Raising an Army | An Army of Generosity

Understanding How Every Christian Is Called To Be Generous

James Greer
Nov 14, 2021    34m
Join us today as Brother James walks us through how every Christian is called to be generous, just as God is generous towards us. As followers of Christ, we have a mission. Just as He came to serve and save the lost, we are to also give, serve and bring others to know Him. We must have Jesus in our lives. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: [00:00:00] Morning, Journey Church. Amen? Hey, did that praise Team rock the house or what? Man, I'm so excited to continue our series, Raising an Army. But let me tell you what, the thing's going to be today, we're raising an army through generosity. I mean, in fact, get this out. Everybody get it. This is so fantastic. It's giving you opportunities the way to be generous. Listen, generosity is not something you have to do. You ready? Generosity is something you get to do. And here's a few opportunities. We're going to have a fundraiser for Carla Cauley. You say, well, we never do fundraisers at church. No, we don't, because we do them every weekend. But Carla was on staff at our church, and she was part of the children's part and did a fantastic job. But she's going to have to have a liver transplant, and we want to be a part of that. You can be, I think they're selling tickets today if you would like to have some in the back. You can help with the food. Do whatever you feel like, or you can just donate. We're going to provide Thanksgiving meal thanks to the Sheriff and Grant Parish. You can donate money. You can say, I want to bring some food and just put your name down there and we'll call you. The kids’ Christmas pageants coming up. You can donate or volunteer to serve. You can donate hours during time. Maybe if you're retired or semi-retired, and you want to spend some time at the church, volunteer and do that. You can be part of transforming the community. I have several books and resources, both printed and especially on JamesWGreer.com that we're going to give resources all through the community and we're going to put them out at businesses. We're going to have stands and the free books that they can give, and you can donate or be a part of that. We have a new devotion called Unleash Hope, and you can donate to those because we want to do is we want to do, we have free resources to all the community. Everywhere you go, every place you work that’ll allow you, we're fixing to donate free resources.

[00:02:06] So we’ll have Journey Church and free books, free devotions, and ultimately you can go and download them that JamesWGreer.com. So we want you to be a part of giving the free resource. And then can you believe we're going to have the greatest light show in central Louisiana? Y’all, it's fantastic, man. And you can be a part of it. There's all kinds of ways you can volunteer. You know, you can give hot chocolates. You can serve one day. There's places you can do. You can be in the parking lot, you can be in the photograph, you can just do anything. But listen, everybody should be a part of something. Amen? And it's just fantastic. You know what I'm going to teach you today? I'm going to teach you that they found out, you know, the Bible says more blessed to give than receive. Amen? But did you know, I get ahead of myself, I just can't wait. Did you know that science has now caught up with the Bible? Did you know that they can now tell that generous people are happier people? They found out when you give that it releases endorphins, the things that make you happy. They can now by science detect MRIs and people as they gave, they're actually physically happier. But the Bible told us that a long time ago. Amen? So we're going to raise an army through generosity, learning about the greatest gift that was ever given from the greatest giver. The greatest gift that was ever given was Jesus Christ. Amen? It was given by the greatest giver who is God Himself. And we're supposed to be imitators of Christ. So therefore God set the philosophy of generosity. That is good, Brother James. God set up the philosophy of generosity. And so should we. Philosophy, the reality, the discipline, the pattern that we should have.

