She Put In Everything She Had

This article is part 4 of 4 in the series Giving

   It was just a small country church. The elderly minister had always prayed for just two things: WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING. God had blessed him with this, as with Solomon of old.
   One of the members who attended his small church was very rich. He had climbed his way ‘up the corporate ladder’ and was now CEO. He attended church every week. One Sunday afternoon, they had a ‘dinner on the ground’, and the old minister sat with him. He said to him, “I know giving is a private matter, but I have just wondered why your contribution has not increased over the years?” The rich member replied, “Well, when I was beginning, we were giving about 15% of our income. It was hard, but we enjoyed giving it. But now that I have ‘made it big’, it’s just not reasonable to give that amount.”
   They finished their meal, and were ready for dessert, and the minister asked him if they could have a brief prayer… They bowed, and he began… “Dear God, I praise your Name for the way you have followed this man’s career with favor. You have showered him and his family with blessings which, at the beginning could not be imagined. Please Lord, return him to the beginning days, when he was just a low entry workman. Reduce his salary to the level then, where he can give liberally as he once did. After all Lord, you have never been interested in the amount which one gives, just the proportion and the attitude of the heart where the gift comes from. Bless him that he can once again become generous as he once was. Amen”
   Paul said, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
   GIVING IS A GRACE, NOT A LAW. Yet principles and laws apply, like the one mentioned above. While tithing is an Old Testament law, and Christians are free from this. Christians grow BEST UNDER GRACE, than under law. Giving is individual, and private. Be careful in judging the motives and hearts of others. Don’t threaten, or guilt Christians into giving. It won’t (and shouldn’t) work. Just encourage brethren to GROW IN GRACE, and let them enjoy the whole process.
   Jesus said,  “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44).

Share Button

Sowing And Reaping

This article is part 3 of 4 in the series Giving

   One day, while trying to make a living for his family, Fleming, a poor Scottish farmer, heard a cry for help coming from the bogs. Now peat bogs are “wet spongy ground of decomposing vegetation; has poorer drainage than a swamp; soil is unfit for cultivation but can be cut and dried and used for fuel”. Many have lost their lives sinking down in the bogs. Fleming dropped his tools and ran to the bog where he found a terrified boy, up to his waist, hopelessly stuck and sinking. With a rope, he slowly pulled the boy to safety.
   The next day a man, who was obviously well off, appeared at the poor farmer’s door. He introduced himself as the father of the boy he had saved. “I want to repay you,” he said. “No, I can’t accept payment for what I did” the farmer said. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door. “Is this your son”? The nobleman asked. “Yes, this is my son Alexander”, the farmer said proudly. “I’ll make you a deal” said the nobleman. “Let me take your son, and give him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he will make you very proud.” They agreed.
   In time the farmer’s son graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to be known throughout the world as Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of PENICILLIN. Years afterward, the nobleman’s son caught Pneumonia. What saved him? Penicillin! 
   What was the name of the nobleman’s son? Sir Winston Churchill! This is a true story which illustrates an old principle. Giving is not all and only about the money, it is all about actions of the heart, which always speak louder than money. Paul put it another way, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:7-10). 
   The principle of “what goes around comes around” “what you sow will be what you reap” are basic laws which even though sometimes we don’t like, they work, and will change your life, and maybe many others as well. “I just don’t believe it!” someone says. That’s fine… one may not believe in gravity either, yet it still works. Listen, a person may not understand this principle of giving, any more than how the law of aerodynamics work, but the fact is, it works! 
   As you live your life, give some thought to those you meet, who knows, the one you reach out to, the one you help, may just become a “Sir Winston Churchill” or “Sir Alexander Fleming”.

