Scripture: Matthew 25:14-30, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Matthew 24:42-46
Date: 06/13/2009 
Lesson: 11
When we realize that all good things come from God, we learn the importance of caring for the things God has given us.
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Good morning and welcome. Happy Sabbath. Welcome to Sacramento central church. Those of you that are joining us here in the sanctuary, our visitors, those of you who are joining us from across the country, around the world, we're glad you're with us this morning. And as our tradition is, we want to praise the Lord, start our service with songs of praise to our Lord.

This morning our first song will be 499, "what a friend we have in Jesus." This is a request from jizelle in antigua and barbuda, sophia from barbados, victor from brazil, catherine and nathan from California, ningtu from Canada, kamesha from jamaica, mary ann from Maine, janice from mauritius, melissa from New Jersey, shirwin and mimin from Philippines, marcus and elizabeth from singapore, grace from tennessee, David and alfonso from Texas and ronald from trinidad and tobago. We want to thank you for this request. We want to sing to our best friend now. We'll sing verses 1, 2 and 3... [Music] Amen.

Let's find a solace in the arms of Jesus, amen. If any of you have a hymn request, we invite you to go to our website, and click on the "contact" link and you can go through the steps there and if The Song is in the hymnal, we will sing it some day on the air. Our next song hymn number 198, debbie always puts this in when I'm leading because she knows this is one of my most favorite songs, one of my most favorite hymns in the hymnal. And I have good company because we have a lot of requests for it. We have cassandra in Alaska, rota and jessica and ariel in australia, tony and alma in Canada, del, roseann and inez in england, eliesha in england.

And she says, "I'm eight and I like your program, especially The Songs." I especially like The Songs too. And claudia in florida, deonne in grenada, petura, anikki, kara and roger in jamaica, charity from Michigan, harald from the netherlands antilles, dolly from New York, bonnie from new zealand, Sarah from Pennsylvania, cassandra from st. Lucia, carolotte in saint vincent and the grenadines, anna-gail from South Carolina, polyene from tennessee, and alwyn from zambia. And I want to thank you all for requesting my favorite song, hymn number 198. We're gonna sing the first, the second and the fourth stanzas.

.. [Music] Amen. Our dear Heavenly Father, we invite your presence to be here with us today. Your amazing love that died for us, Lord Jesus, we thank you. Lord, please help us to not take any of that for granted.

Remind us today how much you love us, and I just pray that as we study Your Word this morning that Your Word would accomplish that which you intend this morning and that it would touch our hearts. Thank you so much. Please be with pastor white this morning and everybody that can hear his voice, may you speak through him. We thank you. In Jesus' Name, amen.

And now pastor white will give us our lesson study this morning. Good morning. Thank you, jennifer, for that beautiful song "amazing love." That's certainly something to sing about, isn't its? We want to welcome all of you here this morning in Sacramento and all of you who are joining us from wherever you are joining us by radio, internet, television. We thank you that you are tuning in this morning. We have so many things to be thankful for and one of these things to be thankful for is to be involved in evangelism; is that true? That's what we're called to do.

In fact, central church being associated with Amazing Facts, we get to be privileged to be involved in evangelism around the world and it's very exciting to hear some of the reports and the e-mails we get of people's lives people touched by the message of the truth of God's Word from every corner of this world. But you know in this year of evangelism, we focus on evangelism right here in Sacramento very heavily. We have Bible workers here. All of us pastors are involved in giving Bible studies ourselves, and we have the church plant, as many of you know, I hope all of you know we have a church plant in Granite Bay and the church plant is growing. There's at least 250 almost on average attending out there already, so God is truly blessing.

They just wrapped up some meetings out there, in fact today they're having baptisms. I think they're having eight or nine or ten this week and then some more again next week. Praise the Lord, right? That's just wonderful. That's what you hope to hear when you have meetings. So God has blessed us here in Sacramento.

In this year of evangelism right here in Sacramento central church with these baptisms that will make at least 50 baptisms for the year. That is something to rejoice and be glad in. So we take evangelism very seriously as we should. Stewardship is the subject this morning. Oh, and everybody's just jumping up and down in their seat and saying, "yea, stewardship, I get to hear about money all morning.

