Over my shoulder…a backward glance
As we emerge from the fear and restrictions brought upon us by the COVID pandemic of the past year, it is ours to be thankful to the grace of God. And, by-and-large, we’ve had a solid hopeful start to the first year of this century’s third decade. Let me share with you a few reflections.
Our WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS Teaching Series
I recently read how some of our brothers and sisters in Africa, in the Kenyan church, are wrestling with the call of Scripture to generous stewardship. In some of the churches, Kenyan pastors teach that you can lose your salvation if you do not give a tithe from your income to the Lord. Tithing is often an emphasized teaching subject in these churches. The reason? Many Kenyan pastors subsist on the tithes of their people. When parishioners cannot—or even refuse to—tithe, these pastors with mouths to feed have very little. Thus the temptation on the part of these pastors to tie assurance of salvation with tithe giving.
Of course, what is being taught in these situations is not true, nor is it in any way Biblical. Our salvation is based solely on God’s promise to redeem and save based on simple faith in Christ, on God’s grace, without any works of giving on our part. We do not buy our salvation, nor do we retain it nor secure it by giving. Generous stewardship is rather a response of thankfulness to the gift of salvation, but not its guarantee.
Our stewardship teaching series has concluded. Yet there is a way for you to grow in Christ in our 6th life question, “How are my investments doing?” In the WYTI Devotional, p. 72 has a helpful Evaluation-Growth Tool, a simple test to gauge where you are in generous stewardship, and how you might like to grow. Take a moment with that tool, and respond to what the Spirit of God may be prompting.
RETURNING TO GATHER WORSHIP at Christ Community Church
We continue to be encouraged by increasing numbers of people returning to worship at both the 9:00 AM and 10:45 AM services. As you may have heard, we have lifted the “registration” requirement; you may simply come on Sunday morning at either hour to participate in the “gather” part of our ministry strategy.
“What strategy you ask?” You’ll remember that in order to connect people to life-defining relationships in Christ, we ask those who call Christ Community Churcj their home to “gather” in corporate worship, “connect” in relationships through groups, and “serve” in some area of ministry. These are days to emerge from COVID restrictions and re-engage in our strategies as a church team.
REACH SUNDAY – March 7
This Sunday, we get to focus our hearts on our steady purpose of loving and reaching the world. Pastor Kip Hamby has crafted an important morning for us, so by all means, do not miss this weekend.
Our work in reaching the world is not done. Today, 1/3 of the world’s population claims adherence to Christianity, in comparison with 21% to Islam, 13% to Hinduism, 6% to Buddhism. Increasing numbers are not identifying with any faith system. Bottom line—people made in God’s image, designed by God for flourishing fellowship with Him, are lost and increasing wandering.
World Christians are curious and informed about the world, looking for opportunities to pray and bring the gospel. World Christians ask the Lord what He wants them to do. World Christians have God’s heart for the world.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it:
“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.”
See you Sunday…courageously!