharaoh a test and says, how about you test me and I fast.
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    I eat the way I want to eat for 10 days
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    and see whether or not this is healthy or not.
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    This is a test that Daniel goes through.
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    In the New Testament we have ten virgins who are tested.
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    They're tested whether or not they have oil inside of their lamps.
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    There's also in the Book of Revelation,
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    ten days of testing in the Book of Revelation.
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    Now, this is just a lot about stuff, just so you know.
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    If you know all these stories,
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    I'm sorry, if I'm just breezing over the top of them,
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    because all these stories are awesome.
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    I wish I could give a whole series on all of them right now.
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    I'm just letting you know this a regular or a constant.
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    And another one. How many apostles were there?
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    Ten --
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    Twelve. I'm sorry. Twelve.
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    Got that one wrong, shoot.
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    Well it was twelve, but one was a dud
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    so we'll call it eleven and round it down to ten.
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    So there was ten apostles.
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    There's always --
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    When when God tests us what He's doing is He's looking to see,
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    "Do you really want me?
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    It's a test.
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    Do you really believe that I have blessed you with all that you have?
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    Because if you do, then 10 percent going back to Me
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    and My work should be easy."
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    It's a test of do we really love God and own our faith?
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    Do we own it?
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    As a dad, I'm a dad of three adult children.
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    I'm very thankful for all my children.
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    I'll tell you, I'll start crying if I think about it too much.
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    Every one of my kids' lives,
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    one of the most proud and moving moments of my relationship with them
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    or in my life really is when I found out,
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    when I find out that one of my kids tithed.
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    Last time I found this out at Thanksgiving couple years ago,
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    my son was just talking about one things he was thankful at Thanksgiving.
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    And I won't tell you all that he said.
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    But I looked at him and said, "You're tithing right now?".
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    Like not dad is giving you an allowance and making you do it.
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    You mean you are getting your own adult big boy paycheck and you are tithing?
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    What it does -- what it does is it's like, man.
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    I know God has your heart now because you can get baptized
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    and it not be as much of a test as giving,
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    returning back to God 10 percent of what He's already given.
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    It gets personal.
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    Tithing is a test and tithing is biblical.
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    I want us to see how strong and consistent
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    this strain is throughout the entire Bible.
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    We know that God is love.
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    How do we know God is love?
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    The Bible. The Bible tells us.
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    No one else would tell.
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    The Bible is what tells us God is love.
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    We know that we should not steal and not murder, all that kind of stuff
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    Because the Bible says that.
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    We have the Ten Commandments.
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    We know that we should love our neighbor as our self.
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    Love. Go out of our way
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    Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
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    We know this by the Bible.
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    We know that we should pray for our enemies as the way to release bitterness.
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    We know this through the scriptures.
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    And the same scripture tells all those things that are helpful
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    and is only contained in the scriptures, is the same place,
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    the same source that consistently, again and again
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    tells us as God's children if we want to be a child
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    that's under the blessing of God,
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    that is in the zone of blessing for God,
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    this is something we will do.
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    I know when I give this people say,
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    "Well, isn't this an Old Testament thing?
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    Isn't this a law thing?"
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    A law thing meaning when nation of Israel got established as a country,
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    then God put them in their law system.
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    And so this law should be for them back then.
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    Well, no, no.
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    I'll show you this because the tithe existed long before the law existed.
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    The tithe existed during the law.
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    The tithe existed long after the law with Jesus.
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    I'm going to show you this partially right now.
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    The Book of Genesis 14:18, we have Abraham,
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    key figure in the nation of Israel that's about to happen.
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    And we see that he bumps into this guy whose name is Melchizedek.
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    He's not a Jewish priest.
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    There are no such things.
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    But this -- it's some guy who's got his spiritual A-game going.
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    Let's read it. It says this:.
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    So here we have Abraham before the law even comes along.
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    Abraham in his relation with God realizes, "I've got to give a tenth.
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    I've got to give a tenth to this guy right here."
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    That's 500 years before the law.
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    400 years before the law we have Jacob who comes along.
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    I mentioned a bit of his story just earlier and it says this:.
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    He says that to Laban. I'll give you a tenth.
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    Then we have in the law Leviticus 27:30-32:
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    So God saying, "Hey, if you're in agriculture and I'm giving you a crop,
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    a 10th needs to be returned to the storehouse.
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    If you're a sheepherder, a tenth needs to be returned.
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    If you're in banking, a tenth of your paycheck needs to be returned
  • 00:29:35
    or your bonus, whatever it is.
  • 00:29:37
    Then after the law, because Jesus says, "I haven't come."
  • 00:29:41
    Jesus says, "I've come to fulfill the law."
  • 00:29:44
    The reign of Jesus and Jesus, death and resurrection
  • 00:29:46
    when He moves it completely
  • 00:29:48
    says all these things that are cultural to the nation of Israel,
  • 00:29:53
    these things aren't relevant to other followers of Jesus.
  • 00:29:56
    But Jesus says this to these people who are incredibly religious.
