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by Kristal Kidd

The cross of Christ is the central theme for all believers. This Sunday, we will have the opportunity to revisit the story of Peter’s denial. Many of us can see how we are more like Peter than we would like to admit.

When Peter denied Jesus, he disassociated himself from Christ.  “Deny” in this sense means to affirm that one has no connection with a person.  Peter denied that he knew Christ…. Three times!  He walked with Christ, talked with Christ, and these things required spending time with Christ.  Then, Peter reports having no connection with his Lord?

Peter WAS sincere when he made the promise not to deny Jesus, but Peter found that he was weak.  He was proud, boastful, over-confident, and self-assured (Matthew 26:31-35).   He was spiritually lazy and did not watch and pray (Matthew 26:36-46).  He was zealous for the wrong cause, a physical fight (Matthew 26:47-56).  Finally, he was cowardly and did not follow Jesus closely (Matthew 26:58).

We have moments of denying Jesus too.  We may give in to peer pressure and go along with the crowd.  Maybe we don’t mention Jesus when controversial or worldly issues come up.  We pity ourselves during rough seasons.  We, too, pray less, think too highly of ourselves and fight for the wrong causes.

Thankfully, Peter did not remain in sin!  Peter was restored and did great things for the Lord.  This is good news for each of us too.  We serve the all-knowing God of Redemption.   AMEN!

Each person has a different perspective on Mother’s Day. We all have different stories of celebration and heartache. Your emotions may consist of admiration, love, and wonderful memories, or it may look more like heartache, anger, or loss. And who’s to say that it’s the same from one year to the next? Life is full of ups and downs and bumps along the way. Thankfully, we as a church body are family who will rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Always keep in mind that not everyone is living your story. Reach out in love and kindness. The following are a collection of stories from our body.

Anonymous #1

I have to admit. I am not really a fan of Mother’s Day. While the thought behind such a holiday is sweet, there are times when it is nothing short of an ordeal. My mom and I have never really had a great relationship. She has been emotionally and physically abusive ever since I could remember.

This spring is nothing different. As we approach Mother’s Day I am faced with the hard reality that I want to show my mother Jesus (i.e., love and grace) but honestly she has degraded my mothering skills and torn down my husband, and it takes everything within me to forgive and try to “rise up and call her blessed.”

The Lord has given me this mom because I am supposed to learn something BIG. I am not quite sure what it is, and I might never see it, but until the day I get to heaven, I will continue to love my mother. She, even through all of her fallacies, raised me. She blessed me with food on the table and an awareness of others that has shaped me into who I am today. Mother’s Day isn’t always sunshine and roses. It is a time of reflection for most moms. We think about the mother who raised us and the mother we have become.

We have a tendency to compare the two and compare ourselves to the moms around us when in reality we are each on our own different journies, and we are all at different stages in life. I want to encourage you that if your story is similar to mine, DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO YOUR MOM. Do NOT feel in any way, shape or form that you are her. You are YOU. A new creation in Christ.

Reflecting on your motherhood journey is ok! Be proactive and intentional with how you are shaping your children, but DO NOT for one second think that you aren’t good enough. Words that have been spoken at you do NOT define you. TRUTH defines you and YOU ARE A DAUGHTER OF THE MOST HIGH KING. He loves you and YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH! 

Marisol Seegers

To me, Mother’s Day was always a great time to show my mom gratitude and love for being the amazingly strong, brave and sacrificial mother she’s always been.

Although I always knew I wanted to be a mom someday, I never actually pictured myself celebrating Mother’s Day until I became a mom but didn’t have a baby to prove my motherhood. What I mean by this is that I got pregnant in January 2017 and lost that precious baby just a month later.

Those 8 weeks of carrying a tiny little embryo transformed me in ways I could never have imagined before. I felt full of life (even or especially through the morning sickness), and my heart was just bursting with happiness, gratitude to God and with an immense love for someone I had never met, and that didn’t even look like a human yet. To say I was devastated to find out our first baby’s heart was no longer beating is an understatement. It was like I lost a big part of me that I would never get back.

The grieving process went slow and when I thought I was making progress, Mother’s Day came around, and it reminded me that, in people’s eyes, I was still not a mom; therefore I couldn’t and wouldn’t be celebrated. I indeed didn’t celebrate it because It caused more pain and seemed silly to own a holiday when I didn’t have a baby of my own to hold. Majority of our friends and family members didn’t even know we had expected a baby, much less that we had lost it, so it wouldn’t have made sense anyway.

This painful feeling about not being able to celebrate Mother’s Day made me realize that I had actually become a mom from the moment I saw those pink lines on the pregnancy test.  

