Sorry folks, a little technical glitch this week!
Good Morning, Friends, and welcome to this week’s E-Note!
There’s a bluegrass song which I really like called “The Next Right Thing”
The chorus, which applies directly to all things Christian, especially stewardship, says,
I’ve tried to pick and choose,
Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose,
But I can’t go wrong doing the next right thing.
This is true of the ongoing task of being thankful and generous. People who are not thankful to God are rarely generous, either. Conversely, people who are generous are almost always thankful for all God has done in their lives.
So what is the Next Right Thing, as far as stewardship goes?
Be faithful. Satan always tries to limit our generosity toward our church by telling us, “Oh, don’t pledge. Times are too uncertain for that!”
No question, times are uncertain. The economy is iffy. The inflation rate is certainly scary. The future of our congregation is uncertain.
But since when have fears about things of the world been excuses for God’s People to not be faithful toward God? As Paul Harvey once said, “In times like these, it is important to remember that there have always been times like these.”
The Next Right Thing, then, is
>If you “never pledge”, then try it. Even if it’s a small amount. It’ll change your attitude toward giving.
>If you do pledge, but you don’t tithe (more on this in a moment), then figure what percentage of your income you generally give, and increase it. Average for US Protestant Christians is to give around 2%, which is sad. That said, If you’re at 2%, then see what 3% would look like for you. If you’re at 3% prayerfully consider 4 or 5%. Do this with the goal of “growing a tithe”, 10%, within a few years.
>If you’re at zero percent, why not grow by making a gift to go toward our great Youth Group? Or Children’s Ministry? In 1962, guitarist Vic Flick was paid $15 for playing the James Bond Theme for Dr. No, the first Bond film. The rest is history. Small amounts of money can make a lot of difference!
>If you do truly tithe, then make an offering above that.
That’s the Next Right Thing. Some General Thoughts:
Tithe vs. Offering: A Tithe means we are living into God’s expectation of His followers, giving 10% of our income to our house of worship.
Pre-tax or post-tax? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter to God.
An Offering means we are giving extra, above and beyond our Tithe. See, by definition, we DO NOT make an “offering” until our tithe has been completed. Until then, we’re just working on our tithe. To make an Offering-a love offering, an offering of thanks, or peace, etc.-we do that with money that’s above and beyond the money which automatically belongs to God.
Why does God instruct us to tithe? Not because He’s short of cash. Simply, God understands that it’s that last 10% of our income that we use to ruin our lives, with busy-ness, indulgence, addictions, etc. So when we give that portion (back) to God, we are choosing the right priorities in life. The priorities which God honors and blesses.
What if I pledge and then I can’t live up to it? Life Happens. God understands that. Let not your heart be troubled.
What if I pledge to Tithe and I can’t complete it? I’ll pay it. Seriously. If you figure up a TRUE tithe on your income, and then you honestly can’t live up to it, bring your bills to me and I’ll pay them for you. I’m that confident that God will bless you in ways you can’t even fathom, once you start tithing. I’ve made that offer each year for the last 20 years or so, and I’ve never had anyone who truly tithed not be able to complete their pledge! God gives us His Word on this. He DARES us to test Him in this way: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of Hosts, and see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down an overflowing blessing.”( Micah 3:8)
Tithing is good for marriage. Dr. Charles Stanley, in pastoring First Baptist Church of Atlanta, did the math in his own enormous congregation: In marriages where husband and wife are truly tithing, the divorce rate drops to 1 in 1,100. Read that again. I’ll wait. See, Tithing and Marriage both require agape (self-sacrificing) love. Growing in agape love as generous married givers also means we are growing in agape love as husbands and wives, meaning that tithing couples have great marriages!
If you need a 2023 Commitment Card, let me or the office know. If you know someone who’d appreciate a Commitment Card, let us know. We will receive all the Commitment Cards on Sunday, November 20.
It all comes down to, are we giving God what is right, or what is left?
Mature Christians, we can’t go wrong doing the Next Right Thing.
Thanks Are Due…
Joe and Jenny Davis arrive early each week to set up our altar, banners, Communion elements, etc. for our 9:00 Embrace Service in the Gym. They do a great job!
Thanks to Dr. Greg Medlin for assisting with the service of the Holy Communion elements last Sunday. You handled it like a pro!
Thanks to our Bell Ringers, Denise Brown and Jennifer Beam (9:00) and Denise, Jennifer, Lou Ann Staggs and Martha Frances Monroe (11:00). Y’all really made our All Saints Sunday Services special!
What a blessing to experience Brenna Long’s reading of our Old Testament Scripture! Love seeing these young people serving God and the congregation!
Thanks to all who made our Open House such a success! There are so many who helped out that I’m afraid I’ll leave someone out! And thanks to all of you who came to visit us in this beautiful Parsonage!
“I thank my God every time I remember you.” (Paul, Philippians 1:3)
Wednesday’s Adult Bible Study will focus on Red Sea Rule #3: Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your focus on God! Join us at 6:00 in the Gym for an in depth Bible study which always includes plenty of laughs!
Men’s Breakfast at 8:30 (Note the time change)
Sunday School at 9:30
ONE WORSHIP SERVICE at 10:30 in the Sanctuary!
We will have a 7-minute presentation from the Gideons. Please be prayerfully generous.
Our Handbell Choir will present an offering of music!
Youth Fundraiser Meal after worship!
What a glorious time of worship it will be!
Please remember that the church offices will be CLOSED the week of Thanksgiving, November 21-25.
Beginning January 1st, The Mississippi Conference will be served by a new Bishop, Bishop Sharma Lewis! Bishop James Swanson is retiring, and we welcome Bishop Lewis to Mississippi. She currently serves as Bishop of the Richmond (VA) Episcopal Area. Her resume is strong. I have met and visited with Bishop Lewis and can personally attest to her skills in preaching, teaching, and visionary leadership. Welcome, Bishop Lewis!
And to Bishop Swanson, and Mrs. Delphine, happy trails, good and faithful servants. Enjoy those grandchildren and great grandchildren!
Ok, Friends, that’s a wrap for this week’s E-Note. Have a great day, and remember,
“If you don’t give, you just don’t get it.”-Desmond Child