When You Give

It was on the anniversaries of first fruit offering that Noah’s ark came to rest, Israel crossed the Red Sea and Haman hung on the very gallows he built for Esther’s people. It was also on the anniversary of the first fruit offering that Jesus hung on the cross and united heaven with earth. We honor God not only by lifted hands and a song on our lips. We honor God with our wealth and our possessions. We honor God by giving our tithes and our alms and our offerings. In giving, the principle rather than the law is at work. God honors those who honor him and after a Friday at Gethsemane he sends a resurrection Sunday.

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Kevin Wallace: Proverbs chapter three, verse nine. Today I'm going to talk and continue our series on the blessing is in the basics. Somebody say that with me. The blessing ...

Audience: The blessing ...

Kevin Wallace: ... Is in the basics.

Audience: ... Is in the basics.

Kevin Wallace: Come on. Last week we talked about prayer, and how many know if you don't have a prayer life you won't have a blessed life? But today I want to migrate to the discussion of giving. Uh-oh. And today we're going to talk about our giving life. How many know if you want to have a blessed life you have to have a giving life? And today I want to talk to you about giving and I want to talk to you about how we honor God with what we have. Proverbs chapter three, verse nine. When you got to say word ...

Audience: Word.

Kevin Wallace: The Bible says this. "Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first fruits of all your increase, so your barns will be filled with plenty." That ain't enough right there. Somebody got to get happy about this. I said, "Your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine." How many can receive that today? Father, help us. I pray you'll help me to teach and preach your word today. Give me the anointing that makes teaching and preaching receivable and easy to take, God. I pray today, God, that the truth that comes out will bring illumination and revelation to the hearts of your people. I thank you, God, that when you want to bring us to a breakthrough you give us new revelation. Revelation brings us to a new place, a new level of living. So today, God, I thank you for that, and I pray, God, over this church and over this city that the dream of Dr. King would not just be a dream but it would become a reality, and not just in this church and in this city, but even in this nation, oh God. I pray you would baptize it in love again and that you would heal it in Jesus' name and everybody in agreement with me said "Amen."

Audience: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: And amen. You can be seated in the presence of the Lord. I don't know how much of this ... I've got a whole lot on this. We'll see where we go today, and how far we can get, but I want to talk to you this morning about your giving life, and I recognize as a leader, having been pastoring now for about 17 years and preaching for over 20 years, I recognize that the subject of giving can cause great consternation and for some, anxiety, and we hear the word "giving" in the local church and we really get nervous, and I hope that that doesn't happen today. I want you to understand that I'm going to speak to you based out of a testimony, based out of my own journey, based out of my own walk. I'm going to teach truth to you today that God taught me when I was about 17 years old and did not know the way. I did not understand the principle of giving because I had never been taught that, and I really felt like God instructed me as a shepherd about 11 years ago when he said to me, "I want you to begin to teach systematically and teach annually on giving, because there are many people in the church that are ignorant." And I don't mean ignorant in the sense of a derogatory term, I mean simply ignorant in the sense that they've never been taught. I was ignorant as it regards the teaching of giving, until I was about 17 years old. I heard a sermon on tithing for the first time in my life and it transformed my life. It literally changed my life, and I really believe that God wanted me to continue to either systematically just talk to our people about the responsibility and the privilege of giving to the house of the Lord. Proverbs chapter three teaches us that we are to honor God with our wealth. Say that with me. Say, "Honor the Lord ..."

Audience: Honor the Lord ...

Kevin Wallace: ... With your wealth.

Audience: ... With your wealth.

Kevin Wallace: That's what the word says. "Honor the Lord with your wealth." This text presupposes several things that I think are very important in laying a foundation for the whole conversation on giving. The first thing I want you to do is that this text presupposes that you and I have wealth. Look at somebody telling you don't even know who you're sitting beside. I know I look broke but I'm getting ready to walk into something that is ... Eye has not seen, the ear has not heard. How many know that God knows how to take care of his people? I want you to understand that this text presupposes that you and I have wealth. Now, before you jump off this bandwagon and tune out to what I'm teaching and you start saying crazy stuff like, "I don't have any wealth," you need to recognize that if you're going home to a house and you have a roof over that house and food, any kind of food, in the fridge, and if you've got any kind of money, any money, I'm talking about $5 in your pocket, if you've got $10 in the bank, if you belong to the group of people on the planet who have a place to sleep and food to eat, whether you feel wealthy or not, you are in the top one-quarter of the world's wealth just like you are this morning. You must understand that wealth is a matter of perspective, and we often have a perspective of poverty because we measure ourself according to the neighbor down the road that lives in a bigger house, drives a nicer car, and wears nicer clothes. But the reality of it is, wealth is something that all of us, most all of us, in this room have experienced on some dimension. So you must begin to change your mentality and stop saying you're broke, you're poor, you're in poverty, and you'll never have enough, and you've got to look at yourself at the level where you're living and you've got to say, "I'm not where I'm going yet, but I'm sure not where I used to be. God has blessed me." Can anybody in here testify that you're blessed in the place that you are right now? This text presupposes that everyone has wealth, and I know that God gives us wealth. I know that some of you get nervous with this, but when you hear the word "wealth," you think of extravagance and you don't like people who demonstrate and flaunt extravagance, and I get that, but not everything wealthy is extravagant and has to flaunt itself. The Bible says, listen to this, Psalm 112, verse three. "Wealth and riches will be in the house of the man that fears the Lord." I'm not wealthy, then check the fear of the Lord in your heart, because when you begin to walk in a way that honors God and you begin to walk in the fear of the Lord and he's the object of everything you're pursuing, God will open the windows of heaven over your life and he will fill your house with wealth and riches.

