Thursday, January 26, 2017

10: The Number of Testing

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Malachi 3:8-10

You are going to think I am strange when I tell you this but when I was in high school and college I liked tests.

Go ahead, hate me.

At least I liked them when they were announced in advance, as in the teacher saying on Monday, "Take good notes this week because there will be a test on Friday." I took that as a challenge like game day and I wanted to be prepared to win!

Of course, I was also the guy who wanted to be at the free throw line when the game was on the line, or the batter coming to the plate with the winning run on base, or the one who has to sink the four-foot putt to sin the match.

A little weird, I know.

On the other hand, I cringed with everyone at the words, "Good morning class! Please pull out a clean sheet of notebook paper and a sharp number two pencil. We will have a pop quiz this morning.

Pop quizzes must be unconstitutional or something! At least they should be!

Malachi Chapter shows us that God gives you a test. What test?

Every time you get paid you are faced with a test whether you will worship God with the tithe or not. If you bring the first ten percent to God you will past the test and receive His blessing. If you don't God will not bless you and you will bring a curse on yourself.

Where do I get that?

The word "tithe" means "ten" and the number ten is the number for testing throughout the Bible. For example:

How many plagues did God send to test the Pharaoh in Egypt?

10! You're right!

How many commandments did God give Moses?


How many times did God test Israel in the wilderness?


How many times were Jacob's wages changed by Laban?


How many days was Daniel tested?


How many virgins were tested in Matthew 25?


There's a theme developing here, right?

But, if you pass the test there is something much better than a smiley face or a gold star! Listen to this amazing promise:

"Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

When it comes to tithing, there is no pop quiz! God has given notice for thousands of years that He will test us every time payday comes!

So, are you prepared for the test?

January 26, 2017

"Where your treasure is there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21

Sunday I preached a message entitled "It's All About the Heart" and I challenged people to examine their hearts by studying the Sermon on the Mount over the next few weeks. To illustrate that point and serve as a reminder I put a small heart in the bulletin for people to keep with them as they meditate in the Word.

I hope you are one who is taking that challenge. I invite you to give your heart back to me once you are sure your heart is right.

As Jesus teaches in this verse from the Sermon on the Mount, one way to get your heart right is to put your treasures in the right place so your heart will follow. 

Thinking about this gets me excited about our "Compelled By Love" Capital Campaign. You already love FredWes and the amazing people who are part of it. And you already give faithfully to support the ministry. But imagine how much more you will love the Lord and the church when you pledge some serious treasure toward the campaign! You heart will follow your treasure!

Now multiply that by 40 or 50 times as our FredWes families commit more treasure to the future of our church! Imagine what an environment and spiritual climate that will create each Sunday as we gather for worship at FredWes!

"Compelled By Love" is a catching phrase right now as we plan and promote the upcoming campaign but for the two years following the April 2nd commitments it will be a reality! We will have put our treasure in FredWes' future and our hearts are going to follow!

It's all about the heart!

How's your heart?

Why not take your heart and hang out in Matthew Chapters 5 and 6 and 7? God will do some precious things to your heart!