Share Button

Grace Of Giving – Part Two

This article is part 2 of 4 in the series Giving

2.  Luke 6:38 – “GIVE AND YOU SHALL GET”  
     A. Luke 6:27-37 Read (“Doesn’t make sense!”
          “Can’t do this!” “Not natural!”)
          1.) Exactly right – “Foolishness” (I Corinthians 1:18) (Since before first Century –
                Righteous have been mistreated!)
          2.) Luke 9:23-25 “Take up your cross” (Not stuck on with Velcro)
          3.) Not talking about COMMANDMENTS/ DOCTRINES… talking about LIFE
          4.) = Fruit of Spirit in action – Galatians 5:16-18, 22-23 (Read)
     B. (Two handed Christianity) “GIVE AND YOU SHALL GET” “SOW AND YOU
          SHALL REAP”
          1.) NEW CLUB: “SHARE HALF A CAKE CLUB” (Bake cake/share half/ share
               other half)
                a.) Knock on door/ “Brought you some cake/just thinking a/you”/ “Come on in”
                      “Let’s have coffee and cake!”
                b.) THEY DON’T NEED THIS – WE NEED IT! – (We don’t teach that/ we
                c.) Iowa church (156 yr. old) Was 229 now 6 – HOW TO GROW?
                d.) Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16 “Go into all the world/ every creature…”
                     (INTENTIONAL CHANGES)(Not change for change sake) (Fellowship 
                     Dinner)(Thanksgiving)(Christmas) – FEED TO HUNGRY
     C. Give And You Shall Get – Sow And You Shall Reap
          1.) Don’t worry where it come from – how it works – TRUST HIM.
          2.) ELECTRICITY – Don’t know how it works – but it works
          3.) AERODYNAMICS – Don’t know how it works – but it works
          4.) Don’t know how – BLACK COW – GREEN GRASS – WHITE MILK –
               YELLOW BUTTER
          5.) Luke 6:38 Read – Don’t know how it works – but it does.
          6.) Jesus just says…. LOVE ME AND GROW.
      D. Issue today – NOT MONEY/ TIME/ TALENTS… (Lesson would be long over 
           if it were as simple as that.)
           1.) Spoon – “I love the Lord… I’m gonna use the spoon” (Here comes the plate)
                 …(Nothing wrong with spoon)
           2.) “Jack!” (Yes Lord?) “Can I use your spoon?” (Why Lord?) “Cause that’s how
                 it works.”
           3.) “I love Jack, I’m gonna give to Jack…”
           4.) “Lord” (Yes Jack) “Can I use a scoop?” (Sure you can) “I love the Lord, I’m
                 using a scoop.”
           5.) “I DON’T BELIEVE THAT!” (Ok, don’t have to.) (Gravity)(Jump = don’t break
                 law/prove it)
           6.) Lord says… prove it GAYSG/SAYSR
           7.) “Church full of snobs!” (You are one too) “What you mean?”
                 a.) We mirror ea. other – Go thru life / people mirror each other as pass thru
                 b.) To a SNOB all are SNOBS/ UNFRIENDLY – UNFRIENDLY/ GREEDY –
                 c.) If open handed, friendly, forgiving, kind… REFLECTED.
           8.) Lord says, “Jack, give me your spoon or scoop… it’s your decision… that’s
                 how it works.”
           9.) DAD was in KANSAS, CITY – Lady said, “Your scoop is too small.” (Bigger
                 a.) 191 spoons – 1 mid sized scoop
                 b.) 2 ½ Mid sized scoops – Big scoop
       F. Lesson is simple – GROW IN GRACE – NEVER STOP GROWING.
           1.) QUESTION: Does God use the scoop while we use a spoon? Yes!
                 (Showers of Blessings)
           2.) Why? How?
           3.) Husband/Wife – 9 children (demands/cries/wets diapers/sick/hungry)
                 a.) Child doesn’t give as much as take!
                 b.) Child breaks things/ writes on your good furniture.
           4.) “Jack, I didn’t come here to be like you…… I came so you could be like me.”
                 a.) Paul said, “Saved by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8)
                 b.) Romans 4 = Righteousness = CREDITED (Big credit / BIG scoop cf. 
                      Romans 5:9 “see how much more”).
           5.) Why we give to our children out of scoop? Love!
                 a.) Matthew 7:7-12 Read
      G. HOW MUCH IS MUCH? Mark 12:41 (Partial Read)(“Calling His disciples to him,
           Jesus said,
           “How much is much”?) (I added that)
           1.) (ILLUSTRATION) Man gives $1,000.00 bill in plate/ Deacon runs to
                 elder and says, “Look!!!” (Who gave that!?) “There he is” (We need to meet
                 him!”) “HELLO BROTHER! GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE!”
                 a.) (James 2) James says, “You have dirty minds”  “You don’t know how
                       much, “MUCH” is.”
                 b.) How many $1,000.00 bills you have? 100 = 1% (1% of anything is not
                 c.) Man give $1.00…. How many do you have? 100 = 1% (Same as
                      the other person)
                       MUCH HE HAS.
           2.) “Every man give as he purposes in his heart….”
                 a.) (ILLUSTRATION) “Charlie only gave $10.00 and he makes 593.96/wk.
                       and just got inheritance!”
                 b.) “You know that Charlie has parents in nursing home and pays $6,000 ea./
                       month?” (No, I didn’t know that? “I don’t either, but it’s possible.” (Don’t
                       judge!) (Let him grow!!!)
            3.) Mark 12:42-44 Read. Jesus is saying DON’T JUDGE…

