Posts Tagged Giving
As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” [NRSV]
Everyone who came to the temple for worship, put something in the offering.
Maybe someone does want to talk about Money at church because we have question or misinformation about “Offering” is in our practice of worship and faith. What is the offering about?
- What the Offering is NOT:
- It is not about FAIRNESS
- It is not admission for the SHOW
- It is not about TAXATION
- It is not EARNING salvation or favor
- Offering IS about
- a THANK YOU note
- a Sign of TRUST of God,
- How we GIVE it.
- How we USE it.
- a RESPONSE to God’s loving, blessing, saving and claiming us in GRACE
- an ACT of CONFESSION or retribution – Zacheaus, the wee little man, made a big act of restoration.
- an Investment in the work of God’s business, kingdom, witness
- a PRACTICE of loving. [The widow is operating on love in her giving], the greatest is love.
- Offering was being watched, monitored, studies by Jesus and the Disciples
- It is important to learn about giving patterns and styles
- Strings or No Strings
- In times of plenty and times of lean
- Faith in Maturity not Quantity.
- The witness of the POOR widow. (A widow living on the generosity of temple)
- Poverty is closer to us every day. (If we set aside politics and look at the reality of what actually IS currently)
- Gross National Product($18.1T) Fascination Debt Clock and other fiscal measurements
- National Debt is increasing 4154,583 per minute. ($18.6T is meaningless)
- Our Product to Debt ratio is $1.03. That means if we spent everything we made we would be three cents short paying everything we owe.
- the BEGGING QUESTION: How much in debt do you have to be to be poor?
- Rather than figure how what the fair level of poverty. Poverty is not having a certain level of possessions, credit or money.
- Rather than find a fair level of persons to blame or label as the rich or the poor. Jesus’s FOCUS is on the GIFT.
- The GIFT THAT IS GREATEST is the one who was able to give the LOVE
- If you only have two half-pennies and you give them to God: What statement are you making?
- God has more to give than I have to give, I will give all I have.
- If you and I give out of our abundance, extra, or wealth: But not out of love, What statement are we making?
- God demands, we must obey
- God is jealous and bad stuff will happen if we don’t
- God will bless me if I give
- God will make me rich if I give it all to him.
- The women who gives to two coins does not
- does not become the most wealthy members
- does not stop living at the poverty level
- does not become the high priestess or head scribe or rabbi
- does not get rich off of God’s investment plan.
- The woman gives as an loving act of TRUST that God will provide what she needs.
- What does my offering say to me and what does it say to God.
- Does my gift say: I trust you? I love you? I need you most of all? I can’t make it with out you?
- Does my gift say: I have this to spare? I can get by with this? After I manage all the choices of wealth or poverty, then I will trust, give, love.
Homework: Last week we talked about Jesus answer to the greatest commandment, the FIRST is to Love God and Love your neighbor,
We show this love in how we give to God. This what the offering is about.
Teach a child about why you give. Your child/grand-child or a friends, or even a stranger. : Explain to a child (3-63)
- I give because I love God.
- I give because God knows what I need.
- I give because I am faithful will all that I have.
- I give because I trust God with my life AND livelihood AND future..
For those who like math?
Do I spend more resource of time/money/energy on God than being a team fan?
Pull out the check book, (exclude housing, utilities, food, car, insurance) How much do I spend in the other categories compared to God?
For those who don’t like homework. (Give because you know its good in your heart and watch for the Kingdom of God to show up where you give)
For those who are legalistic, “Give until it changes your heart.” – Rich Young Ruler.
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. [NRSV]
Jesus talks about money on several occasions:
- The lost coin,
- giving Cesar what is Cesar’s,
- highliting the gift of the widows copper coins,
- selling all your possessions of the rich young ruler,
- serving one master,
- being content with your pay,
- love of money being the root of all evil,
- turning over the exchange tables at the temple for extorting grace,
- give to the needy,
- calculating tower building before the project begins,
- hidden treasure is with selling everything, the pearl of great price.
- In fact, Jesus talks about money a great deal.
Let’s look at tithing: We have a long tradition of response-giving of 10%.
- The earliest example of giving one tenth is done by Abram (Abraham) giving 10% of the spoils of war to God and returning 90% to the loosing king. Abram says, I don’t want you to call me rich at your expense. (So much for Robert Tilton and Guuy Smiley, I mean Mr O’Steins.)
