"I had an old friend and he was a true relic of a man. He ran a saw mill where I used to buy my lumber for some building projects here at our camps. And you know what? His name was Mr. Plumber. And he was in his mid eighties, at least as he lived out his final days of his life in these historic Ozark mountains. I spent hours visiting with this savvy old character."

Family Discussions:

  1. What is faith that works and why is this kind of faith a true faith, and a sincere faith and a saving faith?
  2. Why is faith dead if it doesn't have arms and legs?
  3. How does faith work? What is an example of faith that works?

Transcription:

00:14 Man, I love building stuff. I love 2X4's. I love nails and hammers. I'm a boy. But uh, I've had as much fun finding my lumber as I have using my lumber. I want to tell you about somebody who used to give me lumber in a minute. You'll never forget this man. We're going to read from James Chapter two verse 14 today, and it says that "what use is it in my brethren, if someone says he has faith but has no works, can that faith save him? If a brother or sisters without clothing and need of daily food, and one of you says to them, go in peace, be warmed and be filled. And yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body. What use is that? Even so faith if it has no works is dead being by itself. But someone may will say, you have faith and I have works. Show me your faith without the works. And I will show you my faith by my works."

01:10 I had an old friend and he was a true relic of a man. He ran a saw mill where I used to buy my lumber for some building projects here at our camps. And you know what? His name was Mr. Plumber. And he was in his mid eighties, at least as he lived out his final days of his life in these historic Ozark mountains. I spent hours visiting with this savvy old character. And one time I asked him where he went to church, he scowled at me and told me he would never go to a church because the people of one church bought some lumber from him probably 30 years before. And they cheated him on some money they were supposed to pay Mr. Plumber and he died never having gone back to church.

01:51 What use was that Church and all of their beautiful prayers and hymns? You know what good are 16 bibles in a home if they're not read? What good is a huge savings account if it's not used for those in need? What good is a smile that's not shared with somebody? You know what uses a hug or an I love you that's not given today? What use is faith without work? I just see so many homes. I mean, so many marriages and so many parents have so many kids who are just starving for love and so many people in the hallways of schools that are dying for a friend. We've got faith. We've got God's word. Now it's time to put that faith into action.

02:35 The discussion questions today are this: number one, what is faith that works and why is this kind of faith a true faith, and a sincere faith and a saving faith? And question number two, why is faith dead if it doesn't have arms and legs? And then discussion question three, you know, bread and butter, peanut butter and Jelly, faith and works, they always come as twins, don't they? How does faith work? What is an example of faith that works?

03:12 And the thought for the day is this: yesterday we talked about the less fortunate. Can someone around your family share how they put their faith into action lately? Faith and works. Siamese twins. Let's put our faith to work today and let's come home tomorrow. Let's talk about the smiles we put on people's faces.

"I learned so much from my daddy. The encyclopedia couldn't contain everything I'll learn from that man. And you know what? 99% of what I learned from him is what he did. Like most kids, I didn't appreciate it all. I didn't appreciate nearly enough that I learned from him until I had my own kids."

Family Discussions:

  1. How do we tend to push aside the less fortunate in our lives?
  2. Why is it a sin to show partiality?
  3. What is our responsibility as representatives of Christ toward the less fortunate?
  4. What are ways that we can show our love and care for the less fortunate around us every day? 

Transcription:

00:13 I will never look at a sweet roll and a cup of coffee the same way again. When I see a sweet roll and a cup of coffee, I see a man that I can't wait to tell you about today. We're in James Chapter two verse one. Listen to this. James says, "my brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with the gold ring and dressed in fine clothes. And there also comes a man who's poor and he's in dirty clothes and you pay special attention to the one in nice clothes saying you sit here at a good place and you say to the poor man, you stand over there. Have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil motives."

00:57 I learned so much from my daddy. The encyclopedia couldn't contain everything I'll learn from that man. And you know what? 99% of what I learned from him is what he did. Like most kids, I didn't appreciate it all. I didn't appreciate nearly enough that I learned from him until I had my own kids. Now wish I had listened more. You know what that men, he's been in heaven for probably five years now, but he's still my hero. I'm still learning from him. My Daddy never told me to love the underdog or to love the less fortunate, but I will never forget watching my daddy meet the men who came to our backdoor to clip the garbage twice a week. Every single time humbly with a cup of hot coffee in a sweet roll for each dear man with a huge smile on his face and with words of encouragement. Sometimes my daddy would come home from work without his coat or without shoes or money because he'd met a janitor, someone less fortunate who needed what he had. In church or at a social gathering, he automatically would find his way to the lowest man on the totem pole.

