Dear St. Lukers,
What a great month we have had serving God’s Neighborhood in so many ways. The fields have been full every weekend with children from three year olds through middle school playing soccer and learning how to reveal the Kingdom through teamwork and fun. We have had our buildings full on Saturdays with the District United Methodist Women’s retreat, Trunks, Treats & More, support groups, and teams working to end hunger in Central Florida. Social media has been flooded with people visiting our Pumpkin Patch and capturing fall family photos like the ones below taken by St. Luker Howard Clifton.
Again and again, there have been Kingdom moments hosted by you, dedicated St. Lukers, living into discipleship in creative and powerful ways. Thank you for all you do to continue to serve God’s Neighborhood as salt and light.
When we look at our life as the blessing it is from God, we realize we have all that we need and then some. When we look back and see where we trusted enough to share our gifts from God, we also realize the mathematics of God’s economy is never simple addition, it’s exponential. Your gifts, added to other St. Luker’s gifts, have helped us accomplish tremendous things this year.
This past Sunday we gave away more than thirty Bibles to kindergartners in the 11:00 a.m. traditional worship service. We had these precious children and those in our children’s choir gather around the altar for prayer, as their families and other St. Lukers stood behind them. It was a Kingdom party moment as these children lifted their voices and led us in the Lord’s Prayer.
Your generosity of trusting God’s economy of “AND” and giving to our operating budget helped create that Kingdom moment, one those children and their families will always remember. We cannot thank you enough for your faithful giving in 2019. Just watch this video and see not only what you’ve accomplished but how we still need you to continue the work of God’s Neighborhood parties through St. Luke’s.
This week we move to God’s Bank to remember that in God’s Neighborhood we live in abundance and joy not scarcity and fear. Last week’s text of the cost of discipleship was difficult as Jesus called us all to reexamine and consider the cost of what it means to be a disciple. This week, since we covered Luke 15 during the month of August, we move from chapter 14 to chapter 16 where Jesus offers some interesting and difficult to decipher parables on wealth. Jesus will introduce us to a dishonest manager, a rich man, and Lazarus, to show us the fear we often fall into in regards to feeling we live in scarcity versus seeing the abundance of God’s economy. It’s so easy to fall into the trap that there is never enough, but even as I write this, God’s sun is coming up again to offer us a new day to see glory, beauty, and a wealth of blessings if we open our eyes and lift them up from the calendars, the bills, the emails, and reminders. When I begin to trust my “lack of” more than God’s abundance, I remember a quote I learned from Jim Harnish years ago and have shared with you before…
“What shall I do, singer and first born, in a world where the deepest black is grey, and inspiration is kept in a thermos? With all of this immensity in a measured world?” – Marina Tsvetaeva
As we celebrate All Saint’s Day and remember those St. Lukers who have passed onto sainthood in heaven over the last year, we will sing of the glorious legacy they have left but also recognize the legacy we are invited to leave. They have left us so much through their faith, love, generous spirits, and giving. Tears will fall again as we miss the beloved saints. But as Caryn Royer said yesterday in a meeting, our tears of grief are not for them as they have received their heaven, our tears are for ourselves as we realize the incredible marks they left on our lives and hearts (read more about Caryn’s new adventures by clicking here!). Because when we serve God first in our lives with not only our resources but our dreams, hopes, and talents, we leave a mark on others of the God we love and follow.
What can you add from your abundance of talent, time, resources, and experiences to God’s “AND” which will leave a legacy of faith, trust, and hopeful belief in what God can do next in others? Because the legacy you leave will help the Kingdom party of God go on in people’s hearts in powerful ways.
Grace and Peace,