This morning. There's a scripture that I want to. anchor What I'm about to share in a Sensen and that's in Ephesians chapter 1 starting in verse 11. It says this in him, we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will so that we who were the first to Hope in Christ. Might be to the praise of his glory and him you also when you heard the word of Truth The Gospel of your salvation and believed in him were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance? Until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory. We are the adopted Sons and Daughters of God and we are to receive an inheritance from him and it's a beautiful one that is beyond description. We started last week and it's kind of odd, you know it took to finish up a a little too part message series on on tithing and giving an offering and money. It's a little odd I supposed to end it on a testimony, but I I was so shocked in my own life when the Lord spoke to me. So profoundly using a a little issue a little biblical principle that I for the most part kind of ignored for the rest of my life. Just I'd never argued with it. I never tried the claim that God wasn't asking for 10% of everything that we made and through long seasons of my life off and I did very Faithfully ties and my wife and I as a family would Faithfully ties, but I just never gave it much thought and then in a in an unexpected and profound way the Lord reached my heart gave me encouragement and Discipline in such a powerful way through this so I do want to share that with you to recount just a little bit what we shared last week. I'm just I'm just ate a few bullet points here. Simply that our tithe is actually his tie. The remember when I was younger at that time of the service. My dad said let us present the Lord his ties and our offerings by the first 10% It it belongs to God. So let's bring to him his tithes and then on top of that let's give God our offering. So the tie this the first of what God gives you the first of what what God gives you is the first of what you bring to him. So we do this for him because it's what the father did for us. Jesus was the father's tithe. And also that it takes faith and that's what's so important. It takes Faith to give of what comes first. And that's that's the most important part of my testimony would listen what I want to share this morning's it takes Faith to give of what's first. It doesn't take much Faith to have enough have enough financial discipline to make sure that there's 10% left over.
It takes Faith to give 10% of what comes first. And then the real difficult one is that when it comes to God's tied when it comes to the father's tithe. We can either offer it or we can steal it we can either offer it at where we can steal it. But what I want to make sure we don't lose sight of from what I should last week. And from this week is it I never and I don't think the scriptures do or God himself. Once that's not pleased by obedience that's motivated just in in simple fear not like the Reverend holy fear that we are to have in God, but just like being frightened about the consequences of not following a rule. That can't be our motivation. Mean if every single one of us were faithful tithers yet. The reason why is because we're corporately terrified at what God is going to do to us if we don't that's that's not no keep it don't offer it keep it nor Flipside. Do I want us as individuals as families are as a church body to be motivated by the promises of blessing. That's Desiring blessing not Desiring God. We are to desire his glory and offer. What is his out of joy and Out of Love? right like
Chances of the increased right that were too tight at the end credits of uses exam before I use it again like my wife and I did not get married in order to have children. We got married because we loved each other kids right just came to blessings are a promise of God, but that's not what I thought. We were pursuing in our Pursuit. We're not we're not we're not dodging bullets nor are we chasing after trinkets? We simply will obey. Out of joy out of faith. And for God's glory. What's amazing is in I'll just have to steal at John Piper says that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Where to be motivated by God's greater glory and our Greater Joy because the greater the joy we find in him the greater. The glory is given to him. Alright, so we're going to we're going to offer offer going to offer his tithe and enjoy in faith.
