Through the Threshold Week 5: The Thing You Can't Give

Sermon Transcript

[Video]

Everybody wants to be the first, the one to overcome, the one to break the barrier. In this world, we are told to do, try, perform. But, sometimes, we feel like we’ve hit a wall. What if true living was an unlearning? What if real life was not found in performance, but a person? It’s a new year, a new opportunity, maybe even a new life. Let’s find a way through the threshold.

[End Video]

Well, good morning to everybody and good morning, also, to those who watch via the internet and the mobile app. Peter was at the pearly gates — and let me just say, when I tell stories, they’re not always theologically correct. Disclaimer, caveat, asterisk.

So, Peter was at the pearly gates. He looks up and, all of a sudden, there’s a guy that shows up. He looks at him and he’s like, “What’s your name?”

He tells him his name and he starts flipping through his roster. He’s like, “Hmm. I don’t mean to be rude, but did you ever do anything good? Like, noteworthy or of merit or anything?”

The guy’s like, “Umm, yeah. There was this one time I did something.”

And Peter’s like, “Tell me about it. Do tell.”

He said, “Well, you know, I drove up to this bar...”

And Peter’s like, “Dude, something good.”

He goes, “No, no. This is good. I drove to this bar. I got out of my car and I noticed there was this biker gang giving this lady a hard time. I don’t know. I just got brave and I just decided I’m going to go over there. I don’t know what got into me, but I kicked one of the motorcycles. And I didn’t realize when I kicked it that all 30 went down. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. All of a sudden, they turned towards me. So, I picked out the biggest one, walked up to him, slapped him in the back of the head, grabbed his nose ring, yanked it out of his nose, threw it on the ground and said, ‘Leave the lady alone!’”

Peter’s like, “Whoa! When did you do that?”

He goes, “Uhh, about 45 seconds ago.”

It’s funny. They’re even laughing online. Okay, so here’s the question: Who is ready to be brave with me this morning? Are you with me? Alright. I’m going to hold you accountable to that in just a minute, okay? So, before we do that, I want to make sure that everybody’s brought back up to speed if it’s your first time or you maybe missed a few weeks.

We’re in a series called “Through the Threshold.” I like doing series’ because it allows us to take on a big idea and then look at it from many different directions. And the big idea of this particular series is that we’re trying to learn to really live life by unlearning large portions of the life that we’ve been living. And what do I mean by that? What I mean by that is this: We go through life and we learn how to live life. We learn how to survive. We learn how to cope. We learn how to deal with things in life. And sometimes those things that we acquire along the way are different than when we decide that we want to follow Jesus. And if you’re here today and you’ve never made that decision, I hope that you would make that decision, but you can belong here before you believe. So, just listen to what I have to say.

But for those of you all who have decided, “I’m in. I want to follow Jesus,” sometimes you go to Scripture and you open it up and you read stuff and you’re going, “That’s not the way I learn to live life up until the point here of the way I’m seeing God wants me to live life. This is way different from this.”

And we have to make those adjustments. In fact, there’s an unlearning. So, we really want to live life. I mean, we want to live the abundant life that God has for us. I mean, in John 10:10, He says, “I’ve come to give you life, and life more abundantly.”

We want that life. But, oftentimes, it’s unlearning things and learning more about what God wants for you and me that we experience that life that God has for us. So, today, what I want to deal with — and remember: Every one of you just said, “I’m in. I’m brave. I’m ready.”

What we’re going to talk about today is this: We’re going to talk about how to properly steward our finances. Yeah, see? There we go. Good. Some of you all are with me. Now, let me be a pastor here for a moment, because this is important. Some of you, you just had the walls go up. The canons have come out. You put on the hat and the bulletproof vest, and the asbestos pants. Okay? I get it. I understand. We’ve seen a lot of things where people have done things wrong and talked about this in a bad way. I get it, but there’s a reason why there’s a check your spirit. But I want to put you at ease, because I’m not a prosperity teacher, but I’m not a poverty teacher either. I believe in provision. I believe God provides for His children. And I want to teach you out of the Bible.

And I want to remind everybody in here of something, because I hope this will make sense and you’ll hear my heart on this: Many of you — and when I say many, I mean many of you — have said to me at some point or the other over the last several years, “Thanks, Chip, for preaching out of the Bible. Thank you for opening up the Scriptures for us and showing us things in the Old Testament. Thank you for taking stuff out of there.”

