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SOLI Update
2007 Newsletter Archives

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2007

December 31 - Stewardship New Year’s Resolutions for 2008 The New Year -- a clean slate! Why not reframe your resolutions in light of God's call for us to be good stewards and use all of our blessings wisely?

December 17 - Training a New Generation of Givers This fall we lost another of our ‘Greatest Generation’ members -- a humble widower who had worked a blue-collar job all his life and retired with a middle class pension. . . . but our financial secretary remarked that the absence of his steady, weekly check in the offering plate made a noticeable difference in our collection.

December 10 - The National Gift Crisis How are you and your family coping with gift crisis this Christmas? Never heard of the gift crisis? Tsk tsk. Denial is the first sign of trouble.

December 3 - Let’s Dump Advent Christmas is everywhere -- in the malls, on broadcast airwaves, in the big box retailers, in the magazines and newspapers. It's everywhere but one place: Churches!

November 26 - Turkey, Trimmings and Theology How appropriate that just before the ceremonial end of all time our culture hosts a big feast and gives thanks for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us.

November 19 - Gratitude Conquers the Darkness of Entitlement In his insatiable appetite for new toys, a little boy displayed an attitude that seems epidemic in our culture – that the mountains of stuff he already owns mean nothing in the face of the new toys he wants.

November 12 - Why I tithe I have gained deeper trust that God is faithful and responds to my faithfulness. More than once while tithing, I have struggled with bills and gotten a check or income opportunity “out of the blue.”

October 29 - Living ‘Miracle to Miracle' Accumulation of wealth – congregationally or personally – actually can make one fearful of taking risks, rather than emboldening us to risk what we have.

October 22 - Give your congregation the 'Malachi challenge' Preaching one week on Malachi 3:10, a  pastor simply dared his congregation to do what God asks -- to put God to the test by giving a tenth of their income to the church and see whether God would not 'open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.

October 15 - Bumper-Sticker Stewardship There's a bumper sticker that always gives me both a chuckle and an "uh ha!" moment.  I saw it again this past week: ‘Tithe if you love Jesus. Anyone can honk!’

October 1 - The Lazaruses all around The woman named Elizabeth called my church again today looking for help. She her three children live in a dreary fleabag motel, last-ditch, low-income housing in our rural county.

September 24 - The Bedrock of Stewardship When it comes to stewardship and evangelism strategies, it seems that many churches settle for quick fixes and gimmicks. But Acts shows us that getting the church's spiritual house in order is the best thing.

September 17 - Stewardship Lessons of 9/11 The traditional fall stewardship season is gaining momentum in our congregations, yet the anniversary of Sept. 11 gives us pause to look at the wider picture.

September 10 - The Sabbath for Busy People True confessions: I am a sinner. I routinely violate one of God's 10 commandments. And I am a hypocrite as well, because my sin is to disobey the very commandment I regularly berate my congregation and you, dear readers, for breaking.

September 3 - Go in Peace! Serve the Lord! Thanks be to God! The words above, familiar to millions of Lutherans as the sending prayer to conclude weekly worship, shine brilliantly in their simplicity and power. The prayer captures the essence of our discipleship response to the Gospel.

August 20 - Pray for a Stewardship ‘Aha’ Moment God's Word has a wonderful way of working on us. We can read the same passages again and again, and then, without warning ,God will reveal its truth in the deepest corners of our souls. It will fill us with joy, fill us with peace -- both will come bubbling out of our lips, we are so eager to tell everyone.

August 13 - The Heart of a Believer As pastors and church leaders, we continually invite people to look deep into their heart, to commit to God with all their being. We urge them to come to church in order to bring their hearts closer to God. And then we hope (expect?) that they will express their love for God with generosity for the church and for the needy people of God.

August 6 - Planned Generosity We have to teach our members to plan ahead for their giving, and train them for giving.  Otherwise, they may give whatever loose change they have on hand. And wouldn't that be a shame for the church, but also for our members. They may never know the joy of sacrificial, planned giving.

July 30 - Hungry for the Wrong Stuff, the Wrong Reasons “A new diet has reacquainted me with an interesting sensation. hood one for someone passionate about stewardship of life. The sensation is hunger. Or, really, I should say, false hunger.”

July 23 - Biblical Stewardship: 'Portion Control' It strikes me that in a nation that revels in the "all-you-can-eat" mentality,  we can all use lessons in "portion control" for the benefit of individuals and society alike.

July 16 - Shut off the Electronics and Live Not long ago, people entertained themselves by taking whatever they had on hand and using their intelligence and imaginations to have fun. It required the cooperation of other people in a mutually beneficial arrangement: If you play ball with me, we can both have fun. If you don’t, neither of us has much fun.

July 9 - Stewardship of Our Freedom Our freedom from sin and death is a gift, and like all gifts from God we are expected to exercise good stewardship -- wise use. This also applies to our civic freedoms that we remember on July 4.

July 2 - Looking for the Real IT! Spiritual emptiness. It's the human race's number one problem - the root cause of war, addiction, crime, oppression, greed, gluttony, selfishness and on and on.

