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Five Practical Steps from Sunday’s Message1. Do a heart evaluation regarding generosity. Read and reflect on 2 Corinthians 8:7 (NIV).Giving and generosity are intended to be joyful and life-giving for Christ followers. Think about your giving patterns and the cheerful spirit you have (or lack) when it comes to being generous. Does giving energize you or make you fearful? Why? Maybe you have lingering emotional wounds from unfortunate experiences in a previous church that didn’t have a culture of grace. This should be addressed so you can find healing. Giving is a wonderful dimension of your growth in Christ that needs to be integral to your discipleship. Reflect on your personal history regarding your attitude toward, and practices of generosity. Talk to the Lord about this and praise him for his overflowing grace in your life. Receive his grace and plan to do another heart evaluation in a few weeks. 2. Start somewhere. May we suggest Living Word’s Generosity Journey or The Tithing Challenge? The Generosity Journey starts you off with an immediate commitment. This gives you time to adjust your financial priorities and habits, which will grow your capacity for generosity.You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11) The Tithing Challenge is the full dive into the biblical standard of tithing 10% of your income. With this challenge, you take the full plunge all at once. To accomplish this challenge, you will:
- Step out in faith. - Reorder your finances. - Experience God’s provision as you adjust your finances. - Decide if you will use your gross income or adjusted income. - Decide if you want to give weekly, biweekly, or monthly.3. Go through Financial Peace University (FPU). The next session of FPU starts in February 2018. Hundreds of people at Living Word have been through this life-transforming course. It has radically helped many people with their money, debt, budgeting, etc.This 9-week class teaches God’s ways of handling money. Through video teaching, class discussions, and interactive small-group activities, FPU presents biblical, practical steps to get from where you are to where you’ve dreamed you could be. This plan will show you how to get rid of debt, manage your money, spend and save wisely, and much more! 4. Develop a plan.Read Isaiah 32:8 (NIV).It’s hard to give strategically, spontaneously, secretly, or sacrificially if you don’t have any foresight, budgeting, or process.I remember the comedian Steve Martin saying the best of his funny impromptu lines were very carefully rehearsed. He wasn’t being ironic, he was saying even spontaneity needs forethought. The same is true with generosity. Without a plan, spontaneous giving could be irresponsible. God wants to grow us in responsibility, and planning is the best way to bring the principles, disciplines, and joy of giving into our lives.
Pastor Steve preached a message several years ago on generosity that many of us still talk about today. The thrust of his message was on moving from random giving to intentional generosity. Without a plan, we will be random Christ followers and we will not develop into Christ-like maturity. Read and reflect on 2 Corinthians 9:7.
5. Be a pipe, not a bucket.Read Acts 20:35 (NIV).This is an old saying and an idiom that Christians have used for decades. Let me explain …Nobody would ever accuse me of being handy around the house—because I’m not. But I do know the difference between a pipe and a bucket. What flows into a bucket, stays in a bucket. What flows into a pipe, flows out of a pipe. My knowledge impresses, I know.Here’s the thing, bucket people tend to hoard what God has been pouring into their lives. They tend to play it safe. They’re comfortable. On the other hand, pipe people give. There is an unblocked flow—God’s overflowing grace is poured in, and then consistently flows through and out of their lives in generous acts. Let’s all endeavor to clean out the clogs and allow God’s grace to flow into—and out of—our generous lives. 2 Corinthians 8:7 says that we should excel in the grace of giving. God is pouring his overflowing grace into our lives. What will become of this overflowing grace?
Each day this week, spend a few moments prayerfully reading and reflecting on the verse(s) for the day.
Look for the motivations provided for being generous, then consider your own habits and patterns of giving. Pray for grace, faithfulness, and the ability to become more generous.
Day 1 | Philippians 2:5-7
We are most like God when we give.
Day 2 | Luke 16:13
The antidote to materialism is generosity.
Day 3 | Acts 20:35
Great blessings accompany a generous life.
Day 4 | Acts 2:44-47
God’s power abounds in a community of generous people.
Day 5 | 2 Corinthians 9:7
Excellent planning leads to excellence in giving.
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