That’s good to know today, isn’t it? It’s good to know today. We’re going to be in the book of First Corinthians. If I’ve not met you, if you’re new. My name is Joe Valenti. I’m one of the pastors here. And it’s a joy for me to worship with you today and to bring you God’s word. I want to share just a bit with you about how we approach the Scriptures.

If you’re new, this will help you understand a little bit about what we do. And if you’ve been here for a while, it’d be a good refresher. We seek to teach expositionallly, which means that when I am in the pulpit or Pastor Chad or somebody else, the goal is to expose what’s already here.

The goal is to take God’s words, understand it as well as I possibly can, and then help you to understand it over against somebody who has a good idea that they think they want to share. And see if I can find something in the Bible that will support my idea. That’s significant. It’s one of the marks of a really healthy church.

And I say that because I’m here. It’s like if we didn’t do it that way, I wouldn’t be here. Yeah, right. We’d be out of here. So that’s important. We value expositional preaching. We want to know what’s really in here. Not just this guy’s ideas. This guy’s ideas stink. The second thing that we do is we teach systematically, which is really, really important.

We don’t just find the little portions of the Bible that we like. There are some teachers that do that. They just kind of hang on to a few pieces of scripture that they really like, that really make their points and they just hang out there. We believe that all of Scripture is profitable. Everything that God says is valuable and is applicable to our lives.

And so we strive to teach Old Testament, New Testament, and we try to teach full books of the Bible. So we’ve been working through the book of First Corinthians. We try to teach exposition really and systematically. And one of the reasons well, I’ll just give you two reasons. One, I just said we believe that every word of God matters.

Everything he says matters. Even the things that are confusing just takes a little bit of work. We’re going to find out what he has for us. The second reason is so that the preacher, myself, Pastor Chad, Josh, whoever else is up here, so that we cannot avoid difficult things. Right. We preach through the whole book because we’re going to bump into things that might be difficult to preach.

That might make me feel uncomfortable, that might make me wrestle with God a little bit before I bring that word to you. And I say that and I say all of this very, very seriously. And you’re probably like, you’re going to snicker. Like 930 did when when I tell you what I’m about to tell you, but I’m trying to be as honest and serious as I possibly can.

I’m saying this because the text I’m going to preach today is really uncomfortable for me to teach. Here’s the title of my sermon. Why should we pay the pastor? See, I told you you would laugh. And I’ve been talking to people this week and I. Hey, are you preaching again this weekend? Preaching this. We go to your preaching on of regional why we should pay the pastor.

And they look at me like they’re waiting for the real answer. And I’m like, no, no, no. That’s that’s it, right? That’s that’s what we’ve bumped up against in First Corinthians. This is what Chapter nine has. So I taught Chapter eight last week. This is what Chapter nine has. And there are two parts to Chapter nine. I’m going to teach the first part and then Pastor Brian is going to teach the next part.

If you remember last week, if you weren’t here, I’d encourage you to go back and listen. CBC online dot org. We talked about the laying down of our rights. There are certain things that are neither prohibited or commended in the Bible that we have freedom to do that. Paul calls us to lay down the freedom to do those things out of love for our brothers and sisters, things that we might enjoy or prefer.

Be willing to lay those things down. Don’t do them if they offend a brother or sister. We talked about the the love relationship that we’re supposed to have with our brothers and sisters in Christ and in Chapter nine. Paul is giving a pretty significant example. He’s saying to the Corinthians, I have a right among you to receive compensation for the work that I’ve been doing, and I’m going to lay down that right so that nobody is mistaking my reasoning for preaching the gospel.

He’s saying, I’m not taking any money from you because I don’t want you to think I’m in it for the money. But the first half, I think, is really, really important because he gives several reasons why we should support financially those who labor in the Gospel. And so I’m going to teach the principles that Paul teaches us in God’s word, because they’re God’s words.

I’m going to apply them a little bit to CBC, kind of pull back the curtain a little bit so you can see what how things work behind the scenes. Because I think it’s important for you to know in the next week, Brian is going to talk about how Paul lays down those rights and the implications for his ministry track and with me.

