October 1st, 2019

“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-7
 
What is the “grace of giving” (2 Cor. 8:7)? Pastor and author Gene Getz points out how the Macedonians exhibited the grace of giving in a way that was spontaneos, eager, and sacrificial. “Nowhere in the Scriptures are Christians commanded to give away what is absolutely necessary for their existence. But the believers in Macedonia gave anyway. There was no coercion… They were eager to help meet other Christian’s material needs … But a more significant reason than human need prompted this sacrificial generosity. They gave “themselves first to the Lord”–which is the larger context in which Christians are to use their material possessions. It involves, first of all presenting our bodies as “living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” (Romans 12:1)
Getz points out that Paul encouraged the quality of gracious giving as a sign of the believers’ maturity in the body of Christ. When the Corinthians were converted to Christ, they were given abundance of “grace gifts” (see 1 Corinthians 1:4-5,7). However, as Paul enumerated the ways in which this grace was manifested–”in faith, in speech, in knowledge”–he broadened the concept beyond spiritual gifts. He referred to complete earnestness and love (2 Cor. 8:7), qualities that are comprehensive and reflect spiritual maturity among all members of the body of Christ. In other words, Paul wasn’t simply referring to a spiritual gift of giving bestowed on certain acoustical accordion doors. Men’s bathroom update progress: installing new vanity and water heater. New parking lot resurfacing – waiting on weather conditions suitable for oil and chip. Railing on SW entrance is still needed. Purchase of concrete planters for $900 (for two) plus masonry work approved by consensus.
Team is waiting on estimates for the youth house soffit repair. Ed Miller would like to see a “Cleanliness Policy” established for the new bus.
Special Events: 150th Anniversary – commemorative paper fans to place in the pews have been purchased. We need candy donations and a vehicle to pull trailer for the Apple Festival float – announce in bulletin. 150th Commemorative ornaments will be available for purchase for $8-10. Katina LaForge will be the guest speaker for the 150th Saturday evening dinner.
Worship and Ministry Team: Mission Sunday will be on 8/25 with presentations from camps and mission trip.
Nominating Team: We still need 2 more people to serve on the Leadership Council.
Deacon Care Team still needs 3 more people.
Pastor’s Report: Pastor Shaker Samuel has been asked to speak at Rainbow Acres in Arizona, an ABC ministries camp, September 6-9.
Baptisms are being planned. Pastor Samuel would like to see the men’s group weekly Bible Study revived.
The next Leadership Council meeting will be 9/17 at 6:00 p.m. individuals in the Corinthian church (see also Romans 12:6-8). He was exhorting the members to grow in the spiritual quality all believers must develop if they’re going to remain in the will of God.
This story from stewardship theologian T. A. Kantonen (1900-1993) illustrates that quality, the grace of giving.
In a seminar on Christian social ethics we were discussing the use of money when Dr. Otto A. Piper, then a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, told us this incident from his post-war work of collecting funds for the relief of the needy in German universities. Dr. Piper described to a group of Princeton students the conditions of abject poverty in which German students were struggling and asked his hearers to do what they could to help. The next morning a young married couple, both graduate students, came into Dr. Piper’s office, placed three hundred dollars on his desk and said, We heard your talk last night. We have talked it over, and this is our answer to your appeal.” He was astonished at the generosity of the gift and said, “are you sure you can afford this much?” They replied … “We have saved this money to buy some things that we need… But … God has been so good to us and we can get along. Those people in Germany need this money more than we do.”
(Taken from the Stewardship Study Bible; pg. 1522; copyright 2009 by Stewardship Council; published by Zondervan)
In Christ’s steps,
Pastor Shaker