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SPRING BREAKTHROUGH – INFINITY #4AM – WHY WE GIVE TO VISION

INFINITY – THE MESSAGE SO FAR stewardship_wheat

This quarter is Spring Breakthrough. It’s a time when we as pastors are challenging us all to press into God and seek a breakthrough in our lives and our walk with God.

This month the theme is Infinity. We can see that giving to stewardship is a way that our gifts keep on making a difference over and over again onto infinity. Giving to The youth and young adults ministry in this church will see young people saved. Some of them will go onto serve God in ministry. Their fruit will see other young people come to Christ and in turn they will lead others to Christ. It keeps on going on and on.

What is stewardship? The bible teaches stewardship. Through the New Testament, Jesus teaches that we are stewards or managers of wealth that truly belongs to God. Even when we give an offering to God, we are actually distributing what really belongs to Him and keeping what He directs we need for yourselves. A disciple is one who knows by revelation that his life and his possessions are not his own but God owns all things.

This months messages are about how to make giving a tool to give you a breakthrough.

The power to see miracles and enable the hand of God to move in your life is greatly increased as a person makes a faith step to give to God as they pray and seek Him. This financial gift is called a memorial offering. I encourage you to listen to the last two Sunday morning messages where we shared about Cornelius and then Hannah who mixed giving with prayer to see enormous breakthroughs in their lives. I know you want to see God do great things in your life and give you miracles. Don’t discount this powerful way of giving as a way to experience God’s answers.

Every year we invest our resources into the kingdom for ministry and for facilities. It is a privilege for God’s people to give. Unless a church has no vision it must create finance to bring forth the vision God has called it to.

We have no fear in asking God’s people to give towards Kingdom Purpose because there can be no higher cause. There is nothing greater than the kingdom of God. There is no more significant cause than the local church. It is the forefront of God’s work in the earth. While some short sighted Christians walk away from local church – Jesus says, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18)

In teaching about giving, we not only develop the godly quality of generosity which leads to changed lives, but we empower people to develop faith to receive supernaturally from God allowing them to give and actually increase in their net worth.

Here are eight reasons why we give to vision in this church.

1.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY TRUST THE LEADERSHIP.

John 10:1-11 says, “The sheep listen to the shepherd’s voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. He goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice but they will never follow a stranger. In fact, they will run from him. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd.” Studies have shown that in the hierarchy of giving, people give first of all to people they believe in. Then they give to purposes. Finally they give to programs. That means that the most essential elements in considering your giving are relational, not functional.

Chris and I have been the senior pastors of this local church for 19 years, State directors of our church movement called inc (formerly COC) for 12 years. We have seen this church grow to 250 members, plant other churches and make a significant community impact. We have invited you, the congregation, to participate in financial management; and each year we have had our books audited externally, and hold an AGM where we publish our financial figures and invite questions and scrutiny. More than that, all the staff have at times willingly taken pay cuts to ensure the financial strength and viability of this local church into the future. I believe you can trust the leadership of this local church.

2.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY CATCH A VISION, NOT WHEN THEY SEE A NEED.

The Bible says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” Often the more successful a church is, the more people will feel comfortable about giving to it. Why? People give to success. They give to vision. They see the proven track record. They don’t give to needs.  People give when they catch a vision and they get the big picture. How can we together make a difference?

We must be very clear about what our vision is. At PlentyValleyChurch, rather than have a vision for a building, we have a vision for what the building can help us do. We emphasize the lives that will be changed as people give – the marriages that will be saved, the broken people that are going to be put back together, the people who will break addictions, the changed lives that will happen. That’s the vision! Reaching out – Changing lives.

Here is a list of the goals we are giving towards for this coming year:

This is the Vision for which we are giving to make an infinite impact.

  1. Youth and Young Adults Ministry – Part time wage – $20,000
  2. Destiny Rescue – Rescuing kids from sexual slavery – $10,000
  3. Local Outreach – Community Kitchen, Family Violence initiatives. – $10,000
  4. Facility Upgrade – New equipment for sound and video image production – $20,000

3.  PEOPLE GIVE TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF GENEROSITY.

It feels good to give generously – it really does. A person who doesn’t understand that has never given generously. The happiest people in the world are the most giving people. There are three main kinds of motivation to give. Love, Fear and guilt. Love is the nature of God. He so loved the world that He gave. (John 3:16) Fear causes you to give to avoid a problem or a negative outcome, there’s no joy in that. Guilt is used to motivate people by men without vision; it’s the lowest level motivation. We recognise the joy of giving. It is a joy to give and make a difference in lives for God’s purpose even if that means sacrificial giving.

