Participants: Charles Byrd (Host), Andrea Endries, Levi Longoria, Stephen Fowler
Series Code: THL
Program Code: THL000023
00:01 1 + 1 = 2.
00:03 2 x 2 = 4.
00:07 4 / 8 = 0.5.
00:11 Or E = mc2.
00:14 Whether mathematics is our forte or not?
00:18 We have to appreciate its consistency, its predictability.
00:22 Numbers are logical, concrete,
00:25 and as such we can depend on them to give us accuracy.
00:29 That's why they are our source of statistics,
00:31 ratios, and measures.
00:34 But in my spiritual journey, I notice that God,
00:37 the Author and Master of mathematics
00:39 is not limited by numbers.
00:42 His power far exceeds arithmetic logic.
00:46 For example, five loaves of bread and two little fish,
00:50 no matter how small you cut them
00:52 would never feed over 5,000 men, women, and children,
00:57 but they did.
00:59 Twelve uneducated poor motley men
01:02 would hardly make it in life,
01:04 but the same unlikely ragtag band
01:07 turned the world upside down
01:09 and created a whole new world era
01:12 known as Christianity.
01:15 Somehow, God's mathematics figuring something
01:19 human mathematicians have never been able to replicate.
01:23 Even though every possible method of figuring
01:25 and calculating shows only absolute failure and inadequacy.
01:30 God turns it around to a smashing victory,
01:34 like a thunderstorm that challenges our very existence.
01:38 God's arithmetic miracles are still at work today,
01:43 and He invites us to participate in it.
02:39 God is still working numbers in ways that just don't add up.
02:44 Logically everything says, it can't happen, it won't work,
02:48 but over and over again, it not only works,
02:52 but it exceeds all possibility.
02:55 What am I talking about?
02:58 From father Abraham until today, God's chosen people,
03:01 those who have made him the Supreme Lord of their lives
03:05 have returned to God a faithful tithe.
03:09 With no basis and logistics, God has unfailingly made
03:12 the nine-tenths exceed the ability of the ten-tenths.
03:17 While even eternity may not be enough time
03:20 to learn God's method of figuring numbers,
03:23 we can learn and experience the principle He basis it on.
03:28 We catch a glimpse of this principle
03:30 in a statement Jesus made shortly before His crucifixion.
03:35 "Verily, verily, I say unto you,
03:37 except the corn of wheat fall into the ground and die,
03:41 it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
03:47 Jesus reiterated this principle many times
03:50 and in many ways while ministering on earth.
03:53 He said things like,
03:55 "Whoever will save his life shall lose it,
03:58 and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
04:03 And, Give, and it will be given to you,
04:07 good measure, pressed down
04:08 and shaken together, and running over.
04:11 For with the same measure that you use,
04:14 it will be measured back to you."
04:17 What does this principle of giving away
04:19 and getting greater in return have to do with tithe?
04:24 Actually, a lot.
04:26 And perhaps that's why Jesus said
04:28 that a faithful tithe should be returned
04:31 because He understood this principle
04:33 and He wanted the privilege of blessing us with it.
04:36 So, when did Jesus talk about tithing?
04:42 It's interesting that Jesus talked about tithing
04:45 in the form of the rebuked religious leaders.
04:48 In a voice trembling with tears of love trampled,
04:51 Jesus cried, "Woe unto you, scribes
04:54 and Pharisees, hypocrites.
04:56 For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin,
04:59 and have omitted the weightier maters of the law,
05:02 judgment, mercy and faith, these ought ye to have done,
05:07 and not to leave the other undone."
05:10 Well, the hearts of these men
05:12 were not in agreement with their profession
05:13 and Jesus rebuked their hypocrisy,
05:16 He commended their precise and systematic tithing.
05:20 You see, even before the words Jew or Israelite existed,
05:25 the worshippers of God knew and followed
05:28 this principle of returning to God a faithful tithe.