Audience: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: Deuteronomy chapter eight, verse 18, says this. "God said, 'I brought you out of this land of Egypt into the Promised Land,'" and he says, "I want you to know that when you get into the Promised Land and I begin to bless you with houses you didn't build and vineyards you didn't plant, and I begin to open doors for you and pour out my goodness on you," he said, "I don't ever want ..." This is all in Deuteronomy eight, 17 and 18. He said, "I don't ever want you to sit down and look at what I give you and say that it was you that had the power to get to this place." He said, "I want you to know ..." This is Deuteronomy 8:18, out of the mouth of God. God said, "I want you to know it is the Lord that gives you the power to attain wealth." Look at your neighbor. Tell your neighbor, say, "Neighbor, this ain't me. This ain't me. I know you like my car, but that wasn't me. I know you think I got it all together, but what you see is not me. I can't get glory for this. I can't take the honor for this one. I've got to give all the praise and all the glory for every open door, for every blessing, it was the Lord that gave me the power to access his goodness." And I just need to take a five-second praise break right here in the middle of this sermon, and I need somebody to help me praise the Lord that it was the Lord that gave you the power to have what you have today. Hallelujah. I work hard for that job. I'm telling you right now, the only reason your body is still put together and you haven't fallen apart yet is because Jehovah Jireh stays up all night and watches over you and all your stuff. He's a good god that'll bless you, and he'll give you the power to attain wealth for his glory. The Bible said it's the Lord that gives you the power to have it. He's the one that did it, so the first thing this text presupposes is that we have the increase of God on our life. The second thing it presupposes is that the reason God gave you the wealth is to honor him. "Honor the Lord with your possessions." With your wealth. That's what the Hebrew word means. It's the blessing, the stuff, the money, the dinero, the peso. Come on, somebody. Honor the Lord. Let me ask you a question. Do you really think you give money to God because if you don't, God will be in trouble? I mean, there are people in the church who give like God's well-being depends on it. Can I tell you right now you don't give to God to keep heaven's welfare system operating? You give to God because he's worthy and because everything you have came from him. God, help me today, Lord. I'm talking right now. I'm getting ready to teach about tithing in just a moment. It's hilarious to me how people respond when you begin to talk about the tithe. You start talking about the tithe and what does the Bible say about the tithe? The Bible says that the tithe belongs to who?

Audience: The Lord.

Kevin Wallace: The Lord. And we act like the tithe is the only thing that belongs to the Lord. But the Bible said in Psalm 24, verse one, that the earth is the Lord's. Y'all not helping nobody in here today. I want to tell you that not only is the tithe the Lord's, but the 90% left over is the Lord's, and he's the one that's good enough to let us enjoy the leftovers. We made it through part one. You're doing pretty good. Many of us do not understand the concept of honoring God unless we only understand it through the lens of lifting our hands or dancing in the altar or laying on our face and bowing before the Lord or weeping or praying. We think when we say, "Hey, let's honor God," it's all about what we do with our hands and our voice, and how many would agree with me that's honoring God? But this text teaches us that not only do you honor God with your hands and with your singing and with your praising and with your worshiping, but you actually, and I actually, honor God by giving him what he's blessed us with. You actually adorn him and you crown him worthy when you bless him with the possessions that he's put into your life. I feel some people right now getting nervous, but tithing and giving and honoring God with possessions is not just a matter ... It's not just a matter of finance. It's not just a matter of principle. It's a matter of faith. Where do you believe that the money you used to pay the bills this week, where do you believe it come from? Don't answer. If you believe it came from your boss, you are living on an inferior revelation of how God takes care of you. If you believe that you are the one that worked this week and it was you that got the increase this week, you are living on an inferior revelation. It's not that your boss didn't pay you and it's not that you didn't work for it, but in a much bigger perspective, it is God that opened up the door for you to have that job. It is God that kept the money in the bank of the boss so that when you cashed your check it didn't bounce to the moon. It is God that is the one watching over you and me, and when we start seeing our possessions as having come from God and not come from our own strength, then we are more prone and likely to operate in honoring the one who made it possible in the first place. Honor the Lord with your possessions. How do we honor God with our money? I put these glasses on and my iPad can't recognize my eyes. Okay, there. Deven thinks this thing is the mark of the beast. I'm like, "Deven, would you like me to set up your face recognition on your new iPhone?" "No." "Why?" "It's the mark of the beast." "Okay." She said, "Look, it's got an apple on the back of it." "Okay, never mind. Never mind."

