Blessed Life: The Principles of Multiplication
Turn, in your bibles, to Luke 9. This is the last message in the series “The Blessed Life,” and this is such an important message. We have to catch it. It’s called “The Principles of Multiplication.” Now, I’m a numbers guy. Some of you are numbers people; male or female, you can be a numbers person. I catch numbers all the time. I see numbers. I think in numbers. My wife knows this. I’ve tried to say to her, “Please don’t talk to me about something if it involves a number without telling me the number first because I can’t hear you until you say the number.” She says, “I want to remodel this part of the house, and I want to do this. I want to put up new drapes.” It is like listening to Charlie Brown’s parents. It is like, “whaa-whaa, whaa-whaa-whaa… $4,000.” Okay, I heard that! I got that: $4,000. So, my point is multiplication is a mathematical term.
Would it be all right with you if God multiplied your resources? Would that be all right with you? [Clapping] Okay. We’ve seen other mathematical terms. We’ve seen addition. We’ve seen subtraction. We’ve seen division sometimes, but what about multiplication?
Luke 9:12 says: When the day began to wear away, the twelve [there’s the number] came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here. But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “Well, we have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about 5,000 men.
Now, let me stop just for a moment and share something with you. In Jewish culture at this time, the way they counted crowds was that they counted the heads of households. They counted families. It says there were 5,000 men. As a matter of fact, the account of this in Matthew says it this way. Matthew 14:21 says: Now those who had eaten were 5,000 men, besides women and children.
So, if you include spouses, and you think of maybe just an average of two children per family, that would be 20,000 people. And at that time, the average for children per household would probably be more than two. So, there could have been 20,000 or 25,000 people here. You see the heading in your Bible “The Feeding of the Five Thousand,” and I don’t mind that heading, as long as you understand it was 5,000 families. Most theologians believe this is the largest crowd that Jesus ever spoke to. Ever. There are 20,000, 25,000 people here, all right?
Now go back to Luke 9:14: For there were about five thousand men. And He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.” [There’s another number] And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve [notice that twelve] baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.
See, that number really jumped out to me because I thought, “Why in the world would there still be leftovers? Jesus knew how many people were there.” And there were twelve baskets left over. So, you know, just kind of using my own thinking, I thought, “Well, you know - I guess I think the reason there were twelve is because Jesus wanted each disciple to have a doggy bag.” [Laughing] I mean that’s just what I think.
Okay, so here’s what I like to do with stories in the Bible. If you’ve never done this, it’s a blast to do. I like to put myself in the story, and I like to think, “How would I have responded had I been there that day?” That’s what I want us to do. I want us to all imagine. I want you to use your holy imagination, and I want you to put yourself in the story. I want you to imagine that you are one of the disciples, and that you are on the Messiah Search Committee.
You’ve got a great candidate. He’s healing the sick, raising the dead, walking on water: This guy is incredible! And so you have a high attendance Sunday. You send out a mass email, you tweet about it, and the largest crowd you’ve ever had attends. It’s absolutely incredible! And you have some really good worship like we did today. And then the guest speaker gets up to speak, and at twelve o’clock, he’s still going. You think, “Well, that’s not too bad.” One o’clock, though, he’s still going. Two o’clock – I mean you’ve already missed the first game. Three o’clock. Four o’clock. Five o’clock.
I’m not exaggerating the text. Look at verse 12. It says, “When the day began to wear away…” You know what that means in the Greek? In the Greek, that means, “When the day began to wear away.” It started getting late. So, again, just using my whole imagination, you know what I think happened? I think the disciples formed a little committee. I think they got together, and they said, “Man, what are we going to do? I mean this guy is good, but no one is this good. It’s incredible! He’s just going on and on and on and on. And I tell you what – if I don’t get something to eat soon, I’m going to die. I’m going to die right here. I will die if I don’t eat soon.”
I think one of them said something like, “That’s it!” And they said, “What’s it?” “Let’s tell Jesus that the people are getting hungry. He seems to care a lot about the people. He doesn’t seem to care much about us, but he seems to care a lot about the people.”
