Prepared for the Future!
This past Sunday in worship, we talked about the need to be prepared to give when the opportunity arises (see the Sermon Snippet below). This is true of our individual households, but it also holds for our church household as well. If we are prepared for the opportunities to give and serve that God will lay upon our path, then we can respond with joy and thanksgiving and without hesitation when the time comes. While we are doing an incredible amount of good here at Port Church, we are not ready for the new opportunities God is giving us and will continue to give us along the way. We envision a community where all children are safe, well-fed, nurtured, and loved unconditionally, but our resources to make that vision a reality are currently stretched thin. There is good we want to do that is left undone because we are not prepared for the opportunities God is giving us.
How can we get ourselves prepared so we can do even more incredible work? We need to have an emergency reserve of at least three months of expenses (about $50,000) so that we can weather emergencies and fund time-critical opportunities. We need to establish an endowment and grow it to $100,000. Such an endowment could fund our yearly VBS or allow us to invest in children's ministry to same level that we do for youth ministry now. We also need to continue to maintain and update our facilities that have suffered in recent years by growing our Building Fund. This will, of course, not happen overnight, but if we work together, preparing ourselves to give and keeping our eyes on the vision we have for the future, we can do great things through the power of God's Spirit!
This will also take a lot of work to do, and it will require all of us to participate. So how do we get started? First of all, we each need to be prepared as individual households to give regularly. We are offering Financial Peace University and Generation Change classes currently to help with this. It's not too late to take advantage of these opportunities! To establish and grow an endowment and our Building Fund, we need to consider whether we have received any blessings that we can make a one-time gift from to further God's work. If we have not already, we need to consider whether to support Port Church into the future through an estate gift. To include Port Church in your will, please feel free to talk with me. If you have already included Port Church in your will, please let us know so we can thank you now.
We have a long journey ahead of us, but the destination is one well-worth the trip!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
A Life-Changing Gift: Preparing to Give (2 Corinthians 9:1-5)
Over the last few weeks, we have talked about how the opportunity to give is a life-changing gift from God. We can be a part of something greater and build a lasting legacy, become more like the giver that God is, and work for a worthy cause. If we see opportunities to give in such a light, what then would keep us from giving? One of the biggest things that holds back our generosity is not having (or feeling like we do not have) anything to give. It doesn't matter how much we want to give if we do not have anything to give to begin with. That's why we need to prepare to give! Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the need to be prepared when the time came to give. He knew their desire to give, and so he told them to go ahead and put aside what they would give when he came to gather the collection. This way, they could give as generously as they wanted to, and their gift would be one given out of generosity rather than our of compulsion or fear of embarrassment. This speaks to the joy we have in giving. If we are prepared to give, we can give generously and it is a pure joy. If we are not prepared, we may not give and then feel guilty or sadness that we could not help. Likewise, we may choose to give because we feel ought to, but we worry about whether we have enough left or we resent the one who asks us to give. Either, lack of preparation robs us of the joy God wants us to have in the act of giving. So how do we prepare to give then? First of all, our regular giving needs to be our first fruits and come off the top. That is, if the first thing we do with money we earn is to give a portion away, we do not feel the burden of only being able to give what is left in the end (if anything is left at all). Second, we need to put aside some of what we have for giving opportunities that may come up in the month or months ahead. Even if it is only $5, $10, or $20, putting aside a little bit means that we have something to contribute when a need arises during the month. We can give without having to worry about whether we have enough because we have already set it aside. If no need comes up during the month, we can roll it over to the next month and have even more to give then or we can sit down and decide where it would be fun to make a gift. This is some of the best money we can ever spend! The key to finding joy in giving is to be prepared to give when the opportunity arises.
This Week at Port Church
Monday, September 18
9:30 - 10:45 am - John Bible Study at Dianna's
7:00 - 8:15 pm - John Bible Study at Dianna's
Wednesday, September 20
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Menu includes Pork Tenderloin and Brown Beans!
Thursday, September 21
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Friday, September 22
6:00 pm - Paint Night!
Sunday, September 24
9:30 am - Worship - "A Life-changing Gift: Reap What You Sow"
11:00 am - Sunday School
6:30 - 8:00 pm - Financial Peace University Class
Chili Cookoff & Silent Auction in support of Youth Missions - October 14th!
Charge Conference - November 29th
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!