  • 00:30:00
    He says:
  • 00:30:19
    Jesus goes, "You religious people, you Old Testament law people, like you really anal.
  • 00:30:25
    Like you're tithing your parsley.
  • 00:30:27
    You're tithing your Frank's Red Hot Sauce.
  • 00:30:30
    You're tithing your cilantro.
  • 00:30:32
    But you're neglecting that there's people here who need justice, who need help."
  • 00:30:36
    And he says this, "You should have done the former,"
  • 00:30:39
    meaning you should have tithed.
  • 00:30:40
    That's exactly what he said,
  • 00:30:41
    "You should have tithed, but you shouldn't have neglected
  • 00:30:45
    more weightier things that you need to get on to."
  • 00:30:47
    And giving God back a tenth, as I'll explain in a minute,
  • 00:30:51
    isn't all that weighty.
  • 00:30:54
    And then in the book of Hebrews 7, it says that Jesus receives our tithe.
  • 00:31:01
    This is long after Jesus has left planet Earth.
  • 00:31:05
    Jesus actually receives our tithe.
  • 00:31:09
    So God receives the tithe, that we return the tithe back to Him.
  • 00:31:14
    And the storehouse is the place where it is the local church
  • 00:31:19
    that then spends the tithe on pushing forward the agenda of God.
  • 00:31:24
    We return it because we don't all own any of it,
  • 00:31:29
    and especially that 10 percent, we don't own that.
  • 00:31:32
    We return that.
  • 00:31:33
    So one of the reasons why, and I'm just going public on some things
  • 00:31:36
    I've always believed, but I haven't been this clear with.
  • 00:31:39
    That's why I never counsel people personally on their tithe
  • 00:31:43
    to be giving things outside their church.
  • 00:31:46
    Give to things outside their church.
  • 00:31:47
    I give things that I'm way, way, way beyond the tithe for decades.
  • 00:31:52
    It's great to give to other things, but you can't play God with the tithe.
  • 00:31:57
    When we decide that I'm going to help this missionary here.
  • 00:32:00
    I'm going to help.
  • 00:32:02
    OH, I have this buddy at work that had a hard time here and I'm --
  • 00:32:03
    We're not returning it.
  • 00:32:06
    We're still playing God with it.
  • 00:32:08
    We're not surrendering it.
  • 00:32:10
    The test is bringing it and surrendering it.
  • 00:32:14
    And every person who I've ever known who has an X factor with God,
  • 00:32:19
    they settled this.
  • 00:32:21
    What do I mean by an X factor of God?
  • 00:32:23
    It's like you're around them
  • 00:32:25
    and you just sense the moisture of the blessing of God around them.
  • 00:32:28
    It's just a weird thing, like they just seem to have
  • 00:32:31
    more yeses than the average person to their prayers.
  • 00:32:33
    They seem to have a sense of vitality about them.
  • 00:32:36
    There's just a -- there's a spiritual maturity.
  • 00:32:38
    There's a depth about it.
  • 00:32:39
    It's because they've been taking and passing the test
  • 00:32:44
    and the blessing of God is residing on their life and on the relationships.
  • 00:32:49
    Tithing is the established, ordinary, expected practical thing
  • 00:32:56
    that every follower of Christ does.
  • 00:32:59
    It's the normal, ordinary, expected practiced, reenforced thing
  • 00:33:04
    that every follower of Christ.
  • 00:33:06
    I mean follower of Christ, not people who just go to church.
  • 00:33:11
    Literal followers of Christ do.
  • 00:33:14
    And it makes -- why is it a test?
  • 00:33:15
    Because it's hard, that's why.
  • 00:33:19
    If it wasn't difficult, it wouldn't be a test, would it?
  • 00:33:22
    You know, playing jump rope is not a test.
  • 00:33:23
    Well, for some of us it is.
  • 00:33:26
    The test is difficult.
  • 00:33:27
    I talked about in college being hungry.
  • 00:33:30
    Part of why I was hungry was because I was tithing.
  • 00:33:33
    That's when I started tithing.
  • 00:33:34
    God was building me spiritually.
  • 00:33:35
    He laid out much of what I'm giving you.
  • 00:33:37
    And I was like, oh, wow, I just have to do that.
  • 00:33:39
    Part of it was that.
  • 00:33:40
    And part of it was I was going out to eat a lot
  • 00:33:44
    and I wasn't buying groceries.
  • 00:33:46
    To do this it's going to take a measure of faith
  • 00:33:50
    and it's going to take a measure of math.
  • 00:33:51
    You're going to have to figure out which of that is for you today.
  • 00:33:54
    How much is faith?
  • 00:33:56
    How much is math?
  • 00:33:58
    Faith to go to 10 percent now?
  • 00:34:00
    Faith to go to 3 percent and up it 2 percent every year?
  • 00:34:04
    Math of I know I have all these different premium services I can.
  • 00:34:07
    Math of I'm saving x amount.
  • 00:34:10
    I'm not gonna save that much more.