So, now let’s imagine that you get elected the spokesperson. I want you to see this in your mind. Jesus is up there speaking, there’s a great big crowd, and you walk up to Jesus. This is the inference in scripture, that they approached Him while He was speaking. So, you say, “Excuse – Excuse me. Excuse me. EXUSE ME! Um… Lord, this has been so good today. I tell you, this has really been good; this series of messages that you’re bringing all in one day. [Laughing] Um, we were talking. And we feel like that the people are getting hungry. Now, we could go all night, I tell you. It’s been that good, Lord, but um… it’s getting late. The restaurants are about to close, and um… we feel like that you should just wrap it up. And, um… and you can continue this series next week!”
The Lord said, “You feel like the people are hungry?” “Yes, Lord. It’s all about the people. [Laughing] It’s all about the people.”
And then He said – look at this in Verse 13. Maybe you’ve never seen this - but He said to them, “Well then you give them something to eat.” “Excuse me?” “Yeah. Yeah, you and your little group over there, you’re concerned about the people. Why don’t you give them something to eat?” “Okay.”
It didn’t go like you planned, did it? Now you’ve got to report back to the committee. That’s the hard part. So, you go back over and they say, “Well, did you tell Him the people are hungry?” “Yes. I did. I said those exact words. I said the people are hungry.” “Well, is He going to dismiss the service? What’d He say?” “[Mumbling]” “What?” “He said for us to give them something to eat.” “What? 20,000 people are here! Oh man, we’re dead! Just wait till First Church of the Pharisees hears about this.” [Laughing] One of them said, “There’s just no way!”
Then, there’s some little kid that was walking by that had snuck back into town during the message, and he’s walking by with a Long John Silver’s sack. So they grab it and they open it up. He got the two-piece meal with extra rolls. And, of course, Peter probably just grabbed one and munched down.
“Stop it, Peter! Stop it! That’s all we have. That’s all we have!” And then one of them said, “That’s it!” They said, “What’s it?” “Let’s tell Jesus this is all we have, and then He’ll dismiss the service.”
Now, I want you to think about something. If you had never read this in the Bible and you had been there that day, wouldn’t you think if you said that was all you had, that He’d dismiss? Wouldn’t you think that? Doesn’t that make sense?
So, again, you’re the spokesperson. “Umm… you know a moment ago we were talking. And I was telling you how good this is. And um… you said for us to, you know, give them something to eat. We’ve been working on that, but um… all we have is two pieces of fish and five – almost five. Peter ate some, Lord. [Laughing] I couldn’t stop him. But five rolls, that’s all we have. So we’re thinking we should just go with the original idea, and just, you know… just wrap it up.”
The Lord said, “Okay, let me get this straight. You have two pieces of fish and - well, almost five. I know how Peter is - five rolls. And that’s all you have, right?” “Yes, that’s all we have.” “Yep, that’d be great. Have them sit down in groups of fifty.” “Excuse me?”
“Um, Lord… we don’t have a lot of these snack packs, Lord. There was a kid walking, and Peter took it from him. I didn’t take it from him, Lord.” “Yeah. Yep. That’d be fine. Have them sit down in groups of fifty.”
Have you ever thought about this: having 20,000 people sit down in groups of fifty? I don’t know about you, but have you ever worked with people? I mean people are hard to work with. Aren’t they?
So they’re getting them all set down. And then, personally, I think that the disciples figured it out. I do. I think one of them said, “Hey! You remember that story in the Bible where Elisha fed one hundred men with twelve loaves of bread? I’ll bet you when He prays over it, it’s going to multiply right in front of our eyes.” And they said, “Yeah!”
Actually, do you know many of us believe that’s what happened? But that’s not what happened. It’s not at all what happened. In fact, verse 16 says: He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.
Now again I think, probably Peter said, “Hey! Give me one of them rolls. Here! Here, Lord, here! Pray over mine first. Here! Pray over mine. Pray over mine! Here, pray over mine. Pray over mine, Lord.” And Jesus takes this piece of bread from Peter, lifts it up, and says, “Father, bless it.” He breaks it, and hands half of it back to Peter.
