There are many ways to “give.” My mailbox is overflowing everyday this time of year for requests to give – donate to St. Judes or St. Joseph’s Indian School; donate to Foot and Mouth Painters or Salvation Army; make an extra donation to Guideposts or my church or the Food Bank. And don’t even ask me how many text messages and e-mails I receive each day from political candidates! Yes, giving money is one way to practice giving… and if you have dough to spare, there are needy, worthy causes out there.
But do you know for sure what percentage of your hard-earned bucks are going to the intended cause? Can you see the light in the eyes of the recipient?
Giving face-to-face changes your life as well as the recipient’s. Pay it forward in the grocery line. Give a hug. Share your talent at a nursing home … maybe it’s a visit and a hug or a half hour of your time to read a little from your favorite poems. Maybe it’s a meal in your home with friends you’d like to have a chance to know better. And you’d like them to know each other. Maybe it’s transportation to an appointment for someone without a car. Perhaps it is time with a child (yours or someone else’s… doesn’t matter… just be there!).
Think of giving in non-monetary terms. Give of yourself. Give joyfully! Why?
Give as the Lord’s Example
2 Corinthians 9:6-9 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
God Bless You, dear Friends. Have you decided on an answer to “What’s in it for me?” I hope you’re having a “good” day. Thank you for being such generous givers! Tell me about the last time you “gave” – what was it?
Sermon notes from today’s service in Ennis. Montana – Rev. Steve Hundley Taken in poetry as I listened – written through JanBeek’s filters.
Church: A Miracle of God
I can’t scold you today – Not because we are in this place, Not because I’m in a good mood, But because of the love in this space.
Because of the words of Paul (the ones our Paul read so well today), I am encouraged to join in With what Gentle Jesus had to say.
He wrote to the Thessalonians While he was out traveling, making a tent, “We were gentle among you,” He said. “We spoke soft words – whispered encouragement.”
Paul’s words to other churches Were not so gentle and kind. But to the Thessalonians, He set aside Sternness – and praised the ties that bind.
The Gospel is a powerful book. It can and does transform lives. We are astonished at how God’s Word Teaches, changes folks, lives, and survives.
The church, like the one in Thessalonica, Is a place where people love and give. They pray for you, they stay with you, They make life better and help you live.
Our old church in McAllister, Montana was built in the early 1900s. It has no running water, so when we use it for church services once a year, we have to rent a porta-potty, chase the mice away, and clean the mouse droppings from the chairs and alter.
But, it is a place that reminds of how simple God’s church can be. It doesn’t have to be a large, elaborate cathedral to be worshipful.
It is not the building that makes a church. In the early days, many of the “church services” were held in people’s homes. Some people in today’s world still hold their worship services in living rooms, tents, or on an open hillside. The Miracle of God that is His Church is not the place, but the people.
Wherever we gather, with the focus on worship of our God, He is with us. That’s what Paul was telling the church of Thessalonica.
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 was what our scripture volunteer, Paul Carlson, read to us today:
“Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous, and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”
As Christians, members of His Church, that is our goal: to hear His Word, and respond to it by encouraging, comforting, and urging fellow Christians to live lives that demonstrate He is indeed at work in us. That is what makes our church “God’s Miracle.” Not the building, but we, the people.
Whether we are in our old McAllister treasure, or our salmon-colored church in downtown Ennis, our job is to love one another, support one another, and spread the Word to those who may not know the Peace of Christ that “passeth all understanding.”
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God Bless You, my friends. I hope you have the joy of a supportive church family. And I pray that you are one of those who is God’s hand at work in this world. Have a lovely Sunday night.
Kind words are easy Spoken from a sincere heart They can change a life
Think of all the words You might speak to folks today Do they pass the test?
Are they lily pure? Is every word uplifting? You can’t take them back!
Words spoken with love Can be the perfume of life Hurtful words just stink!
We have declared November to be the month of kindness and gratitude. Not just kindness to those who are kind to us, but kindness to to everyone and everything. Kindness to ourselves, our neighbors, our pets, the neighbor’s pets, our plants and trees… even kindness to those who hurt us!
Let our words be like the fertilizer that helps others to change and grow.
What’s a word you might say today from your sincere heart that will brighten someone’s day? It doesn’t have to be eloquent. It isn’t flattery. It’s just simple and honest.
I love that you are here on JanBeek today. You make my day brighter with your “like” and your comment.
But, you really lift my spirit when you are inspired to take the message to heart – and go out and LIVE a LIFE of LOVE.
Sing along with this beautiful song that reminds us to speak and sing and think and live in the perfume of “Wonderful Words of Life.”
Feed your mind loving words… “Wonderful words, beautiful words, wonderful words of life” and then go out and feed others!
(When you click on that link and hear the story creatively told in delightful, child-like cartoon format, be sure to click the back arrow and return here!)
Pretend you are short (I don’t have to pretend). Pretend your name is Zacchaeus and you are hated. You are hated because you are a lying, cheating tax collector. You are lonely.
Then you learn that Jesus is coming to your town. You’ve heard about Him – and you want to see Him. But, to do so, to see above the crowd, you have to climb a tree. Pretend you are up in that tree … looking down at Jesus.
Get in the mood for today’s message!
There is a growing epidemic Of loneliness in society today. Surprisingly, the loneliest are young adults. Next are empty-nesters, they say.
A third group are the elderly Who are often seen sitting alone. Checking an empty mailbox, They nurse their ailments and groan.
People out there in our world are lonely. Often it’s for a reason they can’t control. Other times, it seems to be choices they make – Like Zacchaeus, who chose his greedy, tax-collecting role.
Loneliness affects all kinds of folks, good and bad. We cannot overcome loneliness by ourselves. It takes the love and compassion of someone else Who notices our empty emotional shelves.
If you are struggling with loneliness, And you have come to church to heal it, Look around and know the love of Christ Is in the hearts of those around you. Can you feel it?
Zacchaeus climbed a tree so he could see Jesus. This lonely, short, little man wanted a view Of the man he had heard so much about. Would you climb a tree to see Christ? In faith, will you?
Be ready – if you are lonely and you look For God and love by goin’ somewhere strange. Be ready – because God will find you there. He’ll find you where you are; and you will change!