We arrived at Agape New Generation Church where we were greeted by a young lady named Sofie. She introduced us to the pastor of three years named Angel. How appropriate! They were so happy that we found them. There was standing room only, and Angel said that they need a bigger building. There were about 70 in the congregation.
The congregation was a young crowd. When we stood to sing, the lights went out. The songs were very upbeat and there was lots of jumping. It had the feeling of a pep rally.
Most of the songs centered around loving and honoring the Father. Respect for parents is a way of life in Vietnam so this observation seemed very culturally significant.
We sang in English, and the next time through we would sing in Vietnamese. It gave Rob and me a chance to practice Vietnamese as there was lots of repetition.
A young boy was dedicated to the church by his young mother. Dedication of children is an act of worship.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3
Children are God’s possession that He gives to the family. We offer them back to God. We follow the examples of Hannah, John the Baptist, and even Jesus. This is a precious moment.
In Mark 10:14-16, the Bible says:
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
In Proverbs 22:6, parents are advised:
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Christian parents must be faithful to use the Word of God to teach a child so the child will know Jesus as Savior.
We are told in 2 Timothy 1:5 that the faith of parents affects the future descendants.
For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
Over one hundred times the Bible says for people to serve God. We support this mother and this child in serving the Lord. We are witnesses to these promises.
And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52
There is an upcoming Bible study weekend with a visiting pastor on the topic of The Sermon on the Mount.
This church is trying to raise 500 million Vietnamese dong which is about $20,000 for a new facility. Give what you can because God will multiply it. Let us remember what God did with two fish and five loaves!!
Meet the Speaker
Junior is 27 and will be giving the message today. He comes from his home church in Singapore. He loves
what God has done in this church for the past three years. Stand strong and firm in the leadership of this church. Junior, on the right, spoke in English and had a helper who intrepreted into Vietnamese.
Sermon (in the first person)
I became a follower of Jesus Christ in 2010, almost 10 years ago. I was so excited and learned so much. My life was so different as I discovered myself in Christ and started to serve in ministries.
New believers face many struggles. I am not alone, right? It was hard to understand giving. I was 15 and did not earn much. Most of my money was given to me by my parents. I barely had enough money for my own needs. How can I tithe, give an offering, or contribute to a building fund?
I thought: “If God has so much, why does need me to give Him more?”
Then I considered John 3:16.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
God loves you and me. He gave his only Son and I have eternal life. My eyes opened! Loving and giving is the nature of God. He gave His best. How can someone love but not provide??
Giving is part of the will of God. Partake in the blessing. You can’t love without giving. This is Kingdom giving.
Who we love is who we give priority to. If Jesus thinks it’s important, then it should be important to me.
I will invest in the kingdom of God. My eyes were opened to greater understanding. I will look for opportunity and invitation.
Giver and the Truth About Giving
The concept of giving originated with God. Giving is not a human idea. It is God’s idea.
In Acts 20:35, Jesus is quoted:
In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
God’s blessing and God’s miracle. We want more blessing but not more giving. That message is not from God but from Satan.
We should be the most excited when we are given the opportunity to give.
We are in a partnership with God. Learn about giving. Do research. Know what giving meant to Christ.
In Genesis humans are given free will to make choices.
Faithfulness and Obedience
Eternal life. Love God and people. Sell all and give away. Sad. Jesus didn’t ask to us to give all our money. This man had a strong attachment to wealth. Jesus knew what was in his heart. Jesus was testing his obedience. Look deeper and reflect. What has gripped our lives? Our hearts? Faithfulness and Obedience reveal our heart’s condition.
Matthew 6:24 states:
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Walk with Christ. Stretch your faithfulness and obedience.
When I got my first job, my salary was three and a half million dong per month which is $150. I soon doubled my giving.
As I considered Luke 16:10 which says:
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
Start small and be faithful, it will grow. If I earn more, I will give it to You. That day will happen.
R.G LeTourneau (1888-1969) was a Christian businessman from America. He did not start out wealthy. He gave 90% of his money. He was a businessman for God. He made earthmoving machines and held 300 patents. He knew the blessing of giving.
“I give and God gives it back.”
Matthew 6:21 states that:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Giving is an intentional decision and demonstrates that Christ holds first place in our lives.
Giving, The Way of Faith
Prayer, worship and fasting. Faith is the necessary part of life. Jesus is a model as He said on the cross, “not my will”.
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight
Why don’t faith and sight go together? Sight represents clear direction, assurance and even control. I can respond and react quickly. Faith is in the unseen.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
We have the confidence and the expectation that God will complete the task.
Often, when we give money to God, we expect to be blessed financially, but that is not right. Giving by faith is often uncomfortable. We can trust God and his promises.
Widen your perspective. Give and God will extend our expectations.
At 19 I learned other ways to tithe PLUS give an offering or give to the building fund. Every time faithfully I would give 20-30% of my income, God’s blessing was revealed.
Blessings came to my family. My father was a salesman for over 20 years. Now he owns seven coffee shops and bought a new house.
Blessing came through my education. I just graduated and fifty percent of my school fees were paid by the government.
Blessing came through my career. I am experiencing growth in ownership and responsibility.
Therefore, I don’t need to be concerned about my life.
I am investing in the kingdom on behalf of my family. This faith grew my faith. If I give in faith, God is not obligated to bless me. Giving helps me to grow and trust. This is the most precious gift in my life.
Step out in faith!
Expectant of the Seed
2 Corinthians 9:10
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
He provides for his whole life; both bread and seed.
Bread is already a blessing. Enjoy a good meal, a new phone, etc. This is God’s provision.
Reap what you sow. Part of what God has given you is to sow. Don’t plant the bread and expect a harvest…or eat the seeds.
Be good stewards. Discern blessing. Is it seed or bread?
In 2014, I gave a huge amount for building seeds. I sowed all that I had. God was setting me up. Blessings are coming from everywhere.
Every one has a different amount. This has been a season to reap an exceedingly great harvest.
Don’t dishonor or disrespect your Father. Don’t give recklessly. Consider a lifestyle of giving because He first gave to us. Not because a pastor or neighbor tells you to give a certain amount, but what is in your heart. Give because you believe Jesus can do more. Let our hearts be open.
God is good and faithful.