Okay. Now let’s get into First Corinthians. We’re going to be in chapter nine, as I mentioned. And I think that Paul gives us at least three reasons why those who labor in the church should make their living from the church, why those who labor in the church should make their living from the church. Here’s the first one. It’s a parental reason.

A parental reason. Chapter nine verses one and two. And why not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus? Our Lord, are not you? My workmanship in the Lord, if to others I’m not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostle ship in the Lord. Now, Paul uses that word apostle several times, and it’s an important word.

An apostle is a sent out one at the very beginning of the launch of the church, Jesus sends out 12 very specific men with a mission. 13, if you include Paul, we have the original 12 apostles, then Judas defects. They vote Matthias in and then those 12 are sent out by Jesus to go and to pursue the great commission to share the good news of Jesus Christ to disciple people, to baptize people, to start churches that teach these people everything that Jesus taught.

And the and the church begins by way of the apostles, the sent out ones going in, starting this movement. Paul is a little bit of an outlier. He’s actually a persecutor of the church and Jesus meets him supernaturally on the road to Damascus asks they they have a they have a literal come to Jesus moment and Paul’s whole life is transformed and God sends him on a mission to believe to be a sent out one, a church planter as well.

So Paul goes from persecutor to planter, and on his second missionary journey, he travels to the south of Greece, into the town of Corinth, and he begins to share the gospel, both with the Jews and then with the Greeks. And people come to faith in Jesus Christ and a little church starts and Paul stays with them for a year and a half, teaching them all that they need to know about Jesus.

And so what He’s saying, as he’s making this argument of why he deserves compensation for his work, is basically, I’m your spiritual father. I’m the one who came to Corinth and started the church, if not me, who like if there’s it would be like Rick Duncan, right? Like if you’ve been here for a long time, you know that Rick Duncan is the one that God put on his heart.

He and his wife, Marianne, to move from the south to northeast Ohio to plant Cuyahoga Valley Church. And most of the people that he knew thought he was crazy because nobody moved to Cleveland to plan a church. And he moved there and he started knocking on doors and he started sharing the gospel. And a little church grew up in his home.

And then more people came to faith in Jesus Christ and they were in middle schools. And then more people came to faith in Jesus Christ. And now here we are. And so it would be as if, Rick, you know, asking for compensation for payment and saying of all people, right, me, the one who is your spiritual father, the one who started things so there’s a parental reason that Paul is appealing to the Corinthians, that he deserves compensation.

Secondly, there’s a practical reason. So a parental reason. Secondly, a practical reason. Verse three This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing life, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cifas. Cifas is another word for Peter.

Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living, who serves as a soldier at his own expense, who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit, who tends a flock without getting some of the milk. So, Paul just makes a very practical argument. Don’t I have a right to be able to eat and drink to have money for food?

Don’t I have the right to be able to support a wife if I choose to take one? Paul ends up saying single or is it only Barnabas and I who don’t do these things? He’s not being snarky. He’s just asking these rhetorical questions to make his point. And then he gets to some very practical things. Who serves as a soldier at his own expense?

So you don’t enlist in the military and they go, Okay, well, you’re going to need to buy your uniform and you’re going to need to buy your guns, and you’re going to need to buy your ammunition and you’re going to pay for your own training, right? Like, that’s not that’s not how it works. When you sign up for the military, they cover those things.

You don’t you don’t go to war and like work the midnight shift at Taco Bell to make ends meet. That’s not how it works. You don’t. Or he says a farmer or a vintner, somebody who who raises grapes. They don’t they don’t raise those grapes and then not benefit from the grape juice or the wine. A shepherd doesn’t just give away all of the things that are that he raises.

He doesn’t give away the wool and the milk and the meat from the sheep he utilizes some of those and he sells those to care for his family. Just very, very practical things. And so Paul’s argument is, why would it be any any different for the shepherd of God’s people? I want to note, I think Paul’s argument just in this part is pretty plain, that when you when you work a job, you should get paid for it.

But it’s really important that within the church particularly, we need to ensure that we are functioning with good employment practices, you know, hold our employees to high standards and our employers or to high standards. Right. My job here, I get I get paid to work here. And so it’s my responsibility before the Lord and before you all to work hard, to be held accountable, to do my job and to do it well, to set goals and to accomplish those goals, to pray fervently for you to pore over the Bible.

