The Principal of First | The Blessed Life: Week 3

When God is first in our lives, everything comes into order. Is this statement controversial for some? Yes! Is this statement true for all? You’ll have to watch to find out.

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Well, welcome to church.

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We're so glad to have you joining us on Crossroads Anywhere.

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My name's Lena Schuler.

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I'm the Crossroads Anywhere Community Pastor.

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And right now, we're in a series called The Blessed Life.

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And I'm excited to get to go through that with you today.

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But I want you to be prepared for something that's coming in a few minutes.

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We're actually going to take communion together today.

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And so if you are a follower of Jesus, you're in a relationship with Him,

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that part of our service is for you.

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And so maybe you've got a bagel and coffee like I have here with me right now

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or a muffin and juice or some kind of food
and drink at home or wherever you might be.

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You'll want to get that ready for when we take communion in a few minutes.

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And before we do that, we're going to spend some time worshipping together.

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So I would encourage you as weird as it might feel,

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let these words sink in and actually sing with us.

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God, I thank you.

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I thank you, God, that you call us your sons and daughters.

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And by that definition, we are free.

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We are free. We are not slaves, we are bound.

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So, God, I just pray over every person in this room and every person watching,

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God, that we would remember that we would know that,

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and whatever you have for us in this message,
God, that we would feel pierced by your love,

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that we would feel more known by you, sought after, fought for by you,

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worthy because you say we are.

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We love you. We thank you.

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In your name we pray, Amen.

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Thank you so much for singing with us.

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You sound great in here.

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I believe you sound great out there, too.

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It's always fun to worship together.

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Why don't you make this place a little smaller.

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If you're at home, say hi to somebody next to you.

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Greet someone. We're happy that you are here.

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- Well, you know, one of the reasons that I love worship is because

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those songs give us words to remember what God's done for us.

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And that song No Longer Slaves, we just sang.

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It says, You split the sea so I could walk right through it.

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You drown my fears in perfect love.

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You rescued me so I could stand and sing that I am a child of God.

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And there's something powerful in remembering how God's rescued us,

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something powerful in remembering the things that he's done for his kids

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and for his people for years and years and years,

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like splitting the sea for his people to walk right through it, literally.

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And so we're going to do another thing right now

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that is a way for us to remember what God's done,

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what he's done for us and what he's done for the people that came before us

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and are going to come after us, and that's communion.

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And Jesus was together with his friends and his last meal with his friends.

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And he said, I want you to remember who I am

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and I want you to remember who I am on a regular basis ongoing.

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And you can do that anytime you eat or you drink together.

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Remember me.

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And so we're going to do that right now, we're going to remember Jesus.

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And so if you have been rescued by Jesus, you are a child of God,

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you've received that identity, I invite you to take communion right now with us.

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So grab whatever food you might have, whatever drink you might have.

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And I want you to start with the drink.

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I want to tell you that as you take a sip of this coffee or this juice

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or whatever you might have in front of you, the wine,

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this is a symbol of Christ's blood that was shed for you.

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Drink it and remember him.

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And then I want to pick up -- I want you to pick up the food that you have.

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I have a bagel right here with me, so I'm going to eat this bagel.

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As you eat the food in front of you,

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this bread, the cracker that you have, the pizza that you're eating.

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I want you to eat that and remember that this is Christ's body broken for you.

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He died so that you might have life.

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He's rescued you.

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It's an honor that we get to remember Jesus

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in the way that his friends remembered him 2000 years ago.

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And maybe you just took your first communion, if that's true, man,

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I am excited that we got to celebrate that together.

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That's worth celebrating.

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And there are other moments that are worth celebrating together.

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Another one that's coming up next week is baptism.

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Baptism is the way for us to publicly declare that we've been rescued by Jesus.

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For us to publicly declare that we have a relationship with him

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and that we want a life with him forever.

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And so if you have not publicly declared that,

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but you believe that in your heart,

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maybe you just took communion

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or you've been taking communion for years and years

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because you believe that to be true about Jesus

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and you're altering your life around that.

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And if you've not been baptized, now is the time to do it.

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In the Bible over and over again there are examples of people

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who have the opportunity, get baptized and they go,

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"Well, why not now? There's an opportunity right now."

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And the leaders, the followers of Jesus who are there

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and who have been baptized go, "Exactly.

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Why not now?

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Now is the time."

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I would say that to you, too, if you're
at home and you're going to have the baptized.

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Why? Why wouldn't I do it now?

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Exactly. Now is the time.

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So chat with us on the Crossroads Web site.

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Click on that chat box and we would love to help you get signed up

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and get started to be baptized anywhere you might be.

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You know, one of the other ways that we tell God that we trust him

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and we declare our faith in him is through our finances.

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So if you want to be a giver, you can head to Crossroads.net/give.

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And, you know, I am so excited for what else God has in store in

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the midst of this Blessed Life series.

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- Hey, I'm Brian, welcome to week three of The Blessed Life.

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Man, we've been getting a lot out of this series.

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We're not in a campaign.

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There's no campaign we see coming in the future.

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We're never filling out cards and dropping them in a plate

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or bring them forward.

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We're simply trying to look at what does it mean to be blessed

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and how does generosity play a role in that.

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We started the tithe test last week and, man,

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a lot of people decided take us up on this test

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of looking at 90 days to see if we tithe, does God bless us?

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Do we sense God's presence?

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And if not, if not after 90 days, if you want it back,

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that money will come back to you.

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Yeah. Good stuff.

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Chuck is going be talking today.

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And before we have Chuck talk,

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I want to make sure you hear from a guy

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who has really instigated the entire series

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it comes out of a book he wrote called The Blessed Life

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that has impacted me greatly.

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And I decided to fly down to Dallas, Texas, to interact with him.

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He's going to be on my podcast called Aggressive Life.

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You can check that out if you want to in its entirety.

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But we also had the cameras rolling for a little snippet

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to hear what he has to say about being blessed.

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Understand this guy.

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Do not put him in the box of big church pastor, big megachurch pastor.

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This guy is a special insights from God and
what it means to be blessed in giving.

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And he was doing it long before he was a mega pastor.

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This guy's given away cars.

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He's given away his home a number of times.

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He's given away everything he's owned.

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And he still has a lot because God is doing a good thing in him and through him.

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So I thought we'd check him out.

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And please meet my new friend, Robert Morris.

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- What does it mean to be blessed?

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What do you mean when you say, "Blessed.

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I've been blessed. Blessed life"?

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What is that?

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- Well, I think it refers to every area of your life.

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So it's definitely it's not just your finances,

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even though we do talk about finances.

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And Brian, it's really important to talk about finances

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because Jesus said that where your treasure is,

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where your finances are, there your heart will be.

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Now, I many people misquote that, they turn it around.

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They'll say, like, where your heart is, they're your finances will go.

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Like, if your heart is in hunting, then your finances will go there.

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But what happens is it's actually wherever your finances go,

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your heart follows.

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So if you want your heart in people, like in helping people, helping needs.

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You see the pot you pour in other countries

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and you want your heart to go there, you actually put your finances there.

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And what it means is that when God blesses us,

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it means he gives us enough to also bless others.

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To be a blessing.

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It's not about us making more money.

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It's about us being a blessing to those around us.

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- I want to talk about tithing.

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And then another word that you're the first one to clue me in on.

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I've heard and talked tithing, I've been taught that is giving 10 percent.

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The first 10 percent of every pay that you get goes to your local church.

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I've been doing that since someone who was building

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into me spiritually told me about that in college.

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I've done that every church I've gone to,

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including the church I'm part of right now.

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The tithe, though.

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Let's--

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Is it really that big of a deal? I mean, come on.

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You know, 10 percent off the top.

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Well, that just seems so, so legalistic, so ungenerous.

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So, like, I don't -- that doesn't make the most people feel good

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of having a 10 percent tax go to the local church.

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How can you, the generous, do what makes you feel blessed,

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be up for a 10 percent tax?

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- Yeah. Yeah. Well, first of all, I want to say

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I've actually felt the very same way.

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When I started looking at it because I was raised with my dad tithing.

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I get saved and I decide to look and
see what does the Bible really say about it.

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And what I realized was this is a principle that's actually for my good.

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This isn't a tax to pay for the light bill in heaven.

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I mean, God doesn't need -- He doesn't have a light bill in heaven.

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You know, because the Bible says Jesus is the light of heaven.

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So it's not it's not even to support the church.

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This is something for me.

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It's actually for my benefit.

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That that's what blew me away about the tithe.

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It's actually for me to put God first in every area of my life

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because my treasure is where my heart is.

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So it's actually me putting God first in my heart.

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And it's all through the Bible.

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1500 years before the law we've got Cain and Abel.

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Most people know about Cain and Abel.

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And Cain killed Abel.

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Abel gave the first born of his flock.

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He's a rancher.

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Cain who's a farmer.

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It says he gave an offering to God in the process of time, just over time.

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He didn't give first fruits.

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And it says that God accepted Abel's, but he did accept Cain's.

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And I remember in seminary, a professor, a student asked a professor,

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"Why did God accept Abel's offering and didn't accept Cain's?"

