We have been given the greatest gift in all the world in Jesus Christ. Heaven could give no more than it gave in Jesus. The Bible calls this "Grace." The word for Grace in the Bible can also be translated as "gift." God is incredibly generous as He gave His only son Jesus to people who did not deserve or earn His gift.
Part of receiving God's generosity is learning to share God's generosity. In other words, people who have been graced, are gracious people. Out of the overflow of the generous Grace given to us, we then are generous and gracious. We reflect our Lord. Paul says it this way, "You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Corithians 9:11)." God's generosity is never to be kept to ourselves. It is to be used to bless the world.
This obviously includes many dementions of our lives. We are to be generous in our words with other people. We listen rather than lecture. We are to be generous with our time with people. The Kingdom of God is often found in a face to face relationship with another person. We are to be generous with our different talents. Each of us has been gifted by God to bless the world.
We are also to be generous with our finances. This is both individually and as a corporate church body. Over the next few weeks, you will be hearing stories about the generosity of our church. You will hear stories about the way our church is blessing people with our words, time, talent, and yes our resources. One of the main concerns as pastor is the question of what are you giving to when you give here. Giving generously to God's local church is a spiritual practice. We want to highlight some of the fruit that comes from that spiritual practice. So you will hear stories how our church is blessing single parents, how our building is being used to bless all kinds of groups within our community, and how our people are blessing often overlooked people.
As we are doing this, I want you to pray about the gifts you bring to the church. It is no secret that we are struggling more than usual financially. But stewardship is a larger issue than just finances. Stewardship includes all of yourself. If there is a ministry God is inviting you to be part of, go for it and follow God's prompting. I also want you to pray about giving a little more financially if you are able to over the next few months. We have about 100 families giving to our church this year, and if even a few of you decide to give even $100 more a month, it would go a long ways of helping us pay our expenses, but more importantly help us bless even more people with the Gospel of God's generous Grace in Jesus Christ.
I love you. I will miss being with you on Sunday, but Dr. Emerson will bring an incredible message on heaven. Let's celebrate God's Grace together daily!
Grace and Peace,