02:07 And you know what, those humble, poor people are always my daddy's best friends. Funny thing about it all, my daddy was the happiest man I knew. The discussion questions today are this: How do we tend to push aside the less fortunate in our lives? And secondly, why is it a sin to show partiality? And the third discussion question is this, what is our responsibility as representatives of Christ toward the less fortunate? And specifically what are ways that we can show our love and care for the less fortunate around us every day? And the thought for the day is this. Can each of us name someone less fortunate that we come into contact with? And can we show that person Christ's love? Hey, how about a sweet roll and a cup of hot coffee for somebody.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give."

Family Discussion:

  • What does the scripture mean when it says to give till you giggle?
  • Why is it so hard for us who have so much to give in comparison to those who have so little?
  • To whom and how much can you give today and what special giving project are you willing to commit yourself to this year?

Transcription:

00:13 Every time for the rest of my life that I see a pack of lifesavers, I'm going to think of one little boy in Haiti who forever changed my view of giving. In Second Corinthians chapter 9 verses 6-8, scripture says this: "remember this, whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver and God is able to make all grace abound to you. So that in all things, at all times having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

00:59 It has been a joy and a privilege for these Christian sports camps called Kanakuk, that I get to be a part of, to have adopted a 18 schools in Haiti. And we have 6,000 precious kids, that every day receive a bowl of beans and rice and probably the most funnest things of all is at Christmas, the kids at our camp pack Christmas gifts, so that every Christmas for the last 10 years, every child in every school received this awesome Christmas gift. And one of the Christmas gifts in this bag of gifts that every child receives at Christmas is a little bag of life savers. I'll never forget it as long as I live, as we were giving out these gifts to these precious kids, and these kids have so little but they are so grateful. It's unreal. There's smiles are just the most beautiful smells you've ever seen on these kids' faces in your life. And they're so grateful.

01:57 This little guy, he had opened his Christmas bag and he had taken a lifesaver, the first lifesaver that he'd ever eaten in his life. And he put it in his mouth and it was so good. He took the pack of lifesavers and he opened them up and he had the whole pack in his hand. And he handed it to me and he said, "please take this." And, and I said, man, I can't take your lifesavers. And, and he says, please, "it was so good. That one lifesaver was so good." He wanted to give the whole pack away to me.

02:32 Come on man. What would it mean to you to give the whole pack of lifesavers to somebody in need? And what does the scripture mean when it says to give till you giggle? And that's my own words, but to give until you absolutely, you know, laugh, you give so much. And then why is it so hard for us who have so much to give in comparison to those who have so little? Take it home today with this question; to whom and how much can you give today and what special giving project are you willing to commit yourself to this year? And the verse for the day that hopefully will stick in your heart forever is simply paraphrase this: give till you giggle. And we're going to go to Haiti again next Christmas and we're going to take Christmas gifts to the kids. And if you want to email me at joe@kanakuk.com and you want to be a part of our Christmas giving project, then email me and you can pack a box of gifts, including the lifesaver to take to those kids. God bless you as you give.

"Why build an empire for yourself when it's so much more fun to give it away?"

Family Discussion:

  • Why is it so hard to model Christ's example of giving and why is it so important to be a giver more than you are a taker?
  • Which one are you, which do you tend to be a giver or taker?
  • How can you specifically improve your skills at giving your time and your treasures and your talent away to people in need?

Transcription:

00:13 As a little kid, I always had a fascination with treasure hunting. I think it was because my mom used to celebrate our birthdays often by putting our gifts in a treasure chest. And then she'd hide the treasure chests and she'd make a map and we'd go out and we'd searched for a treasure. Well, today's scripture has got an awesome treasure hunt. It's in Second Corinthians chapter 8, verse 7-9, and Paul says this, "but just as you excel in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us, see that you also excel in the grace of giving. I'm not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich yet for your sake, he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich."

01:13 I'll never forget an airplane ride, I believe it was from Dallas to San Antonio, and I sat down in a sort of a two seat spot. The seat next to me was taken up by a man who actually took up a whole seat and a half. Um, but I sorta wedged myself in there beside him. And you know what I'll tell you, I wasn't uncomfortable at all because this guy had the greatest story to tell; as I listened to his story, he was a wealthy man and he was actually heading down to San Antonio to assemble his 10 best old friends. And he was going to give his treasures away to them. It was awesome. And, and you know, as I complimented this guy on his generosity, he said, "oh, it's nothing." He said, "I never saw a hearse followed by u haul trailer." You know, my friend was right, man, you can't take it with you. My daddy always said, you can only sleep in one bed at a time. And he said, "why build an empire for yourself when it's so much more fun to give it away." So you know what man, after the overwhelming example that Jesus provided for us by giving up heaven, his ownership of literally everything, and voluntarily becoming a condemned criminal to the cruel Roman execution team, He rightly exhorts us from the sermon on the mount. Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.