“Uh… are you through praying?” [Laughing] “Yes, Peter. It’s blessed. Now go give it out.” “You want to pray some more?” [Laughing] “No, Peter. It’s blessed. Now, go give it away.”
Personally, I think Peter walked up to the first person, and said something like this: “Take just a little piece!” What would you have said? He’s going around, “Take a little piece. Take a little piece. Take a lit – I said a little piece, you pig! What is wrong with you? Take a little piece.” He gets down to the end of the road. There’s a crumb left in his hand. Sweat pouring down his face, he looks down at it, and right before the person grabs it, it grows in Peter’s hands. Now he says, “You can have some more!”
Listen, the miracle did not happen in the Master’s hands. It happened in the disciple’s hands. This is very important. From this story, there are two principles of multiplication. If you’re taking notes, I want you to write these down. If you’re not taking notes… write these down. [Laughing] All right?
Here’s number one: It has to be blessed before it can multiply. It has to be blessed before it can multiply! Think about this. What if the disciples had given the fish and the loaves out without Jesus blessing it? It never would have multiplied. It was the blessing of Jesus that gave it the potential to multiply. There are many, many people who give a little here, and give a little there. But they never see their finances multiplied, and the reason is they’re not blessed by Jesus.
The Bible tells us very, very clearly that the way Jesus blesses our finances is we give the first ten percent to the House of God. When we give the first ten percent to the House of God, the rest is blessed. The rest multiplies.
There’s a couple in our church that when I preached on this a few years ago, they came to me and they said, “Pastor, we got so convicted because we were giving five percent to Gateway Church and five percent to a missions organization.” There’s nothing wrong with giving to missions organizations, but you don’t give the tithe. You give offerings over and above the tithe to missions organizations.
They said, “We actually had the check already written. We tore the check up, and wrote another check for ten percent.” Malachi says bring the whole tithe into the House of the Lord. And they said, “We wrote a check for the whole tithe to Gateway Church. We’d been waiting for a bonus for months that we were supposed to get, and after we gave that, on Monday we got that bonus.” And they actually said to us, “We felt so bad that it took so long, that we gave you more than what you were supposed to get.” They gave the whole tithe.
So, number one: It has to be blessed before it can multiply. Number two: It has to be given away before it can multiply. Again, think about this story. After Jesus had blessed it, what if the disciples had eaten it instead of giving it away? And a lot of people do that. They tithe, or they give to the local church, but then they don’t give over and above. It has the potential to multiply. It’s blessed! But then they don’t give offerings over and above.
In my own life, let me tell you how this happened. I got saved at 19, in Jake’s motel, room 12. I started sharing my testimony, and then I went to Bible College. Then I started preaching Youth Revivals and things like this, and in a few years, the Lord said to me – Now, listen to this statement. It’s very important. You might even want to write this down. He said, “I want you to get your finances in order so I can bless them.”
You need to understand something. God cannot – it would be against His nature – God cannot bless something that’s not in order. He said, “I want you to get your finances in order so I can bless them.” So, I said, “Well, Lord, what do you want me to do?” He said, “Three things.” You can write these down, as well. I put them on the screen for you.
“Number one,” he said, “get out of debt.” Now, every time God speaks something to us, God will clarify what He means. For us, we still operate by this to this day. In getting out of debt, we had peace about owing for our home because it was an appreciating item and because of the tax credits and things like that. Now, some people don’t have peace about that. I understand that, but for us, we have peace about owing for our home and nothing else.
So, the first thing that had to go was our car. We had a car with this big payment. It was actually too big for us. We knew it was, so we sold that car and we bought a car for cash, for $750. That’s all we could afford, but we loved that car. We prayed over it. We anointed it with oil - about a quart a week. [Laughing] And we drove that car.
