Expectation #2

Expectation #2“Just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” ~ 2 Corinthians 8:7

Consistent and sacrificial giving is an act of Christian gratitude. It reveals a true grasp of the magnitude of God’s salvation gifts to us through Christ.

Our giving is also an act of Christian faith. It declares that God is the giver of all things. And it declares a confidence that our gracious Father will always keep his promises to provide for his children. It’s an act of dependence on him. To withhold our money or to give it grudgingly or with hesitation reflects an insecurity that denies the very thing the Church teaches.

I also believe that real giving serves to sanctify us — to shape us and mold us more into the image of Jesus — which is Consistently and sacrificially givethe whole point of our “being saved.” When we give away our money, we’re becoming like Christ as we act in our context the same way our Lord acted in his. We give up our physical resources for others because of our spiritual riches in God. When we give, we’re considering the needs of others more important than our own. That’s what it means to attain to the “whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

And this kind of giving applies equally to all baptized disciples of Jesus. It’s not the size of the weekly gift; it’s the size of the heart to give. It’s not the amount of the money; it’s the amount of the willingness and eagerness to give it. Regardless of economic status or income or employment or unemployment, these principles are for all of us. No exceptions.

The focus at Legacy is spiritual growth and maturity and discipline. Christian accountability to God and one another. Christian responsibility. Salvation and transformation. Becoming more like Christ. And the expectation for all our members is to consistently and sacrificially give of their incomes.  

Excelling in giving has nothing to do with personal resources. Or even a job. It’s all about experiencing and participating in God’s mercy and grace.

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Cowboy JoeSo, have the Cowboys mowed through the Eagles twice because the Eagles just aren’t very good? Or are the Cowboys really, really, really as good as they’ve looked?

It’s not that Philly’s bad. My word, they were averaging over 26-points per game. And the Cowboys, in two straight games, made them look older and slower and less athletic. Dallas just looks super fast, super young, super athletic. They look long and strong and quick. They’re making all their tackles. They’re finishing drives. They’re making field goals when they don’t finish drives. No turnovers; they’re forcing teams to go a full 80-yards. Felix Jones is healthy. Romo’s making smart throws. I think I even saw Bobby Carpenter make a play Saturday night. The Cowboys are playing with a focus that we haven’t seen in years. They celebrate with each other and Wade and the Gangfor each other in ways that haven’t been experienced in a decade-and-a-half. Winning breeds confidence. And they’re playing with a boatload of it right now. They really seem to be on a mission. They’re focused. They don’t act like they’re finished yet. I saw Wade pump his fist Saturday night and mouth the words as Kool and the Gang blared “Celebrate good times, come on!” over the speakers at Jerry Wayne’s World. But they don’t seem as if they’ve accomplished yet what they’re going to.

Hail MaryI wonder, though, about the Vikings inside that dome up there. Brett Favre and that whole franchise have a lot of demons to exorcise against the Cowboys. Playoff demons. Last-second heart-breaking demons. Herschel Walker trade demons. Hail Mary demons. 99-yard-run on Monday Night Football The Tradedemons. The Vikings were the last team to lose to Dallas in a playoff game. At Texas Stadium in December 1996. There’s a whole lot of pent-up frustration there. Serenity now – insanity later. Minnesota went undefeated at home this year. They’ve won their past five home games by more than 17 points. The past three times the Cowboys have flown into the Metrodome they’ve left as losers.

Metrodome GnomeIt’ll be loud up there Sunday. Really loud. Crazy people dressed up in fur wraps and viking horns. Hostile. Minnesota will feed off that for a while. It’ll be crazy. I imagine that Vikings front four will be rabid on those first two or three Cowboys drives. I assume Favre will take a couple of deep shots early to get a lead to drive the crowd to absolute delirium. I can see Flozell Adams picking up seven false start penalties — in the first quarter alone. I can also see Favre having no open receivers and forcing balls into double and triple coverage. I can see him throwing two or three picks. I can also imagine Romo getting blindsided by Jared Allen and coughing up the ball a couple of times. Has Roy Williams ever played in this kind of NFL playoff atmosphere or pressure? Isn’t the over-under on Williams’ catches at “one?” Won’t they double Miles Austin all day?

It’s going to come down to Adrian Peterson versus Felix Jones. With all the talk of Favre and Romo, it’s going to come down to the two running games. Minnesota has held nine opponents this year to under a hundred yards rushing. Running on Philly at home is one thing. Running against the Vikings at their place is another.

Vikings 27, Cowboys 20.

Peace,

Allan

2 Comments

  1. Rob's Dad

    Giving – your points are well made. What are your thoughts on “where” I give? What if I take my weekly donation and point it at a deserving, Christian charity that is in really tough financial shape? Or what if I alternate and Legacy gets 2 wks out of the month with other Christian charities getting help? I’m not lessening the amount of the weekly donation – just changing the destination.

    Cowboys-Vikings does not come down to the running game. It’s a passing league according to 8-Ball and I think it comes down to a kick. Betting with my head instead of my heart – Vikings 30, Cowboys 27

  2. Allan

    Biblical giving is always a heart thing, never an amount thing. And we shouldn’t be hard and fast with the destination of the gift.

    Again, it comes back to the heart. Giving to the temple in the OT and to the Christian brothers and sisters in the NT seems to have served two primary purposes: to aid the spread of the Gospel and to provide for those in need. God’s money in Scripture is used to provide for priests and preachers and to feed and clothe the orphan, the widow, and the stranger in the gate. We should assume that giving to the Church means giving to support those two things.

    Yes, there are other wonderful Christian organizations that need our support. No doubt. The key is to “consistently and sacrificially” give. Never to pay for services rendered, never in order to control things, never for show or pride or power. Always to enlarge the borders of the Kingdom and provide for the poor.

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