11.29.2014

11.23.2014

Nov 23 - Christ the King Sunday


  • Christ the King - worship images based around "Worthy is the Lamb" 
    • "Revelation Song" 
    • Worthy is the Lamb 
    • Liturgical images 
    • Christ the Victor 
    • Christ the King 

11.09.2014

Nov 09 - Stewardship - Giving Styles

Justin's "TEDtalk" 

Introduction
Generosity
Share Research: Who we are, how God has made us.

Three different ways of thinking about giving.  Try to recognize yourself in one of them or in a combination of them.  

Because God made us, these different ways of experiencing generosity are not right or wrong, better or worse.  But because we are sinful people, each one of these needs renewal.

Today, I am going to share some research.  You are going to try and recognize your own giving tendencies and then we will ask God to renew our minds.  The end result is a more joyful response to what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.  

Who We Are: Family-Providers (40% +)

Basics: First responsibility: provide for my family (see picture in bulletin)
Provide for the family, if anything is left over, then give.  Caution about how we give.

Good: God uses us to provide for our families.  We should feel responsible for taking care of the special people in our lives, kids, grandkids, parents.  

It can also good to give carefully and thoughtfully; we are supposed to consider the cost.

Bad:  Viewing myself as a Family Provider can foster the attitude that I earn everything I have, that I deserve what I get, I provide for my family.  Takes God out of the equation.  Can be self-centered and even self-righteous. 

Ugly: Caution is good, but hiding behind caution, or using caution as an excuse can easily be an expression of fear, fear we won’t have enough to provide.

What Jesus does: So for family providers, one of the biggest obstacles to joyful giving is fear of not being able to provide everything we think our family needs or deserves.  In the face of that fear, Jesus brings us to our Providing Father (see bulletin)

New relationship with our Father = new way of thinking about giving (renewing minds) 

Because Jesus brings us back to our heavenly Father, we now belong to the same family.  Because of Jesus, the God of all creation loves us and takes care of our needs.  We then become free to be used by Him to take care of our family, both those to whom we are related by blood, and those to whom we are related by Jesus’ blood.

For family-first givers, joy will increase as we come to see this place as our faith home and these people as our faith family.  It is our duty, our privilege, our joy to take care of the family of believers.


[Lord’s Prayer: Our Father  / People of Peace in Prayer, because we are Family]


Who We Are: Burden Sharers (30%+)
Basics: Do my fair share; carry my part of the load  (see piano movers)
Burden sharers also enjoy Giving to Specific Ministries, they like to see their gifts in action

The Good: We want to be part of a team.  We want to feel like we are not alone.  We want to know that our financial gifts are being used wisely and making an impact.

The Bad:  giving can become centered on me, my agenda, what I want 
money can become an instrument of power, how I get my way

The Ugly: division, we vs. they mentality, 
Even withholding gifts in order to punish others, not what God intends


What Jesus does
Family-first givers face the fear of not being able to provide for their families.  Jesus overcomes our needs and our fears by bringing us back to God the Father, who provides for us.

But Burden Sharers aren’t concerned with providing as much as making sure other people are also carrying their own load.  If it feels like we’re hauling this piano all by ourselves, we’re going to let it drop.  Or worse, if someone else carrying the piano offends us in any way, we see that as a reason to take our offerings and go home.  

For burden sharers, the greatest obstacle to joyful giving isn’t fear, it’s division.  Broken relationships, a lack of trust, not feeling like part of the team, a desire to control what happens in the church, these take the joy of generosity away from fair-share givers. 
So Burden Sharers need to hear that Jesus overcomes our divisions and our pride by giving us the Holy Spirit who makes us one.

[reading]

What if those guys hauling the piano were fingers of the same hand?  It wouldn’t make sense for one of them to say, I’m tired of being the pinky, 

New Way of thinking about working together: unity within diversity, all doing their part.

No one part is more important than the others, no one part can do it on their own.  In the power of the Holy Spirit, we are all on the same side, even when we disagree.  We are the body of Christ: Jesus uses us to impact that people around us.

For Fair-share givers, joy will increase as we begin to understand “fair” in relationship to what God has given us as opposed to what others give.  We will also find great joy in discovering all of the different ways our gifts support the ministry of the Gospel.

As Burden Sharers, you want to know your gifts are supporting a ministry that impacts lives.  And that’s a good thing.  Now, you know I am still new, so I can’t tell you every way your giving translates into impacting ministry, but I have already seen what amazing things God is doing in and through people at Peace.

I’m still new, but I was here this summer when week after week after week we commissioned one group or another to go and serve other people and share the gospel with them.  We sent off the Youth mission trip to Acuna, Mexico, we sent off the Optical and Dental mission trips to Honduras, we sent off more youth to serve with the Lutheran Inner-city Network Coalition, and these people touched lives.  I have seen a poster—this big-filled with the faces of the people our optical mission trip touched in ONE DAY—how many years have we been doing this?