In this church we do not teach that God wants everybody to be rich. However in teaching on faith and helping people believe God that they can make a difference, they are blessed.  The fact is, there are more promises in the Bible related to giving than any other subject. You cannot out-give God. If you’re going to be Christlike you will learn to give.

4.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY ARE INSPIRED BY OTHERS.

We learn best by watching role-models. That’s why a testimony about giving is a thousand times more effective than a sermon on giving. Those who lead, motivate us. Giving is contagious. So I encourage you to write down and send me your testimonies, how you decided to give, and what you are giving.

Examples:

(A) Marita – Scholarship money received this week.

(B) Lach – gave 500 in year 12, and at age 22, he was able to purchase his second house.

(C) Dan Power – great giver, just received a promotion and pay rise in this spring breakthrough period.

(D) Each year, over the last 19 years, Chris and I have been the biggest or second biggest givers in the church to Stewardship and Kingdom Advance giving every year. We don’t advertise how much we give because that’s not our reward but you can ask John as we are accountable to him in our giving. God has blessed us and looked after us.

5.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEY ARE INVOLVED.

Paul told the Philippians, “I thank God because of your partnership in the gospel.”  The fact is those who are most passionate about the goals will be those who sacrifice the most. The more a person or family has roots down, and the more they are actively engaged in paddling the boat forward, the more they are likely to give. It may seem strange but the biggest givers are not the highest earners but they are the ones with the biggest passion.

6.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN YOU ASK THEM TO GIVE.

James says, “You have not because you ask not.” The Bible says ask and seek and knock. God asks people to give. The fact is we’re doing you a favour when we ask you to give because you will grow in faith, you will grow in love, you will grow in sacrifice, you will grow in commitment, and you will grow in character as you learn to give. You will be blessed in return. I have learned to ask everybody, even those who have nothing, because I have seen over and over that when anyone makes a step of faith to give, it’s the key to their financial freedom.

7.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN WE MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO GIVE.

2 Corinthians 8 says, “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” That means we will make it possible for you to give in as many different ways as possible. Such as cash donations, pledges, regular credit card giving, direct debits, paypal etc.

We will help you understand you can either give by reason or by revelation. Giving by reason means this – I look at what I have, I figure out what’s reasonable and I commit that amount. It doesn’t take any faith to give by reason. I just figure out what can I afford to give. Giving by revelation means I determine my gift by praying “Lord, what do You want to give through me?” This requires faith. When you give by revelation, you’re committing an act of worship and saying, “How much am I willing to trust God?”

8.  PEOPLE GIVE WHEN THEIR GIFTS ARE APPRECIATED.

The whole book of Philippians is just a thank you letter from Paul for their offering, for their financial support. Each year as people give, we do our best to say thanks, here at church, with letters, with dinners and other ways. We truly appreciate your love, your giving and your sacrifice.

HOW OUR GIVING WILL TAKE PLACE

Next Saturday night we will be holding the Infinity Dinner. You are invited. It is a fund raising dinner. All this month we have been sharing the vision and inspiring our members to give towards the vision. On the dinner night we will show you the vision with video presentations. We have Simone Anderson singing, and we have Pastor Geoff Woodward speaking. On that night we will give you a giving card and ask you to donate or pledge over the next 12 months a figure that you believe God is saying to you that you can give. On Sunday those who were not able to make it to the dinner will have an opportunity to give also. This is not just a free dinner. Please don’t invite people to come just because it is an awesome night with free food, please make it clear that we are asking them to give big towards a compelling vision.

If you have committed to give last year, and for what ever reason, you were not able to complete your promise; please consider your promise forgiven. Seek God for a new goal and begin again to make a fresh impact. Only those people who have a ticket can attend this dinner. If you just roll up on the night we will not have catered for you.

To obtain a ticket please see one of these table captains:

  1. Craig Anderson
  2. John Matthews
  3. Dan & Meg Power
  4. Bob & Rita Ireland
  5. Ross and Kim Parker
  6. Puna & Natasha Ngarua
  7. Rhys & Mira Anderson
  8. Alex Fabiani & Yas Barber
  9. Santo and Remi Pandolfo
  10. Chris & Alicia Duncan

(Parts of this message were inspired by Pastor Rick Warren at pastors.com)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Discuss what you believe this local church could conceivably achieve in the next 5 years.

