Summary: Focus on how giving to the church will help people find true joy in their financial, spiritual, and worship life rather than telling them what they need to give in order to help keep the church goin

1. Focus on how giving to the church will help people find true joy in their financial, spiritual, and worship life rather than telling them what they need to give in order to help keep the church going

Money Money Money

The last two weeks we have looked at money money, and this week we are looking at money money money!

The first week we looked at Money and freedom. We talked about how the love of money, the pursuit of it, could be like a monster, that we think we are chasing, but has actually got us, we also looked at why we need to be wise, good stewards if you like, of the good things God has given us, we need to be responsible with it.

The next week we looked at Money and spirituality. We talked about how Jesus said that where your treasure is, there your heart is also. We talked about how God loves a cheerful giver. And so our relationship with God is tied to our finances. Remember 15% of what Jesus talked about had to do with money. He knew that we can let our thoughts on money, get in the way of our spirituality. How we treat it, how we value it, will effect our relationship with God, we can put it before God.

June 10th, just last week this true story from HAGEN, Germany (AP) -- A German court on Friday convicted three aging men known as the "Grandpa Gang" of bank robbery and violating weapons laws and sentenced them to between nine and 12 years in prison. The trio robbed 14 German banks from 1988 to 2004, stealing more than euro1 million (US$1.8 million). Judge Horst-Werner Herkenberg said they "used all means to achieve their goals."

The state court in Hagen sentenced the oldest man, Rudolf Richter, 74, to nine years, while 73-year-old Wilfried Ackermann received a 10-year sentence. Both men had confessed to taking part in the robberies when their trial opened last month. Ackermann said fear of having no money and spending his old age in a nursing home drove him to commit the robberies. "It’s unbelievable how easy it is to rob a bank once you’ve done it a couple of times," he said during the trial. Prosecutors had sought sentences of 14 years and more for the trio. Herkenberg, however, said that "we have to give the defendants hope that they will leave prison."

The need for money, and the security it brings to us, is a real deep seated longing. And we all recognize that for many, the desire to get it, is a prime motivation, one of our basic human desires.

Therefore when someone is asking us to give to this that or the other, naturally the first emotional point of call is suspicion. And movies like leap of faith confirm our prejudices.

So after hearing a story like that, is there any doubt that people are suspicious of giving to a church.

First let me dispel some myths that people do believe about churches and finances, now I cant speak for other churches, I can only talk about this one.

The church is only after your money. We are not only after your money, we are also after your time, your presence, your service. And the reason for this is because we believe what we are doing here is important.

We don’t apologise for asking people to support what goes on here, why would we, in fact the only reason we would is if we thought what we were doing was shameful, hidden or a waste of time.

Some things we do that are good include counseling, premarriage, conflict within marriage. Relationships. I have married many people, given them totally free marriage counseling, and some of them have come to this church, many have not. I have been involved in many funerals, most of which this year have been for people outside of the church. I have sat in peoples kitchens as they have cried their eyes out, and tried to offer them counseling, prayer, support and guidance as they get through an incredibly hard time.

If the church did not pay my wage, I could not do this. The government no longer helps out with any of these things, in fact now they charge me to do weddings and funerals.

Community programs for children. At present we have well over one hundred families coming along to this program. It gives the parents and kids a chance to socialize and grow as people in a safe environment. If people, like you in this church, did not financially support this church, and if volunteers as well as paid staff like myself and Eliot did not give of their time, then it would not happen. Should we apologise for that, or should we ask you to support it.

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