Speaker 3: You just called her out.

Kevin Wallace: That's good. "I will not be Eve 2.0." No, I'm just kidding. Okay, here we go. There are a number of ways in which we honor God in our giving. I'm just going to teach this today, okay? There are a number of ways that we honor God in our giving. I want to tell you that I'm going to share with you a number of different ways that we honor God with our giving, but none of them are to replace the first that I'm getting ready to talk about. Everyone say "tithe."

Audience: Tithe.

Kevin Wallace: I don't care what you do, for who you do it for, I believe this with all my heart. Nothing should replace, none of your giving or my giving should replace the giving of the tithe to the Lord. I have friends and I have people and I have colleagues, and they believe all kind of things about giving, and I want to be very careful in how I say this, but I want to say it. Tithing should be given to the Lord in the storehouse that is feeding you and your family spiritually. That's how I feel about it. I believe that's what the scriptures teach. I don't believe that you are to take the Lord's tithe and prop up other things that become pet projects to you. I'm not going to get no help on this one. I need some ex-pastors to help me right here. The Lord wants you to operate in tithing into the house that feeds you and your family spiritually. Now, if it's not this house, I'm not talking to you. But if it's in this house and the ministry and the pastors and the leadership and the vision and the messages and the prayers and the ministry of this house are what you and your family have tapped into and planted yourself in as you are on this Christian journey, I believe that the tithe goes to the house of the Lord. If you don't believe that, I want you to keep coming here. The beautiful thing about this is I don't know who does what. True story. I don't know who does what. The reason I can love everybody the same is I don't know if you tithe or not. When you see me in the mall, I hug everybody, tithers and non-tithers alike. You know why? I assume everybody loves to give to God. If you don't love to give to God ... Listen. If you steal from God, you'll steal from anybody. Chain the back doors up. People grabbing their purse all of a sudden. Yeah, if you'll steal from God, you'll steal from anybody. I don't treat people according to their tithe or not, because I don't know what anybody in this church tithes. It ain't my business. My business, as a pastor, is to teach the truth in the spirit of love so that everyone who wants to walk in the blessing and the fullness of God can have access to the goodness of God from operating in obedience to the truth of God. So when we talk about this stuff, I don't want people in here to think, "My God, he must know about me." No, if you're feeling convicted, the Holy Ghost knows, not me. I'm just the mailman. He's the postmaster general. And please, if you're going to get mad about the piece of mail he put in the mailbox today, don't chase me down after the service and tell me you didn't like the message. When's the last time you chased the mailman down and argued about a bill he stuck in the mailbox? If you got a problem, don't take it up with me, take it up with the postmaster general. Come on, somebody. He's the one that told me to deliver the mail. So today, this isn't about me knowing anything. This is just about what the word teaches. Amen. The Bible tells us that the tithe belongs to God. I could take you through scripture after scripture, before the law, in the law, and after the law. Tithing is not law, tithing is relationship. Tithing is a system of honor whereby you honor the God that has more than you'll ever be able to use and you tap into his abundance by demonstrating to him you know he is the one that gave it to you. I feel something happening on that right there. God wants you to know that when you honor him with your wealth and possessions you actually unlock some things to come into your life that you would have never had access to had you not demonstrated generosity and honor with what you have. My four children, you think I'm crazy, but I have to teach them early. I taught them from when they were five years old. When you get a birthday gift, you tithe on it to the Lord. You say, "Pastor, you kidding me? You went down there to little Judah and told her she had to give a tithe of her birthday money to the house of the Lord?" Absolutely, and when she was six, I didn't have to tell her to tithe. She made her mind up. "When I get to church this morning, I'm going to give a tithe of my $20 to the Lord." And you know why she tithes? Because every time she tithes, God blesses that baby. How do you know he blesses her? Because I'm the one he uses to bless her with. Hallelujah. We ought not be raising sons and daughters in the church that are 30 before they learn the power of giving and being generous to God. Teatime babies. I'll never forget. I'll never forget, and this is radical. Some of y'all think that Deven and I probably too radical, but I'm going to tell you, when you train a child in the way you should go, it gets down in them and it becomes something they want to participate in themselves. Say amen, family.

Audience: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: This one right here, many of you heard this story before, but when we received our first $4 million miracle back in [Ooltewah] campus ... Y'all all in here today and we're debt-free and God's been good to us, but some of you don't know that six, seven years ago we had a $4 million miracle happen at the Ooltewah campus. Elder, you were there. We had just built a $3 million building, $3.2 million, and we were trying to build an orphanage in Guatemala and a church planning institute in the nation of Uruguay, and we had this little inner-city campus right down the road over here on 4th Avenue, because there wasn't but about 150 of us, and we had two services at Ooltewah, and then I went and got about a lunch, and then I drove down here and we had church at 3:00 in the afternoon and we lost our minds shouting all over that little church. I'm talking about we had church till we almost tore the building down. And we're in the biggest debt we've ever been in in our lives, and we are getting ready, Amy Pilgrim, we are getting ready to pay the first principal and interest payment, and I'm launching a campaign, and the campaign is called Believe. Everybody say "believe."

