Game Changers

Learning from Bible verses about giving tithes and offering.

Linn Winters
Nov 18, 2018    51m
In this sermon Pastor Linn Winters continues to explain the need to get the buildings started so more people can be saved by Jesus. He teaches bible verses about giving tithes and offerings. He explains that the tithe isn't just about money. It is about giving God leadership of our lives. He explains that God will give us eternal blessings for furthering his work, and being faithful with our tithes. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

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.

Sara Ahnert: 00:04 My life didn't turn out how I thought it would. I thought it was going to be this happy thing, that everything was going to fall into place, and God was going to provide everything I wanted. And instead I had to deal with hard situations in my life, and in my family. Learning to deal with just abuse, and just manipulation. I stopped trusting people altogether, and was just in a deep depression, and had no love for myself, and eventually no love for anyone else. There was a point that I broke, just completely shattered and crying to myself in the night, and trying to just hold myself together. And I decided to test God, and see if he really did have an abundant life for me that was filled with peace. I started taking steps. First step was to actually look for a church. Everything just kept pointing me to Cornerstone. I didn't want to come here because it was big, and it was scary, and there are a lot of people, and a lot of ways for people to reject me. I got involved in a young adult group, and it was just probably one of the scariest, and best choices in my life. I never had a real Christian friend before, and I have at least fifty people who I am very close to, who I have genuine relationships with. So I asked for one, and he gave me fifty plus people. God's actually still teaching me how to trust him. It's one of the hardest things to know how to do is just to trust God with everything you have, and he's slowly been working on just helping me release things in different areas of my life, and just not being afraid of what will happen. And just trusting him in this time, in this moment that he has the future in his hands. I know that there are a lot of people out there who just need someplace to go where they'll be accepted and wanted, and then they'll know what God's worth is in them.

Linn Winters: 02:10 Man, I hope you get excited when you hear stories like Sara's story. I mean, the idea that you and I are part of a church that that routinely and regularly is part of God working, and doing life change in people's lives. I mean that is just absolutely, absolutely thrilling. And then all of a sudden you started to think and go, hey, wait a minute. Sarah is not the only unfinished person in the room. I mean as much as God has done in her, and the transformation that's happened, and is still going to happen in her. You realize that story's not a standalone story. The truth is every single one of us in this room is an unfinished story, just like Sarah's. That all of us could get up there on screen tell, hey, this is who I was before I figured out God, I'm telling you that when I did that, this is the change that began to happen. The person I am today, I am just different because of this encounter with him. Every one of us is an unfinished story.

Linn Winters: 03:13 You and I are part of an unfinished church, and an unfinished mission that God has given us to do, and hence the conversation we're having right now about unfinished. We said out loud, we've just been totally honest, that this conversation is going to end up being a little bit about buildings and a little bit about money. But please, please, please, please, please don't think that that's the reason for the conversation, or the focus for the conversation. The reason that we're having the conversation is that you and I as a church, find ourselves in a moment when our buildings are actually making it harder for us to join in and be part of unfinished lives. We are at a place where we're going after maturity, has started to become a problem for us. You heard us probably say a few weeks ago, these facilities, our buildings get used every night of the week, and on first glance you go, well that's cool. I mean the church is leveraging all of our facilities, and we're using them every day. It's great. It's great stewardship of buildings. It's lousy stewardship of lives, and here's why. Because if you're a family, and you're trying to go after maturity during the midweek, you literally, you realize we break you up. Your kids come this night, you come this night, your teenagers come this night, we make it really hard is for a family to actually go after, and try to grow up and be mature. Our adult ministries come to us all the time and they say, Linn, we've got classes that we need to start. We've got conversations that people need to hear, and need to be part of so they can grow, and we literally don't have a room to do it in. We've held classes in the tent on the parking lot, and guys there's a moment right now where our facilities are keeping us from going after maturity, and somewhere. Guys are you ready for this?Somewhere that's going to show up in our lives. What we haven't been able to do, and where we haven't been able to grow, it's going to show up.