  • 00:34:11
    I'm going to return what is God's to Him.
  • 00:34:13
    It's whatever your decision is,
  • 00:34:16
    your decision on what is the combination of what is faith and what is math.
  • 00:34:21
    But all of us who pass this test,
  • 00:34:24
    and I'm continuing to take this test and pass this test.
  • 00:34:26
    All of us who pass this test, we have to have a measure of faith
  • 00:34:30
    and a level of math every time.
  • 00:34:33
    Malakai 3:6-9, back to Malakai, not Malachi, the Italian prophet, but Malakai.
  • 00:34:42
    He says this:
  • 00:35:13
    So it says here God doesn't change.
  • 00:35:17
    He doesn't change His belief on thou shall not steal.
  • 00:35:21
    And something He's very, very clear on,
  • 00:35:23
    He doesn't change His belief on either.
  • 00:35:25
    And He's talking with some people here who,
  • 00:35:27
    to use the nomenclature of our series, who are not blessed.
  • 00:35:31
    They're not blessed. They know something isn't going on right.
  • 00:35:34
    And he goes, "You've robbed me.".
  • 00:35:38
    And they're going, "Whao, whoa, whoa, whoa.
  • 00:35:40
    How have we robbed you?".
  • 00:35:42
    Because you've kept what is mine.
  • 00:35:45
    The 10 percent that is mine.
  • 00:35:48
    It's a key terms here is "does not change."
  • 00:35:52
    Key term is tithe, tenth.
  • 00:35:57
    Now let's think about how crazy God is.
  • 00:35:59
    I mean this is crazy.
  • 00:36:00
    I know that you think, we all think it's crazy that God would expect us
  • 00:36:04
    to live on 90 percent of what we live on right now.
  • 00:36:07
    But I'll tell you what's really crazy is when I talk to people
  • 00:36:10
    who are in business or people who are heading organizations,
  • 00:36:13
    one common challenge everybody has is capital.
  • 00:36:17
    "I've got to get capital."
  • 00:36:19
    "I've got to get to be able grow my business."
  • 00:36:20
    I've got to get capital."
  • 00:36:21
    "I've got to get investors."
  • 00:36:22
    And if you spend time in the non-profit world or anybody who has expanding business,
  • 00:36:27
    this a constant challenge.
  • 00:36:28
    It comes up again and again and again and again and again.
  • 00:36:31
    Can you imagine a banker?
  • 00:36:33
    Bankers are good people, by the way.
  • 00:36:35
    Let's clap for the bankers in here.
  • 00:36:36
    Bankers never get clapped for.
  • 00:36:38
    I'm giving the bankers a clap.
  • 00:36:40
    Jesus actually tells stories about bankers in a positive way.
  • 00:36:45
    Bankers, investment, people who make investments,
  • 00:36:48
    could you imagine if somebody was to make an investment in your business
  • 00:36:53
    and they say, "Okay, how much do you need?
  • 00:36:54
    You need $10,000?
  • 00:36:55
    Okay. Here's what I'm going to do.
  • 00:36:57
    I'm going to give you $10,000.
  • 00:36:58
    And here's the terms.
  • 00:36:59
    The terms of this deal is I expect $1000."
  • 00:37:06
    You're like, "$1000 a month?
  • 00:37:08
    $1000 on annual profits?
  • 00:37:11
    $1000 on growth of the business?
  • 00:37:12
    $1000 as a percentage of sales?
  • 00:37:14
    What? What?"
  • 00:37:15
    "No, no, no. It's $10,000
  • 00:37:17
    and then I just need a one time fee of $1,000."
  • 00:37:21
    You go, "Whoa, you're going to give me $10,000
  • 00:37:25
    and you're going to only require $1,000 back?"
  • 00:37:29
    "That's right, that's what I'm going to do."
  • 00:37:30
    "Well, sign me up for that."
  • 00:37:33
    Friends, that's exactly what God does.
  • 00:37:35
    If we believe that God actually is the one who gives all things.
  • 00:37:40
    If we actually believe that God is aware of our situation
  • 00:37:43
    and He has given us opportunities, that's exactly what He does.
  • 00:37:46
    He gives us.
  • 00:37:48
    He gives us things.
  • 00:37:49
    He said, "Now the test is I just want to see if you still know
  • 00:37:53
    this all comes from Me and your most important thing in your life is Me.
  • 00:37:56
    And the way I'll know that is I expect a 10 percent immediate return
  • 00:38:00
    that you're not controlling that goes right back to My to --
  • 00:38:03
    the local church, the place where I'm doing my business
  • 00:38:06
    and trying to expand things and all that stuff."
  • 00:38:09
    This is crazy.
  • 00:38:11
    Because what happens is when we do that with God,
  • 00:38:15
    we send Him a signal that says, "God, over here.
  • 00:38:18
    Over here, God. Here's a person who wants more of You.
  • 00:38:21
    God, over here, over here.
  • 00:38:23
    Here's a person who wants more of what You want to bring.
  • 00:38:25
    God, over here.
