WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GIVE
Pastor Chuck Allen // @achuckallen // firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to help us understand what happens when we give. Because many of us already give. You’re already support the church. You are ALL IN & Ready to WRAP IT UP!
Or if you’re thinking about giving, you want to know what happens next. You don’t need motivation or inspiration…you’re just curious about what happens when you give.
Let’s take a look at five things that happen when we give, and at the end of the message, I’m going to ask you to prayerfully consider helping us WRAP IT UP…for all the RIGHT REASONS.
#1 – When you give, you fulfill your purpose.
How many of you were good at math in school? I was pretty at math. Well, I take that back. I was good at math when it just had numbers in it, but somewhere around 7th grade, at Seabreeze Junior High School – they started adding letters to math. I was done. There’s no crying in baseball, and there’s no letters in math. Period!
I remember Mr. Stephenson, with a pack of Marlboro’s in his short sleeve white shirt and clip on tie looking at me and saying, “Allen, one day it will just make sense to you!” With all due respects to Mr. Stephenson…STILL WAITING!
But I do remember one formula from math. It went like this. If A = B, and B = C, then A = B. Do you remember something like that? Well, what I’m going to show you next is a little bit like that formula.
A = You were created in the Image of God. Let’s take a look at Genesis 1:26-27. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
In short, that means you and I and everybody on earth was imprinted with God’s image when we were created. There’s something deep inside us that is like God. Like a son who has his Father’s eyes, you have a resemblance to God. When I look at my grandchildren, I can see their Mom and Dad in them, and at times, I can see me in them – which should be frightening on so many levels.
A = You were created in the Image of God. B = God is generous. When you read the Bible and start to piece together information about God, one of those pieces is God’s generosity. You read things like, “God is love” in 1 John 4:8. Just how generous is God? Check out this verse – it’s the most famous verse in all of the Bible. It’s John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
How generous is God? He gave his one and only son!
So, let’s put the ABC formula together. If A = B, and B = C, then A = B.
If you were made in the image of God, and God is generous, then there’s something deep inside you that’s wired for generosity.
You may not always feel generous, but you were created that way. You’ve got generosity hard wired into your soul. Into your very being…So when you give, you’re fulfilling your purpose…doing what you were created to do in the first place. You don’t give out of guilt…you give out of purpose.
# 2 – When you give, you make God smile.
For many of us, picturing a smiling God is difficult. We may have grown up in a church that screamed at us and our image of God was shaped by an angry preacher, or father, or teacher.
But the Bible image for God is a father. A Good Good Father – But not just any father, a perfect, loving Father. Some of you had bad dads, or dads who abandoned you. Some of you had great dads, who were great examples. But we know deep down in our heart how a dad is supposed to be.
God is our father and we are his children.
Check out 1 John 3:1. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” God, the perfect heavenly Father, loves us – his kids.
If you have kids, maybe you can relate to this. As a dad, I like giving my kids gifts. I like surprising them with something unexpected, or getting them something that they have always wanted.
I love it even more when they share their stuff with others. I think that’s how God looks at us when we give. He just loves it when we give. When we put others first. When we give things away instead of saying, “that’s mine.”
When we give, we make God smile.
#3 – When we give, we position ourself for blessing.
Paul wrote a letter to a group of Christians living in the first century city of Philippi. You have that letter in your Bible – it’s called Philippians. In the first part of his letter, Paul thanked the Philippians for their generosity and their partnership. They had contributed to his ministry as a missionary and a preacher.
The Christians who lived in Philippi were generous supporters. I believe there is a clear connection between our generosity and God’s provision.
Philippians 4:19 says, And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. You might not understand it, and I might not be able to fully explain it, but there’s something supernatural that happens when our finances come into alignment with God’s heart. Romans 8:32 says, He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
God is a generous God, giving us many blessing in life.
But these blessings from God are not limited to the financial realm. A $100 contribution may not result in a $100 blessing, but I do know this…you will be blessed in some way. And blessed in the perfect timing!
#4 – When you give, you gain perspective.
Have you ever met someone who went on a mission trip? Those can be expensive. Between food, airfare and supplies, you could easily spend thousands of dollars traveling to another country to work with children or work on a house or with a church.
But when you talk to them after they return, they use words like “incredible” and “life changing.” They talk about that expensive experience like it was one of the most important things they’ve ever done. I’ve never met anyone that said, “Man, I wish I hadn’t raised all that money to go over there and help people…I would have rather used that money to download movies or buy furniture.”