2. What level of finances would it take to accomplish that vision?

3. Where will that finance actually come from?

4. What i God’s purpose in our giving?

5. Can God actually bless you in your giving so that at the end of the giving period you have more even though you have given?

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SPRING BREAKTHROUGH – INFINITY#3AM – 20 OCT 13Infinity 1

Last weekend, in the message, we discovered the amazing truth of memorial prayer where Cornelius’ prayer was mixed with giving and God heard his prayer. In fact his prayer became a fixture in the mind of God through his giving. This resulted in a breakthrough for Cornelius’ family as they all received salvation and were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues; but more than that, this was a breakthrough moment for all Gentiles because for the first time in the New Testament, the gospel was sent to the Gentiles.

Spring breakthrough is over half way now. It’s time to press in and seek God for a real change in your circumstances. It’s time to turbo-charge your prayer requests with your extravagant giving.

Have you ever felt like you have prayed for ages and not received anything from God? Does it seem like your circumstances are immoveable? Do you want to see a breakthrough but seem to have come to a dead end? Then listen to this amazing story of a woman who moved the hand of God with her giving.

READ 1 Sam 1:1-11

1Sa 1:1  There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite.

1Sa 1:2  He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

1Sa 1:3  Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD.

1Sa 1:4  On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.

1Sa 1:5  But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb.

1Sa 1:6  And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.

1Sa 1:7  So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.

1Sa 1:8  And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

1Sa 1:9  After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD.

1Sa 1:10  She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.

1Sa 1:11  And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

Here’s the story.

Hannah was a godly woman. She longed for a baby, but she was barren. Her prayer to God had been requested for years. Look at 1Sa 1:7  So it went on year by year.

She so wanted to be a mother. She cried out to God and received no answer for years. Her rival, Peninnah, who had children, provoked her and devalued her because the purpose of her life was not fulfilled. She despaired for an answer. Why didn’t all her prayers reach God’s ears so He would do something about it? She was part of a godly family that worshipped every year. Everything seemed right and in place, yet no answer. Hannah needed a breakthrough. What was the trigger for her miracle?

When Hannah’s pain of barrenness reached its peak she changed the way she had been praying. She did something different. She turbo charged her prayer request to God. Sometimes you know that your prayers; as good as they are; and as right as they are; just do not bring the result that you long for, and you’re sick of soul searching for some illusive answer or reason why God seems to be ignoring you. It’s time to get violent with prayer and accost the throne of heaven with some serious holy attention seeking!

Hannah’s prayer broke through, Hannah got Gods attention. Hannah received her miracle and this breakthrough was not only amazing for her, it was amazing for all of Israel. So how did she turbo charge her prayer? What did she do to breach the stony silence of heaven? It isn’t that God doesn’t care, but is He looking for something more from you. Don’t get me wrong; in this story we are not saying God is hard of hearing, or that He’s hard to please or difficult to get along with. We see a developing passion in Hannah in this story. We see that God has something in mind to deliver Israel. But there came a tipping point. What was the defining moment? What was it that made the difference and released the answer for Hannah?

If you find this answer, you will breakthrough in your own life. Can you say like Hannah that you have prayed for ages and received no answer? Can you commiserate with Hannah and declare that God seems to be silent when you need Him to say, “YES” What if I told you the answer and you just outright rejected it? Will you stand in the ranks of  people who say, “I did it all the right way but no answer”; or will you be open to do something different and actually getting a breakthrough with God?

Do you want to hear what made the difference for Hannah? Do you have the ears to hear what Hannah wants to preach to you this morning? Listen to this part of her prayer, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me.” Do you want God to remember you and your prayer request?

Are you sure you want to know the answer for getting God’s attention? Do you think you are ready to hear it? OK then listen to this promise…

1Sa 1:11  And she vowed a vow and said, … remember me …  give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

Hannah promises to give something to God.

Hannah moves from just asking God for a miracle, to mixing her request with giving.

Hannah promises not just a gift to God but a gift of the single most important thing in her life that she truly desires. – THAT’S BIG GIVING!

