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Monthly Archives: February 2020

It’s not about the numbers

“God’s job is to worry about the number of sheep. Your job is to feed the sheep.”

That the advice Pastor Tim Counts’ grandfather gave him after Tim was discouraged by the low attendance for a Wednesday night Bible study. It is part of a helpful article entitled, “Brothers, preach your heart out–No matter how few people are in the room.” I found it a good reminder as I prepare to preach tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2020 in Preaching, Quotes

 

An Investment Strategy

What’s your investment strategy? That is the question we are considering this Sunday at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA. As we continue our series on Genero$ity, we will be examining Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the talents. Jesus uses the story to teach that we are to use all we are and all we have for God’s glory. Here’s a video preview.

 

 

The need for preparation

“Every time you preach or teach, someone sweats. Either you do beforehand or they do during.”

Howard Hendricks

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2020 in Preaching, Quotes

 
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Fooling the Fitbit

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2020 in Food, Fun, Health, Shoe

 

Incomplete forgiveness

Those who say they will forgive but can’t forget, simply bury the hatchet but leave the handle out for immediate use.”

Dwight L. Moody

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2020 in Quotes

 

Grace Giving – summary

Here is a visual summary of the cycle of grace giving in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2020 in Finances, Generosity, Scripture

 

Grace Giving

Pastor John Piper began a sermon on money by saying,

Richard Halverson, the chaplain of the U.S. Senate, pointed out something that bothers a lot of people and excites a few. He said,

Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.

That is a good paraphrase of Matthew 6:21 where Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In other words, what your money goes after is a signal of what your heart goes after. And Jesus cares more than anything about what your heart is going after.

What our hands do with our money shows what our hearts are doing with God. Or to get right at the heart of the matter: what we do with our money shows what we believe God is doing with us. What money is to us shows what God is to us.

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 is the culmination of Paul’s teaching on the subject of giving. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, he explained the principles of giving. In 2 Corinthians 8, he presented the church in Macedonia as an example of generous giving. In 2 Corinthians 8:7, he challenged the church in Corinth to excel in the act of generosity. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Paul explains the cycle of grace giving. We have been blessed in order to be a blessing.

Give generously (6-7). Each one of us has the responsibility and privilege of giving. Giving is to be planned (“decided”), kept private (“in his heart”), done willingly (“not reluctantly or under compulsion”), and joyfully (“cheerful”).

As we contemplate how much to give, we need to keep in mind two facts. (1) The law of the harvest. If we sow sparingly, we receive a rather thin harvest. If we sow generously, we receive a bountiful harvest. (2) God weighs our motives. He loves sincere (not reluctantly), willing (not under compulsion), cheerful givers.

God’s grace abounds to us (8a). When we give, God responds by pouring out his grace to us. Paul heaps four words together to make his point—“all grace,” “all sufficiency,” “all things,” and “all times.” God will give us all we need, not necessarily all we want.

We give even more to God (8b). God doesn’t bless us so we can be blessed. He doesn’t reward us for our own benefit. God pours out his grace so we can abound in every good work. We have been blessed in order to be a blessing.

God blesses us even more (10-11). God will multiply our seed and increase our harvest. We will be enriched in every way so we can be generous in every way. The cycle begins all over again. The more we give, the more we will be given by God to share with others.

There is a three-fold result to the cycle of grace giving. People’s needs are met (12a). God is praised and glorified (11b, 12b-13, 15). The giver is appreciated and prayed for (14). The cycle of generosity results in more and more people giving thanks to God.

Based on this passage, Christ followers should:

  • Obey God’s command to give
  • Be generous
  • Trust the law of the harvest
  • Have a proper view of God
  • Give joyfully
  • Trust God to keep his promise
  • Seek God’s glory

We have been blessed in order to be a blessing.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on February 23, 2020. It is part of a series on Generosity. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.