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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - Grace Giving

Chris Hodges - Grace Giving

Chris Hodges - Grace Giving
TOPICS: Generosity

All right, who's glad to be in church today, anybody? Come on, give God some great praise, if you're glad to be in church? And you guys please excuse me. My voice is a little hoarse today, and it must be the weather. I don't know. That's all I'm gonna say. Somebody said, "Are you gonna say something"? I said, "No man, it took 21 years to build this thing". So anyway, praise God, praise God. This is the day that the Lord has made. All right. Good to see everybody. Welcome to week number two of... this is a purple shirt.. week number two of the series that we have called "Generous," and we're so glad that you guys are along for the ride. Big hello to all of our campuses. Grandview in their brand-new facility today. God bless you guys and all of our campuses. Yeah.

All of our locations, we're so glad that you're with us today. And to the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections, I hope you don't get tired of hearing this. I don't get tired of saying this. You are not a project to us. You are our church family. We're so honored to be in more than 20 of those facilities, come on, around the state of Alabama. God bless you guys. And, of course, there are people watching online somewhere around the world. We're so glad you're along for the ride. Well, we're in this little, short two-week series. Before we jump into the "At the Movie" series, I will just tell you, you've already heard this, but I am so excited. I've worked very, very hard to prepare three messages, three movies that have redemption built into it. And if you've never seen this, we show a little clip, I preach a little bit, show a little clip, I preach a little bit. It's all pre-recorded.

And this is the best time all year long to bring somebody far from God sitting with you in church. And if you're in one of the services that's already very, very crowded and have lots of people, please, unless you're bringing someone, always go to the one they want to go to. But if you're not bringing someone, maybe consider one of the ones that'll have a few more seats. It's gonna be a special time. And please join with me in believing God for thousands of people to give their life to Jesus. Can I hear an amen, everybody? It's awesome. You know, if you've been around here very long, you know that we believe that God has a spiritual journey for your life. We say it in our own language, but I can show it to you in the Scriptures from Exodus to Revelation that God has always wanted four things for your life, that you can have a real dynamic, authentic powerful relationship with the very alive God. Your God moment can go from religion to a relationship, and you can experience God, know God, have a relationship with him. We call it "Know God".

And when you do, you have his power living on the inside of you. And when his power is on the inside of you, you're able to confront and deal with some of the things that you've always wanted to deal with, but you never had the power to do it. In your own ability, you've always fallen short, but God gives you the power to deal with some of the things that are in our life, our habits, our hurts, our problems, our addictions, our past, our pain, the people in our lives, and you can actually front those, and we believe that God wants you to find freedom, we call it. Once you've found freedom, and it's important to take the first two steps to get where really God wants us. But if you don't deal with your yesterday, it's hard to see tomorrow. It's hard to have excitement about a purpose for your life if you're still dealing with the things of your past. But once you deal with your past, you'd be surprised how clear the future becomes.

And listen to me. This is why you're on the planet. You're not on the planet to exist, to live your 70, 80 years, give or take, and just exist, pay bills, and try to have a few good moments in it. You are always designed for significance, and you're a part of God's grand design. And to do that, you're going to have to go to God to discover what it is. He's the only one who knows what your life's all about, because he's the Creator of you. You don't always have to go back to the Creator to find what the thing is all about. And so the Bible says that all your days are written in God's book before one of them ever came to be, Psalm 139, and you could actually discover your purpose. And that's what the Growth Track is all about that begins. We begin it new every month. We just need three Sundays, not 30, not 300. We need three Sundays for you to just consecutively go through our three step Growth Track, and the purpose of it, the intent of it is to help you discover your unique design, your God-given purpose. And the first step is today at 6 o'clock at all of the locations.

