The Power Of Prayer Part 4: Provision - Generosity and Gratitude
On Sunday 22nd October at our morning service, we finished our series The Power Of Prayer with the topic 'Provision - Generosity and Gratitude'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to this, click here.
Back in July this year, my wife Sallyann and I went to a Christian festival called New Wine. Speaking there every morning at the service was a man that I have long admired; R.T.Kendall. RT, as he is know by everyone, is 82 years old, has written over 50 books and had been minister at the Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years. Each day he preached on a different topic, and each day he was both inspiring and challenging. His sermons were without doubt the highlight of the week for me. So much so, that I bought all 5 of his sermons on DVD!
One of these talks was about Generosity and Gratitude, and so this morning, instead of listening to me for 25 minutes or so, you are going to listen to RT. Just before we watch this DVD I need to explain that he is speaking to people who are, mainly, followers of Jesus and so he assumes that they will already have some knowledge of things that he refers to in the bible. When he refers to “The Law”, and you may already know this, he is not talking about the police or our judicial system!
The phrase, “the law” refers specifically to the compilation of decrees found in the first five books of the bible. And obedience to this law was the awesome obligation of God’s people as they attempted to earn His favour and blessing. When there was a violation of the law, the covenant was broken, and so was the relationship with God. When Jesus came He fulfilled the law, and now followers of Jesus live under the grace and generosity of God………
You can listen to the DVD that was used this week by clicking here.
The bible, God’s word, sees a very clear link between our spirituality and our attitude to money.
Did you know that the bible has twice as many verses about money as it has on faith and prayer combined? And 15% of Jesus’ recorded words relate to the subject of money and possessions.
The primary motivation for giving is the cross of Jesus Christ. If that doesn’t move us, nothing else will. Our generosity has a direct relationship with our understanding and gratitude with what God has done for us.
I think that most people know that today (Sunday 22 October) is our “Gift Day”. We are looking to raise money for a number of projects that are outlined in the letter written by Simon Lace that was sent/given out recently. If you didn’t get one they are still available.
Also in the letter, Simon explains why we need to increase our regular giving. If we were all able to tithe regularly, then those particular issues would be addressed.
If you feel that you just can’t do that, then can I repeat the challenge that I gave some months ago; the “1% Challenge”.
Priority - As in: give first, save second, live on the rest.
Percentage - As in: choose a percentage and give it consistently.
Progressive - Is a challenge to up the percentage every year by 1%.
I still believe that tithing is what all followers of Jesus should be doing, and it’s something that I have been doing for many years. However, if that’s too bigger step, then please get serious about the 1% challenge.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. In the book of the bible called Malachi, at chapter 3 and verse 10, God is speaking: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this”, says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
What does this mean to you personally and to EBC?
2. In Matthew chapter 23, Jesus affirms the practice of tithing. At which point in the chapter does he do that?
3. Do you think that tithing “honours God”? In what way?
4. Had you heard about “tithing” before, and do you think that it is something that followers of Jesus should practice?
5. Do you think that it’s true that if every Christian tithed, the church would have no financial problems?
6. It had been said that God loves gratitude and that he hates ingratitude. Do you think that’s true?
7. In what ways could you demonstrate your gratitude to God?
6. Regarding EBC, what would you really love to see happening in the life of the church? Are you praying about this?
7. If you believe that the things you’d like to see line up with God’s will, are you playing your part in terms of serving and giving as well as praying? If not now… when? If not you… who?