Linn Winters: 05:07 And so we just said, look, we just refuse for that to be the answer. You realize our facilities are making it hard for people who are far from God to get into this room to have a conversation. Because people visit church at the two premium hours, they visit at 9:00, they visit at 10:30. You and I have started services at all sorts of just absolutely funky times. We've got Saturday night services that are going on. Ready for this? We've got a service at 7:45 in the morning. How wacked do you have to be to go to church at 7:45 in the morning? That's crazy. Who does that? We've got a service at 11:55, you and I are supposed to be at lunch. What are we doing here right now? But we're doing this because we're desperately trying to make room at those premium services. Right now, if you were to walk into either 9:00 or 10:30, you would go, wow. That we're a couple of chairs away from saying to visitors, you can't meet in the room with us if you want to figure out Jesus, go to overflow. And long, long, long, long, long before we're ever going to get some buildings up, those services will overflow. And we'll say to visitors, hey, there's not room in the room with us. And we've just said, hey guys, look, because we have an unfinished mission, because we believe that God wants us involved in changing the lives of the people that are already here, and growing them up, and changing the lives of the people in our city who haven't made it to the room yet. We've got to figure out this building thing. So we're going to have a conversation about buildings, a conversation about money, but it's really conversation about people.

Linn Winters: 06:42 Now here's the deal. If you're in the room today, we're going to talk a little bit about a money together, and if you're a person who is not a Christ follower yet, this is a perfect Sunday for you to be here. Here's why you get to opt out. You don't have to feel convicted whatsoever. You get to go home today and say, Linn said, because I'm not a Christ follower yet, I don't have to worry about giving. So I went to church today and felt zero conviction. That's totally cool, and better than that, you ready for this? You're going to get to watch Christians squirm in their seats. This is going to be the funnest Sunday you've ever been in church, if you're not a Christ follower yet. Okay, so hang on, it'll be good. Those of us in the room, some of us you're going to say hey, Linn, I've already had the conversation about money, this isn't my first time through. And if I'm telling you the truth, I've already made my decision about this, so I'm not necessarily that interested in having the conversation again. I get it, I get it.

Linn Winters: 07:46 But what if? What if you and I have been playing the game completely wrong? What if you and I have been doing life in a way that makes it so that you and I cannot possibly win at life? Wouldn't you want that information? Think about this, there's moments when you're out with friends, and they'll say to you, hey, rather than calling it an evening, what if we go back to the house, and what if we play some games together? And you go, well, sure, I mean, yeah, I'm not ready to go home. So you go back to their house and they pull out a game and if it's a game that you've never played before, then they begin to kind of explain to you, well, here's how this works. Here's the things you buy, and here's what you save, and here's why. If you're even remotely as competitive as I am, I'm studying the board. Man, I'm trying to figure out okay, what would be the wisest thing, what would be the most strategic thing to do? Because this may be my first time, but I'm going to win the game. That's how I think. That's kind of like life, isn't it? Because isn't it true that when it comes to life, this is your and my first play through. That you and I have never done this before, the rules are all new, the strategy is something we're still trying to figure out. How do you do this and be successful at it. Here's the interesting thing. You Ready? We get one crack at it, we get one play through to get this thing right.

Linn Winters: 09:23 Ever been in the middle of the game, and you got about halfway through, and all the sudden there was that epiphanal moment. There's that moment you went, oh wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, you mean I was supposed to be saving those? Oh, I remember you said something about that when you were explaining the game to me. It just didn't register to me that that was critical. That means every trade I've made been a bad trade. I was trading those away. That that means every purchase, I mean I bought the wrong thing. Could we just take the pieces, put them all back at the beginning again, and start over again? Because I just figured that out, and figuring that out is a game changer. I mean, I would have made every decision, I would have played every card differently. If I understand that's how the game is played. We've had moments like that in life, right? Moments, when you go, oh, wait a minute, if I had understood that. Men remember the moment you figured out girls don't have cooties, and you're like, oh my goodness, why did that take me so long? I mean how many countless hours of running across the playground, away from the cute blonde girl. What was I thinking, I could have been making out as a second grader?