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And the professor was very honest, said,

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"You know, I really don't know why God did."

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Well, it's simple when you start reading through there,

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I'm not putting the professor down.

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It's just that God always accepts the first.

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God is first. He's first of all.

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When the children of Israel were going in the promised land,

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He said, "Give me all the silver and gold from Jericho."

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Why would He say all rather in 10 percent?

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It's because Jericho was the first city.

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When he said when your animal has -- your sheep as a lamb,

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give me the first. Why?

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And here's why I think.

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Because it takes faith to give the first one.

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It doesn't take faith to give the tenth one.

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So that's why tithing is the first 10 percent,

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because it doesn't take any faith at all to pay all your bills

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and then give what's left over to God.

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It takes a lot of faith to give the first 10 percent.

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So what's actually happening with tithing

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is not that God needs it or even that the church needs it for support

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because God all through the Bible, he can send ravens to support his people.

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He can send bread from heaven.

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He can call up a fish with a coin in its mouth.

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He has no problem providing.

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He actually wants to do something in my life.

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And that is that from the very -- every time I get paid,

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I'm going to say thank you to God by giving him the first.

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I'm going to say your first in my life.

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- And that is an aggressive move.

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Whatever you do first, that's the aggressive thing.

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So that's what I love about the tithe and what you just said

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is that my wife knows if I'm not in love with her,

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it's because I'm aggressively spending money on my truck.

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I'm aggressively searching the Web for some other hobby I have.

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Aggressively doing it above and beyond her.

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It's the aggression when I tell her this night we're going to do X, Y, Z

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or this, we're gonna spend on what you want.

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It's that thing.

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And I think that a lot of us are appropriately challenged to ask ourselves,

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"Am I sending God cues that I am aggressively about his business?"

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And that would mean it would be first off the top.

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- Yeah. Yeah. And that's when you were asking me about the little things,

251
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and I was saying this is what I would do.

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I was kind of including everybody.

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If we're gonna talk about believers, those who'd really believe in God,

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believe that Jesus is the Lord and that we give our lives to him,

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then we base our lives based on the Bible.

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And if we're gonna base our lives based on the Bible,

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I'm just -- I want to say to everyone that

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the tithe was hundreds of years before the law.

259
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Hundreds of years after the law.

260
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I had some guy that doesn't like me that said, you know--.

261
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- You have people that don't like you either?

262
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- Just one or two.

263
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- How could someone not like you?

264
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Look at you, you're everyone's grandfather.

265
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You never swear or anything.

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- I know. No, well, there's a few times in traffic, but OK, let's leave that.

267
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Let's let's talk about -- okay.

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Don't put me on the spot.

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OK. So but anyway, so this one guy said, you know,

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the word tithe doesn't even appear in the New Testament.

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I'm thinking, what bible have you read?

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You know.

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So Jesus talks about it.

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Jesus even said you ought to do it.

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You ought to.

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Matthew 23:23. So the point is, if we're talking about now,

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if we are talking to believers and we say,

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well, what are the things?

279
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And I said, oh, you know, get your finances in order.

280
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You know, obey the small promptings obey the large promptings.

281
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But I would say the thing I've seen people the most,

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changed their life the most is when they decide,

283
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"I am going to give the first 10 percent to God."

284
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I've had more people write me and tell me that changed everything.

285
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I have all sorts of testimonies of people getting new jobs,

286
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promotions, raises.

287
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And it's not a give and you'll get.

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That is not it. It's that we get to give.

289
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We don't give to get.

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We get to give.

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But when God's first, it's amazing how God then wants

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to give us more resources because he knows he can trust us

293
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with what he's giving us.

294
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- Very few things turn me on and make me feel really warm inside

295
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more than when a friend of mine or a family memberI.

296
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Find out has started to tithe,

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to give God the first 10 percent.

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Because when that happens --.

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- That's right.

300
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- I know God has him.

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Before that, all I know is they have some beliefs

302
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that line up with some things

303
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and may they may have been baptized.

304
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They may have said some prayers.

305
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But when someone does that, I know and God knows,

306
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"I got you.

307
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I got you. And you got me."

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There's just a whole new level to that.

309
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- It's a completely different level when we say,

310
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"God, I'm gonna put you first in my finances."

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It's one thing to stand in church and say,

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"I'm going to put you first in my life."

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But when it comes to the wallet,

314
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it is like there's a fishing line from the wallet to the heart

315
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because you can see it.

316
00:25:00.390 --> 00:25:02.450
When people reach for it, it's like I go, oh,

317
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it's like they get chest pain all of the sudden, you know?

318
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So you're right, something happens when we start to tithe

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that can't happen any other way

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because we're acknowledging God as our provider

321
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and we're putting him first in our lives.

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- Well, let me first start with something personal,

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and I'm going to touch on this a bit at the end of our time too.

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Many of you known, if you don't know, wanted to let you know

325
00:25:25.410 --> 00:25:28.950
that my father, after 91 years of a long and full life,

326
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passed away last Friday.

327
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And so it's been an a roller coaster of emotions for me and my family.

328
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But it's also been an incredible outpouring

329
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of love and support from my Crossroads family.

330
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And so I just want to say on behalf not just my family

331
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here in in Cincinnati, but in Philadelphia and all over,

332
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we are so thankful for all of that.

333
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And as I was thinking about my dad and what we're talking about today,

334
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I realized his life is an example of the key thing that I hope you hear today,

335
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which is simply this: when God is first in your life,

336
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everything else comes into order.

337
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And when God is not first in your life,

338
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everything else is out of order.

339
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Now when I say that, I'm not saying when God's first in your life

340
00:26:14.970 --> 00:26:16.200
you're gonna have a problem-free life.

341
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I'm not saying that because Jesus didn't say that.

342
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Jesus himself said in this life you will have trouble.

343
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But the question that we need to wrestle with is,

344
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would you rather go through trouble with things in order between you and God

345
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or with things out of order between you and God?

346
00:26:32.070 --> 00:26:34.590
And the principle that we're gonna talk about today

347
00:26:34.590 --> 00:26:36.450
is a principle of order.

348
00:26:36.840 --> 00:26:38.700
It's called the principle of the first.

349
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And it shows up all throughout the Bible.

350
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And so we're gonna just walk through this.

351
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Got a lot of things to cove, a lot of scriptures.

352
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I know this, the controversial thing, sometimes
it's difficult to talk about this.

353
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And so what I want to do today is just illuminate

354
00:26:50.850 --> 00:26:52.020
scripture after scripture, after scripture,

355
00:26:52.020 --> 00:26:55.650
where we see this played out so that you can see this is what God says.

356
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And then you can wrestle with what does it mean for your life.

357
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But the first point that I would make under this idea

358
00:27:01.820 --> 00:27:03.120
of the principle of the first is this:

359
00:27:07.410 --> 00:27:10.770
This is what we see as this principle gets unfolded

360
00:27:10.770 --> 00:27:12.390
in the Old Testament portion of the Bible

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in places like Exodus 13, starting in verse 1, which says:.

362
00:27:29.400 --> 00:27:30.720
It is mine. Mine.

363
00:27:30.750 --> 00:27:31.800
Mine. How many people have kids to do that?

364
00:27:32.000 --> 00:27:33.090
My kids do. Mine.

365
00:27:33.090 --> 00:27:33.480
Mine.

366
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It is mine, God is emphatic here.

367
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He is emphatically saying, consecrate to me the first born.

368
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What does it mean to consecrate something?

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It means to sacrifice it.

370
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That's what it meant in Exodus, sacrifice it, let it go, give it up.

371
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And God is saying do that because it belongs to me.

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The first born, what does he mean by that?

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The Exodus 13:13 is says:.

374
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Now, what does that word mean?

375
00:28:01.730 --> 00:28:04.400
Again, we're using these like, you know, theological words.

376
00:28:04.410 --> 00:28:05.420
What does that mean? Redeem?

377
00:28:05.420 --> 00:28:10.160
Redeem simply means to remove the curse
from something or to make something clean.

378
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And the way that happened in ancient Israel

379
00:28:13.480 --> 00:28:16.160
was through the sacrificial system that God had set up.

380
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And so basically you would sacrifice something

381
00:28:19.270 --> 00:28:22.450
that was considered clean, usually a lamb,

382
00:28:22.450 --> 00:28:25.900
to redeem something that was considered unclean.

383
00:28:26.050 --> 00:28:28.360
God was saying give your firstborn lamb,

384
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which would've been very valuable,

385
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think about that in an agrarian culture where that was your livelihood.

386
00:28:33.580 --> 00:28:37.240
He's saying, give the firstborn lamb to me

387
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and it will redeem everything else.

388
00:28:40.570 --> 00:28:42.190
Now, if you step back from this,

389
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some of you are probably ahead of me

390
00:28:44.260 --> 00:28:47.350
and you're anticipating and making some connections here

391
00:28:47.350 --> 00:28:51.430
that this principle of sacrificing the first and the clean

392
00:28:51.430 --> 00:28:55.120
to redeem the unclean has some deeper spiritual implications

393
00:28:55.120 --> 00:28:56.860
than just our money.

