Amplify: Generosity

November 2, 2014

David Sorn

This church was founded on the generosity of others. As we turn to the next chapter, the story will stay the same.

Amplify: Generosity

November 2, 2014

David Sorn

This church was founded on the generosity of others. As we turn to the next chapter, the story will stay the same.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Genesis 14:11-17


Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

Thanks to Zach and Megan Parnell for filling in for our worship pastor Zach Foty this week.

Zach is…as he does every fall…leading worship for hundreds of high school students at Camp Shamineau this week!

And here…we are continuing in our historic Amplify Series this week.

If you haven’t been here the last 2 weeks (or you’re visiting for the first time today), let me catch you up on what’s been happening around here.

2 weeks ago, we made our biggest announcement ever.

I shared with you, what I’ve been sharing with you from the beginning…that this church has an enormous vision to change the world.

And as God has continued to fulfill it mightily over the first five years, He is now moving us to the next chapter:

And we know…in order to turn the page to that next chapter…we can’t stay here.


We are growing at an astounding rate of 20% a year, and at that rate, by the Spring of 2018, we won’t be able to continue changing lives for Jesus.

And in light of that, our hope is to be able to purchase land…to eventually put a building on.

We have set a goal to raise $500,000 in additional giving over a 3-year period…because we believe that $500,000, or an amount similar to that, would allow us to purchase a piece of land …or potentially with a small loan as well.

And we believe that walking down this road…will be hard…will take sacrifice…

We’ve been saying this all throughout Amplify. The road has never been easy.

Starting a church isn’t easy.

And the next chapter won’t be any easier

It will require even more sacrifice.

But listen…more sacrifice leads to a greater return for the Kingdom of God.

And we’ll be able to reach hundreds more people for Christ…and maybe even thousands.


Throughout this journey, we’ve been studying some of the life of Abraham.

Who was a great man of faith, who also followed God to a new land.

Today, we’re going to see how Abraham gave generously to a great person.

And we’re also going to study how King David’s people gave generously to a great project.

Let’s start with Abraham though.

If you were here the last few weeks (or in house groups), you might have noticed that Abraham’s nephew Lot also moved with him to the Promised Land.

Well, some years after they are there, Lot has moved away to the nearby town of Sodom.

In Genesis chapter 14, we read that some of the different Kings of the area are fighting with each other.

…think more like Warlords than Kings with palaces at this time in history.

And in the midst of some of their brutal fighting, the town of Sodom is captured, and its goods and people are carried away.

And Lot (Abraham’s nephew) is captured along w/ them

Let’s join the story there

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Renovation App

(Genesis 14:11-17) – NIV

11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away.12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom. 13 A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people. 17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

So Abraham successfully rescues his nephew lot.

And in the process of doing so, he also gains possession of all the spoils of war that the other “kings/warlords” had already gained.

And after we learn that, along comes a really curious exchange in the Old Testament

(Genesis 14:18-20) – NIV

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

So what just happened?

Abraham meets the King of Salem, Melchizedek.

Melchizedek is also, remarkably, a worshipper of the one true God.

Abraham is so taken in by this guy, that he actually gives him a tenth of all of the goods and spoils.

But there’s more to the story here.

Melchizedek is truly a great person.

Even the New Testament talks about Melchizedek!

(Hebrews 7:1-5) – NIV

This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. 4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!

So one of the reasons that Melchizedek is so great is because Jesus…is apparently going to be like him in many ways.

In fact, in Psalm 110, this is prophesied about the future messiah, Jesus:

(Psalm 110:4) – NIV

The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

So how is Jesus going to be like Melchizedek when he comes?

Well a couple of ways actually:

One, Melchizedek is unique in that he is a king…AND…he is a priest.

And so is Jesus. He is our King. And our priest (the one who made the sacrifice for us)

Two, Did you notice where Melchizedek was King of?

The King of Salem.

Which is just the shortened form of Jeru-salem at that time.

