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2008

December 29 - Christmas All the Time Christmas alters our attitudes towards one another, if just for a time.

December 22 - Lowly People, Mighty Purposes What mighty purpose does God have for you? Seriously. Most of us just smile. Mighty purposes? Me?

December 15 - Giving that is blessed, Indeed It is true that there is something noble and sacrificial in every act of giving, but the principle is especially true when we give to the weak because they are not in a power to offer anything in return.

December 8 - Fight the real war on Christmas The real war on Christmas is much scarier and more deeply entrenched.

December 1 - Have an Asset-Based Thanksgiving Everybody’s pretty bummed out about the crisis, but when you really look at it, most of us have quite a bit to be thankful for.

November 24 - Enough Is Enough For those of us who still are fortunate enough to have jobs, houses, and some economic security, the crisis has been sobering, to say the least.

November 17 - The Law’s Tithing vs. the Gospel’s Free Generosity Next time you're at a church social function, go up to people who seem to be having fun and start talking about tithing. Most will run for cover faster than vampires at dawn.

November 10 - A Budget is a Statement of Faith What does your church budget represent? . . . Terry Parsons gave this ‘Devil's Dictionary’ definition of a church budget: ‘It is the means by which we notify the Lord of the limitations we intend to impose on his gifts for the coming year.’ ” Yikes!

November 3 - ‘Newman’s Own’ Brand of Stewardship In accolade after accolade, people remember Newman as a plainspoken guy who never let fame, fortune or public fawning get the better of him.

October 27 - The Ever-Reforming Church God's church has always attracted wolves in sheep clothing who profiteer by distorting God's truth. Reformation Day inspires us to challenge falsehoods and profiteering in the name of God.

October 20 - Involuntary Simplicity For families living with loss of income and uncertainty in their jobs and finances, simple living may provide a survival strategy.

October 6 - A Divine Mission and Necessity for Survival “Let me lay my cards on the table right away," theologian Douglas John Hall began his talk. “I think there is probably no more important theological and ethical task for Christians today than that of developing a worldly theology of human stewardship."

September 29 - Financial Hurricanes Ike blew into Galveston and swept away many homes, neighborhoods, lives. Now we have a financial hurricane blasting across our nation. Who will be hardest hit?

September 22 - Fresh, Tasty and Good for You Fresh vegetables and fruit have lots of nutrients, low fat and not too many calories. That's a welcome change for our culture, where collectively we have an awful diet that makes us heavy and unhealthy.

September 15 - Showers of Gratitude It's certainly true that we pray hardest when we are in great distress, when needs press upon us in every direction. But it is easy to slip right back into the habit of taking our everyday blessings for granted.

September 8 - A Habit of Highly Effective Stewards How many of our pastors clog their schedules and work hours with matters that, while noble and good and perhaps useful, are not really important to the overall mission and goals of the church?

September 1 - Lives Lost & Gained For most of us, our possessions reveal not who we really are, but who we think we are and who we want others to think we are.

August 25 - Gold Medal Stewardship The sight of those bicyclists in Beijing really inspired me. No, not the Olympic athletes, but the everyday citizens getting around on bicycles. . .

August 11 - Fearless Giving Fear keeps many of us from growing as disciples of Christ. If we let fear dictate our lives, we’d probably never read a lesson in front of the congregation, never visit a severely injured church member, never stand up against injustice, never reach out to the suffering.

August 4 - Loaves & Fishes Stewardship My congregation worships in a 127-year-old building that, while sturdy, is in need of long-deferred maintenance. We know what needs to be done.

July 21 - Vacation Stewardship Lessons For me, living in a tent without plumbing or electricity for a week helps me understand just how much I really own, and how much of it I really don't need -- however much I want and like it.

July 7 - Faith, Hope and Love for Our Future After pretending for millennia that we can exploit our natural resources forever, continue to engage in violence as the first and best response to conflict, continuing to fail to love our neighbors as ourselves, we now know we must change. Or die an early death.

June 23 - The ‘Theology of the Hammer,’ and the ‘Ecoomics of Jesus’ For Christian stewards who are concerned with issues of poverty and affordable housing, Habitat for humanity proves a simple, hands-on way to help.