When we found out I was pregnant, my whole perspective about life changed. I was no longer eating for myself, I was eating to provide nutrients to my growing baby. I was no longer working for my own self-growth, I was working to show my child what it looked like to enjoy the fruits of our labor and to provide for her future. I was no longer worried about my appearance in a vain way, I was desiring to grow my belly to see her growing in a healthy way. I was simply no longer thinking about myself, I was only thinking about her, and those loving, selfless, and sacrificial behaviors are what made me become a mom.

Although I wasn’t able to enjoy Mother’s Day 2017, I looked forward to the next one whether or not I’d have a baby by then. The Lord blessed us with a baby boy in March 2018, and I had the opportunity to rejoice that following Mother’s Day next to him. Now, Mother’s Day to me means celebrating the miracle of life, the ability to see a part of yourself in the form of another human being, and most importantly, it means that I was chosen to lead and nurture another child of God – and that is the most amazing job I get to have.

After more than a year later of having Kean, now more than ever, I get to enjoy motherhood to the fullest as he gets to love back on me with kisses, clingy hugs, and adorable “momma” calls. He is the pure definition of love in human form and the promise of God’s eternal love for me. Mother’s Day means the world to me. 

Anonymous #2

My mom did not come from a family of believers, but when she was a teenager in the 1960’s she moved from Chicago to Goshen, Indiana! There she informally became part of a Mennonite family who taught her about gardening, canning, sewing, caring for animals, and loving God. She became a believer in college and passed her faith down to me; now I am passing it down to my children.

Mother’s Day is a day to remember and recognize the role motherhood plays in making disciples. We cannot control our children or their decisions, but we can be an influence and a model of authentic faith. I hope I raise a “Timothy” or two.

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Louis and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”  (2 Tim 1:5)

Justin Wood

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, it is easy to go the Hallmark greeting card route.

“So thankful,” “You are my inspiration,” “You make every day brighter.”

Somehow, these are hollow and empty for those of us that didn’t have a traditional childhood. For me, Mother’s Day means something a little different.

My mom and I had a rough time as I was growing up. She was a single mom that struggled with substance abuse and the lifestyle that goes with it. I, in turn, followed the same path.

We both came to a point twenty plus years ago that we chose to walk down a different path, one of health and life. Part of that new path included the reconciliation of our relationship. My mom has become a dear friend that I now get to do life with, walking through the good and the bad. There is life in our relationship where there was once hate and animosity.

Mother’s Day is a yearly reminder of where we were, and where we are now, about the love that can grow when we stop considering our position as right and the other wrong. It is a reminder of not just this earthly relationship, but our eternal relationship with our Creator, the One that was willing to sacrifice what is just for a relationship that could not exist outside of intentional reconciliation.

So, this Mother’s Day, there isn’t a Hallmark card that can capture the depth of love and appreciation that I have today for my mother. All I can say is, I love you mom, and I am grateful every day that God gave us the chance to be reconciled and have the opportunity to walk in life together!

The Monster of Change

by Lee McDonald

 

Change is difficult for me. I balk at it and question its necessity in my life. But, try as I may to avoid the elephant it becomes in the room, I inevitably succumb to its grip and realize in the end that the “monster of change” I tried so hard to fight — sword wielded, legs kicking and screaming — ultimately brought good through hard.

My husband, Luke, lives by a particular mantra, “Do hard things.” Sure, change is hard, but he ain’t scared! He likes change, embraces it even. Meanwhile, I’m in the corner crying; stress paralyzed and fearing all of the imaginary (and totally realistic) negative consequences this so-called “good move” is going to bring. (They say opposites attract.) Luke is not deterred by my distress (emphasis on stress); however, and once I have calmed down, he can logically and systematically convey to me why the “good move” is indeed a good move. Does it mean, throw all caution to the wind and jump right in? Sometimes. But, more often than not, it means a slow and steady willingness to move forward with an open hand toward the new and different, embracing the change together.

We have been in a few slow fades of change, transitions if you will, for quite some time now. We have been moving forward with an open hand. Even though we are still in the midst of change, and there are still days of anxiety and frustration, I have been able to see God’s grace and goodness in and throughout, and we’re excited and hopeful for what is to come. Philippians 4:4-7 has considerable impact and necessary implementation during this time, but really always.

