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Well, one more time. I wanna say welcome. It is, as it always is, great to have you with us. Thanks for being here with me. If you're on any of our campuses, as you're watching this, we want you to know we are so glad you're a part of us. And if you're watching it online, as I say it every week, uh, we are mindful that you're there.
So, however you're experiencing this, man, it's great to be together. Before I get to the message, there's a couple things I just wanna, I just wanna say that I think are important. Number one, you already heard about it was rooted. It starts on Wednesday night. I invite you to join. Uh, we're gonna be on the Tempe campus.
If you've never been to the Tempe campus, it's gonna be your opportunity to do that. Gotta register today. But I'm telling you, this will change your life if you've never done it. And we've talked a lot about community this last month. If you're not in community, you're living in black and white in a beautiful colored, uh, world of vivid color, and you're missing it.
And so we want the best for you. Uh, so I want to remind you that Winston. Tonight on the Gilbert campus at six o'clock is gonna be a night of worship. And, uh, we're gonna talk about the holiness of God and we're gonna come before him and we're gonna sing praises to him and we're gonna offer worship. And so, again, wouldn't be the same without you.
I hope you'll come, I hope you'll be a part of it. And, uh, that'll be on the Gilbert campus. So we're in a series right now and called Intervention. And I, I'm gonna turn our attention to that in just a moment. But I have one more thing I want to tell you before I. Next week, um, in what we call our salek series, uh, sale.
It means take a pause, take a break, catch your breath. So between our regular series, we just drop kind of one-off messages, and next week is gonna be a, a one-off message on an issue that a lot of people are talking about that you might not know much about, but I want to talk about it. It's called Deconstruction.
And what's happening is, uh, literally in the last 10 years, there have been for a number of reason, People kinda walking away from their faith. And, uh, the, uh, it has to do with politics. It has to do with the pandemic. Uh, some of it has to do with the fall of high profile Christian leaders. It's been a, a season that have, has just kind of caused people to.
Go. You know what? I don't know how much I believe, what I think I believe, and I'm telling you, I think it's gonna be a great message. I invite you to come next week, please, uh, bring somebody and bring somebody who's maybe struggling with their faith. And we're just gonna address the issues We're gonna talk about doubt and the power of doubt.
And anyway, I I just think it's gonna be really, really good and want you to not miss it. So let's get onto, uh, let's get onto the subject of, uh, today. So we've been in a series, uh, we're gonna wrap it up today, intervention, uh, from the book of Malachi. And so, uh, we're gonna, we're gonna hit that to, to intervene in any situation means that you're literally choosing to put yourself in the middle of a problem.
Uh, that you're actually choosing to step in. You're, you're gonna get involved, you're gonna do something. Okay? Um, and we discussed this through this last. , intervening in a problem can be dangerous. Uh, it's dangerous all around it. It's risky. It's dangerous for you to, you know, put yourself in a situation when it's easier to just keep your mouth shut, not say anything.
Just be let them have their problem and it's their problem. It's dangerous to get involved. It's also, for sure, dangerous if you don't get involved because you, you saw something that was harming a person. . And if you don't do something, that harm is going to come to that person. And so we just talked about the risk.
Now we started that series with this big idea that has kind of permeated the entire series. And that love always takes the risk. It just takes the risk. If you love somebody, even though it's hard, you're gonna, you're gonna do what needs to be done. All right, so the book of Malachi is God using a prophet, a guy named Mala.
To confront the people of Israel. He's literally, uh, it's an intervention. He, he's talking to them, uh, about, uh, things that are in their life that they, they need to fix. Now, he's not doing that because he doesn't love them. He's doing it because he loves them. And love is the great motivator of an intervention.
It's what causes you to step up. So in the series so far, what we've talked about is we've talked. Um, intervention as far as the concept, and we talked about how God, uh, intervened, uh, in the people of Israel for challenging their shallow com, uh, their shallow relationships. You might remember this two weeks ago.
It's really easy to do life at the surf, you know, superficial the surface and not let anybody know you and not be known by anybody. Uh, whenever there's a problem, just ghost the church, you know, ghost the community. And, uh, God goes absolutely. Uh, last week we talked about shallow worship. Shallow worship is when you're here and body, but your spirit is gone.
It's when you're here and you're going through the motions, but your heart is a mile away. And so we talked about that. Uh, what did I get outta worship? You don't get things outta worship. You bring stuff to worship. That's, it's about God. It's not about Christians. It's about Christ. Not about you. Today we're gonna talk about something that's really challenging.