Linn Winters: 10:53 How about this one? How many of you wish that someone could go back to the freshman in high school you, and tell you in a way that actually convinced you, that popularity fades and is fleeting? I mean, if you could have understood that at the beginning of your freshman year. Think about how many painful lunch hours of sitting there and looking across the lunch room at the popular table, and saying to yourself, oh, I wish they would invite me. I wish I could sit with, oh. If I could just be one of the jocks, or if I could just be the pretty girl that everybody wants to ask out. It's like when they walked down the hallway, the people part like the Red Sea, and they walk through. If I could just be with one of them. And then and then you get to graduation and you realize, hey, you head off to college, all that popularity evaporates. Matter of fact, here's what we figured out. All those popular people, work for us, because we did our homework. How about this life changing, game changing, thought. Family is more important than success, and what if it takes you until you're fifty years old to finally figure that one out? How much of the game would you have played wrong? How desperately would you want to say, hey, come on, can we just go back to the beginning? Can I reply? Because I played every car wrong,

Linn Winters: 12:32 And so here's the deal. Jesus today is going to have a conversation with you and me about money, and he's going to be a game changer. He's going to say, hey, this is what you've never seen, this is what you've never understood, and you may have played every card wrong. And I know. I know, I know you've already made decisions. I know you've already... But what if there's a way to win this game, and we've been playing at wrong? Wouldn't you want to know those game changing truths? So I'm just going to ask, would you just be willing to hear, how it plays different?

Linn Winters: 13:09 So here we go grab your bibles, and go with me to a conversation that Jesus has. It's Matthew Chapter Twenty five. If you're not familiar, if you go to the back of your Bible, work to the left, you're going to find this book of Matthew, Matthew Chapter Twenty five. Let me explain what's going on here. So at this point in scripture, Jesus is only a few days from the cross. He knows that he's going to go to the cross. He knows that he's going to die, he knows that he's going to resurrect, and then he's going to go to heaven. So the disciples are going to be on their own, and so right now he's having the most critical conversation. He says, look, you're going to be navigating this without me. Here are the things that are most critical for you to know you. This is the part you've got to get right, and in this moment he chooses to teach them in a parable. Now here's a parable, a parable is when Jesus tells a story that has biblical truth. In other words, the story is intended to teach you and I a life lesson, and so Jesus in this moment says, okay, let me tell you a story because this is how life works.

Linn Winters: 14:18 Okay, so here we go. Matthew 25:14, now here's the deal, this is going to be slightly interactive. This was one of those moments, you could actually say something out loud in church, don't get used to it because we're not going to talk back to the pastor. But anyways, but this a moment you can, right? This is a moment you can say some things back. Here's what I'm going to do, when we go through the parable, ask yourself this question. Who does Jesus intended the characters to represent? So these different people in the story, who am I supposed to be thinking of? Who does Jesus intend to be talking about when he tells us about these characters?

Linn Winters: 14:56 Okay, here we go. Matthew 25:14, Jesus says, "Again, it will be like..." Anytime Jesus says, ready? He's saying, look, I'm going to peel back the curtains of life, I'm going to explain to you how this works. You're going to see something more clearly, and with more insight, than you've ever seen. I'm going to open this up to you, "Again it will be like a man going on a journey. Who called his servants and..." Next word. Oh, that was painful. All right, so we're going to give you another crack at it. Okay? All right, here we go, "Again it will be like a man going on a journey who called his servants and..."

Congregation: 15:54 Entrusted.