- There is also the addition of the 3-year tithe once the temple construction begins. There are tithes for the poor, the widow, the children, the travelers in need. If we want to more literal the requirement for tithing for poor, the Levites and the temple up-keep would be more like 23-25%. So where are we on our tithing now?
- Take the many ministries of the United Methodist Church: We might be most familiar with the UMCOR in funding support to people in emergency disaster crisis. We have special offerings for missionaries, students higher education, clergy education, education in Africa, world/global poverty, local poverty and housing, care for native Americans, The UMW and UMM and UMYF support mission work and mission projects, We support Decatur, Mt Top, Murphy, Harps children’s homes, retirement homes for elder care, local ministries of feeding, supporting, caring, praying and clothing.
Where does tithing start and stop? Offerings, first fruits, gifts, giving, etc?
- Q: Do we tithe for each of these? We are compelled by our hearts to directly support the feeding, clothing, comforting and supporting those in need in direct response to Jesus call to do so in scripture.
- The physical plants, storage facility, meeting space, worship space, fellowship space, education space, and administrative space for our global, nations, regional, state, district and local ministries are much less interesting, but they are necessary to facilitate all the good we do above. We heat and cool, keep dry and safe, we gather for fellowship and worship and study places around the globe and the thousands of staff people to lead, serve, guide, facilitate and support our millions of members around the world.. all doing small parts to be the body of Christ, visible, tangible and present for a hurting and searching world.
What about giving when your heart is not in it? Give to earn or give to love?
- Q: Do we tithe for each of these? We are called to be the church physical and present as witness, a lamp stand. The oil in the lamp, the one to light it, clean and maintain it, the one to maintain and facilitate the city on a hill.
- What if we turned off the air/heat? didn’t have insurance? sold our building? had no paid staff, no worship space, no instruments, what if we had no overhead, it was just up to us as a group of people… What would we do to be the body of Christ, united, present and giving witness to Christ for the transformation of the world?
- It might satisfy the passive-agressive side of our minds, for a short time, we could say, see, we don’t need all that stuff! We can save our money.
- Q: What are we sharing our money for in the first place. Feed 5000 with out a kitchen and tables and chairs and fellowship hall? We would need a miracle! What if we had the miracle and the physical plant… could we do even more.
- A: There must have been those who didn’t think building the first temple was a good idea because the had the old mobile tent that was vintage, historical and traditional… and David and Solomon go and get us in the building business??!!
Solution: Text: Spiritual Birth… it’s all just a building and material until the Spirit is alive through it.
- Jesus fed the 5000 after he prayed and spirit shows up and begins to multiply the small gifts into more.
- Jesus reminded Nick, about the time the people were wandering in the wilderness when they had no temple expenses… God told Moses to trust God heal the sick, keep the people safe from the snakes, and drawn together for God’s purpose..
- Be faithful in the physical and open the door to spiritual things.
- The Tithe is about intentional-planned giving. It’s not just a matter of the heart or attention. It is practice of the will and mind and heart, that God uses to grow us spiritually.
- If money represents my labor, work, talent, skill, time and energy and I give God a regular, deliberate amount then my relationship with God is both, a) shared and b) connected, c) committed, d) intentional, e) on a track of growth and maturity.
- If I only need God when I am interested, inspirited, entertained, or required, then I don’t have a mutual relationship. I’m only a customer/consumer. God is interested in partnership and fellowship.
- The regular, planned, intentional gift is thought out and not a dependent on me.
- The regular, planned, intentional tithe is a statement of faith, that God expects something of me, just as I expect something of God.
Make your tithe, your gift, your giving as planned, intentional priority.
- God loves us so much, on purpose, intentional, as a planned gift for our benefit.
- Who ever believes, believes in sharing life, work and love that God has show us, for ever.
- Better start now.
He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” [NRSV]
Our communities are generally more concerned about Halloween than celebrating all the Saints who have died and found the promises of eternal life and love fulfilled during this weekend of celebrations. Even fewer are trying to hold the memory of the saints in a high place of honor while addressing lessons of stewardship for the upcoming Stewardship Sunday next week. But here we are faced with the reality of context in the face of the power of the lectionary text: Zacchaeus the Wee, Little man.
As we listen carefully to this passage we can learn a good deal about Zack and ourselves. First this man was a notorious cheat and swindler of the community. His reputation and status was made through taking advantage of his position to profit from some of the poorest of neighbors. Taxes, user fees, registrations, licenses, and mandated participations in medical plans are all forms of taxes. They are always up for debate for everyone except for those who collect them and those who profit from them. Everyone else would like to avoid paying any more than they must pay. Zach not only had the unpopular task of collecting these funds, he also used the occasion to collect an acquisition fee on top of the tax has his income. He had the opportunity to define the amount of profit he would make from collecting unpopular taxes. Together this made him to be the least likely to befriend in the neighborhood.
