Chuck Allen, Pastor

What Happens When You Give…

This is just a weird year. The Cubs win the World Series, The Falcons are winning football games and now Donal Trump is our new President Elect of these United States of America.

It’s also an odd year in that Sugar Hill Church didn’t grow in every area of ministry, and yet we’ve experienced an amazing year of mission and ministry.

By year’s end, we will have added more than 160 new members. Seen more than 100 folks profess their faith in Jesus through baptism. And we broadened our ministries in Haiti, local schools, community ministries and missional efforts across the board.

The challenge is that it takes three things to propel a church into a position to genuinely impact its community.

1. It takes a passionate and compassionate heart for our own community.
2. It takes intentionally building meaningful relationships with partners.
3. It takes a funding mechanism that keeps the main thing, the main thing!

Giving is an essential part of who we are as Followers of Jesus and as the Church He wants us to be! We face the challenges that most every church does in the US. We are in a season of cultural malaise when it comes to church. There was a time in the Bible Belt, that a church could survive from family legacy, or an obligatory task handed down from generation to generation.

But today, the church must change, or the church will die. More than 300 churches are dying this week and every week – never to open their doors again.

We are a super blessed people. We are part of a church that has and will continue to change for the sake of reaching, caring and loving our community like very few churches do. We are constantly looking for a better and more effective way to communicate the ancient truth of the Gospel.

I am confident that God inspired the brave men and women of Sugar Hill to start this church some 130 years ago. And since that time, each generation has faced it’s challenges. Pastors have come and gone. Deacons have come and gone, and members have come and gone.

Styles of music have changed, dress codes have changed and expectations have changed. A few things have remained constant throughout the 130 plus years of Sugar Hill Church – Jesus is still the head of this church. Loving people into an eternal relationship with Jesus, Baptizing people in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Being biblically directed, and spirit-filled. And serving the community that God has given us to minister to and with.

I heard a well known pastor a week or two ago, make a statement that the pastor’s job wasn’t to make his community better, he was to feed his flock. With all do respect to this renowned preacher, I will not stand before the Divine someday and try to answer the question of why I shepherded this church to forget the assignment Jesus left for us, the church – Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I’m sorry, but in our modern context, we must show our neighbors that we love them, before we try to disciple them. That means, if people are hungry we feed them –

Matthew 25:34-40 is pretty clear: “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, my Father has blessed you! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat… I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then the people who have God’s approval will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and take you into our homes or see you in need of clothes and give you something to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “The king will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did for me.’

There is no grey in that statement – we are to serve people – all people. We are not here to huddle up in bible study after bible study without serving our neighbors!

Isaiah 58:10 SAYS  If you give some of your own food to [feed] those who are hungry and to satisfy [the needs of] those who are humble, then your light will rise in the dark, and your darkness will become as bright as the noonday sun.

The light that shines furthest is the light that shines brightest! And just in case you might still be thinking that church, this church, your church is to do all things the way you want to do them, the Proverbs teach us in Proverbs 22:9 A generous person will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.

I can’t imagine anybody that doesn’t want to be blessed by God!

Yeah, but Chuck, what about serving our schools? That’s not the job of the church. REALLY?
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Thousands and thousands of students, educators, counselors, coaches and administrators are serving in the 11 schools we partner with. They are our Jerusalem and our Judea. They are our friends, our partners and our ministry. We are the only church that I know in America attempting to serve our schools with love, service, food, funds and friendship! May we NEVER EVER STOP!

To do that, and the multitudes of other ministry opportunities, like Christian Library International, Pier Foundation, Kid’s Hope USA, LIFT, Convoy of Hope, or All Pro Dads, to serve our community and mission partners around the globe, we must step up and give in the last six weeks of this calendar year!


And that comes with a severe price. mission, ministry and benevolence are lessoned. Staff families don’t receive well-earned salary increases and all the work we do in our community slows to a trickle when our mission partners are meeting needs left and right!

Over the past few years, we have always rallied to wrap up our year in a great bundle of generosity. This year, I am asking a lot from you. And yet, we’ve proven that we can do this when we put our priorities in the right place.

When we stop ministering or serving, or gathering for anything less than God’s calling on our lives, we are living in absolute sin! Please help us raise $550,000 in the last six weeks of this year. If you can start today, hit the Campaign Button on the APP and give to the 2016 Wrap it Up campaign.

On average, we give about $54,000/week to the ministry of Sugar Hill Church, which doesn’t quite meet our 2016 budget need. We’ve managed expenses to keep us in fiscal health, and will continue to do that…but we need some help! If you count today and Christmas Day Sunday, that’s seven weeks. That means we will need $71, 500/week to Wrap it Up!

I want to help us understand what happens when we give to the mission and ministry of Sugar Hill Church.  Because many of us already give. You’re already supporting the church. You are ALL IN & Ready to WRAP IT UP! But we need everybody on board to make this happen!

A lot of folks are just curious about what happens when they give. And that’s a fair question. I’d like to show you 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. Ready?  Let’s go.

#1 – When you give, you fulfill your purpose.

How many of you were good at math in school?  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!

But I do remember one formula from math.  It went like this. If A = B, and B = C, then A = C. 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.

