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Living Generously - My Generosity Manifesto, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2020 6:00 am

Living Generously - My Generosity Manifesto, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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September 25, 2020 6:00 am

Wouldn't you like to be happier, more fulfilled, someone people would look at and think, "Wow, I wish I could be as positive and kind as that person!" In this program, we get a look at what Chip calls his "Generosity Manifesto." It's a step that'll get you headed in that direction.

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In today's message, I'm going to share with you a public manifesto that I made about something that I was going to start doing. And here's the deal. It changed me and every relationship in my life. You've got to hear this.

Stay with me. In this program, Chip continues his series called Living Generously, with a bit of an aha moment he wasn't looking for. When you were a kid, did you plant a seed in a little plastic cup to watch it sprout and grow? It's part of what's called the law of the harvest. You sow, you reap, and you harvest.

It's true with plants, and it's true in life. In this program, Chip tells us how the law of the harvest became the foundation for his generosity manifesto. So let's jump in.

I want to share with you how you can actually become extraordinarily kind and extraordinarily generous. In fact, on the front of your notes, I've actually decided I'm going to make it my manifesto. Doesn't have to be yours, but this is mine.

This is before God, and so I'm going public with this. You'll notice what a manifesto is. It is a published verbal declaration of intentions, of your motives or your views on an issue.

So it's public, right? I published it, and the real thing here is that, notice it says, to promote a new idea with prescribed notions for carrying out the changes. And I'm going to share with you a new idea for me, and the prescribed changes for my life, and I just have this sneaking feeling that a lot of you are going to want to take the next step in generosity as well.

Are you ready? Here's my manifesto. I want to be known in heaven and on earth as an extraordinarily kind and generous person. I know this happens because God says, have you considered my servant Job?

I'm thinking that he does that with you and some other people. I want him to say, before I die, have you considered my servant Chip? He's extraordinarily kind and generous. I want my wife to say, my husband is extraordinarily kind and generous. I want my kids to say that. I want my neighbors to say that.

I want the people who know me best to say that. I've been on a giving journey. In fact, this little green card I wrote down as I was learning about giving on the journey, and it's 1998.

I wrote this to myself, and I just read it over. I'd like to be more generous this year with my money and my time. And then in 2000, I rewrote it because I realized it wasn't my money and it wasn't my time. So I rewrote it, and I said, I'd like to be more generous this year with the time that you have given me and with the money that you've entrusted to me.

And so I just kept reading that over, and it says 2001. That was our most generous year ever. It was wonderful and fun. And then I listed people that we gave some things to that was just awesome. So would you like to go on the journey? This is a journey that will radically change your heart, but wow, there'll be people's lives that forever and ever and ever and now will be completely different because you go and take the next step on the generosity journey. Turn your notes, and as you open them there, you'll notice it says you can become an extraordinarily kind and generous person. I want you to just underline you because you're going to be tempted, some of you, to think maybe, you know, this Chip guy's been at this for a while.

No, no, no. This is every single person you can become extraordinarily kind and generous, but you have to begin where you're at and take what I call baby steps on that journey. To do that, I have a picture I want to share, and there is a process I want you to follow, and then I kind of have a little practice that the Scripture teaches about how this all works. The picture I want to share is this is Henry, grows up in a nice home, dad and one of his brothers, amazing athletes, realizes he's not kind of in that category, but he had this sort of knack. He's an entrepreneur. So he goes to college and wants to make a little money, and so he decides he'll sell t-shirts, but think like t-shirts on 15 or 16 different campuses in America, and he gets college kids, you know, doing it. So then he realized I have a little knack for business, and then Henry realizes, you know, maybe we should explore spiritual things. You know, I grew up with good morals, and so they go to a church, and they go to a church a lot like this one. And they got shocked because the person actually opened the Bible and started talking about a relationship with God that was personal, and it was like, whoa, I mean, you know, I just thought you sort of checked the box, you know, go to church now and then. Well, as that happened, Henry realized he didn't have a relationship with God. He was just religious, and so he turned from a sin, and he received Christ, and then he started praying, and then started little by little ups and downs, read the Scriptures, and then he learned that God owns everything.

