Summary: God puts a really interesting proposition in front of us. He says, “Put me to the test” when it comes to your money. “Try it my way,” God says, “and see if my way works.”
We are doing a yearlong challenge in our church in 2020. We are challenging you to share the story of Christ’s love with friends, co-workers, and family members who don’t know Christ. When you do, we invite you to drop a ping-pong ball into the container, if you will. Our church hopes to see 5,000 of these by Thanksgiving. You’ll be hearing about this effort all year long. We’ll train you and equip you. Now, there’s a volunteer located outside the worship center this morning. Will you join me in adopting your one person to share the gospel? Will you join me in praying constantly for our church’s effort?
Also, today is a great Sunday to find a Bible Fellowship Group as we have some wonderful people to assist you. Let this be on-ramp for you to get connected with a group or maybe try out a new group. You’ll find this right outside the worship center.
I had a great message planned for this Sunday but the Houston Astros stole it ?.
More seriously, I want you to hear the remarkable and heartwarming story about two police officers separated by 3,000 miles. Michael’s first day in uniform was a day he would always remember. A man walked into his village’s police station and pointed a gun at him. The rookie cop ran behind the desk to grab some pepper spray, the strongest weapon that the officers of his little town in Alaska had at their disposal. There’s three things you should know about the small village called Savoonga (Sa voon ga): 1) it’s situated in the middle the Bearing Sea; 2) the village is located closer to Russia than it is Alaska; 3) and it’s really poor. Michael didn’t draw his gun when confronted with an armed perpetrator because the village cannot afford to arm their officers. This past May, a patrol officer in Davenport, Iowa sat reading about the plight of his brothers in blue 3,000 miles away from Alaska and he was shocked to hear the story of Michael’s first day. He read these words Officer Michael’s about their unique dilemma: “About 92% of this community have high-powered rifles. We don’t even have [bulletproof] vests. We don’t even have Tasers,” Over 3,000 miles away in Savoonga, Michael himself picked up the phone to verify if the story was true: “He just couldn’t believe it. But I said, ‘Yeah, it’s true.’ We don’t have sidearms or vests. The only thing we have is pepper spray, handcuffs and a baton.” That’s when the sixteen year veteran of the Davenport, Iowa police officer got to work raising funds. By the time he was done appealing to the other 170 officers of his police force, as well as the Sheriff’s Department, he raised enough money to purchase fifteen bulletproof vests and donated two stun guns.A local store donated personalized name tags for the officers to wear and had everything shipped up there. Officer Peme has a reputation for just this kind of thing. Listen to what his pastor, said this of his generosity: “[He] is just the kind of person who would read about someone in need all those miles away and still figure out a way to help. He’s a pretty humble guy who puts a lot of effort into helping others.” Let me ask you a pointed question, “Would your pastor say that about you?” Hold that thought for a moment.
Find Malachi 3 if would with me. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament, if that helps you. If you didn’t bring a Bible, there’s one in front of you and we invite you to pick it up to read along. We are in a series of messages to kick off the new year entitled Margin: Tacking Back My Life.
First week, we talked about finding contentment no matter how much we have.
Second week, we talked about saving money away for a rainy day.
This morning I want to speak to you about the joy of giving. I think all of us are moved by stories like this officer and most of us want to be warm and generous people to those around us. I’m convinced we want to join the ranks of this police officer where our lives and our money make a profound difference to the people around us.
I’m speaking mainly to church members today. If are a guest with us, or if you're not a Christian, we’re not asking you for anything other than your attention. In fact, I invite you to listen carefully for the next few moments. See if you see a discrepancy between the Bible’s instructions on how a Christian is handle their finances and how we actually handle our money. So again, I’m speaking to our church family, but I invite you to look us up and down.