James Greer: [00:03:57] And the Psalmist said in Psalms 41:1 through, man, is this great? 8:30 crowd like this? Let's hear it for 8:30. Man, I'm excited. The Bible says happy is the person who thinks about the poor, who cares for the poor. You know why? When that person is in trouble, the Lord, capital LORD, the one that’s ultimately in charge, is going to save him. I mean you're putting spiritual money in the bank. The Lord will protect him and spare his life, and he'll bless him in the land and he'll not let his enemies take him. I mean God, says, man, when you're giving, you cannot outlive God, and the Lord will give him strength when he's sick and he'll make him well again. Do you understand that generosity can help deliver us in times of trouble? Generosity protects us from our enemies when they attack us. Generosity helps heal us when we're sick. Generosity blesses our work. Man, don't you want to learn to be generous? Amen? Our church has been generous. Mary Dean, aren't you excited? I mean Operation Christmas Child, the boxes, over 450, almost 460 boxes from our church alone. And over 100 plus of those are going to closed countries, to Muslim countries and 100 of those are coming from our church. I mean it's talking about giving to the poor. We're not giving to the poor. We're giving to the poorest of poor. Amen? Mary, y'all did a great job. Amen? So we're excited. We had a Halloween alternative called Trunk or Treat. Did y’all realize we had 1,500 people come through there?

James Greer: [00:05:44] That's a lot of people. Amen? Rock the house. We had a turkey trot. We gave 500 turkeys to the community. I mean Journey Church, y’all are a generous church. And now we're fixing to feed over 900 prisoners in Grant Parish thanks to the Sheriff Steve McCain. Now we get to do that. We don't have to do that. Amen? We probably got some of our members in there. We get to see them. Not really, not really. We don't get to go in. They just told me they changed it. I get to go in, but y'all can't go in. I'll get to see them. I'll tell them hi. I'm not joking. You know, I mess up, you mess up. I'll tell them hi for you. Okay? It is what it is. Just think if we went to Rapides. Holy Moses. But anyway, Christmas light show, man, it's going to be the most beautiful, magnificent show in central Louisiana. It's leading into the new series called Journey to Light Series. And man, you can be a part of that. But we're just giving back, giving back, giving back, giving back. Blessed are the generous. I mean it's just unbelievable. People often ask, they often ask, why does God bless Journey Church?

James Greer: [00:07:07] Now, I'd really listen to this because this is not even a message yet because the reason that God blesses Journey Church, He'll bless you. But one of the reasons God blesses Journey Church is because we're the most accepting church I've ever seen in my life. We accept anybody from anywhere, from any race, any background, any color, anything. Amen? Isn't that wonderful? I mean when somebody walks in, it doesn't shock me a bit. I just say, praise God, they're here. Amen? But what shocks me is so does our church. Number two, we're a generous church. We invest, we give to the community. We invest in our members. Big difference. We give to the community. We invest in our members. If our members asked for money, we ask for a financial statement. We don't just give them money because that would hurt them. We invest in them. We say, hey, let us help you, let us train you. We give to the community. We invest in our members. We invest. We give you free resources. Do you understand all the resources that are available for a Journey Church member? We got past, every message is online. We got resources, we got free books, we got free health. We resource the what? Crap out of you. That's right. It's the one time you can say that. All right? Third, third, third. You ready? We focus on what we have, not what we don't have.

James Greer: [00:08:46] Isn't that great? Most people focus on what they don't have. But God has a pattern in His Word. He always uses what remains. He uses what you have, not what you don't have. I mean when Jesus fed the 5,000, he didn't say, oh golly. I mean what are we going to do? I don't know. How are we going to feed them? No. He just focused on what we had. You know, we got a couple of fish and five loaves. Let's feed them. Amen? God wants to use what you have, not what you don't have. The enemy tries to get you to focus on what you don't have instead of what you do have. But until you learn to manage what you have, God won't give you more. You got to learn to manage your time, your energy, your save, how you grow before God gives you more. Fourth, fourth, fourth. We focus on what we get to serve God, not that we have to serve God. We get to serve, not that we have to serve. It'll change your life. Amen? We have an attitude of gratitude. That's all Thanksgiving's about what we're doing. We're serving all month. We're being generous almost. We're giving all month. We've been thankful all month.