You come in here and you’re like, “Man, I’m ready to learn something from the Bible every single weekend.”

Let me tell you something: Nothing changes today, it’s just a different topic. So, you don’t need to put the walls up. You don’t need to get the canons out. Listen, we’re not going to take up an offering at the end of the service. We don’t have phlebotomists out in the hub that take your blood on the way out. None of that is going to go on. I just want to talk to you out of Scripture about how to properly steward our finances. And I also want to say that for some reason when you talk about this subject — and I don’t know why we do it — many of us, when we talk about it go, “Aww, man. I should’ve been doing this. I should’ve been doing that.”

Okay, can I just share from my heart here? I don’t want anybody to walk out of here with any of that past junk and guilt in Jesus’ name, because that’s not what I’m trying to do at all. This is from this point forward. Let’s address this. Let’s not go back and try to play that game in our head or anything. So, don’t let that go on in your head. Let’s just talk about what the Scriptures say about finances. And I think what I’m going to do is do it this way: I’m going to take some large principles, things that I think once we get deep into our spirit will help us with the take-homes at the end, but I think these are some great principles to learn about our finances.

Now, if you did get a bulletin, there is a notes section here on the back of it. If you carry a phone, there’s probably a note app on your phone. If you have an iPad or an Android pad or whatever you have, write this down. If not, take your phone and take a picture of the screen, because I really want us to get this. I don’t talk about this that much. There’s 52 weeks out of the year. I usually only talk about this subject 50 of them. So, let’s — I don’t. If you’re brand new, I don’t. Ask anybody and they’ll tell you I don’t. But I try to talk about it, at least, at the beginning of every year so we can sort of think about what we’re doing with our finances and we can get this out of the way and move on to some other things.

So, here’s what I call stewardship principles. I want you to write these down. I want these to get in our spirit when it comes to our finances. Number one: Everything — and that’s everything — we have is God’s. That’s a big principle to learn. Because I don’t know how you grew up, but I grew up and my mom and dad were hard workers. My mom left the mountain that she was raised on, with the nine kids, at 13 years old to go get a job. She ended up being the valedictorian of her class. She worked hard. My dad, same thing. Hard worker.

So, we grew up and all we heard was, “Work, work, work. When you work hard, you’ll get some things and you can have pride of ownership in the things that you have.”

Okay? And there’s nothing wrong with working hard and there’s nothing wrong with gaining things in life. But, it’s not yours. It’s God’s. Let me give you an example. This is my Cue. Some of you have asked, “What is that thing you hold in your hand?”

This is how I advance the slide, and this is how I go back. It’s so simple. It’s only got two buttons. There’s no laser. There’s no nothing. It’s forward and backwards for people like me from Kentucky. Forward and backward. Okay? And I want you to know that when I got this Cue, I was pumped. Because they used to have those Logitech things, and you all didn’t see it, but I’m up here pressing. And I’m trying to smile and act like I’m a Christian while I’m preaching, and inside I’m getting close to saying things that I shouldn’t say because it’s not going forward. And if you know me, I’m so OCD that I alphabetize it. CDO. And I’m ADHD times 12. I’m up here going, “Click. This is not working.”

So, I said to myself one day, “What do the guys from Apple use? I want what they use. I want what Tim Cook uses, because when he does it, it works.”

So, I got this. This is not cheap. So, I don’t want anybody to have it. This is my Cue. I worked hard for my Cue, and you can’t have my Cue. But, see, that’s me going back to the old ways of thinking. This is really God’s Cue, and I am a steward of God’s Cue. I’m not an owner of God’s Cue. So, it’s important when it comes to our finances — because we work hard, we put money away and it brings a lot of anxiety and fear to us trying to control all that stuff — to remember that everything we have is God’s.

Let me give you an example of how this works in Scripture. In 1 Chronicles 29, the Lord has told the children of Israel that He wants them to build a temple. So, what does David do? David goes, “Man, let’s get all my wealth. Come on. Let’s get it. I’m going to offer all this up so that we can build the temple.”

Then he gets all of his leaders and says, “Come on, guys. We’re going to give. We’re going to give.”