05:31 Abraham, a Chaldean,
05:33 who later became the father of the faithful
05:36 paid tithe on the spoils of battle,
05:39 after seeing the heavens open
05:40 and angels of God ascending and descending,
05:43 Jacob the man who'd become Israel
05:46 vowed to return a tithe or tenth of all the God blessed him with.
05:51 Even the wisest and wealthiest of kings
05:54 extols the blessing of returning to God as own.
05:57 "Honor the Lord with thy substance
06:00 and with the firstfruits of all thine increase,
06:04 so shall thy barns be filled with plenty,
06:07 and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."
06:10 God claims a tenth of all our increase as His
06:14 and in return, He gives back to us even more.
06:18 In Malachi, God specifically invites us to prove or test Him.
06:23 "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,
06:26 that there may be meat in mine house,
06:29 and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts,
06:32 if I will not open to you the windows of heaven,
06:35 and pour you out a blessing,
06:37 that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
06:41 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
06:43 and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground,
06:47 neither shall your vine cast her fruit
06:50 before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
06:53 And all nations shall call you blessed,
06:57 for ye shall be a delightsome land,
06:59 saith the Lord of hosts."
07:02 You see, God has abundant blessings
07:04 He longs to pour out on us.
07:06 But He can only give them to us when we placed ourselves
07:09 within the conditions of those blessings.
07:12 That's why He says that we rob Him,
07:14 when we fail to return to Him our tithes and offerings.
07:18 We're not robbing Him of finances,
07:20 it's all His anyway and if He wanted it,
07:23 He could take that anytime.
07:25 But we're robbing Him of the opportunity to bless us
07:28 and to make us a living example of His generosity.
07:32 Heaven works on the principle that by giving away, we gain.
07:36 The constant cycle of giving and receiving and giving again
07:40 is one that with only one exception
07:43 all of nature is based on.
07:45 And when we break that God appointed rhythm,
07:48 our lives become very much like
07:51 this one exception, the Dead Sea.
07:56 Fresh water is constantly flowing into it,
07:59 but it never gives,
08:01 it never passes on the blessing it receives
08:03 and its waters are dead and caustic,
08:06 lifeless and bitter
08:08 that stands as a vivid parable of our own lives,
08:12 when lived for self.
08:16 That's a great object lesson
08:18 and that's why tithing is so important to me
08:21 because in today's materialistic culture,
08:23 we need the reminders that tithing gives us.
08:27 Like, reminding us that God is Lord of our lives,
08:30 not just in a spiritual aspect,
08:32 but in a practical daily life way,
08:35 returning a tithe means we acknowledge
08:37 and surrender to His lordship.
08:40 Another thing that tithing makes me more aware of
08:43 is that we are dependent on Him.
08:45 Everything is a trust from Him.
08:47 It's His and we're not for His goodness to us,
08:51 we would not be alive.
08:53 Returning the tithe reminds us
08:55 that all good things come from Him.
08:58 And one more thing tithing does for me
09:00 is that it encourages me to give.
09:03 It's so easy to think that it's mine, to be selfish,
09:07 but we have the constant reminder that God is our Lord
09:11 and because of His generosity, we have our very existence.
09:15 It encourages us to be generous to others.
09:18 After all, in response to our tithing,
09:20 He pours out so many blessings that we have to share.
09:25 In Malachi, God not only talks about tithe,
09:28 He talks about offerings as well.
09:30 A tithe by its very definition is a tenth,
09:34 so a tenth of all of our increase belongs to God,
09:37 but He also says we should return an offering.
09:41 According to Paul, the offering is not any stated amount.
09:45 "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly
09:49 shall reap also sparingly,
09:51 and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
09:56 Every man according as he purposeth in his hearth,
10:00 so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity,
10:04 for God loveth a cheerful giver."
10:08 The offering given above and beyond the tithe
10:11 would be whatever we wanted to give out of the abundance
10:15 of our love for God and His working in our lives.