I'm inviting you, even if you didn't register. I know the video says you need to register; but even if you didn't, just show up. We're ready to take you on that 3-Sunday journey called the Growth Track to help you discover your purpose, so that you can get to the ultimate purpose of your life. And the ultimate purpose of all of our lives is that we're making a difference, and not just making a difference, making an eternal difference, doing something that shows up in heaven. Be clear about it. The only work of our life that actually ends up counting is the work that lasts forever. So, we're making an eternal difference. This is the focus of our church. And what we do is that we actually take you on this journey so that collectively all of us can do this. Now, here's the problem. The problem is, is there's a gravitational pull to selfishness. You leave all of us alone, myself included, we don't think about what we can do for others. We think about what we can do for ourselves.

So, just two Sundays out of the 52 Sundays, we pause everything really is all about us. And we say, "Hey, let's think about others," and that's what this Legacy series is. We call it Legacy because Legacy is what people remember when you're gone. I actually had a gentleman in our church very politely said, "Are we really supposed to be the one that's remembered? That, something didn't feel right about that. Isn't it all about just about God"? And I said no, no, no. God put this inside of you, the desire for your life to be remembered, and that's why Psalm 112 says good will come to the person that is living their life that way, that is generous and is lending freely. And God says, okay, if your life's work is actually remembered forever, in fact, God is so motivated for us to be involved in this, he actually gets involved in our lives. And the Proverbs say that a generous person will prosper, and he who refreshes others will themselves be refreshed.

So, God gets involved. So, every year here at Highlands, we have a special offering, and we really don't make any big pushes or pleas or anything like that. We tell you about 5 weeks out. It's 5 weeks out from today. And we just say, basically, it's coming up. And I don't want you to be coerced, manipulated. We're not gonna show any slick videos. We're not gonna make any pressure appeals. We tell you about it 5 weeks ahead, so you can plan, prepare, pray, and just do whatever God shows you to do. We've always operated that way. So, we talk about it way before it, and it's the Legacy offering, December 11th, 2022, on the second Sunday of December. Everything that we give on that day, we're gonna give away to make a big difference. And I'm gonna send you a letter in the next few weeks, and you're gonna see some of the areas that it's gonna go toward, that none of them we have promised, they're just waiting.

So, we have what we already do, but this is just something that we could do on top of what we already do, and we're gonna make a big difference in the lives of people. And I kind of already know what you're gonna do, because I've seen you do it before. And so we've already kind of vetted through a lot of opportunities, and we're excited about it. But today I want to talk to you about generosity. Last week, I gave you a message about intentionality, and I think what generous people are is, is that they're very intentional. So, they're not waiting to be moved. They're not waiting to be coerced. They're not waiting for a slick video. No, no, they have a plan. Generous people plan on being generous. And if you love your church... I told you last week, I make no bones about this, have a plan to support your local church. Today, I'm gonna give you the complete opposite of that.

Today, I want to tell you about the motivation for it. So, in the first one I said, look, don't wait for motivation, but then I think there is a motivation of generosity that I'm gonna share with you, and I think it's gonna surprise you. So, a few weeks ago, I was meeting with our campus pastors. And I meet with them regularly, of course. Most of them will drive to Birmingham to have this meeting, even though they're in outlying area, just because we like being together. And I'm always pouring into them. I teach them, train them, answer their questions. We work on all the things that we simply call church around here. And then I always leave room, a little bit of time for some Q&A.

And one of our campus pastors said, "Hey, PC, I had a lunch meeting with a guy at my campus, and the whole meeting, he wanted to confront the idea of tithing". I said, "What did he say"? He said, "He doesn't believe that he has to tithe". He said, "I don't think I'm supposed to tithe. That's in the Old Testament". He says, "What do I tell him"? I said, "Tell him he's right". I said, "And not only tell him that he's right, tell him that if he ever gave because he had to, God wouldn't count it anyway. So, tell him we're just fine. Tell him I don't want him to do that first. I want him to fall in love with Jesus first. I don't even want him to give anything until he had the motivation and the desire to do so". And I'm gonna teach you this, because this is the hallmark. This is the hallmark teaching of our church. If you're at Highlands for the very first time today, you could not have come on a better Sunday, because we grabbed hold of a teaching, that if you've been a part of our Freedom curriculum, you've heard it. And then I try to introduce it into our culture about every 3 years or 4 years, and it's the second story of the Bible.