My testimony of this is is it so it's a little I'm struggling a little bit this morning and how it exactly tell this because there's a moment in the life of my family just a little over a year ago. That's very pivotal in this testimony in that moment was me sharing a testimony. You see why this is a little confusing. It's like a dream inside of a dream is wacky, right? So this is part of my testimony is me sharing a testimony to the best thing that I can do is basic just going to start with the testimony that I was sharing with the church that we were members last year. It was last December. The last December I was asked to preach the Sunday before Christmas 2017. I was here last December and still trying to grasp the calendar in a general sense. My wife could give testimony to that show in December of 2017. I was asked by my pastor. Would you be willing to preach the Sunday before Christmas short? And he says this is a part of a series of God with us. We like you to preach about God With Us in the wilderness got to with us in the wilderness. And I thought I'd love to I can do that. Absolutely because my dad taught me as a preacher. You are ready to preach pray or die at a moment's notice. No question asked. Yes, I will preach be glad to Wilderness got it and in my heart in my mind, I'm like, okay Lord. Okay, you've asked me to preach about you being with us in the wilderness wolf. How do I preach that while being in the wilderness? Because that's where I was I was in the wilderness. We need to find wilderness like where it where you're asking and not hearing we're seeking and not finding and you feel desperate. You don't know where to go. You don't know what to do and you run out of words to pray. You just don't know and that's where I was and that's where our family was. So as I Was preparing to share this sermon. It ended up being a testimony and that surprised me because I have not in my life given. My testimony because my testimony is is lame. I don't know what got all the good one. I don't I don't remember not Desiring God. I don't remember not like knowing him. As my knowledge began to unfold I found myself just believing and welcoming every new truth. 5 years old Asking my mom to take me across the parking lot. So I could preach from my father's Pulpit. I remember my first sermon really specifically I remember that first illustration. I used it involved a peanut butter and jelly sandwich don't know what the application was. Not sure sure is brilliant though, right? So this is what I'm sharing. This is what I'm sharing to to our church Lakeview Community Church. I'm sharing. my life With them in and I die, you know, I even confess with them. I told them I said might might my testimony is terrible guys like Which I don't have a drug sex and rock and roll testimony, you know, I mean my drug sex and rock and roll testimony would be like I started on riddle in the sixth grade. I have six kids and rock and roll that places Jesus Is Awesome, you know covers all the bases. Are you you let that sink in for a second.
But that's where the Lord led me just share your story. Tell me so Here's what I shared with them. I've always known Jesus and I've always wanted to serve him. And always wanted to be his preacher. I do remember at 6 years old. It was a Palm Sunday morning, and I was holding the small wooden cross and it became overwhelmed with the reality of Christ on that cross for me. And remember just asking and pleading with him. Whatever it means Jesus to belong to you. Whatever it means to be a Christian, whatever it means to follow you. I am yours. I'm Yours.
And I would daydream in school about preaching I daydream in school about being a husband and being a father. I would not however do much school. I would just sit there and dream and imagine what God was going to do through me and threw my life as a preacher and has a Faller cuz it was so clear to me that that's what he was calling me to.
I need to grow my face. I loved being the son of a pastor. I never once resented it the Lord graciously saved my heart from a lot of bitterness. My father was a Shepherd was a pastor was a beautiful example of someone a man willing to lay down his life for anyone at any moment 2 in the morning. He says the station wagons packed and ready to go out of town the phone rings. He's there and in God graciously saved my heart from a lot of bitterness that could have been there. Thank you Jesus. Thank you. My father is my hero.
As a man to Pastor as a husband father, he's my hero.
I'm at 14 at his first opportunity. I had to share the gospel from the pulpit and then at 15 and 16 and 17 18. I get to preach like it was youth Sunday and I got to preach can I get to share the word of God and I started hearing things from people. I'm just being honest is not humble bragging right? Like I've already told you like Jesus just did something to me before I even knew. I was a me. Bright, like who I am. I didn't do this. It was God, right, so, please I started hearing things like tell me like you just need to skip college and go straight to seminarian. I've done really well at the first and I'm still working on the second part of that two-part plan. I started hearing things like, you know, your dad's awesome, but I mean he's not allowed to retire until you can replace him. I started hearing things like literally I started hearing the Lord like speaking to me and in showing me preaching in front of like a multitude of people. I want to be a youth pastor wanted to follow in the footsteps of a of a mentor of mine in my high school years, and I foolishly followed a high-school girlfriend of collagen that went over really really well. No I did it was awesome. So fantastic leave destructive and explosive. You should have seen it gif Trainwreck. You couldn't look away from but while I was there I meet who is my wife is just the Lord redeeming our foolishness, right? And it really really came to something this summer after my freshman year. I was helping to delete a group of teenagers on a hike through the Appalachian Trail and I was just recounting my own failures of romantic idolatry, which is like replacing Jesus with a girl Disappointed in myself. I was mad at myself. I like I I knew who I was and get I willingly decided to just place this romance and high school above everything else and we can so convicted and then that conviction moved to to self condemnation and that week I decided I was just going to punish myself and I took on everyone's wet Stop the way down my backpack so I can really hurt really hurt and it really did about kill me. but God gave me two things that summer he gave me Romans 9:16, which I have memorized in the NIV or some some amalgam of all the different versions forgive me, but this is what the lord gave me it does not therefore depend on man's desire or effort put on God who has Mercy and here I thought for all these years that Jesus died for me and called me because look at me. I'm awesome. Always aware that it was Grace always aware. That was a free gift. But in that summer I said no Jesus. I will not allow you to suffer and die for this. This is on me. I did this on purpose. I will not allow it and then he gave me that first and said Tommy you didn't bring anything to the table. It's all my Mercy, even the faith that you have in me is a gift from me.