Linn Winters: 15:54 What is entrusted? He trusted them, he gave to them something that was his, to manage on his behalf. He took something that was valuable and important, and said. I'm going to entrust this to your care, with the expectation that you will leverage it, you will use it, for the things that I'm hoping you'll use it for. I'm going to entrust you with this. Says, "It will be like a man who called his servants, and entrusted his wealth to them. To one, he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag. Each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went out at once and put his money to work, and gained five bags more. So also the one who had two bags of gold, gained two more. But the man who had received one bag, went off dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master's money. After a long time, the master of those servants returned, and...(And you're going to want to remember this phrase.) settled accounts." You get what Jesus is saying? Yeah, I'm going to explain to you how life works, and there's going to be this moment when we're going to sit down and talk about how you lived. We're going to settle accounts, we're going to say, hey, I trusted you with, I put under your supervision. How did you do with what I entrusted to you? We're going to settle accounts.

Linn Winters: 17:44 Verse Twenty, "The man who had received five bags of gold, brought the other five. Master he said, you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more. His master replied, well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful with a few things, I'll put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness. The man with two bags of gold also came. Master he said, you entrusted me with two bags of gold. See, I have gained two more. His master replied, well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful with a few things, I'll put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness. Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. Master he said, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid, and I went out and I hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you. His master replied, you wicked, lazy, servant so you knew. You knew that I harvested, where I have not sown, and gathered where I have not scattered seed. Well then you should've put my money on deposit with the bankers so that when I returned, at the very, very, very least, I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him, and give it to the one who has 10 bags. For whoever has, will be given more, and they will have an abundance. And whoever does not have, even what they have, will be taken from them. And throw this worthless servant outside into the darkness, where there'll be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Linn Winters: 19:36 So who's who? I mean, when Jesus tells the parable, who is Jesus referring? Who are the characters in the story? Who's the rich guy who entrusts his servants with his wealth, and then goes off for a while? Who's the rich guy? It's God. It's God. And Jesus in that moment says, Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, let me explain to you something. Here's how life works. God entrusts his stuff. He takes what is his, he gives it to his servants, that his servants would use it for him. Who are the servants in the story? Us, you and me, you and I are the servants. So Jesus is saying, hey, here's what, understand life. God entrusted you, God gave you what you have. And his hope was, his desire was, that you would leverage that for things that really matter. That you would use this really, really, really wisely, and that the kingdom would be better, and that Jesus would be more famous. He in entrusted you.

Linn Winters: 21:12 Here's maybe a better question. Of the three servants, which one are you most like? If you and I were to fit in the story right now? Which one's behavior would be most reflective of my behavior as a servant? What's the big deal? What's the big idea in the story? In other words, if you were going to write a thesis statement for the parable, what's the big overarching idea of the parable that Jesus is trying to teach? Are you ready? That none of us are owners, we are all managers. That everything we have, everything that's been given to us, you and I own none of it. It's actually been entrusted to us by God, with the hopes that we would manage it really well. Because you're ready for this? Because ownership never passed. When God gave it to us, ownership was not transferred. Do you doubt that? Go back to the passage real quick, let's start in verse 14 again. Watch this. "Again it will be like a man going on a journey. Who called his servants and entrusted them with his wealth. To one, he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags of gold, and to another one, one bag each according to his ability, and then he went on a journey. And the man who had received five bags of gold went out at once and put his money to work, and gained five more bags."

