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“Deep and Wide” // 2 Corinthians 8:16-24, 9:1-5

Mary Ellen Ermis May 8, 2022 Devotionals, sermons, 2 Corinthians, cityrise, Deep and Wide, houston, Roger Patterson, West U Baptist,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Patterson on Sunday, May 8, 2022 at our West U Baptist Campus. To view the sermon in full, check out the link below.

Happy Mother’s Day! It’s so good to be with you today and to have you here with us on this Mother’s Day.

You know, I was thinking a lot about this in preparation for this message.  We learn how to do what is right from our moms, don’t we?

We see in our moms:

  • Tireless Effort to keep things going
  • Strength
  • Dignity
  • Kindness
  • We learn what it looks like to give…and continually give.
  • We learn unconditional love.
  • Like – These Glasses — Our moms look at us through ROSE COLORED GLASSES — Seeing the BEST IN US.

We also learn:

  • High Expectations
  • Standards
  • How to oversee and administrate on multiple planes at the same time
    • Moms at work
    • But who somehow get us fed and off to school
    • Mom – who is always on time to pick us up
    • Moms who volunteer,
    • pay the bills,
    • does the grocery shopping
    • Gets us to baseball or soccer practice
    • And gets up and does it all over again!

Then we see in moms who are single moms that they have to play the role of two people to keep the household going.

In our moms — as they look at us through those ROSE COLORED GLASSES, seeing the best in us…We learn what it looks like to both GIVE GENEROUSLY and how to do ADMINISTRATE ALL THAT HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED!

You see, it is often in our moms that we learn how to do things the right way. It is Mom who shows us how to LEAD WITH INTEGRITY.

And that’s what we want to pick up on today in the portion we are looking at in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.

We are studying 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 as we walk through out Deep and Wide study.

IF YOU ARE TAKING NOTES…IF YOU BROUGHT YOUR DEEP AND WIDE CURRICULUM WITH YOU TODAY, WE ARE ON PAGE 94. THAT’S WHERE THE OUTLINE OF TODAY’S MESSAGE IS…PAGE 94.

You see…

When it comes to generosity in a local church, there are two sides to it…

Generous Giving and Excellent Administration

This message deals with the planning and administration of the resources to accomplish the vision, as God’s people should expect excellent oversight and planning. And it also deals with a readiness to give.

Let’s pick up where we left off last week. Remember the context. The Apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth, encouraging them to finish what they started. They initially pledged to give a gift to the church in Jerusalem who is under persecution and experiencing great hardship. Quote: And Paul is writing saying,

“I am sending Titus to get that gift from y’all…I need you to be ready when he comes…and I’m making sure you understand the generosity of the churches in Macedonia who in severe trial and affliction, with overwhelming joy, gave generously, begging us for the opportunity to take part in this.”

Look with me at 2 Corinthians 8:16-24.

2 Corinthians 8:16-24

“But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man. And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.”

Now, here is the principle that I want to highlight here. It’s on page 94.

Principle #1

Leaders must demonstrate integrity and trust with God’s Resources by employing:

  1. Good Planning
  2. Transparency
  3. Uprightness

That’s what we hear Paul saying.

  • There is a gift being administered by us…we are simply bringing the resources to the need at hand.
  • Titus felt compelled to be involved…and the church appointed him.
  • Then, the famous preacher — he goes unnamed — but is highly respected…he too is going to accompany the gift.

Notice verse 20 and 21.

2 Corinthians 8:20-21

“We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.”

  • Then in verse 22, he says, and there is one other guy who we have tested over and over again. He too will accompany them and the gift. 

The Apostle Paul is going to great lengths to establish good planning and processes. Good protocols…Good people…He is seeking to be Upright and Transparent…clear, honest, and willing to not only please God, but do it in such a way as to be honorable in the sight of man.

Even now, as we prepare to make commitments to the Deep and Wide Generosity Campaign, I want you to hear about the teams we have in place to oversee the resources that get committed to the church.