It’s not that God forgets, for He knows all things, however there’s a kind of giving that brings to His remembrance the prayer that you have made. Look how fast God moved in her life following this promise of giving.

1Sa 1:19  They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.

Straight away the Lord remembered her!

So let’s look at the breakthrough.

  1. Hannah receives a child, a boy, to answer her long held prayers and release her from her agony of barrenness and failure to produce a son for her husband to say nothing of the ending of the torment from the Peninnah.
  1. The Lord multiplies the answer further in that Hannah eventually has seven children. 1Sa 2:1  And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. 1Sa 2:5  Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.
  1. Israel receives a leader and a deliverer in Samuel, Hannah’s first born. One of the few men in the bible against who is recoded no fault.

Can you see how great a breakthrough was achieved through Hannah’s bold move to be a giver? The big question always remains, “How much do you want it?”

I haven’t yet told you the most amazing part of this story.

I have told you that giving mixed with faith turbo charges your prayer request.

I have shared with you that giving causes a memorial or remembrance to stand before God about your needs. I have explained that after years of fruitless prayer the only thing that created a breakthrough for Hannah was extravagant giving.

But here is the most amazing part of the story.

Hannah promised a gift that she didn’t even have yet!

 However, don’t get the idea that this is easy giving, to give away something that you don’t have yet. God knew the intense desire that Hannah had to have a child of her own, so to open her arms again with no promise of any further children and lose what she had now received and longed for was no cheap promise!!!

I can’t tell you about the number of times well meaning people have made a promise like this to God; and received their miracle; and then gone back on their word and failed to deliver what they promised to God.

But if she did that, Israel would not have a deliverer and there would be no more of those six children she later had for fulfilling her promise to God.

So let’s recap. Hannah prayed for many years without a breakthrough.

She did everything right, but God was at work to produce a greater outcome than what Hannah imagined. The key to her breakthrough was an extravagant gift that caused God to remember her. Her passion for God and His blessings exceeded even her desire for a son, but God multiplied and blessed her anyway with six other children. Her giving mixed with prayer turbo charged her request to God, and straight away He answered her cry.

Every year, people from this church work together to raise a sum of money for the advancement of our vision. In two weeks time at our Infinity Dinner on November 2nd, we will all have an opportunity to bring a gift or make a promise to God about our Kingdom Advance giving for the year. If you made a pledge last year, come October 31 this year, what ever you were unable to complete, is forgiven. Begin a new faith journey to bring to God an extravagant gift for this coming year. Like Hannah you can promise to God what you don’t have yet!

To turbo charge your own spring breakthrough, you can decide to give to God at this time, pledging your gift to the Kingdom Advance Offering on November the 2nd or 3rd. When you mix your prayer request with your giving, you will be like Hannah who obtained a tremendous breakthrough. You are all invited to the Infinity Dinner. Please see one of these table captains for a ticket. You cannot come to the dinner without a ticket. There is no cost, however, please come to the dinner prepared to make a donation or a pledge.

To obtain a ticket please see one of these table captains:

  1. Craig Anderson
  2. John Matthews
  3. Dan & Meg Power
  4. Bob & Rita Ireland
  5. Ross and Kim Parker
  6. Puna & Natasha Ngarua
  7. Rhys & Mira Anderson
  8. Alex Fabiani & Yas Barber
  9. Santo and Remi Pandolfo
  10. Chris & Alicia Duncan

Here is a list of the gaols we are giving towards for this coming year:

This is the Vision for which we are giving to make an infinite impact.

  1. Youth and Young Adults Ministry – Part time wage – $20,000
  2. Destiny Rescue – Rescuing kids from sexual slavery – $10,000
  3. Local Outreach – Community Kitchen, Family Violence initiatives. – $10,000
  4. Facility Upgrade – New equipment for sound and video image production – $20,000

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Discuss with your group about the kind of grief and pain Hannah went through as she waited to have a baby and was tormented by Peninnah.

2. She didn’t give up but prayed for years without an answer. Has anyone in the group experienced this kind of thing?

3. Finally she made a vow to God. She promised to give her son back to God if God would grant her a son. Discuss how big a gift this was for Hannah.

4. Giving doesn’t just attract God’s attention but it sets up a memorial in God’s mind as a constant fixture of your need.  Has anyone ever practised this kind of giving?

5. If you need a breakthrough discuss how likely you are to mix giving with your prayer request.

 

 

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