" No, no, there's more to stewardship than money, right? But you know how we preachers are, and it's kind of like the lesson is, we try to touch on all the other areas of stewardship before we get to money but everybody has in the back of their mind, when's he gonna get to talking about the real issue? I know he's gonna get to talking about money. Well, I don't know, maybe you disagree with that, maybe you don't even think that but it is an important subject, is it not? Stewardship of our time, of our resources, of everything that we have, we are stewards of all that God gives to us. If by chance you cringe when you think that we're gonna study stewardship, I say, boy, give it another thought because stewardship has one of the most amazing promises in all of God's Word. It's found in Malachi 3. You've read it, you've heard it.

If you are faithful with your tithes and your offerings, what is God going to do? He's going to open up, what? The windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing. Now windows, he says windows instead of doors. I like that because windows gives us the idea of transparency, right? We like that word. In fact that's been the buzz word of the new administration in our government here in the United States. Promised transparency.

Well that's a debate whether he's fulfilling that we won't get into that this morning but it is a wonderful word when you think about God being transparent. When he says something from heaven, the center of the universe from the sanctuary in heaven, it's like it's being said through windows very transparent. Does God mean what he says? I want to share a couple of verses with you in conjunction with the verse we just mentioned in Malachi 3. In fact, would somebody--i think I handed out so many texts this morning. Vicki says, "no, no, we can't find that many people.

" But I think somebody has this one, 2 Kings 7:1-2, does somebody have that one? "Then Elisha said, 'hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord tomorrow about this time, a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of samaria.' So an officer on whose hand the King leaned answered the man of God and said, 'look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?' And he said, 'in fact you shall see it with your eyes but you shall not eat of it.'" Okay, so there you have an example of a promise being made, somebody questioning the promise saying, "oh, if the Lord would have windows in heaven open up, maybe that could happen." Well, we find out in that story it definitely did happen because the word of the Lord is transparent, right? It did happen and it's an amazing story. Go on and read the rest of that story some time today. The next text is Genesis 7:11 where we have that terminology. "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

" Okay, thank you. What happened when the windows of heaven were opened in the time of the flood? Great water came down upon this earth according to the Word of God, right? Amazing things happen when the windows of heaven open up, and you can claim the same amount of amazing thing happening within your life if you are faithful with your tithes and in our offerings. Is that amazing or what? Yeah, that's a wonderful connection there so I don't think it gets any better than that. But let's get into our lesson, first of all, we do need to consider the concept of what is stewardship and steward is. And a book was mentioned in the opening day exercises there about what it is not, and I think that he hit it right because when you look up the word "steward," it does mean much more than some of those words he listed.

And according to webster's dictionary it says, "a person morally responsible for the careful use of money, time, talents or other resources especially with respect to the principles or needs of a community or group." And that's very fitting to what we're talking about this morning, isn't it? And I think mr. Rodin is correct when it says, "caretaker fails to capture the responsibility laid on the steward, manager seems inadequate to describe the relationship between the owner and the steward. Custodian is too passive a term. Agent, ambassador, warden, guardian, all these terms fall short to what a steward is." Okay, well, we want to turn to a very famous chapter when it's talking about talents, Matthew 25. And if you turn there with me this morning, this is one I kept back because as I said, I was just giving too many to vicky to hand out, so I'll share the ones from Matthew 25 this morning as we look to this wonderful chapter in regards to talents.

Chapter 25 of Matthew beginning with verse 14, Jesus is talking, it's red lettering. "For the Kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one to each according to his own ability. And he immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with him and made another five talents and likewise he who had received two gained two more also.

But he who had received one went and dug in the ground and hid his Lord's money." And I'm sure we remember all that transpired with these three individuals. We'll get into that a little more as we go on in our lesson this morning. But first of all, I believe when we--the world thinks of talents, it thinks of them quite differently than the church thinks of talents. When the world thinks of talents, it thinks of things like "American idol," isn't that right? The "American idol" is a person with all these talents of music and singing. Well, they definitely have skills, but can they say that they're using that skill as a talent for the Lord? What about we think sports heroes? They have such skill in their sports.

They're so marvelous. They are so talented, but is that a legitimate talent for the Lord? I think we actually need to add one area to Sunday's lesson. Sunday's lesson listed, you know, four reality checks. One we all have talents. Two, we do not all have the same talents.