To quote one of my favorite bands, Lake Street Dive:

Change is comin’, oh yeah

Ain’t no holdin’ it back

Ain’t no runnin’

Change is comin’, oh yeah

In 1 John 1:5-8, John writes:

This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

In these verses, we are called not to hide our sin in the darkness, but rather to bring our sin into the light. All through scripture, God is described as light and, by contrast, the enemy as darkness. Bringing our sin out of the darkness and into the light takes control away from the enemy and gives it to God. Confessing our sins to brothers or sisters in Christ is the best way to bring our sin into the light and out of the darkness. The enemy makes this very difficult. Our fear of shame, or judgment, or rejection is a powerful tool that the enemy uses to fester and grow our sin. By overcoming this fear and being vulnerable with other Christian believers, we take away the enemy’s stronghold and allow Jesus through the Spirit to work in us. How many times have you listened to someone’s testimony and felt the power of God pouring forth? God’s love and deliverance are potent forces that suppress the enemy’s schemes and let us be light in a dark world. If we live in the light, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with Christian brothers and sisters, bringing our sins out of the darkness and into the light, we unleash all of God’s power on our enemy.

Palm Sunday

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
And the bow of war will be cut off.
And He will speak peace to the nations;
And His dominion will be from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.” (Zechariah 9:9-10)

We begin our ascent into Holy Week as we approach the Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday. Jesus enters Jerusalem as the crowd cheers and lays palm leaves before Him; such a stark contrast against what’s to come. He rides in on a colt, a prophecy of old fulfilled:

‘When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.’

The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them,and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,

‘Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!’

When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, ‘Who is this?’And the crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.’” (Matthew 21:1-11)

As you read these passages, imagine what Jesus was thinking and feeling. How did the people in the crowd view Him? What were they thinking and feeling? Should we be like them? As we enter Holy Week, allow yourself to explore all the emotional ups and downs. Celebration, betrayal, denial, desperation, doubt, grief, and then the hope of Sunday.

Read Matthew 21-28 to follow the journey of Jesus from Palm Sunday to Easter.

 

You are invited to join us for Holy Week services:

Palm Sunday-April 14 10:15 AM

Good Friday-April 19 7 PM

Easter Sunrise-April 21 8 AM

Easter Breakfast-9 AM

Easter Service-10:15 AM

 

The Power of a Little Seed

by Leslie Greathouse

 

If you’ve ever seen me in sandals, you may have noticed the image of an acorn on my left instep. I’ve had many questions over the years about why I chose an acorn of all things. I’m not obsessed with fall and pumpkin spice lattes, and I’m not a tree hugger. (Though I’d like to think I’d make a reasonably decent hippie back in the day, but that’s neither here nor there.)

One day, back in college, I was sitting in my car by my apartment building. It was toward the end of my college career, and God seemed to be changing my future plans.  I needed God to speak to me. I sat there with Bible in hand asking God to give me a heads up on what I needed to hear. I ended up playing a game of Bible Roulette. You know, when you pray, “O.K. God, send me where you want me,” and open up to a random page. God works in mysterious ways, though I can’t say this is always the most efficient way to hear God speak. Nevertheless, it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time.

This is where I opened:

“THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, to grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations and renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. Aliens shall stand [ready] and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be called the priests of the Lord; people will speak of you as the ministers of our God. You shall eat the wealth of the nations, and the glory [once that of your captors] shall be yours. Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong with violence or a burnt offering. And I will faithfully give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with them. And their offspring shall be known among the nations and their descendants among the peoples. All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize and acknowledge that they are the people whom the Lord has blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as [surely as] the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring forth, so [surely] the Lord God will cause rightness and justice and praise to spring forth before all the nations [through the self-fulfilling power of His word].” (‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61‬ ‭AMPC‬‬)

It still gives me chills reading through these words. You see, ‘me’ is Jesus, but ‘me’ is also you and me. Jesus brings us hope, joy, beauty, and a spirit of praise that we may be oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord.

In return, we grow ‘by the power of His word’ and produce more, you guessed it, acorns! Christ living in us preaches the Gospel of good tidings. Through Him, we bind up the broken-hearted. We proclaim liberty both spiritually and physically by the power of Jesus Christ.

His Spirit gives us all different gifts, but several are intertwined. Evangelism can be seen in each of the gifts. Evangelism isn’t always preaching on the street corner; it’s being Jesus in whatever way a circumstance calls. It’s being Love. John 13:35 says that men and women will know we are Jesus’ disciples if we love one another. Love comes in the shape of serving, leading, praying, generosity, healing, perseverance, teaching, and so many others. It’s not a question of what you can do for God, but where is God and how can I serve what He is doing.

You may have heard the quote of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Put simply, live in a way that exudes Jesus. Be a walking billboard that makes people want to learn more about the love, hope, joy, and freedom that radiates from you.

