Blessing Others

Oh Lord our God and Shepherd,
You feed us
and restore us
and guide us into all righteousness.
You give us hope in the midst of death
and lead us with Your mighty right hand.
You have chosen us
and have blessed us to overflowing.
You have given us a home through faith in Jesus Christ.
May we bless others with the blessings You have given us.
May we not hold back
as we joyfully bring glory to Your holy name
through our giving.
It’s in Jesus name that we pray,

The Pastor -|—


Creator God,
giver of all things;
You have set us up as stewards
of Your beautiful and wonderful creation.
You have gifted us in so many ways
to bring You praise and honor.
You have sent us out into the world
to bless one another.
May we be found faithful;
being good stewards of all we have.
may we never forget
that all we have comes from You.
Oh Lord,
You are worthy and we thank You.
In Jesus name we pray,

The Pastor -|—


Today I am preaching on Mark 12:41-44 ~ “The Widow’s Offering”.

It is a story that always hits close to home as it challenges me how I give back to God.  It is so easy to focus on budgets and worry about income and bills; so  much so, that we often times cut back on our giving in order to get by.  But what if we actually believed that everything we have belongs to God (which it does).  How would that direct our giving?


You see…giving is a matter of faith.  Do you actually believe that God will provide for you?  If you don’t then you don’t have much motivation to give.  If you DO believe God provides for your needs then faith tells us that in order for God to provide for others God needs us to provide for them.  God blesses us so we may bless others.

What a novel idea 🙂

When you place your gift in the offering plate you are:
~ Praising God for is abundance
~ Thanking God for His blessings in your life
~ Blessing others
~ Showing trust
~ Worshiping God

The offering is not just part of the worship service, it IS an act of worship.  May you know God’s blessings so you may bless others with the love of God.

We give thee but thine own, whatever the gift may be;
all that we have is thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from thee.

May we thy bounties thus as stewards true receive,
and gladly, as thou blessest us, to thee our first-fruits give.

The captive to release, to God the lost to bring,
to teach the way of life and peace — it is a Christ-like thing.

And we believe thy word, though dim our faith may be:
whatever we do for thine, O Lord, we do it unto thee.
[Evangelical Lutheran Worship book #686]

Praise be to God!

edh -|—


Give all you can because no one ever saw a hearse pulling a U-Haul.”  [701 Sentence Sermons]

On Sunday I told the congregation that each and everyone of them lives in poverty; for they own nothing.  All we have belongs to God.  So giving just makes sense…we are blessed to be a blessing.


Topic study — Stewardship

You may have noticed a couple things here: (1) I haven’t written much recently and (2) The title of this post is "topic" study instead of "text" study.

First — I have been taking some time recently to slow down in my writing.  I am not tired of this blog or tired of writing, but I just felt I needed to take a "break" for a little while.  I am still reading blogs and I have commented a few times.  I just don’t want people to think that I have forgotten about the great blogs out there that I have been reading.  Those of you that stop by on a regular basis and those of you that I visit often have become a valuable community in my life — something I do not want to lose.  I just ask for your patience.  I will be posting thoughts and observations here, but probably not as often for a little while.  But I am still here.

Second — Coming up this Sunday is "Stewardship Sunday" here at Salem.  Following the the worship service the congregation council is serving and hosting the annual stewardship/turkey dinner with all the fixings.  At the dinner we ask for an "extra effort offering".  In the past this has been very successful, but I have a few thoughts about this:

(1)  I still find it odd that as a church (here at Salem) and in others churches out there, we feel the need to designate one Sunday a year as "Stewardship Sunday".  As Christians we are stewards by definition.  And therefore, as pastors and church leaders, we need to talk about stewardship year round not just one Sunday a year.  I do try to mention and allude to stewardship throughout the year, but the 2nd Sunday of November has a stronger emphasis to it.

(2) Stewardship is more than money.  A definition of a steward is a "caretaker" of something we do not own.  All that is "out there" belongs to God.  Nothing belongs to us.  EVERYTHING was and is created by God and we are here to care for what God has created.  This includes (but not limited to):  our financial resources, our property, our gifts and talents, our bodies, and our time.  And because we are caretakers, God will give us everything we need.

(3) "Stewardship is not about the church’s need to receive but rather about your need to give."  That is a quote I heard at a stewardship seminar I attended (I believe I shared this quote with you a while back).  I think people get tired of church leaders and pastors talk about budget woes and how they need to "tighten their belts".  People cringe at money talk.  What we need to do is talk about ministry and not budgets.  We need to talk about opportunities not deficits.  We need to focus on the world "out there" not the world "inside".  People need to hear about being part of something really big.

What are your congregation’s stewardship traditions?  Do you have a "Stewardship Sunday"?  If so, what do you do?  What little nuggets of stewardship advice have you heard?

Take care and God bless!  Enjoy the gits that God has given you.


What would you do with $20 million dollars?

Who on earth needs a house that has a bowling alley, a barber shop, a casino, a theater and a two-story walk-in closet?  Well…none other than LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Read more here…

I heard this story this morning and I just had to say something:

WOW!  What a waste of money!  How can someone justify building a house like that with all the crap going on in our country and world.  Imagine all the good LeBron could do with that money.  I know he does do some good, but this house he is building is way to excessive.  For nearly half the year he is going to be too busy to really enjoy it anyway.

O.K…that’s off my chest…take a deep breath…

I can’t help but to wonder if spending money to excess is displaying bad stewardship.  I guess it depends what you are spending it on.  Just because you have the money does it mean that you have to buy "stuff" with it.  Part of me says that I would never want to win the lottery and have a boat load of money come in.  But there is another part of me that would love to give that money away.  Being rich is not evil, it is just what you do with the gift God has given you.  Here’s what I would do:

(1) FIRST AND FOREMOST I would tithe the money to my church and Bible camp (and a couple other ministries my wife and I support).

(2) I would set up college funds for all my cousins yet to go to college (including my wife’s family of course).

(3) I would pay off the school loans of my cousins (including my wife and I).

(4) I would put some money away for my wife and I to retire on (but I would not retire yet) so we could continue to be a blessing to others.

(5) LASTLY…I would not let the money change me (I know, I know…easier said than done, but I would fight changing with every ounce of my being).

I am not bragging here…it just excites me to think about writing a check out for a couple million dollars and giving it to my church and Bible camp.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  What would you do with a windfall of money?  Let’s say you won $20 million in cash – after taxes.  How would you spend it?  I am just curious. 

I am glad LeBron is enjoying his success, but I hope he is not setting an example for others to follow.  Share what God has given you and be a blessing to others.  -edh-