Audience: Believe.

Kevin Wallace: I'm launching a campaign called Believe, and the night before we launched the Believe campaign, this one right here ... How old was he then? Eight. Eight years old. He just had the birthday of a lifetime. Y'all, he got $410 for his birthday. I don't get that for graduating from college. He got $400 for his birthday. I'm talking about the favor of God. I told him, "Son, it's Jubilee for you." $410. The night before we took up the Believe offering. You were there. Man, I'm looking at faces of people who been with us a long time. The night before we took up that first Believe campaign offering and pledge, he came to his mother and I, and he's crying. He's eight years old. Now, you got to understand, what he wanted was a Lego freak. Yes, he loved Legos, and there was a Lego ... It was as big as your arms. It was called the Death Star. That dumb Lego was $500. Making noises like that. I'm the one that was going to have to pay for it. 500. He come up to me the night before and he said to his mother and I, crying, "The Lord told me to give my birthday money to that orphanage in Guatemala." Now, I'm telling y'all this now because it's years later. I would never have done this to embarrass him. But when he told me that, I said, "Son, the Lord didn't tell you no such thing." I told him that. I said, "The Lord didn't tell you no such thing." You know why I told him that? Because I knew if he gave all that money ... Y'all not seeing this. Y'all acting all holy, and all this mess out here. I'm telling you, I was in great consternation, because I knew when he gave that birthday gift, we going to be in Toys R Us here in about three days and we're going to see that big $500 Lego and he's going to look at me and wink. I ain't fixing to pay no $500 for no ... Anyway, he's crying. He said, "Daddy, God told me to give all my money to that orphanage." That next morning, I brought a wheelbarrow in. Y'all remember this? I brought a wheelbarrow in with dirt in it, dirt from Uruguay, dirt from Guatemala, dirt from the inner city, and dirt from our new campus out in Ooltewah, and I had dirt in that wheelbarrow and we spray-painted it gold. I'll never forget it. I said, "Today we're going to plant good seed in the kingdom of God, and a child shall lead us today." And an eight-year-old boy walked down with all of his birthday money, the first gift of the offering. I'll never forget it. He put it in that wheelbarrow and walked away, and I thought, "I don't know if I could do that. All my money? I'm going to give something comfortable, but all my money?" This is a true story. In a week ... No, it was a couple of days. In a couple of days, we walked out and somebody had bought the Lego and put it on the front ... What does that mean? Oh. I was like, "What are you doing?"

Speaker 3: It's favor. It's a sign of favor.

Kevin Wallace: Oh, that's a sign of favor? Look at your neighbor and do that right there. Come on, favor. I don't even know what that means, but y'all getting ready to get some of that.

Speaker 3: God made it right. God made it right.

Kevin Wallace: I walked out there and I said, "Who in the world?" You know what? The who don't even matter. Whoever it was was nothing more than the channel that the father wanted to work through. Y'all better see this thing. So he got the Lego and I didn't have to pay for it, and that offering happened on Easter Sunday, because 50 days later was Pentecost Sunday. Four times between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday, four times. Everybody say "four times" ...

Audience: Four times.

Kevin Wallace: ... That eight-year-old little boy came to me and said, "Daddy, God's going to give us a million dollars." The first time, I was like, "Ha ha ha. Go play, son." Second time, "Daddy, God's going to give us a million dollars." Now, some of y'all can't handle this story. He knows I'm telling the truth. He knows I'm telling the truth. This story's been documented. It really happened. Four times in 50 days, he came to me and said, "Daddy, God's going to give us a million dollars." The fourth time he came to me, I was mad at him. I'm going to tell you why I was mad. Because we were getting ready to pay the first principal and interest payment on our building. $30,000 a month that was going to be, and I was stressed. And the week before we begin paying principal and interest, God turned our world upside-down as a church and at a lunch meeting I'm not going to go into the details of, a person I had never met in my life looked at me and said, "Two weeks ago, my devotion for the day was Luke 6:38, 'Give and it shall come back to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.'" He looked at me that day and said, "Today, Pastor Kevin, I've come to be that man in your life." He said, "Tomorrow morning, I'm going to wire your church $4.2 million." Wait, wait. I told that story here before. Most of you aren't moved by it because you've heard it before. I don't mean that critically, I'm just saying when we hear something five times, we're like, "Oh, we've heard that." I still get tore up over that. It was the greatest demonstration of God's ability to take care of my needs that I've ever experienced in my life. I went immediately and I got him out of school. I got him out of school, and I'm crying, and I said, "Son, do you remember how you told Dad four different times, 'Daddy, God's going to give us a million dollars, God's going to give us a million dollars, God's going to give us a million dollars, Daddy, God's going to give us a million dollars'?" I said, "You remember how you told Daddy?" He goes, "Yeah, Daddy." I said, "Son, God didn't just give us a million dollars. God gave us $4 million." I promise you, as sure as I'm standing here, he looked at me and said, "I told you, Daddy." Do you know why he had faith to believe for that kind of harvest? Because he put every seed he had into the ground.

