Thanks to the ice and snow in the Nashville area over the weekend, Lindell Cooley was able to stay here for the entire weekend, so he preached on Sunday.  He taught on the subject of having a lifestyle of sacrifice.  There are five realms of sacrifice:

1.  Sacrifice of Praise; giving the Lord your all in worship.  Do not offer the King of Kings something that cost you nothing.  David danced before the Lord until everything but his underwear fell off!   Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross.  Are you praising Him like He deserves.  Do you “praise” your favorite college football team louder and more enthusiastically than you praise your Heavenly Father?

2.  Sacrifice of Good Works.  We all know that good works do not get you into heaven.  However, good works can and do show the light of Jesus to those who don’t know him.  Good works for those around you must get you out of your routine…otherwise, it’s not a sacrifice.

3.  Sacrifice of Fellowship.  This one hit me hard.  I mean, I love my church and I love my church family, but I also tend to get a little bitter when my children see their daddy more in the evenings at church than they do at home.  I got upset when my husband told me that if Little League interfered with church, Joshua couldn’t participate this year.  What?!  That’s ridiculous! (I thought).  But not according to this sermon.  Are we not called to be a ‘cut above’ everyone else?  To raise our standards a little (or a lot!)?  Godly fellowship is not always a social convenience.  My fellowship with other believers will and should cost me–even my TIME.  Americans tend to be extremely jealous of their time.  I know I am.  I’m jealous of my time that I spend schooling my children.  I’m jealous of my time at church.  I’m jealous of the time we spend at home as a family.  Yep, we’re jealous of our time alright!

4.  Sacrifice of Giving Financially.  God calls us to give our first ten percent.  Not what’s left after you pay bills.  Not 9.8 percent so you can go ahead and pay for Johnny to participate in little league.  Our first ten percent.  I’ve seen first hand how God blesses my finances when I give obediently.  There have been times when I would put an extra $15 or $20 in the offering plate (above our 10% tithe) and it was amazing to see how God would return that to us times FIVE within 48 hours!  I’m not exaggerating!  I would get a call the day after church from a friend of a friend of a friend who wanted me to help them with something (cleaning, organizing, babysitting, whatever) and they would pay me way more than I would’ve expected.  On a normal week in a normal month, we would not have had that income, but God was blessing our generous giving.  Luke 6:38 says,  “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” I loved how our pastor said it last year:  “If you pour out in the measure of a thimble, God will return it to you in the measure of a thimble.  Wouldn’t you rather pour out in the measure of a DUMP TRUCK!?  I would!!  Wow, I’m preaching to myself this morning.  🙂  Be a cheerful giver and watch God bless you for it.  Are you struggling financially?  GIVE and watch God bless your finances.  I cannot stress to you enough how much tithing effects your finances when you are a believer.

5.  Sacrifice of a Disciple; living for God to the point of not needing people to like you.  You have to be willing to sacrifice your reputation and care more about what God thinks than what people think.  Ouch.  I  like my friends.  I like being liked.  Even more so, I don’t like it when I’ve made someone upset, or have been misunderstood.  I have to get my focus off of myself in order to fully focus on the Lord and what He wants me to do in the area in which He has placed me at this time in my life.

Well, I think that’s enough for one day!

Have a Terrific Tuesday!       …two more days!!