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Summary: Sermon Series, "Pursuing Excellence." This message focuses on bringing to God our best, practicing excellence in giving to the Lord.

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Series: Pursuing Excellence

Message #2 -- "Why Not the Best?" -- Giving God Our Best

Malachi 3:8-10 -- "’But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? I am not pleased with you,’ says the Lord of hosts, ’nor will I accept an offering from you. For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name (is/will be) great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering (that is) pure; for My name (is/will be) great among the nations,’ says the Lord of hosts."

In seeking to please God, it is imperative that we give God our best, not our left-overs.

<> WHAT STOPS US FROM GIVING OUR BEST...

1) Choosing to Compromise.

Rev.3:16 - "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth."

Compromising keeps us from giving God our best because it places convenience or comfort above pleasing God.

2) Bowing to Criticism.

Jn.12:43 - "for they loved the approval of man rather than the approval of God."

Bowing to criticism keeps us from giving God our best because it places the opinions of others above pleasing God.

Pursuing excellence requires that we live lives that ""play to an audience of One.""

<> WHAT ARE THE RESULTS WHEN WE GIVE GOD LESS THAN OUR BEST?

1) Giving God less than our best does not honor God.

Mal.1:6 - "’A son honors (his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise My name."

2) Giving God less than our best does not please God.

Mal.1:10 - "’Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle (fire on) My altar! I am not pleased with you,’ says the Lord of hosts, ’nor will I accept an offering from you.’"

Questions to ask myself:

>Am I offering to God that which is a lower quality than I would offer to someone else?

>Am I pleasing God with the life I live?

>Am I pleasing God with the offering I give? The service I render? The time I spend studying His Word?

3) Giving God our second best will never satisfy us either.

Mal.1:13 - "’You also say, "My, how tiresome it is!" And you disdainfully sniff at it,’ says the Lord of hosts."

Service offered to God that costs nothing is worth nothing, and brings no lasting satisfaction to us either.

>Quote: "If you pursue excellence, happiness sneaks up behind you and touches you on the shoulder. If you pursue mediocrity, you’re sure to catch it." - Kenneth Boulder

BRINGING IT HOME...

Am I giving God my best?

Am I giving God first place in my heart?


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