We're gonna talk about shallow commitments, a shallow commitment to God. And, uh, I, when I did the service, uh, on Thursday night, which is a reminder, we have a Thursday night service getting bigger all every week. It's getting bigger. Uh, if you can't make a weekend service, just remind you, uh, it happens. But Thursday night this week, uh, I was talking, uh, about this and I said, you know, there are some sermon.
That are just fun to preach. I mean, I just, so sometimes you get so excited. I just can't wait. It's gonna be so fun. I get to preach that sermon. It's fun. I get to preach it. And there are some, uh, sermons that are just hard and I have to preach them. This is one of those, uh, uh, gentleman walking in today says it's gonna be challenging today.
It's gonna be challenging today. Trust me. This is a hard one. This is, uh, the most intense thing that he's gonna say. In this, uh, gosh, in this confrontation. So here's the deal. Get the book of Malachi Open. We're gonna turn to it in just a moment. Uh, kind of set up what is gonna happen. I want to, I want to just kind of talk to you from my heart for just a moment about an intervention in my life.
And I, I'm gonna just kind of walk you down. Now, I, I'm just gonna try to say this really, really fast. So you gotta listen cuz I, I could spend so much more time, I just don't have a lot of time to explain it. But I grew up without a dad. I grew. With an older sister and a mom. My mom was, uh, a wonderful lady, but she was not a nurturing mother.
She was, she never saw it like, I'm here to teach my son Most everything that I learned growing up, I just learned by failing, by doing stuff and then discovering that's not the way you do that and I need to learn to do it better, and just kind of trial and error, and I need to explain that for where I'm gonna go.
cause I didn't have a lot of instruction. In Proverbs chapter three, it says these words, verse 11, my son do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke. But the Lord disciplines those he loves as a father, the son he delights in. Which always created a quandary for me because when I started to come into faith, I started realiz.
I don't have a father to instruct me. I don't have that. So how am I gonna get instructed on the way to grow up? And that's what was always the challenge of my growing up years. Can somebody teach me instead of me just falling flat on my face and having to learn the hard way? So I tell you all that to tell you this, there was a family, uh, when I became a believer, I was a senior in high.
And there was a family that, uh, there was a friend that I had, his name was Mark Rosenbach. To this day, I love this guy. And, uh, mark, um, was a guy that was very instrumental in bringing me to Jesus. I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for Mark being there then. And his family then kind of took me in and I was like the orphan son that, you know, the prodigal son that, you know, they welcomed home and it was awesome.
It was awesome. And they taught me so many. . But I need to tell you about something that, uh, in all honesty, I am, I absolutely do not want to tell you. I wanna tell you something really dumb that I did to that family. I want to tell you something. I'm embarrassed, I'm humiliated, I'm ashamed. I'm all of the above.
All right, Henry, be really easy to just kind of, can we just keep this mom and forget that this ever happened? But what happened was they took me in and I felt like I was at home, at their house. That's just, you need to understand they were so kind. . When I went to college my freshman year, I just became a believer and my freshman year, uh, senior in high school is when I became a believer.
I went off to a Christian college and, um, I came home in the fall. I was so homesick and I couldn't wait to get home and see the Rosen box and see, you know, my friends and anyway, so I brought two friends with me and what I did, I, uh, again, I cannot believe I did this, but I'm gonna say in my defense, I truly didn't know better.
Nobody ever explained this to me. Here's what I did. I brought my two friends home and I invited them to stay at the Rosenbach house without their permission. And if that was the worst of what I did, that would be horrible, but it's not the worst of what I did. The worst of what I did was as soon as I got home, I.
Dumped these two friends on the Rosen box so I could go see some people that I hadn't seen. That's how bad it was. I came home much later that night, and I don't know, um, I don't know if it was late in the night or it was early in the morning. I, that's looked a little fuzzy. What I do remember is, um, I got sat down and I had an intervention happen in my life.
Um, the Rosen box, mom and dad set me down and we had to come to Jesus. that apparently I was invited to. And, uh, they explained it to me on no uncertain terms that what I did was incredibly, uh, inappropriate and that it was, uh, uh, I mean, you, you can put all the words in there. You get the idea. And I, I, I know that when they were doing this to me, they were telling me this, everything inside of me wanted.
push back and resent and resist what you're trying to tell me. I don't, I don't need this guilt trip if, frankly, you know, and, and why in the word do you think so? Little of me, and, and, you know, and everything wanted to defend what I had done, but, and I'm gonna tell you this, I really believe with all my heart, it was the spirit of God.
