Psalm 50:14 (ESV) – “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,”
- The first two weeks of the sermon series “Counter Culture” will be on generosity. Pastor Kevin has asked us to memorize Psalm 50:14 over the two weeks. Why is memorizing the Word of God an important practice?
- The Bible contains 4x the number of verses on money and possessions as it does on prayer. Why do you think God put so much emphasis on this subject? What about the human condition makes this emphasis necessary?
Preparation – “Offer to God…”
- In your life, have there been times you were not prepared? What were the results? Would things have been different had you prepared?
- Thinking specifically about your finances, are you a “pre” or “post” kind of person? Are you prepared to be generous or are you generally reacting to situations?
- We all receive and consume spiritually from God (His love, grace, peace, mercy, forgiveness, etc). In light of this, has the tangible exercise of your Christian faith been predominantly one of contributing back to God your time, talent, treasure or of consuming His blessings and offering little in return? (If you lean more toward consumption, take some time to pray and ask God for a simple step of obedience you might take toward contribution.)
- In Acts 20:35, Paul reminds the elders of the church in Ephesus of Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Have you found this to be true in your own life? Why might God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, want Christians to grow in this truth?
Pastor Kevin took us to Luke 12:13-21 (the parable of the rich fool) to show us three principles of preparation: perspective, planning, and purpose.
- The admonition to “take care” in Luke 12:15 means to see or to perceive. Over the months/years/decades, how has growing closer to Jesus changed your perspective on earthly things? What sorts of things have value in Jesus’ eternal economy?
- Do you find it difficult to be content with what you have and with your circumstances? If you are being fully transparent, is there someone to whom you often compare yourself and find your situation lacking? Has comparing yourself to them benefited or hurt your level of contentment?
- If you honestly answered the question, “Is Jesus enough for you?”, what would you say? What people or things have a tight hold on your heart and keep you from answering the question with a resounding “yes!”?
- In the parable, the man came into a vast sum of excess crops from his harvest and didn’t have a plan, so he winged it, and created a problem instead. If the Lord blessed you with an increase in time, talent, or treasure, what is your plan for the increase?
- Jot down the things that get the most of your time, talent, and treasure. Assess each item on your list with two questions, 1) is this creating an earthly or eternal investment and 2) is it serving my plans or God’s purposes?
Praise – “a sacrifice of thanksgiving…”
- What message do you think it sends our culture when we offer God our praise, even when it doesn’t make earthly sense? Why is it so important for us to “praise anyway”?
- Pastor Kevin said “gratitude is a gateway to generosity”. Why might he say this?
- How are you preparing to be generous in 2022?
- Make a list of things that you are thankful for and then spend some time praising God in prayer, telling him why you are thankful for each item.