WHOSE (DEAL) IS IT, ANYWAY?
When we present our tithes and offerings after the peace we say word's that end with
All things come of thee, O Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee!
One of Val's favorite sayings to me is "Whose deal is this, anyway? " With the prayer above in mind, I simply want to ask, "Whose is it, anyway?"
We're starting today a 4 or 5 week conversation on "The Joy of Giving Up."
"How giving to God... renews hearts, changes minds, and empowers ministry."
This is a pilot program for the churches in the ACNA. You can get the book on Amazon.
Written by Dave Roseberry, the founding pastor of Christ Church, Plano Tx. The largest Episcopal/Anglican church in the US!
We also have resources for families with children and for adults in the back.
3 weeks of activities with kids and 5 weeks of weekday devotionals for individuals and couples.
Our pledge in-gathering will be the first two Sundays in November. So fasten your seat belts and make sure your seats and tray tables are in the upright and locked position... we're going to be asking a lot of everyone right now.
The building process is moving quickly and we're now about to dip into our final pockets of savings in order to pay our workers and our general contractor to finish before the serious cold hits.
It's crunch time, friends.
It's time again for serious prayers thanking God for His favor and faithful supply, just what we've been pursuing God for, and seen answered for the past two years! We're not done yet and neither is God! In fact I think He's just getting started with us!
Last week's sermon showed us that faith means faithfulness!
Keep on keeping on!
When Peter was out on the water, it was when he stopped ...
that he began to sink!
So today I'm urging you to faith! To faithful keeping on.
We're not going to stop or to even pause!
And my question this morning is just a reminder of what we already know... it's all God's!
The final verses of Romans 11 tell us...
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
35. “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
And To Him !!
Turn in your bulletin to the prayer of commendation at the offertory...
Let's say it together...
"YOURS, O LORD, IS THE GREATNESS, AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY, AND THE VICTORY AND THE MAJESTY; FOR EVERYTHING IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH IS YOURS;
YOURS IS THE KINGDOM, O LORD, AND YOU ARE EXALTED AS HEAD ABOVE ALL!
ALL THINGS COME OF YOU, O LORD...
AND OF THINE OWN HAVE WE GIVEN THEE! "
All things means what?
In Him, we live and move and have our being!
And now turn to Romans 12. It's response time! As we make the good confession of the Lordship and the majesty of Jesus Christ over everything, us included, there is a reasonable response!
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Read from Phillips Translation)
With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.
Next week we're going to say more about the "acceptable sacrifice!" But note what Paul says... that this kind of sacrifice is our "reasonable" response. An act of intelligent worship!
There is no pressure, no arm twisting, no guilt involved! Just a clear view of God's merciful everyday favor and goodness towards us. Eyes wide open!
The early church devoted itself. We've been studying this in Acts, chapters 2 - 5 for nearly a decade now!
To "Devote" is a verb, not unlike faith. It's a formal commitment, a consecration, an act of making holy by a vow!
They devoted themselves!
Friends, the point of all of this is to instill in us a heart of generosity!
Abraham was given a charge... you are being blessed, to be a blessing!
It's not about you, it's about all the others, silly.
And in my study I ran across a hidden Gem! In Acts 2:46 it says...
46. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
The word for GENEROUS here is the only time in the whole NT it is used...
And it literally means
NO STUBBING YOUR TOE... NO STUMBLING!
Friends, generosity is the key to never stumbling... to have a secure and steadfast walk with God... generosity is the key.
It comes from our understanding of Whose it all is! Of WHOSE we all are!
It comes from our humble response to a full and unobstructed view of God's mercies, new every morning!
¹Our living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, who is the Author and the Finisher of our faithfulness!
Faith is the movement and generosity is the smooth surface that gives us the ability to walk without stumbling... with out sinking... step after step after step.
Lord, we GIVE UP. With our eyes wide open to your every day mercies, we GIVE UP our praises to You.
Lord, we GIVE UP. With our hands extended to You first and then to others, clothe us with your Generous Holy Spirit.
Lord, we GIVE UP. Make us a people filled to the brim and overflowing with generosity, never stumbling or faltering as we follow in your footsteps, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
(Put your hand over your heart and repeat after me)
WE DEVOTE OURSELVES ANEW THIS DAY...
WE GIVE UP OURSELVES TO YOU ...
AND TO YOUR WORK IN OUR LIVES...
WE GIVE UP, LORD!
WE GIVE UP!
In Jesus name and for the sake of His Kingdom.
And everyone said...
Amen and amen.