Linn Winters: 23:00 It says he put his money to work. Who's his is his. I mean you get what I'm saying is his money, is that referring to the servant, and now ownership is transferred and the servant owns the five bags? Or is his God's money? And he gained five more. So also the one who had two bags of gold, gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid whose money? The master's money. Ownership, you ready? Ownership never transferred. It's what Jesus was trying to teach it. Maybe this helps. How many of you when you were growing up had a room of your own? Okay. Chances are you said that my room. Matter of fact, when your grandparents came over, and maybe you'd have some new model airplanes from the ceiling, or maybe you'd just put your new Barbie House in the corner, and you said your grandparents come see my room. Matter of fact, some of us had a sign on the door that said, My room, stay out, especially little brothers, right? We did that right? Because as children, we actually believed that was our room. We believed ownership had transferred, and we owned the room. If that were true, if you actually owned your room, your bedroom, then how come your parents could say to you, clean your room. I mean, think about that for a second. If it was actually your room, then everything in there would be yours to do with whatever you wanted. If it was really your room. How come your parents had the authority to say to you, clean your room? Because ownership never actually transferred. When you grew up, when you graduated high school, and actually moved out of your house. I know that's a hard concept for millennials, but some of us actually did that. I'm sorry, cheap blow. Pretend that when you moved out of your house, when you moved out of your house, how many of you sublet your room? Why not? Because ready? As you got older, and you became more mature, you began to realize ownership had never transferred. It was still actually your parents room, you were simply managing it.

Linn Winters: 25:48 And you go, well, Linn, Linn, Linn, I get it, I get it, I get the illustration. It just simply doesn't apply. Because here's the deal, the reason that my room was still my parents, is because my parents bought and paid for the room. But you need to know Linn, everything I have, I've worked for, I have bought and paid for it. Linn if you knew the hours and hours and hours that I spent in school, sitting under teachers that were as boring as all get out. If you knew the late nights that I stood up studying for tests, and I'm just telling you, when I went in to take the calculus exam, Jesus was not in the room with me. And Linn, when I went out and applied for my job, I didn't see Jesus sitting in the chair next to me saying, hire him. I was there solo, I was the one that convinced the supervisor, I was right person. And look, I'm just telling you the deal that landed me that great commission, that was me, that was me. I'm the one that stayed up extra hours, I'm the one that took work home, I'm just telling you I landed that deal. Therefore, because I earned it all, it is all mine. I paid for it.

Linn Winters: 27:11 You realize that when you say that, you sound just like the one bag guy. Because after all, what did the one bag guy say? He said, master, I knew you were a hard man. You wanted me to do all the work, and then you were going to harvest something that you didn't sow. You were going to reap where you didn't even scatter seed. So on my hard work, and on my broken back, you were going to get a profit. So instead I took what you gave me, I stuck it in a hole, and I buried it. Because you realize he did not understand that ownership had not transferred. And what you and I want to say to the one bag guy, is wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, have you forgotten that you're a servant? Have you forgotten that you were given something to manage for the actual owner, and that their ownership never transferred. And think about this, who gave you the one bag in the first place, so that you even had something to work with? What do you mean God's a hard man? Wanting something when he didn't sow. Do you realize the only reason that you and I are in the game, is because God gave us life. The only reason that you and I are even playing the game, is because God put you here.

Linn Winters: 28:54 You ever noticed that when you start a game, you get startup money. Isn't that interesting, you didn't earn the startup money, it just gets given to you. You couldn't even make it around the board once without startup money, you'd go bankrupt if you tried to play the game without that. Do you realize God gave you startup money? God gave you God given talent. Why are you so good at math? How come you're so much more responsible, than any of your peers? Why does leadership come just like that? So all that capacity, all that ability that you're selling to Intel, where did that come from? Startup money, bag of gold. All those squares you landed on. That was just the roll of the dice, right? That was just luck. And all the opportunities that you've had, all the doors that have opened, and shut. All the moments when an opportunity came your way, and you were able to step into that, that was just dumb luck, right? I mean, there's no chance that was the hand of God in your life. And when this sinks in you suddenly go, I'm not an owner, I'm a manager.

Linn Winters: 30:40 And when you get this, are you ready for this? When you get this, that suddenly you don't own anything, you're simply managing it. Then this whole idea of the tithe, this whole taking 10 percent of what God has given me, and giving it back to God. That this physical movement of deciding he gets the first of everything I have, and I bring it to him before I spend it on anything. That decision, that physical movement, suddenly takes on deep, deep, deep spiritual meaning in my life. You realize God does this all the time, right? That he asks us to do something physically, that actually has deep, deep spiritual implications to it.

