Excel in Giving

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost | July 1, 2018

flower-8539_640.jpg2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27  •  Psalm 130   •  2 Corinthians 8:7-15  •  Mark 5:21-43

Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.

I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. 15 As the Scriptures say,

“Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over,
    and those who gathered only a little had enough.”

2 Corinthians 8:7-15 New Living Translation (NLT)


We continue in Paul’s second letter the church in Corinth.  Paul is encouraging the church in Corinth to continue what they started in the area of giving.  In the previous verses he writes about the churches in Macedonia – giving even in their extreme poverty and during a severe trial.  They gave generous gifts.  Paul hadn’t even asked for the offering, but they begged to give.

Paul proceeds to compliment the church at Corinth for their excellence in speech and in faith and now wants the church to extend that excellence to giving.

He reminds the Corinthians that God’s grace is generous, because Jesus Christ – who was rich – became poor – he left the splendor of heaven to become like us to make us rich in Him. Paul doesn’t want the church to give out of compulsion but out of a heart of love – remembering what Christ has done.  Paul challenges them to test the sincerity of their love and to finish the work.

Paul challenges them to give from their means – not from their poverty – which is interesting.  They are to give according to what they have – not what they don’t have.  He tells them to give out of their abundance to help those in need and when the time comes – when the other church is in abundance, they will give to those in need.  What a great picture of the way the body of Christ should work.

He reminds the believers how it worked in the Old Testament with the manna. God provided the manna and everyone had as much as they needed for the day – never too much – or too little – in this way things will be equal.  Something to think about as we excel in giving.

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50 Years Ago | The Birthday of the Wesleyan Church

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The year 1968 was a turbulent year here in the US.  Both Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated; and there were riots in many US cities. But in Anderson, IN, the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Pilgrim Holiness Church merged to become The Wesleyan Church.  I love the motto, “One, that the world may believe!”

We didn’t plan it this way, but one of the things that we did on the way home from Canada today we visited Seneca Falls, which was the site of the first National Women’s Right’s Convention.  That first convention was held in a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Seneca Falls.  That convention was 180 years ago.

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The site of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.  The original frame is still intact, with new walls.

It seems we have ended up as several women’s rights sites this summer, but Wesleyan history has a strong connection with both the suffrage movement and the abolition  movement. Not only does the Wesleyan Church have roots in these social movements, but we strive to be a church that makes disciples.  We desire to be a transforming presence to the world around us…celebrating every time a disciple makes a disciple and the Wesleyan Church multiplies itself until we have a transforming presence in every zip code. 

This means loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves.  James writes; “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God the Father is this, to take care of the widows and orphans in their distress and to keep yourselves from being corrupted by the world.”

I think there are some great days ahead for the Wesleyan Church and I love being part of it.  Happy Birthday!

Tuesday Quote

Women’s place is Home. But home is not contained within the four walls of an individual house.  Home is the community. The city full of people is the Family. The public school is the real Nursery. And badly do the Home and Family need their Mother.”

Rheta Childe Door

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Prayer for the Week

lens-reflection-2757801_960_720O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Accept the Gift

5th Sunday After PentecostJune 24, 2018

stones-2533882_640.jpg1 Samuel 17:1a, 4-11, 19-23, 32-49  • Psalm 9:9-20  • 2 Corinthians 6:1-13  •  Mark 4:35-41

As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says,

“At just the right time, I heard you.
    On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us,and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!

2 Corinthians 6:1-13 New Living Translation (NLT)


We continue our walk through Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth.  We know by his Paul’s first letter that this was a church that had some issues.  But really there are many churches that have issues.  By the sounds of what Paul writes, there were some who were not willing to accept the gift of salvation.  Just before this passage, Paul urges the Corinthians to accept God’s gift of reconciliation.  Paul and his cohorts are ambassador’s of Christ and they are urging people to come back to God – to be reconciled to God.  This is the gift that Paul is referring to.  Paul continues, “Today is the day of salvation.” Apparently some didn’t believe that Paul and those who traveled with them really were ministers of the gospel.  Paul recounts the various hardships he has faced since repenting of his sins and now preaching the gospel.  He is following the leading of the Holy Spirit and wants others to do the same. Paul desires to live in such a way that that no one will stumble – that no one would be led astray – that no one will find fault in their ministry.  Yes, there will always be those who find fault even when our motives are pure, but that doesn’t give us license to do whatever we please — we must still live as true ministers of God.  Paul tells his readers that they have proved that they are true ministers by their conduct and by following the leading of the Holy Spirit – faithfully preaching the truth – and by their sincere love.  Paul even mentions the love he has for the Corinthian believers, even though they don’t reciprocate.  Paul is asking the Corinthian believers to respond as true children of God – to open their hearts to the Gospel that Paul and his friends have preached – the truth of God – through the power of God – the Holy Spirit!