Give

Giving Matters

By Trevor Jordan with Karen Polich

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops. Proverbs 3:9

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Trevor Jordan and learn more about his perspective on giving and why it matters. Trevor grew up with parents who stressed the importance of tithing to him from an early age. Read on to learn more from Trevor.

As a kid, I wondered how God uses the money. My parents would put five dollars in my hand and let me place it in the offering. They were building the habit. As a young kid and then a college student, I didn’t have much of anything to give on my own. My parents helped me see that in any situation, we can and should give God what we have to give. It may hurt, but maybe it is supposed to so we are reminded that He comes first.

Now I see God in action with the resources we give. That sense of pride I feel when I see kids climbing on the rock wall or hear stories from a mission trip comes from giving. I get to be a part of something greater than me. God gives me the opportunity to invest in Him and His work. That’s a wonderful thing. As a shareholder, I have a stake in His church.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

You and I get to be a part of what God is doing through our giving. Every time we walk into the building, attend an event, or work with pastors who don’t have to split their time at another job in order to make ends meet, we are part of that. We are honoring God with our resources. Stewardship is obedience. God has called us to give Him our firstfruits and He blesses us when we are obedient.

Invest in God, in yourself and in the Kingdom.

God doesn’t need our money. His accomplishments are not dependent on us, yet He invites us to be part of His work. When we give to Him, He gives in return. He lets us be part of His amazing Kingdom work. It’s an investment that impacts my life in many ways. Having a heart of obedience that understands it’s all His has helped me grow in my relationship with God.

When we give from an obedient heart, we honor God. It’s an investment worth more than we can imagine.

 

Beyond The Walls

AFBC Staff

Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verbs agree to serve…You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. Martin Luther King  

Serving is not a new concept. This message is taught repeatedly in the Scriptures. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church takes serving seriously. Pastor Michael M. Cook often reminds the congregation of what we refer to as The Big Three: worship, participation in small groups and serving.

Aside from the biblical reasons for volunteering, here are four great reasons to volunteer in the community.

  1. Growth
    By volunteering with an ongoing program, volunteers see growth and change. Whether working with children who are learning to read or adults who are developing trust with their peers, volunteers can actually watch growth among their clients over time. This reinforces the volunteer’s own sense of worthiness and vitality in the program.

    2. Enrichment
    There’s nothing more fulfilling than realizing how much of an impact a volunteer can make. Volunteers working together to build a children’s playground or low-cost housing for needy families can later visit these sites and see how the project has enriched the neighborhood. Just a few hours of helping can turn into a lifetime of opportunity, which is one of the greatest benefits of volunteering.

    3. Learning
    Volunteer opportunities often allow people to try new activities or learn new skills. For example, when an accountant volunteers to help cook a holiday dinner at a homeless shelter, he walks away with not only a few cooking tips, but also knowledge of how to keep food at a safe temperature and how to serve large groups.

    4. Friendships
    When like-minded people get together, friendships are formed. After working on a volunteer project for a few weeks, it’s not uncommon for volunteers to exchange phone numbers or social media information. By giving just a few hours a week, lifetime friendships may be established.

Serving is not just important within the walls of the church but beyond the walls as well. There will be displays on the AFBC concourse Sunday January 24th and you will have an opportunity to speak first hand with representatives from faith-based organizations that are always looking for volunteers. Ask questions. Learn about ways that you can impact lives beyond the walls of our church.

Sharing information about volunteer opportunities will be representatives from:  The Gideons, Habitat for Humanity, Love, Inc., Baptist Convention of New Mexico, The Rock at NoonDay, Ronald McDonald House, and CareNet.

Join us on Sunday, January 24th and explore these opportunities.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying Our Stuff

By Karen Polich

What are the things in your life you really enjoy? The Creator is whispering to all of us, “Enjoy…”

Pastor Michael Cook concluded his Stuff sermon series with a deeper look at enjoying what we have. Wealth is not always a friend of faith. At times we can become so enamored or distracted by what we have that we miss the One who blessed us with all of it.

Often the more we have, the more we experience spiritual drifting. We focus on what we have and what we can do because of what we have. Life begins to operate around the personal. We focus on our kids’ activities, the travel we can easily do, or just the task of caring for the possessions we’ve surrounded ourselves with. How do we keep our hearts moving toward God with gratitude?