It is no wonder that folks did not cut him any slack in finding his way to see Jesus who was visiting their town. Secondly we learn that Zach was not only not respected and excluded from popularity contests, he was none the less, curious about Jesus. This is actually a refreshing picture of those that we least favor in our communities. Even the least respected and most avoided can be curious about Jesus. And this is the chink in the armor that opens the door of grace for us all.
Zach, actually is more than curious; he takes extra steps to make a way to Jesus. He sets up the occasion to have a better perspective and even a chance meeting with Jesus. When the community of faith had given up on him, Zach remains interested enough to do some homework and recon work himself to create an opportunity to meet Jesus. If you have never taken the opportunity to participate in the Walk to Emmaus retreat ministry, you should attend. It is a concentrated effort to create opportunities for someone to meet Christ and to grow closer in her or his relationship with Christ. (Visit the Upperroom.org and check it out.) Zach has made his own little retreat in the top of a tree, hoping to gain a new perspective and understanding of Jesus.
Rather than simply being a spectator, Jesus calls Zach into a relationship of participation. Jesus does what the community has refused to do because of Zach’s behavior and destruction of the community. Jesus includes the stranger. Jesus opens the heart and home of the one who has no relationship. Jesus makes a way through honesty, confession and accountability when others are blocking access, even when it might seem justified. Jesus opens the heart.
When Zach’s heart is touched, he moves to confession and repentance. Without any prescription for restitution he begins to make things whole. Why, because when Jesus reaches out to this searching soul, Jesus is making him whole and out of wholeness responds by making things right or complete.
As a Stewardship message: it is out of wholeness that we learn to give what is holy. We might start with a Rx of 10% but finally mature to see that it might take more than a percent. It might take out whole lives.
As a Transformation message: it is the shift from Zaccheus making the plan and ruling the community, into Jesus making the plans and Jesus shaping the hearts of the WHOLE community.
As a practical message for us all: This example is not just about the rich, not about the oppressors, those to blame. It is also for the crowd that judged Zach as unreachable, unloveable, and beyond trust.. Jesus sees what is hiding in all of us and invites himself into the hearts and homes of those who are seeking.
Our task is to help each other seek Christ. In the streets or in our homes, in business or in church, back then and right now. Jesus desires to be at home with you and me. Let us go with him and all be make whole.
32:22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 32:23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 32:24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 32:25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 32:26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 32:27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 32:28 Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” 32:29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 32:30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 32:31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. [NRSV]
Today I welcome you to the Peniel Arena..
Welcome to the Friday Night Fights
Are you ready to Rumble?
And in this corner, weighing in at 156 lbs 5’4” is the hometown favorite wrestler, let’s hear hear it for
And in the opponents corner, clearly 240 lbs 6’8”, is the mysterious masked Mar-r-r-r-r-r-val-val
This is Howard Cosell, are ring side, I’ve got to go with the home town boy, Jacob, he has just give up to his family, children, household and animals to be here tonight. God has called and God will bless him..
Bob Castas here, Howard I don’t think you’ve seen the size of his opponents tree trunk arms and his goliath size. Jacob has heart but does he have what it takes. He’s going to need all the bless God can give.
Ding, ding, ding… The wrestling begins.
When I was about 9 years old, I was touring my new school and meeting new teachers. This stock fellow asked me I liked wrestling. Having only seen the TV version of wrestling at that time, I replied, “No sir, it’s all fake and for show.” He said, “Sorry to hear that.” And he walked away.
A few minutes later we stopped by the gym to meet the PE teacher and the same stocky man was seating on the edge of his desk, with wrestling trophies and ribbons behind him. He was the PE coach and he said we’d be learning about wrestling that semester. We will see how fake it is by Christmas.” O dear.
Back to the wrestling match..
I don’t think it was common for folks to meet strangers on the road and they break into wrestling all night long. It was a strange meeting. It was an completely unexpected series of events and it lasts until the breaking of the new day.
Its like one of the dramatic scenes in a Twilight movie where the shadowing figure chases all through the night and only injures the lead character because the sun comes up.
This is some mystery about meeting and working with God. We meet God in our darkest hours. Just ask Millard Daniels or Elaine Power this week. The prayer is that wake up the next day and find God’s blessing out of the struggle.