Speaker 4: Come on, this is so good. So good.

Kevin Wallace: Now, listen, family. You and I have to understand something. If you think this is a difficult sermon to hear, you ought to try being the one preaching it. No preacher in their right mind wants to stand up and talk about money in 2019, especially with all of the foolishness going on in the church. It's difficult. So I'm faced and perplexed with the challenge of walking the balance, but I have come to the conclusion you know me or you don't, you trust me or you don't, and you're going to honor God's word or you're not, and just because there are charlatans and fools in the kingdom of God that are waxing in the pulpit trying to merchandise the people of God, it does not mean everybody's a charlatan preaching the Bible. The tide is God's. The tide is God's, and when you and I receive an increase of any kind, the first thing we should do is say the 10th belongs to the Lord.

Speaker 3: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: Why the 10th? I don't know why 10%. He could have took it all, but he gave us 10. He called for us to give 10, and here's what he says about 10. "When you give 10% of all your increase, the 90% left over is holy and blessed. When you give the holy portion, the tithe, 10%, first 10% of the increase to the Lord, the remainder is holy and blessed." I'm going to say a loaded statement here, and you got to hear it through ears of the spirit to receive it. I would rather be blessed than rich any day of the week. I'm going to let that one simmer for a second right there. I'd rather be blessed than rich any day of the week. Why? Because you can actually get rich by being blessed, but there are people who are rich and are not blessed and walking in a curse. You're not hearing what I'm saying. You got Bible for that? I wouldn't say it if I didn't bless ... The Bible said the blessing of the Lord makes you rich and he adds no sorrow to it. You can actually be blessed and God increase your house and no sorrow come with it. I've heard people in the kingdom of God my whole life, growing up especially, they say things like this. "I don't want to be rich. I can't handle it." I thought, "Boy, me either. I don't want to ... If they're scared of it, I am too." Problem is, we stayed broke. So I came to the conclusion, "You know what? I probably could help God and his kingdom be advanced if I was blessed more than I could if I was broke." Now, there's times I served the Lord being broke. I used to preach broke. Listen, y'all. People say all the time, "That's a nice suit." First of all, very few suits that I own did I buy for myself. Somebody bought them for me, so thank you, father, for that. But the few suits that I bought, the first one I started with ... Chad, do you have a really loud blue color back there you could put on the screen? Probably not. I had a blue suit that looked like it ran on electric batteries. Yes, it was that color. My mama's telling ... She know I'm telling the truth. I ironed that suit so many times, a polyester suit, that the lapel got shiny on it. I looked like something that dropped straight out of ... I don't even know where it came from. You know what I said? I may not have anything for the rest of my life, but I'm going to give everything I have to God. When you have that kind of heart ... I'm not talking about how holy my heart is, I'm just talking about a decision to radically trust God with everything. When God can trust you, he will bless you, and tithing is a simple test you and I take on earth every single week or biweekly or monthly or whenever you get paid. It's a simple demonstration of your ability and mine to trust God. When you tithe, the Bible says something in Malachi chapter three, and I'm going to move on to the alms and the offering. The Bible says in Malachi three, "When you tithe it opens up the storehouse and when you open up the storehouse or the windows of heaven, he pours out blessing that you don't have room enough to contain." What it literally means is, God will bless you in such a way when you're a tither that you won't be able to enjoy it all for yourself. The overflow of the goodness of God will spill out onto others' lives.

Audience: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: How many want to live that kind of life?

Audience: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: Be a tither. And listen, you may not be able to start immediately. I want to just say this pastorally. You may be so overextended through debt and through financial obligation that you actually say, "Pastor, if I tithe I won't be able to pay my bills." Listen, here's what I want to encourage you to do. Don't get another credit card. You say, "You're getting all up in my business." I'm trying to help you, because you're paying somebody the tithe.

Audience: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: Citibank, somebody's getting the tithe. Why not give it to God? Here's what I'm going to tell you. If you're overextended financially, don't keep getting in a deeper hole. Begin to structure financially so that you can get out of debt and begin to pray for God to help you ... Listen, tithe as soon as you can. You say, "Pastor, I can't believe you would talk like this." Nehemiah chapter 12, verse eight says this. "When they come out of Babylonian captivity, immediately they built the Temple, immediately they restored the Wall." They started building the Temple and restoring the Wall. Here's what the Bible says in Nehemiah 12, verse eight. "They started setting their tithe aside to the house of the Lord." Why's that important? Because they were trying to rebuild their lives. You would think God would give them a pass. "You just came out of 70 years of captivity. I feel sorry for you. You don't have to tithe for five years." No, they began to tithe immediately. Why? Because they knew their future was attached to their willingness to put God first in their giving, even when they first came out of bondage. Are you following me? Okay, so I'm going to encourage you, work as diligently and quickly as you can to begin to be a systematic, predictable tither. Secondly, alms. Say "alms."

Audience: Alms.