Oh, my gosh, for a business guy, that's like crazy. So in one way you show that, he said, okay, so I was taught, give the first 10% of your income to declare that God owns it. So he said, okay. So he did that, and then he started getting around some people, said, well, you know, it's not like a bill you pay. It's just, it's your heart that he wants, and so he started kind of giving a little bit more and be proportional, and got excited about, we got to help this group and this group and that group and this person. And so then he starts this little business, and he decides, you know, I'm going to do it completely different than I've ever done. We're going to do it by kingdom principles.

I mean, I'm going to be generous to my employees. I mean, it's an amazing story, and God just went. And then he thought, you know, that's just one business.

What if I could reproduce that? And out of that business, he started a venture capital firm called Sovereign Capital. Get it? Sovereign. And he invests, not in Christian companies, he invests in Christians who are doing all kind of companies, but they have to have a kingdom component that loves and cares and ministers and makes a difference in all kind of people's lives. And so I declared, okay, I've inspired by Henry's story. I've inspired by what I've seen. I've been on a generosity journey. I'm going to the next level. And then I started studying. I've been studying for this, and I saw something. This happens to you all, right? You've been studying the Bible, maybe some of you for years, at least I've been at it for a while. And I had a, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, this idea of reproducing things in life. I've never seen this before. So are you ready?

Get your notes out and get a pen. There's a process to follow, and what I saw was it's all about seeds. You could actually look from the beginning of the Bible to the end. It's about seeds, and all of life is about sowing and reaping. In fact, your whole life, my whole life, even the life of Jesus, it's about what you plant, what you cultivate, and then what you harvest. So I want you to think about, okay, how has the sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful, mighty God of the universe, you know, kind of what's his design? How has he created life to actually work? And the very first moment that we have any kind of life is in Genesis chapter one, Genesis one, verse 11 and 12. This is the very first time God speaks.

It's life. The land produced vegetation, plants bearing seed, according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it, according to their kinds, and God saw that it was good. Notice. The land produced vegetation, then God said, let the land produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, and trees on the land that bear fruit with seeds in it, according to their various kinds, and it was so. Now, I don't know about you, but let's pause for just a second. The God of the universe is speaking life into existence. The very first life is vegetation. Then he does the animals.

Then he creates mankind. What's the deal with seeds? Have you ever seen this before? I didn't. Did you notice that verse? Seed, seed, seed.

I mean, four or five times. Here's what I want you to get. In all creation, everything living is created with a seed. And everything created has the capacity and it's God's intention that it would not just grow, but reproduce. In other words, a seed goes into the ground and it gives new life. The Greek word for seed, are you ready for this one? Sperma. Can you figure that one out? Life.

Sporos is the other word. So what I want to do, this is nutty, but stay with me. I'm going to try and take you from the beginning of the Bible all the way to the end, and I just want to trace the seeds and the impact, because here's the deal. When you see this, all of a sudden you realize, oh generosity, I'm going to be planting seeds, either good seed or bad seed, and the only kind of seeds that grow are the kind that die and go under the earth, and then they bear fruit. And oh, so this is what life is all about.

You ready? What we learn in terms of creation is all life is created and then there's a likeness that God wants. When he creates us, it was in his image.

He wanted people like us to rule this little earth the way he rules the universe, with kindness and goodness and perfect harmony. Well then we learn seeds require a perfect environment. Things don't grow.

Seeds can be everywhere, but they only grow if there's the right environment. And so, chapter two, what do we get? God says there's water, there's sunlight, there's his presence. It's not quite right early, so we get man and woman, we've got community, and then there's choice. So everything that's needed for a human being to grow, to flourish, to multiply and be Christ-like and to be loving, it's all there. And I want you to remember that seeds require the right environment in order to grow.

Third, the choice is paradise is lost. And many of you know the story, there's temptation, there's failure, there's judgment, but there's a promise. If you're still in your Bible, look at verse 15 of chapter three. So there's failure, sin enters the world, but notice what happens. The judgment is, I never saw this before, there'll be a war, or the word is enmity, between the seed of the woman, which is mankind, and the seed of Satan. So all of a sudden, all of the Bible opens up and you realize the generations of mankind, and the generations of evil, and there's this conflict of kingdoms. And then notice the promise. But he, this person, this Messiah that's going to come out of the seed of woman, is going to crush Satan, he does that in chapter 20 of Revelation, but his heel will be bruised.

That happens when he died on the cross. So all I want you to get is our choices determine our growth or our demise. Have you thought about that? Your choice. Where do you spend your time? What do you watch?

