922 Ministries - The CORE & St. Peter Lutheran

As a church grows, it’s tempting to feel that your contribution doesn’t matter, since your offering seems small compared to the biggest givers in the room. But God is more concerned about the heart than the amount. He knows that the best churches are filled not with a generous person but with generous people. As Jesus himself declared, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

What is 922 Ministries - The CORE & St. Peter Lutheran?

The episodes are the weekly sermons from 922 Ministries (St. Peter and The CORE) of Appleton, Wisconsin.

My Best Church Life
Week 2 - St. Peter
Pastor Tim Glende

My guess is that your home is like mine.

And I guess it is that your workplace in many ways is also somewhat similar to mine.

In that there are probably things on your to-do list at home and at work that you don't like doing.

Think, if I ask you at your home, what is the job that no one wants? Like no one really likes making their bed and doing the dishes can kind of be a nuisance but at the end of the day, in my house, if your house is very similar, the one job, no one wanted to do was to clean up with what the dog did. Like my kids would avoid it. My wife never touched it. I had to do it because I was responsible for mowing the lawn and you know that you have to pick it up before you mow, otherwise it is not good thing. There's nothing really enjoyable about that job like especially in this spring when all the snow melts, like not good.

How many work? Like here at 922 there's one job that I think no one wants to do. That's when the littles and they're back in session in school right now the stomach ache and and gets sick. Like you know what the teachers don't do?

You know what? Joe does.

Here today, I don't think Jordan necessarily enjoys that job, but someone has to do it.

Like there are things in our life that we just don't like to do. At our jobs or maybe at home.

And today I get to do my least favorite thing. Just about my least favorite thing is a pastor, I get to have this sermon. Like, the one that we talk about money,

Like if you're a guest or a visitor here, our members will tell you. We don't talk a lot about money in church. We don't have a money sermon every other month, but we do talk about it. It's one of our roots, the give root and and I drew the short straw pastors and got stuck with it in the sermon series for a mission and vision this year.

And here's why I don't much like it. Like, I've been a pastor in a small church where dollars were tight and every gift mattered because we just wanted to keep the lights on. Like resources were hard to come by.

And, It's hard to talk about it a big church, because a church like ours. There seems to be some new initiative, every year, the next project. The next big thing where we're asking for over and above dollars to help build that building or fund that ministry, right?

Like, it's not a fun thing to do, an easy sermon to give in the world in which we live today. When the economy Is just a little bit tougher. Like the odds are pretty good. You just like me, you felt the pinch in your checkbook. With a dollar of the cost, to get your car filled up with gas, to the food you're buying off the shelves, I get to have a hard conversation to have in a season where it's harder.

And then, just be honest. Like what makes this sermon really hard? Is that money is personal?

Like, Your money is very personal to you. What you have, how you spend it? All those things are your choices, right? And it's very personal. So having someone talk about it and tell you what you should do with it and the things you should consider about, it is not very easy to do.

Like and I get all of that. Like I'm just gonna put it out there. This is not an easy sermon. But you know what? God wants you to have the best church life?

So, this message is something that we need to talk about.

But perhaps the greatest reason why it might be a hard one for me is because we are in a season as a church where things are not normal. Like Pastor Jim has used that phrase, he's calling that phrase. He probably should get his trademark on it. Like this is not normal. Like from the facilities we have, to the numbers of people who are gathering, and especially the financial blessings that we receive.

Like, it's a hard sermon to give when we are in a season where a lot of churches are struggling and it's anything but normal for us at 922. Like last year alone, in our fiscal year from July, through June that year, that ended, we received $2.5 million in offerings and gifts from you.

That's not normal.

In addition to that over and above the regular offerings. We received $1.7 million in greater things 2.0 to go towards the new school edition that they receive. That's over $4 million in one year that came from you. Like Pastor Tim try, make me a compelling why you have to this sermon because things are not normal. There are so good. We can just breeze this one by right.

Like if you just consider what the blessings that have happened since over the last 15 years at 922 ministries. When the CORE started our initial budget, for that year was six hundred and fifty thousand dollars. And there were 12 people on staff.

And now, there are 80 plus people full-time and part-time on staff and our budget is five million and it's increased by five hundred and sixty six percent. Like, that's not normal.

Likely, even if you just consider in the last five years, the budget has gone from 2.5 million to five million dollars in five years. Like our budget rivals, the Timber Rattlers budget. Like within a million dollars of each other. That's how big this organization is. That's how blessed this organization has been. And that's all the things that are going on and we're trying to accomplish. And so we're in a season, that is not normal.

And so, what you might be thinking is that this sermon is about the bottom line.

Like to do all that work to carry out all that ministry, we need more. Like, the best church life comes from more.

But this sermon is nothing to do with the budget.

