Money - that's everybody's favorite topic to hear about in church, right? For most of us, hearing about money, giving, and finances makes us uncomfortable in church. For most of us called to preach - myself included - we'd rather not ever have to talk about it at all to begin with. Why is it that something we call a blessing from God can cause us to squirm so much in church? Is it because - like the rich young ruler - we are so attached to our many things that we don't like to be reminded of the need to give to the poor in extravagant ways? Is it because we are trying to serve two masters - God and money - and we don't want to face the fact that it is an impossible task? Why is it that such a blessing becomes such a burden so as to become a taboo?
This is a puzzling situation we find ourselves in, especially considering how positively the Bible talks about giving - it is a privilege and a joy. Perhaps the problem is that, in avoiding the topic altogether or at most approaching it in terms of amounts (tithing 10% or meeting the church budget), we have never really learned how to give to God. That may seem a silly thing to say - really all we have to do is write a check and drop it in the plate when it comes around, right? Perhaps there's more to it, though, if we want to give well, because giving well requires preparation. And if Scripture is to be believed, learning to give well leads to more spiritual fulfillment and deeper joy in giving. Those are the rewards of learning to give well.
Over the next four weeks, we are going to look at four things we need to do to learn to give well and the resulting freedom and rewards that come from them. It is my hope that together we may learn to give in a way that celebrates God's gifts and brings joy and fulfillment to our lives - in a way that turns the burden of giving into a true blessing. This week, we'll kick it off as we hear about a church that actually begged for the opportunity to take up an extra offering - I know, it sounds crazy - and see what we can learn from them (2 Corinthians 8:1-6). Join us as we explore what it means to have "A Vision Larger than Our Giving!"
Meeting Jesus Today
This past Sunday, we wrapped our journey through stories of people "Meeting Jesus." We heard testimony from two of our members on how they have met Jesus and celebrated with baptism and confirmation of four youth who wanted to make a commitment to Christ in response to meeting Jesus in their lives.
Sermon Snippet: Baptized (Acts 8:26-38)
The Ethiopian eunuch did not have the privilege of meeting Jesus through his teaching, healing, feeding, or miracles. By the time this man visited Jerusalem to worship, Jesus had already died, was resurrected, and had ascended to heaven. So how could this man meet Jesus? He met him in Scripture, in the work of the Spirit that drew him to the right place at the right time, through the disciple Philip who explained the Scripture in light of his own meeting of Jesus, and through the water of baptism - the witness of creation. Today we, like the Ethiopian, cannot meet Jesus face-to-face in the way folks in the gospels did, but we still meet Jesus. We meet Jesus through Scripture, each other, the Spirit, and the witness of creation.
This Week's Challenge
Pray for God to open your eyes to see Jesus at work in your life in the many little ways we meet Jesus.
Living in Community
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, September 30
9:30 am - 2 pm - Office Hours
6 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, October 1
9:30 am - 12 pm - Office Hours
10:30 am - Prayer Time
Sunday, October 4
9:30 am - Worship with Holy Communion
"Free Checking: A Vision Greater than our Giving"
10:30 am - Silent Auction for RENEW Camp begins
11 am - Sunday School
1 pm - Youth Kickball Tournament
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!