The same town where Jesus would establish his kingdom on earth from.

Three, Melchizedek had no genealogy in the Bible…so there is (to our knowledge)…no priest in his order before OR after him

Which is also the same with Jesus.

Four, Melchizedek brings out bread and wine…the same important meal Jesus serves at the Last Supper

All this to say…Abraham encounters a great presence…and he gives generously to him.

There’s certainly a lot to study in this passage.

If you read the book of Hebrews in the NT, it actually talks even further about Melchizedek.

But one of the main takeaways in this passage is simply this: God has blessed Abraham’s effort…but in the presence of greatness (someone who is a precursor of Jesus Christ)…he gives generously.

So let’s apply that to our situation then.

First of all, there are no GREAT people in this room.

Only Jesus.

But we are in His presence…with an opportunity to give generously to his work.

And we have also been blessed like Abraham.

Just to be alive is a blessing.

To have ANY money at all is a blessing.

To have a job is a blessing.

To have a place to live is a blessing.

To live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world is a blessing.

And everything we have is from God.

The fact that you are even breathing right now…is from God.

God has given you gifts for a reason.

He’s given you talents and spiritual gifts for a reason.

To use them.

I look at so many of the talented people in this church who are using their spiritual talents and gifts for a purpose.

God gave those gifts to them for a reason…and they are using it!

They are blessed to a blessing.

But God has also given you financial blessings for a reason.

And like Abraham, he hasn’t LOANED it to you (because it is his) just for your purposes.

He’s loaned it to you…for the purpose of graciously allowing you to be generous with it.

As Jesus himself says, “It’s better to give than to receive”

And if you’ve ever given a great gift to someone, you know that’s true.

And God’s given all of us financial blessings for a reason.

There are some people in this room that God has blessed abundantly.

And as we take these next bold steps of faith as a church…perhaps this an opportunity for you to lead the way.

Maybe you’re not going to lead the way in terms of leading a ministry team or a house group, but God has blessed in you such a way that you can lead like this.

As you’ve seen in your Amplify Booklets, we know that we won’t raise a half a million dollars simply by dividing $500,000 by three or four-hundred.

There are smaller and larger gifts in there.

Commitments of $1,000, $2,000 over 3 years.

But some as high as $12,000 or $25,000 or even $50,000.

It’s not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice.

The Bible both tells us that “to whom much is given…much is required”

And Jesus tells us a story of a poor widow who puts two copper coins in the offering.

And yet, out of her poverty, she gave more than anyone else.

Not equal gifts…but together as Renovation Church…equal sacrifice.

And for some of you in this room, you’ve come across some larger amounts of blessing in your lifetime (just like Abraham!)

And if that’s you, I think it’s worth asking the question of God, “Why have you done this for me?”

Maybe…it’s for moments like this.

When you have an ability, like Abraham, to give to someone great…someone like Jesus Christ!


I wanted to also show you a neat passage from the Bible that’s related to this historic juncture we are facing in our church.

In the Old Testament, about 1,000 years before Jesus…Israel is just starting to really get established in the Promised Land.

King David is at the end of his life, and he has had an incredibly successful reign.

God has put it on David’s heart to build an incredible temple for the people to worship at.

And you can read all about it in 1 Chronicles 28 & 29 (in fact I encourage you to read that story this week)

And what you see is that David and his leaders give to the temple project first.

Which is what we did here.

I mentioned to you, that some of our leaders pledged early, and we’ve already raised $140,000!

But as the people give to the Temple project, David prays this beautiful prayer.

I want to read it to you:

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(1 Chronicles 29:14) – NIV

14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

Which goes right back to what we were just talking about.

If God has blessed you in any financial capacity…it’s from Him. Everything comes from Him it says.

The passage continues

(1 Chronicles 29:15-18) – NIV

15 We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. 18 Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.

And the people all…with one heart…gave SO generously. SO GENEROUSLY.

But I think the key question is: Why?