The second thing God said to me was, “Don’t manipulate.” Now, by this time, again, I’m in ministry. I’m traveling and speaking at churches. And He said, “Don’t manipulate.” I said, “Lord, what do you mean, “Don’t manipulate”?” He said, “I want you to know that I am your source. From now on, when a pastor asks you, ‘What are your financial requirements for coming,’ you say, ‘I have no financial requirements for coming.’”
Before, they would say, “What are your financial requirements,” and I would say, “Well, pay our expenses and give us an offering.” My friends would even say, “And the offering has to be a minimum of…” I never even said that, but He said, “From now on, you say, ‘I have no financial requirements for coming.’”
And I’ll never forget the first pastor I told that to. I said, “I have no financial requirements.” He said, “Well, that’s good because I’m not sure we could even pay your gas.” He didn’t say, “Pay your expenses.” He said, “Pay your gas.”
We got in that $750 car, and we started driving to that church. I stopped, and filled it up with gas. Then I went in to pay for it, and this lady said to me, “It’s taken care of.” I said, “What do you mean it’s taken care of?” She said, “Well, I own the gas station, and when you pulled in, God told me you were an evangelist and I was told to fill your car up with gas.” I went out and got in my car. I said, “God, I sure like doing it better your way than my way.”
And then a pastor called and said to me, “Can you come on this date?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “What are your financial requirements for coming?” I said, “I have no financial requirements for coming.” And he just couldn’t get it. He said, “What do you mean you have no financial requirements for coming?” I said, “I mean I have no financial requirements for coming.” And he said, “What do you mean you have no financial requirements for coming?” [Laughing]
He just couldn’t get it. He said, “How’re you going to live? If you come to our church and preach, and we give you no offering, how are you going to live?” I said something, and I meant it, right? But it came out wrong. Do you ever do that? So, I said to the guy, “Listen, if we come to your church and preach, and you don’t give me an offering,” I said, “God will take care of me. And God will take care of you.” He said, “Well, we’ll give you an offering!” [Laughing] I said, “No, I didn’t mean that! I didn’t mean that.” I said, “What I meant was God will provide for me and he’ll provide for you.” Of course, as I’ve thought about it, it probably works both ways. [Laughing] But anyway!
So the Lord said, “Get out of debt. Don’t manipulate.” Number three, He said, “Give.” And I said, “Well, Lord, I do give. I tithe.” Now, listen to what He said. He said, “Son, tithing is not giving. Tithing is returning. The tithe belongs to me. You only have two choices with the tithe: you bring it to the House of God, or you steal it.” That’s your only choice, according to scripture. There’s no other choice in scripture.
Aren’t these good questions? I said, “Well, Lord, how will I know when to give? How will I know what to give? How will I know where to give?” And listen to what He said. It’s so simple! He said, “I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you: My sheep hear my voice.”
So, the very next meeting I go to – Now, this is it. This is all I do. At that time, I traveled and spoke at churches. If they gave us an offering, great! Some churches would give us a love offering. Some churches would give us “like” offerings. [Laughing] Some gave “don’t like, don’t come back.”
Anyway! I said, “I have no financial requirements,” and I had one meeting for the whole month. It was a Sunday evening meeting, not a whole week, and it was about sixty people. So I go and I speak, and at the end, the pastor gets up and said, “This guy told me something no minister has ever said to me. Ever. He said he had no financial requirements to come, but,” he said, “I want us to give an offering to him.” And so they gave an offering. He came up to me at the end of the service, and he said, “Look at this. Look at this!” He was excited. “We’ve never done this. Look how much this offering is! I’m so excited!” I looked down, and it was enough for the whole month.
At this time, I had a staff and I had an office, and I had expenses. So it was enough not just for my personal income, but for the ministry’s income for the whole month. I thought, “God, you are so good. That’s amazing!” And I’m standing there talking to the pastor, and I glance over his shoulder. At the back of the room is a missionary that spoke right before I spoke, and this voice said to me, “Give him the offering.”