  • 00:38:26
    Over here is a person that when You send things my way, You can trust me.
  • 00:38:31
    It's a test. You can trust me.
  • 00:38:33
    And I'm going to honor the things that You have given me
  • 00:38:37
    and the things that You've done to me."
  • 00:38:38
    This is why, second point, tithing is powerful.
  • 00:38:43
    It is powerful.
  • 00:38:47
    One of the other stories in the Old Testament.
  • 00:38:49
    We have this king and this king is just utterly blown away
  • 00:38:54
    by what's happening as he sees the people of Israel bring forth their tithe.
  • 00:38:59
    Here's what it says:.
  • 00:39:13
    It's amazing that I still have 90 percent left, 90 percent left.
  • 00:39:19
    It is better to be blessed on 90 percent
  • 00:39:22
    than to live on a 100 percent that isn't blessed.
  • 00:39:25
    I'll say that again.
  • 00:39:26
    It is better to be blessed on 90 percent
  • 00:39:31
    than be living on a 100 percent that isn't blessed.
  • 00:39:34
    Because this is a powerful, powerful thing.
  • 00:39:38
    I just ran across a story some --
  • 00:39:40
    I hear these stories regularly and I know some of us in here
  • 00:39:43
    are just like, some of us are, "OH, man, this is..."
  • 00:39:45
    I know your heart is erupting inside of you positively.
  • 00:39:50
    You're like, "Oh, my gosh.
  • 00:39:51
    Finally, finally, other people around here
  • 00:39:54
    are going to help with this because this has been amazing for me."
  • 00:39:57
    Those of us who passed this test, we can't hear this enough
  • 00:40:01
    because we know it's been a source of experiencing God,
  • 00:40:06
    understanding God.
  • 00:40:07
    And I just heard this woman's story
  • 00:40:09
    and I think you'll appreciate hearing from Hope.
  • 00:40:13
    - So I moved over from England a year ago last Monday.
  • 00:40:17
    I came to work at Cincinnati Children's as a researcher.
  • 00:40:20
    I came with my boyfriend at the time and very excited.
  • 00:40:23
    And unfortunately, we ended up breaking up in the first week.
  • 00:40:27
    And so I had to find somewhere else to live.
  • 00:40:29
    I ended up finding Uptown.
  • 00:40:31
    I got involved with young adults there.
  • 00:40:32
    And they've really just become the people I relied on for support.
  • 00:40:36
    They're kind of like my family away from home.
  • 00:40:38
    Before I came to America I was kind of a borderline Christian
  • 00:40:41
    in the sense I wasn't all in.
  • 00:40:43
    And I've always known that there's a 10 percent rule.
  • 00:40:45
    You should give 10 percent of your income to the church.
  • 00:40:49
    I just basically ignored it.
  • 00:40:51
    It was like, Eh, it's OK, I don't need to.
  • 00:40:54
    And so I think I ended up giving $5 every paycheck, which is pittance.
  • 00:41:00
    And so over the last year, I've kind of realized
  • 00:41:03
    God's kind of been saying to me you kind need to step up your game.
  • 00:41:06
    You need to give 10 percent. It's the right thing to do.".
  • 00:41:09
    And throughout this kind at the same time
  • 00:41:10
    I've had kind of issues being unable to kind of trust God
  • 00:41:15
    and know how to do that practically.
  • 00:41:16
    So I was with my friend Joel and he kind of brought up the topic of tithing.
  • 00:41:21
    And he asked me about money and said, you know, "Do you tithe?
  • 00:41:25
    Do you give any of your income away?"
  • 00:41:28
    And I kind of sheepishly said not .5
  • 00:41:30
    percent of my income goes away.".
  • 00:41:32
    And he kind of told me, you know, "It's you know, it's a good thing to do.
  • 00:41:35
    It's you know, it's in the Bible for a reason.".
  • 00:41:39
    And so when I got to work I went on the Crossroads App
  • 00:41:42
    and I upped my very small percentage to 10 percent.
  • 00:41:45
    And literally that day I felt a wave of calm come over me.
  • 00:41:51
    And it was all because I'd like practically done something
  • 00:41:57
    to put my trust in God,
  • 00:41:58
    which wasn't just praying or reading the Bible,
  • 00:42:01
    but it was a physical thing that I could give.
  • 00:42:04
    So later on that day I heard from my boss
  • 00:42:06
    I was going to get a promotion in the new year
  • 00:42:09
    and I had a pay raise that same day.
  • 00:42:10
    So it was, yeah, it was all God.
  • 00:42:13
    So before I was would tithe I knew
  • 00:42:17
    I wanted to like deepen my relationship with God,
  • 00:42:20
    but I was always so hesitant about giving money, you know?
  • 00:42:23
    It's a big corporation, it's a big church.
  • 00:42:25
    What will happen to it? I don't know.
  • 00:42:27
    What made me shift my opinion probably was just God.
  • 00:42:31
    Now that I am tithing and, you know, I kind of wish I did it sooner.
