“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).”
Think about that. Every good and perfect gift is from God. The Greek words may also be translated “every good (useful) and complete gift.” Take a moment and mentally make a list of everything and every person that is good around you. These are all gifts from God, and God is good and generous!
From the beginning of the Bible, God desired to create and share good life. God did not have to create the earth, the seas, the creatures, and human beings. God did not need any of those things as though God were lacking something. Instead, God was so full of love and life that God wanted to generously share God’s abundance!
Sometimes when Christians talk about stewardship, they only talk about money and they only talk about tithing 10% of their income to God by giving to the Church. Often, there is no conversation about offering our daily work and time and gifts and activities and relationships to God. And if the conversation about stewardship stops at tithing, what are we to conclude besides “God’s real desire is to make sure I’m following the rules and to make sure to get my 10%.”
One of the most freeing and challenging teachings is that God is really interested in us giving our whole lives to Jesus’ mission! God is not only interested in 10%. God is interested in 100%. And since God is interested in molding our character to reflect God’s character through Jesus Christ, God desires us to become generous as God is generous. God wants us to be so full of God’s love and goodness that we excitedly look for ways to give our time, talent, and treasures to help others become more whole as we live our daily lives in the world.
As for the tithing 10% thing…well, that is a practice that helps us trust God to provide what we need, thank God for all we’ve been given, support the work of Lakeside in the world, and learn to be generous people! If you can’t give 10% regularly, give 5%. If you can’t give 5%, try 2%. The key is to start giving regularly and consistently as an act of thanks to God.
Please prayerfully plan your giving to God and Lakeside in 2016 by completing an Estimate of Giving online at http://lakesidefellowship.org/stewardship/ or at church. This will help Lakeside Leaders to wisely make plans for ministry in the year 2016. If you’d like a copy of the budget, just ask, and we will be happy to provide you with one.
Most importantly, in the words of Paul, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship (Romans 12: 1).”
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20: 26-28).”
If you’ve spent any time around Jesus, it is hopefully obvious by now that Jesus’ whole life was spent serving humankind as an act of love. Therefore, we who seek to live as his disciples are to live lives of service to others, especially to those in need. A Disciple’s Path is a life of service.
Often when this message gets preached, it comes across like this: “To be a good follower of Jesus, you’ve got to sign up to help at all church events and ministries.” Now, there is nothing wrong with serving to support the ministries of the Lakeside! In fact, nothing around here happens without people like you and me offering ourselves to God’s work. However, what doesn’t often get said is that our whole lives are to be lived as acts of loving service to God and others, and that a huge role of the church is to support people’s acts of service in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their work, and out in the community and the world.
When we covenant with God and one another to support God’s work in and through Lakeside by offering our “prayers, our presence, our gifts, our witness, and our service,” we assume that God’s work through Lakeside is always flowing out into the world. We hope our worship services help us focus on God’s love and presence and help us clarify how God wants us to live every day of the week wherever we go. We hope people experience a loving, supportive, community in growing groups that challenges one another to live daily life as a follower of Jesus. And we hope that at every Grace and Grits, Brethren Reaching Out, supply packaging drive, or other outreach event that we are casting the vision that making a difference in our community by serving is an expectation and joy of following Jesus!
This week we will have the opportunity to prayerfully consider our particular calling to service in our lives. Join us for worship at 8:30 or 10:45, and invite friends and family!
Please also prayerfully consider filling out an “Estimate of Giving” card for 2016 as it will help Lakeside’s leadership plan for the support of our ministries in the year to come. You can fill out a hard copy at church or click here to do it securely online: http://lakesidefellowship.org/give/ A budget is available upon request.
Joy on the journey,
“Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us (Hebrews 11: 1).”
Take a moment and think about someone that has made an important difference in your life. What did you learn from them? How did they become part of your story? How did you become part of theirs? What still influences the way you think and make decisions that is a gift from God through them?
This week in “A Disciple’s Path” sermon series, we will be talking about the role saints play in our lives. Saints are not perfect people, but people who, by God’s grace, sought to be faithful to God in their daily lives. They are people whose lives help us see creative ways to love Jesus and live in Jesus in our own lives. We will take some time in worship to honor those saints who have gone before us into eternal life. It will be a meaningful time.
This week I also want to invite you to prayerfully fill out an “Estimate of Giving (EOG)” card. A printed EOG will arrive in the mail early next week or one can be found in your bulletin. You may also fill one out electronically and securely on our website http://lakesidefellowship.org/give/ Sunday, Lakeside’s Leadership Team will share the basic budget plan for the church’s mission in 2016. EOG cards help the Leadership Team responsibly plan to use your giving to do God’s work so please fill one out and give your team a hand. My family and I will be filling ours out this week.