02:46 Jim Elliot, another one of my heroes says this: give away what you have to those who have not. And the way he said it was, he said, a man is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in exchange for what he cannot lose. And, and here's the questions for today: why is it so hard to model Christ's example of giving and, and then, and then why is it so important to be a giver more than you are a taker? And then which one are you, which do you tend to be a giver or taker? And then how can you specifically improve your skills at giving your time and your treasures and your talent away to people in need? And here's the family lifeline today: If all family members set out to give and to serve each other, can you imagine what a wonderful home and family you would have?

"Cast out a few crumbs and you'll get back the whole world every time."

Family Discussion:

  • How can you and your family clean out the closet, clean out the savings, clean out the cupboard for the poor of this world?
  • What would be the response to Christians who gave like that, and why is giving some deeply satisfying?
  • Why are the people with blue arm bands like the boy at that table, the happiest people on Earth?

Transcription:

00:04 Today I want to tell you about a boy with a blue arm band, I know I'll never forget as long as I live. We're in Second Corinthians chapter 8 verse 1-5. Check this out, this is awesome. "And now brothers," Paul writes, "we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy in their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity, for I testified that they gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability entirely on their own. They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in the service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord. And then to us in keeping with God's will."

01:03 It was at our summer sports camp, our teenage summer sports camp, that we wanted to put an imprint on the guys' minds that they would never forget. And so as the teenage boys enter the dining hall, and we'd been training in athletics all morning long, we were starving to death we thought, but we gave a 12 boys blue arm bands and then we gave the other half of the kids black arm bands and the last half a white armband. When we came into the dining hall, the blue arm bands represented America. And it was a table that was just lavished with food. The black arm bands represented many countries in the world that are not starving to death, but are starving. And they had beans and rice on the tables. And then the white arm bands where the third world countries, they had nothing on their tables. No instructions were given. Everybody was free to do as they pleased.

01:54 Well, the American table had steaks and fried chicken and vegetables and mashed potatoes and gravy and dessert. It was just heaping over with food. You know, I remember watching a lot of the athletes just eat all they could, the whole meal on the American table. Then I remember a few athletes on the American table filling their plate full and then sharing the leftovers with some of the third world people. But then I remember one guy in a blue arm band, and as soon as he saw all that he had and how little everybody else had, he took everything he had and he began to share it with kids all over the dining hall. That night at supper I think that boy had the greatest meal of his life.

02:43 Just off the coast of Florida, there's a little island that I love. It's called Haiti, and 2 million kids are over there starving to death. Can you imagine what would happen if the United States of America, if every person in the United States had the attitude of the boy with the Blue Armband, those kids in Haiti would be lavished every single meal. And here is the question today. How can you and your family clean out the closet, clean out the savings, clean out the cupboard for the poor of this world? And then check this out. What would be the response to Christians who gave like that, and why is giving some deeply satisfying? Why are the people with blue arm bands like the boy at that table, the happiest people on Earth? And the lifeline for the day is this: cast out a few crumbs and you'll get back the whole world every time.

"My heroes are people who give."

Family Discussion:

  • If you were to make a list of the top three people you would give to, who would be on that list?
  • In what ways do you give and then in what ways would you like to be more giving?
  • What's your plan for that today?

Transcription:

00:04 You know what, you may have a Mastercard that's just got all kinds of money in the bank behind it and you may have a few dollars in your name or you may have no more than a few pennies. But this little devotional today I think is going to answer so many questions for you on what to do with this. We're in First Corinthians chapter 16, verses 1-4, and it says this: "now about the collection for God's people. Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up so that when I come, no collections will have to be made. Then when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for me to go, also, they will accompany me."

01:10 My heroes are people who give. I think of a friend, a dear friend of mine who made tons of money and he's literally giving it all the way to build orphanages around the world. And then I have another buddy who is a recording artist, these, Grammys and all kinds of, you know, incredible awards, but, but right in the middle of his most important record he's ever made, here recently. He takes a month out of his schedule and makes one song to give it away, to raise money for a little island in the Atlantic Ocean that's been blown apart by hurricanes and earthquakes, that country of Haiti. That man's name is Michael W. Smith. But, you know that you may not have tons of money and you may not be recording artists.

02:00 But I think of a guy that I met last summer, he is 12 years old and he got a heart for orphanages as well. He had very little money, but he put up a lemonade stand. In fact, he put up three lemonade stands, and instead of selling his lemonade, he started giving it away, but he put a sign on the lemonade stand and I'm sure the sign was just cuter than all get out. And it said, "I'm raising money to build an orphanage in Africa." And people started giving donations. And in fact, he received $46,000 in donations and he has built his first orphanage. And, now he's dreaming of two more orphanages.

