It’s Better to Give than To Receive…Really?

By Matt Dawson


Jesus said (Acts 20:35) that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

I remember hearing this as a kid and not only disagreeing with the statement, but I struggled to understand WHY anyone would fall for such nonsense.

You might experience some “good feels” when giving a gift, but the reality is that most of us ENJOY the receiving of gifts just a bit more!

As a follow up to this idea we talked about Sunday, I really want to stress the fundamental difference between a lifestyle of giving versus the transaction of a gift.

When Jesus talked about giving of oneself, he would often use the same greek word used in John 3:16 (For God so loved the world that he GAVE…). Translated best it means “he did not reserve for himself.” The base understanding is that when we give, it’s a sacrifice because we could always just reserve it for ourselves – but instead we GIVE it to someone else.

Paul uses this same word several times in the latter part of Acts 20 as he expressed the “giving of his life” and the “example that He gave” to the church as an imitator of Christ. Giving is simply God’s nature and therefore a life of giving is a life imitating God.

Don’t miss this important distinction about this set of verses. Paul is describing a lifestyle of GIVING that was given to us by Jesus Christ.

TO GIVE is a selfless act of not reserving for oneself.
A GIFT is a transaction based on the value of what is being exchanged.

When we use the statement “It is better to give than to receive” and we are referring to a GIFT, then we only have the value of the gift to dictate our joy. If I give you a sandwich, I might feel good….but it’s just a sandwich. If I give you a car – there would be a significant increase in emotion because the gift is of such a high value.

But the joy of giving a gift wears off quickly. The experience of a gift exchange is short-lived (as we all experience around December 29th).

When we understand the context of this verse in Acts as a LIFE OF GIVING OUR LIVES – we see that the JOY we experience from giving has almost NOTHING to do with the value of a gift. It has EVERYTHING to do with the JOY that God is giving us as we are imitators of HIM!

The more I function and live like Jesus, the more Joy and Satisfaction I experience from Jesus in my life!

We mentioned in this series that Generosity is the Key to joy-filled, fully satisfied life! True JOY is not defined by the value of the gift that you are giving, but by the selfless act of the giver wanting to be more like Jesus.

So this Christmas season, don’t allow that verse (It’s more blessed to give than to receive) to run through your mind as you shop for presents and attribute it to a gift exchange. Allow yourself to start experiencing the JOY that comes from a GENEROUS LIFE and give yourself away to those in your circle of family and friends. Give your time, money, talents, and all that God has blessed you with to those in need around you. I PROMISE, regardless of the outcomes, you will begin to experience that self sustaining, joyful satisfaction that can only come as JESUS blesses your heart of Generosity!

Weekend Preview | A Generous Life – Part 1

By Matt Dawson


Finding JOY in Christmas

Joy is a word that we often hear during this awesome season of celebration and life! Christmas time is a time of Joy for most people. Whether it’s the decorations, the gift exchanges, or simply the gathering together with friends and loved ones – we have many opportunities to experience JOY during the Holidays.

However, sometimes that Joy is only seasonal. The JOY most people experience during the Christmas season has everything to do with the circumstances and external influences of the season. This explains why many people struggle to find that same joy throughout the year without having some external stimuli driving them towards JOY.

I believe that a DEEPER JOY can exist in one’s life. I believe that it can feel like CHRISTMAS ALL YEAR LONG to those who know the secret to experiencing lasting Joy!

What is this secret key that many struggle to find…a generous life!

Generosity is the KEY to a Joy-Filled, Fully Satisfied Life!

Many people who say they are struggling to find joy in their life would tell you that they ARE generous… especially during the Christmas season. I believe them.

However, generosity is not something that we DO, it is something we ARE.

The Christmas season simply gives us all “a taste” of the expression of generosity through time together, gifts exchanged, and love poured out on others. It’s an example of what life could look like if every day were Christmas.

For those who understand generosity – every day IS Christmas! Every day is joy-filled. Regardless of circumstances, every day they experience a fully satisfied life!

Paul reminds us of Jesus words in Acts 20:35 – “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Together over the next few weeks at Journey Church, we are going to be discussing the true meaning of this verse. We will discover that generosity is not simply “giving.” We will share our struggles with how we caught in a crazy reality of worry and stress over money that keeps us from experiencing the TRUE JOY that Jesus has waiting for us.

Together we will see the long-lasting power that Joy can have in our lives when we embrace a generous life, and that every day can be Christmas to those who choose a “Blessed” life!

Join us at 9am and 11am on Sundays at Journey Church this Christmas season. We will also have 2 Christmas Eve Candlelight Services at 5pm and 6:30pm and a 10am Christmas Celebration service on Sunday, Dec. 25th.

Weekend Preview | Fracture – Part 3: Difficult Circumstances

By Chris Denning


 

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Have you ever been in the middle of a storm?

I’m talking about a thundering downpour that makes you worry about your safety.  I grew up on the coast, and these kinds of storms were not out of the norm, especially during hurricane season.

There were times when I was out playing with friends, and I was caught in the middle of these storms.  These storms were simply overwhelming.  They came on quickly, and I couldn’t see the end of them.  Worst of all, there was nothing I could do to stop it.

These storms are similar to difficult circumstances in our lives.

Often times, these circumstances are simply overwhelming.  They can come on quickly, and its terribly hard to see the end of them.  One of the hardest parts of these circumstances is that they are most times completely out of your control.

It seems like you can’t do anything to fix things, and it feels completely hopeless.

While this may be true, and you may not be able to change your circumstances, you have the ability to determine your perspective of your circumstances.

Your perspective of your difficult circumstances often determines your outcome.

  • This DOESN’T mean that you are in control of the outcome, because ultimately God is.
  • This DOESN’T mean that you are in control of others, because they have free will.
  • This DOES mean that your perspective has a great deal of influence over your attitude and your ability to weather your storm.

If you can see your current circumstance as a way for God to change and grow you . . . 

If you can understand your current circumstance as a divine part of your story . . .

If you can believe that your current circumstance is going to be worked out for your good, because of His love for you . . .

Then you have the opportunity to walk through your circumstances with joy, rather than spite, with confidence, rather than fear, and with hope, rather than despair.

Take joy.  Take heart.  Take hope.  Ask God to help you change your perspective of your circumstance, because it will change the quality and direction of your life.