While none of us may have wrestled with stranger in the wilderness all through the night, we have stayed up with loved ones through many nights. We have stayed awake in a mental match of math and myth over finances and economies. We have found it impossible to sleep the night though because of few words and the power they had on someone else’s heart.
The backstory to Jacob is with his brother, Esau. Esau was the oldest of the two and it was the custom for the older of the two fraternal twins to receive the father’s inheritance and Jacob and his mother trick his father who was blind into giving Jacob the blessing.
Many years pass but Jacob lives in fear of his secrets, lies and deceptions. God wants them to meet and reconcile. [the same mission we see in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus] This fear is evidence he had been wrestling a lot longer than this one night. He sends a gift to Esau to soften him up before they meet. The gift is a collection of animals, estimating to be a tenth of his wealth. Accounting for inflation and conversion we can estimate his ‘gift’ to be about $116,000.
When is the last time someone gave you that kind of gift? Not to mention having sent the rest of his family and livestock on head. Jacob is absorbed in fear, worried, anxiety and collapse. Any he has nothing but the shirt on his back.
It is in the place of vulnerability that he meets God who wrestles with him in his darkest hour.
One of the great lessons that is seldom advertised in a stewardship campaign, but in this political climate and chaos over spending and budgets and debt ceilings, when you begin to give to God in the way Jacob models, it might continue to be a wrestle and struggle, but you will surely find God’s blessing on you.
The part of the story that is hard to swallow is at day break. Jacob is just about to get the upper hand and end this wrestling match with God and he cries out… bless me!
And God reaches out and knocks his hip out of joint and the blessing of Jacob follows: that he and his brother are stored, his family is restored, he continues to covenant of Abraham and Isaac and his generations are as numerous as the grains of sand. And one other blessing
Jacob, gets a new name. He is no longer the man he was. He no longer lived for himself, he now lived by God grace for the people of God, and his name become Israel.
And in the news, every week of every year, you hear the Jacob’s new name, Israel claiming the promises of God to this very moment.
So what do get if we all donated $116,000. You get a new name? You get to name a new building? I don’t know but I would love to see what happened…
What I do know is that when we give out of fear, requirement, guilt, or shame.. we never know the joy of the gift. But in our fear, guilt, shame and duty we have the scars of our struggles with God. The different is in the gift. In the hope of healing the relationships between us and God and with each other…
God does not take away the struggle when we give, but he meets us in that struggle and will leave us reminders when we learn the lessons that God is in charge, God is with us always, and God desires to do whatever it takes to heal the relationship. Even if it leaves evidence of the struggle along the way.
Joel 2:28. I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old mean shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. (NRSV)
Colossians 3:1. Therefore if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right hand. (CEB)
Matthew 6:33. Desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (CEB)
REVIEW of our STEWARDSHIP SERMONS:
- God does not want our money. God wants our hearts. Q: Where is your heart?
- Our pledge card is a spiritual measurement tool. Q: Has Prayer Conditioned your tools?
- TODAY: What is your dream and vision of what God can do through us?
Consider now what you would like to see happen in your life in that same time. In what ways do your passions for the church align with your personal desires? Today I will share my passions for the church in this coming year.
Have you ever seen the movie The Bucket List, with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson? Two terminally ill men develop a list of all the things they have always wanted to do. They face their task with a great sense of urgency. Today we will explore our bucket list for the church.
This week, I ask you to consider what you would most like to see happen in the church in the next year. When we deal with our own pledge cards we are making a mark toward what we would like to see happen next year.
- LESS? Would you like for us to do less next year? Fewer services? Fewer touches of those lost, hungry or hurting? Fewer studies? Fewer children at Vacation Bible School?
- SAME? Why not do exactly the same thing? Don’t expect growth, simply maintain and hold on with out intention or hope for more? God is content with holding fast our talents?
- MORE? Why not look with the dreams and vision the prophet Joel speaks? Why not look ahead to where we are going and see who has won the race we are running? Why not measure with God’s possibilities? Would we like to do more? Reach another child or youth? Clothe another coat? Reach another searching heart? Invite another person to worship or dinner?
What kinds of church do you want our congregation to be:
Turn to your neighbors and tell them ONE thing you would like for us to be next year?
Know for being First? Rich? Big? Grumbling? Complaining?
Joel offers direction for us, as we consider our vision of the church. Vision comes about as God inspires people to prophesy, dream and have visions. What has God inspired you to envision for the coming year?
