Pastor Debra Schaffran
Cell 952-240-3836 | debraschaffran@gmail.com

500 Clark Street, Mora, MN 55051 | 320-679-2713
Office Administrator Hours Wed. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Office: moraogilvie.umcs@gmail.com
Handicapped Accessible

Pastor Debra Schaffran
Cell 952-240-3836 | debraschaffran@gmail.com

500 Clark Street, Mora, MN 55051 | 320-679-2713
Office Administrator Hours Wed. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Office: moraogilvie.umcs@gmail.com
Handicapped Accessible

Message for Feb. 14, 2021

Worship February 14, 2021

Welcome

I welcome you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

(based on Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 8:9)

Unless our worship is genuine, it is a waste of time.

Remember the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who though he was rich, for our sakes became poor,

so that through his poverty we might become rich.

Let us pray.

Opening Prayer

Living and faithful Spirit, the God in whom we live and move and have our being, the God who is made known in Christ Jesus, bless us one and all as we wait on you this day.

Please remove from our minds and hearts whatever impediments hinder worship or dampen our joy.

Increase within us that holy longing for closeness which can open our lives to fuller delight and to a deeper commitment.

May our hymns and prayers, our searching thoughts, and our hearing of the Scriptures, be an exercise in the holiest love making.

By you, with you and for you, may our lives publish your praise.

In the name of Christ Jesus.

Amen!

Hymn   UMH # 405                                          Seek Ye First

Scripture                                                             2 Corinthians 8:1-7 NRSV

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.

For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints—

and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us,

so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you.

Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

Meditation                                                         Modern Money Myths

Money Myths identified by O.S. Hawkins

A well-worn dollar bill and a equally distressed twenty dollar bill arrive at the Federal Reserve Bank to be retired. As they move along the conveyer belt to be burned, they strike up a conversation. The twenty reminisces about its travels all over the country. “I’ve had a pretty good life,” it proclaims. “Why I’ve been to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, performances on Broadway, the best restaurants in New York, even a cruise to the Caribbean.” “Wow!” exclaims the one-dollar bill. “You’ve really had an exciting life!” “So tell me,” says the twenty, “where have you been throughout your lifetime?’ The one-dollar bill replies, “Oh I’ve been to the Christian Church, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church…” “Tell me,” the twenty-dollar bill interrupts, “what’s a church?”

Today I am talking about that subject of money, money myths actually – now before you tune-out just hear what I have to say. We are going to look at giving and generosity from the perspective of 2 Corinthians 8:1-7. This piece of scripture is a letter Paul has addressed to the people of Corinth. His emphasis is on giving with grace —because we want to. He even begins with grace in the first verse of 2 Corinthians 8. The Corinthian church was not giving to the work of Jesus. When we are not spir­itual we are generally not generous. Paul encourages them by using the Macedonians as an example. The Macedonians had suffered greatly for the faith, and yet they gave so sacrificially for the Lord’s work. They excelled in what Paul called “the grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7).

When Paul wrote these words the Corinthians were personally doing well financially. But they were not generously giving as the Macedonians were so Paul used the comparison as a bit of a wakeup call. Little did those people know that what they did would influence us over 2,000 years later.

Now, there are some modern money myths from Corinth that need to be dispelled today. The Corinthians were living with these myths and seeking to justify their lack of giving to the Lord’s work because of them. In so many ways the church of the Western world today is living with these same money myths.

Myth No. 1: Only people with money should give.

“…for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” (2 Corinthians 8:2).

Some people say only people with money should give. Let Dick or Jane do it. They have the money. We might think to ourselves, “If I had their money, I would give; I would tithe.” This notion that only people with money should give is just a myth, though. Paul said that these people gave out of “a great trial and out of deep poverty.” They gave out of what? Stock reserves? CD? Savings? No, out of “deep poverty” and “great trial.” They didn’t have much to give but they gave!