What do you do with your money? Our choices, because all those things are seeds. Now we move on. The conflict begins, Genesis chapter four, all the way through Revelation. And so, are you ready for this? The very first conflict happens, someone comes to be generous, to give an offering. His name's Abel. His brother brings an offering, and for some reason, either his heart isn't right or he's not bringing the right stuff, and God says to Abel, Great offering. It's from the heart.

I love generosity because I'm generous. And he says to Cain, you know, that is not, that's not what I'm looking for. And then he sees in his heart and he goes, you know, sins crouching at your door.

Don't, don't go there. But instead he kills him. And then what you find is all the next chapters are Cain's seed and violence and corruption versus good seed. And then you get to chapter six where God says, I'm sad that I ever made mankind.

There's violence and murder everywhere. And so he chooses an individual Noah. Are you ready for this? And the text says, and Noah and his seed. And so he, he takes a normal person and he's generous by building this ark and God delivers. And then as soon as he's done, guess what he does?

The moment the water's done, he does a offering. Seeing a pattern here. Well, then one of his sons goes is bad seed and the other guys are going. And so you have all these things that go, go, go, go pretty soon. Now it's corruption and Evelyn.

Do you realize murder and all this stuff's been happening forever? There's bad seed in the heart of man apart from God. And so by chapter 12, here's the next person. There's this man named Abraham. So to Abraham and his seed, I will make a great nation and you'll bless every nation on the earth. By chapter 15, Abraham has done what you have to do.

He has to leave. And then he goes, Lord, I don't have the word literally. I don't have a seed.

I have no air. And God says in your seed, I will bless all the nations just like the stars of the sky and like the sand of the seashore. And then you see, he asked him to make the ultimate offering.

Are you seeing the pattern? Seed, good, bad offering. So he takes Isaac and is willing. Well, then that would go to Moses and the text says, you ready for this? The seed of Israel. So God takes a man. Now he takes a nation and he says, I'm going to make this nation.

I'm going to show this nation how life really works. So they would be a light. So people, everyone would see it. Well, they don't do so well. But all those five books that Moses writes are about what kind of offerings, thank offerings, guilt offerings, sin offerings, built. And they're told, bring the first produce. God is teaching them.

They don't do too well. This is a pattern like we struggle to. And then there's David and he says to David, right? Saul is the good looking guy who's proud, who gets involved in the occult. David is the little shepherd boy whose heart is in the right place. God exalts him.

Now he has his struggles. But then he says, out of your seed, the Messiah is going to come. And what's the last thing David does in his life? He takes all of his personal treasury and gives this huge gift to build a temple for worship.

Are you seeing the pattern? Then Jesus comes and he fulfills all this prophecy. And Jesus is the seed of the woman and he's fully God and fully man. And he comes to the earth and what's he do?

He demonstrates what does good seed look like? We've got to turn this thing around. The whole world system is get, get, get, selfie, selfie, selfish.

When I don't get my way, I get angry, I get jealous, I kill. It's the history of mankind. So Jesus intervenes because he's going to deliver. Moses delivered. Nehemiah delivered. Abraham delivered.

Now Jesus is going to come and what's, do you remember what he said about himself? Unless a grain seed of wheat fall into the earth and die, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.

Look in your notes. First Corinthians chapter 15. I'm not going to read it, but guess what Christ is called? The first fruits of the resurrection. He literally went into the earth like a seed into the darkness for three days and then he rose again.

And because he rose again, he defeated sin and Satan and death. And we receive it. And guess what's the seed that comes into us? The living Holy Spirit of God in us believers so that we would become like the original plan, like our father.

And guess what? Now we had the seeds of time, the seeds of talent, the seeds of money and the seeds of opportunity. And so Jesus teaches his followers what? The kingdom of God is like a seed, right? Like a mustard seed. It starts small, but then it grows and supports others. The kingdom of God is like a seed that's planted and there's the tares and there's the wheat and they grow up together. And then he says the seed is the word of God. And first Peter says that you're born again, not by the precious gold and silver, but by the imperishable word of God, the seed of the word of God. And so there's this group and we're it. Believers all over the world who the seed of God's word lives in and the agenda is that it would grow.

But here's the deal. What did Jesus model? Only dead seas grow. Until we die to ourselves, tape up our cross and follow him, then it's just us in our own energy. And then when you get to the very end, isn't it interesting? Jesus crushes Satan. He has a kingdom of people for himself. And what's the new heaven and the new earth look like?