So, if the first story of the Bible is creation, and it is, the second story of the Bible is that Adam and Eve were put in the garden with two trees, two choices. And God says, "If you eat of this one, it's gonna kill you. You're not gonna like it. But if you eat of this one, you're gonna enjoy your life, you're gonna have life". Most people erroneously teach that it's the tree of goodness and bad, and badness. It's God or sin. And that's not what it is. One of the trees was called the tree of life, but the other one was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, I'm only doing what I do because I've learned how to do it. It's not who I am. It's not what I want to do. I just learned how to do it, because they told me that's what you have to do. But there's a better way that you don't have to be motivated because they told you to do it. You could be motivated because you want to do it, that it's not an external obligation. It's an internal motivation that you desire to do so.

Now, I am not saying that there's not a place for obedience in faith. There is. There are things we do just because God said to do it. But listen to me be very clear. I don't want you to stay in the place of obedience. I want to lead you to the place of life, not where you have to, but you where you want to. God wants your heart, not your behavior, just like you would. You wouldn't want a marriage where they said, "Yep, I've never cheated on you, and I never will, because there's this commandment that says I can't commit adultery. Couldn't care less about you, but I'm going nowhere. I'll be faithful". No. You would prefer that person motivated to stay faithful because they're in love, not because there's a law. And I want to show it to you, because it applies to every part of our Christian life. I don't want you praying because you have to pray. I want to show you how much fun prayer is. I don't want you reading your Bible, "I've gotta read my Bible, gotta have my quiet time". Okay. "How few verses can I read and check that box"? No, no, no. I want you to love your Bibles. I want you to love going to church. This is a hallmark teaching of our church.

I'm gonna show it to you out of the book of Philippians, chapter 2. Says, "Dear friends, you have always followed my instructions. You're really good at that. When I've told you to do something, you did it when I was with you. And now that I'm away, it's even more important. Work hard. I want you to work hard, just cause I told you to. Work hard. Show the results of your salvation and obeying is important. In fact, obey God, and you need to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, with deep reverence and fear. Like, do it because he's a holy God". Okay, okay, I've got it, Paul. But he doesn't end there. "If you'll do that, if you'll take that step of obedience, now God will go to work, not around you, but in you, and he'll give you both now the desire and the power to do what pleases him".

So now you're not doing it 'cause he said so or because you're afraid of burning in hell. No, you want to do it, and you have the ability to do it. This is the difference between grace and law. Really, it's the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Grace is internal. Law is external. I want to do it. I have to do it. We call the get to versus the got to. I know it's bad English, but it's really good preaching. Come on, somebody, right? Okay. And that's where I want you. I'm not gonna lead any of us to any part of faith in the have to do it. I'm not. Again, I believe in obedience. Don't misquote me. I know it's a part of our faith, that we obey God. But I'm telling you, you can enjoy God, and you can enjoy every part of faith that there is, including giving. And I don't really want to lead us to a place where you ever feel coerced, manipulated, or feel like you have to.

Now, early on, we really didn't have that choice, because we didn't have anything, and so there was maybe a smidge of begging, why? 'Cause we wanted to turn the lights on, okay? But we're 21 years later, and we've worked very hard. Our trustees are in this room right now, our non-staff elders who help me lead this church financially. And we work very hard to increase the margins of this church, so that we're never in a place where we have to do anything. We never start a single building project without all of the money there to complete the project. So, therefore, you've never been asked any kind of campaign. You've never had any pledge drives. You never asked to make a faith promise. You never said, "I know you don't have it, but could you just write down on that card what you would do"?

Come on, just... and then put it here, and we'll send you a letter and remind you ever month of the commitment you made, even though you don't... no, no, no, no. My job isn't to put the guilt on you. It's to get the guilt off of you. So, we've never led that way, and we're never going to lead that way, in Jesus's name. Come on, give God praise. I know you want to. But instead, we have healthy margins and lots of vision. There's things we could do. We're just waiting. We wait because we want there to be an environment of joy of it, the grace of giving. This is what I've entitled this message. I don't have to. I want to. I have everything inside of me that wants to. So, I'm going to show you the story of a fundraising campaign that the Apostle Paul was on.

