Growing in the Gift of Giving Journal
- Author: Stewardship Action Committee for Incarnation Lutheran Church, North Oaks, MN
- Updated: 03/19/2008
- Copyright: Incarnation Lutheran Church, North Oaks, MN
Rev. Gary Anderson, Senior Pastor
A journal was distributed inviting participants to now only read what others had written and an invitation to write a reflection on how you have been blessed.
In this file you will find the contents of the journal. Each was written by a member of the congregation. Their names were included on the original. They are excluded here because permission was neither requested nor granted.
GROWING IN THE GIFT OF GIVING JOURNAL
Prepared for and by the members of Incarnation Lutheran Church to express the joy they experience from giving and serving their Lord.
GIVING IS NOT
...only something we do for our church to support its work.
...only something we do to express our faith in God as Lord of all.
...only something we do in response to God's love for us.
GIVING IS something we also do because we receive many blessings from being givers.
JESUS SAYS, "Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap, for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." (Luke 6:38)
This does not necessarily mean we will receive material gifts in return as some think. But we are clearly promised by Jesus Christ that we will experience blessings from our giving.
Those blessings might include a sense of satisfaction, a greater
sense of being connected to our church and others, better discipline in the use of our money and time, a deeper awareness of our faith or a growing love for Jesus, just to name a few.
On the following pages you are invited to express how you have been blessed by God or especially how your own giving has been a blessing in return to you!
Some reflections of members are pre-printed for you as a way to share the experiences of others in our congregation of Incarnation.
Space in the journal is available for you to add your own thoughts or prayers.
If you are a family, invite everyone in the home to add a thought or two.
You may sign your thoughts or you may leave your statement anonymous.
and may we all grow in the gift of giving.
We feel blessed knowing that part of the gifts we give benefit Incarnation Preschool as well as other ministries of our congregation.
Seeing our children benefit and grow from a healthy, nurturing Christian atmosphere gives us so much more than the gifts we've given.
The single greatest blessing in my life is that I was raised by Christian parents. Therefore, I have always been a part of a church family.
My blessings most definitely come back to me tenfold, often in the form of hugs and handshakes and well wishes. I need my weekly connection with a community of believers for support.
We have grown closer as a family by talking over with our teenagers
the meaning of money and how it can serve God.
Our giving has caused us to think over spending priorities more carefully.
As a result we are better money managers which is, we believe, part of what it means to be a good steward.
The active choice of giving allows me to first reflect on God's gracious gifts to me: my family, health, job and most importantly, a loving Savior in Jesus Christ.
When I start from this base the decisions around giving are more clear.
I am only 8 years old and do not have much to give but it feels good to put something in the offering.
"Incarnation has been a safe haven and a place of comfort in a time of trial. We are grateful for the pastoral support. We have been happy with the range of activities and choices for involvement of all ages."
"All that we have is given to us via the grace of God. Giving to the church is giving back to God what is already rightly His."
"Thank you, God, for Incarnation and the enthusiasm of our pastors
and other leaders who make service, as I have done on the Stewardship Action Group this fall, so much fun and so rewarding."
Life can be very hectic, and it is easy to forget about all the abundance that surrounds us. But our abundance is temporarily entrusted to us,
to manage wisely, always keeping in mind that it all came from God.
I try to think about this when those opportunities come up, to share or give to a cause.
The events of Sept. 11, were another stark reminder of how important it is for me and my family to thank God for all we have and for being spared any direct loss.
It was a privilege to contribute to the relief effort, and gratifying to see the tremendous outpouring of giving from people everywhere.
Thank you God, for the firemen and fire trucks.
--4 year old boy's bedtime prayer
God's Gifted and Called People...
Serving in Joy,
Growing in Love!
God has uniquely gifted each of us. We are each gifted by God with skills, talents, abilities, and interests. God has also called each of us personally to use our gifts to serve others in love.
Shared Ministry provides the vision, inspired by the Word of God,
of how our gifts for service may be identified and lived out.
Throughout the year, training opportunities are offered to help you identify your gifts and understand your call to serve.
Coming up in November
LifeKeys, a comprehensive program, will help clarify your talents, personality type and values into the life that God intends for you.
At Incarnation each year members spend thousands of hours in service.
Some serve by guiding Confirmation groups, others serve food at the Dorothy Day Center in downtown St. Paul.
Members make quilts, play hand bells and sing, clean the kitchen, lead small groups, usher and greet people on Sunday morning.
Each week in the Sunday bulletin, and in each issue of the Lifetimes Newsletter, there is a list of opportunities to serve and grow as a follower of Christ.
JOIN THE FUN!
Use your gifts!
Get actively involved in a life of loving service and experience the gift of giving by using your gifts of ministry.
Page 12 - 13
GROWING IN THE GIFT OF GIVING
Thanks to all who have shared a statement or reflection in this journal on
how God has blessed them, or how they have been blessed by their giving.
They reveal the many different ways we experience the gifts that return to us from our generosity towards others, including our church.
Now as you prepare to make your commitment to God's work through Incarnation for the coming year, 2002, please reflect on all of God's blessings and on the joy you find in being a giver.
Then respond accordingly.
To help you grow in the gift of giving, you are invited to be a percentage giver.
Rather than picking an arbitrary sum to give each week or month,
please use the chart that follows or simply calculate an amount that reflects some percentage of your household income. This is the biblical way.
It is also the way to experience growth in the gift of giving.
(The booklet then included a giving percentage chart indicating the annual giving or weekly giving at percentage levels from 1% to 15%)