Three, some refuse to use their talents. And four, not using your talents is serious business. But I think we need to add the fifth one and that is not all skills fall into the category of legitimate Christian talents. I don't believe that we can say that, not all skills are legitimate Christian talents. To say that someone on "dancing with the stars," I guess that's another famous program on television today, has skills in dancing that that would be a legitimate talent for the Lord.

I don't think we could probably say that. I don't think it makes it a legitimate talent for the Lord. Now I've searched for talent because for a certain skill because I've told you probably before, maybe more than once, that baseball, I really liked baseball as a kid growing up. It was my life. I lived for baseball.

And then I became a Christian and so I thought, well, I'm gonna search the Bible and see what it has to say about baseball. I couldn't find too many passages of Scripture about baseball in the Bible, and I didn't find it in the list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And so I'm wondering about skills in baseball but then I want to show you to what great lengths some people go to try to make you think that a certain skill is a legitimate skill that they can praise God for and so on and so forth. I actually did find some information in the Bible about baseball. There's quite a bit in there really.

Let me share it with you. In the big-inning, eve stole first and adam stole second. And then later on you read about gideon rattling the "pitchers" and Goliath was put out by David. Elijah popped out which caused Elisha to pinch hit and the prodigal son made a home run. There's a lot in the Bible about baseball, wouldn't you say? Well, I'm not sure if that makes baseball a legitimate talent for the Lord, do you think so? Anymore than a text that says you need to deal justly with your brother makes poker playing legitimate, right? No, I don't think so.

But there are some legitimate talents. Is hospitality a legitimate talent for the Lord? Absolutely. How about acts of kindness, giving Bible studies, teaching, preaching, all kinds of wonderful talents can be used for the Lord. Anything that would help advance the Kingdom of God, I think falls into the category of legitimate talent, wouldn't you? So I think we get the drift and the lesson points out that we all have been given talents. Helen keller, you know the story about her, she couldn't see she, she couldn't hear and of course early on she couldn't talk but she learned to talk very well, didn't she? But as people knew her early in her life, they probably at least thought in the back of their mind, this is a person that has no talents, can't do anything hardly.

But did she have talents? Wow, did she ever have talents. Did she develop those talents? Was it hard work for her to develop those talents? It was excruciatingly hard work, and that's where the rub comes in, doesn't it? Because to develop and to use talents takes effort and that's why number three is in our list this morning. Many people refuse to use their talents because it does take so much effort. But Jesus gave the story to drive home the point that everyone has a talent. And probably the saddest commentary you can think about is when people say, "oh, I don't have any talents.

" And they just say that over and over and over again. "I don't have any talents I could use for the Lord." That's not true, so what I think we need to consider on this first reality is that it's not enough to realize that we all have talents. It's not enough to accept that as a fact. We need to study and pray and analyze and seek how we can use and improve the talents God gives us. Now this doesn't need to be some public thing that we begin boasting and bragging about ourselves.

"Well, I have the talent of--" and going around that way. No, it's an honest admission to God that: thank you, Lord, you gave me this talent and by your grace, I want to use it for you and your kingdom. It's a private thing between he and i. When it comes to talents, I think we're somewhat like the man who was driving after he had first got his driver's license. He was driving his dad's car and he got too close to the center line and he clipped a car coming in the other direction.

Off into the ditch he went. And it ruined the front fender, the two doors on one side, the rear fender. And after he got out he--after realized everybody was okay, he went down in the ditch and he prayed "oh Lord, I pray that this didn't happen." And he opened his eyes and it had happened. Well, this time he closed his eyes again, he squinted his eyes and prayed again, "oh Lord, I pray this didn't happen." He opened his eyes and it did happen. Well, we do have talents, it happens.

God gives them to you. The quickest way to get out of using a talent, I suppose, and the hard work of developing them is to think that we don't have any. "Well, I don't have any talents, therefore I don't have to use them." No, God gives you talents. Everybody has talents, right? And we need to use them for the Lord. Some people say, "oh, I could never give a Bible study.