394
00:28:56.860 --> 00:28:58.840
So let me ask you a question.

395
00:28:58.840 --> 00:29:03.940
Were you and I when we are born, were we considered according to the Bible,

396
00:29:03.940 --> 00:29:05.980
spiritually clean or unclean?

397
00:29:07.150 --> 00:29:09.250
That's right. We're considered unclean.

398
00:29:09.760 --> 00:29:14.350
Romans 3:23 says: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

399
00:29:14.830 --> 00:29:19.360
All of us are born with the stain called the sin nature.

400
00:29:19.600 --> 00:29:24.560
That impacts every last human being who has
ever been born on the planet, save one.

401
00:29:24.580 --> 00:29:27.340
If you don't believe me, you can just ask the experts in the room.

402
00:29:27.340 --> 00:29:30.160
Many of them have white stickers on their pants

403
00:29:30.160 --> 00:29:32.190
or on their shirts, and they're called parents.

404
00:29:32.920 --> 00:29:36.670
Parents, did you have to teach your child to be bad?

405
00:29:37.750 --> 00:29:40.000
Did you have to teach your child to say mine?

406
00:29:40.060 --> 00:29:41.530
No. Right?

407
00:29:41.950 --> 00:29:45.040
They come that way. We all come that way.

408
00:29:45.490 --> 00:29:47.560
So we can all recognize that we are,

409
00:29:47.560 --> 00:29:51.850
at least from a spiritual perspective, spiritually unclean at birth.

410
00:29:52.770 --> 00:29:53.800
But let me ask you this question.

411
00:29:54.820 --> 00:30:01.330
Jesus. Was Jesus born spiritually clean or unclean?

412
00:30:02.830 --> 00:30:06.070
Jesus was born spiritually clean.

413
00:30:06.850 --> 00:30:12.310
So the clean has to be sacrificed to redeem the unclean.

414
00:30:12.880 --> 00:30:16.090
That's exactly what Jesus did for you and for me.

415
00:30:16.120 --> 00:30:16.930
That's what we just read.

416
00:30:17.410 --> 00:30:21.610
That's how deep this principle of the first goes
in the heart and in the mind of God.

417
00:30:21.630 --> 00:30:24.730
It's why John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus coming,

418
00:30:24.730 --> 00:30:26.250
said this of him and John 1:29:.

419
00:30:31.390 --> 00:30:36.090
You could say it this way: Jesus is God's tithe.

420
00:30:37.950 --> 00:30:40.520
Jesus is God's tithe.

421
00:30:41.310 --> 00:30:42.570
He gave him first.

422
00:30:43.440 --> 00:30:45.880
In fact the Bible says, he gave him in faith.

423
00:30:45.960 --> 00:30:48.420
He gave him before we received him.

424
00:30:48.570 --> 00:30:50.220
ROMANS 5:8 puts it this way:.

425
00:30:50.400 --> 00:30:55.530
God demonstrates his own love toward us in that while we were still sinners,

426
00:30:55.530 --> 00:30:58.620
while we were still in rebellion, Christ died for us.

427
00:30:59.690 --> 00:31:01.460
My Uncle Otis is a preacher

428
00:31:01.460 --> 00:31:03.650
and I love my Uncle Otis's translation of this verse.

429
00:31:03.650 --> 00:31:07.960
He says, while we were busy hating God, He was busy loving us.

430
00:31:08.890 --> 00:31:11.830
God gave Jesus as his tithe and he gave him first,

431
00:31:11.830 --> 00:31:14.650
so we have to give our first, our first fruit,

432
00:31:14.650 --> 00:31:16.630
our tithe in much the same way,

433
00:31:16.630 --> 00:31:20.890
before we experience the blessing of God, we give our first to God.

434
00:31:21.850 --> 00:31:25.180
God didn't say, "Hey, Israel, have 10 lambs.

435
00:31:25.390 --> 00:31:27.730
And then that tenth lamb, give me that one.

436
00:31:27.730 --> 00:31:28.750
Set that one to the side."

437
00:31:28.780 --> 00:31:31.780
No, he said, give me the first lamb to be born.

438
00:31:32.530 --> 00:31:35.530
The principle of the first, it's about the first.

439
00:31:35.860 --> 00:31:37.160
The first belongs to God.

440
00:31:38.050 --> 00:31:41.980
And when you sacrifice the first, it redeems the rest.

441
00:31:42.760 --> 00:31:44.620
Let's look at another example of this principle of the first.

442
00:31:44.620 --> 00:31:45.790
Again, this is all throughout the Bible.

443
00:31:45.820 --> 00:31:50.950
This example is from a little bit beyond where we just saw in Exodus.

444
00:31:51.460 --> 00:31:54.850
It's actually at a time when after 400 years of slavery

445
00:31:54.850 --> 00:31:56.830
and 40 years of wandering in the wilderness,

446
00:31:56.830 --> 00:32:00.040
the nation of Israel is about to inherit the promised land,

447
00:32:00.040 --> 00:32:02.500
this land that God had promised to give them

448
00:32:02.650 --> 00:32:06.760
as an inheritance for them and for the generations of Israelites to follow.

449
00:32:06.940 --> 00:32:08.980
And so they're right at the precipice.

450
00:32:09.010 --> 00:32:10.150
They're about the cross a river.

451
00:32:10.360 --> 00:32:14.230
And the first city that they're going to conquer is the city of Jericho.

452
00:32:14.470 --> 00:32:17.530
Now, if you went to Sunday school or have heard about the Bible

453
00:32:17.530 --> 00:32:19.030
and kind of grew up in that,

454
00:32:19.030 --> 00:32:21.220
that's the city where they marched around it seven times

455
00:32:21.220 --> 00:32:22.660
and then the seventh time they blew the beat the trumpet

456
00:32:22.660 --> 00:32:24.730
and the walls fell down and they conquered the city.

457
00:32:24.730 --> 00:32:26.560
Well, after they conquered the city,

458
00:32:26.560 --> 00:32:30.400
look at what God had instructed them to do in Joshua 6:19, he says:.

459
00:32:36.220 --> 00:32:39.700
Again, the priority, the emphatic priority is that it is first.

460
00:32:40.510 --> 00:32:40.930
And it says:

461
00:32:44.510 --> 00:32:48.340
And why didn't God say, "Hey, go conquer the entire land

462
00:32:48.340 --> 00:32:51.460
and then carve out of all the wealth and all the plunder 10%

463
00:32:51.460 --> 00:32:52.480
and give that to me"?

464
00:32:52.480 --> 00:32:54.760
He actually asked in the case of Jericho,

465
00:32:54.760 --> 00:32:58.060
for 100 percent of all of the plunder that they get.

466
00:32:58.090 --> 00:32:59.920
Why? Because it was the first city.

467
00:33:01.330 --> 00:33:05.620
So what God is saying here is give me 100 percent of the first.

468
00:33:05.650 --> 00:33:08.200
Give me a hundred percent of everything in Jericho

469
00:33:08.200 --> 00:33:12.880
and you can have the rest because of the principle of the first.

470
00:33:13.690 --> 00:33:15.580
So let me just give you a heads up right here

471
00:33:15.580 --> 00:33:16.960
just to make sure that we don't miss this.

472
00:33:17.140 --> 00:33:21.220
That means when it comes to our finances, my finances and your finances,

473
00:33:21.220 --> 00:33:23.660
don't give the first to the mortgage company.

474
00:33:25.110 --> 00:33:29.190
Don't give the first to the car company where you're financing your car.

475
00:33:29.400 --> 00:33:33.150
Don't think first about those things, because here's the thing:

476
00:33:33.150 --> 00:33:37.050
The mortgage company and the car company cannot bless your finances,

477
00:33:37.050 --> 00:33:43.130
but God can. God will when he is first,

478
00:33:43.130 --> 00:33:45.770
when we operate in the principle of the first.

479
00:33:45.770 --> 00:33:47.990
And why the first? Because it takes faith.

480
00:33:49.070 --> 00:33:49.400
Right?

481
00:33:49.820 --> 00:33:53.660
It takes faith to make the first check the check to God

482
00:33:54.530 --> 00:33:56.330
and not to the mortgage company

483
00:33:56.330 --> 00:33:58.770
and not to the other bills that might be staring you in the face.

484
00:33:58.790 --> 00:34:01.360
It's the principle of the first.

485
00:34:01.370 --> 00:34:05.780
And it really is saying to God, "God, you have priority in my life."

486
00:34:06.950 --> 00:34:11.120
So you consecrate the first to redeem the rest.

487
00:34:12.180 --> 00:34:16.170
Point number two is: the first fruits must be offered.

488
00:34:20.230 --> 00:34:22.680
I want to key in on the word "must be."

489
00:34:23.370 --> 00:34:25.320
Right? Must be offered.

490
00:34:25.710 --> 00:34:29.220
Now, let's be honest, we all have experience

491
00:34:29.220 --> 00:34:32.790
with some of the fruits of our labor being offered

492
00:34:32.790 --> 00:34:34.140
without us having a choice in it.

