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“Shaped by Grace: Getting and Giving!”

I want to share a couple of quotes. The first is this: “You have to plant the right seeds in order to grow the right fruit.” Duh! Of course! Don’t need to be a farmer to know that.

Okay. Here’s the second quote: “You get out what you put in.” What do you think? Isn’t this one true, too?

Now what if we were to apply these two sayings to our church? What might these simple sayings mean for us as we go about living our faith and being in this Body of Christ?

Here’s how I see it. Jesus talked a lot about “bearing fruit.” Not just any kind of fruit, mind you, but “good fruit.” Another time, he said that we “reap what we sow.” Sow bad seeds and what do you get? Sow good seeds—seeds of love and kindness and service—and you get what?

So, what do we get when it comes to living our faith and serving our church? I once read an arti- cle about something the author called the “law of reciprocity.” Basically, it was about getting back in proportion to what one puts in. For in- stance, a farmer should not expect to reap a bountiful harvest if he or she is not willing to put in the work that is necessary. Or if they planted the wrong seeds! Brothers and sisters, isn’t the same true of our faith? I mean, how would we expect to grow in our relationship with Christ if we didn’t make it the priority it deserves?

And how would we expect our church to meet our needs and the needs of all around us if we neglected to do our part?

Okay. But that’s not all. When it comes
to the God we know and worship, the equation changes. Indeed, what happens
is “We always get out far more than what
we put in!” Over the years, I have heard church folks say, time after time, when they were willing to step out in faith or to offer themselves in service, “Mike, what I have received in blessings are a whole lot more than I have given!”

It is so true. And it reminds me of another truth…or equation: “The more we (all of us)are involved in the life and ministry of our church, then the deeper our faith and the stronger our church becomes. And when that happens, then the greater our witness and the more lives that are touched!”

Yes, it’s true, because I have seen it happen so many times. And I see it happening right here, in and through our church, practically every day. As we allow ourselves to be“Shaped by Grace,” Paul says that our own lives are transformed (Romans 12:1- 2).

Or, to quote another saying,

“We are blessed to be a blessing!”

We have a great church—a church that is being blessed in so many ways and is giving great blessings through our good fruit.
I hope you can see it. But the best way to perceive God’s “new thing” is to get involved; to make your participation and service a “living sacrifice” back to God.

Coming up are numerous opportunities for
each of us. World Communion Day falls on October 7 this year. It is a wonderful time to remember that we are members of the “one body” serving our “One Lord” in his Holy Com- munion throughout the world. On October 14, we will observe Laity Sunday for the first time in a while. It is a day to recognize and thank all the many volunteers in our church and to reflect on how God’s grace has shaped our own lives.

Then on October 21, we will celebrate Children’s Sabbath and Consecration Sunday. What a grand celebration it has been in past years, with children and families and all ages showing us what the church can be.

Yes, we always do get back way more than we give. That’s called grace. Imagine what our Lord can do when each of us commits our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness to the building of the Kingdom and to this Body of Christ!”

Sincerely,

Mike

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