" You may have the sweetest personality in the world that would make you one of the best Bible study givers in the world, but if you don't use it, it's a sad thing. Everyone has talents. Second the reality, no, we do not have all the same talents. One man had five, one man had two, one man had one. And the lesson points out the important thing is not the quantity of talents we possess but what we do with whatever we do possess.

And there's a story in the Bible. Let's turn over to Mark 12. Mark 12:41 and this is another one I kept for myself because there's several more text to go in just a little bit. Mark 12--chapter 4:41. Chapter 12:41, "now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury and many who were rich put in much.

Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which made a quadrans. So he called his disciples to himself and said to them, 'assuredly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury. They all put out of their abundance but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.'" And I think we would all agree, this lady's influence has been immense over the last 2,000 years and perhaps the talent of the two mites is not nearly as extraordinary as the talent she had of willingness to give. I believe she was probably a woman that her family could count on. If there was a need, she was gonna do everything she could help to fill that need.

If there was a need in the church, in the neighborhood, she was a kind of woman that was willing to give. That is a talent, isn't it? Give of yourself to fill a need around you. Well, going back to our chapter in Matthew 25, the third reality that someone refuses to use their talent as we read. This third man received the talent, went out and buried it. Now the lesson says some may never recognize the talents they have.

And maybe it's just a matter of semantics, but I would say the person in this story had to recognize the talent that he had because it was actually given to him and he actually received the talent and went out and buried it. So I believe more often than not, we know the talents we have but we just simply refuse to use them for the glory of God--we go out and bury them. You know what talents you have. You know that you're good in certain things. I believe we know quite often, could be a smile and greet people.

They have talents, that's a talent. Be wonderful if we all had a bertoldo di giovanni in our lives. Do you know who bertoldo was? Bertoldo? Well, he first of all was a pupil of donatello, the greatest sculptor of his time. But that's not the most important thing that made him famous. He was michelangelo's teacher, and michelangelo came to him when he was 14 years of age.

And bertoldo recognized a very important thing about--first of all, he recognized that michelangelo had some amazing talents for a 14-year-old in this area of sculpture. But he was also very smart enough to know that people who are blessed with talents to begin with often get lazy about those talents. It's easy to use them just on the surface level, and so he really pressed him to develop his talents and pursue his talents and to really refine those talents. One day he came into the studio where michelangelo was working on just kind of toying around with a sculpture there that was way beneath his skills, and bertoldo came in, went over to where he was and he took a hammer and he smashed that work to pieces. And he said something very important.

I want to share what he said. "As he took the hammer and smashed that work to pieces, he boldly proclaimed, 'michelangelo, talent is cheap, dedication is costly.'" And that's what it takes when it comes to using our talents, isn't it? You may be--you may have a talent but if you aren't using it and dedicating it to God, then we all lose out. The world loses out. You lose out, the church loses out and the world loses. Well getting back to chapter 24, chapter 25 of Matthew.

Let's go back to 25 and jump in on verse 24. "Then he who had received one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' But his Lord answered and said to him, 'you wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed, so you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers and at my coming, I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents.

For to everyone who has more will be given and he will have abundance. But from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away,' and cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'" Now do you feel scared into using your talents after reading something like that? Is that the reason God put that in his holy word to scare us into using our talents? I don't think that's the best motivation to use your talents. I think we ought to be thankful that God is very upfront with us and tells exactly what's gonna happen in every case, in every situation. But I think serving God with our talents should be done from a proper motivation of "I want to choose to use my talent for the Lord.

" Now, we need to move on because time just ticks away real fastly. We need to move on to the next area of stewardship and that is Monday's, entitled "time." How much time do you have? Well, all of us today possess the same amount of time for today. If you live throughout this entire day, we all are on equal footing. We all have the same amount of time. Wasn't there a song once that said, "oh, if I could only put time in a bottle" or something like that? Yeah, okay you've heard that.

I suspect, I don't know, I guess it was trying to save time. If I could only save time and keep time from Marching on so rapidly. Can't do that, can you? Time Marches on. What you do with your time is important to use it now while you have the time. I remember preaching a sermon once, I can't really remember much about the sermon except for the theme thought and it was this, God is neither too slow nor too fast.

