What's Your Bag of Dimes?
This week you should have received a letter, pledge card, and envelope you can use to commit to Good Shepherd for our upcoming calendar year. We will have an opportunity to present these pledges in either of our worship gatherings on Sunday, November 29th. What an opportune time to commit to giving back, just days after celebrating Thanksgiving and as we begin to celebrate the gift of God's Son!
As we prepare to pledge to the work of God through Good Shepherd in 2016, I want to communicate - on behalf of our elders and staff - my immense gratitude for your ongoing prayer, encouragement, and generosity through this year. In spite of significant pastoral and staff transitions, your giving has allowed us to continue both our on-campus ministries and off-campus missions.
I was recently reminded of stories about Good Shepherd's founding pastor Virgil Zirbel, who, at only 37 years old, planted the gospel in Los Alamitos with his now famous bag of dimes! As I understand it, Pastor Zirbel took this bag of dimes to a local payphone and, going through the phonebook, began calling families one by one, inviting them to join him in starting Good Shepherd. What faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus! What trust in the Spirit's leading! What commitment to the call of God!
As we prepare our pledges for 2016, I'd like to invite us to remember Pastor Zirbel's bag of dimes - and to think through our own. What is your "bag of dimes"? What income or financial resources has God given you to steward? How could you use those resources - like Pastor Zirbel - to support the ministry and mission of Good Shepherd, to continue planting the gospel in Los Alamitos and around the world!?
Think and pray through the four P's of giving:
Priority Giving: Is giving to God's Kingdom the top priority in your budget? As Jesus declared in Matthew 6.21, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Percentage Giving: What percentage of your revenue goes to God's Kingdom? Paul declares in 1st Corinthians 16.2, "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income..."
Progressive Giving: Are you progressively increasing your giving over the years? In 2nd Corinthians 9.6, Paul writes, "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."
Prompted Giving: Are you ready to spontaneously respond to the prompting of God's Spirit as unique opportunities arise? Luke writes in Acts 20.35b, "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Again, thank you for your ongoing prayer, encouragement, and generosity. It is a privilege to serve this family of faith.
Grace and Peace,
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