We know that love gives. We love because God first loves us and gave His son that we could live, therefore as a church let’s lead the way with Shared Generosity
7.53 billion people occupy this tiny slice of history. And it’s not by accident. God chose our generation to make a difference–but He doesn’t want us to do it alone. We know Jesus and I is important, however, there is more. It is also important to God that we are Jesus and We.
Jesus and We…Series at Impact, Week 3
Week One, Jesus and We is faith. We are faith-filled, big thinking, risk takers. We’ll never insult God with small thinking or safe living.
Week Two, We are not spiritual consumers. We are spiritual contributors. The church does not exist for us but we are the church and we exist for the world.
Today, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 What makes this so important it is not easy to give. We know that love gives. We love because God first loved us and gave his son that we could live therefore as a church.
We will lead the way with Shared Generosity. We truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
What is Shared Generosity you ask?…It is the idea of all of us sharing the Generosity, giving, helping…national averages say the church is serve and funded by 8% of the congregation. Now I know Impact’s is hire than that…but still, let’s ALL Share Generously.
Illu. If I had cherry pie and you cut out 1/4 of it and took it,
Scarcity — lack of faith in God — focuses on self.
A scarcity mindset says “Wait there’s not enough for me. I have to guard what’s mine.”
Abundance — Allows me to be generous. What I have is enough.
I have room to give.
An abundant mindset says “You can have half and we can make another one. There’s always enough to go around.”
An example of an abundant mindset, Henry Heinz, born in 1844, supported his family as a teenager by growing and selling vegetables in the family garden. After graduating from college and getting married, he started a business selling horse radish. In 1875, a national financial collapse drove the young company into bankruptcy. Despite the legal freedom bankruptcy gave him, Heinz regarded each of the company’s outstanding debts as a moral obligation and personally paid back every penny.
Heinz went on to found the H.J. Heinz Company with its 57 varieties and became a leading American businessman. A devout Christian, he was known for the generous treatment of his employees and his generosity to Christian causes. Throughout his life Heinz conducted his business and personal dealings with the same integrity that led him to pay back hundreds of thousands of thousands of dollars he technically did not owe. He began his will with these words: “I desire to set forth at the very beginning of this will as the most important item in it a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Saviour.”
“Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1
? Heinz lead the way with Generosity. He believed it is more blessed to give than to receive. What a wonderful man of God and they still makes great Ketchup.
I want to start with the teaching from the book of Corinthians. Let me give you the context here…
Paul was trying to inspire the Corinthians to give to the Jerusalem church.
1. He illustrates Abundant Generosity through the Macedonians
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Here’s what he said 2 Cor 8:2 about the Macedonian Christians.
2. They were going through Many Troubles
2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor.
? Paul wrote that they were having hard times and poverty…
3. They Overflowed in rich generosity. 2b But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 3 this is stunning if you think about it…”For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.” They gave far more than they could afford.
? Paul said in the midst of a very severe trial they “overflowed in rich generosity”
[Pause here for a moment and ask yourself. When is the last time that you gave as much as you were able and maybe even pushed it beyond that? That’s a pretty convicting question for me to ask myself.]
4. They Pleaded for the Privilege to Give. Paul says this, 4 “They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem”…They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing… In other words they pleaded. “We want to give.”
? How different is that from what we see today? We think about it. In ministries, in churches, nonprofits, charities it’s almost like you had to gimmicks to get people to give. It’s like we’ll sell products to raise money. We’ll do cupcake sales to make money. Some churches spaghetti feeds and corn-holes…to make money and provide for ministry!!
? How different is that from a very poor group of people saying “We urgently plead with you let us give!!!”
5. They gave Themselves to the Lord. Then verse 5 says, “They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do,”
? They exceeded our expectations I love this.
First of all, The Macedonians gave themselves to the Lord. They gave their lives to God. Fully and completely Jesus take my life. It’s not my own I give it to you and then by the will of God also to us.
Then Paul says 6 “We sent Titus to encourage you”…Macedonians have nothing…but they gave…Paul writes….Hey Corinthians, 7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.” 2 Cor 8:1-7
What? See that you also excel in the grace of giving. Let’s be great givers.
Now if you were with us the last couple of weeks what I asked you to do was rate yourself when it comes to Faith. Rate yourself when it comes to Contributing. Today, I want to get you to do something again. I want to ask you to look at a little sliding scale of 1 to 10 and ask yourself, are you less generous or are you more generous?
Less Generous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Rich Generousity
Are you irrationally generous? Before you rate yourself…let’s talk. Don’t put 10 unless you were born in a manger and wisemen greeted you…At the same time don’t put 1 unless you are red and have horns…
Let’s think about it. You can have a lot of money and give what most people consider to be a lot but for you it’s really not a lot for you, that would a 4.