  • 00:42:34
    I think having that that trust that I now feel between God and myself is incredible.
  • 00:42:39
    And if I have I had that year when I was going through that,
  • 00:42:41
    you know, break up to now I feel much more,
  • 00:42:44
    I guess, cemented in my faith.
  • 00:42:46
    And there's an idea of being all in.
  • 00:42:48
    You've kind of got to be all in in your faith.
  • 00:42:50
    And this is just one way you can be all in is to give 10 percent.
  • 00:42:55
    - Isn't that cool? [applause]
  • 00:42:58
    Now the blessings of God go way beyond finances.
  • 00:43:01
    The blessings of God include the relationships God gives us.
  • 00:43:04
    It includes the the health that we have.
  • 00:43:06
    The blessing of God include a sense of awareness of God.
  • 00:43:09
    The blessings of God or are a joy that we could have that He blessed us with.
  • 00:43:14
    Its opportunities.
  • 00:43:15
    It could be sunshine.
  • 00:43:16
    The blessings of God are very, very --
  • 00:43:18
    The blessings of God include His Son, who has died on the Cross for us.
  • 00:43:23
    I mean there are loads, loads go on and on and on and on.
  • 00:43:26
    But those of us who tithe, we also know
  • 00:43:29
    like when something happens financially,
  • 00:43:31
    it just like it turns our head but.
  • 00:43:34
    Normally if we get a new friend that doesn't necessarily turn our head,
  • 00:43:37
    like "Oh my gosh, God showed up," though He very well may have there.
  • 00:43:40
    But when we have something happen financially, it just makes you go, wow.
  • 00:43:43
    That was part of Hope's story and I hear those again and again.
  • 00:43:47
    My most recent one was a couple months ago
  • 00:43:50
    I driving my wife's car and we were going out to eat some place.
  • 00:43:54
    And as we were going, it was raining and a car lost control,
  • 00:43:58
    crossed the center yellow line, smashed into me,
  • 00:44:00
    put us into the guardrail and totaled our car.
  • 00:44:06
    Which right there they where we're going, I'm blessed.
  • 00:44:08
    Like a game of inches, I'm dead right now, head on collision.
  • 00:44:12
    Game of inches, my wife and I,
  • 00:44:14
    I mean I don't know how good airbags are
  • 00:44:15
    when you're going that fast, but geeze.
  • 00:44:17
    Was that the blessing? Yeah.
  • 00:44:20
    Then I'm like, oh, my gosh.
  • 00:44:21
    I'm just --
  • 00:44:22
    You know, whenever you have an accident, your first hope is no one's hurt.
  • 00:44:25
    And then what's the second one? It's not my fault, is it?
  • 00:44:27
    Because I want my rates to go up. Right?
  • 00:44:28
    That's the second big question.
  • 00:44:30
    This one was not my fault.
  • 00:44:31
    The insurance company, you know, guaranteed that,
  • 00:44:33
    said that was case.
  • 00:44:34
    But here's problem: They never give you enough money, right,
  • 00:44:38
    to get the next car that you need.
  • 00:44:40
    I find out that day when I find out -- that day I find out
  • 00:44:43
    the last raise Crossroads had given me two and a half years ago,
  • 00:44:47
    I hadn't -- Something happened after the first paycheck
  • 00:44:51
    where it reverted back to my previous pay.
  • 00:44:55
    I didn't realize it because I don't stare at my stuff.
  • 00:44:57
    I'm sorry, I don't balance my checkbook.
  • 00:44:58
    That really freaks some of you guys out.
  • 00:45:00
    I just don't notice.
  • 00:45:01
    They come two and a half years later and go,
  • 00:45:02
    "I'm sorry we owe you back pay.".
  • 00:45:04
    You're kidding?
  • 00:45:13
    Did they find it just in time, because God said, hey, there's a guy that going to need it?
  • 00:45:17
    Or did God two and a half years ago go, I'm just going to save this
  • 00:45:21
    because I'm putting this in an interest free account for you
  • 00:45:24
    because you're going to need this later.
  • 00:45:26
    I don't know, but I'm telling ya, it's real.
  • 00:45:29
    It's real.
  • 00:45:31
    A friend of mine, you probably, you may know him, I'm Craig Dockery
  • 00:45:34
    and he was telling me this story last week.
  • 00:45:36
    We were talking about this stuff and he said,
  • 00:45:38
    "Man, one time I was between churches.
  • 00:45:40
    And as I was between churches, I was saving my tithe for the next church.
  • 00:45:46
    And so I was taking my cash that I had and I was putting it in a sock in my drawer."
  • 00:45:51
    And then he said, "My car got totaled and I had to buy a new car.
  • 00:45:55
    And I figured, well, I'm just gonna use this money.
  • 00:45:57
    I bought the car partially using that money.".
  • 00:46:00
    He said, "It is the worst lemon of a car I've ever had.
  • 00:46:03
    It broke down more than anything.
  • 00:46:05
    I cannot tell you how much money I've put in that car.".