10:18 And offering again reinforces the goodness of God.
10:22 Our dependence on Him, His lordship of our lives
10:26 and is an expression of our grateful acknowledgement
10:29 of His benefices.
10:31 The wise man said it right when he wrote.
10:35 "There is one who scatters, yet increases more,
10:39 and there is one who withholds more than is right,
10:42 but it leads to poverty.
10:44 The generous soul will be made rich,
10:46 and he who waters will also be watered himself."
10:51 So tithing helps keep the natural cycle.
10:53 But perhaps an obvious question is how do we return
10:57 tangibles to an intangible God?
11:00 Has He given specific directions for the proper depository
11:03 for these tithes and offerings?
11:05 Actually, He has.
11:07 God has always had designated recipients of His funds.
11:11 During the sanctuary system,
11:12 the sanctuary was the appointed depositary
11:15 for the tithes and offerings
11:16 and the priests who were dedicated
11:18 exclusively to the Lord's work or to use them
11:21 for the work of the temple and their own testaments.
11:24 In the New Testament, we find virtually in the same order,
11:27 only this time with the church rather than the sanctuary.
11:31 The Apostle Paul said, "Even so hath the Lord
11:34 ordained that they which preach the gospel
11:37 should live of the gospel."
11:40 And where did Paul learn this financial principle?
11:43 From the teachings of Jesus Himself.
11:46 When He commissioned the 12 apostles
11:48 to go out two by two, Jesus said,
11:51 "The workman is worthy of his meat."
11:54 Again, in Galatians 6:6,
11:57 Paul tells the church that those who are blessed
11:59 by the teachings of the Word of God
12:01 have a responsibility to support the teachers.
12:05 This is best done through the medium
12:07 of the church organization,
12:08 so that the funds are distributed judiciously.
12:11 This is how the early church handled funds,
12:13 according to Acts 4,
12:16 "And with great power gave the apostles
12:18 witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
12:21 and great grace was upon them all.
12:24 Neither was there any among them that lacked,
12:27 for as many as were possessors of lands or house sold them,
12:32 and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
12:34 and laid them down at the apostles' feet,
12:37 and distribution was made unto every man
12:39 according as he had need."
12:42 And this point brings us
12:44 to another very important aspect of tithes and offerings.
12:47 Stephen is waiting to tell us about it.
12:49 Thanks, Andrea.
12:51 Talking about the tithes and offerings
12:52 being brought to God's house, temple or church,
12:55 reminds me one of the most
12:56 beautiful stories in the gospels.
12:58 This story is heartwarming
13:00 because it embodies the whole reason
13:01 for giving tithes and offerings and that is worship.
13:05 We find the story in Mark 12 beginning at verse 41.
13:08 Jesus is sitting in the temple across from the treasury
13:11 which was in the women's court.
13:13 The mission estates that there were
13:14 13 depositaries in this temple
13:16 and likely all were close to this treasury.
13:19 On this particular day,
13:20 Jesus is observing His people come and go,
13:23 all apparently there to worship God.
13:25 Many pour a lot or some things in the coffers,
13:27 but none of these catches interest.
13:29 Finally, He see something that warms His heart,
13:32 summoning His disciples close to Him,
13:34 He points out the tattered and poor widow,
13:36 she gathers her courage and furtively cast
13:38 in her precious gift, two mites.
13:41 According to Mark, the gift was so small
13:44 that totaled it came to only a fraction of a denarius
13:47 or 1/64th of a day's wages.
13:50 Puzzled, the disciples looked at each other questioning
13:52 why Jesus called their attention
13:54 to such an insignificant offering?
13:56 Then Jesus explains, "Assuredly, I say to you
14:00 that this poor widow has put in more than all those
14:02 who have given to the treasury,
14:04 for they all put in out of their abundance,
14:06 but she out of her poverty put in all she had,
14:09 her whole livelihood."