To me…what really stands out from Scripture…is that they always had such a deep understanding of future impact.

For example, after God has tasked David with the job of raising money to build the temple in the first place, David addresses the people and says this:

(1 Chronicles 28:8) – NIV

“So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever.

So much of the generous investments of the people in God in the Bible are about the future.

In fact, King David, never even gets to SEE the temple!

He dies before it’s completed!

But they knew that this wasn’t just for them. It was for the future.

And that’s what we’re doing here…

We want to amplify our generosity.

To raise $500,000 over 3 years…in ADDITION to what we’re already giving.

That’s an amplification of generosity.

But why?

Because we want to reach people for Christ beyond 3.5 years from now when we run out of space here.

We want to impact people, and families, for decades to come!

And let me tell you something…from the beginning…people have given to this church with the future on their minds.

As you might have surmised, I had to fundraise to help start this church.

I want to tell you about one of the fundraising meetings I did with a man back in the summer of 2009

I was incredibly nervous because back then I had ZERO experience in fundraising.

And as I passed out this nerdy chart to him that I had made of different items people could buy for us (i.e. speakers for $1,500, sound board for $2,500, etc.)

He looked at me, with tears of joy in his eyes about what God was going to do through this future church that didn’t even exist YET…

And he said, “I’ll take the biggest one…$5,000.”

And my first thought was, “I should’ve put a larger number on there” J

But after I got past my sinful thoughts, I was SO excited.

I literally remember what I was feeling getting back in the car.

And here’s a guy that doesn’t even go to our church…but he believed in impacting the future for the Kingdom of God.

And I’ll tell you something.

That man stops by our church about once a year or so…and always comes in with such a huge smile on his face.

And I believe that he probably feels that that was maybe the best $5,000 he ever spent.

And as we think about giving to Amplify…we’re of course focused on how we’re going to impact others.

But as think of generosity, don’t forget the spiritual truth that you will be blessed by the act of giving.

Just as this man…to this day…feels so blessed about that gift.

Or, it reminds me of when I was in Africa this summer.

Over lunch one day (where all I had was potatoes and a coke), I made my friend Sammy Wanyonyi tell me how his ministry got started.

Sammy, who spoke here a year and a half ago, speaks all over Africa telling people about Jesus.

But 9 years ago, in 2005, he hadn’t started his international ministry yet.

And that year, he gathered 80 people together for a fundraising event to kick it all off.

And in the weeks leading up to it, he felt God telling him that he was supposed to ask for $100,000 in one-time giving.

His leadership team, tried to tell him that was way too much for 80 people, and that he would be better off picking a more reasonable goal like $25,000

He decided to go with that.

But at the last moment, the pastor who was making the ask for him that night said, “Sammy, how much did God tell you to ask for?”

And he said, “Honestly, it was $100,000.”

And the pastor said, “All right, let’s ask for $100,000 then!”

And that night…THAT NIGHT….they collected $112,000.

And in the nine years since that night, Sammy has led 250,000 people to Jesus Christ!

And I feel like…if I would have been there that night…and wrote a $3,000 check…I would probably feel like that was the best $3,000 I’ll ever spend in my entire life!

And that’s what we’re talking about here.

Influencing the future…changing the world for Christ.

Here’s the vision:

That we…the people of Renovation Church in 2014…would give generously now.

So that one day…10 years from now…

As you hear testimony after testimony of people being freed of drug addiction…

As you see…not 5 people stand up at a time to receive Christ, but maybe 50 at a time! (can you imagine that?!)

As you see…husband & wife…and teenage kids…all being baptized in the pool together…

That you will KNOW…that what you did now…the generous…sacrificial commitment you made now…was SO worth it.

That’s what they did in the Bible…and that’s what we want to do here in the present.

And they did sacrifice to do it. That’s what we’re talking about next week.

King David himself famously says in 2 Sam 24:24 – I will not sacrifice that which costs me nothing.