So, yeah, he was trying to raise an offering that he was going to give to the Jerusalem church. And, really, he was going to give to the Jerusalem church. They were one of the poorest churches of all the churches he was involved in, but they're also the original church. That's where Jesus came from. They stewarded the Word of God. The Word of God came from Israel, and he wanted to give an offering. So, Paul had planted churches all across Greece, and Turkey, and a lot of your New Testament books are letters that are written to these churches. And one of them is a church that was in Greece in a little city called Corinth and so the book is called Corinthians. And he's taking this offering, and he'd just gotten back from an area called Macedonia, which if you look at it on the geography, it's just north of Greece, and he comes to the Corinthian church, said, "Hey, listen to me, brothers and sisters".

I want you to know... notice the word now, notice the language in this whole discourse. I want you to know about the grace God gave those Macedonians. It was amazing. So, remember, grace is I want to do it, not have to do it. Watch this. "In the midst of a very severe trial..." So, the Macedonian church, at that time, was actually going through inflation, poverty, trials. They didn't have money. They were in trouble themselves. In their midst of their very severe trial, they had overflowing joy. Now, I don't know if you've ever seen somebody who had absolutely nothing be happier than you. I have. I would love to take you to some orphanages that I've been to in Mexico where kids who have nothing, one set of clothes, one meal a day, love Jesus a whole lot more than all of us combined. You can have nothing and still have overflowing joy, and he's bragging on them. In their extreme poverty, look what it did. It welled up in rich generosity. I want a welled-up church. I am not gonna coerce anybody to do anything.

If you don't feel like we should do anything, we just won't do it. I am so very happy. But I only want us to do things where we are welled up. And I'm trying to stir up the welled-up desire to do something, never the obligation of that. "For I testify that they gave as much as they were able. In fact, guys, it's crazy. They actually gave more than they were able to give. In fact, I didn't even have to take the offering. Entirely on their own, they already had it there. So, when I got there, they were pleading with me for the privilege of sharing in the service of the Lord's people, and they exceeded our expectations". Now, this is the kind of church I am gonna pastor. I'm just telling you. You'll never, no. Hey, where were y'all? We had a prayer meeting yesterday, and there's only ten of y'all. You're going to hell. I gave up that church, y'all. I'm done.

Now, I think that's why a lot of y'all are here today, 'cause you kind of grew up in that kind of church. "Where were you? You're supposed to be here every Sunday, or you're displeasing God". No, I'd rather create a service that you can't wait to attend. Come on. I'm preaching good here. Thank you, thank you. Now, why weren't they that way? Because they gave themselves, first of all, to God. They were in love with God. And then by the will of God, they gave themselves to other people, because when you love Jesus, that's what's gonna happen. You're gonna love the people that he loves. "So, I went Titus. Titus, he went and collected the offering, just as he had done earlier. He made a beginning to bring also to the completion. I was sending there to complete the act of grace".

Notice the language again. It wasn't an offering. It was the act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything, Corinthians, you're surely good at a lot of stuff, and you are in faith, speech, knowledge, complete earnestness, and love, "see to it that you also excel not just in giving, but in the grace of it. I want you to enjoy it more than you ever have enjoyed it before. And I'm not commanding you", and I'm not either. I never have, never will. I'm gonna try to get you so in love with Jesus and we want to steward it so well that you're so excited about what's happening that you're looking for ways to do even more. The kind of church I'm determined to lead, so "I'm not commanding you, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others".