The spirit of God told me, you know, if you'll just keep your mouth shut right now and your ears open, you'll actually learn something that'll help you the rest of your. . And so I fought the, all the tendency inside me to want to just shut down. And I listened to what they said. And, um, I can tell you a couple things.
Number one, I have never been, I had never been more offended and more put off than I was the minute they confronted me. Nobody had ever done that to me in my life. I had also never felt more loved and cared for at any other point in my life. And so as they explained it to me, I knew I had a decision to make.
I can resent and resist, or I could open up and listen and learn. By the spirit of God, I opened up, listened and learned. I apologize. I profusely apologize. I promise I'll never do this again. And I determined I will never talk to you again. The rest of my. That's not true , but that's what you feel like doing, isn't it?
When you, somebody is in your face and you know you're wrong. I, I, I, I'm telling you that story to tell you this. I have thought about that so many times over the years, uh, that have passed. Uh, how much courage would it have taken for them to do that? How much easier would it have been to go, you know what?
He's going back to college here in a day or two, and this will be behind. . Um, I, I really think about this and I think, you know what, that was the best thing they could possibly have done, and I'm so incredibly grateful for the intervention. Now, nobody likes to be sat down and talked to the book of Malachi.
Um, the book of Malachi right now is gonna turn, uh, the people of Israel are gonna have a Jesus meet, uh, you know, come to Jesus. , uh, no, it's technically not true cuz she's hadn't yet quite come. But they're gonna get a, they're, God is gonna give them a, a serious conversation like I, the one I just described, and they're gonna have a choice and, and you're gonna be brought in on this conversation.
You're gonna have a choice. Because you can go, you're just putting a guilt trip on me. Or you can say, I want to resent and resist this, or, or, but I best should just listen and learn. It's gonna be your call. Uh, I can't decide that. But what he sits to them down for is so strong. Is so strong. And let's just go there and I'll show it to you.
Okay. So we're gonna jump in. Um, Chapter three. And I'm telling you, this is so fascinating when you see it as to what was actually happening. It's so eye-opening. Okay, so this is when he confronts the people, all right? He's going to confront the people, and in just a moment, I'm gonna show you what he says to the priest, and I'm gonna show you the connection between the people and the priest.
It'll make sense. Malachi chapter three, verse six, I the Lord do not change. so you, the descendants of Jacob are not destroyed. Okay, now, right now you got what if I were a different God? If, if I would let my emotion, I would destroy you all is what he's saying. But I don't change. I'm not a, I'm not, that's not who I am.
Ever since the time of your ancestors, you have turned away from my decrees and you have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord Al. , but you ask, how are we to return? Will Amir mortal Rob God? But yet you rob me. But you ask, how are we robbing you in tithes and offerings? You are under a curse, your whole nation, because you are robbing me.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. Pest me in this says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it's ripe.
Says the Lord Almighty. Then all the nations will call you. Blessed for yours will be a delightful land, says the Lord Almighty. We can do this one of two waves. You can do what I'm asking you to do and everything will be awesome for you. Or you can continue to defy me and disobey me sharp, sharp words.
What were they doing? What was the problem? They were turning away from his decree. Now we, what do you mean? What does it mean to turn away? They were choosing not to do what they clearly knew they were supposed to do. And, and, and then he gets a very specific illustration in their giving of ties and offerings.
Now, listen, uh, you go what decree? What's a decree? You're blown off my decree. So decree is a principle that it, it's, it's the way it works. Okay? And I, I want you to understand. that they knew what they were doing. And see, here's the decree they were blowing off. And if you've been around central, I hope you know this.
If you're new to Central, please learn this. Learn this. Now I understand that. Just like I didn't know it was inappropriate to do what I did to the Rosen box. I realize you, you might be going, I didn't know, I never, nobody ever explained this to me. I need to explain something to you. Okay? This is the decree they were blowing up the first and the best.
Always belongs to God. The first and the best always belongs to God. God always gives you the first and the best, and God expects from you the first and the best, which means that, that when, when you, everything you make, everything you create everything you. You, you build the first on that return belongs to God.