  • 00:46:08
    I've interacted with some people who tithe that say,
  • 00:46:10
    "I'm convinced my car's still going at 300,000 miles
  • 00:46:13
    I don't know if he blesses cylinders and motor oil or not.
  • 00:46:17
    All I know is Craig said, "It's the worst car I've ever had.".
  • 00:46:22
    And why are we reflecting on it?
  • 00:46:23
    We're reflecting on that because of this verse.
  • 00:46:25
    I don't know if you caught it.
  • 00:46:27
    I'm going to read it again.
  • 00:46:29
    Malachi 3:9, here he goes again:.
  • 00:46:49
    So there is a devourer that is trying to devour you and I.
  • 00:46:53
    There is a devourer.
  • 00:46:55
    And if you feel like you're not getting ahead,
  • 00:46:57
    there's reason you're not getting ahead.
  • 00:46:59
    Maybe there's a devourer that's trying to devour your crops,
  • 00:47:02
    devour your life, devour any progress.
  • 00:47:04
    God says here, so I'll just let him speak for Himself,
  • 00:47:07
    when we don't pass the test and return 10 percent of His money,
  • 00:47:12
    we come under a curse.
  • 00:47:16
    Now, this doesn't mean that God's putting a hex on us and voodoo and stuff like that.
  • 00:47:20
    It just means that we're out from the blessed zone.
  • 00:47:25
    It means God makes a mental note like,
  • 00:47:28
    "Oh, I'm not going to step in front of the devourer on your part.
  • 00:47:32
    I'm not going to go out of my way
  • 00:47:34
    to stop certain things that could devour you."
  • 00:47:37
    And I know folks like this,
  • 00:47:39
    like it's a regular point of discipleship conversation I had with them.
  • 00:47:42
    "Are you tithing?" "I'm working on it."
  • 00:47:45
    "You said that three years ago.
  • 00:47:46
    What are you..."
  • 00:47:47
    In life just doesn't seem to work.
  • 00:47:49
    There's frustration after frustration you try to patch together.
  • 00:47:52
    Is it just because of this?
  • 00:47:53
    I don't know.
  • 00:47:55
    But I will tell you, in my experience, this is a huge, huge thing.
  • 00:48:00
    And God says this to incentivized us.
  • 00:48:03
    He says, is to incentivize us to come into His ways.
  • 00:48:07
    There are people who tithe and they say,
  • 00:48:11
    "God has blessed me and he's still blessing me."
  • 00:48:13
    And then there are people who don't tithe.
  • 00:48:15
    And we say, "I can't afford to tithe."
  • 00:48:19
    Those of us who tithe go, "God's blessing me, I can't afford not tithe."
  • 00:48:21
    And those of us who don't tithe go, "I can't afford to tithe.".
  • 00:48:25
    Robert Morris, who wrote the book
  • 00:48:27
    that I've been basing much this material on, he says this:.
  • 00:48:40
    So I'll just ask you just to consider could it be
  • 00:48:45
    the reason why you keep heading into a wall,
  • 00:48:48
    could it be the reason why there just seems to be,
  • 00:48:52
    could it be as simple as this test not being passed?
  • 00:48:56
    You won't know until you do it.
  • 00:48:59
    You won't know until we try it.
  • 00:49:03
    Now, I'm going to do a little visual object lesson here.
  • 00:49:08
    The three people -- I'm preaching right now in Oakley,
  • 00:49:11
    so the three people who've had the most visible roles in Oakley
  • 00:49:14
    I'm going to invite up right now today.
  • 00:49:16
    Justin and Courtney and Victor,
  • 00:49:19
    I'm going to have them come on over here.
  • 00:49:20
    I'm doing everything I can to make sure we understand this.
  • 00:49:23
    I mean, if we don't want to do this, that's OK.
  • 00:49:25
    That's your decision, but I want to make sure that we understand it.
  • 00:49:29
    So I've got -- I forgot your name.
  • 00:49:32
    - Justin.
  • 00:49:33
    - Justin. The person I know best of everybody here.
  • 00:49:37
    Will be up here and Courtney and Victor, Okay.
  • 00:49:40
    Now, here's a -- This is a weird thing, but let's just imagine this.
  • 00:49:43
    Hey, I've got a lot of resources.
  • 00:49:45
    I've got a lot of money.
  • 00:49:47
    Let's imagine I'm incredibly powerful, very connected.
  • 00:49:50
    And I'm going to go away for a while.
  • 00:49:52
    And here's what I'm going to do.
  • 00:49:53
    I need to take care of Lib. I'm taking my wife.
  • 00:49:56
    So what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you each $10,000 every month.
  • 00:50:03
    And what I want you to do is I want you to return
  • 00:50:06
    a thousand of that to my wife to take care of her.
  • 00:50:09
    And then you do whatever you want for the rest.
  • 00:50:12
    OK? All right. Good.
  • 00:50:13
    Now, imagine after three months, I go back, I talk to Lib,
  • 00:50:19
    and say, "Hey, Lib, how are things going?