493
00:34:34.830 --> 00:34:36.660
We all, you know, I think about my first job.

494
00:34:36.660 --> 00:34:38.220
My first job was at a --

495
00:34:38.220 --> 00:34:41.380
I was a gas station attendant at a place called Hess Gas Station.

496
00:34:41.380 --> 00:34:43.290
Does anybody remember Hess Gas Stations?

497
00:34:43.290 --> 00:34:43.440
Yeah.

498
00:34:43.470 --> 00:34:45.380
So it was like, it's crazy.

499
00:34:45.390 --> 00:34:46.230
This doesn't exist anymore.

500
00:34:46.290 --> 00:34:47.550
It was full service gas.

501
00:34:47.580 --> 00:34:48.330
You'd roll up.

502
00:34:48.600 --> 00:34:50.550
And, you know, I had this like jumpsuit on,

503
00:34:50.550 --> 00:34:52.620
this white jumpsuit with green on it.

504
00:34:52.890 --> 00:34:57.060
And, you know, I'd check your oil and I'd pump your gas

505
00:34:57.060 --> 00:34:58.190
and I'd wash your windows.

506
00:34:58.200 --> 00:34:59.070
It was like full service.

507
00:34:59.070 --> 00:35:00.090
That was my first job.

508
00:35:00.330 --> 00:35:02.850
And I remember my cousin got me connected to this job

509
00:35:02.850 --> 00:35:04.710
and I was so excited because I was like a teenager,

510
00:35:04.710 --> 00:35:07.320
I was gonna make some money, you know, and to get a car.

511
00:35:07.320 --> 00:35:10.320
And I remember like calculating the hours that I had worked

512
00:35:10.320 --> 00:35:12.570
and like anticipating that first check.

513
00:35:12.600 --> 00:35:14.580
I was really excited about that first paycheck.

514
00:35:14.610 --> 00:35:14.810
Right?

515
00:35:14.820 --> 00:35:16.470
That first paycheck is coming.

516
00:35:16.620 --> 00:35:19.680
And I open up the arm envelope and I look at the paycheck.

517
00:35:22.170 --> 00:35:25.570
And somebody named FICA had taken some money from me.

518
00:35:25.570 --> 00:35:26.900
And I don't know who FICA is.

519
00:35:27.640 --> 00:35:29.450
Reminds me of, I don't know if you remember that Friends episode.

520
00:35:29.470 --> 00:35:31.660
Who is FICA and why is he taking my money?

521
00:35:31.680 --> 00:35:32.420
Right?

522
00:35:33.040 --> 00:35:34.240
Here's the one I love. I love this one.

523
00:35:34.240 --> 00:35:34.960
I got another meme:

524
00:35:37.750 --> 00:35:39.040
That's how I really felt. Right?

525
00:35:40.040 --> 00:35:43.150
So we all know and have experience with not choosing.

526
00:35:43.180 --> 00:35:46.270
But isn't it interesting that God doesn't just, woops,

527
00:35:46.270 --> 00:35:47.770
it doesn't just disappear automatically.

528
00:35:48.610 --> 00:35:50.160
We have to give it to him.

529
00:35:50.170 --> 00:35:51.310
It has to be offered.

530
00:35:51.400 --> 00:35:54.520
Why? Because God wants us to choose obedience.

531
00:35:55.360 --> 00:35:58.390
He wants us to choose to put him first.

532
00:35:59.480 --> 00:36:02.180
So, again, we see this over and over in the scriptures.

533
00:36:02.180 --> 00:36:04.220
Another place where we see this principle of the first

534
00:36:04.220 --> 00:36:07.310
is in Proverbs 3:9-10, which say:.

535
00:36:18.920 --> 00:36:20.360
Now, again, this is in the Book of Proverbs.

536
00:36:20.380 --> 00:36:21.440
This is the book of Wisdom.

537
00:36:21.440 --> 00:36:23.810
This is thousands of years past Exodus.

538
00:36:23.810 --> 00:36:28.100
This is thousands of years past Joshua, those scriptures that we read.

539
00:36:28.710 --> 00:36:30.560
Exodus 23:19 puts it this way:

540
00:36:36.500 --> 00:36:38.170
God wants to make it very clear to us.

541
00:36:38.180 --> 00:36:38.400
Right?

542
00:36:38.430 --> 00:36:42.290
The first of the first fruits, as if first fruits was wasn't enough.

543
00:36:43.450 --> 00:36:47.640
And notice the word is "bring" not give.

544
00:36:48.730 --> 00:36:52.120
It says you must bring the first of the first fruits

545
00:36:52.210 --> 00:36:53.710
into the house of the Lord, your God.

546
00:36:54.730 --> 00:36:58.690
And the reason is because we can't give what isn't ours.

547
00:37:00.010 --> 00:37:02.080
We can't give what isn't ours.

548
00:37:02.800 --> 00:37:06.830
Which means we really only have two choices when it comes to the tithe.

549
00:37:07.630 --> 00:37:11.000
We can either bring it or we can steal it.

550
00:37:12.720 --> 00:37:16.580
Remember that story of Israel and God saying to them,

551
00:37:16.580 --> 00:37:22.310
"When you conquer Jericho, I want 100% of everything to come to me first."

552
00:37:23.180 --> 00:37:27.590
Well, there was one man, his name is Aiken, and he stole from God.

553
00:37:27.620 --> 00:37:31.130
He did. He saved some things that should have gone to God

554
00:37:31.130 --> 00:37:33.830
and instead he kept them to benefit himself.

555
00:37:34.600 --> 00:37:37.070
And the next city that Israel went to conquer,

556
00:37:37.070 --> 00:37:39.740
Israel got demolished, and they didn't know why.

557
00:37:39.790 --> 00:37:40.860
They're like "What happened?"

558
00:37:41.390 --> 00:37:45.800
And God said to them, it's because Israel has stolen from me

559
00:37:45.800 --> 00:37:47.000
and they are cursed.

560
00:37:47.030 --> 00:37:51.350
God said, because you didn't operate in the principle of the first,

561
00:37:51.350 --> 00:37:53.430
all of what you have has been cursed.

562
00:37:54.410 --> 00:37:57.830
And that's true when it comes to first fruits,when it comes to our tithe

563
00:37:57.830 --> 00:38:01.180
that's consecrated and redeemed when we give it to God.

564
00:38:02.180 --> 00:38:03.980
But it's cursed if we keep it.

565
00:38:05.260 --> 00:38:07.270
Let me ask you a question, just a practical question.

566
00:38:08.160 --> 00:38:11.070
Why would you want anything cursed in your bank account?

567
00:38:12.760 --> 00:38:14.200
Doesn't that have enough problems of it's own?

568
00:38:14.200 --> 00:38:17.800
We don't need anything cursed our bank accounts.

569
00:38:17.810 --> 00:38:18.840
So there's something here.

570
00:38:18.850 --> 00:38:20.830
Robert Morris puts it this way in the book The Blessed Life.

571
00:38:20.860 --> 00:38:21.190
He says:.

572
00:38:30.490 --> 00:38:32.710
Now, you might be getting the impression that, you know,

573
00:38:32.710 --> 00:38:35.950
this idea of the principle of the first is really just about us.

574
00:38:36.340 --> 00:38:40.210
It's about us putting God first, about us making sure God is the priority.

575
00:38:40.210 --> 00:38:42.490
And yeah, there's definitely things here for us.

576
00:38:43.030 --> 00:38:46.750
But the reason this is a principle all throughout the Bible

577
00:38:46.750 --> 00:38:51.790
has nothing to do with us and it has everything to do with who God is.

578
00:38:52.980 --> 00:38:55.320
And the place where we see that is actually at

579
00:38:55.320 --> 00:38:58.140
the very, very beginning of the Bible in the Book of Genesis.

580
00:38:58.590 --> 00:38:59.880
The story of Cain and Abel,

581
00:38:59.880 --> 00:39:01.350
you heard Robert Morris reference it.

582
00:39:01.350 --> 00:39:03.090
We're going to dig into that a little bit because

583
00:39:03.090 --> 00:39:06.030
I want us to see this principle and what it teaches us about God.

584
00:39:06.720 --> 00:39:09.270
In Genesis 4:3-5, it says:

585
00:39:29.080 --> 00:39:30.100
The question is why?

586
00:39:31.120 --> 00:39:31.990
Two brothers.

587
00:39:32.440 --> 00:39:34.530
This is the first story of murder in the Bible.

588
00:39:34.540 --> 00:39:36.210
These are the sons of Adam and Eve.

589
00:39:36.220 --> 00:39:40.420
And eventually Cain kills Abel because of what happens in this exchange.

590
00:39:41.050 --> 00:39:44.320
But why didn't God accept Cain's offering,

591
00:39:44.320 --> 00:39:45.900
but he did accept Abel's offering?

592
00:39:45.910 --> 00:39:48.250
We get the clue in the actual verse.

