RELENTLESS PURSUIT: Learn To Love Through Giving


“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 GO therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 TEACHING THEM to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Going to a worship service, singing a little, and patting your pastor on the back after another great sermon is NOT listed in the GREAT COMMISSION.

But, accepting the teaching, yes the training, from your pastor to relentlessly pursue the lost by sharing the gospel (GOOD NEWS) together as a local church, so that you can turn casual conversations into gospel conversations… is LOVE. You must personally follow the Lord Jesus’ instructions of GO, MAKE DISCIPLES, TEACH THEM. This is not your pastor’s job while everyone else cheers him on.

Paul explains how to join this relentless pursuit in 2 Corinthians 5:6-15 (NKJV):
6  So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.
7  For we walk by faith, not by sight.
8  We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
9  Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11  Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
12  For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart.
13  For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
14  For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
15  and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Jesus wants all Christians to form local churches and then relentlessly work together to pursue every person, every family, and every neighborhood in their area.


In the gospel, God expresses His relentless pursuit of us. He loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life, be crucified on the cross for our sins and raised from the dead.


Today at best, 35% of Muskegon area people are in some way connected to a church, which means many of these are not even connected to a gospel-centered church. We are committed to a relentless pursuit of every person to increase the number of those connected to a gospel-centered church by 1%, then to 2%, and to 12% – that can change our community and the world.




Our vision is to take the gospel to every person in every neighborhood near our church campus. Therefore, we invite every member and attender to develop a giving plan – to carefully and prayerfully set a generosity commitment. Your Relentless Pursuit is everything that you are willing to do and give this year through River of Life Fellowship Church.


The Old Testament law demanded that the people love God and one another. One way God used was requiring the people to give a minimum 10% of their wages for tithes and then additional offerings to be brought to the Temple. This took care of the costs of the priests, the buildings, and helping the poor.

But today God calls the Christian to love SO MUCH MORE THAN THE LAW that they give sacrificially until it hurts. Just like Jesus did and said this to all His followers, we are called to join Him and give up everything, yes, give him 100%! This is all that stewardship really means, to become the “business” manager, or “bank” manager of God’s property. “Your” stuff is not yours to squander, and just flip God a dime whenever you feel like it. Grace is not a license to be greedy, irresponsible and/or selfish. Grace means to give abundantly more.

This is what relentless pursuit is all about. Like a parent taking extreme measures to rescue their child in grave danger, our focus must be on rescuing broken people from eternal death by sacrificing our time and resources to accomplish it. This is the GREAT COMMISSION we are called to, and make no mistake, the first Christians understood that and lived it.

“You have heard… but I say…”, Christ taught his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount message, that what the Law required was not enough, but asked them “what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” I hope you can see this teaching is essential!

Even C.S. Lewis gets to the heart of the matter when he says, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”

But at least the Old Testament Law forced people to give a minimum of 10%, which is far less than love would ever do. And the sad truth is the majority of today’s American Christians refuse to even give what God commanded Israel to give. So we are encouraging everyone to take baby steps and start somewhere and join the Lord in relentlessly pursuing every person, every family, and every neighborhood in our area.

The basics and minimums of the law are fundamental standards of education for the immature Christian… “Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law. The law was like those Greek tutors, with which you are familiar, who escort children to school and protect them from danger or distraction, making sure the children will really get to the place they set out for.” [Gal 3:23-24 (MSG)]

With that in mind, let’s be clear, it is anti-Christian to use the Bible to disobey the law of God. If you do not tithe you break the law. But grace fulfills the law, PLUS MUCH MORE, it does not break it. If you give more than 10% you have fulfilled the law through love. And I repeat, Jesus never allowed His followers to break the Law, but fulfill it. Someone filled with genuine love does not need a law to force them to love! “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[Gal 5:14 (NKJV)] If you read Acts, you see the Christians were driven by love and gladly joined the Lord in His relentless pursuit.

Do this really, and there is no need for this discussion!