3. WONDERFUL SPIRITUAL EXERCISE (Last part of lesson)(Open envelops/ card/pencils) (Please return these – Envelops and pencils will be used again)
     A. Card – 1, 2, 3 Side (IF YOU ARE NOT A MEMBER – put a “V” = not counted.
     B. NO NAMES ALLOWED (not interested in “who”)(Just be honest)(DON’T LOOK 
          AT NEIGHBOR)
     C. SAMPLE: #1 ($5.00) (Cover with thumb)
         1.) How much you love family? Cant say.
         2.) How much you love the Lord? Can’t say. (IT’S UNDER YOUR THUMB)
    D. “I OBJECT!!!” (On what basis?) “You don’t know what I wrote/ don’t know my 
         1.) You are right! Don’t need to know/ INDIVIDUAL/PRIVATE GRACE.
         2.) Bet. You and God. Not CORPORATE GRACE/ CONGREGATIONAL
              GRACE…. INDIVIDUAL!
     E. Under your thumb = THREE THINGS
          1.) How much you love the Lord.
                a.) “O how I love Jesus, O how I love….” Jesus asks, “Do you love me
                      Jack?” (cf John 21 Jesus and Peter). “All the Jesus I surrender, Lord I
                      give myself to thee….” “Jack, do you really surrender all….?”
                b.) 1% may be all a person can give… maybe not. GOD JUST WANTS US
                     TO GROW!
                c.) God doesn’t want us to win souls just to win souls…. HE WANTS TO
                     CHANGE YOU.
                d.) Lord not concerned with our budget etc… WANTS TO CHANGE YOU/
                     BLESS THE GIVER.
          2.) How much you have grown over time.
                a.) 5, 10 years how much have you grown over all?
                b.) 2 Corinthians 8:7 Read “But since you excel in everything—in faith, in
                      speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have
                      kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
                 c.) This is a lesson on life principles…. bigger than money
          3.) The future of your congregation. What will be done corporately (locally)(USA)
     F. TURN CARD OVER (Top of Card = PROPORTIONATE) (Explain difference 
          bet. Proportionate and a Portion)
          1.) Weekly income – Go down Lt. hand column to approximate $$$ – INCOME
          2.) Go the Rt hand column to figure which represents approx. present wkly 
                contribution (gift) CIRCLE IT.
          3.) This shows you where you are. (NO SHAME/GUILT even if 1%) – Just grow!
          1.) Multiply amt. in #1 by 10.
               a.) Tomorrow your employer will receive a guest… JESUS- “Your employee
                     is Charlie?” “Yes, Good man.” (Well, he is one of Mine. Well, I’m going to
                     use the OT “Tithing” figure of 10% to figure how I bless him, and I want
                     you to pay him 10 times what he gives Me.”
               b.) Could you live? Cut back? Be comfortable?
               c.) What would happen to the stuff bought on Credit? (Call GMAC – Come 
                    get it!)(Call Rent-A-Center – Come get the 70” Flat screen)
      H. WHAT IF EVERY CONTRIBUTING MEMBER – were to start growing some in
          this grace today?
           1.) One card – From 10 Cents to 20 Cents = 100% growth (Remember, not
                 thinking in terms of amount!
                a.) Not thinking in terms of PORTION… this is PRO-PORTIONATE giving!
                b.) Decision of the grateful, trusting heart… that wants to grow
                c.) Not a weekly BILL, DUTY, it’s a gift of love.
           2.) One card $1.00 to $25.00 = 2400% Growth.
           3.) What happens to the heart of Christian when it opens up and trusts Jesus?
                What happens at home? What happens at work, when one grows in grace?
           4.) Have seen cards go from $1.00 to $10.00. (What happens when grow
           5.) Saw cards from $200.00/ $500.00… $5.00 /$10.00… $0.20/ $0.50 per
                 week = some! That’s fine! GROW!
         7.) STOP comparing yourself with someone else… = bet. you and God (self with 
      I. Bottom line… not budgets/ missions/ buildings/ ministers… bottom line GOD
         WANTS TO BLESS THE GIVER, his life, family
         1.) Have prayed before Contribution, “Lord bless the gift AND the giver.”
              a.) Haven’t understood that too well… but we’re teaching it now.
          WEEK IN BOX #2 AND TOTAL IT IN BOX #3.
     K. Put card in envelop with pencil, don’t seal the envelop, just tuck it in…
     L. Pass to the aisle for pick up.

