Church Loan 
Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 11:29 AM - Extra Christy
We paid off our church mortgage! A generous bequest by Ruth Foraker allowed us to pay off the remaining amount we owed. Our treasurer told us we will get an offical notice soon.

Yet I believe even then, the church is not ours. Some disagree with me; among them at least one Ohio judge, many congregationalists, even some Presbyterians. Who does it belong to? The easy answer is God, after all, all churches belong to God. An historic answer is found in our church consitituion that all property is held in trust for the denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA).

This Sunday we are celebrating "All Saints Sunday" where we remember those that have gone before us and now after death are in the church triumphant. Some of them were the ones who built the church building during the depression, others mortaged their own homes to contribute to the building fund, many others worked in choirs, Sunday Schools, dinner committees, youth programs or served as a deacon or elder.

All Saints Day reminds us of the faith of those that served God before us and even now are cheering us on as we take our turn between those that went before and those who follow us. We are stewards of the blessings of God which are lent to us while we are here. The blessings of God handed to us by the saints that went before us do not belong to the current generation anymore than the sky does. We do not own the church anymore than we can box and brand God's love just for us and our generation.

May you be blessed by all that the saints in your life have passed on to you, and may you enjoy them...and pass them on to others.

Of course, every house is built by someone, and God is really the one who built everything. -- Hebrews 3:4 (CEV)

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Pretty Please 
Sunday, October 26, 2008, 08:00 AM - Podcast
This message is available as a podcast recorded live at our worship service. Click the podcast image to listen now or right click the image and choose "Save As" to save this message in mp3 file format on your computer for playing later.

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What Tomorrow May Bring 
Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 11:27 AM - Extra Christy, Radio
Speaking with an elder about an unexpected death years ago, he said, "You never know what the day will bring." In light of the stock market and banking news, with the Dow Jones Index flying up and down (mostly down) lots of people suspect that no one knows what the day (or the hour!) will bring.

The author of James warns us against making financial plans for future profit for he points out that "no one knows what tomorrow will bring" He recommends adding the prefix: "If the Lord wills..." to all plans.

Ira Stanphill wrote a song after his wife left him and their ministry. You may not care for the style, but the words are appropriate half a century later:

I don't know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me---

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

We don't know what tomorrow holds,
but we know the Lord holds tomorrow.

Come now, you who say,"Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." -- James 4:13-15 (ESV)

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Raising the God Tax 
Sunday, October 19, 2008, 08:00 AM - Podcast
Matthew 22:15-22

This message is available as a podcast recorded live at our worship service. Click the podcast image to listen now or right click the image and choose "Save As" to save this message in mp3 file format on your computer for playing later.

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Mirror in My Wallet 
Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 11:25 AM - Extra Christy, Radio
Talking with church leaders from around the Presbytery (a district of several dozen Presbyterian churches) at church dinner about Stewardship, I found out that one church still continues the ancient practice of publishing in their Annual Report the names of every household in their church and the amount they had given that year in support of the church's ministry and mission.

I served a church in Pennsylvania that had old records that showed this information around the turn of the century (eighteen to nineteen, not the last turn!) but I didn't know it was still practiced in 2008!

What if we not only published the tithes and offerings amount but all the amounts given and spent throughout the year. What would that revealed about our priorities? What if we knew that this accounting would be sent to our family, friends, and neighbors?

I'm not saying it should be done, just if it was, how would that change our behavior? Would we tip more? Would we make sure our church offering exceeded the dinner bill? Maybe we would cut down on the amount we spent for specialty coffee! (Guilty!)

When you reach for your wallet in your pocket or purse today, try to look at yourself in its reflection.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does. -- James 1:22-25 (NIV)

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