In other words, Paul says, "I am trying to create a little competition between you and Macedonia. Look what they did. Y'all have more than they did, and they outgiving y'all". I mean, that's what he was doing. It's so amazing. "For you know the grace of Jesus". Let me time out right there. When Jesus did what he did, he didn't do it because he had to. He did it 'cause he wanted to. You mean, he wanted to take the nails? No. He wanted you more than he wanted, though. So, you remember the grace of Jesus? By the way, Hebrews says it. It says, "For the joy set before him, he endured the cross". So, while he was hanging there, he wasn't just going, "Ow, ow, ow, ow". He was going, "Oh, look, it hurts so bad, but I love them so much". 'Cause you were the joy set before him.

So, he wanted to come down, and he could have. He didn't sin, so he didn't have to pay for anything. But he didn't come down. Because of the joy set before him, he endured the cross. Right when he said, "Oh, I think I'm done, I think I'm done. Oh, wait, no, there's Chris. I'm gonna do it". He had the have-to not the get-to, not the have-to. He wanted to do it for the grace of Jesus, that even though he was rich, he was in heaven. He had everything. For your sakes, he became poor so that through his poverty, you might become rich. And that's not talking money. That's talking about rich in joy, rich in life, rich in eternity. "So, here's my judgment about what is best for you, dear Corinthians. Last year, you were the first not only to give but also the first to have the desire".

And that's called grace giving. I don't have to. I want to. So, finish it. Do it. Hey, and that's all I say. If you love it, if you love your church, give. If you love what we do, give. If you don't, follow love. Don't give. Please don't give. Follow love. And that's what I would've said to the gentleman that talked to our campus pastors. "So, finish the work, so that your eager willingness may be matched by the completion according to your means". Let me finish this. "For if the willingness is there, that's what makes the gift acceptable". And that's what I quoted to the campus pastor to tell to that person. So, I don't really ask you to do anything. I'm asking you to follow love with Jesus and with what we do. So, how do we do that? Three quick little points, and I want to teach you how to be a grace giver, and that is I think we've become grace givers when we're grateful not guilty.

So, what I mean by guilty is people love making people that have stuff feel bad about it. Have you noticed that? I mean, like the government does it. You filthy rich people. You filthy, you need to do your fair share. They're always telling you, fair share. You're so greedy. You're so ugly. I can't believe you succeeded with your life. We hate you. You're like, what is up with that? And they do that in the church. Look at all those wealthy, I can't believe it. And there was even some that teach it as a virtue. It's called the ascetic gospel. That means if you have anything, sell it all. There are people in China who need your money more than you need, you should've walked to church. That is not what the gospel says. The Bible said God will makes you wealthy, but not for yourselves, but so that you can do more for others.

In fact, the Bible celebrates it when people have stuff, because now you have the ability to do something with it. Are y'all following me, everybody? So, the Bible, here, I'll show you. David was so wealthy. Israel was the most wealthiest nation on earth whenever this written. And he praised God for it in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, "Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father in Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours is the greatness, yours is the power, yours is the glory for everything in heaven and on earth is yours," and you gave it to us. He says, "Yours is the kingdom. You're exalted, and wealth and honor come from you". You bless the fire out of us, and we know why, God. "In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now we give you thanks and praise your glorious name". How does he do it? Watch this. "And who am I? Why did you give me more than I needed? I'm just so blessed. And my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this".

And in this story, they actually gave an offering to rebuild the church building. And David says, "And I'm not gonna let any of y'all give anything before I do it first. Everything comes for you, and we have only given what you gave to us in the first place". And so what it does is it says let's acknowledge the fact, come on, church, that we are blessed. "Oh, PC, you don't know how bad it is right now". Yeah, and I respect, I really do, I really do. But the fact, the reality is if you make $45,000 or more household income, you're in the top 1% in the world. We are blessed. And even if it is, you've fallen on tough times, I get it, and I deeply respect that. I understand that. But we still are pleased. We still live in the greatest country on earth. We have air in our lungs, everybody. We've been given another day. Come on, if you don't see yourself as blessed, if you're not grateful, you can't be generous. But if you're grateful, you can be incredibly generous.

