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(305 North Congress Street, Jackson, MS 39201)
STEWARDSHIP: PUTTING THE PARTS TOGETHERRick & Gloria deShazo, Stewardship co-chairs
We appreciate the kind words we have received from so many of you since we shared our thoughts and experiences about stewardship October 9, 2016. One of the most consistent comments was something like, "We had no idea you guys had moved around so much and had so many different church experiences." That made us recognize how little we know about so many of our fellow members of Galloway despite seeing and visiting with each other over the years.
The other speakers on Laity Sunday also shared their experiences, and in particular examples of grace and gratitude they have experienced among our congregation. They also reported so many sightings of the presence of the Holy Spirit among us. We miss so many blessings when those sightings aren't regularly shared like they were on Laity Sunday.
The assurance that God is among us has always brought assurance that God is alive in our lives and strengthens our faith. We are grateful that this year's stewardship emphasis on a personal assessment of our spiritual health has provided a tool set for doing so. Simply sitting down for a moment to score ourselves on a scale of 1 to 10 on where we are and where we would like to be in our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness will give us an objective method to reach decisions not only about our contributions to this year's stewardship emphasis but how we will use the opportunities at hand to improve our own spiritual health. Just like laboratory tests are helpful in assessing physical well being, using this test can help us assess our spiritual health.
It was amazing how the two scriptures we used on Laity Sunday seemed to appear out of nowhere. We had our own Glory Sighting and we are glad we have this chance to share it with you. Gloria stumbled on Paul's comment in Hebrews 10 about how important it is to meet with each other and share the events of our faith journey as a way "to encourage one another." The fact that we do not know what is going on in each other's lives reflects a need on the "presence" indicator for all of us. How can we be encouraged in our faith if we aren't present to share our personal sightings of God's presence in our lives?
The other scripture popped up in the lectionary reading for the day. That passage in Luke 17 where one of the ten lepers came back to Christ to say thank you after being healed speaks to the connection between grace, gratitude, and stewardship in the larger context of prayer, presence, gifts, service and witness. When we express our gratitude for what Christ has done for us by acknowledging Him as the center of our spiritual life through our stewardship, we follow His admonition to "Get up." That getting up is an act of our own will and choice. That scripture reflected the conversations we had on this topic but we didn't connect those with this particular passage ourselves until we found out it was the scripture for the day. What about that?
We are thinking a lot about the choices we want to make and praying for the will to make them during stewardship emphasis. It is a great assurance to know that we are not alone and that you are there with us in this process. November 13 and 20, 2016 are important Sundays for all of us.
ARE YOU LOYAL?
Gloria and Rick deShazo October 2016
An Important Choice
We make an important choice when we become Methodists. We choose to be loyal to Christ (as per The Discipline) through our lives as Methodists.
Metrics of Physical Health
Modern medicine uses certain indicators called metrics to monitor physical health: blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, good and bad cholesterol and thyroid tests. Among others, thyroid hormones regulate our energy production and power our bodies.
Metrics of Spiritual Health
Likewise, there are familiar spiritual indicators (metrics) we use to monitor our spiritual health: our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.
Where's the Power
Our spiritual life also has a power source, but one stronger than thyroid hormones. That source is the portfolio of spiritual gifts we receive when we become Christians, gifts like discernment, mercy, teaching, giving, faith, and knowledge that lead to unity among us (Eph. 4:12-13,15). We, being many, become one body in Christ. Different gifts, same Spirit, different kinds of service, same Lord and we are powered up and (I Cor. 12:4-5) We become the Power of Us!
Getting Powered Up
This year's stewardship emphasis will provide the opportunity to power up! We will revisit what spiritual gifts are and how to identify, grow and use them. So let's get started! Your Private and Personal Score Sheet Below is a personal and private score sheet to assess where you are. Just score where you are on a scale of 1 to 10 if 1 is nowhere and 10 is where you would like to be. Total your score.
What We Will Do Next
During the month of November we will explore the metrics of Spiritual Health.
References Spiritual Gifts List and Definitions, Ministry Resource Center (MinTools.com) Spiritual Gifts (SpiritualGiftsTest.com) Why Did God Give Us Spiritual Gifts? (Institute in Basic Life Principles)