(I left dad’s closing off here since it was a requested invitation for any who would like to obey the Gospel, which you can design yourself.)

(It is amazing to me how dad presented this lesson, and how people grew…
Just to let you know… One card came back after dad finished and it said, “I promise to increase my weekly giving $1.00 if you promise not to have someone come and speak so long on giving again.” Obviously, not some brethren’s favorite lesson… But it blessed many “over the years”, and I hope this will help you. I am trying to put the DVD that this was taken from on the site…. if I can figure out how… If you go to the “Illustrations” portion of this site under “Jack Exum – TUD, you will find many of the illustrations used, and more. The handout cards used in this lesson will be added here soon. God bless you, Jack Jr.)  

Share Button

Grace Of Giving (Part One)

This article is part 1 of 4 in the series Giving

(This outline is taken from dad’s lesson on giving… it has been expanded a bit with some additional thoughts and passages which came to my mind in preparing this outline. Part two will be coming soon. I hope this helps.)

* Texts: 2 Corinthians 8-9; Luke 6:23-38; (esp. vs. 38); Luke 21:1-4; Matthew 6:19-21; 7:9-12; 1 Corinthians  15:35-45; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:16-18, 22-23; Philippians 2:5-11)
* Preparation: Erasable board/ Collection plate/ Spoon/scoops/ Indian Corn seed/Play Dough

* 2 boys walking home after first time at Bible class. “You hear teacher?! She said Lot’s wife looked back/ turned into pillar of salt!” Other boy, “That’s nothing… my mother driving home/van – looked back and turned into fence post.”
* Not trying to “turn you into something” – Major shift in thinking – (DRAW STICK FIGURE)
    – Win souls (just to win souls) Not the purpose
    – Pray (just to pray for others) Not the purpose
    – Forgive (just to forgive and be forgiven) Not the purpose
    – Give (just to give so s/one can give to s/one else) Not the purpose
* (Arrow to Stick figure) GOD WANTS TO CHANGE YOU!
* We unknowingly- have taught REFLEXIVE CHRISTIANITY
    – “You do this so we can do that”
* God says (Play Dough) — “Jack, I want to change, mold, make YOU, your heart!”
* Talking about the GRACE OF GIVING (and MUCH MORE!)
* TWO POWER PRINCIPLES (2 sides of same coin)(Say almost same thing)