I’ll never forget what I thought. I thought, “Get behind me, Satan! That’s not God. That is not God. That’s not You. If You don’t know, that’s not You.” And this voice said, “Give him the offering. Give him the offering. Give him the offering.” And I remember even telling the Lord, I said, “Lord, you’re not thinking clearly. You got all pumped up because I preached a good message, and now you want to give, but obviously you’re not thinking clearly here.” And the Lord said, “I told you I’d tell you. I told you I’d tell you where to give, when to give and how much to give. And I’m telling you to give him the offering.”
So, I went up to the missionary when no one else was looking. I made sure no one saw me. I endorsed the check, and I folded it in half. I said, “I’m going to give you something on two conditions. Number one: you don’t look at it until after you leave.” –because it was a very, very large check – “Number two:” I said, “you never ever tell anyone I gave this to you. Never.” And I gave him the check.
We walked out to our car, Debbie and I, and there were some people standing there talking. They said, “Hey! Would y’all like to go get some pizza?” And we said, “Yeah!” You know, because we were broke. We said, “Yeah, sure! We’d love to.” And so we went to pizza, and there were five other couples; six couple total; Debbie and I, and five other couples. The six ladies sat on one end of the table, and the six guys sat on one end of the table. I was on this end. Debbie was down on the other end.
All of a sudden, these four guys got to talking, and this guy across the table from me leaned over like that. And so, you know, I kind of leaned over. I don’t know what he’s about to say. And all of a sudden, he just says to me, “How much was the love offering?” So, I told him. It was an offering, not an honorarium. And the difference is that an honorarium is a round amount with zeros, like $500 or $1000 or something. This was an offering, so it had dollars and cents. And so I told him every number. I told him the exact amount of it. He shook his head like this, and he said, “Where’s the check?”
And I know you’re supposed to tell the truth, but I didn’t want to say we gave it to a missionary. I didn’t want to do that, and I didn’t want to manipulate, and I didn’t know why this guy was asking me. I didn’t know who he was, and I was flustered. So I just kind of heard myself say, “Debbie has it.” [Laughing] He says to me, “Go, get it! I want to see it.” So I said, “Okay.” I got up and walked down where Debbie was, and I just kind of whispered in her ear. I said, “How’s your pizza? Good? Okay.” What else do you say? There’s no check!
I come back. Again, I’m flustered, and I say, “It’s in the car.” He said, “It’s not in the car.” So I said, “Where is it?” [Laughing] I mean you know so much, pal! And he said to me, “You gave it away, didn’t you?” I said, “How do you know that?” He said, “Because God told me,” and he reached in his pocket and pulled out a check that he had written before the service that night. He opened it up, and it was made out to our ministry. Now remember, the check I gave away had dollars and cents. He opened it up, and it was exactly ten times the amount of the check I had just given away. Exactly!
He said, “Here, take this.” He’s holding the top of it. I reached out, and I took the bottom of it, but he wouldn’t let it go! I realized he wanted to say something. I know now that there was an impartation from a person who had the gift of giving. But he’s holding the top, I’m holding the bottom, and I looked right across the top of that check into his eyes. He said, “God’s about to teach you about giving so you can teach the body of Christ,” and he let the check go. And when he did, this revelation came on me. “This is God’s money. And every penny I get is God’s money.”
And so I said to Debbie, “This is God’s money. We need to ask God what He wants us to do.” Listen to me. Every believer needs that revelation about every check we get. This is God’s money. God, what do you want me to do with it? And so we said, “Lord, what do you want us to do with this?”
The Lord told us to buy a car for a single mom. You know, we do a lot for single moms today. This started twenty-five years ago in my life. He said, “Buy a car for a single mom.” We still had the $750 car. We didn’t go buy ourselves a new car. We bought a car for a single mom.
Then the Lord said, “See that guy who’s out of work? Pay his salary until he gets another job.” And that was thousands of dollars a month. We started giving so extravagantly and we never said a word. We didn’t have a mailing list. I didn’t tell people what I was doing. I didn’t ask for money. I didn’t stand out on the pulpit and tell any of these stories. I never told one of these back then. And God just began to provide from all over.
