Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Journey towards Stewardship Sunday

This Sunday our church community will start preparing for the Stewardship Campaign.

Scriptures for this Sunday: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

You can read these Scriptures here {NIV and ESV}

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Today we will start a journey towards Stewardship Sunday.

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I know that when pastors start talking about “stewardship,” many people start thinking about good excuses to skip church for a week or two. We do that because traditionally stewardship campaigns tend to make us feel dehumanized; nobody wants to be the target of a stewardship campaign or to be treated as a “giving unit.”

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Some of us think of stewardship as an obligation. It is neither right nor wrong; it is a way (or a method) to understand what stewardship is and to relate to God.

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I want to suggest a different way of looking at it. I think that stewardship flows from the heart, and is a tangible manifestation of your love for God, and gratitude and recognition of what God has done in your life.

The truth is that stewardship is about our – yours and my – closeness with God. Stewardship is about our eagerness to follow Jesus.

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Stewardship is about putting our money and our resources where our faith is, in witness, presence, prayer and tithe. Stewardship is about our willingness to allow the Holy Spirit of our God to mold us and shape us. Many disagreements in and between churches, many financial shortfalls and building problems, are symptoms of the lack of understanding about what stewardship means in all aspects of our lives. One of the aspects of stewardship (one of many) has to do with giving, because in order for the church to function and make disciples for Jesus for the transformation of the world, we need a center of operation: a church sanctuary, Sunday school rooms, office, fellowship hall, rest rooms etc.

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{Illustration from Larry W. from Christ UMC in Chestertown}

 

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We too live in a world that is changing. Leggett’s was dealing with issues related to the oil embargo. Our issues today are different. As a society, we are becoming more and more distrustful of organizations and more trusting of social interactions. As a society we shop more and more on AMAZON™ and less and less in Walmart. More and more people get news via Facebook: we watch a segment on CNN or on Huffington Post and then exchange ideas and thoughts on what we have just learned with our friends. Self-driving cars are becoming a reality: Olli 12 passenger self-driving buses will go into service in Miami and Las Vegas in January. We can watch TV, build a substantial library, and learn things using a cell phone.

In our context as a church, stewardship is about asking ourselves questions such as:

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In this new reality, what can we do as a church to reach our neighbors and demonstrate to them how God is transforming and renewing us every day?

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How we can adapt and adjust with the changing times so that we are still able to deliver the message of God’s love to generations that are more comfortable with non-personal interactions via social networks, and who prefer to learn on-line instead of in a classroom?

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To seek these answers, we need a center of operation – church facilities where we can gather for worship, witness to our faith, pray and uplift each other and reach out beyond the walls of our church building. In order to maintain this center of operation, this building, we need financial resources.

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The point that I am trying to make is that stewardship is closely related to our commitment to God. I think of commitment as a sum of devotion, dedication, loyalty to a cause or to a relationship that gives us energy and strength to keep on keeping on. I think of commitment as an attitude that keeps us working towards a goal or in support of something that is bigger than ourselves.

Stewardship is about creating an environment where we all can grow in our own commitment to God so that we are inspired to go and make disciples for Jesus for the transformation of the world.

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In 2 Corinthians 9:6 we heard, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

What you and I “reap,” the energy that comes to us from God that helps us to keep going, is directly proportional to the stewardship (what we give back to God) in our lives and in our community.

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In 2 Corinthians 9:13-14 we heard, “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.”

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References

Will, Larry. Interview. Asher Tunik. 21 10 2016. Phone Conversation/ Interviewee’s Personal Recollection & Personal Experience.

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