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Vol.2 Issue #1         
A newsletter from North American Division Stewardship Ministries
 
Happy New Year!
2017

 

Bonita J. Shields
Associate Director














The Profanity of Giving


"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" 
(Matthew 6:24, NKJV).

My husband is a loyal Costco customer. Actually, that's an understatement. Roy loves Costco. I've encouraged him to get a job there when he retires. He might as well get paid for his public relations work for the company. One day he called me to say that when he was driving by the store, his car automatically pulled into the parking lot, so he had no choice but to go inside! 

Of course, I use the words "love" and "loyal" loosely. But when Jesus is using the word "serve" in the above Scripture, He is not using the word loosely--or even metaphorically. Mammon has the power to control us. Both God and mammon require loyalty. Both promise security, significance, identity, independence, power, and freedom. Both tell us that they are the answer to every situation in your life. But you cannot be loyal to both. Which one will you trust?

There is a way to break the power of mammon. How? By giving. The act of giving breaks the power that mammon holds over it. Giving disrespects--profanes--the spirit of mammon that wants to deceive us with its empty promises. 

When we encourage our members to give--to God and others--we are not placing a burden on them. We are showing them how to break the power of mammon over their lives. We are helping them to choose the true source of security, significance, identity, independence, power, and freedom. 



TIPS FOR OBSERVING STEWARDSHIP MONTH (APRIL)

1. Download the Stewardship Sabbath materials from our website . We will supply you with a sermon, children's story, and power point presentation for use in your churches in January.

2. Highlight volunteering and serving.  Statistics show that those who volunteer/serve give the most. The week of April 10-16, 2017, is National Volunteer Week, and April 15-17, 2017, is Global Youth Service Day. In your Stewardship sermon on April 8, it would be a good time to highlight these days for members, and offer ideas on how they can volunteer/serve in their local church and community.

3. Highlight stewardship of the earth. April 22, 2017,  is Earth Day. Encourage your members to study what God's Word says about our care of the earth. For example, Revelation 11:18 states, " The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth" (NKJV). The point is not to stress that those who destroy the earth will be wiped out, but that God takes the care of His earth seriously.

4. Share on Facebook about Stewardship Month. Go to bretheren.org to find meaningful quotes about stewardship.


5.  Develop a stewardship plan for the year. Sometimes we forget to give long-term thought to stewardship planning. Ideas include:
  • Starting the new year by leading small group studies with Counsels on Stewardship by Ellen G. White.
  • Using "20 Questions," by G. Edward Reid to answer a stewardship question once a month (or more often) during the year in your bulletin or your online newsletter.
  • Discussing "16 Ways to Increase Giving" with the local church leadership team. 
 
All of these resources are available here.






















RESOURCES

January Offer

North American Division Stewardship Ministries is giving away these books during the Adventist Ministries Convention to its stewardship leaders at no cost! However, you must purchase them by the case (54 each) plus shipping.




Stop by booth # 206 for more details!



Book Recommendation






"By vocational stewardship, I mean the intentional and strategic deployment of our vocational power--knowledge, platform, networks, position, influence skills and reputation--to advance foretastes of God's kingdom" (p. 20).


UPCOMING EVENTS

2017 Adventist Ministries Convention
January 8-11, Tucson, Arizona


To read an interview with Julian Archer, please follow this  link.

You can register to this event by visiting  AdventSource.


Living Generously | March 4 and 5, 2017
Southern California Conference | La Sierra University

Online and Onsite (click here for live stream on the day of the event)

NEWS FROM THE FIELD

Anton Kapusi, New Stewardship Director

Greater New York Conference

Anton Kapusi was born in former Yugoslavia as the second son of an inventor and electro-engineer, and a younger brother of a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. Kapusi pastored in several districts in former Yugoslavia, where he pioneered in church planting, and was the youngest evangelist. During the eight years of civil war, he was a regional ADRA director working in conflict areas.
 
In 2007, he received a call from the Greater New York Conference to work in various churches. In addition to his stewardship duties, he currently works in the Livingston-
Kingston-Kinderhook church district.
 
Pastor Kapusi is graduate of the Adventist Theological Seminary in Marusevec, Croatia, and holds an MA in Pastoral Ministry from Newbold Collegue, England, UK. He is married to Erika, and they have two children: Noemi and Thomas.


