Giving with Gratitude and Grace
This six week worship theme leads us in considering giving, gratitude, and generosity. Each Fall, churches all over the world begin planning for their mission and ministry needs for the following year. Throughout the Scriptures there is a clear calling to the faithful: give with gratitude and grace from your first-fruits. This means, quite simply, that we make a commitment to God to give FIRST (from the gifts we continually receive) from time, talent and treasure, and NOT spend until our hearts are content and then take what is leftover and give it to God. The natural way that God has commissioned us to give is through the community of faith (the church) in which we live, grow, and have our deep, meaningful relationships.
10/22/2017: Life That is Truly Life 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Fullness of life does not come by acquiring riches or trusting in our treasures. Life that is truly life begins with simple gratitude for all God has done for us. This gratitude becomes daily grace in action as we live generously in all our ways. This daily grace reminds us of our true treasure in Christ and our true mission to bless the world with our kindness.
10/292017: Formed by Faith: Colossians 2:6-7
Giving and serving (for church, for others, etc.) cannot be fully performed or experienced without a deep and ever-deepening relationship with God in Christ. We give ourselves to spiritual disciplines (prayer, scripture devotion, fasting, worship, etc.) out of our love and gratitude for Christ. Through these practices we remain rooted, built-up, and strengthened in faith
11/5/2017: Equipped to Serve: 1 Peter 4:8-11
Our lives are not lived in isolation but in a community of faith, hope, and love we call the church. We all bring unique gifts, talents, experiences, and qualities to be used together for good and for God. While the church needs practical gifts of all sorts, the most generous gift we can give is ourselves.
11/12/2017: Mission of Hope: Luke 10:1-9
Just like our individual lives are not lived in isolation, but together in church, so too the life of the church is not lived in isolation but in connection with the wider world. A large part of God’s will and purpose for the church is to reach out into the wider community and serve needs, bring hope, stand for justice, extend mercy, and communicate the Good News of Jesus by word and deed. Giving ourselves and our resources to this mission of grace shows our gratitude.
11/19/2017: Radical Generosity: 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
The resources for ministry cost money. Our staff, facilities, supplies, utilities are all real-world resources that are essential to do the work of mission and ministry. It takes a mature Christian, filled with gratitude, guided by grace and generosity, to make committed, enduring, and substantial financial contributions to the mission and ministry of the church.
11/26/2017: Thankful In-Deed: Luke 17:11-19
Humankind’s natural inclination is to live for ourselves and give the leftovers away. Gratitude and generosity is a lifestyle choice… and it takes practice. When we stop to consider the great gifts we have been given by God in Jesus, we should be ever more ready, willing, and able to give deeply to the church that Jesus created.