I shared those numbers with you. So you could just stop and pause and celebrate the amazing God that we have in the blessings that he has given to us as a church through you, as a result of you,

Like say, amen. Thank the Lord. And praise God. Because when God wants you to have your best church life when it comes to the giver, it really has nothing to do with the budget. The budget could be bigger, the budget could be smaller. Your best church life, the budget at the end of the day, it is not what matters to your giver.

Like I believe at the end of the day, God will give the resources he wants to give to bless 922 in the way and in the season that he wants to. Like God's that big.

But God wants something more for you and for me.

Your best church life is definitely connected to your give root.

And so today, sermon in the give root in the best church life, God wants for you to have nothing to do with the budget. The 39 page report that I see every month but it has everything to do with you and God.

Like at the end of the day, your best church life and the give fruit is between you and him.

And God wants you to have the best church life. God wants you to have the best roots because God wants you to experience amazing fruit. And having a strong give root between you and God is one of the best ways you can have the blessed and best church life.

In order to make that case to you today, I want to give you the three compelling ways to make the case for you and your give root and what God wants you to keep in mind.
And all on the way I want you to just think right now on a scale of one to ten. But how would you rank your give root?

Like be honest, you don't tell me, you don't have to write it down, you don’t need to show me but When you're in your life of faith, is your give root strong and solid and deep?

Or are there areas for improvement?

Here's the thing that I would tell you before I get into the ways. Can I tell you, when pastor Jim says, things around here, like this is not normal, you know, what is normal?


Us at 922.

60% of Americans give to charity on an annual basis. The number of people who over the course of the last year of our 1500 plus giving units gave us 55% of you.

And while some of them are teens and maybe college kids, who don't have much or don't have jobs, That means 45% of the people at 922. Get nothing. Not even one time. Not even one dollar.

That's pretty normal.

But it's not normal but we have as a resources available to us. You know what is normal you

Like, when you take the numbers and average them out,

It's about a thousand per person.

Which is less than the American average of about two.

Like here at 922, we're just about normal.

So the odds are pretty good. That this is an area of our best church life that we can. All improve on in one way shape or fashion. Which is why I pray that these three truths these ways to have a strong give root will offer you your best church life experience. Here's the first one if you're taking notes today when it comes to giving. Here's the case to be made for why give begins first for most above all. We give not for the budget. We give not to make sure pastor Tim is taken care of we give because God gave.

Like at the heart and core of giving at the heart and core of your best church life when it comes to. The is the fact that God gave. That he planted a root of faith in your heart, to the power of the Holy Spirit that, you know the amazing truth of who he is and all that He has done. We give because God gave. It's not to meet the bottom line. It’s because God did what you and I needed to be done so that we might have eternal life. Like listen to the words of the apostle Paul he wrote this a chapter earlier than the one we read a few minutes ago from our scripture reading to the Corinthians he wrote. But since you excel in everything, their grow room was strong, their root was strong. They're gather root was what was in a good place, but since you excel in everything and faith in speech, and knowledge and complete earnestness, and in the love, we have killed in. You see that you also excel in the grace of giving, the Corinthians were excelling in a lot of areas but one that was lacking was their give root.

It wasn't excellent. He was probably average.

It wasn't something they excelled in and it was something that maybe they were just doing and going through the motions. The apostle Paul encouraged them to excel in that area, their life just like in every other area because that brings you the best church life. To have all your roots solidly planted that your Jesus roots are strong. And here's the why for, you know, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich. God owns everything. Jesus lived in the greatest places with the mansions that are beautiful beyond belief that though he was rich, he owns it all. He's in control of it all for your sake, he became poor, he gave it all up, he said it all aside, he came down to earth.

Through his poverty, might become rich.

Like God wanted you to have the spiritual riches and blessings of heaven of forgiveness of new life. Though He was rich, he became poor. He gave it all up so that you and I who are spiritually poor and lost. On our own might be saved by his grace.

Why excel because God excelled at giving. And gave His one & only son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.

That's God.

God doesn't want giving to be a “have to”. That's for him. It was a “get-to”.

And that's why we get to. Because God gave.

Like He gave you His one and only son, he gave his very life. So that you and I might get eternal riches, all the spiritual blessings of life, with him in heaven, When it comes to your best church life, and the give root, we give because God gave like, when you begin there, when we center there, we realized and start to understand that. It's not about the budget and the bottom line, it is about God.

And what he did.

