Irrational

Part 1

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

Monday—Read II Corinthians 9:6-11 in the New Testament. In this passage the apostle Paul is teaching us the “cycle of supply,” which is a term you might not find in an economics textbook. Still, the cycle of supply is not entirely rational. It’s irrational. It’s not natural. It is supernatural. We give cheerfully, even joyfully, and God blesses that giving in enriching us, not so much with money, or additional prosperity, but with a heart of generosity. From that heart, comes the supply for giving. Make sense? As Jesus followers, we give to God first because God gave to us. Are you a joyful giver? Do you desire to become joyful in your giving? Instead, are you a reluctant giver? Do you only give because there seems to be a pressure to give? Which state of heart is God likely to spiritually enrich?

Tuesday—Read Deuteronomy 14:23 in the Old Testament. The “cycle of scarcity” is another phrase likely not found in an economics textbook. Excuse the expression, but there is a “cycle of scarcity,” nonetheless. Being always afraid that you don’t have enough will consume all you have—in no time at all. This is the cycle of scarcity. This scarcity mindset tells you there is not enough, so you begin, irrationally, to hoard or to use more than you need. How would you break out of such a cycle? Can any of us afford to stay in a cycle of scarcity?

Wednesday—Read Malachi 3:9-10 in the Old Testament. There is no other place in the entire Bible where God actually asks to be tested by us. Are you inclined to accept the challenge? God says give me your first fruit—your best, and he will bless the rest. Do you think it to be automatically an irrational act to test God? Is there a day that goes by where you don’t test God in some other way?

Thursday—Read Matthew 14:13-21 in the New Testament. This is the familiar story of the loaves and fishes. The disciples display their scarcity mindset by almost panicking about how they were going to feed 5,000 worshippers on just five loaves of bread and two lousy fishes! What was expected to have been clearly insufficient ended up, in God’s hands, being more than enough. Beyond the miracle described here, is there a more common lesson to be learned from the loaves and fishes? Is there more for you and me in this story?

Friday—Read Colossians 3:23-24 in the New Testament. Treasures on earth are not what we should be working toward. Do you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord that is far more valuable and that cannot be measured in filthy money? “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if you are working for The Lord, and not for human masters.” What lessons from this week will you be teaching to your children and grandchildren?

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Irrational

Part 2

Carl Junction Campus Message

Study Guide

Monday—Read Luke 10:30-37 in the New Testament. This is the story of the Good Samaritan. We spent some days on this passage earlier this year during the Neighboring sermon series, but it certainly bears closely on our current topic, Irrational Generosity. Notice that in verse 35 the Samaritan gives to the innkeeper two valuable coins as payment in advance should the injured man the Samaritan had brought to him need anything further. Do you think the Samaritan woke up that morning with the idea of helping someone that had been beaten and robbed? Was this giving budgeted? Was this giving something the Samaritan had planned for?

Tuesday—Read Isaiah 32:8 in the Old Testament. “But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.” Other than making a nice and tidy rhyme here, does this ancient aphorism give up responsible guidance on the subject of giving? This verse may also be translated as “Generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.” The rhyme is missing here, but is there any essential difference in the meanings?

Wednesday—Read Luke 6:36-38 in the New Testament. The passage ends with the words “For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” But the entire passage deals with equal measures of mercy, judgment, condemnation, and forgiveness. What else could be added to this list? Do we give in order to get? If we shy away from prosperity preaching, which at Saint Paul’s we do, what then do we do with the part that does “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap?”

Thursday—Read II Corinthians 9:6-11 in the New Testament. Because of what Jesus did, what will you be doing? This is the generosity question. How could Jesus have been more generous? What did Jesus ever hold back? What did Jesus save for a rainy day? How did Jesus give, but sacrificially?

Friday—Read Deuteronomy 15:7-8 in the Old Testament. This passage, in a nutshell, is what we do at Saint Paul’s. Because of what Jesus did, this is what we do. What do you think could happen when we as Jesus followers would give sacrificially? We can only imagine what God can do when we rise up and say because of what Jesus did, this is what we do. It is important to keep the challenge of giving, and giving generously, in front of us, for we are called to hold each other accountable, with grace and gentleness. What does God want to do through you?

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