  • 00:50:22
    Is the resources coming in and everything?"
  • 00:50:23
    And she says, "Well, Victor, man.
  • 00:50:26
    Victor like he's on it, man.
  • 00:50:30
    Every month, first of the month, like bam, $1,000 show up."
  • 00:50:34
    Awesome, Victor. Yeah.
  • 00:50:36
    And Courtney, "With Courtney like it's really weird with Courtney,
  • 00:50:38
    she sends me some months a thousand.
  • 00:50:42
    She sends me other months, $1100, sometimes $1500.
  • 00:50:46
    But it's like, it's holding up, but it is all good.
  • 00:50:48
    It's awesome.".
  • 00:50:49
    Great, How about Justin?
  • 00:50:51
    "Well, Justin started off real well.
  • 00:50:54
    He hit the first month and then it was like $700
  • 00:50:59
    and then it was $500."
  • 00:51:01
    And I"m like okay, so what am I gonna do?
  • 00:51:04
    What am I gonna do here?
  • 00:51:05
    Now, I know it's not the case because I checked what he tithes.
  • 00:51:09
    I do. That is not the case.
  • 00:51:12
    You laugh, dead serious, when you come on staff at Crossroads
  • 00:51:15
    It's like the expectation that you don't commit adultery.
  • 00:51:18
    It's an expectation that you tithe on gross to your church
  • 00:51:21
    just like great, great people do who aren't part of the church.
  • 00:51:24
    So I know these guys are all.
  • 00:51:26
    You can give them a hand on that.
  • 00:51:27
  • 00:51:28
    And most of our staff goes above and beyond that.
  • 00:51:30
    So what I'm going to do with Justin is I'm going to go,
  • 00:51:33
    "Hey, man, I'm going to take what I'm giving you,
  • 00:51:35
    and I'm going to have to be shifting that elsewhere.
  • 00:51:38
    Because I've got to take care of my wife.
  • 00:51:40
    I'm gonna have to be doing it.
  • 00:51:41
    And by the way, that job interview you have coming up.
  • 00:51:46
    I know the owner of that company pretty well.
  • 00:51:50
    That's probably not going to go very well for you.
  • 00:51:53
    Because I'm going to have to do something that causes him
  • 00:51:56
    to not hire you because you haven't been that faithful.
  • 00:52:01
    You know? Because I'm pretty connected.
  • 00:52:03
  • 00:52:04
    That's God any way.
  • 00:52:05
    So, that's it.
  • 00:52:07
    Thank these guys for being here right now.
  • 00:52:11
    Now, interestingly, I talked about Lib, my wife.
  • 00:52:15
    She's my wife's, very personal to me.
  • 00:52:18
    Jesus says that His church is His bride, the bride of Christ.
  • 00:52:27
    Tithing is probably a lot more personal to Jesus than you and I realize.
  • 00:52:34
    It's very personal to Him.
  • 00:52:37
    And He wants us to be in the right place.
  • 00:52:43
    Wants to be in the right place.
  • 00:52:44
    Now let me read this verse again because it's so amazing.
  • 00:52:47
    Malachi 3:10:
  • 00:52:53
    God says, put me to the test.
  • 00:52:54
    Put me to the test.
  • 00:52:55
    That's crazy. It's the only place in the Bible where God says,
  • 00:52:57
    you can put me the test.
  • 00:53:09
    It's a two way test. God tests us.
  • 00:53:12
    God allows us to test him.
  • 00:53:14
    Now we've put -- I put lot of thought and we've put lots of prayer in this.
  • 00:53:18
    And I do, I want to do everything in my power
  • 00:53:22
    to get those of us who want more of God
  • 00:53:24
    and to go through a wall to get you to be able to pass this test
  • 00:53:29
    and to sense and experience the blessing of God in different ways.
  • 00:53:33
    And so our board decided to go ahead, we'll take the test, too.
  • 00:53:37
    Here's what we're going to do.
  • 00:53:40
    For anybody who wants to start tithing, who has never tried before.
  • 00:53:45
    You can take the tithe test for 90 days.
  • 00:53:50
    And if you get back to us after 90 days saying,
  • 00:53:53
    "I just didn't sense, God didn't work for me."
  • 00:53:54
    We're going to refund you your everything you gave in the last 90 days.
  • 00:53:58
    You can go to Crossroads.net/tithetest.
  • 00:54:05
    So I can't -- it's hard to think of any more barriers I could a lower, right?
  • 00:54:10
    Knowledge's barrier, you know, inspiration, I'm lowering the barriers.
  • 00:54:13
    And the barrier of, hey, if you don't see God show up,
  • 00:54:19
    you're going -- come back to us and we're going to
  • 00:54:21
    give you back everything you've given in the last 90 days.
  • 00:54:24
    You can go on Crossroads.net/tithetest.
  • 00:54:27
    This is for new tithers, by the way.
  • 00:54:29
    And probably should do it for everybody,
  • 00:54:31
    but we just set it up for new tithers.
  • 00:54:33
    And there's instruction on it.