Linn Winters: 31:23 I'm going to help. Today, we got to watch baptism. What's baptism? I mean, what is baptism? Think about it. We take people, stand them in a tub of Chandler water, Chandler water. You don't even drink Chandler water, you have an RO system, or you get bottled water. So you know darn, darn, darn, darn, darn well that when we put a person in a baptistry, in Chandler water, there is nothing magical about the baptistry. It's a physical act, that has deep spiritual implications. Why? Because God knew that when someone became a Christian, when someone made this decision, they wouldn't know how to explain it to their friends, they wouldn't know how to tell their family members what they just did. So he said, I'll tell you what, do a physical thing of being baptized, that has deep, deep, spiritual reality. When someone stands in the water, here's what they're saying. I believe Jesus lived. Jesus is not a unicorn, and he's not Tinkerbell, Jesus was a real person. When we place that person under the water, they're saying, I believe that Jesus actually died. He didn't faint on the cross, he didn't pass out, he died. And then when we bring you back out of the water, you're declaring, I believe that Jesus literally came back to life and is alive today. It's a physical act, that has deep spiritual meaning.

Linn Winters: 33:08 What about communion? What do you think about it? Communion, that's just kind of strange, isn't it? We give you, you ready for this? We give you stale crackers, and we give you a little cups of Welch's grape juice, watered down. God forbid you drink the stuff straight, right? Watered down. And guys, look, look, look, we got it from Fry's. There's nothing spiritual about stale crackers, but it has deep spiritual significance. Because you ready for this? Because Jesus stood in front of his disciples and said, hey, this bread, this bread represents my body. This cup, this Cup represents my blood. And I'm about to go to a cross and pay for your sins, and every time you do this, you remember me. And when you and I take communion, guys, here's the statement. You ready for this? The statement that we make when we take this, is why we say to people, hey, if you haven't asked Jesus in your life yet, don't take communion. It doesn't mean anything to you. Because here's the statement of communion. I was never going to make it to heaven on my own. I couldn't be good enough. I couldn't go to church enough. I couldn't tithe enough. Right? I couldn't do anything. I needed a savior to come into my life, and then change me from the inside out. It's a simple physical act, that has huge spiritual implications.

Linn Winters: 34:42 And now we get to the tithe. And when you and I take that first 10 percent, and we walk and say, God, I'm giving this to you. That simple physical act says this. You Ready? I'm not the owner, I'm the manager. Ownership never transferred, it has always been yours. Simple physical act, huge spiritual implications. And guys, I'm just going to say to you, I believe that when you and I tithe, it has something to do that's more than money. Because what did Jesus say? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. And I believe in that moment, when we bring the tithe and go, God, look, I get it. I don't own my stuff, I don't own money. I believe there's an even deeper thing where we say, hey God, and I don't own me either. I'm a servant, I'm a manager of this life. It's a game changer.

Linn Winters: 35:58 When you all go, whoa, whoa, whoa, I think I may have been playing this all wrong. So let me ask you a question. Are you playing the game today? Are you living life today like an owner, or like a manager? Because you realize those two people ask completely different questions about their stuff. See, here's what an owner asks. An owner says, what can I do with all my stuff, and how do I get more? That's an owner's question. Here's what a manager asks. I wonder what God was hoping I would do with his stuff. When you bought your house, did you ever stop in that moment, and ask the manager question? Did you ever stop in that moment and say, I wonder what God was hoping I would do with this house? I wonder if he was hoping I would hold a small group here for Bible study? Or maybe he was hoping with that amazing backyard, and the swimming pool, and the volleyball court, maybe he was hoping that like every quarter I would let the students come over and use my backyard. Or maybe that room that I don't have anything to put in, it just sits there with boxes. Maybe he was hoping that I'd put an intern in there, and let them come and learn ministry at Cornerstone, and then go out from here. I wonder what God was hoping I would do with my house when he gave it to me. What about your car? Did you ever stop to think and go, hey, I wonder what God was hoping I would do with my car? I mean maybe grab a whole bunch of neighborhood kids. And bring them to church every Sunday morning. Or maybe pile them in and bring him to Kaboom on Tuesday night. I wonder what God was hoping I would do with this car, when he gave me my car. I wonder what God was hoping I would do with that pay raise, when he gave me more, I wonder what he was hoping I would do with my more.

