This past Sunday during the final week of the “I LIKE GIVING” series, the founder of ilikegiving.com spoke at NORTHchurch. At the conclusion of his message, the leadership decided to reverse our weekly offering. Instead of passing the bucket so people could give money, we handed everybody in the room an envelop containing $20 with this simple instruction: be generous and use this money to bless someone.
Here are 5 unbelievable stories of how people at NORTHchurch have responded…
I LIKE X-RAY TECH
My story starts Sunday before church. We were running late for the early service so we decided to stop for breakfast to wait for the 2nd service instead. While there, my 8 yr old daughter hurt her hand. She was hurting but was being brave so we went on to church anyway. At the end of service we were given an envelope with $20.00 in it and the instructions to bless someone with it. The next morning it was apparent that my daughter needed medical attention so we took off to the urgent care clinic. Earlier that morning I had prayed for God to show me specifically who the money was for and felt impressed that it was for someone at the doctor’s office. When we got there, you can imagine i was on ‘baited breath’ waiting for God to tell me who it was. So we saw the receptionist. It wasn’t her. We saw the nurse and then the doctor. It wasn’t either one of them. At that point I kinda thought I’d misunderstood God and just dismissed it. But then the Doctor thought my daughter’s hand might be broken and called for the x-ray technician to come take her back for x-rays. As soon as the technician poked her head in the door, I heard this very excited voice in my head exclaim, “THERE SHE IS! THAT’S THE ONE!” I was thrilled. So up I went after her, envelope in hand. I walked up to her, handed her the envelope, and said, “Okay, so my church gave us these envelopes on Sunday and told us to bless someone with it and you’re the one I’m suppose to bless.” She kinda shrugged, smiled a faint smile and said, “Thanks.” I walked back to the room very excited to have been involved in the exchange. And usually that’s where the story ends. Usually you don’t get to hear the other side of the story. We’ve given many times on a hint or a nudge of the Lord and given out of obedience just content to have heard from God and been able to bless someone. But oh how nice it is to hear the receiving side of the story! A few minutes later, the doctor walked in a little flustered and said, “Okay, so you’ve got us all in tears out there!” She went on to explain that the young technician had driven to work that morning on gas ‘fumes’ and didn’t know what she was going to do. Apparently this girl was not the type to tell people her problems and wouldn’t have mentioned it to anyone. The doctor was shocked and thrilled to see the goodness of the situation. Well, as she was talking to us, my husband, who loves to give, immediately opened his wallet and emptied it. He couldn’t get the money out fast enough and wished he’d had more. He said he knew good ground when he saw it and wasn’t about to let her get out of his sight. As he gave her the money, he felt impressed to say, “God loves you, and His name is Jesus”. (He’s never said that before!) She came in a little later with tears still in her eyes to say thank you and all we could say was that God loved her, and He wanted her blessed. But she wasn’t the only one blessed that morning. Everyone around her saw and felt the goodness of God working on her behalf. I for one felt especially blessed to have been given the gift of seeing what God sees. It’s hard to express that kind of joy. It’s a little like a kid who’s just gotten off the best roller coaster in the world and all he can do is jump up and down scream, “I wanna do it again, Daddy! I wanna do it again! Can we do it again, Daddy?” I know His answer is yes, and He wants everyone to experience that same eternal thrill. It truly is better to give than to receive. I am thankful for the opportunity and excited to say that it won’t be the last.
I LIKE JARS (Feeding the Homeless in Oklahoma)
I’m 17 years old a junior in high school. Several months ago, I started a non profit organization called Change For Change. I began to feel God calling me to do something to help feed hungry people here in OKC. So I began handing out empty jars to other teenagers and asking them to put them in different locations to collect people’s spare change. I am then taking the change and using it to buy food & pack sack lunches and then actually going into downtown OKC to feed homeless and hungry people.
I LIKE KOHL’S
After church on Sunday, our family of four was eating lunch together trying to decide how we were going to use our $80 that was given to us that day to bless someone else. We immediately thought of our 11 year old sons friend, Alex, who had recently lost his father to colon cancer. The Tresler family had been dealing with the “C” word for several years. They are a very private family and so those closest to them were the only ones that ever knew that anything was wrong. We were one of those families. I would frequently ask Alex’s mom, Linette, what we could do for them. Her response would always be “Just pray.” One day, I sent her a text asking her how things were going and again what we could do for them. This time her response was very different and she was specific about her needs. We need gas cards, grocery cards and restaurant gift cards. I could feel the desperation in her voice even though we had not verbally spoken. Later that day, her husband passed away and went to be with the Lord. That was over a month ago and our family still had not responded to her need. This was the day. We went and bought a Christmas card, filled it with the money, added a little extra to it and inserted the I like Alex card. The next day, I was having breakfast with a friend and I was telling her about the 10 Second Rule and Ilikegiving.com. She told me she had been prompted to send some Kohls cash to the Tresler family but hadn’t acted on it. I handed her a card and filled in the blank with I like Kohls Cash. She rushed home to get it in the mailbox. Giving is contagious. It truly is better to give than to receive. We cannot wait for the next opportunity to fill in one of our cards!!!
I LIKE MCDONALDS
I go to NORTHchurch, and I like giving… because when a man comes to my church and hands $20 bills out to the service and says, GO. that inspires me. I took that $20 and bought two Big mac meals at McDonalds. I dont like fast food and I’ve never been to McDolands, which made it even better.. because I could turn somthing that I looked down on and turn it into somthing great. I have those meals to a women and a man holding signs on the side of the road. I split the change left over from McDonalds and put it in each of there bags. I LIKE MCDONALDS.
I LIKE $5 BILLS
We attend North Church and today heard a very inspiring story and a challenge for us all to listen and obey to those God generosity nudges. Later in the day, me and my older two sons decided to do some Christmas shopping. Before we left, I said a quick and silent prayer for God to give us a nudge. I then told the boys…“Be prepared to get one of those generosity nudges.”
I pushed the button, gave the attendant our order and started to grab my debit card like always. You see, it is common for people to tip the carhops but I typiclly do not. Instead, my mind struggles with the idea of tipping on a $1.00 item. If I use my debit card…..it’s easy…no tip. But in that very instant, I felt compelled to leave the debit card and grab one of the three $5.00 bills that I knew I had in my wallet. Before I pulled it out completely, I turned and told the boys…“Why don’t we tip this time? I will give the carhop a $5.00 since it is Christmas time.” The boys responded with a profound…“sure.”
I pulled it out of my wallet and sat it in my lap. A few moments later I picked it back up and turned it over. On the back of the $5.00 bill, someone had circled the words “In God We Trust.” Below that, they wrote with a pink marker…..‘God Loves You.”
That was it….I just knew it. That was the generosity nudge. I said to the boys…“Look!” They both responded in their pre-teen way. One of the boys responded with a “Cool!” and the other one said “That is so wierd.”
The boys talked about whether or not the carhop would even notice. She handed us our drinks and we all sat and watched as she walked away. Yes! She did notice. She read the bill and a tiny little grin showed as she walked away.
No, it wasn’t a huge tip…only $1.37 but it was a true blessing for me to experience a very real God moment with my boys.