of The Message
you interested in a hot tip on a good investment? This is
the hottest tip going. It comes from a billionaire. His
name is John Templeton. Some of you may recognize his name.
John Templeton is the founder of the Templeton Group of
mutual funds. He says that life's greatest investment is
in tithing. The greatest life investment for him has been
tithing. This is a billionaire and his greatest investment
is to give 10% of everything he has earned back to the Lord's
work! That's what tithing is. Tithing is the most tangible
concrete way we can honor God and express our love and thanksgiving
to Him. A tithe is a tangible demonstration of faith, of
love and surrender, given with a thankful heart for the
grace that we have received from Jesus Christ. It is a tangible
demonstration. You know the interesting thing about the
things we teach here in the Crystal Cathedral is that almost
everything we teach is an intangible thing. Possibility
thinking, how do we put our arms around thinking? It's pretty
hard, it is an intangible. How do we put numbers on possibility
living and being able to live the life that God wants us
to live and following God's guidance for our life? How do
we actually make this real?
is interesting that tithing is one of the few spiritual
things which is very tangible. It is very easy for us to
put that in numbers and know exactly what that number is.
I know that because in the United States of America we have
a thing called income tax. I can't tell you how many people
have come to me and asked about tithing. They ask, "is
that before or after taxes?" My response always is,
"do you want your blessings before or after taxes?"
The truth is that I don't want to get stuck in the letter
of the law but I want to be fulfilled into the spirit of
the law. The law of tithing is that when we give we have
the greatest joy of a tangible expression of our faith in
God. The bottom line is that faith needs to come first.
often it's the other way around. How many people sit at
their desk with a pile of bills every month? When the bills
come in the mail, I put them in a "to be paid"
pile on my desk. Then on the 1st of the month
after I get my paycheck and deposit it then I can pay those
bills. Then on the 15th of the month I get another
paycheck so I can pay that new pile of bills that have arrived.
That's the way I do it, the 1st and the 15th
of the month. Now some of you probably are very much more
responsible than I and you simply just pay them as they
come. Here is the frustrating part. I have this pile of
bills sitting on the side of my desk and then I have this
little thing called my offering envelopes. I sit there and
I look at the bills and I know I better take care of those
bills. Then if there's anything left over then I can give
something to the church.
discovered something in the bible when I was a young man.
It takes a lot of faith to practice faith first. The Bible
tells us that we are to bring our first fruits to Him. Do
you know what that means? In biblical times it meant they
would bring their prime sheep. In other words, the first
choice of the litter. It was the same with their harvest.
When they harvested, the top 10%, the first 10% was their
tithe. So, faith comes first. What does that mean? That
means we have a stack of bills over here, but we pay our
tithe first and then we see how much we have left over for
our bills. Do you know how much faith it takes to do that?
We see this big pile of bills here and we see these little
offering envelopes over here and suddenly it takes a lot
of faith to pay this little offering envelope. This is the
way God has chosen for the church to have the means to pay
we've been having problems with our sound system. You know
what it is? It has to do with digital signaling. It has
nothing to do with the equipment or the people who are operating
the equipment. It has everything to do with the fact that
we are in a digital age and there are digital broadcasts
that are going out and our current equipment is not compatible
with digital equipment. As a result of that we are being
forced into moving into the digital age and going into the
high definition broadcasting and high definition cameras.
You cannot have part digital here and part analog over there.
You have to do the whole thing. Do you know what that price
tag is for us to go digital? It is very interesting here
behind the scenes at the Hour of Power. You don't readily
see what goes on behind the scenes here at the Crystal Cathedral.
We have producers, cameras, technicians, editing equipment,
etc., etc. It is going to cost us roughly $4 million dollars
to make that transition to high definition. Where do we
get the money to pay for this?
we have a couple choices. We can ask for your financial
support for the Hour of Power, and we can offer you books
and tapes for your donations. But there is a better way
- and that is to simply look in faith and give the first
fruit, 10%. I don't care if it's before or after taxes,
give 10%. What happens when you give 10%? Suddenly, you
are given an incredible gift! It's the most incredible thing
in the world. It is one of those intangibles that we talk
about all the time in this tangible world. Suddenly, we
realize that even though we thought we didn't have 10%,
we actually do. If you've never tithed before, I would encourage
you to put together a systematic approach to tithing. Make
a decision, make a plan, it's your plan, you create the
plan, put it in writing and simply follow the plan and you
will get there. It's done this way. Start with 1% if you're
not giving already, and do that 1% for a week, a month or
months, whatever your plan is. Then move to 2%, or whatever
you have decided your plan will be and gradually increase
your percentage over a period of time. Every time you sit
down and you pay your bills you just simply pray, "God,
thank you that I have the privilege of giving this to you.
You’ve blessed me with everything
I have and now I get the joy of giving you my first fruit.