02:37 And I think of another girl that came to camp. And before she came I saw her pictures, she had beautiful long, dark hair. But when she came to camp, she had short beautiful dark hair. And when I met her big beautiful smile on her face, I said, what happened to your hair? She said, oh, my dream has been to grow my hair long so I could, you know, chop it off and they could make a wig and give it to somebody with cancer.

03:02 You know, Jesus knew it well. It wasn't the size of the gift, but it was the size of the heart behind the gift that matters to him. And that's why he talks about the little widow with the widow's mite, the two copper coins. In Luke 22, "in the treasury she put her two copper coins in," you know the story and at least I'll tell you that she gave more than everybody else, but because she out of her poverty gave all that she had. And my question for you today is this: if you were to make a list of the top three people you would give to, who would be on that list? The second question is in what ways do you give and then in what ways would you like to be more giving? And then what's your plan? The boy and Africa, his plan was to build an orphanage. The girl with the hair, her plan was to go out and then give it away. What's your plan today? And the lifeline for the day is this: Realize that everything you have is not your own, because the Lord has blessed you and given it to you. So your gift to God is to give it away.

"You may be like the boy that I just met last summer camp. Kid's 13 years old. He was watching CNN and he saw an orphanage on the network and he goes, "you know what? I'm going to build an orphanage in Africa."" 

Family Discussions:

  1. What do you have to give in the name of Christ?
  2. What do you have to give besides your money?
  3. What are you going to do with what you've got to give to glorify Jesus?

Transcription:

00:14 Hey, if you ever wondered what the world would be like or even what your world would be like if Christmas was 365 days out of the year? Well, um, it can be. Look at chapter three of Acts. Starting in verse one, and it says this "Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer, and a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along whom they used to sit down every day at the gate of the temple, which is called beautiful in order to beg alms for those who are entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter along with John fixed his gaze upon him and said, look at us. And he began to give him their attention, expecting to receive something from them.

01:07 But Peter said, I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give you in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk." Man, it's like a root canal. It's like a spinal tap. It's like an ulcer, a tax audit, you know, pain is inevitable. But to probably, you know, to probably a whole lot of people sitting in church, there are few things as painful as listening to the preacher talk about, you know, giving your money, you know, to the church and, and you know, what's interesting about the sermons that, you know, that preachers have to give about giving money, they probably are harder for them than they are for us. But it's not that the preachers trying to make it, you know, personal gains, I don't believe that. I believe that he's just sharing the Word of God.

01:57 Um, you know, it's our obligation to give and not always obligation to give. It's our obligation to give it joyfully. I don't know anything more exciting, I mean, I really don't know anything more exciting than to take the stuff that God's given you. You know, whether it's your finances or whether it's your talent or whether it's your, you know, your, your sweat equity that you can bring to something, I don't know anything better than giving yourself away for the cause of Christ. There's nothing more joyful than that. There's nothing better than feeding orphans. There's nothing in this world better than putting clothes on people who don't have any clothes. There's nothing better than sacrificing in the name of Christ for folks who don't have as much. And you know what? You may have a lot of money and you may be able to give a lot.

02:43 And if you do, man, have fun giving it or you may be like the boy that I just met last summer camp. Kid's 13 years old. He was watching CNN and he saw an orphanage on the network and he goes, you know what? I'm going to build an orphanage in Africa. I'm serious. The kid's 13 years olds. True Story. He put up three lemonade stands and all weekend it, through the winter started working those lemonade stands. Except he would give the lemonade away. But he let people make a donation for his dream for an orphanage. Well he got a lot of donations. In fact, he got $46,000 in donations and then people who donate continue to donate. He's built this first orphanage for 20 orphans in Africa. And now he dreams to have two more. I remember one girl who didn't have a whole lot of money to our camp, but she grew her hair almost down to her waist.

03:34 And then she went to the hair place and they cut all of her hair off and made a wig for a girl who had cancer and was bald and didn't have any hair. Boy, there's a lot of ways to give alms, you know, silver and gold have I none. But what I have, I'm going to give Ya, cause what I've got is Jesus. Let me ask you a couple of questions today. You know, what do you have to give in the name of Christ? Think about it. I mean, besides this, and you know what? Even if it's a quarter, put it in the piggy bank, you know, after a year

04:10 to a lot. Uh, but, but what do you have to give besides your money? And I ask you today to make a point, make a plan. What are you going to do with what you've got to give to glorify Jesus? And, and, and here's the lifeline for the day. It's in giving that we receive. It's in dying that we receive eternal life.

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