Luke 6.36 (CEB)
Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.
It is stewardship season. This is a time when we focus on how we perceive and use our time, talents, and treasures. As a steward, we are first to recognize that what we have, who we are, and what we do is because God created us unique and capable people. Secondly, as a steward, we are responsible to God in how we use what has been entrusted to us.
As I see it, culturally, we find ourselves in the middle of two competing thoughts: 1) we can make it without God at all or 2) we can manipulate God into doing what we wish if we do certain things. As followers of Jesus the Christ, instead, we choose a third way that seeks to live in response to God’s hope for all humanity that all will be saved and we are part of this salvation by living in kingdom ways.
One way for us to live these kingdom values is for us to be stewards of compassion. Compassion is to live in the world with a deep concern about the disproportions we encounter in this world accompanied by the active desire to make the world more just. How exactly might we be a steward of compassion…well, Sunday just might be a help for us all. See you then!
Grace and peace,
Ephesians 4.7 (CEB)
God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ.
We are constantly being invited to see how we “measure up” in the world in which we live. Each time that happens, it is an opportunity to see what really matters to us. During the next few weeks, we are going to consider what ultimately matters to us and what it is that has the longest lasting impact for “good” in our lives and in the world around us. As you might expect, we will be asking serious questions about our faith and the role of our congregation as a force for transformation and work that God is doing in our midst. The Gospel matters to us, and we matter to God!
On Sunday, September 27th, we will begin, “Measuring What Matters,” as a preparation for determining our investment in the ministry and mission of La Porte Community Church. Commitment Sunday will be a part of worship on Sunday, October 11th, and I hope you will be intentional about being with us, not simply to offer your estimate of giving card, but join us for a reception following the 10:45 am worship.
God has done, and continues to do remarkable things with us – things that matter! Your prayers and your participation are keys to helping us get to the deeper and more mature disciple-ship. We know that when the early church gathered, they did so with glad and generous hearts and that there was no need among them (Acts 2). We desire such a spirit to be among us. I look forward to “measuring what matters” with you as we consider what it means to be generous.
Grace and peace,
I Corinthians 8.5 (CEB)
They even exceeded our expectations, because they gave themselves to the Lord first and to us, consistent with God’s will.
Expectations sometimes get confronted. (Just a heads up that my inner undergraduate Sociology nerd is about to come out). It was my senior year, last semester, and I had to take a course that I’d put off…Social-Psychology. I "heard" the professor was hard and there was a ton of work. On the first day of class we were given the syllabus. Looking over it, I was now positive that my fears were about to become a reality. This was going to be a really demanding class, but what are you going to do? It was a core class.
Upon doing the readings to prepare for the next class, I began to be really intrigued and interested in the subject matter of how the individual affects society and society affects the individual in an ongoing interplay of group and individual dynamics. Boy, I told myself, this looks interesting. And then the opening lecture drew me ever deeper in. Social-Psychology turned out to be one of my favorite classes. The main textbook still has a place of honor in my bookcase at home.
Our expectations get challenged from time to time. Scripture has the knack of doing it too. I read some scripture at one time in my life and learn something, and I read it again at another time and learn something more. Sunday, I think will be no different. So take a minute and look over the focus scripture from Proverbs, and lets meet together Sunday and maybe, just maybe, our expectations will be challenged again.
Grace and peace,
James 1.5 (NRSV)
If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.
Words that are full of wisdom really capture our attention. Ben Franklin, one of our founding fathers, had a multiplicity of well-loved sayings including "Tell me and I forget/teach me and I remember/involve me and I learn.” There is also “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Old Ben had this unique knack of saying concisely and memorably things that seem to apply to all of life.
Sunday we are starting a series called “Solomon Says.” Listening together to supposed wisdom of another well-known Biblical giant, King Solomon ,who was considered by many a person worth emulating. While I most likely will not be playing an altered game of Simon Says, I still think wisdom is worth considering in our time together.
Specifically, this Sunday, we will be reminded that we are in this together; that we are all made by God. And even as we devise and contrive ways to keep us at arm’s reach from one another, God, we are reminded, is the maker of us all and divisions are not God’s way. God through Jesus Christ's love creates unity in the midst of diversity.
So Solomon says, “See you in church on Sunday!”
Grace and peace,
Husband, father, minister, child of God, follower of Jesus Christ writing in the context of La Porte Community Church