You want to know if your offering impacts people?  Did you there is now a house church in Mexico that exists today because youth and adults from Peace, in Hurst Texas built that house and then held a VBS and taught the children about Jesus and when they returned home, the people asked, can we still come hear and learn more about Jesus? 

The youth and adults who go on these mission trips give of their time and money, but a portion of everything you put in the offering plate also goes to make these impact events possible.

I’m still new here, but I have been to our Sunday night African Immigrant worship.  I have seen all the faces that look so different from mine, people who speak so different than I do, people who still are hearing the Word and coming to communion.  I was there, last spring, when a group of these African Immigrant teen-agers confessed their faith and were confirmed, and I watched as a very white DCE and a very white pastor and a very dark pastor all placed their hands on these youth and prayed.  I hear the mothers and sponsors of these young men and women sing praises to God with words I couldn’t understand as they rejoiced in that day.  Does your money go to ministries that impact real people?  I have seen it with my own eyes.

I know I’m new, but I was here for VBS.  I saw 650 children, youth, and adults spend a week in God’s Word together.  Did you know 375 of those 650 were not Peace people?  I’ve been to Adult Faith on Sunday morning, where 244 different people took part of a Bible class over the last six weeks and we averaged over 150 every Sunday.  I’ve dropped my kids off at the other end of the building where another 150 children are learning about Jesus in Sunday school.  I’ve been to worship again and again in this beautiful sanctuary, I’ve heard or organ, I’ve been touched by our music ministry, I’ve heard the word preached, and received Jesus in bread and wine, and, by the way, the lights were on and the carpet was clean and the air conditioning running—all of that takes money, money we do not have except from what you give freely from your heart.

You’ve seen it on Sunday mornings, but I’ve also seen it every day during the week.  I walk down the hall every day and see children from 150 different families in Red Apple School using these same facilities which your offering support.  Did you know 30-40% of those families have no church home?  I’ve been here on Mondays to study God’s Word, and eat and play cards with Peace Life fellowship and I’ve been amazed and how many people gather together in this space.  And the light were on, the kitchen stove worked, and the air conditioning was running.

I know I’m new, but I’ve seen it again and again and again.  The Peace staff and elected leaders are not perfect, and they may not make every decision the same way you would.  But I can bear witness, this place touches the lives of people day in and day out.  

Faith IN Action
With our Father God providing for us, with the Holy Spirit binding us together in love, we give so that the ministry of the Gospel might go forth also from this place.  The Spirit unites us so that God might be glorified in our lives, in our homes, in our church, in our world.
Firstfruits Giving: A Relationship of Trust (>30%)

Basics: Firstfruits giving, a percentage off the top, God is taking care of us, automatic. 

Picture of tomato.

The Good: automatic can mean faithful; first fruits can be an expression of trust

The Bad: automatic can be mindless, thoughtless, heartless.  Giving can get stale, routine

The Ugly: offering becomes a budget line item instead of an expression of trust

What Jesus does: 
Jesus overcomes our fears by bringing us to the Father, who provides for us.
Jesus overcomes our divisions by sending us the Spirit, who makes us one.
Jesus overcomes hard hearts and stale worship by giving us Himself.

God knows it is our natural tendency to let offerings become automatic and heartless.  

[reading]

Our giving is based in God’s saving activity in our lives.

Our worship and our trust is centered on who Jesus is and what He did for us.  No matter what approach to giving seems most natural to us, the foundation of all of our giving is the gift of God in Jesus Christ.  Jesus came to take away our sin and bring us into an eternal loving relationship with our heavenly Father.  

Foundation of it all: relationship established by grace, through faith, for Christ’s sake
The power to renew our minds.

[reading]


Some Practical Words about Tithing
Only one way forward: take a small step in faith, see how God provides



Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”                  Malachi 3:10

11.02.2014

10.26.2014

Oct 26 "Hand-Crafted Discipleship: Blessed are the Beggars”

Oct 26 “Blessed are the Beggars”

Matt 5:1-3; 20:29-34

[also Bible presentations Sunday]

======================

Notes for Reformation Sunday 2014

"We are beggars, this is true.

Luther wrote that phrase on a little slip of paper that was found in his pocket when he died. Now, like the many sayings that are attributed to Luther, there is some disagreement over what exactly was written on that slip of paper; different versions of the story. But what all the versions agree on is this last line. We are beggars, this is true."


Matt 5:1-3
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

i.e. “Blessed are the spiritually bankrupt; theirs is the kingdom, as a gift.”


Matt 20:29-34
29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.


Heart of the Reformation Gospel: We are beggars, this is true.

Grace Alone: The NEEDS of a beggar.
Faith Alone: The HANDS of a beggar.
Christ Alone: The FOCUS of a beggar.        
      The focus of the beggars in their need.
      The focus of the beggars even after they received sight (they followed Him).

"We do not, as we follow Jesus, become increasingly self-sufficient. Rather, we learn, bit by bit, the art of begging." - John Klenig