14:11 You see, the significance of this gift was not the amount,
14:15 but the heart of worship it represented.
14:17 She had given her whole heart
14:19 and that was the offering Jesus saw.
14:22 That's what worship is all about after all.
14:24 The word worship literally means worthy-ship.
14:27 God is worthy of all our reverence or an adoration
14:31 and this lady grasped that.
14:33 She was so in love with her Lord
14:35 that she held nothing back for herself.
14:37 She counted Him worthy for all
14:40 and her only discontent in giving
14:42 was actually could not give more.
14:44 God does not ask or expect us
14:46 to literally give Him all of our income,
14:48 but He does require all of our heart
14:50 because that alone is true worship.
14:53 And while worship is something
14:55 we refer to doing at church or similar service,
14:58 really worship should be a state of being constantly.
15:02 And while external accoutrements
15:03 like, music or a people sermons etcetera,
15:06 may assist in our worship experience.
15:09 Worship is something that happens on the inside
15:11 and more often than that alone in our Garden of Gethsemane.
15:16 It is not so much a feeling
15:17 as it is a very conscious choice,
15:20 a choice to give our all to His will with no reserve.
15:24 So very true, Stephen.
15:27 And while we're talking about full surrender in real worship,
15:30 let me bring up one more thing.
15:32 While God specifically says to return to Him,
15:35 tithe and free will offerings that doesn't let us off the hook
15:39 to do whatever we like with the rest.
15:42 Everything we have even the very breath we breathe
15:45 is God's and we are accountable to Him for it.
15:50 Jesus parable of the ten talents
15:52 pointedly teaches us this lesson.
15:55 The blessings He gave His trustees
15:58 were to be used for Him,
16:00 not be stuffed in a corner and neglected or wasted
16:04 on their own interests,
16:06 but to be wisely invested for His cause.
16:10 In our short sightedness,
16:12 we often think we are the possessors,
16:15 but in reality we are only the stewards
16:17 of a microscopic portion of the eternity of wealth
16:22 which belongs to the King of kings.
16:24 And He holds us responsible for every use
16:27 we make of all that He has entrusted to us.
16:32 That's why we desperately need to experience real worship
16:36 which in reality is just another result of true repentance.
16:41 Only as we cast our all on His altar
16:44 and follow His direction,
16:46 can we properly manage His trust?
16:50 When we honestly view all that we have is His,
16:54 when we have given Him our whole heart saying,
16:56 yes to Him with all our known choices,
16:59 then He can guide and direct us in properly managing
17:04 the rest of the money He entrusts to us.
17:07 And this is the essence of worship,
17:09 complete abandonment of ourselves to God.
17:14 It doesn't come naturally and it certainly isn't always easy,
17:17 but by directing us to pay a faithful tithe
17:20 and to be generous in offerings,
17:22 He has attempted to loosen our selfish hold
17:26 on the vaporous stuff of earth
17:28 and to place our grasp on eternal substance.
17:32 I know we talked about it at the beginning,
17:34 but I'd like to mention it again
17:35 because God offers an incredible promise
17:38 which I think we can well afford to experience.
17:43 Remember the verses we read earlier in Malachi 3.
17:47 God actually challenges us to test Him.
17:51 Look at verse 10 again.
17:53 "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,
17:56 that there may be meat in mine house,
17:58 and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts,
18:02 if I will not open to you the windows of heaven,
18:07 and pour you out a blessing,
18:09 that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
18:13 God is extending a huge promise to those
18:16 who are surrendered to Him and trust Him enough
18:19 to return to Him a faithful tithe and offering.
18:23 So I have a question for you.
18:26 Can God be trusted still today
18:29 or is this promise limited to Bible times?
18:32 I would submit to you that God's word is as good now
18:36 as it was that day He spoke it.
