Its Red Kettle season, love it or be annoyed by it, but the bells are ringing ~ all the time and everywhere (at least that's what it seems when you don't have even $1 in your pocket!)
In December of 2008, our pastor, Stan Buck challenged us to put something in the kettle every time we passed one; to not walk in the other door to avoid it.
He tossed that challenge out again on Sunday. Be generous. Every time. He reminded us that even if we pass 50 kettles this season, if we give $1 per kettle, well...you can do the math...none of us will go hungry if we do this. So, if you can, than do. (Even if it means fewer lattes or one less gift)
This past Sunday he was teaching on God's Provision. He reminded us that last year we took our first ever Christmas Eve offering. In December, as a church, we took the Advent Conspiracy challenge which was to Spend Less and Give More. We then collected over $35,000 on Christmas Eve...to give away. The entire amount was not for us - it was to bless others. (It was also a special Christmas for our family as we gave less presenTs and gave more presenCe)
Then the earthquake hit in Haiti. And we did it again, on the Sunday after the earthquake we split our offering with our ministry partners in Haiti. In a short two month period we gave away approximately $70,000. Keeping in mind that the economy was at an incredible low point, this was not only an act of generosity - but a deep trust in God's provision. Would our own church needs be met with all this money flowing out of our doors?
On Sunday, Stan reported that even as we were more generous to others, our offerings remained strong and God provided beyond what was needed this past year! We didn't know this would happen when we gave those large amounts away in January, we had to trust. I wonder if that felt a little uncomfortable.
My point in telling you this? Although you read this blog from all over the country, (and the world, there are readers here from 10 different countries!) we all hear the same bells this time of year. The message is simple ~ be generous and trust God for your own provision. Go to the bank today, get $1 bills and listen for the bells.
(Read The $1 Difference here)