From the Pastor, November 2014

Gratitude_SmFile[1]Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This month we are continuing our series about what we believe it takes to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We believe that followers of Jesus, sometimes called disciples, have experi-enced some degree of God’s love and power in their lives, and work towards living out that love in the world. We believe that people need to commit to live out their faith through prayer, presence, gifts, service, witness, and learning. We will address one of these elements each newsletter, and this month we look at gifts.
For me, giving is always linked to gratitude. When I give gifts to individuals, I am always recalling who they are, what they enjoy, and how I have been blessed to spend time with them. When I give to God, I start by recalling that what I have and what I am, I have because I have been given them by God. I am thankful for what I have been entrusted with, and with thanks give it back to God.
When we are generous, our hearts sing. Giving is how we express both gratitude and generosity. Knowing how joy-filled we can feel when we live out gratitude and generosity, it is strange that it can be so hard for us to live it out.
The best remedy for this struggle is to find a way to practice until it becomes natural. You may want to try one of these:
Make a pledge to the congregation and fulfill it. Offering a pledge to the church helps set the expectation of regular giving.
Create a plan to begin tithing. Tithing is the practice of giving 10% of what you make to the church. It is not an easy goal, but is worthwhile.
Extend hospitality. Sometimes we have very little, but we do have a place that we can invite others into, and we can welcome them with love. This can be a valuable way of giving of yourself.
Look for more inspiration. The internet may be full of time-wasting things, but there are also many sites that can inspire our generosity. Try looking at ILikeGiving.com orumcgiving.org to get started.
Start lists of gratitude. Post online or keep for yourself a daily record of something you are grateful for. Set yourself a goal of doing it for 30, 60, or 90 days.
This list is just some of the ways that we can deepen our connection to God through gifts. Approach each day with an attitude of gratitude, and look for ways to give as you have received.
I pray God’s blessings on you as we all “Grow in love through relationship with God, each other, and our neighbors.”
Peace and joy to you in Christ!
Pastor Dan Benson

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About madrasumc

We are a United Methodist congregation in Central Oregon.
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