Week three 10/17/21 — Our MONEY Story — Release
Worship Service 9 a.m
Worship Service 11 a.m.
Yesterday I talked about the invitation from God’s word to reimagine our economies (household rules/ the way we do things) in light of God’s call for us to radically trust him and to care for the most vulnerable. I shared John Wesley’s advice around money:
Make all you can
Save all you can
Give all you can
In this advice is an invitation for you to take some time to reimagine your economy around these matters.
As you prepare to offer your pledge to ministry in 2022 we encourage you to prayerfully reimagine your money story. Where might God be calling you to reimagine your story in light of God’s Money Story? What do you need to rememberabout who God is? What do you need to release in order to know God’s freeing grace? Where might you reimagine what can be? How might God be able to restore your broken places around money and possessions through your life in him?
At the start of all this we challenged you to tithe for just one month to see how it feels. If you have done that, what have you discovered? If you have not yet made that one month commitment we encourage you to give it a try and see how God works through your faithfulness.
As we come toward the end of October, please take time to fill out and return the pledge card we sent you or, even better, complete your pledge online through Realm using the link below. Thank you so much for your faithfulness and your generosity! We pray God will draw you ever closer to His boundless grace in this and every season!
Week two 10/10/21 — Our Money Story — Reflect
Worship Service 9 am
Worship Service 11 am
This past Sunday, we continued this month’s stewardship series Our Money Story by looking at what it means to release our money stories to God. We saw in our first reading from Deuteronomy 15 that God commanded the Israelites to release all debt every seven years. This is similar to the manna in the desert story in that if anyone tried to hoard their manna, it would rot. God is adamantly opposed to greed and selfishness among His people, whether its daily bread or money and debt. This is radically different from the values we see every day in our world. We live in a culture that far too often encourages and even celebrates greed.
This disconnect is not unique to 21st century America, however, as we saw in the Gospel reading from Matthew 19. The story of the rich young man vividly illustrates how money and possessions can pull us away from Jesus and from fellowship with other believers. We know all too well the very human tendency to seek meaning, value, and security in our money and our possessions.
We shouldn’t simply hear judgment or rebuke in these stories, but rather an invitation to a better way to live – the way of Jesus. God calls us to release our grip on those things we cling tightly to, so that we might be freed to cling to Jesus. God calls us to release the grip that money and possessions has on our hearts so we might be freed to be generous to our neighbors. God calls us to release our fears and anxieties to Him so that we might be freed to find our security in God’s steadfast love and abiding presence. God calls us to release one another from debts, to forgive one another as we have been forgiven.
God calls us to release our money stories – especially those parts of our stories that move us away from God’s love and from generosity. We release our stories so that God can begin writing new stories in our lives that reflect the values of the Kingdom of God and the reality of God’s abundant grace given to us in Jesus Christ. This week, I pray that God would open our eyes to new opportunities to live into new story of forgiveness and generosity.
Week One 10/3/21 — Our Money Story– Remember
Worship Service 9 a.m
Worship Service 11 a.m.
On Sunday, I shared part of my money story and shared some reflection of the good and bad of some lessons I learned about money and possessions in my childhood. This week, we want to encourage you to use your “Our Money Story” Journal (either picked up on Sunday or mailed to you this week) to begin reflecting on your own money story. You can find the questions to guide you on pages 1-6 of your journal. The remembering is helpful, but even more helpful is the invitation to reflect on how the things you learned in your life are impacting you today. What parts of your story are good, helpful, and Biblical? What parts of your story might bear untruths and unbiblical ideas that have kept you from the freedom that God offers us?
Being honest about our story is the beginning point of God’s redemptive work. Here’s a hard truth: unredeemed history repeats itself. In other words, holding on to lies (like mine around productivity and personal value), mistakes of the past, false narratives about the role of money and possessions in our lives, will continue to keep us locked in cycles of unhealthy behavior and belief. Our deepest prayer for each of you this month is that God will help you to see the places that need his redeeming touch, the infusion of God’s Money Story of enough for all, trust in God’s provision, generosity, sharing, and sacrificial love that we see so clearly in the life of the Lord Jesus. We pray for your courage and vulnerability to ask these questions and have the conversation for the sake of your following of Jesus in greater wholeness.
Pastor Toni Ruth
As Rebecca Douglass, Chair of the Finance Team, mentioned on Sunday, we encourage you to bring your pledge card at any point this month. For your convenience we do have an online pledge card. This card can we accessed at on our website and connects directly to Realm so that you can not only set up your pledge but also set up recurrent gifts if you would like to do so. Filling out the pledge card online is very simple, so we encourage you to use this tool.
Intro to our Money Story
We all have a money story, whether we recognize it or not. Perhaps we are living from a story of fear or shame. Or a story that the church is dying and no longer relevant. Or a story that our actions won’t have an impact. Or a story that we don’t have enough. Where might God be speaking a new narrative into the limited ones we have told ourselves? This theme invites us to discover and tell our money stories in light of God’s money story of liberation and justice. This series encourages us to transform our stewardship practices into more full expressions of who we are and what we believe.
This theme is intentionally direct—it invites us to name exactly what we’re talking about and not skirt around it. To speak of money is to invite tension into the room. We so quickly want to avoid it. But it’s time we reframe this. Money and possessions are one of the most common topics in scripture, and Jesus talked about money more than faith and prayer.
Our money story, therefore, is a spiritual story. Thinking about God’s money story should be liberating, inviting, and transformative.
This stewardship season, we invite you to remember, release, reimagine, and restore your money stories so that we can write the one God is begging us to live into.