And I was personified in the woman that he gave me as a wife. My wife's middle name is Grace.
Her phone lamp for full name is Mara Drayson. Mara means bitter. You know, what Grace means and that's the way it hit me such Bitter Sweet awesome. Beautiful Grace that the Lord just said, it's me, it's me, it's me. And I rejoiced I came out of that Wilderness into like this clearing of wow. I am only alive because of his grace and after getting married and first baby came along pretty quickly I started a about a decade of youth ministry and I will spare you all the ins and outs of that but I learned a lot of lessons. Isn't the way that's not what that's what you say about you fail. Like monumentally, that's a good way to put it. I learned a lot of lessons but I did even I even was able to unlock some some pretty awesome achievements that few pastors have ever done like the twice hired twice fired achievement Trophy like at the same church, like that's unheard of I'm serious. I set records.
What 10 years of working in youth ministry in end and connecting with young people trying to proclaiming the gospel ice all Revival Break Out Among these students in the Holy Spirit moving in them and threw them. And it was breathtaking was awesome and also weird and twisting and turning and heartbreaking at times.
Do bouts of making sandwiches at Subway along the way? Few different odd jobs that I never thought I would end up doing but I'm willing to do anything for my family is so powerful awesome 10 years of ministry and mistake making and God redeeming and at the end of that I felt the season of youth ministry closing there was some there is some sadness but you know severance pay helps to assuage some of that sadness so few months I decided try to figure things out and I started to become actually rather depressed. And thank you all for being willing to share your own struggles with it. I I I felt that depression like in that Wilderness. I felt depression kind of stalking me on the edge of the wood Cena like wolves. Discount following you and waiting that's that's how I felt. And I need a mentor of mine to tell me you're becoming depressed and you're becoming miserable because you're not doing what God called you to do, which is to teach and preach and encouraged me to start a Bible study and it was a really awesome Bible study and then the Lord called us to to transition to a church and then before you know it there you go that there's the pulpit there's the position of leadership. There's a position of Shepherd and Pastor in here you go, Here's your chance and and it was beautiful and it was wonderful and Anna grew that Bible study of 40 or 50 folks to a church of round 15, and we loved each other. We were like an Island of Misfit Christians. We love each other. We live life together. I proclaimed the word and we pray that I saw people come to Christ or so families become stronger and healthier and hole. We came to a live nativity one night at the church and Palm Harbor somewhere. They had real animals. He going to camel. It was really cool. I thought to myself like I wonder if maybe they need a pastor. Maybe I should email him in there. A few years later. We we felt as a church is as Covenant Life Fellowship was her name felt that the Lord was calling us to close the chapter on that end in to move forward and while while looking at what the Lord had done there was no way that I could honestly say That it was a failure. There's just no there's there's nothing left for me to say that it was a failure. I could not honestly say because I saw God do awesome things. But if I was going to be really honest and I have to be really honest with you right now. I have a lot of questions. Because Lord like all those times of wilderness all those hard Lessons Learned and then finally I'm there and that was my time and those were the people and yet we didn't grow. And yet I'm still scrambling and I'm still you know, like clawing at the cursed ground trying to scratch together enough to provide for my family. What I thought I thought I thought I thought you called. Me too. I thought you promised. I thought I thought and yet here we were closing the doors of that wonderful fellowship, and I couldn't call it a failure, but but I said well, okay, you know, there's Maybe. You know, maybe this is going to free me up to to accept opportunities to the speak and preach all over the world. Maybe I don't know but I'll just focus on this little Furniture business that I had going on in and we'll just continue to trust and pray and have faith in and in a month after month to month of just still scraping together and waiting for that phone to ring for that preacher speaking gig or not open pulpit and and nothing I learned that I'm I'm very very good at making furniture and very very bad at making money.