I remember standing in the front row, and a guy walking up stuck a check in my pocket. He said to me, “God’s teaching you about giving,” and he turned around and walked off. I opened the check up, and it’s $5,000. This was back in the 80’s. It was just amazing what God was doing!
I remember one time, God said to me, “I want you to sell your van.” By this time, this was two or three years down the road, we had a really nice van that we traveled in. We traveled every week and spoke in churches. As a matter of fact, our son was three years old: Josh. Someone came up to him after church, and said, “Where do you live?” He said, “In the van!” [Laughing]
So the Lord said to me, “I want you to sell your van.” I said, “Well, God, how much do you want me to sell it for?” He said, “$12,000.” I said, “Okay.” So, the next day, it’s Sunday. I’m in church. I’m worshipping God. This guy walks up to me in church and says to me, “Hey. You wanna sell your van?” And I said, “Yeah. I do.” He said, “$12,000?” I said, “Yeah.” He pulls his checkbook out, he writes me a check right then, hands it to me, takes my keys, and we had to get a ride home from church! He took the van, just like that.
I now know why he wrote me the check that day, because on Monday, we got a on a plane. We fly to Costa Rica, the missionary picks us up in a missionary vehicle – you ever been in one of those? We’re bouncing all over the place, you know. There’s a hole in the floor where the muffler is, and the exhaust is coming up. I’m about to die! The exhaust is coming up through the floor. And I said to this missionary, “Why don’t you get a new van?” He said, “I’m about to. Last week, I was driving by this car lot, and God spoke to me to stop. I went over, and He said, “I’m going to give you this van,” and He showed me a van.” I said, “How much is it?” [Laughing] You want to take a guess? He said, “$12,000.” I said, “Turn around. Let’s go get the van.”
Listen to me. This is fun! This is fun to live life this way. And then, one day, the Lord spoke to me. I was having my quiet time, and the Lord said to me, “Would you give me everything?” I knew immediately He meant everything in our checking account, everything in our savings account, everything in the ministry checking account, everything in the ministry savings account, our retirement, both our vehicles and our house.
We gave our house to a pastor that had five children, but didn’t have a house.
Hear me. Listen. When I say this about Debbie and I giving everything, we feel like we’ve given everything three times. When I say “everything,” I mean every thing God asks for, because the second time God asked us for everything, He said, “Don’t give your cars and your house. Give me everything you have.” And that was including our retirement. We gave that to buy that first piece of property Gateway Church built. We gave everything we had. And then, another time God spoke to me to give everything, it wasn’t the retirement, but it was all the cash we had.
Please hear me. When I say that, when I tell you something like that, I am not asking you to give everything. Listen! I am asking you to give everything God says. I am asking you to do that - just what God tells you to do.
We sat down, Debbie and I, and we talked about where to give everything and all. It took us several months to do this, by the way, to distribute everything. And the next day, I was having my quiet time. I was adding it up in my mind, you know, because it was a lot of money. I was adding it up, and the Lord said to me, “What are you doing?” I said, “Nothing,” because, you know, if you don’t tell Him what you’re thinking, He doesn’t know. [Laughing]
The Lord said, “No, what are you thinking?” And I was having this thought. It wasn’t really a spiritual thought, so I said, “Lord, I don’t want to tell you what I’m thinking.” And He said, “No, tell me what you’re thinking.” I said, “Well, you know that old saying “You can’t out give God”?” He said, “Yeah. I’ve heard that.” I said, “Well… I think I did.” I said, “I mean don’t feel bad and all, but this time I think I’ve gotcha!” I don’t know why I used that term. I said, “I think I’ve gotcha!” He said so clearly, “You think you got me?” And the phone rang.
I picked up the phone, and this guy on the other end of the phone said, “Robert, God told me to help you with your transportation.” Here’s what I thought: He’s going to give us a car. And that’s good, you know, because we don’t have a car. But, Lord, even if he gives us a car, I just gave away everything I own and two cars. At that time, we had given nine cars away. Nine. So, I thought, “Even if He give us a car – thank you, but I still gotcha!”