I thank you, God, for this privilege. Now take this first
fruit, Lord, and make it reach as many people as possible
with your good news. Help the Hour of Power to buy another
hour of television and reach more people; or, help this
money to be able to buy the necessary equipment that is
needed. Help this money to do whatever is necessary to perform
what needs to be done so that others can experience the
joy and grace that I have experienced."
comes first. It is just amazing how a dollar never looks
smaller than when it's in our paycheck, and never looks
bigger than when we write that check. In the process we
learn to control money and we learn the understanding of
money and we learn how it works and we learn that this is
a gift of love and not an act of a law. We’re not doing it because it's a tax.
daughter Christina graduated from high school this year
and she has actually made enough money now, in this year,
where she is going to have to file her first income tax
return. So I didn't think she realized what was going on
so I sat down with her and I said, "Christina, I have
to talk with you about money." I said, you are going
to have to pay income tax. She said, "what do you mean
I have to pay income tax?" I said, "well you made
enough money where you have to file an income tax return."
Do you know what? She is American true blue, through and
through. She had the perfect American response. Do you know
what she said? She said, "How do I get around that?"
Honestly, that's what she said! I replied, "Christina,
you have to realize there are two things in life that are
inevitable: death and taxes!
our tithe is not a tax it's simply a gift of love and there's
nothing better than giving or receiving a gift of love.
wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary
this past this week. We were married on November 10th.
We were given a wonderful anniversary gift. It was an incredible
gift from friends of ours in Florida. They have a little
place in Florida and they asked us to come to this island
called Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys. We didn't
know much about it. For the last eight years they have been
asking us to come to their resort on Little Palm Island.
We have been very reluctant, I have to be honest with you.
We were in the Keys once before and the Keys are a fun place
but it is a long flight from California to get to the Florida
Keys. It is a lot easier for us to go to Mexico. It's just
a hop, skip and a jump to Mexico. Mexico is a two hour flight
if you're going to the Cape and it's a 1 hour drive if you're
just driving across the border to go to some of the resorts.
It took us twelve hours to get to Little Palm Island. We
got up at 4:00 in the morning, drove to Los Angeles International
Airport, flew all the way to Miami, lost three hours traveling
east, had a two hour layover, another hour and a half flight
to Key West then 30 minute ride from Key West airport to
the motor boat shuttle and then another 30 minute boat ride
to the island. That’s a lot more work then just driving across the border! But we love
these friends very much and they encouraged us to come and
visit them. We went and it was the best place I have ever
been! It was just a gift from God. These people were so
thoughtful and giving and they wanted to give us this visit
to their resort as an expression of love. In return, we
accepted it, not realizing how much we’d love it!!
are wonderful things which take place when we give out of
love. God has called us to give out of love and not out
of law. A tithe is a tangible demonstration of faith, of
love and surrender, given with a thankful heart for the
grace we have received from Jesus Christ. A tithe is a surrender
of our heart to Jesus. We surrender our finances to Him,
we allow Him to chose what he is going to do with it.
friend of mine, Tom Olds, was telling me that his pastor
told him "you know there are two kinds of people in
the church. There are those who spend the money and there
are those who give the money." Tom is a bonds trader
and he’s very successful. His
pastor looked at him and he said, "Tom, you’re in the category that gives the money." Tom shared with me saying,
"You know, Robert, ever since I discovered that my
role in the church was to give the money so that others
could spend the money I’ve discovered it is a special calling that God has given to me. So,
I’ve made it my goal and my quest to make as
much money as I can so I can give as much money as I possibly
can and God has blessed me beyond my wildest imagination.
It didn’t happen until I surrendered to the fact that it was my calling, that
is what God gave me and that is what God wanted me to do."
of you may be in that category today. You realize that God
has called you to give and we want to encourage you to support
this ministry and support your local church. If your church
is the Hour of Power on the air then you need to tithe to
this church. If your church is your local congregation,
then you need to tithe to your local congregation. You need
to give and if you want to support this ministry so we can
continue to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others,
then make this ministry part of your mission’s budget. We take this message to people who
will never enter your church, who will never enter any church,
who will watch on the Hour of Power just because it’s
there. They’re flipping through the channels and they
see this beautiful edifice and they say, "What’s that?" They stop and they listen. We need the funds as well
and if you can support us with a gift that would be tremendous.
you want to start in January and make a commitment to be
an Eagle Club member, that would be terrific. Maybe you
would like to become a Golden Eagle this year or a Platinum
Eagle or did you know we even have Diamond Eagles? We have
4 different kinds of eagles to accommodate the level of
your income so that everyone may have the joy of giving.
joy of giving, it’s the greatest investment you can possibly make. Don’t take my word for it, don’t
take billionaire John Templeton’s word for it, take
it because the Bible says so. It’s God’s word.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have continued to
bless us with so much and we have the privilege, Lord, to
be here, to feel and experience the presence of your reality.
So, God, as we enjoy and participate in this tangible, spiritual
reality of tithing give us the faith to give you our first
fruits. Now we love you, Lord, and we praise your name always
and forever. Amen.