someone can find the intersection of those two things, but I couldn't and dumb it was
it was a very quiet very profound struggle for me and it got harder and I got harder and it got harder both in just tangible money making terms and also just
Lord, it is this what my life is supposed to be. What what am I missing? What am I not seeing what have I done wrong? How am I supposed to I got an opportunity to preach at art at our church, and it was not a good sermon. After all those months of like just not good. So then I thought I don't want to see there are the ball. It was TWP for me and I was ever going to be an amazing sermon that you like Tommy. We're going to move Heaven and Earth were in a fire a few other people just going to bring you on because man, we got to have you and that didn't happen. All right, Lord. Oh my Lord. I'm in now. I'm going to keep trusting you and and just I really felt like I was spinning my wheels so far did I just can't be kind of just found ourselves kind of in a kind of in a pet. You probably felt the same way if you have just just stuck. Is Comstock Inn in a pet? And it was then that the church asked me to to preach that Sunday December 8th of 17 to preach about being in the wilderness in there. I am saying I need the worst person to preach about this or the absolute best and I got up there and I just shared my testimony. But the thing was I didn't have a good ending to it. I I I got to the end and I have to be honest. I did not do a very good job of.
It was a little blubbery to be honest. A lot of Tears were shed.
At the end of it all I said, what are we going to do Church? Like what am I supposed to do with where I am right now? The way I see it. At three options right I can respond in.
fear there's one in fear that like God had called me to really great amazing things, but yet I messed it up. And this is now just a natural consequence are God punishing me. He had a great plan, but I messed it up and I can I can respond in fear, or I can respond in doubt and I could say Lord. You just never had a plan for me all together. Like they're just never was a plan. It was all in my imagination. I've always had a vivid imagination. Maybe I just made it up. Maybe it was just all wrapped up and I wanted to be like my dad. And I was like pretty good in front of people.
And she still nothing. But I I didn't have the luxury of believing that one especially. Nor do I have the luxury of believing they respond again in fear, because I know that God is sovereign.
Now that the absolute Rock Solid Faith in the sovereignty of God, it can be an absolute rock solid foundation or sometimes it can be like this brick wall and like what? How do I how do I reconcile this then if God is so sovereign. That didn't make it to the shop. Then why am I here?
And that's when the Lord showed me that he's not only with me when you're there in that Wilderness. He put you there and then I go. Okay. Why and the only thing that was left for me is just trust. I just have to trust him and that's what I shared with with with the people that Sunday is like all I can do is stand here and tell you that I still trust in him. I like I just I still trust in spite of all the facts. I still Trust. What spray? And I'm not us now. That was when we were.
You got it. Okay, you guys are excited. Sweet that was quick.
The pastor calls me the next day and I'm like, oh no cuz it wasn't a sermon it was a testimony and I cried all the way through it. And I'm he said Tommy. Are you free today? I said, yes, and you guys could you come by the office around 1 sure don't ever go to a meeting on Monday like just All of the best lessons that I've learned in my life have always been on a Monday in an office of a superior, okay.
So I went and I was like a big old I said it out loud. I said that I'm going to trust you and I do I walked into the office and I sat down.
He handed me an envelope inside that envelope. $2,000 and Samantha can and pay the mortgage. I'll praise God you are so good. You are so good. And then he handed me another envelope and another envelope in an envelope from the church and then I'm in a tray of stones. And that Trace phones was in the envelope.
thousands of dollars Just given and poured out.
I was so excited race home safely according to the speed limit and share this with my wife and I knew that she was even deeper than I was but she loves me and supports me and I I knew that she wasn't telling me. How heavy this weight was on her and I couldn't wait to release that burden from her and we both got in our knees and we both crave praise God for his faithfulness and provision. And two days later, I want an all-expense-paid trip to the Academy Awards. I like this a scam and no in my wife. I got pictures to prove my wife and I were out there last year for the Oscars on like red carpet see all the celebrities walk. But I was random. I'm like, that's what I said to Jesus on it. That's really random it up. Nauseous. all this and
and dumb as the money was sitting in the account I thought I got to type this money.
