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Why Church? Why Give? - Part 2

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This week, pastors Ed Allen and Alex York preached a sermon together about Giving, from II Corinthians 9:6-11.

The passage is encouraging, but at its heart is a command:  GIVE.

Those who follow Jesus are called to give.  It's our privilege and our responsibility.  It's one way we can be involved in many more ministries throughout the kingdom of God.

We give Deliberately.

"what you have decided in your heart to give"

It's not spontaneous and not from pressure or manipulation.

The decision is made in the heart.  There's more to this than numbers.  Talk about it; pray about it.  Don't forget the faith factor.

We give Cheerfully.

"For God loves a cheerful giver."

God delights in blessing His people, and He wants to teach us how to bless others with delight.

The joy of giving grows with time and trust.  We start noticing new ways to be generous.

Why Give?  We're told to, but we're designed for it and built for it.  Part of being made in God's image.

This passage begins with a Kingdom Principle:  

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

It's not always financial blessing, but God does bless.

How do we get this done?

verse 10 -- God supplies the seed in the first place and helps us on the front end.

Then He enlarges our harvest and blesses us on the back end.

God blesses us coming and going.

From Genesis 12 and Abraham -- God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others.

You'll never find someone who's walked with God a long time who's given up on giving because God didn't come through.

We invest over time, in personal ways.

As we said before we give because Jesus talked about giving, our commitment to one another, and to feed the machine.

Right now, our congregation has a Ferrari, this beautiful new building.  Now we need fuel.  This Ferrari was built for the road!

We need to invest in:

1)  TEENAGERS!  We need to hire Moises Altamirano, our Youth Minister, full time.

2)  Our building -- We still need to make it our home.  Put in the soccer field and other things still to be done.

3)  Missions -- We need to give to people beyond ourselves.

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Beginning Monday morning, our church is going to begin a year of reading through the Old Testament together, with a "Deeper Wider" theme.  Ed's going to kick us off this next week by going over the devotional at 6:30 am each morning this week on Facebook Live.  Join us!

 

Run Well, Finish Strong

Today Pastor Ed Allen preached a sermon on the theme "Run Well, Finish Strong" from Hebrews 12:1-3

In every race, runners aren't judged by what they look like or anything but how well they run and how well they finish.

We've all inherited "the quitter's gene" in some way.  We quit in many ways.  Sometimes it's by lowering our expectations or no longer making the effort.

While there are times when we should change direction, how do we get going when things get tough?

Hebrews 12:1-3 gives us a helpful image, which includes five themes to help us run well and finish strong.

1)  People who run well and finish strong are inspired by others who have done it well.

"surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses"

We've just looked at the Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews 11.  We need people around us and books around us with stories of people who have done it well.  Find mentors in your life.

2)  People who run well and finish strong know that it takes effort.

"let us run with perseverance"

We need to run the race marked out for us.  Don't move to an easier trail.  It will get tough.

James 1:2-5 -- God uses the difficulties to build perseverance and character in us.

Value improvement over comfort.  God is building high performance.  To do so, he uses discomfort.

3)  People who run well and finish strong are mindful that God is deeply involved in their lives.

"the race marked out for us"

In cross country, someone other than the runners marks out the course.

Focus on the course and not on your own discomfort.  It's not about you.  It's for God's purposes.  Our job is not to run someone else's race.

4)  People who run well and finish strong know that finishing our race will require subtraction.

"let us throw off everything that hinders"

It's by running that we know what the encumbrances are.  Start moving!

You may need to do violence to part of your life and habits to eliminate hindrances.

5)  People who run well and finish strong focus on Jesus.

"fixing our eyes on Jesus"

If you want to plow a field in straight lines, you need to focus on a fixed point.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus means relying on his provision and focusing on his example.  He looked to the end and he was tenacious, enduring even the cross.

Keep running, like Jesus did, in single-minded devotion to the Father and to us.

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