Oct 28, 2016

Trunk or Treat and Loyalty Sunday

This Saturday is a big event called Trunk or Treat. It lasts from 3:00-5:00 in the afternoon on that Saturday and is fun for our church young people as well as many youngsters from our immediate neighborhood. There will be candy, food, and family fun for all ages.

Also, Loyalty Sunday is this Sunday with nationally recognized speaker, preacher, and author Kent Millard being our special guest at all three Sanctuary services. You are invited to bring your pledge card forward for dedication at the communion rail. All are invited to come forward and pray.

Because some of you think I am too long-winded, I will summarize my understanding of Christian stewardship in brief:

The point of Christian stewardship is not to repay God what we owe God. The point of Christian stewardship is to share what God has given each of us with those with whom God wants us to share. When we share God’s bounty we live up to the promise of scripture. One promise suggests that “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Come, Worship
Stay, Learn
God, Serve

Oct 21, 2016

The Top Ten Signs You're Broke

Here are the top ten signs you are broke:
(Have a laugh before you fill out your pledge card!)

10. American Express calls and says: “Leave home without it!”
9. You’re formulating a plan to rob the food bank.
8. Long distance companies don’t call you to switch.
7. You rob Peter...and then rob Paul.
6. You finally clean your house, hoping to find change.
5. You think of a lottery ticket as an investment.
4. Your bologna has no first name.
3. Sally Struthers sends you food.
2. McDonalds supplies you with all your kitchen condiments.

And The Number #1 Sign You Are Broke Is:

1. At communion you go back for seconds (From The Daily Dilly).


Worship Series “Steps to Stewardship: The Gratitude Path”

Our Stewardship campaign title for the 2017 budget process is: “Steps to Stewardship: The Gratitude Path.” Dr. Kent Millard, the author of The Gratitude Path: Leading Your Church to Generosity, which our church will base our upcoming worship series on, will be with us on October 30, which is Loyalty Sunday.

The Sunday that Dr. Millard is with us and during our worship services, you and your household will be given an opportunity to dedicate your life and gifts to God for the coming year 2017. Your estimate of giving helps our finance committee set a conscientious budget for the coming year.

May God help us make this a cheerful and joyous month of worship for our great church family. May God also help us consider our gratitude before God.

Come, Worship
Stay, Learn
God, Serve

Oct 14, 2016

All Hands on Deck

The early church believed that within each church body, they had the necessary elements to respond to a world full of need in the name of Jesus Christ. Today, however, in the age of specialization and specialists, many of us sit on the sidelines. We watch others fulfill our ministry for us. This “spectator mentality” has two primary, and unfortunate, outcomes.

The first is that for the handful of folks actually involved in the hands-on ministry of the church, there develops an undermining sense that, when verbalized and blurted out, says, “I have to do everything around here.” Certainly, no one intends to develop an attitude of resentment toward others. Yet the sin of resentment creeps up on us even when we try to respond to God’s love through the ministries of Christ’s church.
There is a theory called the “Pareto Principle” that states that 20% of the people in any organization do 80% of the work. In the realm of church stewardship, it is uncanny that on a consistent basis, in the giving patterns in all sorts of churches, 20% of church members give 80% of the money used for missions, operation, outreach, and in-reach. 
A second unfortunate outcome of having a mere handful of people participating in the life of the church and its ministries in this “spectator mentality” is that spectators may feel a momentary thrill of watching someone else’s victories, but this participation is shallow and fleeting. As fulfilling as it is watching someone else succeed, success doubles in enjoyment when we have a hand in it. The idea of participation was one of the early church’s most brilliant strategies. No one watched while others lived out their faith. Rather each participated in the faith and its outreach.

During the Middle Ages, when Popes, priests, or other minor clergy assumed the tasks of faithfulness for the laity, the overall strength of the church of Jesus Christ waned.  It was only during the Reformation, when Protestants took up the scriptures, read them for themselves in their native tongues, and felt called to pray for one another and for themselves without a priestly intercessor that the church began to refresh its spiritual strength and vitality.

We are stewards of God’s gifts because we want to walk the gratitude path!

Come, Worship
Stay, Learn
God, Serve

Oct 7, 2016

Love and Serve

“That is what the Son of Man has done: he came to serve, not be served (Matthew 20:28).
My friend, Rob Fuquay, who will be at our church next week for The Gathering, wrote the following to his congregation (St. Luke’s UMC, Indianapolis) this week:

David Brooks and Travis Smiley shared the stage at Clowes Hall, Butler University, for the inaugural Faith and Action event. The purpose of this program is to motivate and guide people to combat poverty. Brooks talked about the problems of social isolation and behavioral challenges behind much of our present ills. Smiley talked about the significance of practicing love and compassion and the real difficulty of being a just and equal society. They even delved into the controversial topic of kneeling during the national anthem.

But one line from the night stuck out to me. Smiley talked about the importance of leadership and how everyone is called to lead. He said, "You can't lead people without loving people, and you can't save people without serving people." Of course, he was unashamed about acknowledging his Christian faith for this ideal, but he also used it as a challenge particularly to the Christian community to live up to our beliefs and values. Another line, related to this thought was used by Brooks. I can't remember who he quoted, but someone was talking with him one time about all the programs created to combat poverty and help people get ahead. This person said to him, "Programs don't change people, relationships do."

I just think of the truths of these statements and the way I see them lived out before my eyes at St. Luke's. Our Getting Ahead program matches people looking to get out of poverty with people in our church. Through these relationships folks find encouragement, counsel, and support to get to a new place of freedom and hope. I watch our volunteers every Wednesday evening share in the English as a New Language classes. (I have to be careful here lest it sound like good church people helping needy people outside the church. These volunteers would point out that they are the ones receiving the blessing. It is simply people helping each other and they are in the church!)

The world gets changed, lives get changed, when we simply love and serve people. This is how we make an impact. How different would our world be if every Christian every day asked, "Lord Jesus, who do you want to love and serve through me today?"

PS. Don’t forget to pray for Children’s Sabbath on 9 October 2016.

Come, Worship
Stay, Learn
God, Serve

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