He's just right. When you pray to God and you ask for him to do something, sometimes we think he's way too slow or other times we think he's moving way too fast for us. We can't keep up. But if you have genuine faith, genuine faith tells us that he moves at exactly the right pace, neither too slow nor too fast, and that's the kind of balance I think we need when it comes to time. One end of the pendulum shows a person totally wasting his time and that's a sad thing when people waste their time, waste their life.

And the other end of the pendulum where people can work themselves into a real paranoid frenzy because they're not using their time just as much as they should use their time. There's the ends of the pendulum that we need to find balance. And what better way to find balance than to look to the perfect role model, Jesus Christ? We have some text this morning, somebody has Matthew 4:23. "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people." Okay, while you're handing the mic to whoever has Luke 4:16, I will read Mark 1:29-31. "Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and andrew with James and John.

But Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever and they told him about her at once. So he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up and immediately the fever left her and she served him." Now Luke 4:16. "And he came to nazareth where he had been brought up and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up for to read." Thank you very much. Now John 12:2, who has that one? Right over here in the front row. Keep passing it on over.

John 12 and we want to read verse 2. "There they made him supper, and Martha served but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with him." Okay, so as we went through these verses, you find Jesus in a variety of settings, right? You also find him in John 2 attending a wedding where he performed his first miracle. So you find Jesus in the home of his friends. We find him going to church on the Sabbath. You find him going to social gatherings such as weddings.

We find him a very balanced person, a very balanced life. Balance is important for optimum use of time. James white, one of the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church used to say, "I'd rather burn out than rust out." Now while we can acknowledge his tremendous commitment to God and to the church, it's too bad he didn't find the proper balance and he could have, you know, he kind of broke down physically and even kind of had a nervous breakdown sort of for a while, was nursed back to health. But he could have probably lived longer and done more in the long run if he found that balance for the Lord. It's kind of like the story of the tortoise and the hare, right? If you pace yourself, pace yourself.

On the other hand, it's easy to talk about. Well, you're working so much that you need to take time off and pretty soon you find people taking more time off than they do working. That happens occasionally. Now we need to move on to Tuesday where we want to talk about being stewards of our body. Somebody has Corinthians 6:19-20.

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and you are not your own?" Verse 20, "for you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's." Okay, thank you very much, les. Being a good steward of our body takes a great deal of the last talent that we talked about, time. If you're going to be a good steward of your body, it takes time to exercise, it takes time to eat the right kinds of food in the right proportions and so forth. And but one of the big issues brought out in the lesson was the context in which this verse is used. It's talking about the sexual impurity that existed in the church there at corinth, in the city of corinth.

And certainly we find much application for it in our world today, do we not? Sexual impurity. One of the big issues, of course, of our day is gay marriage in light of this subject of sexual purity. If somebody has Romans 1:24-29 that's right up here in the front row. Actually when it comes to this subject of gay marriages and so forth, I think all you really need to do is read this verse and then that should be the end of discussion. Romans 1:24-29.

"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves, who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections, for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers.

" Thank you very much. Don't you think that that should be end of sentence, end of discussion, that's it? Seems like it very clear. An important word for us again when it comes to being stewards of our body is balance. Sometimes people can become obsessed about health and health reform and so much so that it causes stress that it becomes more of a problematic situation than the things that they are obsessing over. Now please don't go get me wrong on this, it's not to diminish things we ought to avoid but stress can be more hazardous than an article of food that may be somewhat bad for us.

Now don't go away saying pastor white says it's okay to eat wrong kinds of food. That's not what we're saying. You should do the very best you can eating the right kinds of food but don't obsess over anything because if you become fanatical about it, the obsession and the stress that it causes becomes worse than the problem itself. And you probably ran across people like that at times, fanatical. When it comes to healthful living, there are hundreds and it has to do a lot with money, hundreds of programs out there that vie for your attention, want you to try their products and, you know, just becomes very convoluted after a while.

It's like the man who ordered a tree house. When he got the equipment it was one of those put together yourself type things, eww, put together yourself. So he took out all the parts, gonna make his tree house. When he got all the parts laid out there, he realized it wasn't the parts for a tree house, it was the parts for a sailboat. So the next day he sent this angry e-mail to the company and they send him back a message telling him how sorry they are for the mistake.