Now you go, wait a minute. Why? Why does it belong to God? Because if you belong to God, that belongs to God. But, but here's what happens. Okay? We go, no, no. The first and the best doesn't belong to God. If it doesn't belong to God, who does it belong to? There's only one answer you if you say it belongs to you and not God.
When God says the first and the best always belongs to. Then you're saying you're above God. You're before God, and you're not before God. And this is the point. And so God, from the very beginning through Abraham, all the way back to Abraham, 12th chapter of Genesis, establishes this concept of the first 10th is always his.
It's never yours. It's the red apple. If you can remember that illustration, that is not yours, that belongs to him. Okay? And, uh, , they were going, no, who cares? I don't care. And instead of giving them the first and the best, they do what we often do, which is give the least. And the last, what is the least and the last, the leftovers.
In other words, God, I would give you, um, I would give you generously, but I don't have anything left. After you've gone everything you want, then you have a little left and you go, God, here, this is yours. And it's an inversion of the princip. You never, uh, the first and the best is always, always, always, God's.
Okay? They were reversing. I'm gonna show you how it happened. Are you gonna see it? It's gonna be crystal clear here. And again, it's just kind of chilling. Um, again, why does the first and the best be? Because when you give your life to God, loosen carefully. When you give your life to God, you, you give everything to God.
If you don't give everything to God truthfully, you give it nothing. If you've given everything to God, you understand everything you are is his. Everything that's about you is his. It's not a hard principle to get your brain around when I won't give him the first and the best. What I'm saying is, is he's not the first and the best and he's not worthy of that.
He's worthy of something below that. Now I gotta show you what he did. I think this is fascinating. God said, you are robbing me. You are robbing me. I think that's an interesting choice of words. You are robbing me, so I want you to just imagine the scene where somebody's robbing somebody. How do you picture somebody robbing somebody?
All right. This, and we use the word Rob, I think of, of, uh, some sort of an attack, some sort of frontal attack. You jump out from behind a car, you put a gun in my face, you can gimme your wallet. Okay? Robbing is an assault. I'm the person you're taking something from. It's taking somebody things by force.
It's interesting to say you're stealing from me. When I think of stealing. I think, well, that's a little bit different than robbing because stealing often happens behind your back, not in your face. They were doing it in his face stealing. Like right now, somebody could be stealing my car for all I know. I hope not.
I'll discover it later. You know, if somebody, oh, somebody took my car. You're not gonna rob me in my car without me knowing about it. And what God is saying is, you're robbing me. You're assaulting me to my face By your defiance. What? What do you, what do you, okay, whether it's robbing or stealing, what do you call somebody who does that to somebody else?
What's the word we use? We call them a A thief. A thief. We call them a thief. Is it ever a compliment to be called the. Is it ever something you aspire to? I hope I grow up to be a thief. Take people's things that don't belong to me. There's never a compliment of being called the thief. Malachi, this is so strong.
Oh my gosh. And again, I'm sure they were buckled up because it had to be a tough one. Now I gotta show you what happened. Cause I think this is amazing. This is the most amazing part. I, I told you as we worked our way through the book of Mala. He starts with a declaration of love. I need you to understand, I'm gonna talk harsh to you because I love you.
That's the beginning. Malachi one, one to five, and then he turns straight to the priest and he goes from about one six to about two 15. I'm doing this from memory, and that's really about the priest. And then he turns to the people and the rest of the book is the confrontations we've been talking about to the people.
But I wanna show you. . What did he confront the priest about? Let me show you. Go to chapter one. Just flip back a couple of pages. Go to chapter one. What's the problem, Malachi one 18. He's talking to the priest. Listen, when you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or deceased animals, is that not wrong?
Okay. Wait, what? The priest you're offering blind. Animals, you sacrifice lame disease, an animal. What? Here's what you need to understand. Don't miss this. This is the important part. The priests were the median between God, the, the, uh, the middle man, if you would, between the people and God, that's what you need to understand.
That's what a priest was. Uh, you would confess to the priest, who would confess to God. You would, you know. So these priests are offering diseased, lame, damaged, injured. Animals. Where are they getting them? Well, that's from them. These are the sacrifices. These are the gifts that God people were giving to God, and they're looking at these animals and they're diseased, injured, lame, all, and they're going, huh?