593
00:39:48.310 --> 00:39:53.170
It says of Cain that Cain, in the process of time,

594
00:39:53.170 --> 00:39:57.400
not right away, brought an offering, not the first.

595
00:39:58.090 --> 00:40:00.640
But it says Abel brought the first.

596
00:40:00.930 --> 00:40:05.560
And so God accepted Abel's offering and he didn't accept Cain's offering.

597
00:40:06.850 --> 00:40:08.950
But what I want us to see here is

598
00:40:08.950 --> 00:40:13.030
it's not just that God wouldn't accept Cain's offering.

599
00:40:13.870 --> 00:40:17.650
It's that he couldn't accept Cain's offering.

600
00:40:18.940 --> 00:40:21.160
He couldn't. Why?

601
00:40:21.970 --> 00:40:23.230
Because, believe it or not,

602
00:40:23.230 --> 00:40:28.000
there are some things that the creator of the universe cannot do,

603
00:40:28.000 --> 00:40:28.840
that he cannot do.

604
00:40:29.080 --> 00:40:31.360
Here's a couple of things that God cannot do.

605
00:40:31.720 --> 00:40:34.090
God can not change.

606
00:40:35.420 --> 00:40:38.110
The theological word for this is immutability.

607
00:40:38.120 --> 00:40:40.610
It means that God is unchangeable.

608
00:40:40.610 --> 00:40:43.340
Because think about it this way: if God could change,

609
00:40:43.340 --> 00:40:44.750
that would mean he could get better.

610
00:40:44.960 --> 00:40:47.450
And if God could get better, that would mean he's not perfect.

611
00:40:47.450 --> 00:40:48.320
God is perfect.

612
00:40:48.350 --> 00:40:51.050
He doesn't need to improve on anything of who he is.

613
00:40:51.230 --> 00:40:53.450
So God does not change.

614
00:40:54.260 --> 00:40:55.340
He can't change.

615
00:40:56.330 --> 00:40:59.570
Here's another thing: God can't think.

616
00:41:00.020 --> 00:41:01.460
Not like you and I think.

617
00:41:02.180 --> 00:41:04.610
Think about it, we think to figure stuff out.

618
00:41:04.850 --> 00:41:05.150
Right?

619
00:41:05.270 --> 00:41:07.040
We have gaps in our understanding.

620
00:41:07.040 --> 00:41:08.810
So whether we learn from a book

621
00:41:08.810 --> 00:41:11.000
or if we're learning through relationships or through experience,

622
00:41:11.000 --> 00:41:13.610
we're trying to fill in gaps of things we don't know.

623
00:41:13.700 --> 00:41:17.420
God doesn't have any gaps that he needs to fill in his understanding,

624
00:41:17.420 --> 00:41:19.520
so God doesn't think the way that we think.

625
00:41:19.730 --> 00:41:21.830
Nothing has ever occurred to God.

626
00:41:21.830 --> 00:41:22.130
[laughter]

627
00:41:25.960 --> 00:41:29.200
Something that you have never heard, we'll never hear God say,

628
00:41:29.380 --> 00:41:31.870
ever, ever, ever is this God is never in heaven

629
00:41:31.870 --> 00:41:33.970
and has a moment where he says,

630
00:41:33.970 --> 00:41:34.870
"You know what I just thought of?" [laughter]

631
00:41:37.730 --> 00:41:38.310
I'll put it to you this way.

632
00:41:38.960 --> 00:41:42.800
God never comes across something in anywhere in creation

633
00:41:42.800 --> 00:41:45.620
and says to himself, "Oh, my self."

634
00:41:45.620 --> 00:41:46.070
[laughter]

635
00:41:48.550 --> 00:41:50.290
Right? Because he wouldn't say, Oh my God, because he is God.

636
00:41:50.300 --> 00:41:52.720
Right? That never happens, it never happens.

637
00:41:52.730 --> 00:41:56.480
That's why Isaiah 55:8 God puts it this way, he says,\:.

638
00:42:01.220 --> 00:42:03.140
God doesn't think, at least in the way

639
00:42:03.140 --> 00:42:04.700
that you and I think to figure stuff out.

640
00:42:04.880 --> 00:42:08.210
And here's the third thing: God can not be second.

641
00:42:10.180 --> 00:42:11.590
He can't be second.

642
00:42:12.970 --> 00:42:15.370
The theological word for this is pre-eminent.

643
00:42:16.210 --> 00:42:18.070
The Bible says God is above all things,

644
00:42:18.070 --> 00:42:20.230
he's before all things, he's beyond all things.

645
00:42:20.410 --> 00:42:22.960
He can never be second.

646
00:42:24.700 --> 00:42:27.550
And that's why he couldn't accept Cain's offering.

647
00:42:28.620 --> 00:42:30.180
I mean, I use this term, we all use this term.

648
00:42:30.220 --> 00:42:31.260
Hey, I'm trying to put God first.

649
00:42:31.260 --> 00:42:32.790
Right, I'm trying to put God first in this part of my life.

650
00:42:32.790 --> 00:42:34.410
I'm trying to put God first as I think about this thing.

651
00:42:34.590 --> 00:42:36.600
We all say that, but that's really --

652
00:42:36.600 --> 00:42:39.360
those are words that help us understand what we're doing.

653
00:42:39.360 --> 00:42:44.130
The truth is whether you are putting God first in your life or not,

654
00:42:44.130 --> 00:42:45.120
he's still first.

655
00:42:46.780 --> 00:42:49.150
If he's not first in your life,

656
00:42:49.150 --> 00:42:52.150
that doesn't mean you changed his order in the universe.

657
00:42:53.180 --> 00:42:55.070
It means your life is out of order.

658
00:42:57.160 --> 00:43:00.150
Because God is always first.

659
00:43:00.160 --> 00:43:04.240
The question is, are we aligning to that reality in our life?

660
00:43:05.080 --> 00:43:07.870
So he couldn't accept Cain's offering because Cain's offering

661
00:43:07.870 --> 00:43:10.240
was putting God in a place other than first.

662
00:43:10.300 --> 00:43:13.000
We need to think about that when it comes to the tithe.

663
00:43:13.360 --> 00:43:18.670
Think about it. If Jesus is God's tithe and he gave him first,

664
00:43:18.670 --> 00:43:21.880
maybe this idea of putting our tithe first

665
00:43:21.880 --> 00:43:25.690
means more to God the father than we think, because

666
00:43:25.690 --> 00:43:28.030
tithing really does show you who's first in your life.

667
00:43:28.060 --> 00:43:30.310
I mean, I can tell you all day, I can sit up here

668
00:43:30.310 --> 00:43:31.990
and say all kinds of spiritual things about

669
00:43:31.990 --> 00:43:34.630
God's first in my life. I'm a pastor and I love Jesus and all that stuff.

670
00:43:34.870 --> 00:43:36.880
But, man, if you look at my bank account,

671
00:43:36.880 --> 00:43:39.340
wouldn't it tell you really quickly?

672
00:43:39.340 --> 00:43:40.690
If you looked at my generosity,

673
00:43:40.690 --> 00:43:43.450
wouldn't it tell you pretty quickly if I'm just a bunch of talk?

674
00:43:44.440 --> 00:43:48.640
Or if I've actually oriented my life in a way that puts God first?

675
00:43:49.880 --> 00:43:54.650
So just to recap, number one, you sacrifice the first to redeem the rest.

676
00:43:54.890 --> 00:43:56.000
God did that with Jesus.

677
00:43:56.270 --> 00:43:58.790
And that's what happens when we put God first in our finances.

678
00:43:58.790 --> 00:44:01.190
And second, the first fruits must be offered.

679
00:44:01.200 --> 00:44:05.480
There has to be a choice of obedience we make to offer our first to God.

680
00:44:06.580 --> 00:44:10.910
And the third point is this: the tithe must be first.

681
00:44:12.130 --> 00:44:15.520
So as we've been unpacking this series, we've said the tithe again is

682
00:44:15.520 --> 00:44:20.290
the first 10% of your gross income given to your local church.

683
00:44:20.320 --> 00:44:22.190
That's the definition of the tithe.

684
00:44:22.240 --> 00:44:23.890
Why your gross income?

685
00:44:24.070 --> 00:44:27.580
Because if it's your net income, that means you're putting FICA first.

686
00:44:28.880 --> 00:44:30.650
You're putting the government first.

687
00:44:30.890 --> 00:44:32.700
That's why it's based on the gross.

688
00:44:33.470 --> 00:44:35.870
And those of us who tithe, I mean, I can tell you, I've been --

689
00:44:35.870 --> 00:44:38.180
I'm so thankful my parents taught me this.

690
00:44:38.570 --> 00:44:40.850
And I can just tell you, I've seen the blessing of God

691
00:44:40.850 --> 00:44:42.440
as I have been faithful in this area of my life.

692
00:44:42.890 --> 00:44:43.900
It doesn't mean I'm a millionaire.

693
00:44:44.120 --> 00:44:45.350
It doesn't mean I'm ever gonna be a millionaire.