Now, I say it, I'm just gonna say it plainly. God has blessed our church more than most. In fact, I don't even know that many who have what God's allowed us to have here, how he's blessed us, but I don't feel guilty. I feel responsible. And that's why we just try to do more with what we have. Can I hear a good amen, everybody? This is called grace giving. We've gotta change our attitude with it a little bit. I think this grace gift stirs up on the inside of us. When I love people the way God loves people, like, when you start thinking not about the projects, or the offering, or the serving, or even the praise, all of that's not about just the thing itself. It's about the people on the other side of that thing. They were thinking about people, people, not projects. And I love the early church, because they were just all into taking care of each other.

In Acts chapter 2, the Bible says, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. And everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. But the believers were all together and had everything in common, and they sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. And every day, they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes, ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying all the favor of the people, and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved". This was the hallmark of the early church. They got together, served God, worshiped God, spent time together, and then they gave together.

And then two chapters later, "All the believers were in one heart and one mind, and no one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. And with great power, the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and God's grace was so powerfully at work in them, that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them and brought the money from the sales, and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed as anyone had need". In other words, they were enjoying, they were having so much fun with their generosity. I took a little time this week, and I just started, just thinking about this year. I started sending emails out to the team. Just send me some of the stuff that's been happening, and it's kind of getting toward the end of the year now, and I'm just gonna read you a couple of things, because to me, this is just, this is so much fun.

This is a people on the other side of all the projects, and all the services, and all the offerings, and all the things that we do just this year on First Saturday Serve projects alone, we hosted 2,552 individual serve projects which resulted in 129,000 hours of service to people. We gave over three million dollars just in our local cities to help people who are hurting, to feed them, to clothe them, to get trees off their houses after a tornado. Yeah. And not in our services, not in our services, just as the serve projects on Saturdays alone, 688 people gave their lives to Jesus. Come on, at one of our projects, I know. They told me on Thanksgiving week, we're going to feed 15,000 people, that we have the Giving Hope that's gonna serve 8,900 families and children.

And I don't know if you noticed that little, you know, video commercial about Giving Hope. I don't know if you caught it, but actually the parents come and shop for presents for their kids, and we wrap it, but we don't give it to the kids. We let the parent be the hero in the story, and they go home, and they are able to give it straight to the... so church isn't providing gifts for the kids. The parents are. We bless the parents so the parents can bless their own kids. And I just think that's the best idea ever, personally. How much fun is that, everybody? I mean, we planted 1,054 churches around America through ARK. You don't know this, but we're actually putting values-based curriculum in public schools, everybody, we're actually funding, yeah, so that's happening, yeah. So, we actually are on a project right now to send 500 new missionaries to some of the hardest reached places in the earth. We have planted 4,000 churches globally this year, 17 just this past week.

In one offering we gave this past week, we handed a check to one of our church planters, and they told us they're gonna plant 17 new churches this weekend around the world. To God be the glory. And in all of our international efforts alone, you ready for this? One million new converts conservatively, one million new converts around the world. Come on, give God some praise for those. And that doesn't count, that doesn't count what we're doing at Highlands College. I mean, we have provided scholarships so that no student graduates with any debt, and it's just so much. That's the grace of giving. What a joy it is to be a part of people, 'cause God loves people. We love people. Can I hear a good amen, everybody?

So, grace giving, how do you get the joy back in it? How do you get the I want to, not have to? How do you get that? I think it's when you approach your life not as guilty, not even as greedy, but grateful. I'm just, I can't believe, God, you blessed me. And I think, I know God's blessed Highlands, honestly, more than most. And I don't feel guilty. I feel responsible, and we need to do the best we can to make the biggest difference we can. I think grace comes up when you keep people at the front of what we do. And here's the last one. And I think grace happens when you're just in love with the one who loved you, who loved you. You know, we're stepping into the Christmas season, and I love it. You know, Christmas this year is going to be over the top. It's gonna be so good. We're going to celebrate. But you know why we do? 'Cause it's the day that we were on the receiving end of generosity of heaven. We were given the greatest gift ever.