James Greer: [00:09:53] Amen? Why having a generous heart is so important? Generosity is a principle of God. It's a pattern of God. I mean when we're generous, when we're generous and forgiving, we're most like God. The verse that you've been taught most of your life is John 3:16. For God so loved. And when you love, you give. God so loved the world. I love when they love the world because people say, does God love so-and-so? Yes, He does. Guess what? He loves the straight people. Yeah. He loves the gay people. Yes, He does. Hello. He loves the blacks. He loves the whites. He loves the Mexicans. Darrell here? I said that the other day and we had some more Hispanic people come out, and they said, well, we're Mexican too. Well, they love you too. Amen? He loves the rich. He loves the poor. I mean God so loved the what? World. Amen? And because He so loves the world, what did He do? He gave. I mean listen, when you love, you give. God so loved the world that He gave and not only He gave, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. But that's not the end of the verse.

James Greer: [00:11:22] For God did not send His only Son into the world to condemn the world, not to be judgmental, not to condemn them. If you're not careful, religion has got so condemning, so condemnation that the world doesn't want to come to church. He sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but the world through Him might be what? Saved. Amen? The love of God motivates us to be generous. That's the philosophy of generosity. That's where it began. In John 3:16 and 17, God set forth a philosophy of generosity. Second, God's generous with His wisdom. He's generous with His wisdom. You need wisdom? He said, any of you need wisdom? Why don't you just ask God? He'll give it to you. God is generous, and He won’t correct you for asking. He’s generous. Are you generous with your wisdom? When somebody needs help, do you try to find the mind of God in the matter. Not your mind. Your mind will get them in trouble. The heart is deceitfully wicked. But God is generous in His wisdom. Some of y'all need to make serious decisions. Amen? God said, I'm generous with my wisdom. So why don't you just ask me? You know what I say? The more mature you are, you ought to be generous in your wisdom.

James Greer: [00:12:38] It takes time to give people wisdom. It's hard. It's work. Because the right kind of wisdom, mature wisdom is not what you think, not how you feel, it's what do you think the mind of God is in that matter. Okay? Third. Third. God's generous in good gifts. He's generous in His good gifts. I wonder if you're generous in the gifts that God has given you. Did you know in James 1:17, it says every good gift in your life. everything in your life. You can just say, well, I just worked so hard. It's because He allows you to. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, and it come down from the Father of Lights. Did you know every good gift that you have in your life came from God? You thought about Thanksgiving. Amen. You ought to thank God for what you have. You got a good job? Thank God. Amen. You got health? Thank God. Amen? Every good thing you have. You got a car? Does it run? Amen. Thank God. Do you have a job? Amen. A lot of people don't have a job. So start thinking. You got a husband, a wife? You better start thanking God. Every good thing in your life came from God. Are you using the things God's given you? And God is generous in forgiveness. Thank goodness, especially at our church. Isn't it great that God’s generous in His forgiveness? God says in 1 John 1:9, He says, if we confess our sins, He's faithful, He's generous, He's trustworthy, He'll forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Isn't it great that He's generous in His forgiveness? So what you need to do, you need to be generous in receiving forgiveness and giving forgiveness. Some of you need to receive forgiveness. You just keep beating yourself up, beating yourself up, beating yourself up. Man, God sent His Son to forgive you. Amen? And then some of you need to be generous in giving forgiveness. So today is a day to receive forgiveness. Amen? But it's to give forgiveness. Whoever hurt you the most, just forgive them today. Amen? God is generous in His promises. Most might not even know, but God is generous with His prosperity and His blessings. I love this verse, and it's in the passion version. It's Proverbs 11:24. Generosity brings prosperity. But withholding tightwads, that's James’ version, brings poverty. Those who live to bless others will have blessings heaped upon them. And those who pour out his life to pour out a blessing will be saturated with His favor.

James Greer: [00:15:34] That word favor’s my word this year. I love it. When I talk about a philosophy of generosity, it's a reality. And another translation puts it this way. Is it possible to give away and become richer? It's also possible to hold too tight, tightwad, and lose everything. This is not a matter how much money you have. Are y’all ready? It's a matter of what you do with what you have. The reason some of you don't have anything is because you don't give anything away. Yes, the liberal man shall be rich. In watering others, he watered himself. It just works that way. You just cannot outgive God. When it says prosperity here, it means peace and wealth and health. They said, the person whose generosity will enjoy a time of peace, wealth, and health. Poverty is a condition of life. It's a time of oppression. You can give the person in poverty, you can give them money, but their life won't change. Money won't change your life because they're in a spiritual curse of oppression. God wants us to understand we're blessed to be a blessing. God wants us to understand our prosperity, our peace, our wealth, and our health, our poverty will greatly be determined by our generosity or our tightness.

