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Summary: Through caring conversations, devotions, service and rituals we nourish our faith and shine brightly in a world of darkness.

Romans 8:31-39 (quickview)  “Against the Flow”

INTRODUCTION

For the past four weeks, we have talked about (what I like to call) wholistic stewardship. The proposition I have presented is that Biblical stewardship involves more than what we drop in the offering basket. Stewardship is more than using our talents and volunteering our time. Biblical, wholistic stewardship involves our entire lives, and includes financial management, contentment, gratitude, simplicity, and generosity.

If we respond to God’s love and grace; God’s abundant blessings in our lives, with Biblical, wholistic stewardship, we will be going against the flow of American culture. Practicing a lifestyle that is countercultural, in order to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and experience the abundant life that is ours through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, will take intentionality, endurance, and patience. At times it will be incredibly difficult. It will be amazingly similar to salmon swimming upstream. But, it will be worth it!

LIVES OF TRUST

Many of the songs we sing speak of our trust in the Lord. Songs like, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God, A bulwark never failing,” “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us, much we need thy tender care,” and “Children of the Heavenly Father, safely in his bosom gather.” These hymns are great statements of faith. They are words of comfort and strength, but often our actions do not mirror their message.

Trust invites us to rest in God’s presence and to enjoy the peace that passes all understanding. God is in control. Even though the storm is raging, Jesus is in the boat with us, and he can still the storm.

Trust invites us to be content. God wants the very best for us. God’s very best may not be riches, comfort, security, or fame—in fact these probably are God’s best. God does want us, however, to experience full, blessed, abundant lives. Living in the reality of this truth, we can be content—a deep, stable contentment.

While everyone around us is busy going around in circles trying to grab the brass ring, we can rejoice that we already have the ring—the source of life and happiness—Jesus Christ. And we can give our time, talents and treasures knowing that God will provide for us in the days ahead just as he has done in times past.

LIVES OF GRATITUDE

Trusting that God holds us in the palm of his hands, we can not only be content we can also be grateful. God wants the very best for us and we can rejoice in this. We can also rejoice that God is a God of abundance and not a God of scarcity.

Our words can become thank offerings for God’s love and grace.

We can remind ourselves that things “Could be worse.” We can look around us and see the needs of others, rather than look above us and envy the blessings of others.

We can discipline ourselves to take time each day to list five items for which we are thankful—reminding ourselves that we are blessed.


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