You never hear that story because spending money on other people feels right. People often regret something they buy, but they rarely regret something they give. Spending money can be fun – new clothes, new restaurants, a new car. Nothing wrong with those things. But deep down, they don’t really satisfy. But when we give or serve with our money, we somehow know we’re doing something more important.
Matthew 6:21 says, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The Bible teaches that money isn’t solely a financial issue…it’s primarily a spiritual issue. Our money and our heart are connected.
Where we send or spend our money says something about what we truly value, and when we give, it’s a statement on what’s truly important to us.deep down in our heart…
I know that this isn’t a groundbreaking truth to you, and you already know it, because you spend money. I spend money. If we were to login into my bank account and see where I spent money, you could deduce that having a house is important to me, that eating seafood is important to me, and college for my kids is important to me.
You can tell what’s important to me not by hearing me talk about what’s important, but by observing how I spend money. Because money is a heart issue more than a checking account issue.
So when you give, you’re making an intentional statement that something matters. This thing over here, that person over there, God’s mission through Sugar Hill Church…it matters. It deserves our attention, focus and support.
Eternity matters, and when you give, you’re shifting your perspective.
#5 – When you give, you partner with God through His Church
Have you ever thought about the fact that God doesn’t need our money? Seriously, He doesn’t. I don’t mean to sound rude, but if God wanted our money, He would just take it. I mean…God could do that.
God doesn’t need your permission to access your resources. If He knows how many hairs are on your head, He knows your online banking password.
Not only does God not need our money in particular, He doesn’t need US in general. I’m not intentionally trying to insult you, but the fact is that God doesn’t need you, me, the Pope or Billy Graham to accomplish His purposes in the world.
God is not sitting in heaven, saying, “If we only had a representative down there…then I could do something.” He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. God doesn’t need us, but he INVITES us to join Him. He doesn’t NEED us, but he WANTS us. We don’t invite God into our lives; He invites us into His!
While God doesn’t NEED us, He invites us to participate. And when you give, that’s what you’re doing. You join with God in his mission in the world.
You don’t just give to this church (though I love this church) – you give as a part of a worldwide movement, joining with churches all over the world..
Did you know that Sugar Hill Church – in the past 2 years has added:
More than 500 New Members and more than 210 PEOPLE followed Jesus in Baptism
Packed more than 2,100 Operation Christmas Child Boxes (not including the thousands we helped with at the service center)
We’ve packed more than 3,400 Backpacks for families in need, here in our community working with 6 schools now
Provided Christmas for more than 400 children in our community
Provided more than 420 Grocery Boxes with the North Gwinnett CoOp
Your generosity has provided more than to $50,000 to Benevolence Needs:
And we’ve given more than $350,000 to Missions
We have sponsored more than 400 Children through Compassion International in the Dominican Republic
We’ve fed and equipped more than 300 families in Kenya through our partners Care for Aids
More Than 300 1st Time Student Guests Have Attended Since Jan 2015
Mission Trips Have Been to Haiti, Guatemala, Spain, and Pawley’s Island and we are partnering to plant a New Church in Phoenix, AZ
Just this year, in a season when 90% of all churches are stagnant or declining, we’ve grown in every ministry area!
Even our total giving is up more than 6% over last year and we will meet our budget for the second straight year! And our debt will be approx $5.1mil by years end
In Haiti Alone:
Your generosity has provided more than $4,600 in medical assistance
More than 5,200 children experienced Vacation Bible School – AND
More than 2,000 children heard a clear Gospel presentation
According to The North American Mission Board:
OUT OF 42,000 SBC CHURCHES IN AMERICA – ONLY 26 MET THEIR CRITERIA AS – EVANGELISTICALLY HEALTHY CHURCHES – AND SUGAR HILL CHURCH WAS ONE OF THOSE 26
For those of you who have given clothes, shelter or food to those in need, thank you.
For those of you who support a child on the other side of the world, thank you.
For those of you who packed meals, backpacks and prayed for our church, thank you.
For those of you who give of your time and energy to serve others, thank you
For those of you that have given anything to Sugar Hill Church – Thank You!
Thank you for fulfilling your purpose.
Thank you for making God smile.
Thank you for positioning yourself for God’s blessing.
Thank you for changing your perspective.
Thank you for partnering with God and His Church.
Let’s WRAP IT UP this Year and Stay the Course throughout 2016 as we finish an amazing year of Mission and Ministry.
If you haven’t already downloaded the new APP, please, make your gift through the app…and pick WRAP IT UP OFFERING…or stay “old school” and drop it in the basket as it’s passed right now…Thank you for a GREAT YEAR here at Sugar Hill Church…We are loved because He is A Good GOOD FATHER.