694
00:44:45.410 --> 00:44:47.800
But I can tell you, I have seen incredible provision

695
00:44:47.800 --> 00:44:49.550
and blessing in my life in a bunch of different areas,

696
00:44:49.550 --> 00:44:50.990
not just money as I have done this.

697
00:44:51.110 --> 00:44:53.450
And some of us are walking this out right now.

698
00:44:53.750 --> 00:44:57.020
Like Brian said, many of you have stepped into the tithe test

699
00:44:57.020 --> 00:44:58.970
and you're saying, "Hey, for the next 90 days,

700
00:44:58.970 --> 00:45:00.350
I am going to put God to the test.".

701
00:45:00.370 --> 00:45:01.490
God says to test him.

702
00:45:01.730 --> 00:45:03.860
And some of you have signed up to do that for 90 days.

703
00:45:03.860 --> 00:45:04.650
You're going to tithe.

704
00:45:05.000 --> 00:45:07.850
You're going to make God first in that way in your finances.

705
00:45:08.120 --> 00:45:12.890
If for any reason you don't see and experience God's blessing in your life,

706
00:45:12.890 --> 00:45:15.110
that money's going to be returned to you at the end of 90 days.

707
00:45:15.770 --> 00:45:18.920
But I believe God's going to come through on his test.

708
00:45:20.530 --> 00:45:23.530
And I just want to say, if this is new to you,

709
00:45:23.530 --> 00:45:25.060
like some of you are like,

710
00:45:25.060 --> 00:45:27.080
"Man, why did I pick this weekend to come to Crossroads?

711
00:45:27.120 --> 00:45:29.960
My buddy's been inviting me, but why this weekend?

712
00:45:29.980 --> 00:45:31.030
Like what's this about?"

713
00:45:31.270 --> 00:45:32.560
Let me just tell you, I understand.

714
00:45:32.590 --> 00:45:35.770
This is challenging, it's not like I came out the womb tithing.

715
00:45:35.770 --> 00:45:38.170
I didn't. This is a journey that I've been on.

716
00:45:38.470 --> 00:45:42.160
And in fact, I was reminded of how this journey is one

717
00:45:42.160 --> 00:45:44.860
where we have to grow into it this week,

718
00:45:44.860 --> 00:45:49.270
when I had a unique opportunity to teach my Mingo children

719
00:45:49.270 --> 00:45:50.680
about the principle of tithing.

720
00:45:52.850 --> 00:45:54.390
- How was Halloween? Did you have fun?

721
00:45:55.050 --> 00:45:55.230
- Yeah.

722
00:45:55.350 --> 00:45:55.920
- You got a lot of candy?

723
00:45:56.830 --> 00:45:56.950
- Um-hmm.

724
00:45:56.950 --> 00:45:59.900
- All right. So, hey, there's a spiritual principle called tithing.

725
00:46:00.630 --> 00:46:05.720
And what it means is, yes, Isabelle?

726
00:46:05.720 --> 00:46:06.580
- I'd like to pray today.

727
00:46:07.120 --> 00:46:08.830
- You'd like to pray? All right. We're going to pray after we do this.

728
00:46:08.860 --> 00:46:09.220
OK?

729
00:46:10.300 --> 00:46:10.480
- I need to pray.

730
00:46:10.480 --> 00:46:11.590
- But here's the tithing looks like.

731
00:46:12.040 --> 00:46:14.020
We take, lets say we've got ten pieces of candy.

732
00:46:14.440 --> 00:46:17.520
That means we have one of those pieces to God.

733
00:46:18.680 --> 00:46:20.770
But since God doesn't eat candy, you're gonna give them to me.

734
00:46:21.780 --> 00:46:22.280
- You're not God.

735
00:46:22.570 --> 00:46:28.180
- No, I'm not God. So lay out your candy and you're going to give me --

736
00:46:28.180 --> 00:46:28.190
What? You don't want to give me your candy?

737
00:46:32.530 --> 00:46:33.040
- Do I have to lay it all out?

738
00:46:33.840 --> 00:46:34.000
- You've got to lay it all out.

739
00:46:34.010 --> 00:46:36.350
-This is not worth it.

740
00:46:37.150 --> 00:46:41.390
- Are you going to give me your candy too?

741
00:46:46.120 --> 00:46:46.380
- I am.

742
00:46:48.080 --> 00:46:48.380
- You're going to give me 10%

743
00:46:48.380 --> 00:46:48.390
- Are we just going to give you one candy?

744
00:46:48.390 --> 00:46:49.790
- No, Nathan's going to give me more than one.

745
00:46:49.790 --> 00:46:53.170
Look at all these candies he has. So if we count these, I tell you what.

746
00:46:53.210 --> 00:46:57.830
Let's say, let's just assume, Nathan, you've got, what's that look like?

747
00:46:57.830 --> 00:46:59.530
30 pieces of candy, 50?

748
00:46:59.530 --> 00:46:59.970
30?

749
00:47:00.260 --> 00:47:01.640
All right, so you've got to give me three pieces of candy.

750
00:47:01.640 --> 00:47:03.460
That's the tithe.

751
00:47:03.460 --> 00:47:04.070
Okay.

752
00:47:05.060 --> 00:47:05.270
- All right. what candy do you like?

753
00:47:05.270 --> 00:47:06.460
-You'll let me choose? That's cool.

754
00:47:06.830 --> 00:47:08.370
- I gave you two pieces.

755
00:47:08.600 --> 00:47:11.780
- You gave me two pieces? Which ones did you give me?

756
00:47:13.400 --> 00:47:14.850
- This one and this one.q

757
00:47:15.770 --> 00:47:17.030
- You gave me a Reece's?

758
00:47:19.320 --> 00:47:19.400
Woo.

759
00:47:19.400 --> 00:47:21.590
All right, Nathan, you're letting me choose the three piece I want?

760
00:47:21.590 --> 00:47:22.230
- Three pieces.

761
00:47:22.430 --> 00:47:24.120
- OK. So, you know I like Snickers.

762
00:47:24.120 --> 00:47:25.640
So I'm gonna take Snickers.

763
00:47:25.900 --> 00:47:26.130
- Go.

764
00:47:27.890 --> 00:47:32.750
- I'll take the full sized Hershey's with the almonds.

765
00:47:32.790 --> 00:47:34.010
- That wasn't smart.

766
00:47:34.820 --> 00:47:35.620
- What wasn't smart?

767
00:47:35.980 --> 00:47:36.060
- For you to do that?

768
00:47:36.060 --> 00:47:36.880
- Why?

769
00:47:36.890 --> 00:47:37.220
- Because like --

770
00:47:37.220 --> 00:47:39.820
- You want this one?

771
00:47:40.370 --> 00:47:41.570
- No, no, it's fine.

772
00:47:42.260 --> 00:47:42.410
- You want this one? I'm not going to.

773
00:47:43.520 --> 00:47:43.610
- Go ahead, take it.

774
00:47:43.610 --> 00:47:45.500
- No, I'm not taking it.

775
00:47:45.920 --> 00:47:47.330
I'll take a Reece's from you.

776
00:47:47.500 --> 00:47:48.900
I really like Reece's.

777
00:47:49.010 --> 00:47:51.560
I'll take -- you're giving me your full size Twix?

778
00:47:52.400 --> 00:47:53.260
- That's my Twix.

779
00:47:53.580 --> 00:47:56.330
- You would, really?

780
00:47:56.680 --> 00:47:56.920
Okay.

781
00:47:57.030 --> 00:47:57.920
- This is my Twix.

782
00:47:58.880 --> 00:48:00.630
- You're saying I should take this Twix?

783
00:48:01.250 --> 00:48:01.610
- Yeah.

784
00:48:01.610 --> 00:48:03.230
- Would you give me your Twix?

785
00:48:03.230 --> 00:48:04.390
No, you're not going to give me yours, but I should take your brother's?

786
00:48:05.450 --> 00:48:06.980
Okay. All right. Okay.

787
00:48:09.090 --> 00:48:09.460
= One more.

788
00:48:09.700 --> 00:48:11.180
- Milk Duds.

789
00:48:11.920 --> 00:48:16.190
Isabelle, did you give me your tithe, your candy tithe?

790
00:48:17.740 --> 00:48:17.990
-Yeah.

791
00:48:17.990 --> 00:48:18.670
- What did you give me?

792
00:48:21.260 --> 00:48:23.740
Would you let me choose or are you going to pick for me?

793
00:48:26.080 --> 00:48:26.330
- I'm going to pick for you.

794
00:48:26.330 --> 00:48:26.340
- Okay.

795
00:48:26.750 --> 00:48:27.710
- She gave you the Reece's.

796
00:48:30.470 --> 00:48:31.220
- Do you like these?

797
00:48:31.880 --> 00:48:32.330
- No.

798
00:48:32.330 --> 00:48:36.800
- So you're giving me what you don't like?

799
00:48:37.690 --> 00:48:38.000
- Yeah. I don't want that. I don't like it, I don't even try.

800
00:48:47.130 --> 00:48:50.540
[laughter] So we're on a journey in my house around tithing.

801
00:48:50.540 --> 00:48:52.540
It's good for all of us to see.

