Generosity with God’s Gifts

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION                   (Psalm 85)

We seek wisdom from Scripture to be faithful disciples. We pray for the Holy Spirit to light the way to our understanding. Join me in a spirit of prayer.

O Lord, be gracious to us. Speak your word to us— a word of peace to those who follow faithfully as disciples of Christ.  For we know, without doubt, that Your salvation is near; your glory fills this place. Let your unfailing love and truth come together among us that we may worship and serve you all our days.  Amen.

SCRIPTURE READING                 Romans 12:1-8                        The New Life in Christ

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching;8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.


THE MESSAGE                   “Generosity with God’s Gifts”

We come to celebrate the generosity of God. Jesus calls us to the table to share in the fellowship of bread and fruit of the vine. The Lord invites us to eat the bread of heaven and drink from the cup of life eternal. Jesus calls us out of the shadows, to be entirely known, and entirely filled with God's presence. Jesus calls us all who believe in the resurrection to share in the companionship  of all the saints. 

We’ve arrived at the end of our series on the 7 Marks of Discipleship. At the Chapel by the Sea, this series served as their Stewardship Theme for 2012. Stewardship encompasses our total way of life. Are we fully committed as a Disciple of Jesus Christ? The Christian faith is more than just coming to the church building once a week; Christianity involves every aspect of every day.

Being a Christian Disciple comprises how we live each day as we follow Jesus, our Lord. The first four marks of Discipleship strengthen our faith. So as Disciples who believe in God answers prayer, the first marks calls us to daily prayer. Disciples make a point to worship weekly, honoring our Lord with our praise and thanksgiving. We spend time in fellowship with Christian friends like our lunch this coming Wednesday. We grow in our faith as we read and study God’s Word, so the Lord can speak to us.

The last three marks of Discipleship move us from inwardly focus on our relationship with Christ to serving others in our Lord’s name. We engage in ministry in the church, in mission outside the church, and even in our community service as our response to God’s love. Also, Jesus calls us to reach out and spread the Gospel. We invite others share a special relationship with Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

Our final mark includes the commitment to share Christ through our resources of time, talent AND treasure. It’s not a multiple choice option, but giving of all three. God does not want us to give time instead of using our talents and keeping our money in our pockets. We may have more time to give than treasure, but the Lord wants us to be completely committed to our faith.  We offer time for prayer, worship, fellowship, study, fellowship, service, and evangelism.

The Lord blessed each one of us with different gifts for the common good. Some will pray silently, quietly, and privately while others can pray voicing the concerns of the community in public forums. We need various talents to be shared in worship with Lectors, Ushers, singers in choir, bell ringers, and greeters who welcome guests to worship. You may be comfortable sharing some talents but feel fear in getting up in front of others. God gives courage to those who take the challenge and helps in leading worship.

The Lord gives us different interests in ways to serve in ministry and mission. Next week, when we serve Meals on Wheels, some will drive others will “run” and deliver the meals.  Last week for Bike and Build, some baked and others bought, but we served as a respite for 31riders to rest and reflect on the death of a colleague. Others prayed for them. Jesus calls us to use our gifts of hospitality and conversation to share the Good News. We can engage in evangelism through many ways of inviting friends to worship or events. We can offer a smile and a greeting to worship guests. Or we can discuss with friends the Good News we receive in worship and allow the Spirit to inspire.

And we all receive our financial resources from heaven above, whether it’s our Social Security, pension, or paycheck the Lord provides these sources. Some have meager offerings and others can give in abundance, but like the Widow in Luke’s Gospel, who gave from her poverty, the Lord looks at our generosity based on our resources and not at the dollar value. We just need to realize that the Lord provides the resources for ministry and mission through our generosity. We’ve been given the financial power to assist the Lord in accomplishing great things. When we demonstrate generosity with God’s gift, the Lord will see our Discipleship. TGBTG. Amen

  January 2018  
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