Pastor Chris Tweitmann
Have you ever been so thankful, so inspired by a moment, an experience, a realization, that you found yourself suddenly inspired, perhaps even immediately compelled to respond?
A story or a picture grabs your attention. A conversation takes an unexpected turn and stays with you long after it’s over. A series of events takes place which leave you moved to take things – an interest, an idea, a project, a relationship – a to another level.
Sometimes a situation or opportunity presents itself and something happens inside of you. Your heart is touched. Your mind is changed. Your spirit begins to soar. And you just have to respond.
This Sunday we begin a new sermon series centered around the most significant and yet unappreciated way we can and should respond to the revelation of God’s grace and love toward us. Coming off our celebration of the Cross and the Resurrection, this conversation couldn’t be more relevant for us. And as we, as the community of Grace, prepare to take our next decisive and tangible step into the vision and mission of “Everyone. Everywhere. Flourishing Together in Christ,” it couldn’t be timelier either.
The focus of these next few weeks is generosity, specifically, discovering how to be more than generous – how to give back to the One who first gave everything. I know what you’re possibly thinking. “This is all code for what amounts to a stewardship sermon series! (Groan).” Yes, it’s true, we are launching a Capital Campaign this weekend, which I am excited to share information about with you. Yes, I am going to talk about stewardship, in particular financial giving related to Grace.
However, rest assured, the messages I will share with you will not be a sales pitch. My preaching will not serve as some sort of fundraising enterprise designed to secure financial pledges. This series isn’t about getting you to contribute money to Grace – about how much or how much more you can give. This series is about how much we are missing, how much more we can experience, not just by giving but through living generously – becoming people who are more than generous – as a reflection of God’s grace to us and all the world.
Our starting point on Sunday might surprise you. We’ll begin by considering a trickster named Jacob, a person who had developed a reputation for taking more than he was giving. Jacob swindled his father for a blessing. Jacob stole his elder brother’s birthright. Jacob’s wheeling and dealing have led him to become a frightened fugitive. Out in the middle of nowhere, in the darkness, alone, Jacob is going to have an unexpected vision.
It’s a vision of a future he doesn’t deserve. It’s a vision that, as good as he is at convincing others, Jacob could never secure for himself. It’s a vision that will eventually transform Jacob, the schemer, into Israel, the dreamer. It’s a vision that will spark a new way of living hereto unknown to him, living generously. As we’ll see, it’s a vision of the kind of life God has for us too.
Grace to you!