802
00:48:52.700 --> 00:48:56.000
Did you notice how easy it was for my kids to give each other's candy to me?

803
00:48:56.060 --> 00:48:57.950
Like they didn't have a problem with that,

804
00:48:57.950 --> 00:48:59.150
but theirs it was like, oh, hold on.

805
00:49:00.760 --> 00:49:02.780
It was really interesting to have that experience with them.

806
00:49:02.900 --> 00:49:03.970
This is a journey for us.

807
00:49:04.040 --> 00:49:05.270
You know, it's a journey of the heart.

808
00:49:05.300 --> 00:49:06.860
God is about our hearts in this.

809
00:49:07.580 --> 00:49:09.170
Leviticus 27:30 says:.

810
00:49:18.230 --> 00:49:20.060
And I want to emphasize that word holy.

811
00:49:21.000 --> 00:49:26.010
This is not about what God needs to do to fund his enterprise.

812
00:49:26.790 --> 00:49:29.970
He doesn't need our money to fund his enterprise.

813
00:49:30.150 --> 00:49:32.550
That's not what makes this conversation holy.

814
00:49:32.670 --> 00:49:37.230
What makes it holy is whether we're willing to put him first in our finances

815
00:49:37.230 --> 00:49:39.750
says so much about whether we're willing to put him first in our lives.

816
00:49:40.700 --> 00:49:41.930
And that's a holy thing.

817
00:49:42.470 --> 00:49:45.350
That's what God is up to in our lives.

818
00:49:46.390 --> 00:49:49.190
So gonna give you a math illustration,

819
00:49:49.190 --> 00:49:51.320
which is dangerous for me because I'm nobody's mathlete.

820
00:49:51.350 --> 00:49:52.590
That is not my skill set.

821
00:49:53.150 --> 00:49:55.020
But I want to -- just just go with me on this.

822
00:49:55.040 --> 00:49:57.350
Let's imagine that you are, let's say you're a landscaper.

823
00:49:57.740 --> 00:50:00.380
And I have paid you to do a job for me.

824
00:50:00.650 --> 00:50:03.680
And after, you know, materials cost you X

825
00:50:03.680 --> 00:50:06.620
and then your time and labor whatever ever cost you Y,

826
00:50:06.620 --> 00:50:10.280
and then your profit is a thousand dollars, a thousand dollars.

827
00:50:10.290 --> 00:50:15.420
So I'm paying you a thousand dollars because that's what you tithe on,

828
00:50:15.420 --> 00:50:19.050
you tithe on your increase, you tithe on your income.

829
00:50:19.810 --> 00:50:22.130
And so if I'm paying you a thousand dollars,

830
00:50:22.130 --> 00:50:25.700
the question I have for you is this: how much is the tithe?

831
00:50:27.420 --> 00:50:28.260
Hundred dollars, right?

832
00:50:30.000 --> 00:50:34.700
Here's my second question: Which one of these is the tithe?

833
00:50:36.940 --> 00:50:40.540
That's right. I put it to you this way: The first one to leave your hand.

834
00:50:41.770 --> 00:50:46.120
The first one to leave your hand is the tithe,

835
00:50:46.120 --> 00:50:48.070
and that's what God wants us to do.

836
00:50:48.340 --> 00:50:51.160
Now, how does this play out practically for me in my life?

837
00:50:51.790 --> 00:50:54.970
How many people have heard the budgeting principle: Pay yourself..?

838
00:50:55.780 --> 00:50:57.130
Right, pay yourself first.

839
00:50:57.860 --> 00:51:01.660
What I learned from my parents was, no, give to God first.

840
00:51:02.420 --> 00:51:05.440
And so I get paid on the 15th in the last day of every month.

841
00:51:05.950 --> 00:51:09.490
And there is an E gift. It's an automatic thing that comes out first.

842
00:51:10.560 --> 00:51:14.970
Because for me, this is a heart thing and I want God to know

843
00:51:14.970 --> 00:51:17.760
you are first in my life, not only in my finances,

844
00:51:17.760 --> 00:51:20.550
but yes, actually in my finances as well.

845
00:51:20.580 --> 00:51:22.030
I want to put him first.

846
00:51:22.050 --> 00:51:24.810
In fact, if you look at any budget I've ever made,

847
00:51:24.810 --> 00:51:26.940
you'll always see I structure it the same way.

848
00:51:27.150 --> 00:51:30.030
After all of the income that I put up top,

849
00:51:30.030 --> 00:51:34.170
my first item of what comes out is the tithe.

850
00:51:34.570 --> 00:51:38.910
And generosity, it's the top of the list because I want God to say --

851
00:51:38.910 --> 00:51:41.820
I want to say to God, God, you are first in my finances.

852
00:51:43.030 --> 00:51:48.340
So we started with Exodus 13 and God establishing this principle of first born.

853
00:51:48.790 --> 00:51:54.100
And we're gonna finish with that same chapter, Exodus 13:14-15 says this:.

854
00:52:20.950 --> 00:52:24.280
God wanted this to be a teaching tool that Israel could use

855
00:52:24.280 --> 00:52:27.760
with their children to help them understand the principle of first.

856
00:52:28.870 --> 00:52:31.540
Think about it in modern terms, imagine a son goes to college,

857
00:52:31.540 --> 00:52:33.790
he comes back from college, he's working in the family business.

858
00:52:34.030 --> 00:52:35.410
And he's going through the books

859
00:52:35.410 --> 00:52:38.710
and he begins to see a monthly pattern that troubles him.

860
00:52:38.860 --> 00:52:45.040
And it is that every month the father
is giving away $50,000 of the family profits.

861
00:52:46.510 --> 00:52:48.900
You would imagine that at some point if the boy didn't understand

862
00:52:48.900 --> 00:52:50.910
this principle the first he would go to the father and say,

863
00:52:50.910 --> 00:52:52.560
"Dad, what's going on with this?

864
00:52:52.560 --> 00:52:55.800
Why are you giving away $50,000 a month of our profits?"

865
00:52:57.630 --> 00:53:00.320
And that's the opportunity for the father to say to the son,

866
00:53:00.320 --> 00:53:02.250
"Son, the reason I do that is because you need to know

867
00:53:02.250 --> 00:53:05.730
something about our family. We didn't always have a business.

868
00:53:06.660 --> 00:53:09.780
We didn't always have the assets that we have.

869
00:53:09.780 --> 00:53:11.670
In fact, son, we didn't have anything.

870
00:53:11.700 --> 00:53:12.540
We were slaves.

871
00:53:13.930 --> 00:53:19.890
But God, with a mighty hand, saved us, rescued us.

872
00:53:20.490 --> 00:53:22.320
And he's given us everything that we have.

873
00:53:22.320 --> 00:53:29.790
And that's why I gladly give him the first of every month of our profits."

874
00:53:31.790 --> 00:53:35.090
I told you that last Friday my dad passed away.

875
00:53:35.770 --> 00:53:40.250
And I was thinking about how his life really did model out this principle.

876
00:53:41.200 --> 00:53:43.930
This principle of "but God."

877
00:53:44.530 --> 00:53:47.050
See, my dad had a B.C.

878
00:53:47.080 --> 00:53:49.420
life, he had a life before Christ.

879
00:53:50.110 --> 00:53:52.720
This is one of the pictures that we put in his memorial.

880
00:53:53.710 --> 00:53:56.890
This young strapping man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth

881
00:53:56.890 --> 00:53:58.510
in Europe during the Korean War.

882
00:53:59.390 --> 00:54:02.650
And man, my dad told me some stories about what happened in Europe

883
00:54:02.650 --> 00:54:06.430
that I dare not repeat on this stage because he had a B.C.

884
00:54:06.430 --> 00:54:06.750
life.

885
00:54:07.210 --> 00:54:10.200
My dad had a life where he wasn't always a follower of Jesus.

886
00:54:10.210 --> 00:54:13.830
In fact, I remember when I was a kid, I was about 3 or 4 years old

887
00:54:13.830 --> 00:54:18.400
and my dad would have these like the Big Gulp plastic cups

888
00:54:18.400 --> 00:54:21.310
from 7-Eleven or wherever he got them from filled with alcohol.

889
00:54:21.340 --> 00:54:23.540
My dad was a drinker when I was born.

890
00:54:23.560 --> 00:54:24.970
He was not a follower of Jesus.

891
00:54:26.040 --> 00:54:30.460
And I remember seeing Jesus save my father.

892
00:54:31.320 --> 00:54:32.310
I mean, saving him.

893
00:54:32.310 --> 00:54:33.690
I'm not using that as a religious term.

894
00:54:33.690 --> 00:54:36.360
I'm telling you, my dad was saved from his past.

895
00:54:36.480 --> 00:54:38.520
He was saved from drinking.

896
00:54:38.610 --> 00:54:42.390
And from the time that that happened till the 91st year of his life

897
00:54:42.390 --> 00:54:44.970
when he passed away, I never saw my father pick up a drink again.

898
00:54:46.380 --> 00:54:49.530
[applause] He was saved. He was saved.

