I always approach worship with anticipation, and will often pray the words of an old hymn that lives in my memory:
Give us a day of wonders,And man, oh man, did God do that today!
Jehovah, bare thine arm;
Pour out thy Holy Spirit,
Make known thy healing balm;
Give blessings without number,
Supply us from thy store;
Dear Saviour, richly bless us,
Baptize us more and more.
Sharla and Under Cover led SUCH an anointed time of worship in both celebrations as to nearly blow the hinges off the doors of the auditorium!
Sharla, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the use of Scripture before Blessed and I Exalt Thee!
Sharla and Aaron, THANK YOU for following the Spirit's leading and not cutting anything short, and drawing the highest praises out of God's people today! Thank you for your tears, your quivering voices, the evidence that no one felt the Spirit's presence more strongly than you!
Rich, thank you for a yeoman's job as floor coordinator, and thank you to all you Cobbleheads who prayerfully pledged your 2011 giving this morning....God is with us, and he is on the move!
I preached the last message in the three-part "The Blessed Life" series this morning, and I'm really sad to see it go. I thought I'd take a minute to look back on the series, and share some of my favorite quotes from the series (yeah, yeah, I know I'm kinda quoting myself and that's really bad form, but oh well...):
From #1, "God's Arithmetic"....
I will never achieve the blessed life by pursuing blessing. I will only achieve it by pursuing GOD.From #2, "God's Mathematics"....
Money is not just a physical thing, it is a spiritual thing, too. Money does supernatural things to us and in us—and for us.
God’s response [to Cain's and Abel's offerings] makes it clear that “something” is not okay. God wants the offering he asks for….and he asks for firstfruits.
Even GOD himself gave his firstborn as an offering.
It always requires faith to put God first…..But first he must be. That’s why so few of us experience the blessed life. Because we will give to God only after we know our needs will be met.
"God doesn’t need you to give—you need to be blessed" (Robert Morris, The Blessed Life).
ESPECIALLY these days, ESPECIALLY in this culture, ESPECIALLY for Americans, the most reliable barometer of whether I am pursuing God or not is what I do with my money.From #3, "God's Calculus"....
God is not bound by our unbiblical assumptions about money…but he IS bound by our choices to do what he says, or not…and we limit his blessing when we ignore his Word.
When it comes to money, we operate instinctively, unthinkingly, habitually, from several unbiblical assumptions. The first is, the assumption that money comes from a job....The second wrong assumption is that money is a limited resource....The third assumption we make is that what I give is gone.
When an ancient Israelite sacrificed the firstborn lamb to come forth from a ewe, every lamb born thereafter was redeemed! The same is true of the tithe. When I give my firstfruits to God, that action redeems the other ninety percent. The first portion has the power to redeem the rest.
Money is a ticklish subject….it makes us really, really nervous….which ought to be an indicator of how attached we get to it.And today's benediction, which I pray again for all my beloved family at Cobblestone: May God make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work, to the glory of God. Amen.
WE think the key to HAVING lots of money is HOARDING….But God’s Word says the key is GIVING.
A lot of us think like, “I would give a lot more to God’s work if I had it to give.” But the Bible doesn’t teach that. The Bible says God supplies seed to SOWERS, not to hoarders.
God is not interested in your money. He is after your heart.
Giving will not make you righteous; righteousness will make you a giver.
While we are begging God to make us rich, he is begging us to become like him….who gives and gives and gives, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and STILL overflowing.
Sowing comes before reaping, and the heart comes before the harvest.
If you’re struggling in some area of life, it’s not because you don’t have enough money; it’s because God doesn’t have enough YOU.
And one last thing. In today's Scripture reading, Paul told the Corinthians how their generosity would result in thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:11). As of about 12:45 today, I have a perfect example. I told the story in my message today, from Morris's book, The Blessed Life, how he and his wife gave away 9 cars in 18 months. Gave 'em away! In the midst of that story, I pointed to a young woman on the front row who had mentioned to me between first and second celebration how she really needed a car. So I pointed at her and said, only half-serious, "Oh, by the way, there's a young woman here who could really use a car if you have one to give away." Right after celebration ended, my wife and I prayed with her and her mom for God to meet her needs, and less than three minutes after we said amen, a young couple who'd been sitting just a couple rows behind her in worship had given her a car!
Can I get a witness! Can I hear an amen? Can you see how that young couple's generosity is resulting in thanksgiving to God, not only from that young woman who had a need, but from this pastor, who is saying "HALLELUUUUUUUUUJAH!"
God is so good, and I honestly believe he is right now opening the windows of heaven on me and on our church, and pouring out a blessing we won't even be able to contain! I think this morning's worship was like the early rains that set the stage for latter rains and abundant harvest!