Kevin Wallace: Alms is when you give money to the poor. This is not the tithe. The tithe is whose? The Lord's. Alms is when you see somebody in need and you give money to the poor. The Bible's very clear about how to do that in Matthew chapter six. When you do alms, when you give alms, he said, "Don't get a trumpet out and blow it." I'm telling you what the Bible says. Don't get a trumpet out and blow it and stand on the corner and say, "Y'all, watch me. I'm fixing to hook this poor person up." You think that's ... I think that's funny too, but the reality of it is, hypocrites used to do that. They literally had an entourage that came with them and before they gave money to a poor person they blew the trumpets and got everybody's attention. They said, "Y'all watching? I'm getting ready to hook him up." And they gave to the poor, and Jesus said, "When you do that kind of foolishness, you have your reward." He said, "But when you give, don't give like that. When you give alms and you find somebody in need, don't even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."

Speaker 3: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: What is he talking about there? "Don't let your left hand know what your right hand's doing"? He's very simply saying, "Hide it." Do it from your heart. Don't do it for the approval of people or so somebody pats you on the back and say, "Man, you're generous." Don't tell people what you do for others.

Speaker 3: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: How many ever known somebody who did something because they wanted some people to acknowledge them? Anybody other than me get sick of those people? Let's give from a pure heart, and when you go bless somebody and you go buy food for somebody or you go give somebody some money to help them with their bill or something like that, be real careful not to get the glory for yourself. Help poor people. Help those in need. I've been poor. And be careful how you talk about people. Be careful how you talk about people. "We going to go help them poor people." You better remember yourself, how you could have been one of them poor ... When I say stuff like that, I say, "We're going to help those in need." Poor and poverty can be a sentence, but it's temporary. Some people are poor right now, but in another year or two, you better watch it, because God can do something really amazing in their life. Be careful how you talk about people. When we do benevolence through this church, I told all of our team, we don't walk around saying ... We don't walk around making people feel like they got something wrong with them because they're in a place of need. Some of them have just fallen on really hard times. We ought to have some compassion for people. Amen, somebody.

Audience: Amen.

Kevin Wallace: So alms is when you give to those in need. Then finally there's an offering. Say "offering."

Audience: Offering.

Kevin Wallace: So you have the tithe, you have alms, and you have offering, and I talked a little bit about offering. Offering is anything that comes out of your free will. We have been talking about first fruit offering this month, and we do that because it is the first of our year. The first fruit offering is actually in Leviticus chapter 23, is actually very biblical. Now, the Jewish people did it at a different time of year. They did it at a different time of year, but our new year begins in January, so this is when we first start talking about first fruit offering. I really believe that first fruit offering has a way of unlocking something over your life. You understand that when the sheaf came out of the ground ... I told you this before. They took the first cutting of the first harvest, and they took it to the temple and they waved that sheaf before the Lord, and they were saying ... Watch this. They were saying, "This is the first fruit. This is the best we got, and we're waving it not only because it's already come through, but we're waving it because of what's on the way." Look at somebody, tell them, "I believe something good is on the way." I want you to look at your neighbor and tell your neighbor ... Listen, some of you going to have to challenge yourself out of this financial funk that we get in sometimes. I want you to look at your neighbor and say, "I believe something good is on the way."

Audience: I believe something good is on the way.

Kevin Wallace: I'm not just saying that because I hope it happens, I'm saying that because God is a God who will bless his people and he will make heaven open over your life when you demonstrate to heaven that you know where your help comes from. How many know God is activated and released to open up supernatural opportunities over your life and mine, that we would have never been able to step into had we not seen God move on behalf of the faithfulness and the obedience that he put in our heart? Now, listen, when God touches your heart ... Let me say this to you. When God touches your heart to give something, I suggest you give it. But offering is not about God having to place a demand on you. Amen? Offering a free-will offering? Are you kidding me? God have to come up to you and say, "I have to have that"? No, an offering is, "I have to give that." Y'all missing this. Don't miss this. An offering isn't God demanding me of something. He can demand anything he wants, and if I obey, how many know I walk in the blessed life if I obey God? But an offering is about what you decide to give and the level that you decide to give from will unlock the increase that is on the way to your life. That when you start giving a first fruit offering, I want you to understand ... Where did my pad, my iPad go? Right there. I'm up here falling and whatnot. Let me give this to you and I'm going to be done, okay? We're going to be done in just a moment. Look at somebody and tell them, "That means absolutely nothing." Say "first fruit."

Audience: First fruit.

Kevin Wallace: Now, something happens when you and I get involved in a first fruit offering. Listen, I know there are people say, "That's Old Testament. That's law." Listen, I'm not going for the law, I'm going for the principle at work here. The principle that is at work is when you put God first and you honor God with first fruit, you are saying to God, "I know where this little sheaf came from, but I'm offering it to you in advance of the harvest that I believe you are going to bless my field with on the rest of the year. I only brought one sheaf, but I believe many sheaves are on the way, and I'm testifying why I wave my offering that you're the one that gave me the offering to wave and you're the one that's got more in store." Look at somebody, tell them "The best is still yet to come."

Audience: The best is still yet to come.