Hey, I’ll be I’ll be honest. I know that it’s a little bit unfair that my job is to study the Bible. Sorry. Not sorry, but the Bible gives us some. I’m just going to a few. Gives instructions to workers. Proverbs 2125 The desire of the slugger kills him for his hands refused. Labor. Labor. Proverbs 1423 In all toil, there is profit but mere talk tends only to poverty.

First Timothy five eight. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for the members of his household, he is denied the faith. The Bible calls us as employees to work hard. And so, as Paul’s making practical assessments. Right, is he saying, hey, no, no, no soldier works without payment. The who plants a vineyard without eating some of its fruit, who tends to flock always making those practical comparisons.

There are other practical, practical comparisons, namely that employees need to work hard at church just like they would in the real world. And employers, namely you all essentially need to treat your employees fairly. Galatians six six. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches first. Timothy 517 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

So there’s expectation on both sides if we’re going to make these practical comparisons, then the expectations need to be the same in the church as they would be outside the church. An employee needs to work hard and earn the money that they’re being paid. An employee or an and an employer needs to be fair and gracious. You know, there are situations this is not the case at CBC.

So just to be clear, there are situations where churches pay their pastors poorly on purpose. I didn’t mean to illustrate that. It just happened. They pay their pastors poorly on purpose because there’s this idea that while they’re doing the Lord’s work, so so they can they can survive on on on less. And that’s an unbiblical principle. The other side is also unbiblical that because you’re doing the Lord’s work, you deserve compensation or a salary that is way out of line with what is common in the area where you teach.

Years ago, about ten years ago, there was a show that came on a reality show called Preachers of LA. And I’m watching these guys. The money that they’re making and just absurd, because while the Bible does command that, we should pay the preacher a decent wage of the Bible. Also, is very clear that the expectations, the qualifications for an elder is that they not be a lover of money and they and that they not be greedy for gain, that their heart aim is to serve.

And so we need to be careful on both sides that we’re not underpaying those who labor in the word and that we’re not overpaying them. We walked this line in the middle called biblical stewardship. And I’m going to share with you in a little bit how we handled that at CVC. So there’s a parental reason that Paul makes a practical reason and then a pious reason.

P IOUs. I just had to do it to finish the piece. But Pious just means like religiously committed. There’s a there’s a there’s a spiritual reason that Paul points to here. Verse eight Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the law say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses? You shall not mazel an ox when it treads out the grain.

Is it for the ox that God is concerned? Does he not? Certainly speak for our sake. It was written for our sake because the plowman should plow and hope and the threshold thrush in hope of sharing the crop. We’ve sown spiritual things among you. Is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more.

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the Gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the Temple service get their food from the temple and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel.

So what Paul is saying is this is not just a practical issue. This is actually a spiritual issue, because as you think I’m talking about this just of my own ideas. No, no, this is God’s idea. The law says this. And then he quotes Deuteronomy that says you shall not muzzle the ox while it treads out the grain.

And here’s here’s the word picture. Grain would be on the ground and there would be this giant millstone that the ox would pull, would be tied to a post, and it would pull the millstone in a circle and the stone would crush the grain and remove the kernel from the husk. And the idea here is don’t put a muzzle on the ox while he’s doing that work because you want to make him grouchy and lazy and tired.

Don’t you won’t be able to stoop down and eat some of the grain while he’s doing the work. And then Paul says is God really worried about oxen? No, that’s not what he’s talking about. He’s talking about us. He’s talking about this concept of paying those who labor in the gospel. And then he says this verse 11, If you have sown if we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much?

If we reap material things from you?

I don’t know how often you consider this. I consider it all the time that God has put a command on my life to which I will be held accountable to care for your souls as a as a pastor, as an under shepherd of Jesus Christ and a leader of this church. I will be held accountable. Look at what Hebrews 1317 says.

You can turn there or I’m going to read it here. It says, Obey your leaders and submit to them. That’s not the sermon for today, for they are keeping watch over your souls. So that’s that’s part of my job is to keep watch over your soul as those who will give account. Now, I don’t know exactly how that happens, but it happens.

