Have you ever sent somebody a text message and they didn’t text you back? Then later they needed something so they send you a text putting their request on top of your text as a visual that they neglected you but now want something? This can be frustrating in any relationship. I wonder if this is how God feels when we are only interested in talking to him about our agenda but when he wants us to embrace his agenda we’re not responsive.
God’s plan is for you to carry an irrationally sacrificial disposition that consistently contributes into the existence of other people as your way of life.
· Conversationally – stop talking about yourself so much.
· Relationally – stop making relationships all about you and what you hope to get from the friendship.
· Financially – stop chasing the latest and greatest thing wasting the resource of your time and money trying to impress people.
The more you try to impress people the less you’re able to influence them. This is such an easy trap to fall into. Once I had the privilege of meeting John Maxwell. We visited personally for a bit and he kept using my name. Later that day we saw each other in a busy room and he called to me using my name again saying it had been nice to meet. I was stunned. John Maxwell knew my name! It seemed to impact me more deeply than I knew it should have but I felt so honored. The next week I received the Maxwell Leadership CD of the month, which I’d been paying for over the past year. As I began to listen he explained what he calls “The Postman Principle.” His advice was to learn the names of insignificant people because it will mean a lot to them.
I’d been duped. It’s such a funny story because I’d bought in to his trick before I heard him explain it. The fact is it truly spoke to me about how easily I’d been enamored by this leadership figure and was very taken to have had his attention. This is such a trap that can easily capture any of us.
We live in such a self-absorbed and materialistic world. How can we get free from these influences? More significantly how can we stay free? God purposed a plan to help us perpetually embrace the sacrificial nature of love. For God so loved the world that he gave his Son. Did you catch it. Love always gives. Giving has always been a part of God’s plan for worship throughout the generations.
Deut 14:23 The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives (TLB)
Tithing has always been part of God’s plan for worship. This keeps us free from materialism as we come face-to-face with giving a portion of our increase every time it comes our way. Our giving should never be about anything other than truly honoring God. Our deepest conviction should produce our greatest devotion.
Giving involves being a responsible part of the church family but it goes much deeper than that. God designed you with giving in mind. You will malfunction in every area of life that lacks the principle of giving.
Dr. Karl A. Menninger - “Giving money is a very good criterion of a person's mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill.”
Your children won’t learn to be generous from their buddies. What will come naturally to our kids is to be self-absorbed & self-destructive
We Bring GP2RL Action Point:
Purpose a family conversation this week about tithing and putting God first in your lives.
Some dreams can’t come to pass by natural means. God’s plan involves spiritual disciplines that release supernatural abilities to your life and to your legacy!!!
Hopefully you are motivated to give but I want to ask you not to go find the giving station & give compulsively. I’m not trying to talk people out of their rent. I want you to make a mature and intentional decision to give consistently as your ministry of obedience to the Lord because you desire to see God’s Kingdom expand in the earth.
Recently I heard a guy explaining a “False Memory” warning he received from his electric car after charging it every time it moves. The battery will start to say it's full but it's really not because you keep getting these little short burst charges never truly going deep with the charge. In order to go deep with the charge you have to empty the battery more completely. Like many Christians we look for short bursts of inspiration without ever truly emptying ourselves. This leaves us saying we are full but lacking power because we’ve never really gone deep by emptying ourselves into the lives of others sacrificially.
If you keep trying to get charged up without ever truly emptying yourself you’ll find yourself frustrated and feeling like you really should have a greater capacity than you seem to have and it’s true! You do! The question is are you emptying yourself!?!?
Like saturated sponges we can’t take more in until we are squeezed out into the lives of others. God wants your life to be awesome but that truth comes with a trick. The truth is God wants your life to be awesome. The trick is God wants you to provide an awesome life for others not pursue an awesome life for yourself. This will make your life awesome!
Eph 1:18-23I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. NIV
Eph 1:23 The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence. MSG
DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS
Start by praying the verses we focused on Sunday. These verses are written in a format to pray over your group:
(Eph 1:18-23) Lord, we pray that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of your glorious inheritance in your holy people, and your incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at the right hand of God. God, you placed all things under Jesus’ feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of God who fills everything in every way through our surrendered available lives. Help us to grow in this together as we discuss your word. Amen!
1. What was something that stood out to you from Sunday’s message?
Clearly the church is the fullness of Him who fills all in all through our willingness to be used by God.
Eph 1:22-23 He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. NKJV
2. What financial situation did you grow up with (i.e. not enough money, just made ends meet, more than enough, it varied, etc.)?
3. What did your parents do, if anything, to help train you to manage your finances?
4. What are the primary differences between a person who owns their “stuff” and a person whose “stuff” owns them?
Managing your finances well positions you to live a consistently generous life.
1 Cor 10:24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. (NKJV) The Message Bible says it well, “We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.” (MSG)
All of the world’s resources came from God. We have nothing before we arrive and nothing after we leave.
God OWNS it and God LOANS it. We have what God entrusts to our care for about a century. The question is will we spend it primarily on ourselves or will we cooperate with His sacrificial nature to invest in God’s Kingdom to make a difference in the lives of others.
This is why we exist as a church. This is why we are in this group having this conversation. People give so we can exist as a family and encourage each other forward in our faith.
Our giving is a responsible part of being a church family together but it goes deeper than that. This is about our worship. This is about our legacy. Our children won’t learn generosity from their buddies. We must help them understand God’s plan for giving a portion of our increase to constantly bring us back to the reality that everything we have came from him. This helps us keep him first in our lives.
Deut 14:23 The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives. (TLB)
5. Did you have any kind of family discussion about giving when you were growing up?
How can you initiate this conversation this week to cooperate with the action point of the week?
GP2RL Action Point:
Purpose a family conversation this week about tithing and putting God first in your lives.