1 Timothy 6:17-18  Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

Serving and sharing will keep our hearts where they need to be. Spiritual growth should never suffer because of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. Our greatest challenge may not be that we are rich, but that we don’t feel rich. When we don’t know and don’t understand how rich we truly are we fall short when it comes to generosity.

He says, “Enjoy…just don’t forget about Me!”

Doing anything for others is better than offering everything “if they need it”! When we become doing people instead of offering people we are truly investing in others. This rescues us from self-focus. When our focus is on others, we can fully enjoy everything God has given us. Our stuff should be a tool that brings glory to God through our generosity. We can all live generously. God has blessed us beyond measure.

Are you a giving, sharing person? Enjoy your stuff, but keep your focus on Him.

Project for the week:

  1. Serve someone in a place that is out of the ordinary for you.
  2. Find out how much you are giving away. What is the percentage? (You just did your taxes.) Knowing how much of your life you are giving away is critical.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give –Winston Churchill

Visit www.AFBCHope.com for more information regarding the Hope Effort. Listen to Pastor Michael Cook via podcast here.

Ten Apples

By Karl Lee

I like a good story, how about you? I find that some stories just stick in your head and at times sort of pop up in your mind. Of course a good story always begins with, “Once upon a time” This is one of them:

Once upon a time there was a man who had nothing and God gave him ten apples. God gave him three apples to eat, three apples to trade for shelter from the elements of the weather, and three apples to trade for clothing to wear. The last and tenth apple he gave to the man so he could it give it back to God in gratitude for the other nine.

The man ate the first three apples. The next three apples he traded for shelter from the sun and the rain. The last three apples he traded for clothing to wear. Now it came to the tenth apple; the apple he was to give back to God in gratitude.  The man looked at the tenth apple and it was the reddest, biggest, juiciest looking of all the apples. The man began to reason that God had all the other apples in the world…so he ate the tenth apple and gave back to God the core!

Isn’t it amazing that God provides us with enough apples to supply our needs and often more than our needs. Yet we find ourselves reluctant to give back to God generously a portion of what He has given to us.

Looking back at the story we might consider the blessing the man could have received had he not only given back to God the tenth apple but also one of the other apples. It is not that he was deprived of his lifestyle as he had shelter, food and clothing it was self-love was greater than love and gratitude to God.

Do you remember the story in Luke 21 of the rich men and the poor widow putting money into the temple treasury? The rich men had given from their abundance; the poor widow gave all she had. What was Jesus’ comment toward her? He said, “She has given more than all of them.” How can that be? Because she gave from her heart, cheerfully and generously.

If we can only pause long enough to remember it is God who owns everything and has granted us the privilege of managing a portion of it. We can take a lesson from the man in the story. His reasoning was erroneous. He acknowledge that God had all the other apples in the world. Where he erred was his failure to acknowledge God also owned the apples he gave the man for his subsistence.

Not out of our abundance should we give back to God what is His, but also out of a willing and cheerful heart.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1

Building on Faith

By Karl Lee

Do you remember the story Jesus told in Luke 14:28-30? There was to be a tower built, but they failed to have enough money or materials to complete it. In any undertaking, no matter what it may be, there is the idea of first counting the cost for that particular undertaking.

Our church is now undertaking a building expansion.  As you may have noticed, nothing comes cheap. We will need everyone’s help financially if we are to accomplish this project.

So, what does that mean? That means you and I must give, with a willing heart, sacrificially, above our regular gifts and tithes.

Okay, I follow your thought. But where am I going to come up with a few extra bucks? I suppose there are a few things my wife and I could cut back on for a season. I’m considering cutting back on dining out at least one meal each month. That’s twenty-five to thirty dollars in savings! Even as I write this, I can think of a couple of other things I can do without.

Let’s go back to the Scriptures. Do you remember the story of the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness? Read Exodus 25. Moses was told by the Lord to ask the children of Israel for an offering to build the Tabernacle. The people were to give with a willing heart. Wow! Sacrificial giving and with a willing heart. Now take a look ahead to Exodus 36:6. Here we see Moses having to tell the children of Israel to stop giving for they had given in abundance.

What an awesome thing it would be if Pastor Cook had to ask us to stop giving because we had exceeded far beyond the need. Yes, in time there will be other projects as the needs of the church expand, but, dear saints, let us concentrate on this particular undertaking for there will be no building if the funds are not available.

May I encourage you to go to the Lord in prayer and seek His guidance on what your participation should be in giving financially to this undertaking! Think about what you might sacrifice (give up) to make this vision a reality.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV