Hello Brothers & Sisters,
Why do we give? That’s what Dan Bisbee addressed in his sermon, Loving Generosity, last Sunday. Dan invited us to consider several passages of Scripture that offer insight into why we should give to the church and others in need. Most importantly, because John 3:16 says that God, who is love, “gave” his Son to show us his love. True love gives for the sake of others, not expecting anything in return or thinking of the reward. And so, when we love God with everything that we are, and we love our neighbor as ourselves, we become like our giving God who puts his generosity on display in Christ.
Dan also pointed out that Jesus asks the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-22 to “sell” all of his belongings because “ownership” is involved. Unfortunately, we often tend to find our worth in what we own. While Jesus doesn’t ask everyone to give up all of their earthly possessions, we can see the reason Jesus asked the rich man to do this. His identity was rooted in what he owned. It’s no stretch to say that his stuff owned him. This can happen to all of us. Therefore, it’s a healthy practice to give away our resources to those in need; for their sake and our own.
So, after considering Jesus’ command to the rich man, we can see that giving is actually good for the soul. Jesus was trying to free the man from bondage to his stuff. Think about that. Spending all of our money on ourselves and accumulating material things tends to make us self-centered and insensitive to the needs of others. We can’t live into the Kingdom that way. But when we give, and we’re loving generosity, we become more fully human (like Christ) and it has a positive impact on our mental, physical, and spiritual health. It humanizes the giver and the recipient. Who doesn’t want that?
In his sermon, Dan said that a few things can happen when we give away our stuff: (1) we cut the cord of emotional ownership; (2) we clarify the true value of our possessions; (3) and we confirm the true source of our own worth. Those are excellent things to keep in mind each time you give to Grantham Church, a charitable organization, or to an individual in need. Giving truly is a spiritual discipline.
I want to thank Dan for giving us such a helpful message as we work at being good stewards and lovers of generosity at Grantham Church. And thank you to all those who are being intentional in what you’re giving to the church on a regular basis, so we can live into all that God has for us a congregation and we can expand our influence in our community in the days ahead.
Remember that tomorrow we enter into the season of Lent with our Ash Wednesday services. We are having a brief service (20 min) beginning at 7:00 a.m. that will include a couple of songs, Scripture reading, prayer, and the imposition of ashes. If you’d like to receive ashes before you begin your day, please join us in C8-12. There will be a full service at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary that will conclude with the imposition of ashes. Please join us for one or both of these services. If you’ve never participated in an Ash Wednesday service, it is very moving and unlike any other service that we do.
This Sunday we begin our Lent 2018 series, 40 Days in the Desert: Faith Formed in the Wilderness. In this 6-week series leading up to Easter Sunday, we will look at how Jesus was shaped by his desert experiences and how this time of testing impacted his faith and mission. Each week we will begin in the desert and then jump forward to reflect on a future episode in Jesus’ life and ministry. What are some of the lessons we can learn from Christ’s example? How does God want to form our own faith for the journey ahead?
In 40 Days in the Desert, I’m inviting us to develop a faith that’s been formed in the wilderness. Please mark your calendars for these Lent to Easter events and services:
February 14 – Ash Wednesday Services at 7:00 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.
February 25 – March 18 – Lenten Taize Services, Sunday nights at 7:30 p.m.
March 25 – Palm Sunday | Tony Campolo (guest speaker)
March 29 – Maundy Thursday, meal at 5:30, footwashing at 6:30, communion at 7:00 p.m.
March 30 – Good Friday Service at 7:00 p.m.
March 31 – Easter Egg Hunt at 9:30 a.m.
April 1 – Easter Sunday Worship Service at 10:30 a.m.
We will be taking communion at the end of the service this Sunday. During communion we’ll be singing “I Shall Not Want,” by Audrey Assad. This is a new song for our congregation. Therefore, in order to prepare to join in the singing, Pastor Dave has asked that you listen to this recording: www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8WgHGOak1c
Finally, I’m happy to announce that we have hired a part-time Communications Director! Lisa Mays is joining our staff and will be begin working in the office on Monday, February 26. Lisa comes to us from another local church where she has been serving in communications. As Communication Director here at Grantham, Lisa will largely be responsible for creating content for various communication pieces (e.g. bulletin, pastor’s email, weekly slides, etc.), and she will also assist with our utilization of social media and maintaining the church website.
We are excited to have such a qualified individual in this role. I will be introducing Lisa at the conclusion of the service this Sunday. Please come ready to welcome her as she becomes a regular part of our congregation.
See you this Sunday! May God bless you all as you follow Jesus through the rest of the week.
Grace & Peace,
* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org