June 16 - The Gospel Worldview It's not the magical act of giving that makes people cheerful. People who give grudgingly tend to wind up more sour as a result.

June 2 - Poor, dumb critters As a species, we persist in lifestyles that are making us stressed, fat and sick. We continue to smoke and drink. We glorify empty sex lives that are anti-family, anti-marriage and spread dangerous diseases.

May 26 - Undivided Loyalty When Jesus says we cannot serve both God and money in Matthew 6:24, most people draw the wrong conclusion.

May 19 - Leisure a Key to a Balanced, Healthy Life Mention "leisure time" and I think of those Corona beer commercials on TV: Lazy, tranquil hours on a deserted beach with no tasks more challenging than slicing limes and removing bottle caps.

May 12 - Stewardship Lessons from $3-a-gallon Gasoline It's an observation that goes to the heart of stewardship values: People grouse about paying a little more for something they need, but they gladly open their wallets and surrender their credit cards for grossly overpriced stuff that they want. Does this sound familiar?

May 5 -Forty Years Later, ‘Population Bomb’ Still Ticking Since 1968 three things have come true: One, there are almost twice as many people on the globe; two, the planet is showing signs of great stress from human activity; and, three, there will be more and more people vying for the same resources in decades to come.

April 28 - Appetite Control Today I felt really great – powerful, centered, spiritual, joyful -- and I know why. I fasted. I always feel great after I’ve fasted.

April 21 - Lazy Stewardship’s Best Teacher A tight income forces a person to live simply.  Everyday luxuries, such as dining in a restaurant, taking the kids to a movie or indulging in a new Music CD, are simply out of the question.

April 14 - Acts of Generosity There’s something that happens to people when they get the Christian message. When they really get the Gospel. It changes everything.

April 7 - A Bicycling Pastor Models Good Stewardship In the community where a colleague serves, congregation members see him riding his bike everywhere.  “The pastor is making a statement and also setting excellent examples of good stewardship on a number of points.”

March 31 - Easter! Now that was a Sabbath Nowadays the mantle of specialness that used to mark Sunday has diminished considerably. Even those of us who wish to keep the Sabbath Day holy can find the world's busy-ness creeping into our Sabbath the way that lights from a city can block our view of the stars in the sky.

March 24 - The New Commandment Maundy Thursday teaches us many things. “Knowing his time was running out, Jesus spent time with the ones he loved the most. He shared a meal with them and modeled servanthood by doing the most lowly job on the “to do” list of a household servant: Washing someone else’s feet.”

March 17 - The Weight of Our Decisions Watch any old TV show or movie and it’s apparent just how “plus-size” we have gotten.

March 10 - A ‘Floor’ for Personal Giving Back in the days when I – gasp! – wrote weekly checks, I was always getting behind. So then by the end of the year “making up” for six or seven week’s worth of contributions exacted a very heavy toll.

March 3 - 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.

February 18 - No Hot Water: A First-World Problem Pity me! My hot-water heater bit the dust last week! I need your pity because I probably won't get much from the 1.1 billion people in the world who lack safe, clean, plentiful drinking water.

February 11 - How about a ‘Financial Ash Wednesday’? We would begin by confession, acknowledging that we love our money and possessions more than we love God. After all, when we look at our credit card balances and checkbook, we find that we spend more on dining out than we do giving to our church.

February 4 - This Lent, Practice Stewardship as a Discipline There’s nothing wrong with petty sacrifice for Lent. But in older times, Lent was a somber and penitential time of purification and spiritual journeying from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday in order to prepare Christians for the glory of Easter.

January 28 - Stewardship Lessons of the Depression An 84-year-old member of my congregation has the right attitude about possessions and stewardship. . . Her observations have much to teach the succeeding “over-indulged” generations.

January 14 - The Power of Entrepreneurial Faith It’s the dream of every stewardship committee and pastor serving struggling congregations: Sunday by Sunday more new people fill the pews – and the collection plates – to bring stability then growth. Sounds great, but how do you get there?

January 7 - This Year Pray for Your Own Epiphany Today we live in a world that is facing many pressures that are unprecedented in history. Now more than ever is the time for us to be a little more like the Magi and a lot less like the rest of humanity at the time of Jesus' birth.