Week 2 – We Give of Ourselves
This is the focus of our congregational conversation this week and is centered on 2 Corinthians 8: 1-7. In this passage, the Apostle Paul raises up the church in Macedonia as an example of grace-filled giving, in spite of their many trials and challenges, to the church in Corinth. Paul speaks of this gift from the Macedonians with such descriptive terms as “the grace of God,” “abundant joy,” and “wealth of generosity,” among others. But the most interesting description of the Macedonian giving is found in verse 5. Paul writes about the Macedonian offering, “and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord…” 2 Corinthians 8:5.
“Giving of oneself,” is raised up by Paul as the Spiritual understanding of our grace filled giving. Our giving is more than what is in our pocket book, bank account, or financial portfolio at any given moment. Giving in grace is a life filled response to God’s grace in Christ Jesus. It is the joy and delight in giving of oneself in response to God’s rich and abundant gift of grace. This is the true measure of grace filled stewardship.
Questions to reflect upon this week:
* Beyond the obvious gifts of grace, such as family, friends, and church, what are some examples of God’s grace that you have experienced this past week?
* How does the concept of “giving oneself first to the Lord” affect your understanding and practice of giving in grace?
Join us in worship on Sunday, November 4 as we bless and kick off our stewardship routes!
A Stewardship Reflection from Kirsten Buffie…
I have been a member of Christus Victor for about as long as I can remember. I cannot recall a time in my life when I wasn’t attending Sunday school and worship on an effulgent Sunday morning, or having a convivial night with JIFY on Wednesday’s.
To me, church means more than a building or a single group of people. When I think of church, I picture love, acceptance, and overall a strong community wanting to do God’s will. Growing up surrounded by this has molded me into the person I am today. I am very thankful that I was given opportunities to meet a diverse group of people and expand my knowledge on the world. Through the church I have met people all over the country, specifically through mission trips, and I will cherish these memories far into my adult life. I’ve also accumulated some of the closest friendships I have ever had through church, which I can‘t imagine living without.
Many may know that I am involved with youth ministries as a swat teamer for GLOW. I wanted to be a part of this group because I knew I could have a lasting impact on the future of our congregation, as the swat teamers had on me when I went through the program as a child. Coming into the program as a swat teamer, I was aware of the many issues that circle faith, especially Christianity. A lot of hateful, discriminatory, and in general vulgar messages are being broadcasted throughout the Christian faith. However, this was not the message I had come to know. By becoming a leader, I knew I could stop the cycle of learning and teaching of these abhorrent messages, influencing young minds to love and be compassionate as God wanted and as Jesus taught his disciples. I am very proud that I get to stand back and watch our congregation develop and change starting with the younger generations, even mine for that matter.
This is why I believe working in youth ministries is very rewarding and something to make myself proud. I would like to end this by saying how thankful I am for every person who impacted my life through the church, whether it be through music, adult leaders, my friends, and even the younger kids. I hope the church never stops being a loving and supportive community and I encourage everyone, of strong or little faith, to continue the spread of the loving compassion from God.
Week 1 – The Gift of God’s Grace
This is the focus of our congregational conversation this week and is centered on Romans 3: 21-24. In this passage from Romans, the Apostle Paul sets out the cornerstone of God’s great love for us. That cornerstone is Christ and God’s rich, abundant, and free gifts of grace in and through Jesus Christ. Through faith, we receive the greatest gift we could ever receive, God’s Grace. It is this Grace, in, with, and through Jesus Christ that brings us forgiveness of sins and life eternal.
Grace lies at the foundation of God’s relationship with us and informs how we are to live as God’s people each and every day. Stewardship is our faithful, joyful, and thankful response as we delight in this rich gift of God’s Grace.
Questions to reflect upon this week:
Where have you seen and how have your experienced the gift of God’s Grace this past, week, month, and year?
In what ways have you shared God’s Grace with others this week?
Join us in worship on Sunday, October 21, for the first of our Temple Talks.