Generosity
April 2018


Dear Friends in Christ,

This month's TLO Disciple theme is Generosity.

Generosity begins in the heart of God the Father who created the heavens and the earth by his mighty Word. Generosity is most demonstrated when God sent His only begotten Son to save the world from sin. Through the holy, precious blood and innocent suffering and death of Jesus, the Holy Spirit purifies us from all sin.

A heart purified by the Gospel is single-minded and ready to be kind and generous to others, as God in Christ has been kind and generous to them.

In Luther's meaning to the Second Article of the Apostles' Creed we say,

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord,

who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death,

that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness,

just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.

This is most certainly true.

Generosity is a gift of the Holy Spirit. "Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: . . . the one who (encourages) exhorts, in his (encouragement) exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal . . . . "   Romans 12:6-8.

By the power of the Spirit at work in you through preaching, baptism and the Lord's Supper, the sins of the old nature are forgiven. We are no longer what we used to be, covetous, adulterous, angry, impatient, and hostile. By grace we have become generous, chaste, gentle, patient, and loving toward our neighbors.

Having been called by the Holy Spirit, enlightened with His gifts, sanctified and kept in the one true faith, let us live generously ready to sacrifice for the needs of others.

Pastor James Kroonblawd




The Joy of a Generous and Faithful Lutheranism
By Matthew Harrison

The Church is a paradox. She is the Bride of Christ, "spotless," "holy," "washed," (Eph. 5:25-27), the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15), the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:1ff.). And yet she only appears in this world hidden under the guise of poor sinners, flawed leaders, tensions, divisions and even false teaching. This is at once both disturbing and comforting. 


Galatians 5:22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.

Goodness.

This means willingly helping others in their need, being generous, and lending to them.

--Martin Luther

 
From the Bible

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 2 Cor. 9:10-12



Imitating God's Generosity
By Heath Curtis

Have you ever noticed how children emulate their parents? Children watch their parents and they do what they see them doing. This is how they learn to speak. They watch the shape and form of their parents' mouths and they try to make the same shape so that they can make the same sounds.

But children copy their parents even on a more mundane level. They watch how their parents cross their legs, how they fold their hands, how they stand and sit and walk, how they do and say most everything: and children try to copy it. This can be quite humorous when caught in the act. They do this even when parents don't want them to. Everyone has been in the uncomfortable, and sometimes rather embarrassing, situation where a child does or says what one of their parent's have done or said...something that is not too flattering! Sitcoms thrive on this sort of thing. And it only works because of the truth that children emulate their parents. And they do it because they want to be like them.

We are the children of God by grace, through faith. In Holy Baptism, God the Father declares of us what He declared of Jesus at His Baptism in the Jordan, "You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." God the Father claims us as His own. He takes away all our sins, and in exchange He gives us His righteousness, His purity, His holiness, and HIs Spirit, by which we cry out, "Abba, Father." We are born again, born from above, born of water and the Spirit, to a new life in Christ as His children. We are sons of God in Christ, through Baptism. And since we are sons, we are heirs; heirs who share in the glory of the Son of God. The inheritance is ours because of the Father's grace and mercy, because of His generosity in sending His Son in time to save us for all eternity.

And this is why we give generously of our income to the work of the church. Through the working of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to lead holy lives. We are strengthened to emulate the generosity of our heavenly Father by being generous ourselves.   We give to the work of the church because we have witnessed the generous giving of our Father in heaven. More than that, we are recipients of it. It is because we have received God our Father's gifts that we desire to give ourselves. And His gifts are not just spiritual. They are temporal and earthly as well. As the Small Catechism teaches in the Fourth Petition of the Lord's Prayer:

"Give us this day our daily bread. What does this mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. What is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like."

In other words, he gives us everything that we need for the care of both body and soul. His generosity knows no bounds.

Therefore we sit down at the beginning of the year, the beginning of the month, or the beginning of the week, and set aside a generous portion of God's daily bread for His work in the church. Not because He has commanded us so to do. But rather because we, as His children by grace, want to emulate His generosity in our own lives. He is our Father; we are His children. And children want to be like their parents.

Stewardship Monthly Newsletter, September 2014, www.LCMS.org


From RightNow Media



This 5 week series introduces the Donovan family as they journey toward the fullness of life found in giving! Living Generously begins their story as they are challenged with the question, "Are you giving God your first and best or are you giving God your leftovers?" Living Generously will challenge your community to examine their own hearts as they think about giving God the best of all of they have to offer with their time, treasures, talents, & testimonies.   Click to view.


The 2nd in our generosity series, this 5 week series continues the story of the Donovan family and focuses on relational generosity. It expands the conversation of generosity to include the relationships we steward and will challenge your congregation to see those often unseen in your community as well as the Father's heart for reconciliation. Click to view.


From the Bible

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:45-47

Growth in Giving Stewardship Workshop
Saturday, April 14    |     8:30am--1:30pm      |      TLO Conference Room

Join us for the Growth in Giving Workshop as Jeff Davis of Cornerstone Stewardship Ministry provides training on how to encourage faithfulness and generosity in Christian giving.  

Some of the topics covered are:
  • The wider context of Christian stewardship
  • Year-round stewardship encouragement
  • Effective reporting and analysis
  • Communicating the ministry vs. the budget
  • Annual stewardship planning
  • Teaching stewardship through many channels
Learn what other churches have done and experience a 5-20% increase in giving. The workshop is based on a variety of sources, experiences, best practices and studies, aligned with the goal of touching the heart of the disciple of Jesus. Best of all, it is based on God's Word. Registration by April 12, please. 


INPUT WELCOME

Do you have a suggested topic for an upcoming TLO Disciple?  Send an email to Pastor Kroonblawd by clicking here.

EDITOR'S NOTE

TLO Disciple, with a topical study in each issue, is distributed primarily via email on the first of every month.  Print copies are available by contacting the TLO Church office at  651-454-7235 or the  Church Office via email.
 
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Soli Deo gloria



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