Okay, that's good enough for God and they would offer him to God. Lemme show you some more. All right. I guess that's all God's worth. All right. Now look I one 13, just a few verses later. Look at this. When you bring, he's saying this to the priest, when you bring injured, lame, or diseased animals, and offer them as sacrifice says, should I accept them from your hands?
Says the Lord God. Cursed is the cheat. There's another thing don't like being called a cheat curse is the cheat who is an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king, says the Lord Almighty, and my name is to be feared among the nations.
What's going on here? Here's the deal. The people went. Well, okay. Uh, uh, I have to honor God with the first and the best. First, and the best is valuable. Uh, I gotta, and by the way, they would, these offerings were to God and this would be the, you know, the offering. And, uh, I don't,
this lamb is so healthy. This lamb has such a future, this lamb. and then this idea would pop in. Um, hey, you see that one over there from my herd that's leaning against the post? That one, that one that's barely on two legs, it's gonna die anytime. I'm gonna give that one. They'd go get that animal. Now watch this.
They would offer it to the priest, and the priest would go, well, this sucker's about dead. Well, that's the best I got. Okay. Um, God here, uh, on behalf of this is a gift. Now follow this. Okay. Why are the priests doing this? Don't miss this part. It's the best part. Why are the priests doing this? Well, you could say because they're human, meaning that, um, if they challenge the people and say, this is an unacceptable sacrifice for a worthy.
You know what the people are gonna do? They're gonna turn on the priest and the priests are going, look, I don't really wanna forfeit the honor and the respect that my position holds by calling you out and turning you against me. So I would rather maintain your respect for me and we'll just disrespect God as if he doesn't know what we're doing and give him this, and God is fully aware of what they're doing.
Can I show you something, which again, you just gotta see this Malachi chapter two. In this section to the priests, I gotta show you something that is so important to understand. Malachi two seven. For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people see construction from his mouth, but you, he stay unto the priest.
You have turned away. Now you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble. You have violated the covenant of Levi, who is the first priest all the way back, says the Lord Almighty. So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated. The very thing they re they trying so hard not to let happen to them before all the people because you have not followed my ways, but have shown partiality in matters of the law.
What are you saying? You, you guys are a bunch of cheaters. , you guys are a bunch of you. You're complicit to the crime that these people are committing, and you ought to know better because you are the person I put there to tell them that is unacceptable. That is not worthy of who I am, but you look out for yourself rather than looking out for them.
And can I explain something to you? I have spent this week agonizing with these priests because I am tempted to do the exact same thing to. , when I come across this text, I don't want you mad at me. I don't want you getting, I don't want you never talking to me again. I don't want you, I just want to go.
Hey, well, uh, hey, we're gonna receive an offering. Uh, hope, you know, hope you get it and not tell you. The world of priests is to instruct and God puts their mouth. in the crowd to be a voice. And I, I'm, I'm, I'm gonna catch 22 here. Cause I know some of you're just like, I can't believe this. He's just laying a guilt upon me.
No, I'm not. I'm just trying to tell you something important that you need to understand. A decree you do not want to turn away from the first and the best always belongs to God. If you're gonna keep it for yourself, you're gonna be on the wrong side of God. Now stay with me. Okay? Let's wrestle with this for just a moment.
Does God deserve the best from you? Where does he fall in your priorities? Where exactly should he expect this from me? Should he, there's a right to expect this from me. Well, here's the deal, okay? And I, I dunno how you see God, but let me explain to you how I see God, okay? God is my creator. I would not be here today if God did not allow me to be.
All right. He's your creator too. God is my sustainer. I wouldn't be here this very day if God would've stop my heart last night when I went to sleep or stop my breathing. He sustained my life today. He, uh, allowed me to wake up today. He created me, gave me life. He keeps me alive. You ready for this? He's my redeemer.
What does that mean? He's made me an offer that I can live with him forever. in eternity because he'll take away from the thing that's gonna kill me, which is my sin. He says, I'll cover that for you. I'll cover that dead. So he's my creator. He's my sustainer. He's my redeemer. He's my lord. What does that mean?
He's my boss. He's, he's my number one authority. He's the one who, uh, I pledged the rest of my life allegiance to him, not, not the government, not a political platform, him. because you know what? He's my God, so, so what right does he have to ask of my best? He has every right you. You know what the tithe does is it reminds you it's not about you because you live in a world that's telling you it's all about you, and it's only about you.