The Apostle Paul explains that we are to bring our love gifts to the local church. The local church is responsible for orphans, widows, needy Christians, pastor wages, outreach, training up disciples, building and facilities, etc. God gives loving Christians GREATER DEMANDS THAN the Jews ever were required by law. Let’s read the scripture below…

1/ This is just the weekly requirement for Christians to bring their gifts to the local church to give on Sunday for the very needy brothers of the faith. We are told to so love fellow Christians that we give “as generously as we can,” bring it Sunday to the pastors, and allow them to spend it as they are led by God.

“On the first [day] of each week, let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up as he has prospered [in proportion to what he is given], so that no collections will need to be taken after I come.” 1 Corinthians 16:2 (AMP) Another version translates it this way, “Every Sunday each of you make an offering and put it in safekeeping. Be as generous as you can.” 1 Corinthians 16:2 (MSG)

“And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.” Acts 4:34-35 (MSG)

Can you say your love for God and your fellow Christian is so real that you sacrifice this much when you give your offering on Sunday?

2/ This is the weekly requirement for Christians to bring their money to the local church to give on Sunday so the local church can take care of widows and orphans. “Take care of widows who are destitute.” 1 Timothy 5:3 (MSG)

“During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers—”Hellenists”—toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines.” Acts 6:1 (MSG)

“External religious worship [ religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.” James 1:27 (AMP)

Can you say that your love for widows and orphans is so real that you sacrifice this much when you give your offering on Sunday?

3/ This is just the weekly requirement to support the pastors financially. The wages for the pastor are to be double what the average wage is in the local church. This means the pastor is to be paid double what you think you deserve or need for your family, and God clearly says he deserves it. Most pastors will not demand this, ask, nor even mention it. Do not listen to their protests, just pay him what God’s Word has set for his salary.

“Let the elders (pastors) who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:17-18 (NKJV) Another version says it this way, “Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox,” and, “A worker deserves his pay.” 1 Timothy 5:17-18 (MSG)

Can you say your love for your God and His pastor is so real that you sacrifice this much when you give your offering on Sunday?

4/ This is the weekly requirement to reach the thousands of lost people in our community that are going straight to hell! There is a great cost for the church buildings, electric bill, heating, repairs, Bibles, literature, etc. so that a powerful presence of a worship and work center is kept up to gather, train and reach out to the lost. Not just that, as the Lord adds new believers, we must expand our campus as needed. These costs are as much or more than your homes. Who will pay the bills if you let others do it? How nice is the church property? Who will provide for repairs and maintenance if you do not? Is your home nice, but God’s facilities shabby?

Remember this is God’s relentless pursuit…“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)

Can you say your love for your neighbors is so real that you sacrifice this much when you give your offering on Sunday?

Paul had to sternly warn the Christians in the church of Corinth, Greece and said, “You already have what you want! You’ve already become rich! You’ve become kings without us! I wish you really were kings so that we could be kings with you. As I see it, God has placed us apostles last in line, like people condemned to die. We have become a spectacle for people and angels to look at. We have given up our wisdom for Christ, but you have insight because of Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored, but we are dishonored. To this moment, we are hungry, thirsty, poorly dressed, roughly treated, and homeless. We wear ourselves out doing physical labor. When people verbally abuse us, we bless them. When people persecute us, we endure it. When our reputations are attacked, we remain courteous. Right now we have become garbage in the eyes of the world and trash in the sight of all people.”

I’m not writing this to make you feel ashamed but to instruct you as my dear children. You may have countless Christian guardians, but you don’t have many {spiritual} fathers. I became your father in the Christian life by telling you the Good News about Christ Jesus. So I encourage you to imitate me.” 1 Corinthians 4:8-16 (GW)

Can you say your love for God is so real that you sacrifice this much as you live your life? Probably not, Paul and the other disciples who lived then, saw Jesus raised from the dead, and it drove them with a faith and love hard to understand today. But, when we all see the next step that Jesus wants for us personally, we can obey and join the relentless pursuit that we are all called to.


What is your next step?


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