18:39 And God would like to take a few moments
18:41 to introduce you to just a few
18:43 of the countless numbers of individuals and families
18:47 who have chosen to worship God, in spirit and in truth
18:50 and have taken on His challenge
18:52 to prove Him in the area of tithes and offerings.
18:56 And perhaps, after you have heard
18:58 their compelling testimonies,
19:00 you too will agree that we serve an amazing promise keeping God.
19:08 My name is Steve Varro, and I'm a Christian illusionist.
19:12 Early in my career, things weren't going so well.
19:16 Money was tight.
19:18 All of my bills were paid for the month,
19:20 but we were only one week away from the first of the month
19:23 and of course on the first, rent is due.
19:27 I needed $315 with which to pay my rent.
19:32 I had no bookings in the works.
19:34 I had no idea where that money was going to come from.
19:37 So I prayed to God, I said,
19:39 "Lord, You promise to supply my needs
19:42 and I'm going to hold You to that,
19:45 I depend on You to supply my needs for this upcoming rent."
19:50 Well, I get off my knees
19:51 and within 30 minutes of that prayer,
19:53 the telephone rang.
19:55 And it was a gentleman calling asking,
19:57 if I could come and perform at the weekend event that weekend.
20:01 Somebody had cancelled, they needed a replacement.
20:05 He said that the amount that they paid was $350.
20:08 Would that acceptable?
20:10 I said, "Yes, it would."
20:11 And I hung up the phone and rejoiced and praise God.
20:14 Then I thought, why $350?
20:18 I only needed $315.
20:22 And then suddenly, it came to me.
20:25 Tithe on $350 is $35,
20:31 leaving $315, the exact amount that I needed.
20:36 God was so faithful
20:38 to supply not only my needs,
20:40 but the ability for me to be faithful to Him
20:42 and paying back my tithe.
20:45 That had a huge impact on me throughout my career.
20:49 I know God is going to take care of me.
20:51 If I am faithful to Him,
20:53 I know He is going to be faithful to me.
20:56 Hi, my name is Bob Ivanenko.
20:58 I'm from a little town called Butte, North Dakota.
21:01 And this is my lovely wife.
21:02 Shelley Ivanenko
21:04 and I grew up in a little town called Lansford, North Dakota.
21:08 And of course, we have been returning faithfully
21:10 our tithe and offerings.
21:12 But that's just the minimum then we started thinking,
21:15 what more can we do for the Lord?
21:17 The Lord has been so good to us.
21:20 So we decided that we should open up a savings account
21:24 and any unexpected money that came in
21:26 would be used for ministry.
21:28 Unexpected money, you maybe asking,
21:31 old stings like, you know,
21:33 we get $3 rebate check from a company
21:36 that goes into that savings account.
21:38 We get all of our loose change goes into that savings account.
21:43 Some people hunt on my land
21:45 and every year they've been hunting on my land
21:47 and, you know, I've never charged them anything,
21:49 but the minute we started the savings account,
21:51 these two gentlemen came into my office
21:54 and each one gave me $100 bill.
21:56 Another person a week later comes in,
21:58 he gave me a check for $500
22:00 just for letting him hunt on my land.
22:03 So far we have raised over $51,000 on this fund.
22:08 $51,000, can you believe it?
22:11 No. It's been lot of fun spending God's money too.
22:16 Yes, it has. Believe me.
22:19 And maybe you're wondering where we're spending it at.
22:22 We've built some one day churches,
22:25 some one day schools in third world countries.
22:28 And we've also spent on our missionary work.
22:33 We've done evangelism with it.
22:35 Oh, it's just amazing what could be done with this money.
22:39 So imagine, me, the town drunk,
22:42 the one who couldn't take care of his family,
22:45 provide for his children.
22:46 Can you make--me, the town drunk having money?
22:50 God has given me $51,000,
22:53 over $51,000 to use in His ministry and His work.
22:58 So now you're probably asking yourself,
23:00 "Well, what does this have to do with me?