So there will be a day when I’ll answer for Pete’s soul or I’ll answer for Kathy and Mike, or I’ll answer for Stacy, or I’ll answer for the Mantis. I answer for Kim. That’s terrifying. You’re only the you are in the room. Somehow I will stand before God and I’ll have to answer for the talk. Family and how I.

How I handle this. And this is what Paul, this is the argument that Paul’s making. He’s saying there are these spiritual, eternal things that your pastor sowing into you, and that is he’s responsible for before God. Is it that big of a deal that you pay him a salary? Right. When you think about those two things in comparison.

Like all of these things that that weigh on this spiritual side of responsibility, just pay the guy right. There’s a spiritual or a pious reason that Paul says these things and then he closes. He can’t be more clear.

Verse 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel. So I want to say a few things. One, I want to say it is one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life to do what I do here.

I’m so grateful that you all give generously to CBC so that I can make a salary and support my family. I don’t have any complaints. I just want that to be made clear. Like I don’t have any complaints. I’m not trying to get money out of you. I’m not trying to make a statement. I’m just trying to preach God’s word.

And thankfully, I get the opportunity to be at a church where you guys have been so generous. And for almost two decades, I’ve been able to make my living, teaching and preaching God’s word. And so I just want to say thank you for that. I also want to tell you about what we do when we go over budget.

See, in the business world, right, if you’re doing really well and you guys crush it, what do you get? Yeah, you get a bonus if I crush it in the pulpit, you know? You know what I get? I get the spiritual rewards. Yeah. Which are kind of better than your bonus. But I think this is important. It’s not like when we go over budget that all of us pastors like, divvy it up between us.

It’s not how it works. And then that’s important for you to know. You know what we do when we go over budget, we give it away. Hallelujah. Right? We give it away to guys. Klay’s Klay left. He. He listen to my sermon twice already today, so he finally snuck out. But we give it to guys like Klay, these young church planners who don’t have a congregation and yet to provide his salary.

And we have some extra. So we’re giving some money to Klay. We give money to missionaries that are all over the world who they don’t they don’t have a church yet. They’re out there like Paul plowing that field man, trying to share the gospel with people and start churches. They don’t they don’t have a source of income. So when we give above and beyond, we’re able to give more money outside of these walls.

We have awesome partnerships with nonprofit Christian organizations both in this, in, in, in Cleveland and in our region. And all of the work that they do is based on donations. They don’t have a congregation. And so what we do is when we have extra, we help these other organizations reach into the community. One of our greatest partnerships is with Youth for Christ.

We live in this weird spot where there are like 13 school districts right here. Right? And we can’t possibly be involved in all the school districts. We don’t have enough people. Youth for Christ is our arm of outreach, and we have great partnerships with Youth for Christ. We donate into that ministry and we partner together to reach middle school and high school students for Jesus.

So I think that’s worth celebrating. I think it’s worth celebrating that that we’re using our money to advance kingdom purposes here and around the globe, not trying to make some pastor rich. We see a lot of things in our world where I, I look and I watch what churches do or I watch how pastors live and I go, That’s totally out of whack with what the Bible teaches.

And I’m really grateful that we are a generous church, that there are thousands and thousands and thousands of people here and all over the world that benefit because of the way that you give and the way that we steward our money giving to gospel purposes. That’s exciting. Secondly, I want to honor some people and I want to invite you into you into a unique opportunity.

Look again at verse 12 with me. The second half of it, Paul says, Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel. So Paul and Barnabas make a very unique statement. They are not going to take compensation. All of the rest of the apostles are doing it, not Paul and Barnabas.

The reason is they don’t want to put an obstacle in the way. They want to make sure that nobody thinks that they’re in it for the money. And I just want to honor you. You may not know this. There are some folks who work on our staff now. I don’t mean like volunteer on a Sunday. I love all of our volunteers, worship band youth leaders, kids leaders, ushers.

Welcome team. I love all those people. Know what I’m talking about. There are people who actually work on our staff Monday through Friday who come in to work and don’t ask for a salary. You may not know that Brenda Weisinger is the head of our Generous Life Ministry and Brenda was running her own consulting firm doing just fine, and the Lord stirred in her heart a concern.