Then he gets all the people together and they give. So, you’ve got this huge offering that they’ve taken, and then this is an excerpt of the prayer that David prays in 1 Chronicles 29.

He says, “‘But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us.”

See, there’s a freedom there when you realize, “This is not my Cue.” Because, see, when I think it’s my Cue, I get possessive of it and it’s like, “You’re not getting my Cue. I’ll slap your hands. Get away from my Cue.”

You know? And then I worry about my Cue. Like, when I go away for a weekend, “Who got my Cue? You go get you one of them Logitech things and learn sanctification. You’re not going to get this, okay?”

But the reality is it’s not mine. What it is is, see, we’re not owners, we’re stewards. And that’s a huge principle to learn, because there’s a freedom in realizing everything that I have is not mine, it’s God’s. And now what I need to do is I need to make sure that I steward it well.

What’s the second principle? The second principle is this: Financial stewardship is not a money issue, it’s a heard issue. God doesn’t need your money. It’s His anyway. You don’t have any. It’s His. What He wants is your heart, because He knows that where the money goes is where the heart goes. If the money doesn’t go, it’s a controlling heart because it doesn’t want to go. Whatever it is, it exposes what’s going on in here. And all you’ve got to do is look at your checkbook and you can tell where your heart’s at. Real quickly, you’ll know.

If you go, “Well, I spend all my money on my daughter,” that’s where your heart’s at. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. You should love your daughter. But what I’m saying is that where your finances go is where your heart goes.

I don’t know if you all remember when the iPhones first came out. Back then, you had BlackBerrys. Does anybody remember BlackBerrys? You know? They used to have BlackBerrys. I was a BlackBerry dude. Then the iPhone came out and it was like this cool thing. On the original face of the iPhone, there was a stock button. I’d never thought about that at all. I clicked it and I was like, “Whoa, man. That’s cool. There are stocks. I need to get some stocks because I can see it on my phone. I don’t want to see that. I want to see my stocks.”

So, I don’t know. I had like 10 bucks or something in stocks. And you’d be surprised I spent 10 bucks on stocks, and guess what I did every day? I was looking at my stock? Do you know why? Because where my money went, that’s where my heart went. Where our heart goes. See, it’s not a money issue. It’s a heart issue. This is what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount:

“No one can serve two masters.” You can’t do it. He says, “You’ll either hate one or love the other, or you’ll be devoted to one and despise the other.”

You can’t serve two masters. You know? And I don’t know what you think He would’ve said next. “You can’t serve God and your spouse. You can’t serve God and your job. You can’t serve God and your workout regimen or whatever it may be.”

You know? You don’t have to worry about that for me. Anyway, I don’t know about you all, but did anybody make a New Year’s resolution to lose some weight? I did. I said, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds.”

I’ve only got 35 to go. Anyway, He says, “No one can serve two masters, for you’ll hate one and love the other, or you’ll be devoted to one...”

Here’s what He says: “You cannot serve God and money.”

Why does He say that? Because He knows that if our heart is here with our finances, it’s not going to be here with God. And it’s so easy to get there. See, financial stewardship is not a money issue. It’s not about the money. It’s about our hearts. And it’s so important to get, because when you talk about a subject like this, people get frustrated sometimes. They get upset. They don’t want to hear about it. Like, “Aww, we’ve got to talk about this again?”

The reason is because they think it’s a money issue. It’s not a money issue. It’s a heart issue. It really exposes where our hearts are at. The third big principle — and this is huge — is God loves His house. Do you know what Paul says Jesus died for? He says Jesus died for the Church. See, God loves His house. In the Old Testament, it was the temple. In the New Testament, it’s the Church. God does not want His house to be in disrepair. You don’t have to raise your hand, but there’s nobody in here, if I were to do a hand raise, that likes to be in a house where there’s a leak in the top of the roof that’s leaking on your head while you’re trying to sleep. Nobody likes those toilets that when you flush them they don’t flush, they come out, over and onto the floor and all that. Nobody likes that stuff. Nobody likes it when you sit on the couch and the springs come through the thing and it’s poking you. Nobody likes that. Like, “We’ve got to get a new couch.”

When you open up your refrigerator and all your food is spoiled because your refrigerator doesn’t work, you go, “This is not good.”

