Sacrificial Giving

Hand giving moneyI know what it is like to give. I learned to be a giver by watching my parents for years. I also remember being the recipient of others who were givers. I also learned a lot about giving from the Word of God. Jesus teaching about giving and what a blessing it is to give. Luke quotes Paul, who says it well in Acts 20:35 (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.’”

Giving is an opportunity to bless someone else. I love this time of year, as Christmas nears, so many people reach deep inside their hearts to give and bless other by their generosity. I especially love anonymous giving. The other person doesn’t know who gave, but I receive a blessing anyway because I didn’t give to get the credit. I gave to bless someone else.

Jesus was teaching His disciples about giving and he pointed out a real live situation where giving was sacrificial and generous. Check this out…

1While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” (Luke 21:1-4 NLT)

I recently heard a descriptive phrase of giving that resonated with me. The phrase worth remembering is: equal sacrifice NOT equal giving. Our church just recently had an unbelievable response to a giving challenge. Our attendance is just over 1000 people. Our offering goal was half a million dollars! We were challenged with equal sacrifice NOT equal giving. We have people from every part of the socio-economic scale. We have very poor people and we have wealthy people who attend. Our offering came in around $525,000!! Jesus was teaching His disciple about equal sacrifice by observation of this widow who gave out of her poverty and struggle instead of giving from the surplus.

I’m learning that I can’t possibly out-give God. He gave His One and only Son so that we could have an abundant life here on earth as well as eternal life after this life. When I give, I’m being like God.  God is a giver and He calls me to be a giver. It’s not an “amount thing” – it’s about sacrifice and generosity.

Our wealth is relative. I know people who have way more money and material possessions than I have, but they are poor. I know people who have way less money and possession than me who are very rich. I believe giving can make me rich in spiritual values. God loves givers because He is the Ultimate Giver.

Pressing On!


Be Encouraged


ApplauseI have often been the recipient of encouragement. Encouragement inspires me. Encouragement motivates me. Encouragement gives me great confidence.  I believe encouragement has help build me into who I am today. Encouragement is a simple concept that has profound effects for years to come. When I reflect on the encouragement that has been given to me over the years and the effect it’s had on me, I can’t help but become an encourager to others.

The Hebrew writer speaks to this word as well. We must encourage one another in our walk with the Lord. There are times it’s obvious that a person is getting to a bad place, but other times, the deceitful heart is masked by good deeds and kind words. I must pay careful attention to my heart as I live out my faith. Check this out…

12 Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. 14 For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. (Hebrews 3:12-14 CSB)

I believe encouragement must be honest. It can’t be shallow and empty. Encouragement can call someone out of sin. Encouragement can help prevent someone from surrendering to sin. I also believe that I must encourage often. Giving away genuine encouragement also blesses my heart because my attention is taken off me. If I’m not very careful, I can make everything in my life revolve around me – that’s very dangerous and very self-centered. Encouragement is about the other person and it’s a huge gift that I can give with both words and action.

When I started journaling about my journey in the Word several years ago, it started coming alive to me. I would find myself recalling what I had read throughout the day. At some point, I felt called (nudged) by the Lord to share my thoughts publically. When He tells me to stop, I’ll do that too. I have been encouraged by being an encourager. I want my life to be about Him and not about me. I want the actions and activities of my life to point to Him and Who He is, instead of me. I want to make Him famous – not become famous myself.

If I could offer one word of encouragement to anyone who desires to know Him it would be – please find time in your busy life to read His Word and talk to Him about it. He longs for relationship with His kids. I remember hearing a phrase that I think came from Mother Teresa many years ago: “If you’re too busy to pray, you are simply too busy.” I’m adding to that, if I’m too busy to read, meditate and pray over His Word then I’m too busy. I believe studying the Word of God builds eternal thoughts and dreams. I’m taking out of my self-centered world and I start seeing the world as The Lord sees it. Encouragement from the Word of God has changed every part of my life.

Pressing On!


Harvest Principle


garden harvestI really like this time of year because I love fresh vegetables from the garden. My wife’s parents have a nice-sized garden each year. They plant corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans; to name a few. I don’t usually help as much on the planting side because of work conflicts. I usually help with harvesting as we help freeze and can the vegetables for later use. It is crazy how some years, the garden produces more than others. It takes a lot of time and effort to work a garden, but it seems to me that the food taste much better than what I can purchase at the grocery store.

Paul talks about the law of the harvest in his last chapter to the church at Galatia. He declares that it’s a principle or a law of sorts. Check this out…

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the SpiritLet us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10 CSB)

There have been springs and early summers where we didn’t get much rain, but we still almost always harvest more than is planted. This law is universal in all sorts of applications.

Paul is speaking clearly about my relationship with God. If I want to grow, I must invest some time and energy. He is challenging the church at Galatia to sow in the Spirit instead of the flesh. Sowing in the Spirit reaps eternal rewards as well as blessing while here on the earth. I can’t quit sowing seeds of kindness just because I’m tired. I’m paying it forward and it’s always wise to do good things even when I can’t see how it could possibly benefit me or anyone else. Doing good to others is “paying it forward” – a harvest will come from our genuine, loving, good deeds.