As disciples of Jesus at Lakeside, we commit to supporting our mission to gather, grow, and sow the love of Jesus by sharing our prayers, presence, gifts (giving), and service. God receives our offerings and, by grace, translates them into changed lives! See you Sunday at 8:30 or 10:45!
P.S.-I’d love to hear how you are and how I can pray for you. Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you (Exodus 3: 13-14).'”
This has always been an entertaining passage of Scripture for me. Moses tried to get out of becoming Israel’s chief escape artist and leader of the Jewish rebellion against Pharaoh and the world’s greatest military, but God won’t take no for an answer. Then, Moses tried to get a little help from God by asking God what inspiring thing he should say to rally the Israelites to pack up and outrun Pharaoh’s sword swinging charioteers and spear chucking horsemen. He asks for God to share God’s most magnificent, most powerful name. Maybe Moses was imagining saying, “Have no fear! Rise up! Thunder God has come to blast Pharaoh’s armies and free us!” Maybe “The Almighty has come to save us!” or something magnificent like that. Instead, God said, “Tell them ‘I Am’ sent you.” I wonder if Moses said something like, “Gee, thanks…”
But is there anything more powerful than the truth that the Almighty God is present in all our situations? After all, this is the God whose presence pushed the waters of the Red Sea over the entire Egyptian Army, birthed God’s self into human form on the first Christmas, healed the woman who touched the edge of Jesus’ robe, forgave sins, raised Jesus from the dead, and energized the disciples to spread the gospel across the world in the face of persecution and death!
God, I AM, is present with us today…now…as you read this! The power and love to do his will in your life is available to you and I.
Last week in worship we talked about how disciples of Jesus discern and do God’s will using Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. This week on “The Disciple’s Path” series, we will talk about the importance of being present to God and each other in worship and small groups. Being together is what disciples of Jesus do.
I hope to see you at 8:30 or 10:45! And bring a friend!
P.S.-I’d love to hear how you are and how I can pray for you. Feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com.
How Do You Know What God Wants?
“Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God-what is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12: 1-2).”
Ever say to someone, “I’ll see you tomorrow!,” and they say back to you, “God willing and the creek don’t rise.” I don’t live next to a creek, and Florida can handle lots of water so a flood is not too common an occurrence. I suppose it is that person’s way of saying, “If God gives me another day to live!”
I once heard someone tell me that God must have wanted them to buy the house they were moving into because the deal went so smoothly. In that situation, the house was far larger and more expensive than was necessary. I wasn’t sure then that God was in the real estate business, and after they were foreclosed on, I was pretty sure God didn’t give them that particular house.
God gets blamed and credited for all kinds of things that could just as easily be explained by human decisions. “It must have been God’s will,” is an overused phrase. But we who follow Jesus desperately want to know what God’s will is for us. We love God and want to follow where He leads, so what is God’s particular will for us?
Join us this week at our 8:30 Traditional worship experience or 10:45 Contemporary worship experience as we discuss A Disciple’s Path: Knowing And Doing God’s Will.
So how is it with your soul? An important part of growing in life with Jesus is sharing and praying together. I’d love to pray with you.
You can message me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Cameron Lashbrook
“Let everything that breathes praise the Lord (Psalm 150: 6)!”
It is no accident that this Psalm is the final song of the book of Psalms. The purpose of the Psalms is to teach God’s people to sing and pray and worship God in the Temple, the Church, and in daily life with whatever instruments they have!
This Sunday marks the start of our new Traditional Worship Experience at Lakeside at 8:30 in the morning! I’m so excited! One of things I am excited about is getting to sing the old hymns I grew up with. Whether you like contemporary worship songs or traditional hymns or both, whether you are young or old, rich or poor, black or white or yellow or brown, the Psalmist shouts at everything with breath to “praise the Lord!”
So what’s so great about the old hymns?
1. Many of them used to be bar tunes sung with friends, neighbors, and family in the local pubs of England. Charles Wesley, in an effort to encourage more people to sing praise to God, wrote poems of faith in Christ to go with familiar tunes.
2. They communicate a rich understanding of Christian life. Pay attention to the words of these songs and you will find words that encourage, challenge, and inspire us to live with and for Jesus Christ today!
3. They are familiar. Many Christians, like me, have sung these since they were children. So the words and the tunes hold a deep connection to our personal stories of faith.
4. They are easy to learn. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard them! The tunes repeat each stanza. So, if you don’t get the tune right at first, by the second or third stanza, you will catch onto the tune and can join right in!
So come one, come all! Let’s “Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness (Psalm 150: 1-2)!”