And so, maybe, just, maybe we give because God gave his encouragement to excel. Maybe we should impact. What does that mean? What does that look like? How do I evaluate my best church life and my give or what area of improvement do I need to consider? Well, excellent and excelling, in the Bible is founded on some principles and some truths about giving in the Old Testament, God made it very easy for his people like in the Old Testament. God said, 10% like here, it is. Give 10% of what you have back to me, to help provide for, for those who work in the temple, to help provide for the Levites to help provide for God's house and God's people, he made it really easy, he said 10% and yet the Israelites didn't excel at it even though its obvious. Here's what God said about that, bring the whole time into the storehouse. Like they were dabbling in it. Maybe they were giving once every other month, maybe they gave a few times but they weren't excelling in their grace of giving bring the whole time. In God said, test me in this, see what I'll do. Like a part of having a best church life is trusting in the God who gave and that he will continue to give every good and perfect. Gift is from above coming down from the heavenly lights. My God, the Bible says, we'll be able to meet all your needs. And yet the Old Testament Christians were to excel in their grace of giving, they were lacking in their trust of God.

And yet the principles from the Old Testament are still true of the New Testament. But one thing has changed. You know what? God doesn't say that you and me.

Here's the number.

My God doesn't command New Testament Christians to give 10%.

Doesn't say it. Might be a great guideline to follow might be worthy of consideration. If you encourage it in the Old Testament, might it be good for us who live in the New Testament. But God says we give not because we need to meet a number or hit the budget. Because God gave
and so this advice was to excel in it by following the principles behind it on the first day of every week. Each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up. Regular, proportionate, to what you have. First. like God gives some principles to you and me as the New Testament Christians, all of us. Not just the wealthy amongst us, but all of us, no matter where you're at. I am on the spectrum of what God has blessed you. With each one of you set it aside, first fruits, giving and proportion with what you have. I might make more than you make and you might make more than I make. And God wanted to be in proportion, but what he's given to us regularly repeated, set aside first fruit giving. Like, that's what excelling and grace of giving looks like And God wants that for you. Because he knows that when you do, you'll have your best church life experience.

Which is why I think I need to take point number two.

Like why number one is front and center because God gave, why do I give? Because God has blessed me with all these things. But most always bless me with his son, who who gave his life for me. But why give number two? Why would God want me to have that? Why? It's my best church life attached to my relationship with him? And my giving here's the truth, I need you to hear loud and clear.

It is true. I can go through all those numbers, I can lay in front of you the budget in order for us to reach more people and do more things. Your dollars are needed. 922 ministries needs your offerings. We do, Bill. We need, you're offering to help us staff to serve. Like as a church I believe we do an amazing job in using your resources that you give to bless your family and others in our community. Literally of all those dollars that come in 77% of them, go towards our staff.

Only 13% of them goes to the facilities, the loans. Like we do a really good job because you've been so generous with your gifts to help support those big projects that the majority of the money that comes in here gets to be put into flesh and blood ministry, but we need your offerings to do ministry. But I believe in my heart of hearts. God will get the ministry done at 922 that he wants to get done and the time that he wants to get it done, whether you give or don't. Like he'll bless us maybe for a season. He'll bless us with bigger in the next season. I don't know what the seasons will look like, but God will make it happen. God, is that good and the people who are here are that generous

But God doesn't need your offerings to do it.

Like at the end of the day, when it comes to your best church life, God wants you to understand the why behind giving is his heart that gave.

Because that's really what God wants from you.

It doesn't need your offerings. He wants your heart.

And usually what has our heart rules our life?

It's not shocking, that Jesus talked about money more than just about any other topic during his ministry because he knew the danger that that money was and wealth was.

The New Testament tells us the love of money, the love of it, not itself, the love of it, is the root of all evil.

Like God wants your heart and he knows sometimes that if money and things has our heart, our relationship with God is in danger.

And what we need your offerings, God wants that .

And your best church life and having a strong, give root allows for that.

God wants your heart because how great is the love? The father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God.

He calls you the Apple of his eye.

Jesus came so that you and I would receive the gift of eternal life. God wants your heart. Like he called it out in the Old Testament. Psalm 50 tells us very clearly. God doesn't need our offerings. He didn't need their sacrifices of flesh, the bulls or drink the blood of goats. No God, wanted their heart, sacrifice your offerings to me out of thanks for what I have done for you. Give because he gave from his heart.

To rescue your heart and my heart from the disturbed punishment of hell.

See, at the end of the day, God doesn't put a number on it, in the New Testament because he gave we give because God loves we give

But God wants your heart and to have your best church life involved. A give root that comes from a cheerful heart. Look at the words of the apostle Paul again that we've read earlier, each of you should give what you have decided in your heart.

But you've decided in your heart.

Like, here's the thing. If your hearts not in it today, Don't give it.

Like it, if you're not feeling it, God doesn't want it. Like we don't just give because God says to we give because God gave So if your heart's not in it, Keep your offering, it'll be okay.

I'll still be able to eat tomorrow. You're not gonna run, you're not gonna hurt me.