If I sow love and care in my relationships, they flourish.

If I ignore my relationships, they die.

If I use my money to carefully invest and give; the return or what comes back to me is a blessing.

The Lord gives me counsel often on more ways to creatively invest in others and that ends of blessing others and me. I am wealthy in relationship because I love people and do my very best to show proper respect and love. That is the harvest principle at work.

Pressing On!




square grunge red no limits stampThis word carries with it the intent to surpass or do extremely well in whatever activity I’m involved with. It is part of the word “excellent” as well. I believe that those who give their very best end up excelling. In the sporting world, there are some sports where a gifted athlete combines his/her gifts with the discipline of preparation and they are crowned champion, whether it’s the Olympics, Super Bowl, NBA championship, etc.…

Paul, in writing his second letter to the church at Corinth, puts a strong challenge out there for them to give to another church that has been struggling. Giving is one of the biggest blessings that I can do for others. Paul makes an incredible appeal to give that really challenged me even this morning. Check this out…

Now as you excel in everything—in faith, speech, knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love for us—excel also in this act of grace. I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I am giving advice because it is profitable for you, who began last year not only to do something but also to want to do it. (2 Corinthians 8:7-10 CSB)

He approaches the subject of giving by linking it to grace. If I give from a grace-filled heart, my gift will be generous.

I believe my giving reflects my faith.

I believe my giving reflect His Grace in me.

I believe my giving reflects the genuineness of my love for God. Talk is cheap – obedience is expensive.

I believe my giving profits me with blessing upon blessing.

When I committed to being a giver, I became a receiver of the blessing.

I believe that the Lord wants me to excel in my love for Him. One of the ways I can express my love for Him is the discipline of giving. I give before I invest. I give before I spend. I give before I eat. I give to Him first – period.

I am never more like God than when I give….  16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Pressing On!



Many hands together: group of people joining handsI like this word in many different contexts. I like it when my wife and I are in unity (this contrasts with when we have extremely different ideas about an issue). I also like it when my family is in unity. Unity doesn’t mean we always agree, but I do think it means we are always agreeable. It is not always easy for sure, but I think unity means that I’m keeping my eye on the big picture. I see unity as agreement on the big picture items. Unity is defined as: “the state of being one; the parts of a whole; oneness of mind; harmony and agreement”.

This word jumped out of a Psalm of David – a song of assents and it reminded me of what a beautiful concept unity can be. Check this out…

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life for evermore. (Psalm 133:1-3 NIV)

Unity is sometimes very difficult to achieve because I or the other person want our way. Unity can only be achieved when we are all working for the greater good of any team that we are part of. I believe every group I’m part of needs a mission. I didn’t say that they need a mission statement, although I think it’s an excellent idea. A mission statement is simply our mission in writing. In my family, we seek to honor God in our choices and decisions every day. It’s not written down anywhere, but we know it and try to live it out. At Southern Hills Christian Church where my family and I serve, the mission is: Disciples who make disciples.  At Metro West Realty, our team of REALTORS rally around a mission of: EXCELLENCE. Always.  I know that there are other organizations that I am part of that are on mission. If we get “off mission” then the tensions begin quickly.

Unity is an incredible concept and can be very fulfilling to be part of. If there is to be unity, then I can’t always have everything “my way or the highway”. I must seek common ground underneath the mission.  I have been part of organizations where there was no unity and it can be frustrating. When unity disappears, dysfunction comes on the scene. There are so many instances where the Lord has “sanded my rough edges off” and helped me see the big picture. I need to remember that any organization that I’m part of is only as strong as the unity of all its members.  I do believe that everyone needs a big picture view even in the trenches of debate and discussion.  I love the last line of this passage: ”for there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life for evermore”.

Pressing On!


Mercy – Hope – Respect

Man praying with the BibleIt’s a new day! Yesterday is now in the rear-view mirror – today is another chance to make good choices and wise decisions. I was reminded this morning how much I need mercy. Mercy is defined as: compassion, forbearance, kindness, blessing, pity, benevolence, the power to pardon and divine favor. I live in the shadow of this word every day and I’m profoundly thankful that the Lord shows me mercy daily.

As I read this Psalm of Assents this morning, I was reminded that along with mercy, I have found hope and I live in respect for the Lord out of that mercy & hope. Check this out…

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his Word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:1-5 NIV)

The more I study the Word of God, the more respect and reverence I have for the Lord. He has NOT kept a record of my sins. I am aware of my sin most days and I’m naïve toward the mercy He has poured out on me. I am profoundly thankful and humbled to think of how He not only forgives me and shows mercy, He calls me His kid. The moves my heart. In His Word, I find that mercy and forgiveness displayed often. In His Word, I find Provision, Protection, Direction, Instruction, Help, Hope, Profound Love. The Lord is in a category all by Himself. He is not just another god – He is the Only God and He forgives and forgets my stupidity. His heart melts when I say I’m sorry. His mercy and forgiveness is immediate. His Presence is constant. His Word teaches me more and more about His heart, Who He is and I’m invited to know Him more personally.

Pressing On!