If you give your money out of a sense of duty, there’s a tendency for your giving to be cold. You’ll seek to give the bare minimum — where does it say I HAVE to give ten percent? And there’s no spiritual transformation.

If you give your money so you can gain control, so you can be in charge and make the decision, that’s a self-seeking kind of giving. That kind of giving is more like a manipulative power play and it’ll only result in temporary joy at best.

And if you give your money in order to be seen by others, to impress people, to increase your status in whatever group you’re in, it’ll backfire on you. You won’t know who your real friends are and your identity will be tangled up in your possessions.

All three of these inferior motives for giving can cause us to view our money as something to be used to benefit ourselves. It stifles our imagination. It stunts our transformation. And it doesn’t bring any kind of lasting joy.

Everything changes, though, when we give with the understanding that we are partnering with God in his holy mission to redeem the world. When you fully grasp that God takes the money you give to directly change lives, to directly impact our city and the whole world for Christ’s eternal Kingdom, then the whole thing changes. Then there is great joy in giving as much as you can and looking for ways to sacrifice in order to give even more. Giving your resources to join God’s mission sparks a limitless imagination, it brings unsurpassed joy, and it results in increased spiritual transformation. It aligns your identity and your soul, not with your possessions, but with our Lord and his vision for his Church.

That kind of giving is the kind of giving we enjoy at Central. This church in downtown Amarillo really knows how to give. This is a mission-minded, servant-hearted church that works tirelessly and gives abundantly for the sake of others.

To launch our two-year Ignite Initiative this morning, our church family contributed $1,527,497.56 in cash and checks. More than $1.5-million during one Sunday morning assembly! It’s humbling. It’s mind-blowing. It’s a testimony to the power of our God to provide the resources in giant buckets when his people commit to joining him in his salvation pursuit of others.

I really don’t know what else to write or say.

That’s a lot of money.

I praise God for the ways he is at work in us and through us to bless others with his love and mercy, his forgiveness and grace. I’m so blessed to be the preacher at Central. And I can’t wait to see how our Lord’s going to use this offering to change lives and impact our city for his Kingdom.

Thank you to all my brothers and sisters at Central for your commitments and offerings made with faith in God and with confidence in our vision for more Christian ministry in Amarillo and around the world.