Our Lord Jesus destroyed myth No. 1 when He encountered the widow with her last coins. A widow gave the last that she had and it was witnessed by others. A lot of people would counsel her to keep it. They would tell her that only people with money should give. And they would have robbed her of a great blessing and us of a great example. Our Lord placed the story of the poor widow with a few pennies in the Bible to show us that our money talks. He still sits opposite the treasury to see not what we give but how we give it. She gave out of her want and not out of her resources.

How many times have we heard, “Only people with money should give”? I have had people tell me, “If I had a million dollars … or if I won the lottery … I would give to the Lord’s work.” If God can’t trust you to give out of poverty, how will He ever trust you to give out of riches? It is a myth that says that only people with money should give. The greatest givers are most often those with little. This is because it is not what we give but how we give that matters most to Christ. Look at the Macedonians. What an example they are to us today. They gave out of “great trial and deep poverty.”

Myth No. 2: It is unpleasant to give.

“…for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” (2 Corinthians 8:2).

Some say it’s unpleasant to give. Many think we would be happier if we kept our money for ourselves… But friends there is great joy in giving. they gave with “the abundance of their joy.”

Jesus destroyed myth No. 2. He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Think about that at Christ­mastime. When you and your family are all around the tree opening gifts, what do you do? Do you watch the one who is opening the gift? I don’t. I watch the expres­sion on the giver’s face, which is filled with delight upon seeing the recipient enjoying the gift. It is written all across the giver’s face! This is why parents like Christmas so much. Because it is fun to give! The only reason some of us have not found the “abundance of joy” in giving is because we simply have not practiced it.

It is a myth to say that it is unpleasant to give. KARE 11 TV reported the following “The staff of a Minnesota Dairy Queen was stunned when a drive-thru customer paid for the vehicle behind him, only to set off a chain reaction that inspired over 900 others to do the same.

On Dec. 3, the anonymous customer paid for the person behind him in the Dairy Queen drive-thru in Brainerd, KARE 11 reports. General manager Tina Jensen said the second customer was taken aback by the sweet surprise and asked to do the same. “So the lady pulled up and I said, ‘Just to let you know, the gentleman in front of you paid for your order. If you like I can pay it forward and you can pay for the order behind you and we can keep this going,’” Jensen recalled, joking that it was the woman’s “lucky day.”

From there, the small act of kindness just kept getting bigger, as each subsequent customer wanted to pay it forward, too. After about 125 cars, Jensen said that one woman “threw us a 20-dollar bill, almost in tears” over the fact that the chain had continued for so long.

I had a similar experience but on a much smaller scale. I paid for a vehicle with one person in it at our local Hardees. A week later the Hardees employee that had taken my order and the money for me and the car behind me told me that the act continued for 11 cars. Giving feels so good!

Myth No. 3: Giving results in a lack of resources.

“…their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:2).

Some fear that if we give, we will not have enough for ourselves. It is a myth to say that giving results in a lack of resources. Some of us never add the supernatural into the economic equations of life. This is myth No. 3. Jesus Himself said, “Give, and it will be given to you.

Some of the richest people I know are poor, and some of the poorest people I know are rich! Some have what money can buy, and some have what money cannot buy.

I’ve traveled to a few third world countries and I have met some of the poorest people in the world. People that live on nothing and basically have nothing and yet, and yet they are happy. A UMC in Sierra Leone that I had the opportunity to preach at took more offerings during the service than we would ever consider. Each time the plate was passed people added to the number always with smiles and singing.

It is a myth to say that giving results in a lack of resources. Many who hear this can attest to that very fact. The fact is often that our lack of giving is what results in our lack of resources. God will never allow us to be the loser when we are faithful to His Word and obedient to His will.

Myth No. 4: Just do what you can.

“…I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means,” (2 Corinthians 8:3).

No, you can do more than you ever imagined you were able to do.