23:03 What can I do?"
23:05 Well, I want to challenge you to do what we've done,
23:09 like I always said, you can't out give the Lord.
23:14 Even though I have returned my tithes and offerings
23:17 faithfully for many years
23:19 and I've personally seen God meet my and my family's needs.
23:23 These testimonies still inspire me.
23:26 They make me want to give more, to be more surrendered,
23:29 to live my worship of Him.
23:33 God is so good and so desiring
23:35 to pour His blessings out on all of us.
23:39 And He has told us that no good thing will be
23:42 withheld from those who seek Him first.
23:46 In fact, that reminds me of one more person
23:49 I want to tell you about.
23:51 You may have even heard of him,
23:53 but you may not be aware of what really made him great.
23:57 R.G. LeTourneau was an entrepreneurial inventor
24:00 of heavy earth moving equipment.
24:02 He secured 299 pattern strings his lifetime.
24:06 And is responsible for designing and producing,
24:09 70% of the earth moving equipment
24:11 and vehicles used during World War II.
24:15 RG was affectionately known as God's businessman.
24:19 And although, he died a multi-millionaire.
24:22 When he started he was uneducated, poor,
24:25 and even heavenly in debt.
24:28 But early on, he made Matthew 6:33 his motto.
24:33 "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
24:38 and all these things shall be added unto you."
24:42 This is what made him great.
24:45 And like we talked about before, he put God first in everything.
24:50 Money and life in general.
24:53 Letourneau tells the story in his biography
24:56 God runs my business of being late on a deadline
24:59 for the design and manufacture of a new piece of equipment,
25:03 but the design for one part that he needed
25:06 just wasn't coming to him.
25:08 He wrestled over it for hours.
25:11 When suddenly he remembered his commitment
25:13 to lead the mid week youth service that night.
25:17 If he dropped everything, he could make it in time,
25:21 but he was up against the deadline,
25:23 but remembering his commitment to keep God first
25:26 in every area of his life he rushed off to the meeting.
25:31 Several hours later and late at night he returned,
25:35 sat briefly at his drawing board again
25:37 and suddenly the exact design he needed
25:40 was impressed on his mind.
25:42 In a few minutes, he had the whole plan drawn
25:44 and on the engineer's desk
25:46 for building first thing the next morning.
25:50 He had deliberately put God first
25:51 and God honored him, giving him another cutting edge invention
25:55 that eventually made his machines
25:58 the best on the market.
26:00 R.G. LeTourneau's pocket book wasn't excluded
26:03 from his seeking God first pledge either.
26:05 Early on, he learned that God requires a tithe.
26:09 At first he struggled with the idea.
26:11 He was barley scrapping by as it was.
26:14 He couldn't afford the tithe.
26:17 But he had given his life to the Lord
26:19 and he determined that no matter what
26:22 God was getting His 10%.
26:25 He wasn't disappointed either.
26:27 God blessed him and his work.
26:30 And he determined to give more.
26:32 By the time Robert Gilmore Letourneau died
26:35 at the age of 80 in 1969,
26:37 he was giving 90% of his income to the Lord
26:41 and leaving off just 10%.
26:44 He had learnt and was completely convinced
26:47 that it is impossible to out give God.
26:51 His grave is on the LeTourneau University Campus
26:54 in Longview, Texas.
26:56 And inscribed on the head stone
26:58 is his life's motto from Matthew 6:33.
27:02 "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
27:07 and all these things shall be added unto you."
27:11 His life is a testimony to the goodness of God
27:15 and what God will do when we trust Him.
27:19 After all like R.G. once said,
27:21 "You will never know what you can accomplish
27:24 until you say a great big yes to the Lord."
27:28 So, what about you, friend?
27:31 Will you be a Dead Sea just taking God's myriad of blessings
27:35 or will you return to God all that He asks for
27:39 and then more from a heart of love?