RIVERSIDE BLOG

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At Riverside we are on a journey to help people get to know Jesus and grow as his followers across Birmingham and beyond. Whoever you are, whatever you believe, you're so welcome in this community.
January 22, 2024
Open Handed | Series Outline

Have you ever been given a gift that is so generous, it blows you away? Have you ever given a gift like that? It feels so good, doesn’t it? Join us at Riverside to explore what a generous life looks in practice. It starts with realising how much you’ve be given. The more you discover the generosity of God, the more it naturally leads to generous lives. But, what does generous living actually mean? Join us for for this 6-week teaching series to unpack what it could look like for you.

Series Outline

28 January

Session 1: Never Enough?
Matthew – Chapter 10, verses 8
2 Corinthians – Chapter 9, verses 8-10
1 Timothy – Chapter 6, verses 6-11
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How much is enough? In some recent research in the US, people were asked ‘How much does your annual salary need to be for you to feel happy/less stressed?’ The results were fascinating! What was remarkable was that – regardless of how much people actually earned – everyone said that they needed about 30-50% more to feel happy. (See here for details) It seems that we all think we haven’t got quite enough! What about you?

As we begin this series on generosity, perhaps we need to change our focus. What if being content with what we have is actually the start of being generous. It’s only when we recognise that everything we have comes from God and recognise that he generously provides for all of our needs that we are able to be content. And it is this contentment that enables us to be generous.

‘Money doesn’t make you happy. I now have $50 million but I was just as happy when I had $48 million.’ (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

4 February

Session 2: What’s Mine Is Yours 
1 Chronicles – Chapter 29, verses 10-18
Psalm 24 – verse 1
Matthew – Chapter 26, verses 6-13
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Have you ever been trusted to look after something that wasn’t yours? How did you act? If you ask any best-man at a wedding, one of the most nerve-wracking jobs is to look after the wedding rings! They’re not yours, you’ve got one job – to look after them for the purpose of the owner. You get it wrong, everything goes pear-shaped! But, get it right and joy abounds…

That’s what it means to be a steward. When it comes to being generous, it starts with recognising that we are stewards. Everything we have comes from God, and is to be used for God. Recognising this is an immensely freeing thing – as it sets us free to not worry about whether we have enough, and how we should use what God has given us.

11 February

Session 3: From Worry To Certainty
1 Timothy – Chapter 6, verses 17-19
Matthew – Chapter 6, verses 19-33

Financial worries are always near top of the list when it comes to life anxieties. For some people, the reason why is clear. But for many of us, perhaps the reason why is less clear. What if the reason we are so worried about money is because we value it too highly? What if we trusted the one who gave us the very breath in our lungs more than we trusted the gifts he gives? Part of the joy of generosity is that it is beneficial for us. As we give generously, it sets us free from being slaves to money. We learn to control how we use it, rather than be controlled by it. Perhaps part of our fear about being generous is because we value money too highly. Perhaps we need to remember that where our treasure is, there is our heart.

“Hold loosely to the things of this life, so that if God requires them of you, it will be easy to let them go.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

 

“Money is an excellent servant, but a terrible master.” (Anonymous)

18 February

Session 4: Hilarious Generosity
2 Corinthians – Chapter 9, verses 6-8

Someone once said that you never meet an unhappy generous person. In contrast, when you think of Ebenezer Scrooge, you think of unhappiness and misery…all because he is uncharitable and demanding.

The bible describes generosity as, ‘God loves a cheerful giver.’ The original word used for ‘cheerful’ is actually closer to ‘hilarious’. What a beautiful image…someone laughing hysterically as they freely give generously. Isn’t that the kind of experiences we all want to have? How do we get there?

25 February

Session 5: How To Be Generous
Luke – Chapter 11, verses 37-46

It’s one thing to want to be generous, but what does it look like in practice? How much should we give? What to? Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at the reasons why we can be generous. In this session we will explore some practical ways of what and how we can be generous. We will explore the ‘Giving ladder’ as as simple way of taking our own next steps in being generous in every area of life.

3 March

Session 6: Generous Lives
2 Corinthians – Chapter 9, verses 10-15

We often think of generosity in terms of money, but it affects every area of our lives. What if we cultivated generosity throughout our whole life? In our words, in our attitudes, in our decisions.

But how to do so? It is only when we see what God has given us – his own son – that we can have a default position of generosity. And when we do so, it is infectious…people around us start being generous to us too! Let’s start a generosity revolution!

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