And I'm here to tell you, you can't live for God if you're living for yourself. They couldn't live for God if all they're worrying about is what sheep they're gonna give to God. How little can I sacrifice? I'll just give him the least and the last and we'll call it good and go home. So what is it worth?
I, I, I wanna suggest that God is worth my commitment and my faithfulness. He is worthy of my commitment and my faithfulness. And by the way, commitment and faithfulness go hand in hand. I don't know if you've ever thought about this. Let me just cause you. To be committed is to be faithful. To be committed is to be faithful.
Now, let me ask you a, lemme just fire off a couple questions. If your refrigerator worked really well 90% of the time and 10% of the time wouldn't work at all, would you call your refrigerator faithful? And the answer is, of course not. It doesn't work if your bank register 90% of the deposits you made.
but only 90% and the other 10% got lost in the system. Would you consider your bank faithful if your internet service or your cell service, it works about 90% of the time, 10% of the time you can. It won't do anything. Would you consider it faithful if your car started 90% of the time, 10% of the time left, you're stranded?
Would you call it faith of your hot water heater? 90% of the time work 10% of the time it's ice cold. Would you call? You get the point where I'm going here, right? Ready for this one. Get ready to be shocked if your spouse was faithful to you 90% of the time and 10% of the time wasn't. Would you ever consider that person faithful?
See, here's our problem. We come along and we go, Hey God. Uh, mostly faithful is faithful. So lemme ask you a simple question is mostly faithful. Faithful, mostly faithful. Might, Lisa, you're mostly faithful. I'm just gonna call you faithful. , you're mostly faithful. It's only 10% of the time. You're not faithful.
So I'm gonna call you. You're mostly faithful. You see in matters of faith. It doesn't work in proportions. Like this is mostly faithful. Faithful. No, it's unfaithful. It was, by the way. And here's the big idea, mostly faithful is just another way of saying unfaithful. It's just another way of saying unfaithful.
It's just a kind, generous, easy way to say it. So what is 90% faithful to God? It's unfaithful. Hmm. Could, could you or I or they in the, could you be 90% committed to God, but I'm holding back my 10%? No, you can't do that. And be faithful. Now. We could be so glad as we're reading this. Oh gosh, God, I'm so glad.
Whew. I'm not a part of those guys. It's not my issue. I'm glad I, you know, I'm glad I live where I live when I live, man. I'm glad I wouldn't, that would be a harsh thing to sit and listen to. . I'm glad I, I'm glad I give you my best. So now I got a dilemma. Right now I have a dilemma. I, I, I can show you something that will be very disturbing or I can just keep it from you and pretend like I don't know it.
I can play the role of the priest and go, you know what? I just want you to like me. I don't wanna say anything that would cause you to feel uncomfortable or feel guilty or feel like you've done something you shouldn't have done. And I'll just pretend like this is the best we got, God. . That's my dilemma.
So let me, uh, just remind you of a very, very important thing. The first and the best always belongs to God. How we doing? So I'm gonna go through this quickly. I'm gonna put some numbers up. I'm gonna show you something. I'm just going, I'm gonna, you, you wanna come behind the, you wanna come behind the curtain?
You want to, you wanna see what? I'll just walk you behind the curtain. Okay? So just hang on here. Keep your seatbelt. , keep your hands and your feet inside the car at all times here. But I wanna show you something. All right, so we just said, look, we have campuses in five communities. What's the median household income of the five communities where we have campuses, we have to have something baseline to work from.
In 2021 numbers, I'm gonna give you a number. Some of you're gonna go, there's no way. I don't gonna make anything near that. And you go, I'm make way more now. Okay? It's a medium all. Median, the middle. Okay. Um, 81,556. You can go check these numbers. The median household income in the five communities average those together, and you get this median 81,556.
Now, if we were faithful a tithe of that, the first 10th, that belongs to God, always to God, never to us, always to God would be $8,156 per. That's what it would be. Peyton, just so you understand how the numbers work, central has 3,608 families that give something anything. 3,608 families. That's nothing.
Number of people. Those are families. Okay? Families. Therefore, if you just did simple math, okay, you learned this in high school, the annual giving of Central, if we were honoring God, would be those two numbers multiplied. 8,156 times 3,608 would be $29,426,848 that would be set apart that God gave us to get him to do what he wanted us to do as a church.