June 25 - Time To Start Wasting Time Problem is, people reach a point where they are so busy that even going to church or attending a congregational social event -- which out to be refreshing -- seems like just another thing on the "to do" list.

June 18 - Do Something Really Good For Dad Statistics confirm the sad truth that in most congregations the women outnumber the men. In many cases it's by a wide margin. If you look around at your own church, you'll probably spot a number of Moms who are always there with their children, but their husbands never come.

June 4 - Can't Have It All? Who Cares? Our culture relentlessly pushes us into thinking that not only can  we have it all, but also we deserve to have it all, and we won't settle for anything less! Except if you are a total loser! Look closely at any advertisement you see on TV and you'll discover this clever lie is behind most of them.

May 21 - A Life Well Lived, Well Loved The viewing was supposed to begin at 6 p.m., but at 5 o'clock family and friends started coming. And coming. And coming. They filled the big meeting room in the church basement and the line spilled down the church steps to the sidewalk. They included neighbors, friends, family, people of every station in life, from laborer to the U.S. Congressman from the district.

May 7 - Live the Motto: 'In God We Trust' "Reading the Gospels, you find that Jesus talks a lot about money and its ability to lure God's children away from the path of righteousness. When money is abundant, then temptation abounds proportionally. For citizens of the richest country the world has ever known, money is our primary distraction and preoccupation."

April 30 - The Lesson of Financial Fasting . "Some demons can be cast out, Jesus instructed his disciples, only through prayer and fasting. It’s a teaching on the power of temporary, voluntary self-denial to energize us and focus our intention." Click here for this archive essay by webmaster Rob Blezard.

April 23 -
Every Day is Earth Day. "The fact that we make such a big deal of the environment only once a year shows what the real problem is: We are self-absorbed and fail to think of the natural environment as a part of us.  We can get away with it because most of us live most of our lives in totally unnatural environments, and that is because of our affluence." Click here for this archive essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

April 16 -
Hug Your Friends, Say Your Prayers, Savor Every Moment. "In the Virginia Tech tragedy, Americans are just reminded anew of the grim reality that faces every person on the planet -- that tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. Illness and tragedy can (and does) pluck anyone from the midst of a healthy, carefree life." Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update. Click here to subscribe.

April 8 - Environmental Stewardship: For Our Neighbor's Sake. "Environmental degradation harms our neighbor, whom Jesus commands we are to love as ourselves. Public health officials have correlated statistical links between various types of pollution and specific disease and death among our neighbors in the United States and the world. Climate change models show rising sea levels that will affect millions of our neighbors in low-lying countries." Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update.

March 26 - Paul's Brilliant Stewardship Appeal. St. Paul was a genius who possessed multiple gifts. An enthusiastic evangelist, he was also a brilliant thinker, a great writer and -- surprise surprise -- a superb motivator. All these things are apparent in the 9th Chapter of his second letter to the Corinthians." Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update.

March 5 - The Lessons of 'Financial Fasting'. "Some demons can be cast out, Jesus instructed his disciples, only through prayer and fasting. It’s a teaching on the power of temporary, voluntary self-denial to energize us and focus our intention." Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update.

Feb. 26 - A Season To Practice Stewardship of Life "Lent's emphasis on discipline provides ample opportunity to reflect on how Lent is the ideal time to practice stewardship of life. By giving up on the one hand, and giving away on the other, we are really reshaping the priorities of our time, talent and possessions. Being better stewards of our lives." Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update

Feb. 19 - Amazing Grace,' How Just the Case."As stewards of time, talent, and resources, there is much that we can do individually and corporately. First, and foremost, we can pray that God will inspire and equip leaders in government, in the Church, and in all segments of society to combat modern slavery and advocate for basic human dignity and rights for all people." Click here for this latest essay by guest columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas from last week's edition of SOLI/Update.

Feb. 12 - People's money follows their values. Want to buy a cheap ticket for the 2008 Superbowl? On one website, the cheap seats -- the upper level, in the corner of the field, way behind the end zone, go for $2,400. Although that's an astonishing amount of cash for most of us, fact is that somebody buys those tickets. Enough somebodies, in fact, to fill an entire stadium. Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update.

Jan. 22 - The Bedrock of Stewardship When it comes to stewardship and evangelism strategies, it seems that many churches settle for quick fixes and gimmicks. But Acts shows us that getting the church's spiritual house in order is the best thing. Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update.

Feb. 5 - Time to Balance Sabbath and Work. How curious it is that modern life has brought us to the stage where our working lives are un healthfully too busy and our retirement years are, perhaps, un healthfully too quiet. It seems not to be a good use of our time, which is, after all, one of the primary gifts that God has bestowed. It would seem we need more of a balance. Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update

Jan. 1 - Make the Key New Year's Resolution: Balance. "Looking at the perennial "Top 10" list of New Year's resolutions, it's easy to see how these all touch on the most basic stewardship issues over which we have some choice and control. They deal with how we use God's most important gifts: health, money, intelligence, time, family, friendships and recreation” Click here for this latest essay by webmaster Rob Blezard from last week's edition of SOLI/Update.