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Aug. 10-16, 2009


Priority Giving

Here's a challenge for you and all the people in your congregation. Take the test yourself or, better yet, do it with a number of people in your congregation and then discuss the results together:

How much did you spend on restaurant food last month? How much on movie tickets, cable or satellite TV and other entertainment? What is the total?

These are the entirely discretionary items on our list of expenses every month. Whereas we cannot do without electricity, water, housing and groceries, we can do without restaurant food and entertainment. The fact that we spend money on these items indicates they are a priority for us. We give our money to the restaurateur, the movie house, the film industry, the professional sports team, etc.

So, take a look at your credit card statements, bank statement or social calendars and calculate how much you spent on those items.

Now tally up how much you gave to your church or religious charity last month. Which is more? Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Luke 12:34). Where is your heart?

-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
Reprint rights gladly given to any congregation or religious organization. Just include the following note: "Copyright (c) 2009, Rev. Robert  Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission." Other uses email rcblezard@embarqmail.com.

New This Week:

‘Green’ Font Saves Ink, Looks Stylish
Ecofont Your church may already make a difference by using recycled paper for bulletins and newsletters. What more can you do? Explore the new Ecofont created by SPRANQ, a creative communications agency in Utrecht, Netherlands. This open source font is free to download for your use and saves up to 20 percent of the ink required to print thanks to small circular holes in the font.  Click here to download the font. Not only is it free, it may also help you be a better steward of your resources and those of your congregation or organization.

50 Ways to Encourage Faithful Giving
Lewis CenterNeed some ideas to pump up your stewardship efforts at church? This is a handy list of ideas for educating, inspiring and organizing things. Easy-to understand, easy to use. Click here for “50 Ways to Encourage Faithful Giving,” from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary.

To Need or to Want: That is the Question.
Share, Save, SpendThis is a question many of us have been asking over the last several months as the economic downturn has pinched our wallets and awakened us to a new definition of normal. It is a question we certainly need to be asking now, and this short newsletter article explores the issue handily. Consider talking about this topic with the children in your life before setting out for a back-to-school shopping trip. Click here for “To Need or to Want: That is the Question, from Share, Save, Spend. While you’re at it, take a look at the many other good resources available from Nathan Dungan at Share, Save, Spend.

Sharron LucasLectionary Reflection: To Whom Can We Go?
“There comes a time in every disciple’s life when he or she realizes that there is no turning back, that Jesus is indeed the way, the truth, and the life, and that one must follow him no matter the course or length or difficulty of the journey.” Click here for “To Whom Can We Go?” from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Keith A. Mundy is assistant director for stewardship for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This is a column he wrote for Stewardship Now, a resource the ELCA makes available for congregations to use in their newsletters, bulletins and other publications. 

New This Week:

The Story of Stuff
StuffEver wonder where all that junk in your house comes from? Ever consider where it goes when you get rid of it? What’s the true cost of consumer goods? Take a look at this powerful 20 minute animated, interactive movie written by Annie Leonard. Click here for the Story of Stuff produced by Free Range Studios.

Eco-CongregationAn Environmental Toolkit for Churches
Is your congregation interested in exploring “environmental issues in the context of their Christian life and mission while encouraging positive action?” If so, this twelve module toolkit from Eco-congregation Canada might be a good place to start. Click here for “How to Become and Eco-Congregation,”  a project of A Rocha Canada.

SharronLectionary Reflection: Let the Living Bread Live
After 2,000 years of Holy Communion, Christians may forget that when Jesus said “I am the bread of life,” he was really shaking things up and making a powerful statement. That’s the kind of passion and energy we need to recapture in our preaching, our ministries our lives. Click here for “Let the Living Bread Live.” It’s this week’s lectionary reflection from Pastor Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

BreadDaily Bread
Baking Bread is a conscious act of stewardship, but it doesn’t mean one must slave away in the kitchen to enjoy a delicious, healthy loaf. Since we’re right in the middle of a series of bread texts from John’s gospel, why not try this no-knead recipe illustrated by Mark Bittman and based on a recipe from Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery. Click here for “Making No-Knead Bread,” from The New York Times.


      Copyright 2009 Stewardship of Life Institute