That's 20. However, get ready to be disturbed by this one. 30% of those who attend Central contribute nothing. Zero, zero. So if we added that 30% in the actual number of giving units would go up to 4,690, now 4,690 given units times the median household income tithe, 8,156 would mean that God's resources that were freed up for ministry for this church should be 38,251,640.
This is the money God gave us to give. And again, I'm just using benchmark numbers to give us an idea, okay? Make sure you get this. 38,000,251 should, well, what the difference we should be making in this world with with resources. God provided our actual giving in the year 2022 was $14,000,100. Now 14,000,100 is not a little amount of money.
That's not even the point. God gave us a lot of people and a lot of. And we have dedicated 14000100th. We can only, as a church, do what you, God, this so many ways. We only can do what you give. That's all we got. We don't, we don't invest. We're not a bank. We're not trying to make money. We're not a prophet.
We are simply trying to, what God provides we put to use. Okay. That's kind of how this works. , um, as well, it should be 38. It's 14 one. Here's the hard part, which means just do simple math. We are keeping for ourselves 24 million one hundred and forty one, one hundred fifty one, six hundred $40 of God's money, and I'm in this incredibly awkward position of going, I know.
I know that I know what we're doing. We're stealing, no, we're robbing. We're doing this to God's face. We're forcibly refusing to give him what is his. I'll tell you another disturbing number by the way, you wanna be disturbed. A current reality is 20% of our families, or 20% of our giving units give 73% of the resources that's.
20% give. So we run on a shoestring of what we should be able to do by the resources of God. Now, again, I don't know how you hear this. I don't know what you're thinking. I just can't help but think this, God, what could you do through us? If we were faithful, what could? What could you? What? What could happen if all of a sudden.
the resources of the church were as you provisioned them to be. What difference would that make in the ministry of Central? And I gotta tell you something, I think it, I think God's going. Yeah. You know, I think about that every day, pastor. I think about that every day. When, when are you gonna talk to your people about what they're doing to me, pastor, you know, I put you there to be an instructor of my word.
When are you going to, oh God. I just, Now I'm gonna close this message, but I wanna walk you down a, a road. You can go with me. Okay? Now listen. Look, look at me. All right? Look at me. God is not interested in your money. If you, all you've heard in this is about your money, you have totally missed the point.
God is not interested in your money. . God is interested in you, but if God doesn't have your money, you're kidding yourself. If you think you've given you to him, this is the crisis. If you've given you to him, your money's a non-issue. What difference does it make? It's all his, but it matters if I didn't give my heart to him, cuz then I'm just going through the motions.
Remember what worship is. It's not what you get out of this, it's what you contribute. When I worship God, I come to give not to get. . God isn't interested in your money. He's incredibly interested in you. Uh, I don't know if you've picked up these words. I don't have time to go back and point 'em out to you, but God calls us to do four things.
Did you see 'em return to me? That that means turn around, repent. Turn around, stop going the direction you're going, turn around. Honor me.
Return to me, honor. Test me. Do you get it? Test me. The only thing I ever said, he said, you test me on this. You test me and see if you do what I ask you to do. If I don't bless you in ways that'll blow your mind, just test me. And then he says, literally, trust me. So there's, there's the dilemma, folks. That's that's the what do we walk away with?
Return to me, honor me, which means put him first test. Trust me. See, it comes down to a crisis of faith. Do you believe God is powerful enough that if you'll simply do what he asks you to do, he'll bless your life? I am here to tell you, I could not preach the sermon if I don't put in practice what I'm talking about.
There's way too many people in this church that would understand I'd be a, a total hypocrite. I, I am so convicted by this because I've seen the effect of this. This is how it works. You trust God, you return, you honor you, trust you. And, and God's gonna take care of you. He's just gonna take care of you. If you don't, you're not gonna have his blessing.
That's when he said you're cursed. What does it mean to be cursed? It means you're not blessed. You don't have his hand on you. Why would you choose that? Let lemme show you a pastors from Proverbs. All right? Honor the Lord with your wealth. With the first fruits of all your crops, then your barns will be overfilled, will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will burn over with new wine.
Guys, do this. put me first, live the way I've asked you to live. Honor me and watch what happens. And every one of us has a dilemma right now because you're either gonna say yes or no. And if you think this is about money, you are totally missing. Now I wanna tell you something, I need generation. God's a God of grace.