Nobody wants their house in disrepair. But I can tell you something: Nobody wants their house in disrepair any more than your Heavenly Father wants His house in disrepair. He wants His house to be able to take care of all the needs that would come to it and more. Anything that comes in, He wants to make sure that it’s taken care of.

And let me show you how God loves His house. There’s a book called the book of Malachi. It’s in the Old Testament. I want you to see the way God talks about His house and the way He sees finances in regard to His house. He doesn’t need your money. He wants your heart. But He knows if He has your heart, He’ll have resources. The reason He wants the resources is for His house.

Here’s what He says in Malachi 3:8-10: “‘Should people cheat God? Yet you’ve cheated me.’”

That’s like, “What? Cheating God? Man, that’s interesting.”

“‘Should people cheat God? Yet you’ve cheated me. But you ask, ‘How did we cheat you?’”

“When did we ever cheat You? I mean, God, let’s have a conversation here. What did it look like? When did we do it? What was that?”

He says, “‘You’ve cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me.’”

Now, let me explain something to you. I’m from Kentucky, so I like to make sense. I have fifty dollars here. There’s twenty, thirty, forty, fifty. So, people ask, “Okay, what is a tithe?”

The Hebrew word “tithe” means a tenth part. So, which one of these is the tithe? Well, it’s the first one out of the bunch. That’s what the tithe is. It’s the first one. It’s the first five bucks out of fifty. That’s what it is. He says, “You’ve cheated me of tithing because you didn’t give, and offerings.”

Offerings are above tithe, not below them. They’re not two different things. “I offer. I don’t tithe.” No. It’s tithing and offering. He says, “This is a tithe.”

Tithe is the first portion of what you get. Ten percent. And then offerings are above. Like if you have some money left over and you say, “Well, I also want to give another five bucks for an offering.”

Okay? He says, “You have cheated me of those things.”

“‘You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me.’”

Listen to what He says here: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,’” — remember God loves His Church; His house. Why? — “‘so there will be enough food in my temple.’”

“I don’t need your money. It’s my money.”

Do you know how you know it’s God’s money? Because it doesn’t say, “Give your tithe.” you can’t give it. You can only bring it. Do you know why you can only bring it? Because it’s not yours in the first place. You can give what’s yours, but we don’t have anything to give. We bring God back what’s already His. You can’t give me my Cue back. You can bring me my Cue back. You can’t give it to me. We can’t give God a tithe. We can bring it to Him.

He says, “‘Bring all the tithes to the storehouse, so there will be enough food in my temple.’”

Then listen to what He says: “If you do, says the Lord of Heaven’s armies, I will open the windows of heaven for you and I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t even have enough room to take it in. I don’t need your money,” God says. “I want your heart. Bring me what is due me, because I’ve got plans for what I want to use these resources for. I want to make sure my house has enough resources to do what my house wants to do, and I want your heart. Your heart is what I want, because I want to have relationship with you. And if I have your heart, bring back only 10 percent. You can go live on 90 of it. I’m a generous God. But I want 10 percent back in the house so that the house can do the things that it needs to do.”

There are so many church groups that have done studies. Every church in America, by and large, if everybody did what God said they’re supposed to do, the Church would have all the resources that it needs to do. In America, the average Christian gives 2 percent of their income to the local church, and we wonder why the local church is underfunded and doesn’t have — God knows what He’s doing.

And then, on top of this, listen to this — listen to what He says. This is huge. He says, “Try it.”

Can you imagine God going, “Try it, dude? Come on!”

You know? Try it. He says, “Put me to the test.”

Listen, I know some of you are squirming and all this stuff. Listen, I’m not trying to give you any squirm. I’m not trying to give you any guilt. I’m not trying to do any of that. I’m just going, you like it when I preach other things out of the Scripture. Like, “Amen! Alright!” I’m just preaching you the Bible here. I’m not telling you something that’s funky. This is just Scripture. You know? Get mad at me. I’m not trying to give anybody a hard time.

So, He says, “Try it. Put me to the test.”

And then here’s what happens — and it always happens. It does. “That’s Old Testament. Don’t bring that Old Testament stuff in here, Bennett. Why are you bringing that Old Testament stuff in here?”