Got to still get things done here. God wants your heart. Like going to your best church life experience. A give root that is strong and solid between you and God. It flows from a heart that knows the amazing love of God that shed its blood on the cross. God doesn't want you to give reluctantly because when you don't, be holding on to it, like with reluctance or under compulsion, like you have to know. He will, he loves a cheerful giver?

And so if today, you're thinking five dollars is what I have and what five dollars is what I can. And I want to give

Because that's what the Lord wants. He wants your heart. Your best church life has a relationship with God and it's heart and core, and giving is a part of it.

Which is why I'm so thankful for our church family.

Like, there are so many of you who have done just that.

Over the many years that I have been here. I've seen that and I thank God for that.

Like why because God gave. Why give? Because God wants our heart. He wants for you to have the best church life and relationship with him who gave and has amazing things awaiting you in heaven. But there's one more thing and one more why that I'm gonna lay out in front of you today.

Like Jesus himself said these words like if you want to know why, give because God gave God wants your heart. Jesus himself said it is more blessed to give than to receive. It's better to give than to get Jesus said it.

And your best church life involves giving

Because we have an amazing God who's given. And because of all that, we will get one day in heaven.

Like, why give? Because God gave, why give? Because God wants your heart and why give? Because giving at the end of the day, it's more blessed to give than to receive giving. If you're filling in your final blanks, I want you to hear this. Giving blesses them and blesses, you and it blesses 922.

Giving blesses them.

Like them, like the ones who got walked down the hallway before and they're now in Bible discovery.

Like none of those kids have jobs. You might have given them some money on the way in and encouraged them to drop it in the box, in the back, as you want to teach them how the importance of giving. But give a dollar to support this ministry but it blesses them, because we can offer ministry to serve them and share Jesus with them in our school under Wednesday programming. Like all those things from Sunday through the weekend. Like it, blesses them.

The pluses them. Like the 8 922 members who are currently going to MLC or the seminary studying to be pastors and teachers in the future. Like, did you know, they are offering is your gifts, we send a portion of that to our Synod? If we gift, all of our members with a special gift each and every year towards their tuition or studying for the ministry, you bless them. As they're seeking to study and learn so they can serve others.

You're giving blesses them. Like the people you will never meet the people who are on the other side of oceans because we're partners with the ministry called Time of Grace that shares the good news and the gospel with others. And you're offering help to offset the ministry that they carry out in our midst, you're giving blesses them, Like them who are right in front of you right now, and then who are behind you and them who will come at 10:30 and And even those who won't them.

But it also blesses, you.

Like did you catch that before from 2nd Corinthians, Paul's letter. He was supplied, seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriching every way when you give so that you can be generous on every occasion. And through us, your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. Others then praise God because of you but you will be spiritually blessed as you perform this service. Overflowing with many thanks to God. Like God wants you to know that you're your life of faith, your best church life, involves the gift because you will be blessed with the spirits fruit.

Like that woman who went to the temple and dropped everything she had even though it was two pennies.

Jesus acknowledged her gift. It came from her heart. Because she trusted the heart of God that he would provide even though she gave everything she had.

In times and seasons, when things aren't good in circumstances, are hard having to give root. That is strong, that gives because God gave understands the reality, just like the apostle Paul. I can be content in any situation, whether I have a lot or I have a little, because I have God.

And so the number might change, but a giver that is strong is the best church life because it allows us to be content.

It allows us when we have our loss to to be like Job, the Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord, may the Lord's name be praised, Job said in a season of loss and of everything Job still prays. God wants us to have that fruit. No matter if things are good or bad he wants us to have that contentment when things are are there or aren't, God wants us to have peace and joy in this life, any strong give through that gives because he gave that that understands God wants our heart, that blesses others you will be blessed as you do it. Thanks Peter. God for his indescribable gift.

And in the process, it'll bless 922.

I know that because he has given here?

We’ve had a hard week here at 922. Like for our staff and for our music ministry team for a lot of our members, because a member of our church family, who was super rooted.

Went home to heaven.

Like on Sunday Ferral passed away his heart stopped.

It finally gave up after a long battle.

But his giving was such a blessing to 922. Like he was a original founding member of our praise team. He used to host the worship team practices at his house. Him and Gerri would lead the charge together with others, to develop this ministry that we long to have praise bands, and contemporary music and He gave a lot. Not just time wise, but resource wise, I think the original drums that we had in our church for 15, plus years, were Ferrals keyboards that he bought with Tim and Jerry.

Like he was rooted.

His giving blessed 922.

And I blessed you.

And that strong fruit was a blessing to him.

Because in the last few days, his life is near the end, he knew the amazing heart of God. Who gave?

Yeah, this is not one of my most enjoyed topics.

But in a week where it's been really hard, Celebrating that knowing where he is and where God wants you and me to end up as well. May encourage us and inspire us to, to live our best church life. So we can spend eternity enjoying the best life with God.