Some people give today in a strange way. They sit down. Add up all their bills. Pay them all. Set aside money for inci­dentals. Put aside money for their monthly recreation activities. Then at the end of the month if anything is left over, they give it to the Lord Jesus and His church. They are the ones who say, “Here is what I am able to do” Thus, this type of indi­vidual never tithes and never benefits from God’s plan of economy. This person buys into myth No. 4.

Many years ago, my husband Rod, and I learned the truth of this myth. We have learned through the years that we could not only do what we were able to do but along the way we were able to give “beyond our own ability.”

It is a myth to say that you should just do what you can do. When you say that, you leave God out of the equation of life. I don’t necessarily know exactly how it works, but those of us who practice it know it’s true. It is a miraculous thing to be able to “give from God’s hand.” In the book of 1 Chronicles David said, “Everything comes from You and we only give You what comes from Your hand!” A lot of people today are like the Corinthians who justify their lack of giving with modem money myths. It is a myth to say only people with money should give. It is a myth to say it is unpleasant to give. It is a myth to say giving results in lack of resources. It is a myth to say, “Just do what you can do.”

Myth No. 5: You have to give; giving must be coerced.

“…they were freely willing…” (2 Corinthians 8:3-4).

Some say you can’t get people to give without putting pressure on them. I wonder if the manager of that Dairy Queen in Northern MN would say that pressure was put on people to pay it forward. Giving is voluntary. Giving is a privilege. Listen to the message from Macedonia: “For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints— “

These Macedonians saw it as a privi­lege to give. They were “freely willing” to give. Wow! They begged for someone to take their offerings. They got more excited about the offering than they did any other part of their worship. The grace of giving will open our hearts, but it will also open our hands.

Those committed to Christ see giving as a grace and a privilege.

Myth No. 6: We give to other causes to help them.

“…they gave themselves first to the Lord, …” (2 Corinthians 8:5).

Look at the Macedonians. Look at their priorities. They saw it not so much as giving to others as a gift to God Himself. Paul says. This is what makes Christian giving different from any other kind of giving. Some people give “A Day’s Pay the United Way.” Others give to the Salvation Army. As followers of Jesus Christ we give ourselves first to Him. Our giving is always to the Lord. The Lord Jesus said, “In as much as you do it unto one of these the least of mine. you do it unto me:”

In Christian stewardship we give ourselves first to Jesus and then we give our resources. If our priority is giving ourselves over to the Lord, then we will have no problem with giving our resources. Churches with a high level of personal discipleship and devotion almost always have high levels of stewardship giving.

Remember we are not our own. We have been bought with a price and that price was God’s only Son, Jesus the Christ.

Christ is who makes us rich!

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

Prayer

Merciful God, we can hardly imagine not longing to be wealthy or wealthier. We fear we won’t have enough or that we aren’t enough. We don’t trust you to provide what we need. God, you have been faithful. Strengthen our trust in your good gifts to us. You know our needs. You know what it takes for the tasks you have called us to. Help us be satisfied when our needs are met and be joyful when we can share with others.

For we ask this in Jesus’ Name who taught us to pray as one.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Hymn   TFWS #2065                        More Precious Than Silver (sing through once)

Offering

Today we have been called to commit to possibilities that are greater than we can imagine. Jesus has assured us that we can do great things. We are stepping out in this promise to go beyond the status quo and invest in greatness, for today, tomorrow and always.

Prayer of Dedication

God of all creation, Jesus our provider, Holy Spirit, the great advocate – we come before you with our tithes for today and our pledges for tomorrow. We ask you to bless these gifts and guide us on the path of great possibility. Amen. 

Hymn UMH # 399            Take My Life, and Let It Be (Verse1)

Benediction      

You can do all things through God who strengthens you. Place your trust in God’s grace. Go now to generously love and serve the Lord.

Announcements

  • Mora UMC meetings this week include Worship, Finance and Council
  • Members and Friends of Mora UMC received “Step by Step, Grace Upon Grace Connecting Through Faith & Love” Stewardship Cards. Please complete the cards and return to the church. Call Pastor Deb if you would like her to come to your home to pick up your card.

 

 

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