Faith is the way for God’s will. It’s the access point for Him to move in and through us.
The end of the year is such a special time. Not only do the holidays bring back so many precious memories with friends and family, but it’s also a time to pause and reflect on all that God has given us throughout the year. One of the most beautiful responses to this remembrance happens by way of our Year-End-Offering.
Year-End-Giving builds our faith and expands our reach in the community. The things we accomplished this year as a church that would not have been possible without the faith and reach that last year’s offering provided. This makes me wonder what God wants to do in 2020 - not just in the life of our community, but in your life personally - both of which are connected to our faith through this offering.
Faith is the way for God’s will. It’s the access point for Him to move in and through us. I can’t encourage you enough to participate in this process.
But where do you begin? How do you go about preparing to give an offering to God?
In this blog, I want to share how my wife and I will go about preparing to give our Year-End-Offering. This is a fluid process in which we remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit right up to the giving date - December 22nd - at our A Downtown Christmas experience. But here are some practical steps you can follow.
Calendar the conversation.
God wants us to give cheerfully, not begrudgingly (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). Preparation is critical to our perspective. If you wait until the last minute, you will give stressfully. That’s not the goal. Start now.
Our giving is a response to His giving (Matthew 6:25-33). So start your time by setting your heart and mind of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
This doesn’t mean strike up the band and lyric slides. It certainly can, but worship is simply taking time to set your focus on God. On who He is. How big, great, holy, good, magnificent, kind, generous, merciful and loving He is. How much He has done for us in Jesus. And what He promises for those who love and trust Him.
What helps me do this is reading Scripture and listening to worship music. Some passages you can read are: Psalm 50:1-15, Psalm 121, Psalm 136,Matthew 19:28-29, Luke 6:38. Some bands I’ve been listening to recently are Elevation Worship, Leeland, and Pat Barrett.
God wants you to give. He has something in store for you. (Malachi 3:10) Seek Him for what He would have you offer. Don’t just ask in your head as you go about your day. Ask Him out loud. Write your prayer down. Be expectant. He wants to let you know.
Also take time to thank Him for all He has entrusted to you. And thank Him for the opportunity to direct His resources in a way that would make a way for others to know Him. Ask Him to share His heart with you. Giving isn’t about how much you are giving away, but how much can God do in and through you as your heart becomes aligned with His. Imagine how many lives can be saved and blessed by what you are willing to release. We can’t outgive God! We will never lose in this deal!
Listen and wait.
Be intentional over a period of days and weeks to listen for the Spirit of God. He may not speak through your Cheerios - though we welcome checks with lots of 0’s. He’ll speak much more practically. Take time to look at your budget. Look at savings. Think about what you could do.
Dream with God.
For some of you who are giving for the first time, it may be an amount equal to your first tithe (10% of gross). It may be matching what you are spending on family (or yourself) this holiday season. It may be the amount of something you were saving up for. The first time my wife and I gave a Year-End offering we gave what we had saved to go to vacation with some friends. They did the same (on their own). It was what we could do and we felt blessed to be able to sacrifice something. Thousands of people have met Jesus through that church since then. And we’ve had multiple trips given to us since then. Without a doubt, we won out on the deal.
Write it down.
I like writing numbers down. Write any numbers you are sensing down in a journal or on a notepad you will look at daily. There’s something about seeing numbers on paper that is helpful in the decision-making process. It may cause you to take a deep breath. In that case, it will be good to have time to get used to it. Or you may realize it’s not as far of a reach as you thought and decide to stretch your faith.
It can also be helpful to write three different numbers. 1) A conservative amount that you know you can do. 2) A stretch amount that requires some sacrifice and adjustment. 3) And a “God-size” amount that requires His intervention in your situation to make it possible.
Plan a way to be as generous as possible. He has been and will continue to be generous with you (2 Corinthians 9:6-15). There’s an old hymn that says, “God in heaven hath a treasure, Riches none may count or tell; A deep eternal pleasure, Christ the Son, He loveth well.” God emptied heaven of that greatest treasure that we may be in relationship with Him. You and I can move some things around in our budget to give to Him.
What can you change about your lifestyle? Do you really need Hulu and Disney+ and Netflix and HBOGo with cable? Should you be paying for that fantasy draft? Could you brew your own coffee? Could you shop at Old Navy instead of Nordstrom? Do you really need to make lease payments on a new car as opposed to owning a used car? These are just a couple ways that we can make room to be generous and put God’s Kingdom over ours.
A blank check and an expectant heart.
Giving is possibly the greatest act of worship. So writing a check in worship service is beautiful. Pre-decide to do whatever He tells you. You will never regret trusting Him. But if you are already certain of the number, you can write it ahead of time.
If you can’t make it on the 22nd, you can always give online. Or if you don’t own a checkbook, you can give online during the experience on your mobile device. https://makercitychurch.com/