Summary: Part two - a message showing how when we give God the first part of our finances he is able to bless the rest.

Introduction: A lot of you missed last week – and let me tell you – when you missed last week you missed out on a blessing! The Holy Spirit was here in a powerful way. One person trusted Christ as we introduced this series on Recession Proofing Your Finances. You also missed out on a fasting and prayer challenge that I put and 157 people decided to take me up on this challenge. The challenge isn’t about skipping food as much as it is about pressing into Jesus about areas of our lives where there is a battle.

Everyone in here faces a battle. You face a battle in your life over your marriage, or over a rebellious child, or there is a battle going on at work, there is a battle raging over your finances – and ultimately the battle is between having a cursed life or a blessed life. God wants you to move to the blessed life but before you can do that you have to face the battle. This battle line – represented by this rope – is the battle between your best and God’s best, it’s a battle between your power and God’s power, it’s a battle between cursed and blessed!

I told you what a blessed life is – a blessed life is a life that has the supernatural power of God working for you and working in you. A cursed life is the opposite. A cursed life is living life to the very best of my ability but living it without the supernatural power that is available to me in God. It may be good over here, but it is only as good as I can do – it is a far cry from the blessed life!

Okay, that’s what you missed last week. If you missed it I strongly encourage you to get the message on CD or download it for free from our website because it was an important message – but it was also important for our church because I laid out some ministry goals for our church.

Today I’m going to transition this series to talk about finances. Last week I didn’t say a whole lot about money – but today I want to get into some specifics about money. Now, I know that there are some people in this room who say – here we go again! Every time I come to this church – he is talking about money. Let me tell you, if that describes you then you only come to church 3 or 4 times a year. Because I purposefully present a message on stewardship and money issues 3 or 4 times a year – and I’m sorry if the 3 or 4 times that I teach on money just happen to be the same 3 or 4 times you came to church this year! If that is true – maybe God is trying to tell you something, I don’t know!

Others of you are thinking I knew it! That’s all the church wants is my money and he’s going to try to get it from me right now! Right? Listen, I don’t really have a problem talking about money in church, you know why? Because I believe that money is given to us as a test. Money always has been and always will be a test. That is why there are more than 500 verses in the Bible concerning prayer and nearly 500 verses concerning faith, but there are more than 2,000 verses on the subject of money and possessions. Jesus talked about money in 16 of his 38 parables!

Why is this? Because Jesus knew that money was a test. He knew that how you handle money reveals volumes about your priorities, loyalties and affections. I can’t look at you and tell where you are spiritually – but I can look at your check book and tell. I can’t look at you and tell if you are sold out to God in your life – but I could look at your giving statement at the church and tell!

So, I don’t really shy away from talking about money because I believe that money is a spiritual test. I told you last week that I think the spiritual affects everything else in your life – everything – including your finances. So, when I talk about money, I’m not really talking about money, I’m talking about spirituality! What would you think if you came to church and never heard me talk about the importance of reading the Bible? What would you think if I never talked about sin, or grace, or forgiveness? You’d think – what kind of pastor is he? That’s how I feel about money – it has to be addressed.

Not only that, but let’s face it – it is on your mind! You know the saying that money talks? It does! Last week 64 people turned in prayer requests – and 26 of them involved money matters! That means 46% of all of the prayer requests had something to do with money and that doesn’t count the prayer requests that were submitted with “unspoken” or the other requests that were never turned in. That means that right now – almost half of you are thinking about money. The other half of you aren’t paying attention!

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