I said, “What did the Lord tell you to do?” “He told me to buy you an airplane. And I’m going to pay for the gas. I’m going to pay for the hangar, the insurance, the maintenance, and I’ve hired a pilot and am going to pay his salary. Here’s his name and number. You just call him and tell him where you want to go and when you want to go.” And the Lord said, “Gotcha!” [Laughing] “Gotcha!”
Now, listen to me. This is not the message: “Give, and you’ll get an airplane.” The airplane is not the best part of the story. Here’s the best party of the story. The next day, I’m having my quiet time, and I’m reading about Solomon – the most famous story about Solomon. You remember what God said to Solomon? Absolutely amazing. Can you imagine God saying this to you? He said, “Ask. Ask anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” Can you imagine God saying that to you? I’m reading that story, and I thought to myself, “I wonder what happened right before God said that to Solomon. I wonder if Solomon did anything. I wonder what he did that day.”
I went back and studied it, and that day, he was inaugurated the king of Israel. It was tradition for the king to sacrifice one bull. Do you know how many Solomon sacrificed? One thousand bulls. Not ten. Not a hundred. One thousand bulls. And the Lord spoke to me, and said, “I only say to extravagant givers, ‘Ask anything you want.’” He said, “I will never say that to a selfish person, because I can’t trust selfish people. I can trust givers, though.” And I’m not even thinking two days before we’ve given everything we have. I’m not even thinking that. I’m just having my quiet time, and all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Ask. Ask anything you want.”
I knew immediately what I wanted, because you have to remember I have a very immoral past. And I had believed a lie that my marriage wouldn’t last. I said, “God, I want for Debbie and I to be passionately in love, all the days of our lives. I don’t want to lose my marriage.” And this past May, we had our 31st wedding anniversary. That’s better than an airplane!
I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes. I want you to live the Blessed Life. I want every member of Gateway Church, and every person watching to live this happy life. I want to know, what is God saying to you today? Some of you have struggled for years to tithe, to give the whole tithe to the House of God; the first ten percent of your gross income, undesignated. I’m pleading with you. Step out in faith. You may have to sell something like Debbie and I had to. You may have to lower your standard of living, but you will never ever regret it.
Some of you, God is speaking to you to give extravagantly again. Some of you are great givers, but you’ve backed off because of this financial recession. And you think this is not a good time to give. Listen, it’s always a good time to obey God. I’m not asking you to do anything – you know me, as your pastor – I’m not asking you to do anything that God is not asking you to do. But if God is asking you to, do it. And some of you, He is. It’s a step of faith. I’m asking you to do what God tells you to do. Some of you, God is asking you to give Him the most extravagant gift you could give Him. And now listen to me closely. I am not talking about money. I’m talking about your heart. God is asking you, “Would you give me your life?” You can do that today.
In just a moment, we’re going to have leaders at the front. At every campus, in the second level at Southlake, and in the overflow rooms, we’re going to have leaders here at the front if you need to give your life to the Lord. There are going to be other people coming for prayer, because what I want to say is if you need any prayer, that in just a moment, when we stand up at every location, you just stand up, step out and come to the front. And let us pray for you. If you need to give your life to God, especially you, please hear me, please! You don’t have to be a member of Gateway Church to come for prayer. If you need to give control - Maybe you’ve given your life to God before, but you’ve taken it back. If you need to give control of your life to God, as soon as we stand up, you just stand up, step out and come. And let us pray for you.
If you need prayer for any area - finances, health, family, marriage, relationship with God, relationship with someone, whatever. If you need prayer for any area, as soon as we stand up – and I’m asking that no one leave. We only do one more worship song. If you have an emergency, I understand; but, at all of our campuses, please stay. With just one more song, we’re going to worship God, and we’re going to create an atmosphere for the presence of God to minister to people. So, if you need prayer for any area, no matter which campus you’re attending, as soon as we stand up, you stand up, step out and come. And let us pray for you.
Holy Spirit, I pray that you’ll draw every person at every campus that has any need for prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.