But they said however, they went on to say, "it might make you feel better to consider the fascinating possibility that somewhere today there is a man out on a lake trying to sail your tree house." And sometimes when it comes to these programs, we feel like a man out on the pond, on the lake trying to sail our boat with a tree house, don't we? You can spend your money because they think--they make you think like the only way to have perfect health is to use their products. So how can we know? Well, can I suggest to you that there's been a plan around for 6,000 years that is the best plan? It's found in God's Word and it's been kind of boiled down by weimar in what's called newstart. Have you ever heard of newstart? Yeah, it's a wonderful program, "n" for nutrition, "e" for exercise, "w" for water, "s" for sunlight, "t" for temperance, "a" for air, "r" for rest and "t" for trust in divine power. Does that pretty well cover what you need to do to take care of your Bible? And there's all kinds of instructions in God's Word to help you do that. Now when I was a child, I didn't know anything about this.

I didn't--never had studied the Bible and didn't know anything about healthful living and therefore I was sick a lot, actually. I had strep throat, I don't know how many times a year. I had rheumatic fever. I had a touch of polio. I was not a very healthy person.

When I became a Christian and I found out about these things, it made me excited but I have to admit I've gotten wrapped up a time or two in some of these programs and these products that make you think that's what you need only to realize, I need to go back to the basics. Go back to newstart. Follow those principles and you'll be a lot better off, can you agree with that? Now is the health message the plan of salvation? No, it's part of it. We are saved by grace through faith and living as healthful as possible is living out our faith, isn't it? In practical ways. Now you might have known people now and then that kind of try to make the health reform message the Gospel message.

It's part of the Gospel message, but it's not the message. Mark twain might have had these kind of individuals in mind when he said, "be careful about reading health books, you might die of a misprint." He kind of liked to dig at people who were healthful minded, I guess, and maybe that was okay because, what does the Bible say? A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, so he probably brought a chuckle to people here and there. Before we go on to our next important area on Wednesday, I want to leave with you one very practical bit of advice. Now I know you come to Sabbath school because you like practical advice, right? How many like practical advice? Okay, here it is. One line practical advice, never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

That's just a little practical advice for you, don't do that, okay? I know you're glad you came for that. Let's move on to Wednesday's, our material possessions. Somebody has Deuteronomy 8:18, who has that? Deuteronomy 8:18. "But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day." Okay, thank you very much. And Psalms 50:12.

"If I were hungry I would not tell thee, for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof." Thank you very much. Now let me ask you a question, do people, generally, do people who work hard, generally speaking, do they usually get more in life than people who don't usually do much? Generally speaking that's true, isn't it? And when you put the two texts together, it even shows us that when we work hard and use the talents God gives us, it's even he who gives us these talents in the first place so there's never ever anything to brag about. If you have a--if you have acquired a lot because of your hard work. God helped you to be working hard in the first place, right? Now to the fact number one to remember from today's lesson, fact number two is reminding us that God is to take first place in all of our lives. Now can you admit to that and say that and proclaim that as a fact but yet not live by it? Yeah, you can say, "God is to have first place in my life" but then not live by it.

That's a possibility. And--let's see. If we fall into that category, can we honestly say that we're getting that message today if we're not following him on fact number three on Wednesday? Fact number three says we should return to him at least 10% of our wealth. Now did you know that if only--if people only gave 10%, returned 10% to the church that we wouldn't have a church here because none of the tithe stays here to operate this church. So all the offerings that are given beyond the tenth help this church to function in all of its activities from Sabbath school to its evangelism.

So 10% is the minimum, and I haven't done any studies on central church. I'm not into doing that, but I understand that across the United States it's only somewhere around 50% of people who give an honest tithe that profess to be a Seventh-day Adventist. Now that's kind of sad in a way, in a strong way but it's not just sad that there's less money coming in, it's sad that people are missing out on the blessing. It's such a blessing to give to the Lord. You can't out give the Lord.

It's an impossibility. So if you've never given tithe, I would encourage you to give it a try and see if those windows don't open up for you. Maybe not in the first day or the first week, but you remain faithful and you will watch the windows open up. And then when you have given tithe, take the next step, give offerings and you will find that the windows open a little wider 'cause one of my favorite texts in Luke 6, I believe it is, 38. "Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down and running over.