Kevin Wallace: What are we going to see unlocked over our lives? I'm going to tell you these four things, then I'm going to leave you alone. Number one, did you know that significant things happen on the anniversary of the first fruit offering? I'm going to give you these few things and then we'll be done. Number one, this is in Genesis eight, verse four. The day is important. You got to know the day. The day that is mentioned in Genesis eight, verse four, is actually the first fruit offering. On the first fruit offering anniversary, number one, Noah's ark came to rest on Mount Ararat. That don't mean anything unless you know what the word "Ararat" means. The word "Ararat" means "the curse has been reversed." I can't find nobody in here to help me preach on this Sunday, but I just came to tell somebody I believe with all my heart, and don't miss this. The greatest testimony of first fruit is not the offering you and I will offer. The greatest testimony of first fruit is the offering that the father gave himself when he put his son in the earth. Come on in here, somebody. And they put him in the earth and he died, because unless a seed dies it shall remain alone, but how many know he didn't remain alone forever? Why? Because three days later, that dead seed came shooting up through the ground and out of the tomb came the son of God. It's why Paul said in 1st Corinthians, "He is the first fruit among many brethren." Jesus is actually a prophetic testimony that what you offer to God in the power of the spirit will not stay dead. It'll come back to life, and when it comes back to life it ain't just one sheaf that comes back to life, it's a whole body of people that come back to life. My God. What does this mean? When you give a first fruit offering and you and I put God first, I believe it says to the enemy, "The curse has been reversed." Come on, God is getting ready to land your life on a place where the curse is reversed. You say, "Pastor, can a Christian be cursed?" No, but I'm going to tell you this right now. There are some people walking in this place that leave the door open to the enemy, and when the enemy has a foothold he'll walk in. That's why Paul said in the book of Ephesians, "Don't give the devil a place." Some people love God but they give the devil a place. This is the year we're going to shut the door on the place of the enemy and God is going to reverse some things in our life. Look at your neighbor. Holler at your neighbor and tell him, "Neighbor, God's getting ready to reverse this thing." Where is the organ player at? Somebody come up here. I'm hollering all by myself. I need somebody to come holler with me. Hallelujah. Oh, my God, the Lord is getting ready to reverse some things. God's getting ready to reverse some family situations. God's getting ready to reverse some financial situations. God's getting ready to reverse some business situations. You been struggling with them, but God's about to bless it. I need somebody to lift up a shout in this house today. I need some college students to shout. God's getting ready to reverse your grades. God's getting ready to reverse your future. The devil tried to hem you in, but the devil is a liar. Somebody holler, "The curse is reversed." Holler, "I know the curse is reversed." Because Satan, the blood of Jesus is against you. When you plead the blood, the devil's got to back up. Somebody say hallelujah. That was number one. Number two, number two. When we tap into this first fruit thing, I also want you to know that the first fruit anniversary ... Don't miss this. Do you know what else happened on the anniversary of first fruit offerings? Israel crossed the Red Sea. Oh, yes, they did. Exodus 3:18. Exodus 5:3 and 14. The Bible said that Israel crossed the Red Sea on the day they celebrated the first fruit offering. What does that mean? God's getting ready to help us cross some stuff that had us hemmed in. There's some people in here. God wants you to know that you're coming through in 2019. I don't know who I'm preaching to, and I know I'm not talking to everybody, because I see some of you trying to gather your stuff and send me a subliminal message like you think I'm going to take your hint and quit preaching because you put your jacket on. Take your jacket off and stay a while. God's getting ready to open some stuff up for you. You're getting ready to come through in 2019. I don't know who I came to talk to, but God's about to open up the Red Sea. How? I want to tell you, when God opens up the Red Sea, it's not just so you can get through, but God's about to swallow up your enemy and the thing you thought you were going to die in. God is on the cross. God [inaudible]. God is getting ready to bless you. Slap three people in your area and tell your neighbor, "Neighbor, your Red Sea is coming open this year. Neighbor, your Red Sea is coming open this year. Miriam, you better get your tambourine out. Moses, you better get you a psalm ready. [foreign language]." God. God is getting ready to open up your Red Sea. He'll make a way where there seems to be no ... Slap somebody, tell them, "This year I'm coming through." I said, slap your neighbor and say, "This year you're coming through. You been locked up too long. You been bound up too long. You been pushing on poles too long. This year the Red Sea going to open up over your life. I'm coming through. I'm coming through into a new business. I'm coming through into a breakthrough. I'm coming through into a miracle. I'm coming through. It's not by mind, it's not by power, but it's by ... Oh, Lord. Yes. [foreign language]. Can I give you a few more? The third thing that happened on the anniversary of first fruit in Joshua 5:10, 11, and 12, this anniversary was the day that Israel ate the fruit of the Promised Land for the first time. Look over at your neighbor and say, "Hey, neighbor." Say, "This year, no more onions. This year, no more leek soup." Tell him, "This year, it's a land flowing with milk and honey." Somebody holler in this church. Yes. And what I want to tell you is when God brings you into this place, the grapes that they carried from the Promised Land, it was too much for one of them to carry, so they got a stick and they draped the grapes and pomegranates all over the pole and God sent me to tell somebody that what you're getting ready to do in your life is