Reflection – 16 May 2021

Here’s Martin’s reflection for today.

Sorry it’s a bit late

Mark

London Road Congregational Church Reflection – 16/5

What’s Yours is Yours and What’s Mine is Yours

Call to Worship:

Leader: In the midst of difficulty, the Lord sets a table of rejoicing for us.
People: Though the world seems focused on turmoil, yet will we praise God!
Leader: Our lives should be witnesses to God’s goodness and power.
People: Our hearts should encompass compassion and service to God’s people.
Leader: Help us to be your workers and witnesses in today’s world, O Lord.
People: Enable us to be faithful and strong for you. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Lord of bounty and blessing, we come to you this day in gratitude for all that we have been given. We are grateful for the blessings and for the opportunities to be of service to others in your holy Name. Bless each of us here, that we may become truly blessings to others. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Bounteous God, you have lavished your finest gifts on each one of us. We thank you for the many ways in which you have blessed our lives–with love, hope, friends, our church, and so many other things that we cherish. Help us be a blessing for others–that they may come to know you and rejoice in your love. Give us hearts of courage and confidence to step out into the world in service, bringing hope where there is doubt, peace where there is strife, love where there is discord. These things we pray in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Hymn: Everything.

Even the sparrow has a place to lay its head
So why would I let worries steal my breath?
Even the roses, You have glowed them brilliant red
Still I’m the one You love more than this

You give me everything
You give me everything
You give me everything I need

Even the oceans push and pull at Your command
So You can still my heart with Your hand
You tell the seasons when it’s time for them to turn
So I will trust You even when it hurts

You give me everything
You give me everything
You give me everything I need
You give me everything
You give me everything
You give me everything I need

When I can’t see, You lead me
When I can’t hear, You show me
When I can’t stand, You carry me
When I’m lost, You will find me
When I’m weak, You are mighty
You are everything I need

Prayers & Lord’s Prayer

Readings:

Acts 2:43-45

Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.

They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

2 Corinthians 9:10-15

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.  Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Reflection: I have nothing you have not given me.

We have been speaking about stewardship for the past couple of months and I have felt, to an extent, like I have been walking around the elephant in the room.  Often teachers in Church avoid talking about money and giving because there is the fear that you are asking for money. I’m not, individual giving makes no difference to me – what I am given does not come out of that money,, so I feel I can mention it as its more to do with the vision we are taking hold of.

At different times I have wrestled with the questions of how much to give, what for and why. Often because my version of God was wrong. The Bible speaks of four types of giving. Alms, such as Mt 6:1-4 is about the support of the poor and should be done in secret. We are not after badges individually or as a fellowship. The second form of giving is tithing. I have tithed in the past, but I have also questioned why I tithed and realised it was out of duty, expectation or fear rather than gratitude and so stopped. Tithing is about trust not amount, and I was missing the point. I do know that it works so I have no problem with tithing. The New Testament doesn’t mention it though. The next form of giving is offerings. This is money given above tithes. The final form of giving is grace giving. This can be above your means but it is certainly not out of duty or expectation.

Giving is not about an amount, it is about an attitude. It is not about duty or obligation. Personally, I have noticed that when my attitude to giving has been better, so have my personal finances. Sometimes how that has been the case has been beyond my understanding. However, I would rather the plates be empty rather than full from guilt.

We are getting towards the AGM and setting out our plans for the next year. We have taken on the manifesto and approached various groups because of what we feel God is calling us to be involved in. I would like us to try something, I am speaking for myself, and not necessarily Mark, but I will share what is on my heart. Rather than go to God with an amount of money and ask what we can do with it, let’s go to God and ask him what he wants us to do this year. Then let us work out the funding for these plans, then let us give by Grace, out of obedience to God and gratitude for everything he has given to us. Let us trust God to bless what we have and share and let us give according to how we, as a fellowship, has need. Rather than feel obliged or pressured or in competition, let us seek God and ask what he wants us to give. Be open to give above what he asks if that is what your heart wants to do.

I want to be very clear; I am not even saying you SHOULD give. You may give elsewhere and that is your choice. I am asking you to talk to God and see what he asks of you.

Prayer:

Loving Father, thank you for the privilege of partnering with you and each other in the work of the ministry. We know that you will bless our efforts and contributions for the proclamation of the gospel and the building up of your church. Father, be pleased with our contributions.. Affirm your love, grace, and provision for each giver in our midst. Thank you for their heart for the ministry. Let them continue to give with cheerfulness and full trust that you will never fail them in their time of need. Amen.

Hymn – All that I am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZUHz25wfJE

Take every treasure, take this life

Everything’s on the altar now
No holding back, no holding out
In view of Your matchless sacrifice
Take every treasure, take this life

All that I am for all that You are, my Lord
All that I have for all that You are
You’re the pearl beyond price, greater than life
All that I am for all that You are

Ooh-ooh, whoa-oh
Ooh-ooh, whoa-oh

Selfish ambition and my pride
I’m giving up, I’m letting die
In these empty hands I have it all, have it all
The pure joy of knowing You, my Lord

All that I am for all that You are, my Lord
All that I have for all that You are
You’re the pearl beyond price, greater than life
All that I am for all that You are

It’s only in surrender that I’m free
It’s only in surrender that I’m truly free
It’s only in surrender that I’m free
(All I am is Yours, my Lord)
It’s only in surrender that I’m truly free

I am free
I am free indeed
I am free
I am free indeed

All that I am for all that You are, my Lord
All that I have for all that You are
You’re the pearl beyond price, greater than life
All that I am for all that You are

The Grace

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