Centerport United Methodist Church
The Pastors' messages comes from the October issue of our monthly church newsletter - The Focus.

Unshakeable, Unremitting Love

The Benefits of Giving

      I saw a report on one of those morning news shows given by the science editor. His big news was that giving is good for our health. “I guess science is catching up with the Bible,” he told the anchorperson.
 
      He went on to make two points: (1) The act of giving causes the body to release endorphins, those natural feel-good chemicals; (2) people who are consistent givers live longer lives.
 
It’s good to have the authority of science to back up the truths our parents taught us. Still, the lessons I learned at home and in Sunday School focused on aspects of giving other than self-interest. I wasn’t taught to give to secure some personal benefit, but rather as a response to all the good that had already been done for me. I wasn’t shown how to be generous in order to help myself, but because it would help someone else.
 
Our scientist-reporter mentioned one other important thing. Studies show that the benefits of giving are not derived from occasional good deeds, writing a check to a charity or donating a meal to a soup kitchen. The key to a long a happy life is consistent caring, demonstrated in persistent deeds of love and kindness. True givers are in it for the long haul, not isolating their giving to a season or a closed set of people. They live generous lives, taking their cues from God, the first and most generous giver of all.
 
We are now entering the “Commitment Campaign” time in our church. On Consecration Sunday, November 17, we will be asked not for a one-time contribution, but to make a commitment for an entire year. Last year’s efforts brought a very generous response and helped us through a transition year - 2019. More and more of us are seeing that stewardship is not just about dropping a check in the offering plate, but is a commitment to a way of life that lives in harmony with God’s gracious nature and loving purposes for the world.
 
We are now poised for significant growth at CUMC. We are reaching out to the community and new people continue to stream in our doors. Many of you are “fishing” now, asking others to come to church and hear the Good News the Light of Christ is still burning bright here on Earth and especially here at church. We are hoping to begin new ministries this year, such as a new in-home small group worship and additional worship opportunities at CUMC, and revitalizing our prayer and education opportunities, as well as working with and serving those in need in our community in new ways.
 
We would not be at this point without the sacrificial giving of a very generous congregation. Even in these tight financial times at CUMC, we have decided that we want to grow---spiritually and numerically—and we are backing it up with our resources.
 
As you approach the call to give this year, I ask that you think about not only the church’s needs but also your own. Giving is good for the soul. A generous heart is a healthy heart. And, though you may not necessarily live a longer life, it will be a better and more fulfilling one. That is the wonderful irony of the Gospel: Givers end up being the biggest receivers of all.

 


    

 Pastor Roy        

 

 

A few days ago I was beginning to write an email message and happened to glance down at the lower right hand corner of my computer…I looked at the date, and I was stunned for a moment, as I realized that we would shortly be entering the month of November, and thus the year 2019 was quickly drawing to a close. I remember saying to myself, “My goodness, where has the time gone?”. As I repeated those words, I also began to reflect on the events of the year to date; the accomplishments, the challenges, the moments of uncertainty, the moments of loss, time spent productively, time wasted, unfulfilled goals and dreams; and just as I felt myself ready to host a personal “pity party”… a quiet calm came upon me, a feeling of peace, the Holy Spirit, and I uttered the words from the hymn “Thank You, Lord”, “Thank you, Lord. I just want to Thank You, Lord.” I turned my “pity party” into a “Thank You, Lord” party…focused and centered by “An Attitude of Gratitude”, remembering all that God has done for me, guiding me, teaching me, empowering me, and blessing me throughout the year, as God’s grace engulfed me, and for this I am so very thankful. 

“We have so much to be grateful for in this life. Each and every day. But reality is that sometimes constant life demands, struggles, and worries give more room to defeat than to a heart of thanks. Or we forget, in the midst of busyness and pressures, just to pause and give thanks, for all that God has done, and continues to do in our lives. 

Sometimes it really is a sacrifice to offer praise and thanks. We may not feel like it. We’re struggling. We're weary. Or maybe, we feel like He let us down. We think God seems distant, like he's far away, or doesn't really care about what's troubling us. Painful life blows and losses might have recently sent us spiraling. 

But here’s what can make a lasting difference. We have a choice, every day, to give him thanks. And with a heart of thanksgiving, we realize that no matter what we face, God doesn’t just work to change our situations and help us through our problems. He does more. He changes our hearts. His power, through hearts of gratitude and focused minds on Him, releases the grip our struggles have over us. We're strengthened by His peace, refueled by His joy.God's Word is filled with many reminders of how powerful and vital a thankful heart can be in this world. 

The Power of a Grateful Heart, 7 Things It Can Do:

1. It gets our eyes off ourselves, and helps us to focus back on God.
2. It reminds us we're not in control, but that we serve a Mighty God who is. It keeps us in a place of humility and dependency on Him, as we recognize how much we need Him.
3. It helps us to recognize we have so much to be thankful for, even all of the little things, which often we may forget to thank Him for...but they really are the biggest, most important things in this life. It takes our attention off of our problems and helps us instead to reflect on, to remember, the goodness of His many blessings.
4. It reminds us that God is the Giver of all good gifts. We were never intended to be fully self-sufficient in this life. A grateful heart reminds us that ultimately God is our Provider, that all blessings and gifts are graciously given to us by His hand.
5. A heart of gratitude leaves no room for complaining. For it is impossible to be truly thankful and filled with negativity and ungratefulness at the same time.
6. It makes the enemy flee. The forces of darkness can't stand to be around hearts that give thanks and honor to God. Our praise and thanksgiving will make them flee.
7. It opens up the door for continued blessings. It invites His presence. Our spirits are refreshed and renewed in Him. God loves to give good gifts to His children. He delights in our thankfulness and pours out His Spirit and favor over those who give honor and gratitude to Him.
(This excerpt is from: “The Power of Gratitude: 21 Verses of Thanks to God” written by Debbie McDaniel, and published November 22nd, 2016. ) 

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ, as you greet and share time with others during your Thanksgiving Day celebrations, don’t forget to take some time and offer God your prayers of Gratitude and Thanksgiving. Give Glory to and Praise to God, from whom all our blessings truly flow. Have a Blessed and Enjoyable Holiday  

 

Brother Wayne Redman
Certified Lay Minister