Colossians instructs us to set our hearts on things above. It is very difficult to focus our attention on God when we are distracted and overwhelmed by the cultural influences in our lives, but that is the call on our lives.
Matthew’s Gospel sets our personal and community priorities. Together in community, we help one another to seek God first in all things, to strive for righteousness, or right standing, with God.
These verses give us the starting place for understanding what God has called us to do and be as a church in the coming year.
One day I would love to serve as pastor of a church that was a county seat church, that loved to work as a United Methodist Church, where they people embraced that call to make disciples for Jesus Christ, through Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Spiritual Growth, Risk Taking Mission and who had Generous people who allow their hearts to be Extravagant for God. WOW! The Bishop and DS do know how to answer my prayers!
A Pastor’s Dream Church:
I would like for us to have a 120 children participate in our VBS. I would like for us to send 60 youth in hands on mission work. I would like to increase the number of adult who share skills, talents and faith with our children. I dream of a church where member know our children need the wisdom and experience of all the adults and finding volunteers to work with children and youth never a problem.
I dream of time when the children and youth don’t have to fund raise the support for the ministries we want them to have that will shape the rest of their lives. The can fund raise through our church-wide mission. If the cost of our youth program is $15K and our children’s program is $10K we know the money will be their without question.
I would like to have fellowship, classes and studies for young adults, singles, parents, older-adults that reach EVERY member. Those who do know the support and joy of these small groups, be compelled to share this with those we are missing, (not by guilt, instead through joy)
I hope for our worship to be filled with music, voices, musicians that assure the passion of our worship is present every Sunday. I dream of a time that we don’t worry about two worship services, because we are starting our fourth worship service to reach four times as many people.
I dream of a time that we average feed 200 people on Wednesday night dinners over two dinner seatings and give more people that opportunity to provide meals and give a break to those who have served so faithfully, before we wear them out.
I hope for a time that we are know throughout our region as the church with the heart of Christ to share.
If you want to settle for what we can do to get-by with saving, I don’t think you will be happy at any church… that has kingdom first in their hearts..
Over the last few weeks we have considered what we love and value in our church, who has made a difference in our spiritual lives, and our best hopes and dreams for the next year. Next week we will each make a critical decision about how we will express and grow in our generosity.
Yes, we need our leaders to respond to this call. We need every member, friend and regular visitor to participate in this radical, passionate, intentional, risk-taking, and extravagant dreaming of our hearts.
When you receive the pledge card this week, please be in prayer and seek God’s direction for your expression of generosity toward the life and vision of God’s ministry through this church.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.. –NRSV
As we end the year 2011 the highest rated TV shows have been football games; number two over all and the number one series is the X-Factor. Knowing the letter “X” is Greek for CHI and a historic abbreviation for “CHRIST”. Our life and faith are founded on the X-factor. Is that the conversation you hear folks following and sharing? Or is it football teams and entertainers that we will talk about come the Day of Judgment and accountability?
As we begin 2012 I am struck with how on-target other businesses are with their marketing for the new year: For example: Weight Watchers focusing on our cultures intention to adopt fresh resolutions offer a new message for this year: 2012 The Year for Believers:
“By declaring 2012 ‘The Year to Believe’ we are sounding a rallying cry to help persons across the country turn their dreams in truth,” said Cheryl Callan, Principal Promotion Officer for Dieters. “Dieters will encircle persons with inspirational messages starting in the holiday season and then ongoing all the way through the coming year. At a time when lots of us are not feeling specifically confident, we wish to express our ardent faith in persons and the power in all of us to change for the much better. We see it take place each day. That Is what we are about, and what ‘The Year to Believe’ will be about.”
Chrysler employed a mass choir to introduce their new line of cars calling would be buyers to “Lose Themselves” MT 16, MK 8, LK 9, That sounds just like Jesus’ word for those who will follow.
Blackberry threatened by iphone and android devices calls for us to “Be Bold” Believe: That sounds like the Gospel of John’s message and invitation! Be Bold, That sounds like the apostle Paul, 2Cor 3 and 10. How is it that?
Jesus’ messages is clear:
- Are you aware of people other than yourself?
- Are you aware of people who suffer?
- What are you doing about it?
Football games have pre-games to gets us ready, excited, informed and primed.
The pre-show is not the game..
- Get into the real game…. Feed the hungry, clothe the cold, befriend the excluded and lonely
- Let’s look at 2011: How many hungry people did you help feed? What were their names?
- Until the time of accountability comes:
- Our Task, Our Mission, Our Response is Feed, Clothe, Share.