899
00:54:50.590 --> 00:54:55.530
And so last Friday night, not last Friday, a week ago, before Friday,

900
00:54:55.530 --> 00:54:57.360
my dad had dementia in his later years.

901
00:54:57.360 --> 00:54:58.860
And I had moved him to Cincinnati.

902
00:54:58.860 --> 00:55:00.300
And he was here with me and my family.

903
00:55:00.300 --> 00:55:03.120
And we loved just the time that we got to spend with him

904
00:55:03.120 --> 00:55:04.020
those last couple years.

905
00:55:04.020 --> 00:55:05.250
He loved being a part of Crossroads.

906
00:55:05.280 --> 00:55:07.230
He was here as much as he could be here.

907
00:55:08.250 --> 00:55:10.140
And I know because he had dementia,

908
00:55:10.140 --> 00:55:11.790
that he had forgotten a lot of those things.

909
00:55:11.790 --> 00:55:14.790
And I remember being in the hospital bed with my dad

910
00:55:14.790 --> 00:55:18.540
and saying, "Dad, I want to tell you your salvation story."

911
00:55:19.840 --> 00:55:23.330
And I told my dad, I said, "Dad, you used to be a drinker.

912
00:55:23.330 --> 00:55:25.070
And I remember that. I remember your B.C.

913
00:55:25.070 --> 00:55:25.580
life.

914
00:55:27.010 --> 00:55:32.740
But God with a mighty hand rescued you, he saved you, Dad.

915
00:55:34.040 --> 00:55:36.170
And ever since that day, you've put God first.

916
00:55:36.170 --> 00:55:37.720
And I know that your life is different.".

917
00:55:38.960 --> 00:55:40.010
And friends, I've got to tell you,

918
00:55:40.010 --> 00:55:44.300
as I sat there watching my father leave this life,

919
00:55:44.300 --> 00:55:47.000
I knew that he was going to a new life.

920
00:55:47.890 --> 00:55:49.340
And it changed everything in the room.

921
00:55:50.120 --> 00:55:51.290
It changed everything in the room.

922
00:55:51.290 --> 00:55:55.970
My friend Jim Gormley captured a photo that is very, very meaningful to me.

923
00:55:56.000 --> 00:56:00.140
This is from 2012 when my dad came to Cincinnati

924
00:56:00.140 --> 00:56:02.960
and was a part of a message that I gave on this stage,

925
00:56:02.960 --> 00:56:04.520
it was a part of his journey that we did.

926
00:56:04.520 --> 00:56:06.740
It was about having a seat at the father's table.

927
00:56:06.740 --> 00:56:08.360
And one of the reasons I brought my dad

928
00:56:08.360 --> 00:56:11.180
is because my dad was a fan of breakfast,

929
00:56:11.180 --> 00:56:13.700
my dad made a hot breakfast for -- a hot and heavy breakfast.

930
00:56:13.700 --> 00:56:14.840
You guys remember that if you were here.

931
00:56:15.140 --> 00:56:17.270
A hot and heavy every morning, that was like his thing.

932
00:56:17.420 --> 00:56:19.660
He always gave us that kind of breakfast.

933
00:56:19.660 --> 00:56:20.840
And so I brought my dad here.

934
00:56:20.990 --> 00:56:22.640
And the way we finished that service is

935
00:56:22.640 --> 00:56:25.160
we had biscuits and bacon for everybody at Crossroads.

936
00:56:25.280 --> 00:56:27.530
So you could get a taste of what it was like at the Mingo table.

937
00:56:27.560 --> 00:56:28.310
It was awesome.

938
00:56:29.060 --> 00:56:33.620
And Jim captured this moment, this embrace and the kiss,

939
00:56:33.620 --> 00:56:35.240
because one of the things my dad also taught me

940
00:56:35.240 --> 00:56:38.720
is that it is not effeminate for father to kiss and love his son.

941
00:56:39.630 --> 00:56:41.250
And I'm so thankful for that lesson.

942
00:56:42.360 --> 00:56:43.690
And I think about this picture.

943
00:56:44.430 --> 00:56:47.980
And when Jim sent it to me, I had two thoughts go through my mind.

944
00:56:47.980 --> 00:56:49.480
And I believe one of them was from me.

945
00:56:49.540 --> 00:56:50.860
I believe one of them was from God.

946
00:56:50.860 --> 00:56:53.260
And you might say, "You wanted to believe this was true.

947
00:56:53.290 --> 00:56:54.490
This was your grief speaking."

948
00:56:54.670 --> 00:56:55.540
Maybe so.

949
00:56:55.580 --> 00:56:56.770
But let me tell you what I thought.

950
00:56:57.010 --> 00:56:58.950
In that moment the first thought I had was,

951
00:56:58.950 --> 00:57:01.780
"God, I am so thankful for every time I got to embrace my father.

952
00:57:02.650 --> 00:57:04.900
I'm so thankful for the B.G.

953
00:57:04.900 --> 00:57:06.420
moment in his life.,

954
00:57:06.420 --> 00:57:09.370
the "but God" moment in his life that changed his life

955
00:57:09.370 --> 00:57:12.550
from a life of sin and brought him into a life of freedom.

956
00:57:12.550 --> 00:57:13.840
I am so thankful for that."

957
00:57:16.160 --> 00:57:19.100
And then I felt like I heard Jesus say to me,

958
00:57:20.160 --> 00:57:23.690
"You see that embrace? Do you see that kiss?

959
00:57:25.070 --> 00:57:27.110
That's exactly how I welcomed your dad

960
00:57:27.110 --> 00:57:29.090
when he came into my presence last Friday."

961
00:57:29.090 --> 00:57:29.300
[applause].

962
00:57:30.810 --> 00:57:31.490
It was just like that.

963
00:57:35.230 --> 00:57:36.670
My dad wasn't always a believer.

964
00:57:37.630 --> 00:57:39.890
My dad didn't always put God first,

965
00:57:39.890 --> 00:57:44.230
but God with a mighty hand, saved my father.

966
00:57:45.100 --> 00:57:47.500
When I was 8 years old, my father baptized me.

967
00:57:48.760 --> 00:57:52.180
So I will gladly put God first because I know

968
00:57:52.180 --> 00:57:53.470
that my life left out of here,

969
00:57:53.470 --> 00:57:55.660
my dad left out here with a life in order.

970
00:57:56.760 --> 00:57:57.960
Because he put God first.

971
00:57:59.750 --> 00:58:03.190
And so every week we've just been asking you to to pause

972
00:58:03.190 --> 00:58:05.050
and ask, "God, what are you saying to me?"

973
00:58:05.050 --> 00:58:08.650
What is God saying to you through this principle of first?

974
00:58:09.610 --> 00:58:13.090
What is it that he wants you to know, to hear, to do today?

975
00:58:14.220 --> 00:58:16.050
I just want to give you a moment,

976
00:58:16.050 --> 00:58:18.210
just in the quiet of where you are right now, if you're online,

977
00:58:18.210 --> 00:58:20.190
if you're in a room to ask him,

978
00:58:20.190 --> 00:58:22.980
"God, what do you want me to do with what I've heard today?".

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Just ask him. Take a moment.

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- Well, I hope that you have some great food for thought

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and then you're gonna put action behind it this week as you put God first.

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You know, wherever you are on that spectrum of believing that

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or ready to do that, we would love to pray for you.

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We have staff and volunteers who right now would pray for you by name

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for the specific thing that you want from God or that you need right now.

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So if you chat with us on the Crossroads Web site,

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you can head to Crossroads.net

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and click on the chat button in the bottom right hand corner.

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And we would love to pray for you.

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Next week, we're going to continue our series, The Blessed Life.

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We'll see you back at a location near you

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or right here on Crossroads Anywhere.
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. “Firsts” are always memorable. I remember my first motorcycle crash. It was a bummer. Tell your group about one of your favorite “firsts”—first trip overseas, first big-boy/girl job, first baby, etc. Besides a quick story, also share why this first was so meaningful.

  2. There are some things God cannot do, like occupy second place. God is first in all things—but lets let’s get real. Living with God first in all areas takes effort and focus. Where is a place in your life where God isn’t first? What type of reorienting would it take to put Him first in that area?

  3. The tithe isn’t about funding God’s work. It’s about establishing His place in your life. It’s an act of faith, and I believe God responds to faith like that. You might not believe that yet, so for the next 90 days, we put a safety net under you. Hundreds of people have signed up for the 90 Day Tithe Test. Have you? Why or why not? If it’s time, head to crossroads.net/tithetest

  4. One of the scriptures we have been using, Malachi 3:10, uses the word “bring” instead of “give.” We “bring” our tithe to God, we don’t “give” it. Why? Because we can’t give what isn’t ours in the first place. If you were able to fully believe your finances were God’s, and not yours, how would that affect your approach and attitude toward giving?

  5. Jesus is God’s tithe. God gave his best, and he gave it first. How does it make you feel knowing that God has set an example for you in the area of giving? How do you personally approach the gift of Jesus?

  6. Pray: Before you go, take time to pray for each person in your group, by name.

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Nov 2, 2019

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