  • 00:54:34
    And we're also going to be able to come to you
  • 00:54:36
    and we're going to give you encouragement
  • 00:54:38
    and all that kind of stuff as you go forward.
  • 00:54:40
    It's going to be really, really cool.
  • 00:54:43
    So my heart for you, my desire for you is to move.
  • 00:54:49
    Take take a step.
  • 00:54:50
    Take a step.
  • 00:54:51
    Take a step in that direction.
  • 00:54:53
    Have God see you take a step.
  • 00:54:56
    If it is right now by faith, I mean rip the Band-Aid off and 10 percent now
  • 00:55:02
    that's obviously pass.
  • 00:55:03
    Or if it's a step of, "God, I see my way through it this way.
  • 00:55:08
    And here's how I'm going to start this step today.
  • 00:55:11
    OK. OK. But get moving.
  • 00:55:13
    Don't make this a philosophical thing.
  • 00:55:16
    Our philosophies never lead to our blessings.
  • 00:55:20
    Our lives, our choices lead to our blessings.
  • 00:55:26
    Malachi, 3:12:.
  • 00:55:37
    I want your life to be a life of delight.
  • 00:55:40
    I want my life to be a life of delight.
  • 00:55:43
    I want people to look at people at Crossroads
  • 00:55:47
    and say how delightful those people are
  • 00:55:51
    because they're just something special happening.
  • 00:55:53
    And part of how that happens is this test.
  • 00:55:58
    Let's spend a moment just collecting our thoughts, praying, being silent.
  • 00:56:05
    And if God seals or affirms or confirms anything that was talked about,
  • 00:56:11
    or maybe just puts something else in your mind
  • 00:56:14
    that He wants you to have in your mind right now.
  • 00:56:16
    If you want do that, what I do sometimes when I do this
  • 00:56:18
    is just put my hands palms up in my lap because I want to receive.
  • 00:56:24
    Dear God, I Pray you would direct our heart
  • 00:56:32
    right now as we direct our mind.
  • 00:57:18
    Lord, You're good to give words of instruction.
  • 00:57:24
    I think you've given that to us today.
  • 00:57:26
    You're good to give us second chances and third chances.
  • 00:57:30
    You're good to give us words of life.
  • 00:57:35
    Lord, we want to pass anything, any test you give us, want to pass it.
  • 00:57:40
    And God, I trust that I pass the test you've given me
  • 00:57:44
    to give this material in as winsome and as nonjudgmental and non-manipulative way as possible.
  • 00:57:52
    That was my heart, that was my goal.
  • 00:57:55
    And I'll leave you to grade my paper.
  • 00:57:58
    These are your people, Lord, do with them what You will.
  • 00:58:03
    I pray these things according to the name of Jesus.
  • 00:58:05
  • 00:58:08
    All right. Exhale.
  • 00:58:11
    Good. [applause]
  • 00:58:13
    Man, more good stuff coming.
  • 00:58:15
    We'll see you next week. Have a good weekend.
  • 00:58:20
    - Well, I hope that just now you took advantage of that time
  • 00:58:23
    and space to hear from God.
  • 00:58:24
    I know that that's been a gift for me
  • 00:58:26
    in these last two weeks of The Blessed Life.
  • 00:58:29
    And maybe you heard something specific from God
  • 00:58:31
    that you're going to go and act on this week
  • 00:58:34
    or maybe as a follow up, you want someone to pray for you.
  • 00:58:38
    We have staff and volunteers that would love to pray for you
  • 00:58:42
    from anywhere you might be right now.
  • 00:58:44
    So if you head to the Crossroads website
  • 00:58:45
    and click on the chat button in the lower right hand corner,
  • 00:58:50
    whether you have something specific or just general that you want prayer for,
  • 00:58:54
    we'd love, love, love to do that right now for you.
  • 00:58:57
    We'll see you back next week for week three of The Blessed Life.

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. You’re hanging in after a weighty weekend. Well done. Let’s be real. No matter your income, giving 10% back feels like a sacrifice. Everyone share some of the barriers or misunderstandings that may hinder you—I mean, your friend—from tithing.

  2. We established this weekend that God puts his people to tests. That’s not a popular thought, but it’s one backed up by the entirety of scripture (start at James 1:2-3 if you don’t believe me). Give yourself a grade on God’s test. How are you doing?

  3. We’re not only the ones being tested. God says you can put him to the test (Malachi 3:10-11). If you’re ready to take the next step in your faith, consider the 90 Day Tithe Test. Find more information and sign up at www.crossroads.net/tithetest

  4. Our American cultural Christianity focuses too much on having correct thoughts and ideas. But it’s not our philosophies that lead to blessings, it’s our actions. What action is God calling you to take? How can you get moving on it today?

  5. Getting moving can be difficult, especially in taking that first step. Finish your time by praying together. Pray specifically for barriers your group identifies that are stopping them from being obedient to God. Ask Him to remove them.

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Oct 26, 2019 42 mins

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