Overflowing Generosity

The Psalm today says, “Hallelujah! Happy are they who fear the Lord and have great delight in his commandments!Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in their house, and their righteousness will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the upright; the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.” Our Psalm today encourages us to fear the Lord in a way of respect and realize that God will provide for our needs. The righteous trust that God has a good plan and will provide for them. The righteous look to the ways of the Lord and find it a good and trustworthy place to be. The righteous pass down their faith and generosity so that the generations of people will continue to be a light to those around. The righteous are to be merciful to those around them so that the love of Jesus might be seen in our actions and our lives and that we the Church would be known for our compassion. The righteous are to have compassion for others and not harden off their hearts to the needs of others.

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Panic and Peace

Panic is often our response in the event of a threat. Remember the toilet paper shortage of 2020 or the gas shortage a few weeks ago. Everyone feels the need to stand up for him or herself, to guard against danger, to make sure that they are not the one left with the empty roll of toilet paper. It is certainly good to be prepared, especially now that we are in hurricane season, but panic and anxiety can get exhausting. This is why it is so comforting to know that Jesus is Lord of our circumstances as well as the one who is able to bring peace to our anxious hearts.

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The Tallest Tree

Virgin forests once covered 78% of Florida’s land. By 1937 only 21% was forested. Today, through reforestation efforts, the number has risen to 47%. But these new, younger trees are not nearly as big as the old growth trees were. One such tree, the Senator, was estimated to be 3,500 years old in 1993. Before a hurricane removed its top in 1925 the tree stood 165 feet tall. It was the 5th oldest tree in the world and the largest tree east of the Mississippi. Its trunk was 17.5 ft in diameter. The tree was destroyed by a fire lit by a 26 y/o drug addict on January 16, 2012. Today the charred remains of the tree are only 20-25 ft tall. In the readings for today, a number of nations are compared with tall trees that rise to prominence. Ultimately, all of these trees meet their end, but the Kingdom of God will stand for ever.

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The Letter in the Envelope

In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says that he (and we!) are like common clay vessels into which God has placed the treasure of his Gospel. Why would God choose the weak and unimpressive (you and me) to be bearers of his message? Because the power is his not ours. He doesn’t want the letter to be lost in the envelope.

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What Do You Do With Seed?

There are three things you can do with seed: consume it, store it, or sow it. Similarly, there are three things that we can do with money: spend it, save it, or give it. We need to do all three of these. We spend regularly on our needs and our wants. This is the easiest of the three. We save for big purchases and for rainy days, this one is a little harder. Finally, we can give, or as Paul puts it, “sow” our money. When we ‘sow’ our money, we invest it in productive work for the sake of others. This is, perhaps, the best use and yet it can be the hardest one to convince ourselves to do. In this sermon, we will look at some of the reasons why God calls us to be generous givers.

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Prove It

Where we place our earthly treasure reveals something about what we value in our hearts. How we handle our money has a remarkably formative effect on our hearts, much more powerful than anything we say. For good or for ill. Think for a moment about your annual expenses. Where does your money go? What does it say about what you value? It is easy to make an idol out of money, or out of the things money can buy. Jesus provides us with a different way. Instead of seeking after more and more, Jesus seeks to give more and more.

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Learning to Give Up

Some churches talk about money too much. But it is also a mistake to not talk about money at all. The Bible has lots to say about money and how we use it. Generosity is a heart issue and one that God cares deeply about. God is a generous God. “For God so loved the world, that he gave…” (John 3:16) Jesus gave up his life for us, as we respond to this gift we are called to give up our lives for him, acknowledging him as Lord over every part of our lives, including our wallets. We are made in God’s image—generosity is a part of who we were created to be. We will examine this over the next month by looking at chapters 8-9 of 2 Corinthians.

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The Way

The earliest name by which Christians were known was simply “The Way,” a reference to Jesus’ teaching about the way that leads to life vs. the way that leads to death. In the book of Acts we see Saul’s conversion: he leaves the way of death and destruction and embraces Jesus and the way of life. In this sermon you will hear about some of the key features of his conversion as well as learn how to participate in leading someone to the way of life.

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The Grace of Generosity

2016-07-01 – Year B – Pentecost 6-26 – The Rev. Christopher Klukas Deuteronomy 15:7–11; Psalm 112; 2 Corinthians 8:1–15; Mark 5:22–24, 35b–43 In Ethiopia, coffee is very important culturally. This…

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