Mount Olivet SDA Church
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I had the privilege of conducting a Stewardship Weekend in the Mount Olivet SDA Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

On Friday evening, I spoke to a group of people on the subject of Stewardship and Christian Education, utilizing the Keeper of My Heart resource created by our department.

Sabbath morning, during the Divine Service, my message was entitled, "The Haves Versus the Have Nots," helping members think about stewardship from a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. The service included a recognition service for their volunteers. Sabbath evening, we discussed the topic, "How to Create a Culture of Generosity."

Those present for the weekend included the Mount Olivet pastor, Lucious Hall; the Southeastern Conference Stewardship/Trust Services Director, Juan Gonzalez; and Dr. Barbara Davis, Southeastern Conference Education Superintendent; and many young people from the church. I was encouraged to see how the church takes their young people seriously, and includes them throughout church life.

It was truly a blessing to be with my brothers and sisters in Mount Olivet.                  



 Bonita Shields and
Pastor Lucious Hall




Rosalyn Murray receiving
recognition for her
stewardship of humility.

Inland Empire Filipino SDA Church
Redlands, California

Mae Sigue and Elder John Mathews.
Sometimes I start my sermon by holding a twenty-dollar bill and asking the question, "Do you believe I will give this to you?" My illustration is about how much God wants us to believe.

I directed the question to the Mae Sigue on the front row. "Do you believe I will give this $20 to you? Without hesitation, she said, "Yes." I was a little surprised because most people say no. "OK," I said, "You have completed 50 percent of the questions to get this money. The final question is, 'Do you believe I can tell you where you got your shoes?'" This time she was hesitant, but said, "Yes." She was either trusting me or calling my bluff!

I realized the whole congregation was waiting to hear my answer.  I paused to build anticipation, then said, "You bought your shoes at a shoe store." There was relief and delayed laughter through the congregation, and the lady broke into a big smile. 

During the closing song, I went to where she was and gave her the twenty-dollar bill. She said, "I want to talk to you." After church, she came up to me and asked, "Why did you choose me?"

"I don't know," I said.  I had never been to that church. "Just a random selection, I guess." I could see her eyes were full and tears that were on the verge of rolling down her cheek. "This past week when I was figuring out my tithe and offering, I realized that I was short of money in paying another bill. But I gave anyway. I was short exactly $20."

Do you believe God cares for us and that He is interested in helping take care of a $20 shortfall? Twenty dollars is not much money, but when God is working with it, miracles happen that strengthen our faith and confidence in how He leads each of us.  Mae has a stronger faith and so do I.

If you would like to invite Pastors John Mathews or Bonita Shields to your 
conference or church for presentations on stewardship, please email us at  StewardshipMinistries@nadadventist.org

INFORMATION & EVENTS







2017 STEWARDSHIP CALENDAR

January 8-11  Adventist Ministries
Convention, Tucson, Arizona

March 4, 5 Living Generously, Southeastern California Conference

April   Stewardship Month

April 8  Stewardship Sabbath

September 6   Stewardship Planning Committee 

November 4   Stewardship Sabbath


Stewardship Jack ' s Corner
Chasing Foxes
by Jan Mathews  
 
Jack peered through the window.  There it was again: a most fascinating fox prancing in front of the window.  How he wanted it! He barked with wishful anticipation. 

One dark night, Jack had his chance.  Before his leash could be attached, the strong scent of that fox captured his attention and he bolted off into the woods.  His name tag had fallen off earlier that day.  Now, he was totally on his own, totally absorbed in pursuit--a black dog lost on a very black night.  

Worrisome time passed.  Finally, he came toward me from the woods, bewildered, panting in exhaustion and disappointment.  What happened in those dark woods, I will never know, but he stayed close to me from then on, content to be safe and warm.

All of us are vulnerable to "foxes": the desire for possessions, absorption with financial security, and attempting to provide our children with the best of everything.  The enticement of mammon is so strong that it can lead us on a risky and unending chase in the dark because our "love" for more will never be satisfied. 

Christian Stewardship leads us to find true contentment and safety by staying close to Christ and managing His possessions with wishful anticipation, instead of chasing after foxes.


 


For resources and more information on Stewardship Jack, visit