SUNDAY BEFORE ADVENT, SUNDAY OF CHRISTMAS CAROLS 25TH NOVEMBER 2018
You are most welcome for today’s service in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus.
This is our last month of November the year 2018. We sincerely appreciate each and every one for all your continuous support to St. Luke’s Chaplaincy. Please keep up the spirit.
Today is a Christmas carols for St. Luke’s. A word of thanks to our choir; we appreciate every effort they continue to make in serving through the ministry of singing.
Our message on “Giving” continues with the topic ‘Giving as Evidence of Spiritual Growth’. Spiritual growth in the Church is evident by the following: (a) A lively worship for all (b) Warm Fellowship (c) Loving relationships – interpersonal (d) Sharing of resources – finance, time, material and other amenities (e) Healing and Deliverance (f) Commitment to Prayer (g) New believers added daily (h) Hunger for God’s Word – clear
Preaching and teaching (i) Shared leadership – leadership is participatory (j) Social action and Community involvement (k) Physical development – infrastructural growth.
The physical and spiritual needs always go hand in hand. We see this in the early Church, as recorded in the Books of Acts (cf Acts 1, 2 and 3).
Therefore, Christian-giving and spiritual growth have to support each other. For instance, if the Church members are not active in providing for the financial needs of their Church, Mission Activities and Programmes, it cannot run well. Members have to understand that the God they worship is the Almighty, Perfect in power, beauty and His Wisdom and knowledge transcend everything. This God calls the heavens above and the earth to order and He judges all His people (cf Psalms 50:1-6) God calls His chosen ones (those set apart/converted to Him through the Sacrifice of the One Son, Jesus Christ) to know Him and offer Him continually Tithes, Thanksgiving and other forms of giving. And above all, to offer their lives as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1-2).
From Luke 21:1-4, we see how Jesus observed the way people were giving in the Temple treasury. He saw both the rich and the poor putting in their gifts. Jesus commended the poor widow for putting in all that she had, compared to the rich who only gave sparingly. The Spirit which Jesus praises here is that of Sacrifice. While the rich gave very comfortably because they had much, the poor widow gave all that she had (two very small copper coins). She did so because of her love for God. Love gives all; it gives the best; even when it hurts!
The example of the Macedonian Churches responding with gracious generosity as they gave to meet the needs of the Saints has to be taken very seriously by all Christians. According to 2Corinthians 8:1-15, God had given them grace. Out of their experience of severe trials, they had overflowing joy in responding to the call for help despite their extreme poverty. They gave exceeding their ability or what was expected out of them. To them, it was a great privilege to share in the service to the Saints (washing the feet of the Saints). Here the Spirit was of service – humble service.
A growing Church must be deliberate and always willing to take the privilege of participating in ministering to the Saints of God.
The spiritual health of a Church is seen through the giving life of the members. Giving shows how obedient or disobedient the hearts of Church members could be.
“….just as you excel in everything … see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (2Corinthians 8:7). If the Church gives generously, she will be fulfilling so many obligations of the Kingdom businesses.
It is through giving as a Church that we emulate the act of our Lord Jesus Christ, who had graciously offered Himself to die to save the whole world from sin.
During this Advent Season, may the Lord pour into our hearts a fresh spirit of sacrifice and generosity, to make us more willing than ever, to give ourselves and our monies and other things to God’s service.
Reverend Canon Albert Festus Udongo
QUESTIONS FOR HOME CELL BIBLE STUDY & PERSONAL REFLECTION
Read and reflect on Psalms 50:1-6, Luke 21:1-4 and 2Corinthians 8 &9.
- Why do some Church members find it hard to offer themselves to serve God?
- In your experience within the Church;
- Why do some people find it hard to give money generously to the work of God?
- How can you help to change a Church member with negative attitude towards giving?
- Share a testimony on how giving has blessed your personal life.