Thursday, October 13, 2016

first: putting GOD first in living & giving

“Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all
these things will be given to you as well”  (Matthew 6:33)

Do we worship idols? The answer may surprise you.  During this month, our church will hear about God’s generosity and our response as we experience our stewardship program, first: putting GOD first in living and giving, developed by author and pastor Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg Church.

We are made in God’s image and are meant to be creators of life and hope, not the consumers of our culture’s shiny gods.  We have the ability to change the world and create a legacy that will live forever in the lives of generations to follow. That legacy starts when each of us takes the hard steps of financial discipline and fulfilling the call to generosity that God has placed in all of us.

The goal of this stewardship program is not to make anyone feel guilty, nor is it to say that any of us have to be exactly like someone else.  No, the goal is for all of us to ask questions of ourselves and be open to the possibility that God will lead us in new directions in our lives.

During the four-week program, we’ll be challenged in a number of different ways.
            ● We’ll be asked to look for the idols in our own lives (Hint: Most of them aren’t animals made of gold) and name the ways these idols enslave us, holding us back from living in the true freedom that God desires for us.
            ● We’ll be challenged to consider the place that money, work, and debt have in our own lives. What are our common understandings of these, and might the witness of Scripture lead us to some different understandings?
            ● We’ll be challenged to ask ourselves what it means for us to be faithful, to save, and to give. How do we balance all the competing interests in our lives? What priorities does God want us to have?
            ● Finally, on Sunday, October 23 (“Celebration/Commitment Sunday”), we’ll be challenged during one combined and blended 10:30am worship service in the Sanctuary to give with our hearts, not out of obligation or a sense of duty and not just when we think the recipient deserves our gift. We’ll be challenged to give the way God gives -- freely, fully, with no favorites or expectations of repayment.  We’ll follow that service with a great church-wide luncheon: we’ll provide the BBQ; you provide the side dishes.

It’s my prayer that, at the end of these four weeks, we’ll all have begun to grow into the individuals and church that God knows we can be. So, as a response to God’s invitation through this stewardship program, I invite you to join me putting GOD first both in your living and your giving.  And always remember that God loves you and I do, too!

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