On the other hand you could have almost nothing and you could give what most people would consider not much but for you it’s a lot and that makes you more generous and a 6…Think about that…
Maybe it’s not how much you give, but maybe how much it costs you to give…you with me. Some people could put $200 in the offering today, and it’s no big deal, while others it would be rough to work out in their check book. We all have different salaries and different bank accounts, but God has called us all to give generously.
Just go through your mind maybe you’re a 3 and you give only when necessary and a $20 every now and then. Maybe you give a lot of your time and you serve and such and you might be a 7, 8 or 9.
You might be on the other hand one who finds it very difficult to give. Even worse you find it very difficult to talk about giving…like we are doing right now….Let’s call it what it is. You’re sensitive to the subject and you don’t like it. That could be an indication of a scarcity mindset and it might tip you a little bit lower on the scale, maybe 2 -ish. But all I want you to do is think about it.
How much do you keep, how much do you really use to be a blessing to others? Where would rank yourself on the scale?
Go ahead and put it somewhere on that list. What would you be? What I want to do is encourage you. If you’re a follower of Jesus to become irrationally generous, figure out ways to give.
“Generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.” Isaiah 32:8
Stingy & Generous
A Stingy Person. They plan how they can get more. I can find myself planning like that sometimes…it’s easy to be Stingy.
“Give freely and become more wealthy;
be stingy and lose everything.” Proverbs 11:24
A Generous person. They plan how they can give more. They plan how can they be more generous. They stand firm in their generosity. When all of culture says consume, consume, a generous person stands firm. Don’t miss the power of that.
? Giving is not just something we occasionally do. It is who we are.
[As I became serious about my faith in college I heard a chapel speaker teach very convincingly about the power and privilege of the tithe. I never will forget him teaching what the tithe is.
At first I was like, now way dude! No big cash for the Lord. Would he settle for 2%. Then I read and learned, learned and read…and became a tither. God has blessed ever since. Have I been perfect, no, but I strive to tithe…]
“Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored.” Deuteronomy 14:23
? Tithe: Returning 10% of what God blesses to us back to him through the local church.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple.” Malachi 3:8-10
”You should tithe, yes.” – Jesus (Mathew 23:23)
“The more you give, the more comes back to you, because God is the greatest giver in the universe, and He won’t let you out give Him. Go ahead and try. See what happens.” Randy Alcorn
- I’m telling you honestly find someplace you believe in, plug in there, use your gifts there, give generously. Share in the necessary generosity.
- Maybe we as a church can continue to find ways to give to help…in our short years Orchard/Impact have given water wells to an orphanage in Africa, given physically and monetarily to a women’s shelter in Brentwood, given to send our youth to camp, we gave money to replace 100’s of mattresses in Africa, we gave money, food and time to homeless in Antioch for years on end, sent teams to Ensenada, Mexico to work in the dump and on a new church building for years, we cleaned schools and painted play yards, we sent shoes boxes to children full of Christmas presents to children all over the world without Christmas presents, we put money into a destitute orphanage in Haiti, we served in inner-city Oakland to help children, we sent gifts to families of prisoners Christmas after Christmas..we have served and been irrationally generous…let’s keep going…to keep going we have to decide to give…each of the events above started with one or two people who motivated the rest of us to give and to give sacrificially. To become a church of shared generosity.
- They decide to sacrifice, decide to give time and finances…so Look for some ministry that you like and give your time there as well as your money there because as followers of Jesus I believe that we could be like the book of Acts where it said 2 different times if there was someone in need Christians would take what they had sell it and give the money so it meet the needs of people who need it.
Every single day it’s just what followers of Jesus did… they did this,
32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. Acts 4:32-35
Could that be possible today?
If our church could get on fire and realize that we could help lead the way with shared generosity because we truly believe it is more blessed to give than receive. I believe we could build greater efforts in our surrounding areas and to some of the neediest places on the earth. Let’s continue to meet the needs of the people in our communities and other needs around the world.
Therefore let’s choose to lead the way, doing this together because as followers of Jesus we truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive. And we believe in Jesus and We.
Father I pray that you would stir in within the hearts of our church today. God help us with our time, with our resources, with our hearts to be more generous. God we want to show love to others. I pray God that we would start being generous in our church and God as the church we be generous with the world. God teach us, all of us, about Shared Generosity, and about how we can be like the this church we read about in Acts 4. Holy Spirit we pray you do work in our hearts that you move us all to a greater place of generosity.