And the psalmist David kind of sums it up for me. How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? Here's how you can. Love the people that he loves. You love him back by loving that which God loves. You say, "Well, I'm having a hard time just stirring that up on the inside of me". Where does that come from? I want to read you this quote in one more verse, and then we're gonna go. I love this quote. 'Cause John Bonnell said, "If one first gives himself to the Lord, all other giving is easy". I'm never gonna ask you to do something out of obedience one or out of obligation alone. Church, I give you my word that I'm gonna try to lead you to a vibrant, real relationship with a very alive God, where you enjoy the fire of it. I promise you on the other side of that is all these things now we want to do, not have to do, because our giving, and our serving, and our reading of our Bibles, and our prayer, it's not transactional. It's relational. We're in love with Jesus.

So, I'll close with one final story. I had a guy come up to me, said, "Look, man, I've been coming around here for a long time, and I love God. I'm a Christian. I don't love him like you do". He said, "PC, you always say fall in love with Jesus, and that's almost like frustrating to me, 'cause I want to. I would love to be as in love as you are". And I had a verse that popped in my mind that I shared with him, I want to share with you. And I just think it's the coolest thought. Matthew 6 says, "For where your treasure is, your heart will be also".

Now this gets misquoted. People quote it saying, "You always put your money to the things you love". That's not what it says. It's actually saying the opposite: that if you want your love somewhere, put your money there, and your love will follow it. Generosity leads. Heart follows. You start serving in an area, like, if you don't feel like you love hurting people, go serve for a little while at the Dream Center. You'll love them. "I don't love missions". Go to missions. Go invest your time, talent, treasure there. Like, go put yourself there. I promise you you'll... 'cause generosity leads, heart follows, and I challenged him, I said, I said, "Don't even think about your... Go start investing your resources, your money, your time, your energies toward your God". So, here's my final question to you: Where do you want your heart? Where do you want your heart? 'Cause wherever you put your time, your talent, and your treasure, your heart will follow, and I want us to be grace givers, in Jesus's name, and the church said a good amen. Let's pray together:

So, Father, here we go. We're in this season now, God, that we want to just ramp up our generosity, but God we're not going to do it out of the law, out of something we have to do. God, we're gonna do it because we deeply desire to. We want to be a grace giver, a grace server, a grace follower, Jesus. God, I'm asking, Lord, to work in the people of Highlands. Work in them. Work in them, both the desire and the power to do what you called us to do. 'Cause, God, we do want to please you. We do want to serve you. We do want to follow you. And, God, even as we enter this week of inviting people who are far from God, God, we do it out of the joy, not out of an obligation, because we love you with all of our heart.

Heads bowed, eyes closed. Campus pastors, come join me on the stage. I'm gonna ask you to be very still just for a moment as people are making decisions about their faith. If you're here today, and you feel away from the Lord, or you feel under conviction, and you feel like you're really not sure where you stand with God, or you're not sure where you would spend eternity, I'm asking you today to consider giving Jesus your life. I'm asking you today to realize that he went to the cross to carry all of your sin, and he didn't have to. And even when he wanted to come down from the cross, he stayed there, because he was thinking about you. He paid for your sin, and he loves you, and today you're just one heartfelt prayer away from your sins being forgiven and your guilt being gone, and having a home in heaven.

You say, "PC, what do I have to do"? Give him control of your life, that's it. The Bible calls it making him Lord; and making him Lord means you're not going to drive anymore. You're going to follow his way completely, and you're going to submit your life to his control completely. He's Lord of your life. And if that's something you'd like to do, let me just pray with you right there where you are. Just whisper these words. Say:

Jesus, thank you so much for paying for my sin. I did it, and you paid for it. And today I respond by asking you to forgive me, and I turn my life around to follow you, and I make you the Lord of my life, which means you're going to be number one in my life. In the best way I know how, I'm going to serve you and live for you. (Now make this confession:) I believe you're the Son of God, and I believe you died and rose again, and today I put my faith completely in you. In your name I pray, amen.

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