          HIM TO GROW)
          1.) From strongest Christian to weakest = ALL ABOUT GRACE
                (Draw heart beat type line from stick figure to point rep. death/heaven.)
                (GRACE NOT MEAN IN AND OUT ea. time one sins)(Grace covers       
                 Christian through life while growing in LOVE, FORGIVENESS,    
                 KNOWLEDGE, GIVING etc…)
           2.) Grandma used to say, “Give that boy some elbow room! Let him grow!”
           3.) This is the Law about giving.
      B. (ILLUSTRATION) Corn seed (Laws regulate growth)
           1.) What is needed for growth? (Seed)(Dirt)(Water)(Fertilizer)(Time) – LIFE is   
                 given by God.
           2.) 1 Seed (law of averages) = 280 seeds back
           3.) NOT TELLING YOU GIVE $1.00 GET $280.00 (False teaching)
           4.) Talking about life and how God blesses those who trust him.
           1.) Giving = a grace (act/attitude of kindness)(Ref. Galatians 5:16-18, 22-23)
           2.) Affects the whole life (ie Life  led by/ influenced by/controlled by SPIRIT)
           3.) Bake a cake and share/ caring for shut in/ cut grass for handicapped/
                EXPECT NOTHING
           4.) “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” (Need to get ‘self’ out of way) Ref. Galatians 2:20
           5.) You want a great church/ home/ life? CHANGE (Clay)
                a.) “I’m a single parent” CHANGE
                b.) “I’m an elder or deacon” CHANGE
          6.) (FIVE FINGER ILLUSTRATION) Sow And You Shall Reap
                a.) Haven’t taught much a/ reaping (unless it is bad)
                b.) Have taught DUTY, RESPONSIBILITY, OBLIGATION, BUDGETS (but
                      not reaping).
                      (Preachers to pay)(Buildings to keep up)(Missions to Support)(GOTTA
                c.) (FIVE FINGER ILLUSTRATION – Sow AndYou Shall Reap) 
                      (“But I don’t sow in order to reap!”God says, “I know, but it will happen…”)
          1.) 2 Corinthians 9:7 Read. (= INDIVIDUAL/PERSONAL/PRIVATE)
                a.) Cf. Matthew 6:1-3
                b.) Give little/much = all about GRACE
                c.) For next few minutes – FORGET ABOUT BUDGETS/BLDG/PAY
                     PREACHERS (most have done this anyway)(Smile)
                      1.) Nothing wrong about budgets/buildings/paying preachers – BUT
                           POOR MOTIVATION!
                a.) “not grudgingly (reluctantly)”  
                b.) “or under compulsion”
                      1.) Means “NOT FROM NEGATIVE PRESSURE/ DUTY” (“If you don’t,
                            we can’t….”)
          3.) Paul teaches – EV. CHRISTIAN NEEDS THIS GRACE
                a.) Consider Christ – 2 Corinthians 8:8-9; (Philippians 2:5-11)               
          4.) 2 Corinthians 9:10 Read
                a.) Bread to eat/ Seed to sow/ Make you grow – better husband and wife
                b.) (Stick figure)(Heart)(Arrow pointing to heart) GOD AT WORK
                c.) GOD = “ALL”, “ABLE”, “ALWAYS”
                d.) James 1:17 Read
           1.) All decided “Ok Lord, I’m going to trust you/ take You at your word/ put this to
          2.) God says, “I will open your heart/mind/hands to be my servant here.”
          3.) SOMEONE COMES ALONG… needs help/ forgiven/ Gospel… YOU
          4.) “That’s ridiculous” “I’m not that way!”
     F. Talking about LIFE PRINCIPLES HERE. (Bonding/binding Christians together)
          1.) This = principle – existed in NT Church
         FILLAMENT/ success! “Martha!!! Look, it works!”  “O, Turn out the light Tom     
         it’s 3 AM!!!” 
     H. Someone comes along – “new light” – “Leave us alone/ comfortable!”
      I. Right here = principle (unite families)(unite churches)(grow!!!)


Share Button