Have hope that it’s the Spirit’s supernatural ability and not your own. You may have already preached the Gospel to others without realizing it. That’s the beauty of the Spirit living in you. Ask God to make you aware of opportunities to show Christ to others—to plant seeds—and ask Him how best to go about it. It may be words, or it may be actions.

You’ve been gifted the opportunity to be a part in rebuilding what God initially intended His creation to be. You are an oak of righteousness planted by the Lord to spread His glory throughout eternity. Produce more acorns. As a believer, it’s in your nature.

 

 

The Living Power of Christ

by Dean Jarrett

 

In the fifth chapter of John, our Lord encounters a sick man at the Pool of Bethsaida. Knowing what needed to be done, Jesus poses a question that might seem absurd to some, “Do you want to get well?” but the Creator of the universe looks beyond appearances, beyond circumstances and beyond time.

Before our Savior ascended into Heaven, he told His disciples where He was going. To comfort them, He let them know that it was better if He left them because His departure would summon the arrival of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). The same power that Jesus displayed to calm the storm, feed the multitudes, and heal the sick would be available to each believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11, 31-32, 37). Jesus further declares that we will do even greater things than He had done (John 14:12-17). Really?! Greater evangelism? Greater prayer? Greater healing? Greater prophesying? Yes! All God’s promises are “Yes and Amen!” to His glory (2 Corinthians 1:20)

I know a remarkable woman who has dealt with chronic and acute pain and health issues for more than half her life. In the last thirty years, she has had over twenty operations and treatments. She has taken numerous supplements and medications. She has been on prayer lists around the world, and the elders of her church have prayed over her. Five years ago, she was given a medical pump that intermittently releases pain medication to relieve the pain in her spine. No treatment has fully relieved her pain.

So I ask myself, “Doesn’t God care? Is He even listening? Can’t He still heal?”

Some declare that the “age of miracles” has passed. Perhaps, but the “age of Jesus” has not, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13). There is no shadow of change with God (James 1:17). The Holy Spirit gives to each believer at least one spiritual gift (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11), and that is not a stripped-down, economy model gift. It is the power of God made manifest in us as we use that gift to enable, encourage, energize, and edify the body of Christ (the Church) and to glorify God.

So why isn’t my wife healed? Sometimes God heals our bodies, other times our minds or our emotions. Sometimes He supplies the grace to endure. Sometimes He speaks to us through our infirmities.

Walking in the flesh (apart from God) we can do nothing (John 5:30a, John 15:5). Yet, we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13, 1 Corinthians 15:57). Praise be to God that He has not left us nor forsaken us, for He has blessed us with a family, the Church, of whom Jesus Christ is the head, and we are all ministers to each other and the world!

We do believe that God still speaks. He still heals. He continues to turn men’s hearts from stone to flesh. We are thankful for the Lord’s adequate and even abundant provisions and blessings to His children.

Abounding Grace

by Matt Boland

 

It is hard to talk about having the spiritual GIFT of “patience in trials.”  It doesn’t seem like it is in the same category as other spiritual gifts like hospitality or leadership or evangelism. We usually think of them as if they are personality traits.  “This person is naturally gifted at serving, and that person is naturally good at prayer.”  But no one is naturally gifted at being patient in tribulation.  No one who finds themselves facing a terrible trial thinks to themselves “Oh good; I’m naturally gifted at this.  This will be a breeze.”  That doesn’t happen.  What is natural is to panic, to despair, and to lose heart.

That being the case, in what sense is patience in trials a spiritual gift?  It is a GIFT in the sense that it is the supernatural provision of the Holy Spirit empowering us to face what is in front of us.  It is the power of God at work within us to do what would be impossible in our own strength.

How does a person carry on when they get a cancer diagnosis?  How does a person endure another year of chronic pain?  How does a person keep from losing heart when they are served divorce papers?  It is God’s grace that gives us the strength to endure! It is the supernatural power of God at work within us that does something that cannot be done without Him.  That is the GIFT.  God’s sustaining Grace.  The scriptures are filled with encouragement for the sufferer, but one particular passage that comes to mind is in Isaiah 41:10 & 13:

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand

For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”

Whether your sufferings are big or small, our God is with you.  Our God is the God who says “fear not, I am the one who helps you.”  Isn’t that incredible?  He holds our hand in the worst this world throws at us.

When I first moved to Midland, I was in the beginning stages of one of the most significant trials in my life.  It was in that season I learned the truth about God’s abundant grace that he has in store for those who trust and wait for Him.  It makes all the difference in the world.  In that trial, I came across a poem by Annie J. Flint that meant a lot to me, and I would like to share it here:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Should you be so interested, you should look up the life story of Annie J. Flint.  When you learn just how much suffering she had to endure, it will show you just how powerful this poem is.

