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Chicago, Illinois 60630-2431

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Gift and Giving

Lutherans have always emphasized "grace" - the gift of God's love, forgiveness and eternal life. What would happen if we talked about money and giving by beginning with "grace"?
I encourage you to get your Bibles out and turn to Acts 4:32-37. The text makes that point that the Holy Spirit led the early Christians to be generous, grace-filled. Nobody was in need because members of the community would sometimes sell a field and bring the money to the Apostles so that it could be distributed to the needy.
They did this because they were reminded of the history of the movement of God in their lives. I invite you to take some time to look back and see where God has acted in your life. The Israelites were led out of slavery in Egypt simply as a gift from God. What slavery has God led you from or do you need God to lead you from - materialism, pride, power, competitiveness, addiction?
Please work through this brief exercise over the coming month to learn your own story of God's blessings in your life. You may well discover that they came about as a result of a difficult or painful experience in your life. That is what I have discovered in my own life. That is why one of my favorite Bible verses is Genesis 50:20.
You may recall how Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. He quickly rose (a gift if God) and became second only to Pharaoh. When there was a famine in Israel, Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to look for food. Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and they were terrified that he would get even for what they had done to him. Then comes this wonderful verse: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good."
The reality is that God continually blesses us, gifts us, even in the hard times when we can't see God at all. As you discover all the gifts God has given you, pray about what you might give back to God in love and gratitude.
We are asking you to prayerfully consider an annual monetary gift to the church. You have already received a packet of information. We are asking that you return your "Estimate of Giving Card" on Sunday, October 26.
Count Your blessings!

09/18/2008