We have:

  1. Finance Committee — Our Finance Committee meets quarterly to over see the monies given to the church. This team is elected annually and our by-laws define their scope. The work with the approve and oversee the budget. Our finance committee is made up of individuals who are both financially invested in this church body, but who also understand leadership and administration of the church’s money.
    1. Chaired by — Brad Childers, long-time member and a CEO in the marketplace.
    2. Vice-Chair — Mike Fox — Mike is in Wealth Management
    3. On this team, we have one who runs internal audit for an international corporation…one who is an expert in bankruptcy…one who runs an oil and gas company….plus our personnel Chairman and our deacon chairman.
    4. This is a group of men and women who look at the layers and layers of detail in our meetings so that they can oversee with excellence and great diligence the wonderful fiscal management of the gifts you bring to the Lord here.
  2. Executive Council — our Council works with me to oversee the administration of the church…to listen, advise, and challenge vision. Our council is made up of men and women from all of our campuses.  It is a wonderful group that does not take their job lightly. But they challenge me and our staff to be our best. We are prayerful, thoughtful, and deliberate. The Scripture says that where there are many counselors, victory is sure. The Executive Council is a gift to me!
  3. Our Business Office does things with the greatest integrity. These four ladies, led by Liana Fairbanks, ensure we are doing everything with the highest integrity. They also challenge our staff to do the same. We have just had our financial review and the auditors have given us an excellent report.
  4. Annual Church Business — All of what we adopt goes through an annual church business meeting and process where people can come and ask their questions.
  5. This Campaign — The results of this campaign will be rolled out on JUNE 5th and then we will come to you after we know the results, and seek approvals, clearly communicating here is our scope of work!

Now, why do I stop and tell you all of that?  Well, I want you to feel confident that your church leadership seeks to carry the mission forward through good planning, transparency and uprightness. That’s God’s standard right from His word.

Let’s look at our second principle as we walk through this portion.

Principle #2

The People who come ready with a zeal to give, compel others to get involved.

2 Corinthians 9:1-2

“Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them.”

In every area of our lives, we need to see leaders leading out.

Paul was saying to the church at Corinth, “I’m not sure if you realize it, but you have influence. Through your heart to meet these needs, you have led others to get involved…to get on board…to turn their no into a yes.

You see, when we seek to be generous, living our lives with an overwhelming care and concern for others, those around us in the faith community are inspired.

Illus: I remember a time when a need emerged and it was significant. People were burdened to get involved. And so gifts began to come in. A gentleman called me one night and said, “Roger, I hear there is a need and I want to get involved too.” I told him how some others were going to give to it and some of the commitments that had come in and he said, “Well, when I called you, I was going to commit this much, but since hearing of others involvement, I going to raise my gift to this level.”

When leaders lead out, others follow along.

Advanced Commitment Night — May 15th. 6pm at our Crosspoint Campus…a night of worship, testimony and commitment. Julee and I are going to lead the way. No one is telling anyone what amount they are giving…that’s not what this is about…but instead, its an opportunity for leaders…anyone who is ready to lead the way…to jump in.

Illus — You know, our moms show is what commitment looks like, don’t they? They see the best in us through their rose colored glasses…they believe in us…they show us what is right and how to do things in a right way…but most importantly…our moms are generous toward us and in their generosity…they are committed…committed through thick and thin.

As a pastoral team, I pray you have sensed our commitment to you…our commitment to lead you to our Lord…and to love you where you are…and to give you his grace…I pray that we have shown you the love of God and that we are committed to you. Would you join me, Julee and the pastoral staff in being committed to the Deep and Wide Generosity Initiative for the next 24 months as we seek to lift our city and world by generously giving the gospel of Jesus Christ?

You see, this takes a readiness. Paul says in verse 2, “…for I know your readiness…”

I came to you on January 9th, forecasting this moment in our church life, asking you to get ready.

I came again on February 27th as we concluded Fight For It and we looked at our Annual Church Business, asking you to ready yourself.

Now, I am asking you to declare what the Lord has stirred in your heart to do.

In light of that, let’s look at our third principle together.

Principle #3

Leaders who do advanced planning can steward God’s resources well.

