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Summary: This sermon provides an introductory look at the topic of Stewardship. Beginning with the recognition of four realities - God’s Ownership, Our Blessing, Our Opportunity, and Our Responsibility.

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A few weeks ago we looked at a word that was not very reflective of American culture. Anyone remember the word? Content. Content. We talked about how there are many words to describe us as Americans, but content is probably not one of them. Today I want to look at another word that is probably a bit of a stretch for us to utilize as a description. . .reality.

We are not people who tend to live in the realm of reality. For instance, many of the top television shows today are what we label as reality TV. But they could probably not be given a more inaccurate label. Let’s just look at some of them.

Survivor. Two dozen people, dropped on a deserted island, to roam around for 30 days in their underwear, building alliances, competing in challenges, with an end reward of one million dollars. Whose reality is that? The closest I have ever come to that is bath time at the Monck home with two children running around in their underwear, forming an alliance against the parents, with a possible end reward of 30 minutes of peace prior to crashing for the day.

Or how about Fear Factor. A handful of people, sitting down at a buffet table of raw animal innards, with bugs and maggots crawling all over them, and then drinking down a refreshing blender mix of the most awful liquid, with fiber filled chunks, that you can imagine. Even on my mother-in-laws worst day, that is nothing close to the reality of what I have to eat.

One more. I’m sure after our 40 Days of Prayer, and focusing in on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit there is no one in our congregation that would watch this one. . .but how about the Bachelor or the Bachelorette for reality. A guy or girl, with 20 members of the opposite sex fawning over you for weeks on end, living in a mansion, going on exotic dates, one minute making out with this person and telling them how much you love them and are making a connection with them, only to hop in a limo and head out with another person to make out with and tell how much you love them and are making a connection with them.

Again, whose reality is that? Believe it or not, I once had two 5th grade girls fight over me on the playground, but I still haven’t figured out whether they were fighting for who would get to be my girlfriend, or who would have to be my girlfriend. This is the kind of stuff that we Americans define as reality TV.

You see, we really have very little concept anymore of reality. Reality is some dream, some vision, some utopian society that doesn’t exist, we will never reach, and that even if we ever found it, it would probably make us sick within hours and we would wish we never would have landed there.

Well, today I want to help us recognize reality. Real reality. You can see on the front of your worship folder that we are launching a series today, “Giving Back. . .to the One Who Gave His All.” It is a look at a topic that makes most people shudder. In fact, I found this cartoon related to this topic in one my illustration folders (show cartoon).

Stewardship. We are going to look at three very common areas: Talent, Time and Treasure. Nothing overly unique or creative from a topic stand point. But it comes at a vital time for us here at SWC. We are at a juncture in our history, and our growth together where we need to reflect on how we are utilizing our talents, what kind of time are we giving back to God’s kingdom, how do we manage our treasure?

You see, these are areas that impact our ability to minister in our community in a huge way. So unlike the people in the cartoon, I hope you will plan to be a part of this series, and participate in some good reflection on what God would want you to hear during our time together.

But I want to begin with a reality check. Because I think at the heart of stewardship are some fundamental realities. And if they go unrecognized, it would almost make logical sense for a person not to be a good steward. Without these reality recognitions, stewardship would almost seem like a strange if not ridiculous concept. So let’s look at them together.

First, at the very foundation of stewardship, whether we are talking about talent, time or treasure, at the very beginning level of understanding stewardship is a. . .

RECOGNITION OF OWNERSHIP

We have to recognize the reality of ownership. Grab a Bible, and let’s look at some Scriptures together. By the way, we put the Scriptures on the screen, and make them available for you to see during the message if you need them up there, but please do not let this take the place of brining your Bible to church and learning how to use the Word of God that is made available to you.

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