Okay. Let’s have a moment here. Principle number four: Grace always does more, not less. Grace always does more, not less. You know what the New Testament talks about, right? All. The woman who gives all, Jesus says she did a good thing. So, here’s what I’ve found to be true. Those who go, “Well, that’s just Old Testament,” it’s not like they’re giving 30 percent or 50 percent. They’re giving less because they don’t like that number. Because, again, where our heart is is where God’s at. So, let me say, grace always does more. In the Old Testament, what does it say? Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth. Right? Grace does more. Grace says, “Love your enemy.”

Old Testament says, “Okay. This is where they can go, then this is what you do.”

Jesus says, “No. Seventy times seven.”

Grace does more. But I know, here’s what people want. You hear it all the time. They’re like, “You know what, Bennett? Here’s the truth: If there was a passage in the New Testament, just one, where J.C. — you know, Jesus — would just come along and say, ‘You should tithe.’ Yes, Jesus. I’m in. But that ain’t in there, and because that ain’t in there, I’m not tithing. I’m going to tip. And I ain’t giving nothing today. Can I get my offering back, because I don’t like what you’re preaching anyway?”

So, we see if you should tithe. Yes. Jesus. Everybody’s like, “Alright. If He said it, then I’d be in.”

Okay. I get that. I get that you would like to see that in the New Testament. Let me just show you something here, because I think you’ll enjoy this passage. In Matthew 23, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and the religious leaders, and they’re not having a good day with Jesus. He’s being pretty strong.

He says, “‘Woe to you! What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees, you hypocrites!”

Here’s what He says: “You’re careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law — justice, mercy and faith.”

People go, “See? It’s not that important. This is what’s important. Justice, mercy and faith.”

Whatever. This is even better. Let me give you a little New Testament stuff that you’ll find interesting. The Pharisees were so legalistic — check this out — that of their agrarian garden, they found out a way to not have to give on the more important produce of the garden. They found that if they planted little herbs in their garden, those herbs would sprout first, and they could tithe off of those, and then they wouldn’t have to give off of the bigger stuff. These guys were great, man. They were good church folk.

Anyway, if you’re careful to tithe, He says all this stuff. But, guys, the justice, mercy and faith is really important. Then He says, oh man, “You should tithe, yes,”

“Oh, Chip. You just got us.”

I did. That’s why you don’t want to have a Bible scholar for a pastor.

“But don’t neglect the more important things.”

Can I tell you what Jesus is saying? He’s like, “This is elementary. What’s important is justice, mercy and faith.”

But there’s no way any of us are going to be real people of justice — like, real people of justice — if our heart isn’t even right with God in our finances. If we can’t trust God there, we’re surely not going to be turning the other cheek and loving our enemies. He says, “You should tithe, yes. Nothing against that.”

And, just so you know, biblically, tithing predates the Law. Abraham tithed before the Law ever, ever, ever happened. Ever. He says, “You should tithe, but don’t neglect the more important things. This is not the most important thing. I don’t need your money. I want your heart, but I know I’ve got your heart. If I’ve got your finances, I’ve got your heart, and then we can start getting to business about what we’re doing.”

You know, one of the things I had the most difficulty with as we’ve grown as a church is people saying, “Why are we spending money out here in the community? Why are we doing things?”

And I didn’t want to say it to them because they’d have been mad and probably left, but I wanted to say, “That just shows where your heart’s at.”

We’re supposed to be generous people. We’re supposed to be people that give. And do you know what? Here at Grace, what I can tell you is this: For all the naysayers, that have come along and said things, I can show you, this church has just given more and more and more and more as we go because we keep pouring it out and pouring it out and pouring it out, because we trust God here to do the things that He can do. We can trust Him. That means we can turn the other cheek. That means we can love our enemies. Because we trust Him.

There are many churches in this town that will tell you that we’ve done things for them that they were blown away. We’ve given computers, we’ve given money, we’ve done all kinds of stuff. Why? Because we believe that God will supply our needs. We believe that.

Okay. So, now that we’ve got all these really good principles, let’s do these take-homes here. Write these down. These are really important. This is really good stuff to take home. First of all, financial stewardship is a real litmus test of our spirituality. You want to know where your hearts at, you want to know where you’re at with the Lord, just look at your finances. That’s all you’ve got to do, and you’ll know. And this is not to guilt anybody. Like, you’re not going to hell if you haven’t given.

