10 for 10 - Proportionate Giving

This weekend is the second of a three-week stewardship emphasis titled Ten for Ten. In this worship series, we are looking at the daily struggle we all face when two paths are set before us, one by God and the other by this world. Shall we live for this life or the life that is to come? One very obvious way that struggle manifests itself is when we plan our finances.

Americans are generally shy when it comes to talking about money. The Lord isn’t. He speaks to us about worldly wealth and possessions over 2,300 times in his Word. Last week we heard that the Lord asks, without apology, to be first in our hearts. The Lord’s position in our hearts is to be reflected in our firstfruits giving. Firstfruits giving calls for us to open up our hearts and offer up to God our first and our very best.

This weekend, the Lord will open our minds to consider the magnitude of his blessings. Each of us has been blessed in different ways and at various levels. What should our thoughtful, prayerful response be to these blessings? That’s where the Bible’s teaching about proportionate giving is such a help. For some families with fewer resources, the practice of giving 10% of their income might be a significant leap of faith. For other families with more resources, the practice of giving 10% may be a starting point for faith-filled giving.

St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Christians are blessed as they put God’s principles of proportional giving into practice!

Our worship the next three weeks will follow this path.

Week One:   OPEN HEARTS (Firstfruits Giving)

Week Two:   OPEN MINDS (Proportionate Giving)

Week Three:   OPEN HANDS (Sacrificial Giving)

10 for 10 - Firstfuits Giving

Today we begin a three-week stewardship emphasis. The word stewardship is often seen as a dirty word—a gimmick to get people to dig deeper and “give ’til it hurts.” Nothing could be further from the truth! Instead, stewardship is a precious word that sums up the Christian life. It encourages us to be who we truly are in Christ: Precious people who have been richly blessed by a Father who knows how to give good gifts to his children!

Christians face a daily struggle. We have two paths set before us. The New Man, created within us at baptism, wants to live for Christ and the life that is to come. But our sinful nature focuses us on this life. That struggle pulls us in two directions when it comes to how we set our priorities or use our time. The struggle is especially noticeable when we wrestle with how to use the financial resources God has given us.

The Lord speaks about worldly wealth and possessions in over 2,300+ passages of Scripture. In other words, God speaks to us about worldly wealth roughly three times more often than he does about faith! Why? So that God can get to the “heart of the matter.” Money and possessions are God’s gifts to us. Sadly, human hearts often lust after these gifts and forget about the Giver. What heartache comes from a love affair with money and possessions! What good can result for us, for the Church, and for the world as we put the Giver first—offering back to him the FIRSTFRUITS of all that he has entrusted to us. God is many places. Second place in our hearts dare never be one of them!

Christ’s willing sacrifice for us is our motivation and inspiration to give back to God. May he open the hearts of his people to offer him our first and our best!

Our worship the next three weeks will follow this path.

Week One:   OPEN HEARTS (Firstfruits Giving)

Week Two:   OPEN MINDS (Proportionate Giving)

Week Three:   OPEN HANDS (Sacrificial Giving)

 

Elemental - Priorities

Elemental—a word that Merriam Webster defines as being the basic or essential constituent of something, the fundamental or key components that make up something. For example, without hydrogen molecules, H20 isn’t water.

What are the key components, the elemental pieces that make up the believers life? What are those things that affect how we as children of God view life and live as followers of Christ? Our worship series the next several weeks is going to look at those key components of the Christian’s walk with Jesus: things like the Word, prayer, service, and love—those elemental items that change how we approach life, that adjust how we see our priorities, and how we as believers live life.

Today, we look at the last of the  elemental pieces that make up a believers life: the priorities we have in life.

Elemental - Security

Elemental—a word that Merriam Webster defines as being the basic or essential constituent of something, the fundamental or key components that make up something. For example, without hydrogen molecules, H20 isn’t water.

What are the key components, the elemental pieces that make up the believers life? What are those things that affect how we as children of God view life and live as followers of Christ? Our worship series the next several weeks is going to look at those key components of the Christian’s walk with Jesus: things like the Word, prayer, service, and love—those elemental items that change how we approach life, that adjust how we see our priorities, and how we as believers live life.

Today, we examine all the places we may seek to find security and a feeling of safety in this life… from money, possessions, relationships, jobs, good grades, the approval of people… and the list could go on and on. However, for the believer, security and confidence in life comes from only one place. An understanding of how God sees them in Christ and a confidence in the promises of God—no matter how difficult they seem to believe allows us to be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not yet see.

Elemental - Love

Elemental—a word that Merriam Webster defines as being the basic or essential constituent of something, the fundamental or key components that make up something. For example, without hydrogen molecules, H20 isn’t water.

What are the key components, the elemental pieces that make up the believers life? What are those things that affect how we as children of God view life and live as followers of Christ? Our worship series the next several weeks is going to look at those key components of the Christian’s walk with Jesus: things like the Word, prayer, service, and love—those elemental items that change how we approach life, that adjust how we see our priorities, and how we as believers live life.

Elemental - Prayer

Elemental—a word that Merriam Webster defines as being the basic or essential constituent of something, the fundamental or key components that make up something. For example, without hydrogen molecules, H20 isn’t water.

What are the key components, the elemental pieces that make up the believers life? What are those things that affect how we as children of God view life and live as followers of Christ? Our worship series the next several weeks is going to look at those key components of the Christian’s walk with Jesus: things like the Word, prayer, service, and love—those elemental items that change how we approach life, that adjust how we see our priorities, and how we as believers live life.

Today, we see that another essential component of the Christian life is prayer, the privilege we have as children of God to talk to our heavenly Father. Our God wants us to pray. His ears are open; let us then boldly ask for the blessings he promises. Lord, teach us to pray!

Elemental - The Word

Elemental—a word that Merriam Webster defines as being the basic or essential constituent of something, the fundamental or key components that make up SOMETHING. For example, without hydrogen molecules, H20 isn’t water.

What are the key components, the elemental pieces that make up the believers life? What are those things that affect how we as children of God view life and live as followers of Christ? Our worship series the next several weeks is going to look at those key components of the Christian’s walk with Jesus: things like the Word, prayer, service, and love—those elemental items that change how we approach life, that adjust how we see our priorities, and how we as believers live life.

Today, we take note of the many things in this world that can distract us from the simple privilege and duty of believers to hear the Word of God and listen with a trusting heart! We see how living according to God’s will means giving the Word of God central place in our lives as the one thing needful, an ELEMENTAL component to our life as a child of God!

Celebrating the Past, Certain of the Future - 50th Anniversary Service at Our Savior Lutheran Church

Since creation, our God’s love and faithfulness have been on display as he interacts with his people. For the last fifty years, it is that same love and faithfulness that our God has shown to our congregation here in Birmingham. For that steadfast love and faithfulness, we take a moment today to rejoice and give thanks to God. We rejoice and give thanks for all his many blessings over the past fifty years. We trust that our gracious and faithful God will continue to guide our efforts and bless our work for many years to come!