" That's an amazing promise. You give and the promise is God will give it right back to you. And we could share hundreds of stories. We could go around this sanctuary and hear some of the most thrilling stories of how God blessed you when you gave tithe and offerings for the sake of his work. But none of those stories would mean as much to you as the one that you will experience yourself when you do it.

That's just a fact. Well, let's go on. We're running out of time. The more we give, the more we are blessed. It says on Wednesdays, I think that is a lesson we all believe.

Sometimes we kind of tend to forget it but I think it's an important one to forever remember. I'm not, certainly not a financially rich person but my business partner owns a thousand--all the cattle on a thousand hills. That's my business partner. I actually had that concept way before I was a baptized member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I began studying the Bible and somebody probably put that little thought in my mind, when you begin to pay tithe and give offerings, you are taking God as your business partner.

And I thought, wow, that's a pretty powerful thing to do. Why not take God as my business partner? And I've done that and I'm not rich. I don't suppose God ever designed for me to be rich. Rich, rich, rich. I'm really rich, actually in this world's goods as far as God's blessings.

But to have millions of dollars, it was probably never in his cards for that. But that's all right. I'm rich in the Lord, right? And once you do and render unto God what belongs to him, it brings tremendous satisfaction and peace. As I said Luke 6:38 says, "give and it shall be given unto you." That beats any of the promises wall street will give to you today, right? In fact they're not promising too much these days. There's a spanish saying.

I can't remember how you say it in spanish but it says this in english "where the crying is, there the gold is." Quite often when you have a big push on your stewardship, a stewardship financial drive in the church to build something sometimes the ones making the most racket about it, "no, we can't do that" are the ones who have the gold. And that's too bad because they could be just jumping in there and getting excited about it and everybody else would get excited about it. So, you know, let's don't fall into that category. Now I kind of overlooked something at the beginning of our lesson this morning and that was we were to let you know there is a free offer and the free offer for this week is number 736. It's a little book.

If you don't have it, you need to have it in your library. In fact, I brought it up in a staff meeting one time, I think we're gonna do this. We're gonna get enough of these books that if anybody doesn't have one here, we're gonna give you one. It's called "steps to Christ." It's one of the most powerful little books in the world. It's been printed and reprinted and reprinted.

It's wonderful. So all you have to do is go to or go to your telephone and use -866-788-3966. Now we didn't even get to Thursday's lessons about the time in which we're living. We--well, what does Thursday's says? Thursday's lesson says, while we are waiting, yes, while we are waiting. The time in which we are now in, we're waiting for the Lord to return.

So while we're in this waiting time, God wants us to use our talents for the upbuilding of his kingdom. Do you agree with that? Do you have talents? How many of you believe you have talents? I hope every hand is raised because you have talents. Now I'm not gonna ask you to raise your hand. How many of you are using your talents for the Lord and his kingdom? I hope we all are, and I hope we can use them more in the days ahead because God has raised up this church. He's brought you in so that you can use your talent to finish the work so that his son Jesus Christ can come back and take us home, right? That's what we're waiting for.

That's the waiting time. While we wait, let us work, let us rejoice and let us be glad. Amazing Facts ministry has been broadcasting the Gospel since 1966 when it aired its first radio program in baltimore, Maryland. Elder Joe Crews was the speaker/director for more than 30 years. At that time, no one dreamed that Amazing Facts would become a multifaceted worldwide ministry.

The heartbeat of the Gospel, pulsating from this ministry is heard today on radio, television, the internet, the correspondence Bible school, the publishing ministry and local and worldwide evangelism. Pastor Doug Batchelor stepped into the leadership of the ministry after Joe Crews died in 1994. Currently Amazing Facts is on more than 100 tv stations and satellite and cable networks throughout the United States, europe, australia, central and south America, the middle east and asia. For more information call -800-835-6906. If you've been encouraged by today's message and would like to know more of what God's Word says to you today, Amazing Facts invites you to visit our educational website at www. At Bible universe, you'll discover exciting truths that will fill you with peace and purpose. The mysteries of the Bible will unfold for you at your own pace. Visit today; expand your universe. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including "Amazing Facts presents." One location, so many possibilities,

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