Listen, we’re not saved by what we do. What I’m saying is, though, if I turn to 1 Corinthians 7 and say you’re supposed to love your spouse, you’re not supposed to be trying to get from them, you’re supposed to be giving. That’s what Scripture says. You can go, “Well, I don’t want to do that.”

That’s fine. You can say, “I don’t want to love my enemies. I want to kill them.”

Okay, well that’s fine. And it’s funny, because in the same way that you say that, you’ll go, “Don’t give me that Old Testament stuff,” but when it comes to killing enemies, “Let’s go to the Old Testament.”

You know? So, it’s funny how we — that’s called picking and choosing the things that you like. we’re not going to do that here at Grace. We’re going to say, “Hey, what does Scripture say, to the best of our ability, and let’s try to live this thing out.”

Financial stewardship is a real litmus test. Dr. Adrian Rogers had a small church. It was like 29,000 people. He passed away, I think, in about 2005. But, this is a quote that he said. It’s one of these quotes that, when I say it — up to this point, nobody’s said, “Woo! Amen.” They go, “Ooo. Go to the next one with your Cue.”

So, here’s what Adrian Rogers said:

“You can sing all you want about how you love Jesus, and you can have crocodile tears in your eyes, but the consecration that doesn’t reach your purse has not reached your heart.”

That’s tough, isn’t it? But it’s true. Financial stewardship really just shows our heart. It just shows where our heart’s at. That’s the bottom line. Second principle. Well, hold on. Not second principle. Let me go back here. Many of us live as if this is what Paul said in Philippians 4:19. When I listen to people, this is what I think they think the Bible says:

“And the same God who sometimes takes care of me might at times supply some of your needs from the check at your job, which at times Jesus uses.”

That’s not what Paul said. And it seems like we live that way. Like, “Well, am I? I’m not sure. Don’t give me that ‘giving’ stuff, because, you know.”

It’s like people that say, “What do y’all do with the offering? Do y’all just take it, throw it up in the air and say, ‘God, whatever You catch is Yours, and whatever lands on the floor is ours?’”

You know? No, that’s not the way we do it. Come on. We think some crazy things here at times. I mean, this is not what Philippians 4:19 says. Here’s what Philippians 4:19 says:

“This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

And I want to highlight a couple of words here. First word: Will. Not might. Not could. Not hopefully. Will. Do you know why Paul says that? Because the Philippian church is giving. If you go back and read the context, they’ve given to Him. Paul says, “Because you’re generous and you’re givers, I’m going to tell you something: God will — not could, not might — supply what? All.”

That’s all your needs, not your greeds. That’s good preaching. It’s funny. The good preaching, I don’t get “amens” on. Anyway, He’ll supply all your needs, not some, not might. I mean, this is either we believe this or we don’t. We either believe it or we don’t. How is He going to supply my needs? Look at this: From His glorious riches. Not from your check. Not from your job. Not from your boss. From His glorious riches. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He owns the hills as well. He’s got it all. From His glorious riches.

So, at some point, we’ve got to engage and say, “Look, this really shows where my heart’s at. Do I trust God with my finances?”

Second thing: The biblical revelation tells us that tithing is really the minimum. It’s the minimum. It’s not the thing that we try to attain to, it’s the minimum. Really, what God wants is He wants us to give tithes and offerings, and alms and supplies when we can. And we go, “Whoa, man. How am I supposed to live?”

See, that’s where we get into our head and what we do is we go, “Oh, I can only do this. I can only do that.”

Listen, if our Christianity was based on what’s in our head and what we could imagine, Moses would’ve never left Egypt. Moses would’ve never gone through the Red Sea. Jesus wouldn’t have gotten up from the dead. Jesus wouldn’t have walked on the sea. And there are people you can find all the time that go, “Jesus couldn’t have walked on the water. Nobody walked on the water.”

Well, if Jesus got up from the grave and He defeated death, Hell and the grave, then Moses could’ve gone through the Red Sea, He could’ve walked on the water, He could’ve healed the blind eyes. Bottom line is we either believe this or we don’t believe this. And if God says, “In my word, here’s what I want you to do with your finances,” then we either do it or we don’t do it. What I’ll tell you is when you talk to any pastor at any place, they will tell you, “If the people of God gave the way God asked them to give, the local church would have everything that it needed to do the things that it did.”

But, unfortunately, we’re people. We’re like, “We don’t want to give money because we want to control things. We don’t like the way...”