He's not out. You're not gonna go get condemned to hell if you don't do this. And I'm not here to say, if you don't do this, you know you can forget heaven. I'm not saying that other God doesn't say that to you. But I can tell you with confidence that his blessing is not gonna be on your life like it could have been.
And uh, you're not gonna come out ahead if that happens. By the way, can I show you something else? Malachi says, it's just kind of chilling. Let me show you this Malachi three. But who could endure the day of his coming? who can stand when he appears for, he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer soap.
You know what that means? We live in an A and an age a day in an age right now where we have no fear of God whatsoever. We just, God's loving, he's graceful. He'll never do anything. He'll never up. He hugs and kiss us. Malai goes, you don't want to be found on the other side of this guys. And so he says, return honor test.
Trust. So why haven't we given our money to him? Well, here's my biggest fear. We haven't given our hearts to him. That's hard. Have we given our hearts to him? We got KA pastor. Cow. Cow. We're we're mostly faithful. Is mostly faithful. Faithful. The first and the best. Always belongs to. , which means you belong to God.
You belong to God. You belong to God. And the wonderful thing is, is God's more than welcoming to bring you in His and it's not in his arms. See, I think we're, we're gonna move this service right now. I'm gonna show you what we're gonna do. We're gonna do this everywhere. Everywhere we do one of two things.
Some of you right now, you don't need to do anything other than sit in your seat and repent before. , you need to return to what you know is the right thing to do. You just need, you need to clear the air between you and God. You need to go, God, I've been, I, whew. I didn't realize I was stealing. I was robbing.
I didn't realize, okay, you know, if you're feeling any anxiety about that, then you need to have a conversation with God. You need to reorder some things in your life. You need to get that squared away. Others of you are going, you know what, I've never, I've never heard any of this. I've never, and uh, , you need to make a commitment starting now that, uh, God's gonna be number one and he's gonna have the place and the position he oughta have.
So here, here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna say this. Uh, all of us ought to be doing work with God over the next few moments. And if you're, if you're not incredible, if you, if nothing that's been said here, you're like going, I don't see any need to change anything. But some of you need a, you need a, Lord, in your life, you need a new God.
You've been serving the wrong thing, and I don't want to close this service out without giving you an invitation to give. Give your life to Jesus. Give your life to God. The problem with it is when we focus on money, we have made our life so much less than it was meant to be. No matter how much money you have, it's so much less than what God has for you.
God doesn't care about your money. He cares about your. , and here's what I'm gonna do. And I, you know, it takes, it takes, you know, courage to go, you know what, I, I feel like I need to make a public statement. I've just received Jesus. Now, we're not gonna put a mic in your hand, we're not gonna embarrass you don't have to say anything, but I'm gonna give you an invitation in just a moment to come down front.
I'm gonna ask some of a prayer partners to come down front here. And if you want to make a, a solid, like I'm putting a line in the sand, I am crossing that line. I'm gonna cross this Rubicon, I'm gonna cross this, I'm gonna make a. That I cannot and will not turn back on. Then I'm gonna invite you to accept Jesus right now to receive Jesus in your heart.
And I'm gonna bring the band out here if you would come on out. And, uh, we're gonna do this on all of our campuses. This is gonna get a little, a little weird, um, because I'm in one building. You're in another building, but get your band, go on, on the stage here and here, I'm gonna pray and I'm gonna ask you to make a commitment either to get right with God, uh, with your finances or to get right with God with your.
and then I, if you wanted to do the second one, get right with God with your life. I'm gonna invite you to come down on every campus. You come down front here and go, I'm gonna receive Jesus. Right. There we go. You're awesome. Let me pray first, but thank you for being an example of this. That's cool. Yeah.
Here we go. Alright, so let me, let me pray. And then, uh, the band's gonna kick in on every campus and. I'm fact, would you just stand, please don't leave though. Would you? Would you stand? And let's just turn our attention to God. So Father, Lord, thank you so much for the grace you've given us. Thank God we can abuse that grace and we can just dishonor you by believing that somehow we can be disobedient and honoring at the same time.
Disobedience never honors you and, and there's so many more ways we can be disobedient than just money, but money is the one we're talking about because this is Malachi's. So I pray right now as we wrestle with this, that we understand what it means to give our lives to you and to surrender. And God, it's not about money, it's about heart.
It's about commitment. It's about our passion. So get us focused Father and move in all of our campuses right now, if you would. In Jesus' name. Amen. Come on down here. Right? Thank.