Notice the word “READY” here with me for a moment.  Notice it’s repetition.

2 Corinthians 9:3-5

“But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.”

Paul is writing to them to prepare them.  This is advanced planning and communication. He is saying, “Hey, let’s do this. Let’s plan and execute the plan.”

The principle here is that with good planning comes good stewardship.

And your teams…your finance committee, your executive council and your staff have already begun to plan…we have been laying out plans for some time…and now we are talking about scenarios…

A — What if we only hit 70% of the number we are trying to raise?  What will our plan be.

B — What if we hit 90% of the number…what will we do?

C — What if we exceed the number … what’s our plan?

We are already having those conversations…so please know that we are planning well…like our moms taught us…we are trying to be wise in our administration.

What we need you to do is help us plan.

When we gave you your Deep and Wide Book, we put a commitment card in each book. When it is time to make a commitment, whether at Advanced Commitment Night or on Commitment Sunday, May 22nd, we will have these for you.

But I want to take a moment to walk you through this piece.

Commitment Card

This card is simply a tool. It helps you think through what you might do and helps us plan so we can steward well what is given.

I’m asking you to do a few things…

  1. Please sit down with it this week and first, pray about what you would do.
  2. The Second thing I am asking you to do is familiarize yourself with it, and I am going to take a minute and walk us through it.

Liana told me that if I don’t get this point across to you, then I am going to mess this whole thing up.

In this top box, we need you start with what you are already doing on an annual basis.

Please Note…WHAT YOU ARE ALEADY GIVING ANNUALLY

Remember, our budget of $8.4mm and $9.0mm is included in this initiative…so we need you to note what you are doing already. If we don’t have that, it messes the rest of it all up and our business may call and seek some clarity.

So, what are you already doing annually????

AND IT’S ANNUALLY.

If you aren’t giving anything yet…put a ZERO in that Box.

Then move to the Second Box. This is any expanded giving you are giving to Deep and Wide…anything beyond what you are already giving.

And if you had a ZERO in the first box but are starting with this initiative, this is where you would put what you plan to do as your commitment to Deep and Wide. And we can’t wait to rejoice in that!!! I’m so excited that some of you will begin to give your gifts to the Lord for the very first time in your life through this initiative!

THIRD BOX — You would then ADD THOSE NUMBERS TOGETHER AND MULTIPLY BY 2…

REALLY IMPORTANT — THAT YOU HEAR ME SAY THIS…YOU MAY SAY, “WELL, I CAN GIVE MORE IN THE FIRST YEAR AND LESS IN THE SECOND…”

OR VICE VERSA…

WE WOULD APPRECIATE KNOWING THAT, ESPECIALLY IF THERE IS A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT CHANGE…AS IT WOULD HELP THE PLANNING OF CASH FLOWS…YOU CAN WRITE A NOTE ON THE CARD, OR SEND THE BUSINESS OFFICE AN EMAIL.

IF THE AMOUNT ONE YEAR ISN’T THAT DIFFERENT THAN THE SECOND YEAR, THEN DON’T BOTHER WRITING A NOTE ABOUT THAT…

Let’s look at this next box…

Stored Resources

This area called STORED RESOURCES would be a ONE-TIME GIFT…whether that be a stock gift…by the way, please gift the stock verses selling it. It saves you from paying capital gains on it.

Or a gift of property…we would work through a foundation like National Christian Foundation to accomplish something like that…

If it is a depreciating asset, we would ask that you sell it and just give the resources from the sale.

If it is an APPRECIATING ASSET, we can work through the NATIONAL CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION so you don’t pay the Capital Gains Tax on it!

But please note the value of that stored resource here in this line and then add them all together for a total!

Here are a few more things to note:

Things to Note

  1. Date of this Initiative — June 2022 – 2024
  2. Advance Commitment Night — May 15th, 6pm, Crosspoint Church-Bellaire
  3. Commitment Sunday, May 22nd in all services at all campuses
  4. Official Kick-Off & First Gifts to Deep and Wide — June 5, 2022
  5. Scope of Work and Motions to Approve — June 19, 2022

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