No matter what you are facing today, I pray you will lean into the grace that God has for you and discover the abundant riches in Jesus that he has in store for those who trust in him.

Servant Leadership

by Randy Sims

 

In the middle of Romans 12, Paul makes a list of spiritual gifts and encouragement to use them for the benefit of the church.  If you are like me, you scan the list for your specific gift ignoring all the others because they are not “your thing.”  The gift of leadership is one that most of us pass over, thinking it is for those who stand on podiums and big rocks directing others on toward the advance.  The gift of leadership is far from what most of us think.  Leadership is influence.  It is the ability of one person to influence others.  It is deposited by God into all of us no matter our personality, aptitude, or Enneagram type.  And the leadership gift is wrapped in service.

Take a look at 1 Corinthians 12:28:

“And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.”

Paul gives us another list of gifts, not in contradiction to the three or four other lists of gifts he lays out in his epistles, but in compliment.  Consider the two toward the end, helps and administration.  Helps is another word for service and administration is another word for leadership.  Paul continues in verses 29 and 30 by confirming everyone does not get all the gifts, and as he rhetorically asks the questions, he invites us to agree:

“All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?”

But he leaves out of the second list two gifts, helps and administration, or Servant Leadership.  I believe he does this because every believer gets those two gifts.  The reason everyone gets the gift of service and leadership is we always need them in the church.  We don’t always need teaching, or healing, or tongue but we always need to be in a posture of service toward one another, and we always need to be providing Christ-like influence to one another.

So as you think about your gifting, thank God that at least two gifts are “your thing.”

Hermann Eben spoke March 10 on the gift of generosity. Here is a resource he mentioned to evaluate and grow toward higher generosity. To listen to the lesson click here.

Generosity Survey

used by Hermann Eben and GR8 Relationships

This survey is only for you. Answer the statements by thinking about giving in all areas of your life, not just associated with church or Christian events and organizations. It does not need to be shared with anyone else. If you want to share your answers with others, it can help you and them grow toward excellence in generosity.

Directions: Please rate each statement. Give yourself the NUMBER (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) for each line.

Rating Scale: 1 – Completely Disagree, 2 – Somewhat Disagree, 3 – Somewhat Agree, 4 –Agree, and 5 – Completely Agree

1.     I am committed to excel in the grace of giving  
2.     I am prepared to give now, not waiting for a better time  
3.     I give what I promise without complaint  
4.     I give bountifully believing I will reap bountifully  
5.     I listen primarily to what God puts in my heart to give  
6.     I don’t give as an obligation – I give freely, without response to pressure from others  
7.     I am happy and cheerful to give  
8.     I give of all things (time, talent, treasure) believing in God’s sufficiency not mine  
9.     I consider giving as impacting my eternity not just this life on earth  
10.  I let God’s blessings on me, flow on to others  
11.  I give because I am just a channel of God’s blessing to others  
12.  I give as a reminder of how much Jesus gave for and to me  

 

Excelling in Generosity

12 Questions to Help You Excel in the Grace of Giving

Before You Give (What’s Your Plan)

  1. Will you choose to excel in the grace of giving? (2 Cor. 8:7)
  2. Will you give now or wait until your situation is better? (2 Cor. 9:5a)
  3. Will you give what you promise without complaint? (2 Cor. 9:5b)

When You Give (What’s Your Attitude)

  1. Will you give bountifully believing you will reap bountifully? (2 Cor. 9:6)
  2. Will you listen primarily to what God put in your heart to give? (2 Cor. 9:7a)
  3. Will you give freely, without obligation or response to pressure? (2 Cor. 9:7b)
  4. Will you give cheerfully? (2 Cor. 9:7c)

What You Give (What’s Given)

  1. Will you give of all things (time, talent, treasure) believing God’s sufficiency not mine? (2 Cor. 9:8)
  2. Will you give for eternity as well as for now? (2 Cor. 9:9)
  3. Will you let God’s blessings on you, flow on to others? (2 Cor. 9:10-11a)

Why You Give (What’s Your Reason)

  1. Will you help others praise God? (2 Cor. 9:11b-14)
  2. Will you give because you have received so much from Jesus? (2 Cor. 9:15)

 

The Seven Laws of the Harvest

by John Lawrence

  1. We reap only what has been sown
  2. We reap the same in kind as we sow
  3. We reap in a different season than we sow
  4. We reap more than we sow
  5. We reap in proportion to what we sow
  6. We reap the full harvest of the good only if we persevere; Evil comes to harvest on its own
  7. We can’t do anything about last year’s harvest, but we can about this year’s