You’re not giving to the church, you’re giving to God. And you’re not even giving, you’re bringing what is His. That means you walk in here and go, “Woo! I’m giving to God. It’s Yours, man.”

And that’s your blessing. That’s between you and God. You know? So, this is just really the minimum. The third thing I would tell you — and this is so huge. If you don’t get anything else I say today, get this: Open hands are hands that God can fill. See, He ain’t filling that.

I got my Cue back. He wants us to have open hands that are generous. And see, the more you can trust God with your finances, the more you can open up this hand and be generous. And that’s not for me. We’re not taking up an offering. We’re not doing any of that stuff. It’s not for me. It’s not for anything. God don’t need your money. This is for you. Like, when people say, “How do I have a better marriage? How do I have a better prayer life?”

We go to Scripture. We talk about finances. “How do I cure my financial issues?”

Well, do it God’s way. He just said try it. Open hands are hands that God can fill. Look at what Paul says to the Corinthian church: “God is the one who provides seed for the farmer, and then bread to eat.”

So, the seed, the wheat, the bread? God’s. God provides that. He’s the one who does that. He says, “In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources, and then produce a great harvest of generosity within you.”

In other words, He wants to give us stuff so that we can be generous. He doesn’t want to give us stuff so we can horde it and hold on and go, “Oh my God, if the stock market does that again this week, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

You’ve got more faith in the stock market than you do in God. He says, “What will you do? And, yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can sometimes be nice.”

No. “So that you can always be generous.”

Because, see, when you know that you can trust God with your finances — I had five people walk up to me last night and go, “You let me know when you want me to get on the video. I will tell the church what you told is absolutely the truth.”

I had one lady that said, “When I got married to my husband...” — she was standing right here — “...I looked at him and I’m like, ‘You don’t tithe?’”

She’s like, “Well, you’re going to have to learn, because this is the way it works.”

She goes, “Pastor, let me tell you something. We did 10 percent to God, 10 percent savings and lived on 80. And I could show you it didn’t pencil, but it has always worked. And now we do 10 percent to God, 10 percent to savings and 10 percent to Roth IRA and live on 70. And you know what? God has just always — it just comes in somehow. You want me to get up and testify?”

And I had other people coming up saying, “This is just the truth.”

It is the truth. You can trust God with your finances. And I wouldn’t be a good Bible teacher and I wouldn’t be a good pastor if I didn’t give you the opportunity to hear what God’s Word says about finances. So, that’s what I have to say. I want to pray with you. I want you to just let God speak to you. I don’t even know what you give. I don’t look. This is not about that. This is about, “You want to have a good marriage? You want to learn how to pray? You want to do this?”

This is just the part of the Bible that talks about our finances. So, let’s pray. Let’s ask God to speak to us and then we’ll get out of here.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You so much for the truth of Your Word. And, Lord, it is an unlearning. There are so many things that we have to go back and unlearn as we follow this thing out. So, Lord, I just pray that You would speak to all of us. Lord, I pray that You would inspire us and encourage us. In the same way that we’ve latched onto Your Word and other things in our lives and see that it works, I pray, Lord, that we would truly see that You will be a God who supplies all of our needs according to Your riches and glory that are in Christ Jesus.

So, Lord, help us to be a church that’s generous. Help us to be a church that stewards our finances properly for Your glory and for Your honor. And Lord, I pray that You would just help us to be a church that increases our faith. As we walk through our journey with You, that we would learn to trust You in every area of our life, and this weekend we would think about trusting You with our finances as we go forward.

So, Lord, we just love You and we praise You and we honor You for all the great things that You have done for us, and for the fact that You teach us the things that we need to know. In Jesus’ name we pray, and everybody said, “Amen.”

Before you leave and before you get up, lean in. Next weekend is, like, really, really, really important. Cancel your vacation. Postpone your cruise. No, you don’t have to. But, what I’m saying is to try to be here, because I want to talk to the church about some really great things that we all want to know about in terms of the future. Really important weekend to be here.

So, while I’m trying to walk out of here like I normally do, look at somebody and tell them they have nice clothes, or that you love them, or that their hair looks really good, and say, “Man, wasn’t that a great message on giving? Aren’t you planning on giving?”

So, God bless everybody. Have a great day. See you soon.

John Flowerree