I forget the number. It’s like $35 trillion will pass within the church in America from this generation to the next. And her heart was I want to I want to use that money for gospel purposes. I don’t want that money to be used on nonsense. So she comes here to work every day like I’m her boss and she volunteers, like has an office 40 hours a week, volunteers as an employee, daily.

AUTH You heard about her a couple of weeks ago. She runs her own business, owns her own business, and she works with me and our equip team as a project manager 30 plus hours a week as a volunteer. Larry Young I haven’t seen Larry today. Maybe he’s not here, but Larry Young just showed up. I was in the office one day and I was like, Who is?

Who’s the guy who? Who is this guy? He just showed up and there was no announcement. He was just asking me if I needed help. And I was like, Yeah. Larry is an older gentleman. He moved here recently and Pete, the guy who is in charge of all of our facilities, there’s a lot of stuff he doesn’t get to write.

There’s a lot to take care of. A building this big and if you haven’t noticed, our custodial team does a killer job. This place is very well taken care of. But there’s but there’s always things that they can’t get you. So Larry just showed up and he starts volunteering. Just he’s all over the place, taking care of things, making sure that things are well kept up.

And I just so I asked Greg, I go, Who’s Larry? Because he’s just volunteering comes here three or four days a week. How many of you how many of you guys have ever gotten bread from Nick? Right? Yeah. Oh, Nick. Nick is here every day, just cleaning up, serving the needy. He does like he’s a recycling maniac. He does all of this stuff to serve our body, and you wouldn’t even know it.

Jeannie has been all of our. All of our I.T. here. You’re on the Internet, right now. Maybe Jeannie does it all for free. She works her normal 40 hour job, and then she does it here for free. We have several ladies sees fit only and others who work at the front desk for free. Chip Bell, who’s one of our elders.

You’ve seen him up here? He’s our director of ministry. He retired. He was planning to enjoy spending his retirement with his wife. And he’s volunteering 40 plus hours a week here. And so I say all that. Want to honor those people. Can we get those people around the block? Yeah. It’s just awesome.

I am I am humbled every day when I come and these people are willing to lay down their rights to compensation because they see the vision of how we want to invite people, a new life in Christ and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. And they’re invested in it. And I just want to invite you into that.

And this is not for everybody. I understand that. But but maybe you’re here today and maybe you’re retired or you’re in a different season of life or your job went, went, went virtual. And you’re and you’re looking for like, how can I serve? How can I spend my time? How can I use my gifts and skills? And again, it can be anywhere from like high level leadership to recycling to custodial work and everywhere in between, like however God made you.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to serve, I just want to invite you to have a conversation with me and Pastor Greg about maybe joining our staff as a volunteer. Again, not for everybody, but I’m telling you, we are making some serious moves here because of the folks who are willing to volunteer their time. And so you can come talk to me.

You can call the church during the week and ask for me. Or here’s a real quick way you can. There’s that contact number that we have for 407265575. And you could text the word serve. Just put that word in the message. It’ll take you to a little form that says, Hey, what do you want to do? You fill it out.

It doesn’t really say that, but it will ask you how you want to serve. And then I’ll follow up and we can go from there. All right. Now to the important things. I felt like the last couple of weeks with food offered to idols and then Paul surrendering his rights. I would be remiss if I missed the ultimate surrendering of rights, because everything we’re talking about, right?

Paul being an apostle. Starting churches and sharing this gospel news. Like what? What is that? Gospel news? And how did it come about? None of this would matter. None of this would matter if it weren’t for Jesus Christ, the Son of God giving up his rights to Heaven and coming down humbly to Earth as a baby to save people from their sins.

Amen. All of our rights giving up pales in comparison to Jesus.

Maybe you’ve never heard that before. Maybe this is your first time at church. Or some of this one over your head. Let me just tell you the best news that you’re ever going to hear. Not only today, but ever. All of us have this problem. The Bible calls it sin, and we could feel it. The interactions that we have with other people, the things we think, the things we say or oppose to God were self-centered instead of God centered.

The Bible again calls it sin, and the Bible tells us that we’re going to be held accountable to God for those things, that there are consequences for us being opposed to God and we’re unable to save ourselves. There’s no you can’t give enough money to church. You can’t go to church enough. You can’t be religious enough. There’s no way that you and I can save ourselves.