Linn Winters: 38:21 Game changer number two, remember there's the guy who's got five bags of gold, there's the guy who's got two bags of gold. What did they do? What did they do, that all of a sudden they end up with more. What was it about their behavior, and where they invested their money, that all of a sudden brought them all sorts of return on the money?

Linn Winters: 38:45 How do you win this game? And here's the answer, you ready? You have to move piles. If you're going to win this game, if you're going to live your life in a way that matters, you have got to learn how to move piles. Matter of fact, grab your bibles, go with me really quick because Jesus talks about this. It's in Matthew Chapter six. If you closed your Bible, just go to the back, and come to the left again. Matthew chapter six. We've kind of hit all around this verse a little bit together. It's Matthew chapter six, here's what Jesus said about piles. He says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." He says, hey, there's an earthly pile. There's a pile that just has to do with stuff that's here. And then he says, "But instead store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." There's a second pile, and eternal heavenly pile. And then he says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." So watch this, Jesus says, look, look, look, look, there's a pile, this is a pile that all your friends build up, this is the pile with that bumper sticker on the back of their car that says, he with the most stuff wins. He says, look, everybody you know is building this pile. And Jesus said, here's the problem, everything you put in this pile burns up. See, moths come in, and rust eats away, and rats come in, this is a zero sum pile. You just need to know that everything you put into this pile eventually fades away. It goes away, it doesn't last. This pile is zero sum. You cannot win the game, putting stuff in this pile. But here's the reality, right? We've all got mortgages, right? So we're putting stuff in this pile. And we've all got car payments, right? And so we're putting stuff in this pile. And then we've got like really, really important stuff, right? Like cable, and so stuff is going into this pile.

Linn Winters: 41:21 Now here's the deal, look, look, look, Jesus is not freaked out because some of our money, as a matter of fact most of our money, he's not freaked out by this. Matter of fact, he knew that. He knew that going in, and the other day my son bought a house. I was thrilled that my son bought a house. I'm just going to say, I think when you and I are able to acquire, God goes, hey, that's great man, I love that you got better car. That's good. That works. That's good. But Jesus just simply says, you realize you will never, never, never win the game, because everything you put in this pile burns up, so be sure, be sure, be sure that you get some of it in the eternal pile. He says, take a 10th, take 90 percent. You can just burn it up, but take a 10th, and make sure that it gets to eternity. And guys here's the really cool part about this, God has the power and the wonder to take white pieces of paper with green ink on it, and turn it into something that matters.

Linn Winters: 42:31 Like the story we heard about Sarah. The life change that we hear when people get baptized. What's happened in your life? God takes that which would normally burn up, and all of a sudden he makes it have eternal significance, because he uses it for the kingdom. And people who are broken get healed, and people who are lost and found, and suddenly it matters. And you and I, think about this, in that moment join God in his mission. Because we shifted piles, because we moved something from that which only lasts for a moment, to that which matters for eternity.

Linn Winters: 43:20 And then you ready for this? Remember I said you need to remember he said, hey, every one of us is going to give an account. Right? Every one of us is going to sit down, and God's going to say, hey, how did you do at this? Some of us are going to stand in that moment, and God's going to go, you've been tipping me. What you've been giving me looks like what you give the bag boy, when you get done with a game of golf. You didn't understand that I'm the owner, and you were the manager, and I simply asked, could you get part of it over here?

