The Blessings of First Fruits
In 2nd Timothy 2:9b-13, we read that, "God's word is not chained. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." God is faithful to us, sometimes even if we are not faithful to God. Do you remember a time in your life when you were not faithful: not faithful to your beliefs; not faithful to your family, husband or wife, or work; or even not faithful to your church and God. When that happens, it doesn't feel very good, yet in the world that we live in, we are taught that we should shop around and try new things, and look for what is better on the other side of the fence! We're told that happiness can be found in the instant gratification that comes from consuming mass quantities! So, when we find ourselves following that advice, we realize that we haven't been faithful to what we know is important to our spiritual health. And one of the most important aspects of spiritual health is that our spirit must have spiritual food to flourish! Being faithful to Jesus Christ and His church is what counts, spiritually! God feeds our spirit because God loves you! God sent Jesus into this world to show us how much we are loved. So, it is most important for each of us to come into God's presence, with joy and singing; as well as prayer and praise for Jesus Christ. Stewardship, the giving of our first fruits, is a wonderful and necessary way to help maintain and sustain our church. As we head toward Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, our church leadership asks each of you to take stock of your blessings, and prayerfully make a stewardship commitment for next year. We have a mission here, and that is to be a real presence in the North Platte Community. It is up to us to count ourselves IN on the blessings that God is pouring OUT. These blessings call each of us to respond, lovingly, to the needs of this church, this community, and the Disciples of Christ denomination. Each of us is important to God's design for our church, so I pray for your participation in all that we're doing here. AND, to lovingly, and prayerfully, consider the next steps that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are calling you to take on behalf of First Christian Church. And, I close by saying, "Thanks be to God for your love and blessing of your first fruits!"
Blessings, Pastor Jan