So what do we do? Jesus Christ. Philippians two says that he was in heaven, enjoying all the rights of heaven, of being God. And He laid down those rights, and he came to this earth. And he lived a perfect life. A life that you and I could not live. Then he died. The death that you and I deserve to die.

God, it’s just extraordinary love. And when Jesus died, because he had never sinned, he was able to take the consequences for my sin and for your sin, because he had no sin. And he takes those consequences on himself and he actually gives his righteous life, his perfect life, to anybody who would repent of their sins, say, God, I’m sorry, I’m sorry for living this way.

And it would place their trust, their faith in Jesus to be the leader of their life and the forgiving of their life. And then He rose from the grave three days later to prove to everybody that what he said was true, that he has power over sin and death, and to give us the hope of heaven, eternity and all this stuff we’ve talked about, everything we’ve talked about today is would not be here if it wasn’t for Jesus.

There is no church, there’s no gospel, there’s no movement, there’s no pastor, there’s none of this. If it wasn’t for Jesus, the ultimate one who laid down his rights out of love for other people. And maybe you’ve been coming to church for a long time and you’ve just missed it. Don’t miss it like don’t miss it today. Look at me.

Don’t miss it today. Don’t. If you’ve been hearing this message over and over again, it keeps going over your head. Don’t miss it today. There is a God who loves you enough to die for you. And if you don’t receive his forgiveness, you will spend eternity in hell. Whatever you’re experiencing right now in this life will be the best it ever gets.

But there is hope for you. There’s new life for you. There’s eternity in heaven for you. If you would humble yourself and trust the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, trust Jesus to lead your life, say Jesus. Not my way any more. Your way. Trust Jesus to forgive you. I can’t fix the problem. You can fix the problem.

I want to invite you Nate in. The team are going to come back out and close this in worship. And I just want. I want to invite you, if that’s you, to have a conversation with God, to just have a conversation with God. And there’s no there aren’t any, like, fancy words. I remember a good buddy of mine, his prayer when he became a Christian, he said, God, I don’t know if this pastor, if what he’s saying is the truth, but if it is, I want what you’ve got.

That was his prayer. So if you’re here and you don’t have relationship with Jesus, he’s never forgiven your sins. Just have a conversation with him today. Ask him to forgive you. Ask him to give you a new life. And if that happens, would you please come talk to me? I’ll be up here after. I would love to just talk to you about some next steps in your new life with Jesus and for the rest of us.

One, I just want to thank you and encourage you to continue to be generous so that we can do the work that we do here and so that we can send people out to take this gospel message to the world. And I to ask you in these next few moments, if you would consider, if you’re a believer in the room, if you’re a follower of Jesus in the room, if you would just consider laying down your rights to just enjoy the music, and if you would pray for those in the room who are not yet followers of Jesus.

Would you would you just plead with God for their for their hearts, for their eternity? Just join me in doing that. One of my concerns as I prep this sermon this week is that we would talk about church finance and paying the pastor. And all this is really, really, really important. I don’t want to diminish it. One of my greatest concerns is that we would we would miss the gospel that is the seed for all of this.

So if you’re a believer in the room, pray for those in the room who have not yet come to Christ, that they would receive the gift of repentance and new life today. Let’s pray, God, I thank you for the wonderful opportunity to be in community and in communion with brothers and sisters in Christ. God, I thank you publicly in front of this generous church for the opportunity that I have to make a living caring for your sheep.

I’m so grateful and I’m so humbled as I know the rest of our staff are. I’m so grateful for those on our team who volunteer their time here. So grateful for those who have jobs in the workplace and would consider it their joy to give of their finances here so that those of us who work can do the work that we do.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for your for your provision and for your grace. Thank you for your faithfulness to CBC over these many decades. Hallelujah. And God, I just want to pray for those in the room who have not yet placed their faith in you, who are not yet a part of your family. Holy Spirit would you move in this room?

Would you take the blinders off of their eyes? Would you help them to see that they’re a sinner and that they need you? That they can’t fix their own lives, but that you’re a loving father, that you have laid down all of your rights, that you came and you died because of your great love for them Lord, would you grant the gift of repentance today to many?

You give them the courage to respond. We asked this in Christ name. Amen.