Foundation of Generosity

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5 September, 2021Pastor Mark SchultzAuthentic Generosity

The beginning matters.

The foundation is important for any building project. 

Buildings need a good foundation to stand the strain of the weight upon it and remain stable whatever stresses are applied to it. Relationships need a strong foundation of trust to grow strong and withstand the pressures of life. The early years of education are labelled as the foundation years,for what students learn in those years are critical as a base on which other learning is built.

It's no different with generosity. 

The beginning matters. 

The foundation is important.

Over the next four weeks we are going to explore what it means to embody Christ-like authentic generosity, one of the core values here at LifeWay, and it's crucial that we get the foundations right, so that what is built, is grounded, solid and able to support God's work in ever-expanding ways. The journey toward authentic generosity starts with the posture of the heart, God's heart that so loved the world and so loved you, that he gave. When you take hold of that, it will lead you on a journey of joyful transformation from which you will never look back.

#1 in series: "Authentic Generosity"

2 Corinthians 3:16 - 4:18

16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

4:1Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15

Generosity is an expression of grace that leads to abundant living.

  1. When you are the receiver of a generous act or gift, how do you respond? Why?
  2. Can you imagine a scenario when giving would be fun? Describe it.
  3. Reflect on how are your finances shaping your decision making? If you are married, have a conversation about it.
  4. What is one generous, fun, act that you can do this week for someone to bring them joy?

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More from 'Authentic Generosity'

Administration of Generosity

19 September, 2021 Pastor Mark Schultz

In our world of conflicting arguments and competing narratives, of fake news & conspiracy theories…Whom do you trust?

I’ll trust a pilot to get me from A to B on time & in 1 piece. I’ll trust a Doctor, dentist, hair stylist once…sometimes I have no choice. But if I really have skin in the game…I want to know who I am dealing with. Trust is personal. Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose.

So when Paul encourages the disciples of Jesus in Corinth to give generously toward helping people they’ve never met and from whom they are unlikely to receive a return, he wants to make sure they trust his motives and his mission. Trust is personal.

Paul assures the Corinthians they can rely on his integrity and those chosen to assist in his ministry. They can count on the gifts they give reaching the destination he has promised. They can trust Paul, because they’ve been entrusted by God with rich blessings, and an eternal promise.

Living generously is not a spur of the moment, spontaneous, off the cuff reactive impulse to a pressure situation. It’s a well-planned, wisely administered proactive lifestyle that arises out of the deep convictions you have about God’s love for you and his commission to demonstrate that love to others. The careful, transparent, spiritual administration of the grace of generosity is critical to seeing generosity flow where God wants it to have the most transforming influence. So join us for this deep lesson of discipleship as we explore the administration of generosity.

#3 in series: Authentic Generosity