I was just going over the notes from the past two weeks of the Radical Generosity study. I couldn't not share this on my blog. It has been on my mind constantly since we first started. It's so good.
In the study, we're walking through 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.
Luke 16: 10-13 -- One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
2 Corinthians 8
1. Radical generosity reveals the grace of God
2 Cor 8:1-6 -- We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints - and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.
Generosity is a matter of the heart.
2. Radical generosity is a spiritual discipline
2 Cor 8: 7 -- But as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you - see that you excel in this act of grace also.
3. Radical generosity reminds us of the cross.
2 Cor 8: 8-9 -- I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Jesus had everything in heaven. And he gave it all up to be a homeless wanderer so that we may be rich. If you don't get anything else right, make sure you at least take care of the widows and orphans.
4. Radical generosity is something everyone can participate in
2 Cor 8: 10-12 -- And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
Jesus came not to abolish the law, but to raise the standard. Now it's about the heart of the matter instead of just the act alone. For example, not only adultery, but lusting in your heart is wrong.
5. Radical generosity uses our abundance to care for the poor
2 Cor 8: 13-15 -- For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness, As it is written, "Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack."
2 Corinthians 9
Radical generosity is:
First: Contentment in Christ
Second: A response to God
Luke 21 -- Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.
6. Radical generosity positions itself to give anytime, anywhere, anyplace
2 Cor 9: 1-2 -- Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them.
God is glorified by your giving.
7. Radical generosity is contagious to others
2 Cor 9: 2 -- for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them.
Be imitators of Christ.
8. Radical generosity puts its resources where it's mouth is
2 Cor 9: 3-4 -- But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated - to say nothing of you - for being so confident.
Let your actions reflect your words. And the Word.
9. Radical generosity is intentional
2 Cor 9: 5 -- So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction(*a gift expecting something in return)
Pray about what the Lord wants you to do with your giving.
10. Radical generosity is about harvesting righteousness
2 Cor 9: 6 -- The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
It's about the attitude, action, and motivation behind your gifts and your heart.
11. Radical generosity is individual but it is not optional
2 Cor 9: 7 -- Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
It should be a characteristic of your life.
God blesses so that we can be a blessing to others. And therefore, the needs of the Saints will be supplied.
2 Corinthians 9: 8-14 -- And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
His inexpressible gift is Jesus alive in us.
It's all about your heart.
It's all about glorifying God.
Last night in my dreams, I was on a road trip with my mom and Chris and some other people I cannot remember. My mom was in a separate car but every time we talked she was unhappy and disappointed in me. The car Chris and I were in was full of a single line of bikes that Chris had recently put together. They were all connected because the purpose of them was to ride in a line during races - you know, to draft. They were all different bikes; some were awesome and some were dumb. On our road trip, we stopped at some sort of bike spread. There were people everywhere - mainly kids - who were riding bikes and doing tricks. Chris spotted one boy sitting down and went to talk to him. I immediately knew he was going to give or sell him a bike, so I proceeded to comment on how sincere and thoughtful my boyfriend was. We drove around to the back of the place and he unloaded the bike that he wanted to sell the boy. After I looked at it a minute, I realized it was my racing bike that we had agreed we would never sell. I looked at Chris and he was acting like a salesman trying to sell it to the boy. I pulled him to the side and started begging him not to sell my bike because it was mine and it was special to me since it was my first racing bike. Chris wouldn’t listen and continued to try to sell it. So I unwillingly busted into tears and started explaining to the boy that it was mine. I begged him not to buy it and Chris said to me that he wasn’t even the one buying it, that the woman in the corner working in the flower bed was going to buy it for him. She looked very stern but I begged her not to buy it and she eventually said that she wouldn’t. I hugged her for such a long time, then we loaded the bike back in the car.
So I’ve been having really terrible dreams for what unbelievably is coming on a year now. The dreams are always very different but they are always about someone (usually Chris) backstabbing or manipulating me in some way. I am always betrayed by him in my dreams. I wake up every time so upset about what went on in the dream - because they never reflect Chris’s character. Sometimes I tell him and sometimes I don’t. This morning I did.
So once I told him he asked me if I thought it meant anything. I guess since I’ve been having them for such a long time, I just pushed them off as ‘just dreams’. So I said I didn’t think it meant anything and he said he believed differently. I asked him what he thought and thankfully we got into a long conversation about what all these dreams meant and what I need to do about them.
These dreams are from the Lord. As much as I have prayed against them in the past year and begged the Lord to rid them from me, they have persisted. He’ll give me breaks when I ask him, but many nights I am troubled by a terrible dream. These dreams are about myself - my insecurities, my flaws, my doubts, my trust, my confidence.
See, I’ve been cheated on before. A boy I once dated didn’t think much of it, but it has impacted me more than I never knew it could anyone. We dated for about two years and toward the end (which was the end because what happened), I found out he had been .. well, cheating. I immediately ended it, but struggled with what had happened for at least a year after the fact. I had a hard time truly forgiving him and an even harder time gaining my trust for men back. I thought I had worked through it all, but Chris and I realized this morning that I still have trust issues. I still struggle with insecurity. It’s really hard for me to be okay with Chris studying with girls or having friends that are girls. When the lies come, I always immediately stop them with truth. I talk myself through it every time I get even a small thought that something is going on that isn’t. Chris has the most pure heart. His motives are always good - always. It’s really truth. So I do this thing where I have to fight the enemy every time he puts wrong thoughts in my head; and I thought that was enough. I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by controlling my thoughts and believing truth. Well that is right, but it’s not really the ‘right’ thing in my circumstance as of now - for me, personally.
So now I’m facing a giant. My purpose right now is to find how to get from where I am to where I have been created to be. I see the product. I see the present. So now I’m going to be spending my time on my face before the Lord seeking his guidance to lead me home. I have no solution because my solution hasn’t worked for the past year. The only way to overcome this is to get on my knees and dwell in the presence of the Lord - often. I’m very excited to see what comes.
It's been too long since I've written, but I will skip the apologies and get straight to the update.
Since Thanksgiving I have finished reading Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice. Both were the most exceptional books I've read in my lifetime, which I suppose was expected beforehand. I'm awaiting to get the whole series of Anne of Green Gables for Christmas this year. I decided a couple weeks ago that I wanted to read every classic book I could get my hands on. So now I am pursuing that. The first two were a great start!
So now it's almost finals week and things are crazy with school and work. I've had tests this week and I'm also trying to prepare for finals the best I can. Christmas break is too near to be consumed in so much work.
Chris and I recently started going to a new church. :) All of our friends have gone there a long time, but we finally felt that we were supposed to be there too. We love our church in Hattiesburg, but most of our community is in Laurel, so we're going. Crosspointe has been so awesome since we started attending. I love being with that community and the message is always right on. This new series on Radical Generosity has settled into my heart and found it's dwelling place quite comfortably. Every day this week has been a search for different ways to put into practice what I have recently learned and been inspired by.
I've learned so much in the past couple weeks that I'm not quite sure where to begin, but I feel as though what I have learned will come out with future posts. One thing is for certain - everyone seems to be in a huge transition period in life. I know I've been here for quite some time, and all my peers seem to feel the same. I'm very excited to see what folds out before us all. Jessalyn shared with me a couple days ago that she heard in a sermon that we are in a season of transition, and the reason we aren't able to seek Jesus the same way we always have is because he is teaching us new ways and new things for the place we are transitioning to. Don't get discouraged in this time; it is only leading to something better (if you let it).