What was the whole goal anyway? Sowing, reaping, sowing, reaping, sowing, reaping, sowing, reaping. Jesus sows his own body and his life who for the joy set before him endured the cross. And there's a new heaven and there's a new earth and there's a throne and this seems kind of familiar, doesn't it? Water of life coming out of the throne and on either side the tree of life and the tree of life bears fruit each month. Did you ever think about that? To bear fruit there's still seeds.

I've never seen any of that before. And then I began to see the teaching of Jesus. Then I began to see, wait a second, all those parables, all that stuff about the law of the harvest, all that stuff about, oh my, he was really trying to teach us God created life where there would be light and love and relationship. But it only happens when you plant good seed and good seed that's cultivated in the right kind of environment. His word, fellowship, the kind of people, opportunity.

And then he says there's this battle going on in your heart and my heart and the only way to break it that generosity is the way to stop the greed in my heart and yours. And it's how God begins to grow and cultivate transformation. Now let me show you the principles. We see a process of seeds to follow from Genesis to Revelation.

Now here's a practice to start. You're already sowing every day. You sow words, you sow life, you sow time, you sow money, you sow into relationships. Now what I want you to see, this is the absolute truth about what's going to happen with what you're currently sowing and my appeal to you is first my appeal to me.

I want to sow some different things so that day would come. I think God likes us to ask outlandish things. I want the day to come that someday in heaven, maybe I'll find out about it later, where God would really say, my servant Chip is extraordinarily kind and extraordinarily generous because I can tell you if you interviewed my kids and my wife and some of my closest friends, they would say you got to get extraordinary out of there.

He's making progress. But what would your mate, what would your roommate, what would your friends, what would your employer, what would people say about you? How kind are you? How generous are you?

Well here's the practices that will allow you and me to be extraordinarily kind and generous. Principle number one, we reap where we sow. Do not be deceived.

Underline deceived. This is money and possessions are powerful. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, this he'll also reap. For the one who sows to his flesh, the selfish side, the flesh reaps corruption. But the one who sows to the spirit from the spirit will reap eternal life.

Are you ready? We reap where we sow. If all your time is at work, if all your time is at success, if all your time is income, if all your time is about you, it's the flesh.

Now, do we need to have work and do lots of good things? But if it's selfish, if it's about you, me, mine, greed, hoarding, and here's the thing, I've never met just one person actually. I've never met someone who goes, oh I'm greedy.

I'm materialistic. I've actually done this. I don't recommend it, but I got a clipboard and I pretended I was taking a survey and I went to a strip mall and I walked around and I said, excuse me, and they're kind of looking at me like weird. I said, no, no, no, no, this is a survey, but there's just one question and it's just yes or no. Oh, they said, oh, okay, here's the question. Would you consider yourself, and I had it real proper, would you consider yourself a generous person? Eight or nine out of 10, guess what the answer was?

Yes. Well, you can't get more generous if you think you're generous, right? Look, if you ask their wife, their friends, their kids, their roommate, their employees, they would not say they're generous.

That's why he says don't be deceived. In America, are you ready for this? We could interview Christians all over America, and I know, are you a generous person?

They would say yes. And then I would say to them, it's really amazing because only 2.5% of all those who claim to follow Jesus even give the first portion of 10% of their income. So in other words, our words and our thoughts and our intentions over here, God says I won't be mocked, you're going to reap where you sow. Second principle is that we reap how much we sow. Not just wherever you sow, that's where you're going to reap. If life is all about you, and by the way, don't we all do this?

I mean, don't give me that, I feel guilty, look, would you stop talking? I mean, I struggle with this, you struggle with this, we're in this together, but we're going to change. We can change by God's grace and power. He says we reap how much we sow. Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will reap also sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will reap also bountifully. Each one must do just as he's purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

The context is, there was a famine, and this is Gentile Church, and they were raising money to help really, really poor people. And Paul's collecting it, and it's just a reminder, you can give a little or you can give a lot, but the kingdom works like this. If you have 100 seeds, and you plant it in a box that's five by five, you're going to get X amount of fruit.

If you have 100,000 seeds, and you plant it in a box that's five acres by five acres, you get a lot more. And he's just reminding them, whatever you sow in whatever amount. If you're a little kind, that's what you get back. If you're a little generous, that's what you get back. If you have harsh, negative words, guess what? Where you sow, that's what you get back.

