Called to Give

Giving Best Practices

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Sermon Summary

January 27, 2019

By: Jim Eschenbacher

This is a continuation in the series on giving. Drew has tastefully instructed us on the subject of giving without putting pressure on us to give more. This sermon is about the best practices regarding giving as taken from the Bible and his personal experience. He gave us, a departure from the usual, 10 points.

1. God owns everything that we think we own.

Ps. 24:1, Job 41:11, Haggai 2:8,

Job 41:11…Who has first given to me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

2. Giving is an act of worship.

Philippians 4:18… I have received full payment and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God

Paul thanks the church for giving to his need and uses worship words in his thank you. He was given gifts for his natural needs and he called it a sacrifice, acceptable and pleasing to God. God watches our giving.

3. Giving reflects faith in God’s provision.

Mark 12:41-44… And Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins which make a penny. And He called his disciples to Him and said, “Truly, I say to you, this widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

She gave all she had saved, apparently trusting that God would provide. Which do you trust most… your savings, or God’s provision? Jesus contradicts our logic by stating that it is not the size of the offering that matters. At the same time, He did not discount the offerings of those who gave abundantly. Don’t count yourself out because you are poor.

4. Giving should be sacrificial and generous.

The widow gave all she had. She did not hold anything back.

5. Giving reflects spiritual trustworthiness.

6. It is an act of love, not legalistic obligation or guilt.

2 Corinthians 9:7… Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Drew made the comment that we would be better off not giving at all if our giving is an act of legalistic obligation.

7. Give willingly, thankfully, and cheerfully.

We should want to give. God knows what is in our heart when we give. I heard a humorous story many years ago:

A young boy was struggling to know what to put in the offering at church. He had a quarter and a dime. He wanted to give the dime but felt obligated to give the quarter. When the basket came by, he tossed in his quarter and felt rather good about it. The pastor said, “When you give God knows what is in your heart.” in the car on the way home the little guy was sobbing. His mom asked him what the problem was. He said, “I put a quarter in the offering but God knows I only wanted to put in a dime, so I wasted 15 cents. Yes, it’s a joke, but it makes the point.

8. Giving should be an appropriate response to real need.

Acts 2:44… And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all as any had need.

“As any had need” … They weren’t just giving indiscriminately; they were giving to a pressing need.

One of the points that Drew pressed was that we should be prepared.

That takes planning and forethought. Are you always ready to help someone in need or are you content to put money in the offering and consider everything done?

9. Giving should be planned and systematic. If your neighbor needs $10.00 for his medicine and you only have $5.00, you can’t completely help him.

To know the cost of his medicine, you have to know him.

10. Generous giving results in bountiful blessing. This point is next week’s focus.

Contentment

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Sermon summary

January 20, 2019

By: Jim Eschenbacher

This week, I was unable to attend church so I listened to the sermon on line. You can do likewise. I went to Mountain Vista Bible Church… clicked on ‘sermons’ under the media heading. This was the second in a series on giving.

It was very timely.

1 Timothy 6:6-19… Now, there is great gain in godliness with contentment. “contentment” = We brought nothing into his world when we came and we can take nothing out. We need to be ok with that. The world tries to convince us that some stuff is permanent. Nothing this world has to offer is permanent.

Verse 10… For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.

This is a modern translation. The KJV reads, ‘The love of money is the root of all evil.” Notice, it does not say, Money is the root of evil; love is. This reminds me of a verse Drew included in last week’s sermon. “You can not serve God and money; for you will love one and hate the other… etc.” Love of money equates with hatred toward God. And there is the root of all evil.

Drew spent a good amount of time on the word “contentment.” It is kind of like the opposite of greed and lust. Paul explains it further to Timothy.

Verse 8… But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

When Drew read that verse, I was challenged because I have a car and a house too. Would I be content without those? I m not sure. My wife just took off in the car. She was going to get some groceries. The car is a means to food and also to clothes. Her job is also a means to those things.

The real question is, “Am I content?” Riches can lead us astray.

Verse 9… But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

Have you discovered that distraction? Have you gone down that detour?

I have thought that I am mature enough to handle a lot of money. Apparently God is smarter than me… you think? Part of our transformation is that we will learn to love God more than wealth. What is wealth? Money represents wealth; it is not, in and of itself, wealth. Money is mostly paper and some coins of mineral makeup. What money can do is buy influence and comfort. The prince of this world loves those things. Satan likes to have influence over our lives. He tempts us with the same things he likes.

That reminds me of the big question, “Am I more influenced by God or by Satan?” This sermon just got s lot more important. It is about more than giving; it is about love. When we are content, we can be generous. Lack of contentment, wanting more, does not allow us to be generous with others.

Verse 17… As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

There is no sin in being wealthy; there are temptations that come with the territory. But… we need not try to be poor in order to please God. Drew talked about the place of Americans in the world. We are the rich ones. We are in the top 5% of all people. God looks down and sees all people at the same time. That is a good reason to never complain about lack. Take a test.

Which would you miss the most? Something of worldly value, like a car or a boat or some jewelry or your home. Or else, a friendship, peace, acquaintances. He ended the sermon with a challenge. There is a hotel being built next door to the church. We are invited to meet at the church this Wednesday at 5:30 to walk over to the unfinished hotel and pray for it. Also, we, as a church, can put a Gideon’s Bible in every room. The Bibles are only $5.00 each. Be generous and give toward that goal.

At this point in the series, I realize I don’t give because I have extra; I give because God is worth more than all the stuff I could acquire. I was born with a singing voice. God gave that to me. That can leave this world with me. But, all that I have accumulated won’t leave with me. Thank you, Drew, for studying this.

Develop a Healthy Perspective

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Called to Give: Develop a Healthy Perspective
(Sermon synopsis for January 13, 2019)

By: Jim Eschenbacher

Drew started a series on giving, a topic people tend to complain about. It is uncomfortable territory for a pastor, but, I give Drew credit for doing it and for not making it about money.

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the longest sermons recorded in the Bible. In Matthew 6:19 Jesus taught that we are not to lay up treasures on earth and the same instruction is recorded in other gospels. Jesus taught things more than once; who are we to decide we’ve heard it enough?

After mentioning ways we lay up treasures for ourselves on earth, Drew summed up the teaching, “This world is a poor investment.” Whatever we might find valuable on this earth (like jewelry, clothes, cars, houses, boats, or anything that men value) is subject to rust and decay. It will systematically lose value over time. Contrast that with God’s valuables and we can see the difference. God’s investments increase in value with time and will be with us in eternity.

Jesus continued with His sermon and said, “The eye is the lamp of the body.” What does that mean? Whatever your eye finds desirable will light up your life. Are you impressed with large homes? Exotic cars? Expensive jewelry?

Your eye can be healthy or unhealthy just as your perspective can be healthy or unhealthy. A healthy perspective has God as the priority.

In another place, Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” What do you talk about most during the week? Your heart will be occupied with the things that matter most to you.

Jesus continued on… “You cannot serve God and money. You must choose one or the other.” Drew changed one word and made it clear to me. He said, “You cannot place your trust both God and money.” That put it into perspective. Who or what do you trust to help you in times of trouble?

Drew asked us to turn to Psalm 123:2; we are to look to God the way a servant looks to a master. A servant expects his needs to be taken care of by his master; he looks nowhere else. Does that describe your trust level of God? I found this to be a challenging point.

I have noticed that prayers increase when doctors say they have no solution. We treat God as a last resort, a fall back.

Make Him #1 in your life; as for giving, give Him all of you.

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