Sunday, August 15, 2010


Our Breakfast Roundtable meetings continue to produce thought provoking conversations. The first question we explored today was this one: What are the normal and natural ways people come to Christ, grow in Christ, indentify & deploy their spiritual gifts.

We explored the role of preaching in developing faith, the role of community, the role of children's ministies. Brad shared the difference between the Believe-->Behave-->Belong model of church as opposed to creating a sense of Belonging first. This concept intrigued us and led to further discussion on what a church is and can be. As regards our own church family, we were asked the question, "Do I feel confident inviting my friends to church?"

Brad noted that there's a characteristic of our church that he has noticed... our resistance to being formulaic. A perceptive observation.

The Service
Our weather this past week has been unusually hot, but what a change in the weather since last night. The autumn breezes blew in with a vengeance, disrupting plans for an outdoor gathering at Cresman's after the service. The announcements began, then, with a reminder to this effect, that our potluck would be here in the fellowship area downstairs. Alas.

Other announcements after the opening greeting by Pastor Brad included:
1. The Harvest Festival at Twig Town Hall is coming soon. September 12 we will be meeting and sharing ourselves with the local community.
2. There will be a council meeting Tuesday.
3. Volunteers are still needed for the rummage sale.
4. Sue Deloach is seeking volunteers who can serve as judges and helpers this coming weekend for the National Bible Bee. Judging involves listening to children relate Scripture to life. The event is Sept. 28.
5. Joanne mentioned the need for Sunday School teachers, as the Fall season is coming soon.
6. There will be an open house this Thursday from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Hallfrish's new home on Orange Street, courtesy Modest Home Makeover. Check out the new digs and enjoy a meal to boot.

Today's introit and worship was followed up with special music by Dan Moore who contributed a number of short God-honoring songs, during the offering and preceding the sermon. The Scripture reading today was from Hebrews 11:29-12:2.


"I think one of the most amazing moments in the development of a human being is when he or she utters that first words. Parents wait for the those words with baited breath." Mothers hope to hear "mama" and fathers "dada". The next word, though, is not so thrilling. "No!"

Many psychologists will say this is a necessary stage in a child's development, though most who say this have never had a small child of their own. But it happens, around this time, that kids pick up another word that they use a lot. "Mine!" Some people say this to their graves. My room, my toys, my games, my food, my time. It's on their checkbooks and their house and car and on their time.

Ultimately the day will come when each of us will come face to face with God and say one of two words, mine or yours. God will accept either but the choice is ours. The consequences are eternal.

Today's message focused on the champion of saying "Yours" to God. A close inspection of the record shows that on many occasions David indeed messed up royally. But one thing he got right, David had a generous heart. David loved to give, loved to share.

What does a generous heart look like? Today's message explored this theme by citing several in David's later life.

1) Moved more by needs of others than by one's own discontent.
I Samuel 30 deals with the story we heard last week about how the Amalekites came and destroyed their village while David and his army were away on a raiding mission. David and his men are led to pursue the Amalekites, but having already fought a long day's work the hard march proves too demanding for about 200 of the men who are utterly fatigued. David has them watch the supplies while they continue the chase, ultimately wiping out the Amalekites and retrieving their wives and children along with the other goods that had been absconded.

When David's army is reunited, many of those who had gone the extra mile were annoyed with those who had pooped out and claimed the plunder as theirs. David, however, reveals his generous heart by having everything shared with everyone. David's gratitude to God is central to David's generosity. His automatic response when it came to finances was to call to mind how gracious and generous God had been to him, and to be the same toward others.

The world we live in works differently. Accumulation, keeping up with the Joneses is the order of the day. "Don't play this game," Brad said. In God's economy the winner is not the one who collects the most goods, rather it is the one who gives the most.

2) Generous hearts look for opportunities to give.
II Samuel 24 has the lesson here. David wants to make a sacrifice to God after a devastating plague that has ravaged Israel. He has been instructed to go to the threshing floor of Araunah to make this sacrifice and Araunah offers to provide the oxen for the sacrifice. David, however, instead of allowing this insists that he pay for the oxen. His response is a model for all of us. "I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

Giving sets in motion a spiritual dynamic, Brad said. It not only impacts the giver, but also the recipient, as well as those who see it. Giving is a powerful act, because it is so contrary to human nature.

3) Generous hearts increasingly experience joy in giving
It was David who brought the ark back to Israel and brought about peace for Israel in the midst of her enemies. His earnest desire was to build a temple for the ark in Jerusalem. But God scratched this plan because David had too much blood on his hands. He had been a great warrior, but it would be his son Solomon who would build the temple. For David, the next best thing was to generously contribute to this end, and I Chronicles 29 tells the story.

With a joyful heart he declares the extent of what he desires to give from his personal coffers to build the temple. In verse 5 he asks, "Who of you will follow my example?" The leaders of the people responded not grudgingly but willingly. In verse 8 the people rejoiced in the generosity of their leaders.

"It's not my stuff," Brad said emphatically. All we have is from God, for God, and will return to God. What God is looking for in us is a willing spirit. God loves a cheerful giver, Paul wrote in the New Testament.

God has given His all for us. Now it is our turn.
What if.... What if we got so fired up that others saw it. We want a church that is stronger for the future so that our children will see what even we do not see.

After the service we shared a potluck meal with fresh brats, burgers and generous portions for everyone.

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