And how much? Chip uses biblical examples and Jesus' teaching to illustrate the rhythm and harmony of the Law of the Harvest, and how that applies to living a more generous life yourself. If you'd like to dig in and learn more, you'll find the discounted Living Generously resources on our website, livingontheedge.org.

For more information, just give us a call at 888-333-6003. Well, Chip, before you get to your final thought about the teaching, you wanted to talk for a minute about your book called The Genius of Generosity. You know, so many people are having a tough time. What is it about this little book that you think would be helpful? Well, Dave, I've got to tell you, there's multiple truths in Scripture that change our life. But I think one of the things that's so misunderstood, and often it just produces guilt among Christians, like, you know, how much are you giving, and what's your percentage, and why don't you give more, and what's wrong with you? It's been so framed around specific projects and things that this idea of generosity isn't about oughts or shoulds. It's about joy. It's about love. It's about experiencing God. The most generous being in the universe is God, and He's deposited His Spirit in us. And there's lots of reasons that it's hard to be generous, but I mean the research, not just biblically, but scientifically, emotionally, about our happiness, our joy, our relationships, even our immune system, it's amazing that when you grasp what generosity is all about, it's not so much about you're better than other people, it's not even so much about how holy you are, it's about being smart. And this little book kind of opens that up, and it is such a joy when I see people, I mean you can read it in a little over an hour, and I just see people light up, and it changes their life.

So that's why I'm so excited about it. Thanks, Chip. Well, for a limited time, we're discounting Chip's amazing little book, The Genius of Generosity. It's only about a hundred pages, and this quick read will profoundly change the way you view everything God's given you, including your life. Once you learn The Genius of Generosity, you'll look at your circumstances and people in a whole new way.

Now, to order a copy for yourself, or to order more to give as gifts, just give us a call at 888-333-6003, tap special offers on the app, or go online to LivingOnTheEdge.org. The Genius of Generosity, check it out today. As we close today's program, I made an appeal to you, right? I mean, we talked about seeds, we talked about sowing, we talked about reaping. And I made the point for me and for you that every day we sow. I mean, you sow words, you sow time, you sow money, you sow energy, you sow into the kingdom of God. And whatever we sow, we're going to reap.

And as we always have to remember, you never reap in the same season that you sow. And part of this manifesto that you heard me talk about was me kind of taking myself by the cuff of the shirt and shaking myself and saying, Chip, are you really serious about sowing the things that really matter? And I wanted before God to say, Lord, I want to sow today in such a way that as I look toward the future, I would have a moment of reaping by your grace where you would actually say, because the scripture promises that as I sow to your kingdom that you will say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. I would like to be known by His grace as someone who is extraordinarily kind and extraordinarily generous. And what you need to know, if you're not my wife, part of my family or close friend, is that is not what comes remotely naturally to me. Jesus modeled for you and for me how this has to happen.

And the results are great, but the process is really challenging. Jesus would say, Unless a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, think of an actual seed. It dies. It goes under the soil.

If it dies, it brings forth much fruit. Jesus modeled that with his own life. He died.

He went into the ground. He was resurrected. And then he provided salvation and forgiveness for all of us. Part of becoming generous isn't some, Oh, if I do these things, God's going to give me a lot of stuff, or people are going to think I'm this wonderful, generous, kind person. At the heart of generosity is the sober self-assessment that you must die to yourself, that you must follow Jesus in full surrender to the Father's will. And you must, as I must say, Lord, all that I have is yours.

God left to myself. I will be greedy. I will posture. I will want to appear generous rather than be generous. And so I'm going to ask you today, would you be willing in a moment right now to ask the Lord Jesus, Lord, will you help me today to die to my own greed? Would you help me to die to the idols? Would you help me to die to what other people think? And Father, would you then allow me to take my time and my money and my talent and sow it into loving people? And then you have to turn that prayer into some baby steps of action. Ask God, Lord, what does that look like today? Not tomorrow, not next week.

What's it look like today where I live with my family, with my roommate, with my husband, with my wife, with one of my kids at work? And I will tell you, sit quietly. He will speak, and you follow, and you will experience the sowing, the reaping, and the reward that God promises. Just before we close, would you pray with us for those who are responding to Chip's encouragement today? There's always a spiritual battle going on when people feel prompted to draw near to God and obey. Thanks for taking a minute to do that. Well, until next time, for everyone here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-27 16:08:24 / 2024-02-27 16:20:51 / 12

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