James Greer: [00:17:15] Oh, Brother James. Somebody’s eyes have just been opened. Some of y’all just said, amen, and some of y’all said, oh me. And the third, third is one of my, it’s a life verse for me. Thirty-four years ago, it changed my life. God's generous with it. Give and it. Can y’all say it? Give and it will be giving you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together. In other words, you can't outgive God. Running over. He's generous with it. It'll be given unto your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. It's really back more to you. Like I said, I went back this week, and it's 34 years ago that I really understood with that verse meant. I started living it, I started applying it, and God radically changed my life. I can remember that's when I started tithing. I started coming to church. I used to tip God. I'd go out to eat and leave 10% and come to church and give him 4%, sometimes $4. And I got this verse, and I said, God, you know, this is unbelievable. You said give and it should be given you. And you can’t outgive God. I love God, when He said it because He didn't say what it is. When I write my title check, a lot of times I write Luke 6:38 in the corner of it. It can apply to forgiveness, financing, friendliness, love, kindness. But it's a lifestyle. In other words, He said, what is it you really need in your life? The best way to get it is have a lifestyle of giving it away. You can't just start being friendly today and mean the rest of the week and think other people are going to be friendly to you. It's a lifestyle. What do you need most in your life, you start practicing in a lifestyle and it'll come back to you. Whatever you sow, you shall reap. Amen? What does generosity really mean anyway? A readiness to give. One of the reasons we're not generosity, we're just not ready. You got to get ready.

James Greer: [00:19:37] I mean you got to have an open heart. When you see the opportunity, you've got to be ready to give. You've got to be financially ready. You've got to be emotionally ready. You got to be spiritually ready. It also means this. You ready? Freedom from meanness, harshness, selfishness, and small-mindedness. It tells you what the opposite is. One of the things that keeps us from being generous is lack of readiness. You got to be ready. Second thing that keeps us from it is meanness and harshness and judgmental. We want to judge other people, and we got the plank in our eye and we want to take us out of somebody else's. You know, we're just so judgmental of other people. So it keeps us from being generous. You go around and judge how the people look and how they dress and what they say and how they act and what they did. And it's keeping you from being generous because you're harsh and you're mean. You're just not ready. The third thing is small-mindedness. Your character is not good. It's always about you and not somebody else. You always say, well, they don't ever take care of me and they don't ever give to me instead of you being ready to give. It's always good to know what stands in the way if you live in the way God has it. To our core values, you can't outgive God. Generosity is more than money. It includes money, but it's your time, it's your energy, it’s your actions, your attitudes, your encouragement, it's wisdom. Generosity has to be a lifestyle. It's a principle. It's a philosophy of generosity.

James Greer: [00:21:17] Did y’all know generous people are the happiest people? Generous people are the happiest people. It's a spiritual principle. It's also a physical principle. The most mean, miserable, harsh, ugliest people in the world are the stingiest, tightest people in the world. They just mean. I think it's great. I looked it up for myself this morning. I typed, does giving give endorphins? It say scientists have now caught up with the Bible. It's proved through MRIs that giving increases and releases endorphins. Happiest people in the world are the generous people in the world. What does it do? It frees you from meanness and selfishness, small-mindedness. The opposite of meanness is happiness and kindness and thoughtfulness. Did you know we need to be ready to be generous? To be ready, listen, some of you need to get a budget. Some of you can't give because you've got yourself in such a bind that's called selfishness that you can't be ready if you want to. The Holy Spirit is prompting you to give and you can't. And see, that's not funny. It's sad. Because now you're in bondage to the enemy instead of being freedom from God.