The Image of God means you, me and everybody on earth were 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. In every way!

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. 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 = C.
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 to be the best you that you can be – be generous. When you give, you’re fulfilling your purpose…doing what you were created to do in the first place.  Don’t give out of guilt…you give out of purpose.

#1 – When you give, you fulfill your purpose.
#2 – When you give, you make God smile.

Maybe you don’t imagine God smiling because you grew up with some angry preacher that never smiled.  They spit and sweat a lot, but they never smile. Generosity will bring a small to God’s face and as a result, and bring a smile to yours! I’ve never had somebody give a sacrificial gift to the Lord, that was regretful that they gave!

The Bible image for God is a father – daddy.  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.

But I love it even more when they share their stuff with others.  Those rare moments when they let go of a gift, or share something with a friend, or give something away – man, those are special. 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.”

#1 – When you give, you fulfill your purpose.
#2 – When you give, you make God smile. When we give, we make God smile.
#3 – When you give, you position yourself 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 the Heart of God.  1 + 1 doesn’t always equal 2.  There I go with math again.  I’m sorry.

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 blessing after 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 just because those blessings may not be financial doesn’t mean they are not important.  If the best things in life can’t be bought with money, perhaps the most important blessings from God are not financial.

#1 – When you give, you fulfill your purpose.
#2 – When you give, you make God smile. When we give, we make God smile.
#3 – When you give, you position yourself for blessing.

#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 never 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.
Like all things Jesus teaches, money is a matter of our heart! 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…

This isn’t a groundbreaking truth to us, and we already know it, because we spend money.  I spend money. If you 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 a college education for my kids is important and expensive 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. What would your checking account say about your heart?

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 my attention, focus and support.

Eternity matters, and when you give, you’re shifting your perspective.  Because:

#5 – When you give, you partner with God.

God doesn’t need your money!  Seriously, He doesn’t. I don’t mean to sound rude, but if God wanted your money, He would just take it.  I mean…God could do that. God doesn’t need your permission to access your PIN.

Not only does God not need your money in particular, He doesn’t need YOU 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. But this truth will never change, this side of Heaven – God Loves and God Blesses a Cheerful, Sacrificial Giver!

Mark 12:41-44 The Scriptures make a very big deal about one woman… 41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

Jesus, the Son of God, the way the truth and the life, the savior of the world, the coming king, the first and the last, the alpha and the omega – That Jesus called his guys over and made a point – apparently a BIG POINT. See that widow? She gave sacrificially…her offering costs her something. See those wealthy folks, they gave out of leisure and ease. And Jesus makes a point of saying – that sacrifice! That’s what I’m calling you to!

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.

There is something bigger going on around us.  More than the here and now. And when you give, you’re a part of what God is doing everywhere.

Did you know that Sugar Hill Church – in the past 5 years has:

Added more than 1,100 new members
Baptized more than 500 new Followers of Jesus
Packed more than 3,200 Operation Christmas Child Boxes (not including the thousands we helped with at the service center)
We’ve packed more than 42,000 Backpacks for hungry families here in our community working with 11 schools now.
We’ve Provided Christmas for more than 800 children in our community
We’ve provided more than 900 meal boxes at the North Gwinnett CoopWe’ve taken We’ve been on 31 Foreign Mission trips including – Haiti, Cuba, Kenya, Eleuthera, South Africa, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.
We’ve given almost $1 million to Local and Global Mission efforts.
And more than to $100,000 to Benevolence Needs:
More than 120,000 meals have been fed to Haitian orphans and we are trying to feed 2000 children this Christmas!
This Church has sponsored 230 Kids through Compassion International in the Dominican Republic
We’ve fed and equipped more than 400 families in Kenya through Care for Aids
Our work in Cuba resulted in 21 churches operating and sharing Jesus in that Communist Land, and those churches have now planted another 16 churches!
We’ve provided countless books to prisoners, written to prisoners and seen many to to fait

We have launched and in 2017, God willing, we will launch The Path project in a mobile home community right around the corner. Providing education, feeding, counseling, coaching to hundreds of children and families. This is what get’s me up in the morning – We will serve precious elementary age kids and serve them after school all the way through high school – assuring their graduation and stop the cycle of poverty in that community.
And as other communities come available, do the same! Why? Because we are the church! Lead by the Savior. That has called us to love God, Love our neighbors and grow in our faith and obedience! So…

For those of you who have ever given anything to this church, thank you.
– For those of you who have given clothes or food to the needy, thank you.
– For those of you who support a child on the other side of the world, thank you.
– For those of you who give your time to serve others in need, thank you.

Thank you for fulfilling your purpose.
Thank you for making God smile.
Thank you for positioning your self for God’s blessing.
Thank you for changing your perspective.
Thank you for partnering with God.

Let’s Wrap it up this Year and Stay the Course throughout 2017. Let’s finish a year full of mission and ministry having done all we can, given all we have and loved more than ever!

$550,000 today through December 31 for Our Neighbors, The Nations & The Next generation

If you haven’t already downloaded the SHC APP, please do and make your gift through the app…and pick recurring for the remaining 6 weeks of this year…or stay “old school” and write your check to SHC 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 Good…