And as we’ve said all along…this kind of amazing stuff that we’re dreaming about in the future…is already happening here in the present.

If we were to sneak back into Renovation kids right now…

We’d see elementary kids being taught the Bible (many of them for the very first time), and preschool kids singing songs about Jesus…and a TON of babies being held. A TON. J

If you were to show up at our Youth Group on a Wednesday night…you’d see 20-25 kids… passionately worshipping God. (it’s awesome)

At any house group through out the week…friendships are being formed…people are being challenged…spiritual growth is happening…not just on Sundays, but Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays…all through the week.

And we want to Amplify that!

We want to extend our roots so deep into this community and area…that the soil becomes alive with the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

And what we’re asking you to do…is to be a part of something.

Like King David’s people got to be a part of something amazing.

They got to be the special people in history that built the temple.

But here me clearly: It didn’t just appear out of nowhere.

You can read it right there in the Bible…they literally raised money for it. Read 1 Chron 28-29

They were generous.

And because of their generosity…they got to be world-changers.

And through your generosity…we’re asking you to be a part of something.

Just like our launch team got to be a part of starting this church that’s now reached HUNDREDS of people for Jesus.

We’re asking you to be a part of a chapter that’s going to reach maybe THOUSANDS of people for Jesus.

And we want EVERY SINGLE person in this room to be a part of this.

Seriously. Literally everyone.

This is a time for us…as Renovation Church…to do this together.

No one is going to do this for us.

If we all look to the person next to us to do it…it’ll never happen.

Not even close.

Hear me on this…this project is not about money, this is about people.

But it does take money to reach more people.

It was that way in Biblical times, it’s that way today.

And that’s okay. Because generosity is an amazing thing!

Just as the people who gave to those ministries in the examples I listed earlier found so much joy in giving, I believe you can too.

It’s powerful to be a part of something!

Our Amplify series is going quickly.

In fact, there are only 14 critical days left.

In light of that…let me say a few things to you.

It is critical…that over the next 14 days…that each and every one of you engage with this.

Please be here this Wednesday to pray with us at Encounter.

We want to bang on the doors of heaven…collectively…as one body for this.

We will not do this…we won’t even come close unless we pray.

We can’t hit such a lofty goal on our own.

Please come to worship and pray with us on Wednesday!

And please be here the next 2 Sundays. Do what it takes to be here.

Next Sunday is a critical Sunday as we take one last…and one deep look into what it will actually take for the people of Renovation Church to raise a half a million dollars.

And the following Sunday, November 16th, is our commitment Sunday.


On that day, we will all be filling out commitment cards for what we each want to generously give, in “over & above” giving, for the next 3 years.

And as I’ve said to you every week…please pray.

I ask that you now begin to (if you haven’t already) pray about what it would look like for you specifically to give generously to this…to this rare opportunity that you have to be a part of world-changing project.

And since Commitment Sunday (the 16th) is just 2 weeks away, if you’re married, I ask that you begin to talk with your spouse about your commitment.

What does it look like for the two of you to be generous?

And as you pray together, ask “What would it look like for the two of you to generously? Not just mathematically…but GENEROUSLY.”

What would it look like to give like this was something worthy of being generous? What would that number look like?

Because that’s what the Israelites in the Bible did.

Just as so many people do today when they really want something and move around pieces of their budget to make it happen…

They knew that this is what GOD wanted…

That God wants…more than anything…to have people worship Him.

So they gave…not just mathematically, but generously.

And please, as you walk through this process, use our Amplify Booklets to aide you in this process.

There are SO MANY good tools in there for the next 2 weeks. SO MANY.

Use it as a guidebook in this process.

If you don’t have one, or you lost yours…no big deal…just pick one up in the hallway.

We have plenty!

And I’m excited to see what God does.

And I’m excited that God has brought you here…for such a time as this…to carry forth his world-changing work!

Let’s change the world. LET’S PRAY!

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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