Linn Winters: 44:15 Do you want to hear something really, really cool? Not only does God allow us to join him, and do life change with this. He then turns around and says, if you'll simply do what I'm asking, I'll reward you. If you'll just simply obey, I'll reward this behavior. And guys, look what that reward is, I don't know. I don't know what, maybe it's money. Maybe you say, hey, you know I'm going to trust God with the tithe, and I'm tight on finances, and maybe he provides. I don't know, maybe he will provide money. But what if his blessing is that you're going to get to a major decision point in your life, and you can't see that if you go this way, that way is going to be so good, so positive, such an amazing decision. But if you choose that, there is nothing but heartache and despair. And what if God says, hey, because you've been faithful to me, when you stand at the decision point, I will make my plans so clear that you can't possibly make the bad decision. Wouldn't that be a blessing? Maybe God's blessing is a friend, a friend that sticks closer than a brother, a friend who sticks with you in the hardest and the hardest and the hardest of times. And maybe God just says, hey, look, you've been faithful to me, I'll find a friend that will be faithful to you, because you're heading for some times when you're going to need a friend like that. Wouldn't that be a blessing? What about for some of us in the room who've got habits, and maybe even addictions. And God says, hey, because you've been faithful to me, I'm going to give you the strength. I'm going to give you the strength that you don't possess, we're going to get you to the other side of this thing, and you couldn't possibly do that in your own strength. Would that be a blessing?

Linn Winters: 46:08 Look, I don't know what the blessing is. I just know that Jesus just said, look, if you will simply be faithful, if you'll just do what I asked you to do, I promise. I promise. I promise to bless you for simply doing that. Think about this for a second, if you had an employer who said to you, hey, if you'll just do your job average, I'll give you all sorts of pay raises. How cool would that be? If you'll do your job average, I'll bless you like crazy. If I had an employer like I'm going, wait, wait, wait, wait, if I do my job average, you're going to give me tons of pay raises. What if I do my job exceptional? I mean, what would you do then? When this sinks in that you and I get invited to join God in eternal, that everything we can leverage that side, God's going to bless our socks off for.

Linn Winters: 47:11 The next time the offering plate came forward, you wouldn't be thinking to yourself in that moment, Oh God, you're a hard man. You're trying to reap where you haven't sown, God. You're trying to take part of what I've earned, and take it away from me. You'd say are you kidding? This is my opportunity. This is my opportunity to join God, and take that which burns up, and make it something that lasts. This is my opportunity to do and obey God, and to see myself as a manager, and have him bless me for simply remembering who I was. And you would say, man, thank you, bring that offering plate on. So let me ask you a question. Are you playing the game like an owner, or like a manager? Because you and I get one play through, we get one shot at this, and then it all goes back in the box. Literally. Are you playing the win? Are you remembering the game changers that Jesus told us?

Linn Winters: 48:47 Let's pray. So I'm just going to ask you a quietly, with your heads bowed, and this is just you and me, owner, manager? Of the three servants, which one's most like you today? And if you have a game changing [inaudible], if all the sudden you go oh my goodness, wouldn't that change how you played the game? And here's my prayer for you today. That every one of us who names the name of Jesus Christ, would decide in this moment to become tithers. Just say, God, look, I get it. I get that through that physical act of giving you the 10 percent, I say something deeply spiritual about what I believe. That I believe you're the owner, and I'm not. And not just to buy stuff, but the owner of me. If for no other reason, I would tithe for that. Dear Lord Jesus, we get one life to live, help us to live this life really, really well. Help us to be able to stand on that day of giving an account, and say, God, here's the five bags you gave me, look at the five more. Look how I was generous. Look how I I took, and I gave, and I consistently tithed. And look at the lives that were changed in my church, look at the transformation that happened because I leveraged the pile that burns, to the pile that's eternal. God help every one of us in this room to never again live as an owner, but to leverage our lives as managers. And this I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286