James Greer: [00:23:02] So you can't be ready. Some of you need to get rid of some of the things you're in bondage to and have more freedom. I was with a young couple the other day, and they said, hey, we're going to get rid of something. We're going to buy an older car where we can pay cash for it, and we don't want to live in a house that we can't afford. And I thought, they said, what do you think? I said, praise God. They said, we don't want to try to keep up with the Joneses. I said, who are the Joneses anyway? And I said, when you do, the Joneses don't even care. They don't know you. I said, you're the only people that think you know the Joneses. Joneses don't care. When you try to keep up the Joneses, Joneses not keeping up with you. And they thought, well, I'd rather have freedom. We can go out when we want to or we can stay home when we want to. Can I encourage you, start being ready? Get yourself ready. Generosity is being ready. The opposite of meanness is happiness and kindness and thoughtfulness. and happiness, going around day-to-day your business with joy and giving generous and happiness and kindness and thoughtful.

James Greer: [00:24:18] It's going to impact the people around you, and they're going to want what you have. You're going to be in God's army, and you're just going to be doing what's natural to you. You're not going to have to be mean and ugly, and you're not going to have to stand on a corner and say, hey, everybody's going to hell that does not know Jesus. I don't really think that impacts a lot of people. It's okay if you want to do it. But if you start going to work in a day-to-day basis and you go with joy and generous and happiness and kindness and thoughtfulness, you're going to make an impact in the world and they’re going to say, there's something different about you and we want what you have and what is it that you have. And you’re going to say, I can tell you. I know somebody. His name is Jesus. The Bible says in Acts 20:35, it is more blessed. It makes you happy to give than receive. Matter of fact, He not only wants you to give, He wants you to give a joy. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, it says, let each one give as he purposes in the heart. In other words, you better be ready. Not grudgingly, not a tightwad, or a necessity. For God loves a what? Cheerful giver. You know what? I think one of the greatest times of the service is when we take the offering. You ought to be saying, praise God, I get the give. I think we all start clapping. I'm not joking. I mean it's not I have to give. I get to give, God. I mean He loves a cheerful giver. I mean, and you know what it says after that? I love it because see, God's Word’s not only inspired, the order it's written is inspired. And then he said, hey, God is able to make all grace abound towards you. In other words, God says, when you do what you're supposed to. I’m going to take care of you. I will make all grace abound you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things.

James Greer: [00:25:53] I’m going to meet every single need in your life. You’re going to have abundance in every good work. You can’t outgive Him. The Psalmist said Psalm 112:9, he says this. He says, He gives generously for those in need. His deeds will never be forgotten. He shall have influence and honor. I mean be a generous person. Be generous. Be generous in your giving, be generous in your time, be generous with your attitude, and be generous with your tithing and be generous with your finance. In closing, I want to give you something. The most generous thing you can do is accept the generosity of accepting Jesus Christ. The greatest gift God ever gave was His Son. If you're here today and you have not accepted that gift, accept it. Accept it generously. Accept it excitingly. He died for you. And you said, hey, you know you sinned today. You would like to accept His gift generously. How about let’s generously tell others about Jesus? Let's generously invite people to church. Did you know last Sunday we had a record Sunday since the virus? Amen? I'm talking about I gave our staff facts last week about 3,500 people a day are dropping out of church. Three thousand pastors every other month are quitting. And God's blessing us like crazy. Man, God's favor’s on our church. You ready? It's individual and cooperative blessing. It's because of the church, we're under a cooperative blessing and an individual blessing. You want to be a part of it, and you want to invite people to be a part of it. Invite somebody to come with you.