too much for one of y'all. You're going to have to find somebody to help you with this blessing. Look at your neighbor, say, "Neighbor, God hooked us up because what's getting ready to happen for me is getting ready to happen for you." If you believe it, holler yeah. I feel the Lord in this church today. Somebody open up their mouth and give God praise. Somebody open up your mouth and give God praise. Oh, Lord. I got to go, y'all. But the fourth thing that happened when you look at the anniversary of the first fruit, the fourth thing that happened, it was on this anniversary that Haman got hung on his own gallows. I feel an old missionary Baptist anointing on me right here. You see, Haman wanted to kill Esther. Haman wanted to plot to kill the people of God, and the Bible said he hung a gallow up so that he could kill the chosen of the Lord, but God turned that thing, yes. Look at your neighbor, say, "Hey, neighbor, God's getting ready to reverse this thing. The devil's dead. He was going to take you out, but God is about to use the enemy's weapon against him." Somebody give God praise. That's why Paul said, "Neither height nor depth nor angel nor principality, nothing present, nothing to come, will be able to separate you." It's why Isaiah said, "No weapon formed against you shall be able to prosper." There's some stuff in 2019 ... [foreign language], Deven. There's some stuff in 2019 that we're going to figure out. The enemy thought, "I'm feeling this thing, prophecy within me right now." The enemy thought he was going to hinder us with this situation, you know what I'm talking about? But God just spoke to me and said, "I want you to open up your mouth and be clear that that thing is a setup." It's a setup. [inaudible] people, and tell your neighbor it's a setup. I'm trying to behave, but I feel a breakthrough in my spirit. It's a setup. The enemy been working on the gallows, thinking he would take you out, but what the devil didn't know is the weapon he was forging to destroy you with was actually going to be turned around and used against the enemy. Somebody shout. Oh, Lord. Oh, Lord. The last thing that happened on the anniversary of first fruit is that a tall, tan Galilean from Nazareth, they put him on a cross. They stretched him wide and they hung him high and he died there on a cross, hanging between heaven and earth. And the sky grew dark and the earth started shaking, and hell started having a party. Yes, it did. But on first fruit Sunday, up from the grave he rose, yes. And because he lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, all my fear is gone. Somebody praise God for resurrection power. There's some stuff in here that you buried because you thought it was over. But in this season of resurrection, it's coming back to life. Shake hands with three people right now and tell them, "Neighbor, don't preach my funeral yet." Tell them, "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming." It's Friday, but Sunday's coming. You know what Friday is. Friday's when the doctor walked in and said, "I found a tumor." But Sunday's on the way. You know what Friday is. Friday's when the man said, "You can't afford the house," but don't quit believing now. Sunday is on the way. Somebody shout for Sunday. Oh, Lord. I believe God is going to bless you and I in 2019 in supernatural ways. It ain't even going to be normal. It ain't even going to be normal. When this thing happens, you're going to know it was God. I want you to do something right now. We usually give in the middle of the service, but I felt like God told me to preach this. Some of you have already given your first fruit offering. Some of you are giving it today. Some of you will give it next week. I want everybody to tie into the blessing and the goodness of God that is available and accessible in this season. It's the first of the year, a time when we've set our priorities. Come on, somebody. And I believe with all my heart ... I've never told you what amount to give, but what I'm telling you is whatever kind of a harvest you're believing for. How many need a significant harvest of the goodness of God? Come on, lift your hands. If you need a supernatural blessing from God, lift your hands. Then the seed that he's pulling on right now, he's just touching hearts. I don't want you to give anything you feel pushed or pressured to give. I want you to give an offering. It can't be an offering if somebody make you do it. It can't be an offering if somebody makes you do it. It's got to be something that faith is attached to when you release it. Get your tithe and offering in your hand right now, family. Get your tithe and offering in your hand right now, whatever it is. Whatever it is. If you've already given your first fruit offering, I want you to lift your hand right now. Just lift your hand. Don't be ashamed. If you've already given a first fruit offering ... If you still got to give it, lift your hand right now. I don't know that I've ever done this, but I'm going to do it today. I know it's a little funny. I feel like it's what God told me to do. I want to pray over every gift that's given today. We pray over them every week, but I want to lay my hands on the offering today and on the tithe. I want us to believe God to bless every one of your lives. There's no funny business here. If the Lord ain't touching your heart, you don't have to give. You do whatever God's telling you. You do whatever you want to do. Some of you need a significant harvest, so it's going to require a significant seed. My prayer is that by the time 2019 is over, you will have seen the Red Sea crossing power of God. You will have seen Haman hung on his own gallows. [foreign language]. You will see resurrection power touch every area of your life. You're going to feel crazy when you give. Something on the inside's going to say, "Do it." Something in your mind's going to say, "This is crazy." The tithe is the Lord's. The offering is something you could have kept but decided to give it because you believe once you give it, it will unlock something that has never been unlocked over your life. If you're giving by text or by phone, you can do that now. If you're giving in the offering receiver in the altar, I want you to come before these offering receivers are taken out. I want to pray for every one of them. I want you to come right now.