Who Needs Christmas - Part 1

THE WORLD DID

The Christmas Story:  an unbelievable, incoherent, impossible promise.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.  Genesis 12:1  NLT

I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”  Genesis 12:2-3  NLT

Blessed? - conquered, enslaved, plundered

Abraham chose to believe this unbelievable promise.

Moses   *   Kingdom of Israel   *   Kingdom Divided

He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6  NLT

But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  Malachi 1:11 NLT

The Christmas Story?!?

All the nations would not be blessed through Abraham.

Israel would not become a light to the Gentiles.

The Jewish God would not be worshipped throughout the world.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.  Galatians 4:4 NLT

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.  Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!  Luke 1:26-28 NLT

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”  Luke 1:29-33 NLT

The Christmas Story:

All the nations would be blessed through Abraham.

Israel would be a light to the Gentiles.

The Jewish God would be worshiped throughout the world.

 

Crazy Like Us - Part 3

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Generosity requires a plan. 

3 S giver:  Spontaneous, sporadic and sparing

Generosity requires a specific amount or a percentage.

3 P giver:  Percentage, priority and progressive

Generosity requires a destination worthy of your heart.         

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Matthew 6:21  NLT

Saving is how you say yes to you, generosity is how you say yes to what is important to you.

Choosing your destination: 

give from a grateful heart and from a broken heart.

*What are you grateful for?

*What are you broken over?

Generous people never feel guilty about saying "no" because they've already said "yes."

Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia.  1 Corinthians 16:1  NLT

On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.   1 Corinthians 16:2  

When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem.   1 Corinthians 16:3  NLT

Generosity is the premeditated, calculated, designated emancipation of personal financial assets.

Happy is the person whose life is ordered around giving rather than receiving.

Homework:

My plan: ____________________________________________ 

 

Crazy Like Us - Part 2

THE STANDARD AMERICAN VERSION

More money does not generate more self-control, more discipline or more contentment.  

More money does not eradicate worry.

The Consumption Assumption

Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own."   Luke 12:15  NLT

Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops.   Luke 12:16  NLT

He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’   Luke 12:17  NLT

Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.  Luke 12:18  NLT

Save it now to consume it later.

And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’   Luke 12:19  NLT

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’   Luke 12:20  NLT

enerous people don't assume it's theirs to consume.

If it can be taken away, you never really owned it anyway.

Jesus: Since it's all going to be taken away, why would you miss the opportunity to give it away?

Generous people think like managers, not owners and consumers.

 

Crazy Like Us - Part 1

YOU JUST THINK YOU ARE

Teach:  how to be generous

Generosity is more than random acts of giving.

Promise:
When you become generous you will give more, save more and consume less.

When you become generous you will be happier.

Generosity is not natural.

Crazy is natural.

We don't feel rich but we are, we feel generous but we aren't.

Generosity Myths:

Generosity is spontaneous.

Generosity is determined by cash flow.

It's the amount that counts.

Rich people are generous.

enerous is the premeditated, calculated, designated emancipation of personal financial assets.

When you free your money you free yourself from your money.

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.  Acts 20:24 NLT

And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.  Acts 20:32 NLT

I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes.  
Acts 20:33 NLT

You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.  Acts 20:34 NLT

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.  Acts 20:35 NLT

Happy is the person whose life is ordered around giving rather than receiving.

Address The Mess - Part 4

MESSY-ER

Every mess comes with some bad options.

David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him.  When Saul recognized this, he became even more afraid of him.  But all Israel and Judah loved David because he was so successful at leading his troops into battle. For Saul thought, “I’ll send him out against the Philistines and let them kill him rather than doing it myself.”
1 Samuel 18:14-15 NLT

When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and how much his daughter Michal loved him. Saul became even more afraid of him, and he remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life. 1 Samuel 18:28-29 NLT

After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats.  At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!  1 Samuel 24:1-3 NLT

“Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.  1 Samuel 24:4 NLT

If you ignore virtue, you will eventually make a mess.

ut then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.”  So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. 1 Samuel 24:5-7 NLT

This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you.  1 Samuel 24:10,12 NLT

I'm opting for virtue over hurt you.

And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil.  1 Samuel 24:17 NLT

Every mess comes pre-packaged with some bad options.

Your response to the mess is the real story.

What story do I want to tell?

Which of my options do you want as a permanent part of my story?

Address The Mess - Part 3

INSIDE OUT

Christians believe...Jesus loves the little messes, all the messes of the world, but, he loves us too much to leave us that way.

Christianity is not just stay out of trouble.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.  Philippians 1:3 NLT

Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy. Philippians 1:4 NLT

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 NLT

Christianity is an inside out faith.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  Philippians 1:9 NLT

For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. Philippians 1:10 NLT

May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.  Philippians 1:11 NLT

Help me to see as you see, and to do as you say.

Following Jesus...
 *is not primarily about doing what's right,
 *it's about doing what's right for others.

This week pray:
Father, complete the work you've begun in me.