Tommy it's from Ty's the money. It's already been typed. It's a blessing. God knows what you needed and he provided it.
I'll come on like you have been praying and praying and praying and there it is. A month's mortgage Why doesn't God want you to Don wants you to pay what you? and Sweden give a little surprise gift to a member of our church and little token made me feel better. But now we didn't we took the money and I jumped into a business venture. This sounds like a good idea. Doesn't it? It was like with two other brothers in Christ, and it was really it was a sure thing and right at the beginning of the year, you know Church of some Churches to you can request a box of envelopes for for tithing. and dumb here it is. How many weeks are there in a year? 52 * 51 envelope still in this box. But I got this box and I thought isn't it going to be awesome when I am the guy that gets to write the checks. It's going to be so awesome. I'm having so much fun every week.
Great. It's going to be great when I'm that guy. 52 envelopes in there because of course the business venture failed four months later.
We are in massive debt. So I started praying I said Lord. I don't know what's happened here. I don't know what's happened. But I believe in you I have faith in you I faith in you I have faith in you I scrambled. I got a little job. I'm working for a contractor remodeling houses. Just working really hard 11 whole dollars an hour. Just working as hard as I know how to work every week every dime going into all the debt that we owed and then then comes the first month that we couldn't pay the mortgage in the second and then the third and every week every dime is going to this debt and I'm scrambling all the time frame God you are faithful. I know you're faithful I believe in you. I trust in you I faith in you and every week and every dime going to all of our debts every week every time every month and month after month 5 months. We did not pay our mortgage and then I got a notice in the mail. I thought we were going to be foreclosed and I held it in my hand and I felt the shame and I felt the fear and said this was my job my job was just to keep a roof over my children's heads and tell them about Jesus.
I'm doing the one why why am I struggling so much to do the other and I kept praying I never stop praying God. You're faithful. You've proven yourself so many times I have faith in you. I trust in you my faith in you and I trust in you. Applied for a for a mortgage thingamajiggy help the save our homes deal and I said Lord like it like this. We really need to be really need you to come through on this one time got messed up with the paperwork. I tried to correct it. praying and was referred to a lawyer.
I'm stumped done. I'm just done. I don't know. I don't know. And I work on a Saturday cuz I'm breathing. I need to be working.
And I'm sharing it with my friend just that you know God is faithful and I know he's going to provide instead of a sermon I want you to hear. Am I okay? You farted up with some random preacher in Texas. I've never heard of before.
And really pretty lily care for his style or his delivery and I started thinking out loud. And then I was just flat out convicted. not condemned the convicted
and I fell on my knees. Because this is what I heard.
from Jesus Tommy you tell me that you have faith in me, but every week and every dime tells me you do not.
I heard that preacher say you either bring it or you steal it I heard the preacher say it takes Faith to give of what comes first.
So as soon as work was done I raced home. I was so excited. I was so liberated. I was so free. Not condemned but convicted. Apparently coming to bedroom have a talk. And I said Mara we have got to give we've got to offer God's tide. We got to bring it was a Saturday. We're heading out of town the next day on Sunday. We had to leave early morning. My family is expecting us. My parents bankroll this Beach vacation every year. It's beautiful. It's awesome. Couldn't wait to get their obviously been weighed down with all this burden but hanging out with you baby. We can just ignore it for a week more. Here I was like so excited. I'm like what we got. We got to we got to get this tired and we're adding up everything that we had made that week and we actually got into the few random gifts from from people on Mike that counts that counts that counts all this is increasing added up to $80 us $80 and there is like I can I can give online and I can't get online good enough for Suburban to take a different route up to the Panhandle for a bring a swing by the church. We drive by tithing. It's going to be the most amazing thing and put it in the one envelope. Out of this box. Trope in the parking lot. I ran in put it in the in the in the little offering tray that was in the lobby. Back in the car and drove off and I'm like Lord. I have no clue, but that was fun. I said that was a joy. It was a most joyful offering I had ever made $80. That's it just to $80. I was so excited.