James Greer: [00:27:56] Be generous with your invitation. Be generous with your acceptance. Be generous with your wisdom. Wisdom is really hard. Godly wisdom takes time and study and energy. But with somebody if their heart is right, if they're really teachable and they're hurting and they want help, give them godly wisdom, not how you feel, not what their friends think. What does God's Word say about the problem? What is God's promise where they can eventually have the provision and the deliverance from it? Because He's got a promise for every problem, and His promises are bigger and more powerful than any problem you ever face. Be generous with your wisdom. Be generous with giving of your gifts. When I say generously with the giving, every single gift that you have in your life came from God that's good. Now I'm talking about spiritual gifts as well. God's given every one of you some kind of gift. Some it’s preaching, some it's teaching, most are service gifts, most of the behind the scene, some are singing gifts. But everybody has at least one gift. Some have several gifts. Use your gift. You're happier when you are. Yeah, God gives me supernatural energy every time I preach and He'll give you gifts. He'll give you energy. The most dangerous thing you will do is not use your gift.

James Greer: [00:29:33] God says, hey, when you lose your salt, you lose your flavor, when you lose your purpose, you come too close to losing your life. Use your gift. Use the gifts that God is given you. I'm going to be preaching next Sunday, use your home, use your car, use what He's given you, use your gifts. Understand, really understand today the philosophy of generosity. The philosophy of generosity leads to generosity, brings prosperity and withholding or being tight leads to poverty. The real truth is the reason some of y'all are living in the poverty state of oppression is because of the lifestyle that you've been living. It's not a financial state. It's a spiritual state of oppression. It's spiritual. And so you're not enjoying the health and the wealth and the peace that God has for you, the prosperity. You've been too tight. You don't give up your time. You don't give of your energy. You don't give the right attitude. And so therefore, you've invited a spiritual curse to your life. I pray today you ask for forgiveness of that and that you change that, that you understand the principle of the generosity that what it is. What it is that you really need today. That with the lifestyle of giving, you can have it. Maybe what you need is a friend. Why don't you begin to show yourself friendly as a lifestyle, at work, at home, grocery store. Everywhere you go, just start being friendly.

James Greer: [00:31:30] And you'll begin to have friends. Maybe you need encouragement. Man, I love getting encouragement. You can't encourage me enough. You can't get encouragement enough. Start encouraging others. I don't know what it is you need. I do know if you'll learn to give it out as a lifestyle, listen, are you ready? It has to come back to you. It's a law. It's a spiritual law that if you'll learn it, you can have it. You know, I pray today, I hope your hearts are tender. I hope you're receptive because this message could radically change the rest of your life. So let me pray for you if you’d stand please. God, I thank you. I thank you that, God, you have a philosophy of generosity and that you pass it onto us and you want our hearts to be soft. You want us to be tender. God, for those that need you as their Savior, I pray today that they would accept you. They know they've sinned. They believe you died for their sin. You gave the greatest gift, and they’d come and they’d say, today I want to accept the greatest gift that was ever given and that was your Son by the greatest giver, by God Himself.

James Greer: [00:32:45] Maybe God's been calling you to be publicly physically baptized, and you know you needed to do it and you've just been putting it off. And today's the day. Maybe you want to do it at the next service or the third service or next Sunday. But you want to come and say, hey, I want to follow through in public baptism. Maybe you feel like you've been living under our spiritual oppression of poverty, not necessarily financial poverty but spiritual poverty. And today you would like to come to the altar or have somebody pray with you and pray for you and just ask God to forgive you. Ask God to give you a clean heart. God is generous with His forgiveness. You need forgive yourself. Because God forgave you, maybe there's somebody today you need to come and release it at the altar and you need to forgive them. You don't need to leave today with anybody in your life that you have not forgiven. Maybe you know today this is a church that God wants you to be at, and today's the day that you're going to make the decision to be part of this family. Whatever God's called you do, I pray that you just let Him have His will in your life. And I ask it in a precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Bruce Goulart: [00:34:03] On behalf of Pastor James, I just want to say thank you for joining our online experience this morning. Y’all, what an amazing week three of Raising an Army and what amazing series this has been so far. Y'all, we need to take that home and raise an army together. But if you need someone to pray with you right now, we have people on standby that are willing to pray with you. If you just click on the link in the description and fill it out, someone will get with you right away. Again, I just want to say thank you so much for doing our online experience this morning.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360