Advent

“Thanks be to God!” Those words are more than a line in a responsive reading or part of the chorus to a familiar hymn.  “Thanks be to God” is a powerful preface to this Advent season. The journey we share that will eventually lead us to kneel at the manger in Bethlehem is launched when we say from a deep place in our hearts “Thanks be to God”.

A thankful heart and a grateful spirit compel us toward a deeper relationship with the God of all creation. It is truly humbling to acknowledge how blessed and fortunate we are.  Recognizing the goodness of God is often a simple and beautiful act. It is often accomplished in moments of solitude or a time of centering prayer. In a way we are purging ourselves of the things that prevent us from being open to God and fully present with the gift of these particular moments of life.

It occurs to me that so many good things spring from a grateful heart. Things like creative ideas, positive thoughts, direction for important decisions and the wonderful gift of joy. The people I know who live a “thanks be to God” life are happy, their faith is evident, even when they don’t say a word.  As we begin this beautiful Advent season let us say in many, many ways “thanks be to God!”

Grace and peace,

Understanding Stewardship

     A good and healthy understanding of stewardship helps shape our Christian faith.  At the core of what we believe and experience about God’s love is a profound sense of gratitude.   God the Creator loves us and all creation.  Underserved and unconditional love moves us to recognize how fortunate we are.  When we are truly grateful we are moved to share, to love and to forgive as Christ has done for us. Stewardship Campaign

On Sunday, November 6 All Saints Day, we express our gratitude for the “great cloud of witnesses”, who have gone before us.  Additionally, the sermon is “Cultivating Contentment”.  We seek practical and biblical help to de-clutter our lives.  On Sunday, November 13 we will have the final message in this sermon series “Defined by Generosity” and on November 20 we will celebrate “Commitment Sunday” by bringing our commitment cards forward as a witness of giving to God and as a way to plan the 2012 ministry of our church family.  As always, God’s ministry and mission through First Christian Church is carried out in the hearts and hands of grateful people.

Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity

     On Sunday, October 16, we began a churchwide study and worship emphasis called Enough:  Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity.  Over a period of 5 weeks, we will look at some the financial challenges facing us as a nation and examine our own spending, saving, and giving habits.  In addition to exploring biblical principles of financial management, we will learn ways to assess our financial situation and develop a financial plan that will allow us to experience the true joy that comes through simplicity and generosity.  At the end of the emphasis, we will have the opportunity to make personal commitments of giving for the coming year.  We will consecrate these commitments on Sunday, November 20th.           Grace and peace,

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