Went on a vacation in the in the whole time. I'm thinking maybe you should talk to your dad. No, I'm not going to do that under that fight. If I tell my dad. I know my dad. If my dad has it will write the check will give it to me. He doesn't have it. He'll sell whatever he has to to have it in the right to check will give it to me. So now I'm going to trust I'm just going to trust and I got back home and I decided I felt it and then you tell me I was going too fast. I was going to fast and pray. And I said Lord, I'm just going to I'm just going to lay it out to you simple like this. I'm almost done here. Really? That's awesome. Thank you. So patient. I'm serious. I say entirely too many words.
I said father.
I need $5,000.
And I'm just asking for it. 20
acid Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, $5,000 Lord father $5,000 is what I need Thursday fasting and praying. I need $5,000 father. I need it. I was on the top of a ladder on Thursday. I felt really light-headed. Hope almost going to pass that got down from the ladder and said Lord. Set my account.
I can ask any more plainly I need to eat. I need to keep working $5,000. next day Friday work
Buddy night when I went to lunch he was paying I told him I didn't have any money. And my dad calls. And my dad said, I need to talk to you. Okay, you guys, how are you doing? We're doing okay, okay.
No so rough, but we're doing okay and goes are you are you in a bind? Well, you saw me are you in a bind like your mortgage?
And that I am in a bind. I can't pay my mortgage because how how far behind are you? I said that it's it's some you can eat how far behind are you? And I said, I'm 5 months and I can actually. I'm I'm wearing foreclosure. We're going to lose the house.
I said give me 20 minutes my change my shirt and my go to the bank. I'm going to transfer some money. You going to pay what you owe? I'm overwhelmed. Surprisingly I was crying. So crazy so weird.
And this is what he then proceeded to tell me.
He said Tommy. You need to know where this money is coming from I said, okay. He said back in January and instantly I go in my own head I go get you mean the January in which I Through all of my savings into a business venture and didn't I the dime?
Is back in January? We were approached by a locker, you know, the land that we owe nothing North Carolina offered to the long the land and your mom and I decided that we would have the landlord and that money would be a part of your inheritance because I tell you this because you need to know there is no reason to feel any shame.
used to this money of yours It's part of your inheritance.
But you need some of it now. There is no shame in this. It's yours.
How much do you need is a 5000 to transfer 6?
Went to the bank. Hate it.
I paid it.
God answered the prayer.
before I trade it before I knew the need God answered the prayer.
He paid it before I owed it.
That's what the father does.
We have a good father. To pay what we owed. I'm just overwhelmed with the goodness of God. And don't what's next. I don't know who went to church praise God. And then this woman Kim naumann. Say hey, Tommy random, but my brother's church is in need of a pastor. I think you should call. my brother Ken and I did.
And here I am.
my testimony thoughts
I'm not the only one with part of his testimony we heard. of his goodness
in this body brothers and sisters There is no room for fear.
Just trust and faith. Not just with our mouths, but with what we have cuz everything that we have was given.
Everything we have was given. It's our joy. It's a joy to get back to him. What belongs to him.
Can I sit? Is that simple? osprey
every single one of us father every single one of us that knows you. Has a beautiful story with so many twists and turns. side streets and detours and u-turns
Is our foolishness becomes your grace?
and your mercy
and I never thought that you would use money to reach my heart the way you did. You know father. I despise the prosperity preaching in pursuing of wealth and treasure.
Thank you for using money to show me how I am just simply to pursue you.
And all this stuff that we think is going to offer security. Just offers. distraction
but thank you that you can redeem it and you can use it to show us that our faith in our trust is in you.
My mortgage is not paid by my dollars. Stay by your faithfulness.
Bills of of this body are not paid. By our dollars there paid by your ties. That's all you. It's your goodness and your mercy.
That provides. So, thank you. may we Be humbled. May we be convicted but not condemned. There's no room for condemnation.
But there's plenty of room for conviction. So show us father in this area and a thousand others where we just need to place our faith in you. And then just watch you work. and orchestrate What only you can do? So, thank you Lord, Jesus. Thank you Father. Thank you. Holy Spirit. You are good and your name? We pray I'm in.